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Useful Insights and Inadequate Explanation

Muslim Minorities and UPA Regime

The Struggle for Equality: India’s Muslims and Rethinking the UPA Experience by Heewon Kim, Cambridge University Press, 2019; pp 260, 695.

This book is a work of rigorous academic research. It is a combination of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. It has six core chapters besides the introduction and conclusion. The introduction provides an outline of the book by briefly summarising the main arguments in various chapters. While presenting the relevant facts and figures of the socio-economic conditions of ­India’s Muslims, the author suggests that during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime of 2004–14, the Congress-led government did have a genuine inten­tion to deliver upon the development of Muslim minorities based on the principle of equality of opportunity. How­ever, the author argues that even if the UPA regime was initially interested in the development of Muslims through the policy framework of the Sachar Commi­ttee Report (2006), the concrete policies were not implemented to a great extent. In this regard, the author points out and asks whether the policy towards the Muslims in the UPA regime was a paradigm shift from the pre-2004 era or was an act of political pragmatism.

Chapter 1 gives a brief overview of the existing academic literature while presenting the analytical approach. The book asks six interlinked research questions. Each chapter attempts to answer one question. A note on the methods is clarified in the chapter where interviews of significant policy informants were conducted via Skype, telephone, and email exchanges during the fieldwork of the author in 2013 and 2014 (p 37). The author of the book follows an institutional approach linked to the methodological school of historical institutionalism and path dependence. She broadly follows an institutional policy analysis approach that contributes to the field of public policy studies and policy process.

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Updated On : 28th Sep, 2020

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