Sub title: Another Millennium?
Author: Romila Thapar
The concept of the millennium encompasses a sense of progress and the hope for a better future. Pursuing this notion, the present collection of essays edited by Romila Thapar, and accompanied by her introduction, explores the challenges before twenty-first-century India in its quest for a democratic and just society. Globalization and the revolution in information technology provide a new context to the problems faced in contemporary times by Indians. But will globalization ensure rapid economic growth and develoent in the face of low literacy, rising population, the gradual withdrawal of the State from social commitments and the hesitant formation of a responsible civil society? Will imitation westernization and the consumerism that comes with it, further a just society? Political institutions will require strengthening in order to manage the delicate balance of democracy. What are the strains that it will be subjected to in the struggles for empowerment by groups currently marginalized, and the growing social and economic disparities, accompanied by violence and terrorism? How will India's multiculturism be affected by the upsurge of various identities and the attempts of exclusionist nationalism to play a hegemonic role? Will the family as an institution be transformed to enhance gender justice? Will India become a world-class IT player? Will new technology ensure the autonomy of the media, where such an autonomy can become a pre-requisite for democratic functioning? Can the mauling of the Indian landscape be halted? Fourteen of India's foremost scholars and specialists in various fields reflect upon these diverse issues in the essays collected here. Thought provoking and incisive, displaying an optimism tempered with caution, the essays in this collection are by Bina Agarwal, Javeed Alam, Kaushik Basu, Rustom Bharucha, Dipankar Gupta, Gopal Guru, Sunil Khilnani, Krishna Kumar, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Prabhat Patnaik, Dhruv Raina, N.Ram, Mahesh Rangarajan and P.Sainath. Covering a large canvas, India: Another Millennium? compels us to look at the hard choices before India in the early decades of this millennium.