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

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Crafting a New Social Compact

Negotiations between the Majority and the Minority

Crafting a New Social Compact

Democratic Accommodations: Minorities in Contemporary India by Peter Ronald deSouza, Hilal Ahmed, Mohd Sanjeer Alam, New Delhi: Bloomsbury, 2019; pp xxvii + 205, ₹ 1,299.


For a country often described as an “unnatural nation” and “unlikely democracy,” prompting historian Ramachandra Guha to raise the question: “Why is there an India at all?,” both the dreams and the design adopted at its inauguration smacks of audacity if not foolhardiness. Much of this apprehension can be traced to its “unique cultural diversity and the associated social disparities.” Notwithstanding the multiple traumas associated with its tumultuous freedom struggle, and the unprecedented horrors (bloodshed and dislocation) of partition, the then generation of our leaders chose to move beyond the lessons of extant political–constitutional theory and experience emerging primarily from the West—the idea of a relatively homogeneous nation state as the most viable form of co-living—and attempted to craft a constitutional compact to accommodate our multiple diversities as equal citizens.

India’s Treatment of Minorities

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Updated On : 15th Dec, 2019


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