Power and Contestation

India Since 1989

By Nivedita Menon and Aditya Nigam  

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1989 marks the unraveling of India’s “Nehruvian Consensus” of a modern, secular nation with a selfreliant economy. Caste and religion play major roles in national politics. Global economic integration led to conflict between the state and dispossessed people, but processes of globalization have also enabled new spaces for political assertion. In a world of American Empire, India as a nuclear power has abandoned nonalignment, a shift contested by voices within. Power and Contestation shows that the turbulence and turmoil of this period are signs of India’s continued vibrancy and democracy. The book is an ideal introduction to the complex internal histories and external power relations of a major global player in the new century.

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  • Introduction: The Conjuncture of the 1990s
  • Revolt of the Lower Castes
  • Hindutva: Politics of the Hindu Right
  • Nation Under Siege
  • Globalization I: Accelerated Development
  • Globalization II: The New Economy of Desire
  • Left and the Social Movements: Looking Towards the Future
  • India in the World


  • Nivedita Menon

    University of Delhi

    Nivedita Menon is reader in the Department of Political Science at the University of Delhi. She is author of Recovering Subversion: Feminist Politics Beyond the Law and editor of Gender and Politics in India.

  • Aditya Nigam

    Aditya Nigam is a political scientist by training and is interested in social and political theory. He is associated with the Centre’s Programme in Advanced Social and Political Theory. He has worked on questions of nationalism, identity, secularism and Marxism. He has published regularly on these questions in both English and Hindi. He is particularly interested in the contemporary experience of globalization in the postcolonial context, its relationship to new experiences of time and urban space, and the ways in which political subjectivities are constituted in the present. He completed his Ph.D from the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2001. His book Insurrection of Little Selves: Crisis of Secular-nationalism in India has been published by Oxford University Press (2005). He is currently working on a book on utopias and social imaginaries in contemporary India. Nigam has been a SEPHIS scholar from 1997 to 2000, and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford in 1998. He is comfortable with and writes in Hindi, English and Bengali.

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