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Contemporary Indian Politics (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant Research MA. Students from other departments are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


India, after its independence, has adopted parliamentary democracy and has become the largest democracy in the world. While many postcolonial nations have failed in their democratic experiment, India presents a success story. But understanding and analyzing the critical components of politics in a plural and diverse country like India with many religions, regions, classes, castes and communities becomes a challenging exercise. Thus, the vibrant domain of Indian political process is fiercely contentious as it has to negotiate with a wide range of diversities and pluralities within a democratic framework in order to arrive at some kind of consensus. This course will critically reflect upon some core themes of contemporary Indian politics:

Course objectives

The course aims to impart an in-depth understanding of contemporary Indian politics which will enable the students to:

  • understand how different political institutions, actors and processes shape Indian politics;

  • comprehend the multiple trajectories and contestations of Indian democracy; and

  • develop skills in research, analysis, presentation and writing on Indian politics.


The timetable is available on the Asianstudies website

Mode of instruction

Attendance and participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

10 EC course:

  • Lectures: 24 hours

  • Extra sessions for ResMA students: 6 hours

  • Studying literature: 54 hours (10 hours per week)

  • Preparing for class presentation: 12 hours

  • Writing short reflection papers: 24 hours

  • Researching/Writing term paper: 120 hours

Assessment method


  • Participation in class , one short written Assignment & Presentation

  • One Long Research Paper & Presentation


10 EC course

  • Participation in class , one short written Assignment & Presentation: (40%)

  • One Long Research Paper & Presentation: (60%)


The final paper is written in two stages: a first draft that receives feedback and a final draft. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to receive feedback or submit a first draft; only the final draft will be accepted.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 6.0 or higher. Students who have received less in their assignments and research papers will be allowed to resubmit and be given additional 7 days and 15 days respectively.

Exam Review

Students may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.


Blackboard will be used regularly for webpostings and to make course syllabus, information and readings available

Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.

Reading list

The reading list will be provided on Blackboard. Students who want to start preparing themselves before the start of the course can get a provisionary Reading List from the lecturer (see contact details below)

For the Research MA students additional reading will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. Extra sessions will be organized to discuss this extra literature.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration à la carte or contractonderwijs

A la carte nor contractonderwijs is possible for this course.


Dr. Pralay Kanungo


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).