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Contemporary Indian Politics


= This is the course description for 2013-2014. The description for 2014-2015 will follow soon. =

Admission requirements

No previous knowledge of Contemporary Indian Politics is required. Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to one of the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact their co-ordinator of studies.


Contemporary India is often understood through the bifurcating paths of ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’. ‘Tradition’ in the Indian context is articulated in an Orientalist perspective, while ‘modernity’ is generally seen seen in terms of the struggle of the Indian National Congress against the British Empire and the subsequent unfolunfolding of a democratic Indian state in post-colonial India within an overarching Nehruvian perspective. Departing from this perspective, this course will focus on contemporary India from the perspective of subaltern studies and critically look at alternative indigenous traditions of politics as well as their lineages in the recent past .
The course will examine in 12 lectures the following broad themes: Tradition and Modernity in India; Electoral Politics and Party System; Regionalism and subnationalism; Hindutva and Secularism; Left Politics; Caste and Dalit movement; State Affirmative Action; Contemporary Dalit Heritage; Neo-Liberal Market Economy; Peoples Struggles against corruption; Gandhian perspective of Peace and Conflict Resolution; India’s democracy.

Course objectives

The course aims to give students an in-depth understanding of contemporary India through an analysis of current issues.

Participants in the course will acquire the following:

  • An understanding of the main institutions and actors involved in the making of contemporary politics in India.

  • An understanding of the multiplicity of readings of Indian democracy through a study of a variety of seminal texts.

  • Improved research skills, presentation skills, composition skills and the ability to critically evaluate readings.



Mode of instruction

The course combines lectures, discussions of readings (primary and secondary source material).

Assessment method

  • Assignments: 40 %

  • Final exam: 60 %



Reading list

To be announced.


Registration via uSis is obligatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Contact: Dr. Pralay Kanungo