Book explores politics, its future in India

·2-min read

New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) A new anthology discusses Padma Bhusan winning political scientists Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph's exhaustive study of India and how it produced seminal insights about the country's politics.

'Interpreting Politics: Situated Knowledge, India, and the Rudolph Legacy' is edited by John Echeverri-Gent and Kamal Sadiq and published by the Oxford University Press.

The volume assembles a group of distinguished scholars like Christophe Jaffrelot, Ronald Herring, Rina Agarwala, Kalaiyarasan Arumugam and Niraja Gopal Jayal among others to provide a thought-provoking and rigorous engagement with the Rudolphs' groundbreaking analysis as they relate to contemporary political issues.

Each contributor addresses a seminal concept or analytical approach developed by the Rudolphs and then assesses its implications for their own research.

The resulting chapters do not attempt to address all the normative and empirical questions that arise from the Rudolphs' work and the broad topics and themes they covered. Instead, they collectively demonstrate the theoretical and empirical power of the Rudolphs' arguments in ways that advance political science analysis.

The book includes analysis of trends in political mobilisation in India and elaborates how 'situated knowledge' shapes discourse, moral imagination, political strategies, and institutional change.

It further sheds light upon how the interaction of caste, class, gender, and religion structures political mobilisation; how changing social and political relations affect education policy and civil-military relations; and how political leadership is forging the future of politics in India.

The Rudolphs, between them, published more than 20 books and dozens of articles. They co-authored or co-edited eight books jointly, starting with 'The Modernity of Tradition', a seminal formulation of the problem of tradition and modernity that shaped the study of India past and present over the next 50 years.

It turned out to be one of the most enduring interpretations of modernization not just of Indian society but of non-Western nations around the world.

At a time when reigning theories of the 1950s blamed the 'backwardness' of India on the tenacity of her 'traditional' institutions such as caste, the Rudolphs showed how traditional-seeming institutions had actually changed through the colonial period to take on functions similar to political parties that one could only see as 'modern'. PTI ZMN BK BK