Interjection of ‘History’ in Struggles for Democracy: A Case of South Asia

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Rajesh MISRA, University of Lucknow, Lucknow, India
The contemporary South Asia has been undergoing socio-political struggles and concomitant upheavals, ranging from local to national levels, which transform the nature of political systems, sometimes ingeniously and sometimes randomly. The last three decades are particularly marked by a range of collective initiatives and people’s struggles in making and unmaking polity, economy and society. At the substantive level, three momentous collective initiatives may be underlined – the corporate capital’s efforts to integrate economies at the global level, the rise and expansion of collective consciousness and concomitant actions among the vulnerable sections of society for social equality, and the people’s struggles to broaden their space vis-à-vis the state. In India, the processes of democratization and contestation for identity with equality entail all-encompassing shared history, and at the same time, comprise multiple and diverse narratives. This ostensive contradiction is called for a conceptual and theoretic explanation offering insight to the unfoldment of uniformities and divergences in various forms of people’s awakening and the nature of intensification of the state power. To explain the interplay between people and the state the three basic issues are addressed (i) the interconnections among the assortment of people’s struggles vi's-à-vis the state in different phases of history revealing trends of commonality in addition to distinctions, (ii) the analysis in terms of both contextual narratives and the intervening elements of political economy, and (iii) the construction and reconstruction of history (democracy) either by people as collective agencies enlarging the public sphere or by the state limiting democratic struggles.