ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Adding Meaning to ‘Democracy’

Claiming India from Below: Activism and Democratic Transformation edited by Vipul Mudgal, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2016; pp xxi + 329, ₹ 995.

Thus far we have demanded “schooling” with the belief that it automatically leads to “learning,” points out Rukmini Banerjee in her article in the book Claiming India from Below: Activism and Democratic Transformation. Banerjee shows how this realisation in itself is important, and that what is lacking is in fact “learning” and not schooling. This realisation then could become the basis of community intervention and initiatives to make “sarkari” schools as “our” schools. This, in my opinion, captures the spirit of this book, to figure out what is lacking and to add that meaning to the democratic structures through community participation, so that they become “ours,” public in the true sense of the word.

Democracy and development, unfortunately, have come to sound like words that have lost their meaning; as they remain oblivious of, apathetic to and arrogant towards the ordinary people, their wisdom, and dignity. Often the processes that unfold in the name of democracy remain contrary to its essence. It is an achievement of this book to bring together the voices of social movements, grounded researchers, academicians and practitioners engaged in interventions that could bring back this essence. The focus of the book is on what can be done, on interventions that are feasible and workable, incorporating real-life experiences and “tangible reflections.”

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Updated On : 20th Oct, 2018

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