Sub title: India's Improbable Democracy
Author: Ashutosh Varshney
In this lively collection of essays, Ashutosh Varshney analyses the deepening of Indian democracy since 1947 and the challenges this has created. The overview traces the forging and consolidation of India’s improbable democracy. Other essays examine themes ranging from Hindu nationalism, caste politics and ethnic conflict to the north–south economic divergence and politics of economic reforms.
The book offers original insights on several key questions: how federalism has handled linguistic diversity thus far, and why governance and regional underdevelopment will drive the formation of new states now; how coalition making induces ideological moderation in the politics of the BJP; how the political empowerment of the Dalits has not ensured their economic transformation; how the social revolution in the south led to its overtaking the north; and how the 1991 economic reforms succeeded because they affected elite, not mass, politics.
Lucid and erudite, Battles Half Won brilliantly portrays the successes and failures of India’s experience in a new, comparative perspective, enriching our understanding of the idea of democracy.