ADI South Asia Lecture - Dr. Nikita Sud

ADI is pleased to announce the next South Asia Lecture by Dr. Nikita Sud from the Department of International Development, University of Oxford. The title of the lecture is"Liberalisation, Hindu Nationalism and the State".


Economic liberalisation tends to be associated with individual freedom and initiative not just in the economy but also in the polity. With the lifting of the strong arm of the state, associational life of all sorts is expected to bloom as the enterprising community takes over erstwhile service provision functions of governments. Based on a forthcoming book, this paper explores an Indian province at the forefront of economic liberalisation and growth- Gujarat. Associational life has indeed prospered in Gujarat since the late 1980s, however contra neo-liberal projections, it has been of the politically illiberal variety. Economic competition and insecurity have given rise to political anxieties that centre on suspicion of the religious and regional ‘other'. Political parties have actively participated in the culture of illiberalism in order to demarcate constituencies of the majority ‘us' versus the minority ‘other'. The ruling Hindu nationalist party has led the way in this, thus implicating the state in a spate of policies that discriminate against minority Muslim and Christian communities. After discussing the socio-political landscape of Gujarat, the paper interrogates explanations in the literature for why political illiberalism has accompanied economic liberalisation in Gujarat, as also in many parts of the contemporary world.