Bengal’s Election as the Nation’s Frontline Critic by Sanjukta Ghosh

By Sunil Pun|May 21, 2019|General|1 comments

SOAS South Asia Institute Scholars on the Indian Elections 2019 The 17th Lok Sabha elections have aroused ‘the never before’ spate of analyses among academics and the media, by taking stock of limitless flow of data, fake news and visuals as distorting factors in free and fair elections. But most importantly, these also serve as triggers of a sweeping anti-incumbency vote. Bengal is the hotbed of such analyses given the

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Bengal’s historic contradictions surface in contemporary politics by Pallavi Roy

By Sunil Pun|May 15, 2019|General|1 comments

SOAS South Asia Institute Scholars on the Indian Elections 2019 The 2019 general elections are being described as one of the most significant along with the ones held after independence in 1951 and after the ‘Emergency’ in 1977. These elections are being seen as almost a referendum for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) aggressively populist, exclusionary and right-wing Hindutva politics. There is a lot at stake for the party

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Elections in India: A snapshot of West Bengal by Somnath Batabyal

By Sunil Pun|May 1, 2019|General|1 comments

SOAS South Asia Institute Scholars on the Indian Elections 2019 In the summer of 2000, I was posted in West Bengal as a Correspondent for NDTV. Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharya, member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was the Chief Minister and he had just brought his party back to power after the resignation of Jyoti Basu, who, it seems had ruled West Bengal for decades. I knew Mr Bhattacharya

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909,917,469 electors vote for a new India: World’s largest democracy at work by Himanshu Shekhar Mishra

By Sunil Pun|May 1, 2019|General|0 comments

SOAS South Asia Institute Scholars on the Indian Elections 2019 The world’s largest-ever electoral exercise got underway on 11th April 2019 when millions of Indian voters turned out to cast their votes in the first phase of general elections. Polls are being held in seven phases spread over 39 days between April 11th and May 19th, 2019. This week, India enters the fourth phase of the polls. The body of

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Voter apathy in Mumbai? Not in the BDD Chawls. by Jonathan Galton

By Sunil Pun|April 30, 2019|General|0 comments

SOAS South Asia Institute Scholars on the Indian Elections 2019 Mumbai is often derided as a city uninterested in politics. “Maximum City, Minimum Voting” sneers a recent Economic Times analysis, pointing out that even Mumbai’s uncharacteristically high voter turnout in 2014 lagged behind Delhi’s by nearly 15%. Hard statistics notwithstanding, voter apathy is scarcely in evidence in Mumbai’s chawls, cramped tenement blocks constructed to house the city’s army of migrant

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Meghalaya: National Politics in a Small, Tribal, North-East State by Philippe Cullet

By Sunil Pun|April 23, 2019|General|0 comments

SOAS South Asia Institute Scholars on the Indian Elections 2019 Meghalaya is one of the small states of the North-East. It is also one of a handful of tribal-majority states. In this sense, it reflects particularly well the multiplicity of peoples, languages, religions and customs that make up the diverse country that is India. This is particularly important in the context of national elections marked at the national level by

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Muslim Minorities and the Consolidation of Trinamool in West Bengal By Maidul Islam

By Sunil Pun|April 17, 2019|General|0 comments

SOAS South Asia Institute Scholars on the Indian Elections 2019 West Bengal has a substantial Muslim population: 27.1% according to the 2011 Census of India. Three primary issues are relevant for Muslim minorities in India: (1) Identity (Freedom to practice religion, religious cultural festivals, management of minority institutions etc.), (2) Security (immunity from communal conflicts), and (3) Equity (income, education, employment, health, access to public goods etc.). In November 2006,

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India’s Single-Issue Election? An International-Security Perspective  By Matthew J. Nelson

By Sunil Pun|April 9, 2019|General|0 comments

Matthew Nelson is a Reader in Politics at SOAS. His research focuses on the comparative and international politics of South Asia, with an emphasis on non-elite politics, comparative political thought, the politics of Islamic institutions, and democracy. Leading up to U.S. presidential elections, international observers tend to watch the polls. Of course, their attention is misplaced. They should focus on the finer details of America’s Electoral College—the body that actually

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SOAS Honours Human Rights Lawyer Vrinda Grover by Shailza Sharma

By Sunil Pun|August 2, 2018|General|0 comments

  Advocate Vrinda Grover was honoured and awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws at the July 2018 SOAS graduation ceremony for her decades of human rights activism and legal work. In presenting the citation for Vrinda Grover’s award at the ceremony, Dr. Navtej Purewal, Deputy Director of the South Asia Institute, stated: “Her work in interrogating the structures which produce violations and violence; in highlighting injustice in the face of

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Approaching South Asia: Challenges, Connections and Creativity by Jonathan Galton and Adrija Dey

By Sunil Pun|July 5, 2018|General|0 comments

One-Day PhD Conference, Friday 29th June 2018, SOAS South Asia Institute, University of London How do we approach South Asia in the 21st Century? For academics, the region presents a unique set of challenges arising from its socio-cultural diversity, its complex political landscape and entrenched economic disparities. Moreover, the region is arguably as divided as it has ever been and there is an increasing emphasis on challenging the constricted academic

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