Rochana Bajpai

in Debating Difference

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780198067504
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080410 | DOI:

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This book has focused on two critical junctures in the history of the post-Independence Indian state: the late 1940s, which saw a centralization of power, and the late 1980s, which marked a decentring of power. Thus far, scholars have focused on the institutional, social, and economic aspects of this structural change. In a new departure, this book has constructed an account of political change in India in terms of political ideology, focusing on constitutional and legislative debates over group-differentiated rights. Through a detailed study of political arguments in three landmark debates on group rights (the Constituent Assembly debates of 1946–9, the Shah Bano debate of 1986, and the Mandal debate of 1990), this study has proposed a conceptual model. A legitimating vocabulary comprising a set of inter-linked concepts, those of secularism, democracy, social justice, national unity and development, has framed political debate on group rights in independent India.

Keywords: group rights; Constituent Assembly; Shah Bano; Mandal; secularism; democracy; social justice; national unity; development

Chapter.  3520 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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