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Contemporary Indian Politics (ResMA)


This is an old course description. An updated version will follow as soon as possible.

Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant research MA programme. 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.


See the timetable of the MA Asian Studies (research).

Mode of instruction

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

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC * 28 hours 280 hours
Lectures 24 hours
Extra sessions for ResMA students 6 hours
Studying literature 60 hours
Preparing for class presentation 10 hours
Writing short reflection papers 20 hours
Researching/Writing term paper 120 hours

Assessment method

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.
Students must submit their assignment(s) to the blackboard through turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Participation in class , one short written Assignment & Presentation 40%
One Long Research Paper & Presentation 60%

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Students whose total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower) will be allowed to resubmit their assignments and research papers and will be given additional 7 days and 15 days respectively.

Exam review

If a student requests a review through an email to the lecturer within 30 days after publication of the exam/paper results, an exam/paper review will be organized.


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 readings will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. The extra sessions will be used to discuss the additional 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 “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof.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.