The Seen and The Unseen Ep. 131: Political Ideology in India

The Seen and The Unseen Ep. 131: Political Ideology in India



I V and before we move on with this episode of the scene in the unseen do check out another awesome podcast from avian podcast Cyrus says hosted by my old buddy Cyrus brochure one of the things that most irritates me about political punditry in India is when people talk of our politics in terms of left wing and right wing the thing is this whole construct of left wing and right wing parties as a concept imported from the West and doesn't really apply to India the truth is all our parties are pretty much alike on the left-right spectrum every party is left-wing and economics including the BJP which despite its recent rhetoric believes in a big role for the state and maybe pro-business but it is certainly not true markets in fact between 2014 and 2019 there was nothing in the render Modi's economic management that was different from what Manmohan Singh would have done if in power except perhaps 4d monetization which was reminiscent of Indira Gandhi Haroon Sharif famously called the Modi government as UPA + cow but even cow is not really a differentiator as a Congress resorted to soft Hindutva during his recent campaign and includes welfare schemes for cows and some of the states where it is in charge in other words all our political parties are left wing and economics and right wing on social issues and therefore against individual freedom in every domain much to the dismay of those like me who believe in individual rights it is clear that much of her politics is based around identity it is also clear that much of her politics is based around patronage and the bribery of voters direct or indirect does this mean that ideology does not play a part in Indian politics that is the conventional wisdom and it is one that we shall examine critically in this episode of the scene in the unseen welcome to the seen and the unseen our weekly podcast on economics politics and behavioral science please welcome your host of its but welcome to the scene in the LC my guest today is Rahul Verma the co-author with Pradeep Chiba of ideology and identity a fantastic new book that makes the argument that contrary to the assumptions of many including myself before I read this book Indian politics is actually deeply ideological in nature Rahul is not related to me indeed he's aware MA who spells his name we e r ma while I am a VAR ma his is the most common spelling and it's a pet peeve of mine dat so many journalists spell my name wrong with an e instead of an A one could argue that my objection is rooted in identity but I would say that is rooted in ideology for it's a core philosophical belief of mine that we must respect all other individuals especially when it comes to how they spell their names before I begin my conversation with Rahul on more serious matters of ideology and identity let's take a quick commercial break this episode of the scene in the unseen is brought to you by story tell story tell is an audio book platform which you can listen to on your Android or iOS app they have thousands of audiobooks that you can listen to on your mobile including hundreds and local languages like Hindi and Marathi an unlimited monthly subscription costs only rupees $2.99 per month and you can also get a 30-day free trial if you hop on over to Raj attended or come / IBM I actually use story tell myself regularly so as long as the sponsor the show I'm going to recommend one book a week Terrel of the book I want to recommend today is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood if you enjoyed the TV series consider that this audio version of the novel is read by Elizabeth moss check it out on Sarita and remember you get a 30 day free trial only at story-tell com / IVM rahul welcome to the scene in the unseen thank you now will tell me a little bit about your background like what were you trained as were you an economist or social scientists what got you into this field so I'm a trained political scientist I am completing my PhD from University of California at Berkeley currently I am a fellow at the Center for Policy Research what got me interested into politics frankly I don't know I was interested in elections and politics as a child perhaps so as a child I was a sort of like like most kids I was a very naughty character where was this oh you were so I was born very close to IOT a small town in my village which is very close to ayutthaya so growing up I basically replaced two political phenomena that changed India forever i I didn't understood those two phenomena then the Mundell politics as well as their arm under politics so literally my first memory of drama and their agitation and mobilization was that you can see buses with policemen and all these policemen what they do is basically eat banana and throw on the route later on I figured out banana is a high energy fruit and you know that's why these policemen eat it but that's that's my memory of a curfew when when you see a curfew you will see lots of policemen in buses and they will be basically eating bananas of them out so as a kid I used to do all tamasha during the day so during summer vacations my father basically asked me to read newspapers and in the evening when we'll come back from his office I have to tell him what is on the front page what is on the sports page and so I as a child was just as four five or six I started reading newspapers out of fear that I'll get sort of scolded in the evening if I don't do my homework so I used to do a homework on all newspapers and I used to read so because I was growing up in do peep at home I was getting Hindi newspapers so both on the sports page as well as on politics play that you used to hear funny proper nouns right like in doopy there's a constituency near miserable but she was Robert's guns you know as for 5 year old he was like Roberts I had heard him hindi movies so why is there a Roberts conch or if you read Hindi newspaper all these terms are spelled very like leg before wicket is bad and you these just used to sound funny in my head and and so I think that's how I got interested in politics reading about them sort of making a notebook both of cricket scores so cricket and and politics both also have a component of numbers say if you win elections you have to be to write all the numbers so I used to sort of maintain a notebook for a very long period of time on both cricket scores and on both political scores and somehow I think that got interested me in politics and do you think just thinking allow do you think that unlike other english-speaking elites like myself for that matter who I mean I grew up just reading English newspapers unfortunately did the fact that you were reading in the newspapers day in and day out since you were a kid did that give you a slightly different understanding of politics from the people who are your peers today so I don't know that but even today I order a Hindi newspaper and if you look at Hindi newspapers their coverage is very different from what you get in English newspapers so I don't know about a different perspective but I certainly get to see more things than what get covered in a Hindi newspaper the editorials in Hindi newspapers are very very different on very different subjects and I remember a couple of years ago there was a debate in couple of English newspapers Bairam Guha sagarika and other people basically writing on on this topic why don't we have conservative public intellectuals and my answer was perhaps you don't treat Barnacle at newspapers because your point is we do we do they just don't write in English if you read merace newspapers you should read Kannada newspapers so in fact because I have been reading Hindi newspaper so I know in the public intellectuals who have conservative viewpoint and then I asked my other friends who read Marathi or Quran newspapers and they said we do have these things so I think certainly you have varied if you get a very different point of view by reading vernacular language newspapers so you know as you as you kind of grow up and then you got into the academics of it as well oh but who are the sort of thinkers who influence the way you think about politics in the world are there any books that you can recommend to my listeners Oh books that you feel change the way you think about the world there is a long list of both thinkers and books that have influenced me I so I'm a political science or politics nerd so you know I read things I don't know but there's no time of either reading or or sort of like working on things but so if you think of good Indian political scientist who people should read perhaps in the older generation Rajinikanth Hari Randhir Singh who was a big Marxist theorist if you to read contemporary people I think the table a new method I'd seen in the next place is one of our foremost political philosophers I think Yoga is a other still when he's sort of like despite being in politics I think some of his writings are very illuminating there were some social scientists who were American but they worked on India Myron wheelers work on Congress party child in the state migration and nativism I think Suzanne and Lloyd Rudolph's work on on the political economy of Industry so there lots of political scientists who have influence I think I also read lot of hindi fiction so if people want to sort of like a rock their body is one classic she'll also club but Mela Archer you talking about caste Akashi not saying so i one advice which I got from my PhD advisor that if you're not getting idea read fiction so don't read too much political science but also read fiction and I think fiction poetry makes you think about things in a very different context why I love reading poetry I grew up in a small village but my schooling was from Lucknow so there is some influence of Lucknow I think even like I have always been fascinated by two lines shale or six line couplets which basically tries to bring a very very complex thought into say ten or twelve words right so I do think people perhaps through mill I don't know there have been so many poets who have influenced me generally I think so I don't read much political philosophy perhaps later in my life I will do that but as part of course curriculums I have read I think Hobbes Rousseau Locke and all of these have made influential points what books people should read I think read as much as you can and just look at like top 50 novels in your language which you are comfortable with or top 50 novels in English I don't know what names to give to you but no fair enough and you know what you said definitely strikes a chord with me because I haven't no read remotely as much in India's you obviously have but you know if someone were to ask me how do we understand India of the 1960s and 70s and I would say there is no better book than rock Barberie how do we understand the nature of the Indian state I would say there is no better book than rock the body you can pick up books by historians and political theorists and all that but the sort of magic in a good work of fiction you know that you know capture society and a rugged body incidentally is available on story tell who are the sponsors right now of the scene in the unseen so you can actually listen to it in Hindi over there even if you're not comfortable reading the language so sort of moving on from there you know let's come to the book that we're talking about which you've co-written with Pradeep schipper ideology ler identity how did you come to the subject so Pradeep Chabert is my PhD advisor he's a professor of political science at University of California Berkeley Pradeep is considered one of the foremost experts on party politics and party systems and he has written some very interesting books on party systems but before this book he wrote another book which I think didn't get attention the title of the book is religious practice and democracy in India and what he shows in that book that religious practice in India especially the public so this is all based on on data a survey data so people who go to say religious sites such as temples gurudwaras most churches and people who participate in religious services such as buzzin kittens and jalsa and and church services their outlook towards democracy is much more positive than those who don't practice religion an idea is basically that all other sources which links individuals to the state are sort of captured so if you think of or captured or or not working properly right basically you have a capricious state in India bureaucracy is discretionary and sort of like discriminates political parties have been captured by vested interest it is religion or religious places which even for moments provides equality to people from all walks of life and that's why those who participate in it they think that the democracy in the country is functioning much better so Pradeep generally and I think this is largely I wouldn't say norm but slowly getting more traction that certain Natural Sciences or engineering people they don't write so low author pieces you will always see five six eight ten people writing this social sciences was generally where people were doing soul over but nowadays given this lot more emphasis on sort of like data related work and this base he brings much more collaboration than earlier and there I think I see much more collaborative work happening between not just professors but professors and their mentees and students so Pradeep generally works with all of his students so I am NOT an exception to the large community of scholars he has been sort of producing in last 10 20 or years so we were writing couple of effects and Pradeep generally likes to take a walk when he wants to discuss something right so he loves running and so I think this was around Independence Day we were in Berkeley and somehow the conversation started happening that there is a long shadow of partition right basically same themes emerging every five six years the debate on majoritarianism or how to accommodate religious minorities into body politic the debate on reservation resonates every time so we thought that and these were some of the founding debates we were having at the time of Independence and so I think the idea starts started germinating from there so during the 2014 elections what we did is wrote series of Opitz on six seven chapters which you see in the book basically we tested our idea in thousand twelve hundred words each and once we got enough reactions so we did start with the classic economic and social ideology framework that's where we started and in the data there wasn't any difference in the economy so there was a difference on the social ideology or social conservatism but between parties there was no difference on the economic ideology front and then we started wondering why we don't see the other dimension which is so much prevalent in Western Europe and and North America and and that got us into thinking perhaps either our quality is one-dimensional or there is a second dimension but there is something unique about our own historical and cultural context and and we started reading about things and that's how the collaborative process began I was struck by a coat which actually comes towards the end of your book but kind of sums up the conventional wisdom which your book is questioning and it's a quote from the Italian Jew one or Sartori coat ideology does not strike roots in all types of soil and while there is very little evidence to the effect that ideological factors do have empirical relevance in African context it is abundantly clear that most of what is spoken as ideology is mere political rhetoric and at the same time image selling to Western public stop code and this applies to India as well and early on a new introduction you guys right coat contemporary Indian party politics is commonly viewed as chaotic centered around leaders corrupt volatile and non-ideological in nature what accounts for this perception and for the corollary view that elections in India are rarely if ever genuine contests of ideas policies and visions stop code so why does this perception then then kind of existed so the couple of so apart from this quote there was another interesting I think letter to the editor in New York Times or somewhere where someone basically went on a rant that you know Indian political parties are just alphabets one lot siding with the other lot it's not a solemn selection of leader of 1.3 billion but like a children's game show but if you if you remember 2014 election or 2019 election both the Congress party leaders the top leaders in the Congress party as well as BJP leaders but in fact unequivocally saying that this is a fight or battle for the soul of India or or this is a fight between two ideas of India so politicians perhaps realized these are ideological battles but in our scholarly context journalistic context we thought voters do not so there is no structure or framework to our politics people just vote on their whims or they get something and in exchange of those fair they would particular political party or politician so we don't want to go that route and we tried to avoid as much as we could we didn't want to go on a rant against this whole perception of that Indian politics is non-ideological but we do want it to make a point that any departure from how politics is conducted in best is seen as tri moody or the politics in West is structured around ideas whereas politics in developing world is just taking some samosa some liquor some sari and voting for this ultra which is stringy and so on yeah so we were sort of like bug with this side sort of characterization of about Indian politics and and this is what is Giovanni Satori's one of the foremost political scientist he's a classic on party systems and I like his writing when I read this stuff I thought this should go in our book because this is what we are sort of like challenging that be me not developing countries like in your post-colonial countries like India may not have the same structure of politics as the best but the departure should not be understood as these countries there's no framework to our politics so I think that was sort of like beginning of why we wanted to sort of take on on this argument the perception has remained I think what we would like to describe as a fake fact of politics there is no basis to make that claim but once that claim started gaining ground it became sort of a truism or a normal assumption about our polity no and and what it strikes me and this is even a miracle power of sorts in the sense that this perception this looking at Indian politics through a left-right prism through a fundamentally Western prism and saying that oh okay it doesn't function along this prism therefore it is sort of non-ideological and it's on all these other factors which is one that I have held for so long and your book is making me reconsider really comes from mostly from political thinkers or theorists or columnist or pundits who are a part of the english-speaking elite whose education is kind of Western whether it is in the West or here and as you pointed out earlier in the episode you've grown up reading Hindi newspapers and therefore it's you weren't exactly captured by the elite in that sense you also had access to expressions of different contest stations and you know a different set of intellectuals from where you came before we end of proceed by talking about the book I think it's kind of useful to define some of the terms because they get confusing you you were so for example define ideology okay but I just wanted to sort of get back to one point which is basically this departure from the West democracy is sort of understood and defined very differently in the context of West whereas democracy in the context of post-colonial and underdeveloped countries is always defined with an adjective right that is this is not a perfect democracy it has become my ethnic democracy it has become something like that but if you come to think of it India is one of the busiest laboratories of democratic politics and I think now so in u.s. when we used to make presentations not just me but many times if people who work on South Asia or Africa or some other country there would be a general question and this is a legitimate question how far does your theory travel to other parts of the world and sometimes in my irritation I used to basically if not in public I I do use to say that I don't care if it doesn't travel in every theory we own one-sixth right so given the size of our population we now need to sort of like the theory of democracy now needs to move out from the best best and and see how it is being practiced in a country like India or a Bangladesh or or say Philippines and those theories now sort of write weeds revision and no I get what you're saying and there's a certain condescension there from people on the West who are sort of saying that there's our theory and our theory is paramount and does it fit you or does it not and but asking different questions of your theory where you actually have to kind of prove that it travels as you said which I can understand why you were irritated by it getting back to ideology let's talk about you know since your book is centered around ideology define it for me so we take a very sort of like watertight definition of what we considered as ideological conflicts right which is basically a issue bundle and many of these issues go together and waters take basically position on on these issues so it might happen that you care about one issue more than the other but because it is part of your issue bundle you will have some position closer to your preference but for anything to become ideological and structure party politics we claim that it must meet four conditions one every election can have a very different issue which drives that election but for something to become the basis of ideological conflict it needs to be stable for a long period of time because it is an idea it must have an intellectual origin there must be people or intellectuals elites writing about it debating about it and talking about it so the second criteria is it must have an intellectual basis third to reach that idea to masses it's needs channels of transmission from political or social elites to masses fourth it must have enough number of people on each side of the divide because unless that happens you won't see political parties taking a clear stand on in on that issue and that wouldn't become a basis of ideological conflict and I think to think about why we make this argument that the Indian version of ideological conflict is very different because those ideas are born out of historical experiences and trajectories and those historical experience of the West and a post-colonial country like India was very very different and that's why our ideological conflict are going to be very very different and that's a very fascinating part of your book where you kind of elaborate on the four different ways in which ideology as the West understands it has formed in West and why none of those apply to India because of a completely different set of circumstances in histories can you elaborate on what those four ways ah so this is a very famous thesis by Lipsett and drokken and and those are two great political scientists so the claim they make that the west european party system is frozen in for cleavages the for cleavages were basically labor versus capital rural versus urban center versus periphery and church versus state those were the food sort of like main cleavages on which party politics in West Europe happened and it happened because West Europe underwent a historical trajectory of first release or Reformation then Industrial Revolution Industrial Revolution produced capital labor divided it also because of Industrial Revolution it also created a urban-rural divide there was always a central periphery issue going on in many parts of those countries and the church and state thing comes from then as a reformation a country like India never underwent this historical experience overnight we became an independent nation state from a colony so for us while Asian building debates were happening in the background but we suddenly become independent or sovereign country within a matter of night and at the time of Independence most of these countries like India was so poor so rural that you cannot have a politics on these cleavages in fact the Nehru stands the Constituent Assembly to begin the objective resolution he basically begins with that the first task of this assembly is to clothe the naked feed the hungry so the state in a sense there was a consensus that the state is going to take the burden of poor right and that's why we don't see divided on economic ideology there may be minor differences on the route to welfare model but I don't think any political party as you said in India is true market in that since right we do not have market versus state debate among political parties barring I think the communist parties which has a clear at least written prescription but I don't know whether they follow the same thing on the ground so the two exes could not have so they did take off the center periphery debate could have taken off and there were riots like situation in fact on the question of integration of various parts of India and I think that problem got in some ways resolved by the reorganization of state into linguistic provinces so language politics now was just centered within the state not visa vie the center so I think there was some steps taken in 1950s and 60s which restricted the center state fight emerging as a central issue of basically as a national issue in that sense it it remained localized so you would see in Tamil Nadu a fight with Delhi or in Jammu Kashmir a fight at Delhi but that does not become a mobilizing plank across India especially in the large parts of Hindi heartland the fourth in India will never had that kind of centralized Church Hinduism never had that kind of very diffused almost all source yes so we never had a church versus at the time of Independence there was no church versus state conflict that was happening but we could in some way sort of like argue that religion or accommodation of religious minorities did become a meta-narrative of Indian politics and it does resonate still today right so you kind of pointed out and I found your arguments quite convincing and obviously agree with them that these four sort of ideological cleavages of the West don't apply to India however you say this does not mean that India does not have ideological contestations and you talk about two specific ideological battle grounds which have been ideological battlegrounds for decades and and therefore they are stable and they meet all your other conditions of the ideal Ohira they are stable they have intellectual elites on both sides propagated through all the various kind of means to tell me what those two are so we are we basically argue that Indian politics structured by two ideological scales one we describe it as politics of recognition which is basically the idea of bringing different groups into the body politic and what would be the method of accommodation so debates on reservations and quota whether the Indian state should hew to majoritarian characteristic that basically forms the bulk of basis of politics of recognition and if you read the Constituent Assembly debates these were the questions on which our founding fathers there were very few women in the consequent assembly so formally fathers for debating about the debate on cows slaughtered like I think began in 1909 or something where members in the Constituent Assembly arcuti statistics that there were so many thousand cows in the north western frontier provinces and now the population has decreased to this and that's why there is a cow slaughter happening they will invoke Gandhiji and and you know it's only him so so first we'll definitely you we were having these things similarly the debate on reservations started way back in eighteen I think 1882 so there were some ramblings earlier also in Mysore in Cole hapu and in Trivandrum dutifully yeah yeah but in 1882 I think hunter Commission so so there was a representation by fully to hunter Commission for affirmative action for the lists and backwards in the education sector and I think that debate all reservations began there then it took another shape during the montebello reforms maan gave James full reforms Gandhi Ambedkar debate a large part of Constituent Assembly debates were on the reservations 1950s Carlyle Kerr so I think throughout last hundred years we had spurts of moments where the debate on reservations were happening for different commentaries and I think now with the BJP is final so in fact the preservation bill for economically weaker section this this is the first time it has been passed but at different times various government have tried to bring this bill which is what it is doing is changing the nature of the debate on reservation from sort of historical reparation and social justice to economic backwardness so so there's a very different twist that is being given by BJP on the reservation in fact this particular twister is almost one which takes it from your first ideological cleavage which is to do with recognition to your second one which is to do with state ISM so not necessarily but again about the state sort of remaking the economy of society by this kind of so we have a very particular understanding of what do we mean by statism and I do acknowledge that it may not fully encapsulate what is happening so in our view the role of the state in society has a very different conception in Western political thought and Indian political thought in the West Society basically makes the state to sort of like reorganize it so that's the Hobbes Locke Rousseau tradition whereas if you read Indian political thinkers and the classic text books such as sort of like Mahabharata Shastra so I think the state society conception in Indian political thought is very very different and and perhaps there is a reason why we don't have a good theory of State and we don't have a good theory of kingship in fact in in all heart texts there is things written about what a good king should do and what a bad King would do but why do we need a king the theory of kingship is not well established in Indian political thought so the way these most of these thinkers not just limited to the Hindu tradition but it seems like a sub-continental idea and you find resilience of this in some ways and put this sort Islamic thoughts as well as an in Hinduism where the role of the state or the king is to act as the guardian of the society so the state and King cannot sort of like they should protect the social norms but they should not be trying to remake the society and they should not even sort of like have redistributed Impulse basically taking away property and then redistributed in fact if you think about Gandhi an idea of trusteeship it was based on the same notion this is not the job of the state to take away property from people who have it and and so basically changing social economic norms and I think and this is what what emerges from Constituent Assembly debates and debates that were happening on Hindu code bill at that moment of time was that people like Ambedkar and Nehru wanted to use the levers of the state to remove the inequalities in our social and economic life and then there were other members in the Constituent Assembly who were opposed to these ideas they thought that this is not the job of the state to remakes the society and like like you explained in your book it comes I mean this whole conflict in a sense comes from deaf perceptions of what is the relationship between the state and the society as you say in your book goat in Western political theory Rousseau Locke and Hegel are good examples political order means the subjugation of society to the state so you know you might have a state of nature there but for society to function you need the state to protect individual rights and so on that's Western political theory but to give the contrast to that with oh you know what to is contained an Indian conservative thought you could cut by three Maharaj and I'll coat this carpet three Maharaja's words coat in Indian tradition the society is always supreme and the ruler is accountable to therma and society the administrator and administration keep changing but not the society in Therma the laws of the state always have to be favorable to religious texts opcode so in that conception society already exists it is prior to the state and then the state comes in and the state is like sort of an administrative convenience that's absolutely correct so so in this conception the role of the state is just a facilitator there is permanent feature which is society and the interesting feature about this whole conception is that there may be some sort of like deformation or bad things that may appear in the society now that the state should not be sort of intervening to remove those bad things the society would itself heal up or we'll come up with solution right so think about the problem of untouchability right Gandhi never said the state to sort of like take the royal hand and remove untouchability Darley basically goes in this society and says this is a bad thing we need to reform it right so in this framework or the model the reform has to come within the society the state should not be using a violent mean or redundant to sort of like correct things in fact one of my favorite quotes about politics is by Andrew Breitbart where he says politics is downstream of culture and it would seem that that represents sort of the traditional Indian view and it's also very interesting that than the people fighting for or statism as it were the state intervening in the economy and in society were essentially Western educated liberals like Nehru in America that that is correct that is correct and carpet three mirages he's a very interesting character and I hope some political theorist works on him so carpet Rima Raj was the founder of Rahm Raja position this was an Orthodox Hindu party in nineteen fifties which slowly sort of God merged into partying sank so the coots are coming from carpet three Maharaja he wrote I think more than thousand page book and the name of the book is mark swath or Ramraj and he basically is sort of like challenging not just the Marxist interpretation of the state of society but he takes on all possible Western philosophers in that and and a lot of it is in some ways you can call it basically polemic and rhetoric but then somebody's sitting in the jail and and and writing these thousand pages as Indian political is the translation of it so I have large Cele English translation I've seen the Hindi won it and it is sold by Geeta place yeah which is interesting which connects me to both the past episode on a future episode I did an episode a few weeks back with Suresh Rai of Carnegie and he mentioned your book in his discussion with me and he mentioned this book by carpet three Maharaj and I'm doing a future episode with Akshay Mukul which should be out in a few weeks on the Gita press is written an incredible in the Gita press so that should be fairly interesting and a new kind of then you taught that well you've got another quote from Gandhi oted by Missoni but code from Gandhi in your book which is a code I look upon an increase in the power of the state with the greatest fear because although apparently doing good by minimizing exploitation it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality which lies at the root of all progress stop code and you know here is almost coming down on the side of the traditionalists yeah yeah and so tell me a little bit so these are the two sort of ideological considerations you've identified there is of recognition and there is a politics of statism let's talk about both in turn let's talk about statism first what are the sort of debates taking place around statism at the time of the Constituent Assembly because it's not as if Gandhi and Ambedkar are getting the view there's a push back and in fact the cover of your book is really fascinating as you pointed out it's a picture of naruse first cabinet and the fascinating point you made is that if you just look at them you know left to right eh they almost represent where they stand ideologically with an arrow at the center yeah Shama Prasad Mookerjee and the extreme right and then you have well a piper tail and yes and on the extreme left you have dr. P now and on the extreme left you have dr. Ambedkar and almost representing sort of the very two cleavages that you talk about you know where you you could say that the guys on the right like Shama Prasad and against the sort of stat is Amanda intervention yes these guys do and the guy is like you get to the left you get to Ambedkar and that's probably the extreme when it comes to recognition though not remotely as extreme as so many people today which is quite interesting tell me about the battles around statism so so if you think of 1940s and 50s statism basically implies using the power of the straight to change social and economic norms by social norms you can take for example marriage norms inheritance norm and an economic would be say redistribution of private property now the best example of this debate could be found in the debates that particular place on Hindu code bill in fact there was so much vociferous opposition to the Hindu code bill that the debate started in I think nineteen forties and it aims in 1956 when Nehru in fact had to break down the Hindu code bill into four parts and then get a pass through the Parliament but before that I would sort of like the hell broke Lu's Ambedkar thought that narrow is not serious enough on the Hindu code bill because he thought this is very very important to give them in equal place in the society and given Nero's non seriousness on the matter he in fact resign from Lenin's cabinet perhaps near who had different plans and didn't sort of talk to combat Kareem confidence on that but before this Gandhi Nehru Ambedkar battle purshotham das tunnel in 1953 became the president of the Congress party and he was one of the traditionalist who was opposed to the Hindu code bill and who knew with him being the president of the Congress party this would not work and in a way arou had to revolt ugh use his charismatic personality and powers of the prime minister to sort of ask push with and a stand-in to step down so there was battle within the Congress party within the government on this question of Hindu code bill and what was Hindu code bill basically trying to sort of like codify marriage and inheritance norms and similarly on the question of redistribution of private property booth I think Nehru had the insta instincts but he pushed for reforms land reforms right and look at the kind of opposition admit there was sort of a compromise on this India was I think one of the first countries to have right to property as fundamental rights and this was a sort of like push back traditionalist gave back in the Constituent Assembly that they got right to private property as a fundamental right and everyone the other hand wanted to push the land reforms and and and any in some ways it it failed so those were like two big debates that happened in nineteen fifties and and now of course the right to property is no longer a fundamental right and this is something I had an episode on with Shruti rajagopal and I think it's episode 26 commend me for my memory episode 26 of the seen and the unseen I linked it from the show notes and it's interesting how both carpentry Maharaja and Mawlana Madhu the one of the founding thinkers of Islamism both opposed this kind of redistribution in this kind of statism and and you kind of wonder you know when you talk about and this is a question i asked many of my guests at when we debate sort of the idea of india that fine you know near whose idea of india some of which i agree with some of which i don't agree with but narrows idea of india one out in in those founding years partly because he happened to be a giant of the freedom movement and therefore he was in that position and partly because of happenstance that other figures from within his party like the traditionalist hindu wing of his party sort of got sidelined after well a by patil died in nineteen fifty then you know he made push it on the stand and step down because he wanted Kriplani to be Congress president and that wing kind of just faded away but my question is this that before we arrived at what the idea of india should be and is basically a bunch of Eliot's rebating that in deciding that it is also perhaps interesting to question what is india big and should the idea of india reflect what India is and did that idea of India reflect what India was I mean you know a later on in time the India lupa Thea made the point that the Constitution does not reflect India Delhi it's been foisted by a sort of liberal Western elites and so on and this is then a question that I've asked various people on this podcast including for your including Shashi Tharoor a while back and various people so I'll ask you now that you know how do we resolve this right let's say that you know we might welcome the idea of a liberal Constitution but if the liberal Constitution is in is something imposed by elites by liberal elites on our country which is fundamentally a liberal and I don't necessarily you start in a bad way but which is fundamentally not liberal then is that imposition itself not a level that's a good question complicated question and I don't think I have a good answer to it but let me try I think so first we must remember so this idea of India term got popularized by after Kalani's book but and and I think one doesn't need to do a very careful reading just a cursory reading will tell you that Kalani talks about ideas of India he basically says that there were multiple ideas of India the idea of India makes the case and that's why he's writing about it because he thinks the idea of India represents the diversity of not not just the diversity of the population but only the idea of India allows all other ideas to exist simultaneously so so in that sense not just diversity but pluralism where you sort of like multiplet is multiplicity of thoughts can sort of coexist and perhaps wish so – in the book in the conclusion up and this is a sort of like a thought experiment we borrowed from a sheet ocean wash knee which is basically think of like nineteen forties India on you had three strong contenders for part well a by patellar on one hand and and never on the in-between and then you have Bose on the other hand Bose and and and Patil boots were very very popular and charismatic leaders and they had big organizational influence portion on the debate of 1930s when Bose became the president of the Congress party so bash knee in his book basically writes that one shudders to think what would have happened to India if instead of Nehru boo so Patil would have become the Prime Minister first Prime Minister of the country so I think depending upon your ideological position today you would have a point of view on on that particular question but I think in a diverse country like India the passing of baitul from British shores and basically to the liberal elite it allowed India to remain democratic perhaps with some deficiencies and everything but if we would have gone other way and by that I don't mean bush or Patil but if a conservative politician would have sort of like got the baton I think very much idea of democracy in India would have been in danger so this counterfactual thought experiment I sort of like tells me that okay they were the discourse in the beginning was dominated by liberal elite who sort of presented them as patrons of masses but in doing so at least they germinated the idea of democracy in our country no and that's a there's a fascinating insight in the thought experiment in the sense that as you correctly pointed out that of all the ideas of India which could have won out there is only one idea of India which would have allowed the others to contest it and emerge so today if you have say some would argue that the idea of India which is on the ascendant today is not just the idea of never through Modi but also the idea of on the piper tail and this is maybe the direction he would have liked to take India in though I don't think that's exactly correct but some would make that point then the point to be made there is that other idea has emerged and triumph in our democracy because we first ensured that it was a double democracy again yes that's actually the most satisfying answer of all the ones that my guests have given me so far you have kind of described the sort of the contestations around stat ISM before we go in for a break tell me a little bit about the contestations around recognition so I think we discuss some of it on the reservation debate but also on the question of majoritarianism which is basically whether the Indian states should do two majoritarian tendencies or it should become more accommodative of religious minorities so I think we didn't do enough just is on that question in terms of like there was ambivalent in the position of leaders at the time of Independence and I think that's what ideological conflict to write it allows you to sort of like mitigate on certain questions but on other questions you have to be accommodated of the opposition so we create a secular state but we allow in our directive principles that we will think about you see see we will think about religious conversion and we will allow we'll think about what to do with animal husbandry and cow slaughter right so in some ways and many many have pointed out it has become a practice that anything any government functions in in India happens through a Hindu ritual now you could say that this is a cultural practice but then by following one sort of cultural practice you're basically doing to the majoritarian ritual practice so so I think that's the reflection of the ideological conflict as well as some scholars have gone to the extent of saying that what emerged in 1950s was a Hindu State explained it that that basically we were more accommodative of Hindu majoritarian demands then basically liberal security but by the point at the BJP has throughout made the Johnson made before it in the BJP has kind of made is that the Congress's version of secularism what they call pseudo secularism who was pandering to minorities so I think perhaps in practice Congress ended up doing that so secularism which was a matter of conviction of our founding fathers because the idea of India would not have survived without a secular India slowly became a politics of convenience a politics of compulsion but it's no longer a matter of sort of like ideological conviction but BC and ITB gp's or position is that that they do sort of appeasement of muslims and and they haven't done anything to uplift those population and i think to some extent that charge is not wrong what the secular or so-called secular parties did they basically sort of like used Muslim elites to mobilize Muslim population but did not do enough for the Muslim masses in that sense and come to think of it right in sixty years Congress ruled most of the states how many Muslim chief ministers can you think outside the state of Assam and Jammu Kashmir where given the population you will have a natural choice is a Muslim chief minister I can remember only perhaps one example from Maharashtra and six month period for I don't remember the name but in Bihar right other state Congress never made Muslim chief ministers how many sort of like Muslim ministers or MPs came out from from the Congress party or other secular parties so the BJP is being now able to mobilize not just on the question of secularism but also on the question of social justice right because what they have managed to convince a large section of Indian population that again this was basically so politics of reservation for OBC was not our OBC politics it was just for the others in North India right politics reservation for the list was not meant for all SCS it was just meant for Jah Tufts in Hindi Heartland and I think what BJP has managed to do is exploit the fault lines on both the social justice secularism as well as some sort of like nationalism patriotism angle I love the way your eyes light up when we talk about politics we're gonna take a brief break now and you're going to come back and get a little deeper into the nitty gritties of how Indian politics has evolved through these ideological cleavages supported hey everybody welcome to another week on the IBM podcast network if you're not following us on social media please make sure you do we're IVM podcast on Facebook Twitter and Instagram as I have asked you guys before if you're finding what you listen to interesting then please take a screenshot of what you're listening to send us a note with the Tagus on social media will either you know talk about it we'll take the feedback into consideration on where he post it we just really appreciate getting feedback like that as do all of our hosts also want to mention the fact that we're still hiding at the best place on earth to work in which is the IBM podcast network so if you're interested please do send us an email to career sent in this box calm one other thing I want to 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excellent thought-provoking book ideology and identity it will give you new insights into Indian politics so do pick it up continuing from maybe left you kind of described how then you guys disagree with the notion that Indian politics isn't ideological you pointed out that what we think of as a typical ideological cleavages of the West don't apply to India but we have our own ideological cleavages which have come from a history one around statism the role of the state in redesigning society or the economy and to around the politics of recognition now what you also do when your book is that you tackle people's descriptions of what Indian politics actually is about for example well people say Indian politics is on identity politics based around word banks people say it's patronage politics and voters are basically bribed during elections and so on and so forth so tackle them one by one from me as far as identity politics is concerned you're obviously not taking an absolutist position that identity doesn't matter because the title of your book is ideology and identity but tell me a little bit about your thinking on this and how do you test for the importance of identity in the views that people hold okay so as you rightly said we're not sort of taking that position that identity is don't matter in fact one part of me deeply believes that your ideological position are also related to your social identities because given that the ideological conflict is on the question of identity right if it's about accommodating lower caste or religious minorities into body politic then it is related to your identity similarly your identities determine in what kind of social and economic norms you are embedded in and if state is going to change that then again you are sort of like interacting with the identity portion what we sort of like disagree with that there is some sort of like determinism attached to your identities as if identities alone determine what you are going to sort of like your policy preferences are going to be and which political party you're going to vote for and and these kind of like debates or talks become much more common during elections in India where all conversations start and begins with caste as if you are born into a certain caste and you are going to vote for a particular political party and the way politics in India is changing I think it is leading many more people surprised because we started with that assumption so what we are basically doing in one of the chapters trying to sort of dist angle identity and ideological platform and so in the world I come from where I was doing my PhD there's a particular way of sort of like writing things so you make a theoretical point you also take on the counter arguments and then you provide evidence for your theoretical point and there then there are new methods being developed to test first some of these questions so how do you separate identity and ideology that was the question for us so what we basically do in that chapter use evidence from a survey experiment to show that despite your identity whatever caste or religion you are born into or practice it doesn't do it may be correlated with your ideological platform but it is not deterministic in that sense so that's what we do is basically showing that prejudice does play a role but there is an independent effect of your ideological beliefs on what you sort of do so I I have two kind of questions here one is that while it's obviously correct to say that identity is not deterministic and you might even be arguing with a straw man there because who says it is but while it's correct to say that identity is not deterministic or like you can't look at an individual and say that his identity or her identity determines her the way she will vote but you can look at a group and say that it is likely that this group will feel this way because of his identity an example being that I think it's fair to say and correct me if I'm wrong that the average upper caste person would be against reservations or the average middle-class person would be against redistribution or high taxation and I'm not going into the merits of any of these policies yeah that they are more complicated but these are sort of the positions that they would hold on average and therefore there is something to be said about identity determining evens one's ideological position which brings me to the second point well you've got these very interesting surveys in your books and you've got a lot of data which shows that people's positions on certain issues like reservations could be a partly determined by identity but are partly also determined by ideological position or other first principles which they come from but my sort of how I taste I doubt is by asking you that could it not be the case that many of those counter views many of those ideological positions that appear to come from first principles are rationalizations of a tribal instinct that they feel arising from their identity like how can you you know account for that so you write I think that deterministic point was a bit far-fetched or a stretch but think of what you said all political parties are rooted in social cleavages not just in India across the world right if you look at Democrats in United States a large portion of their roots would come from African Americans and white poor and Hispanics and immigrants and therefore the argument can be made in fact I'm just thinking a lot sorry for interrupting but the idea can also be made that a lot of that politics is actually more based on identity then people previously would realize and less based on ideology and again I'm just thinking aloud that could possibly account for the right word drift of the can party in recent times where a lot of the previously about ideological principles like earlier ideologically they were for free trade but now they no longer seem to be so as they're all behind Trump so you could argue right al out of those ideological positions were positions of convenience and it all boils down to identity at the end of the day so the two in fact three questions who let me tackle first two so yes there is a relationship between identity and voting for a particular party but why are they doing so because that particular political party espouses some policy platforms that are closer to their identity and those policy platforms are actually those ideological beliefs right why does it they'll it would for a Belgian so much party Luther position because they think that Bahujan Samaj Party takes care of the litt interest right and that's idea this is so when I was talking about the determinism it is not because I was born into this category and I have a leader belongs to that category and we like each other is basically because I think that this party takes care of my interest and interests are basically reflected in your ideological leanings right so that's the limited point I was trying to make there ii i think what you are trying to suggest is that parties leave their position and they sort of take up a new position so it's a matter of convenience you can say that but then this ideological space which is structures or under grits the conflict and party politics is not a static space political parties in some ways organizationally dynamic they will keep bringing new waters leaving out some old voters and that's why the ideological space not just because of the time and space but because of the groups that you sort of like take into that ideological space will also keep moving and sometimes it is moved by that's the third point it is moved by leaders right in the and that's one of the chapters where we talk about people are not attached to leaders because they just like the leader because leaders basically represent a kind of sort of become a heuristic or a hilt so on the ideological platforms they want to sort of like believe in and I think one of the points which you were sort of bringing up and it's a hard question to answer is basically whether they like the leader and then decide the platform which you were mentioning in the case of a political party and identities or they have a policy platform and then they find the leader closest to that policy platform or is not so much leader and policy platform like another contestation i had you know in your book where at some point you seem to imply that like in terms of statism obviously i totally agree with you about the status and cleavage that exists around the state remaking society but as far as a state remaking the economy is concerned I think there are very very very few people like me who would want the state to not interfere with the economy and would allow markets to play a hand and I think that a lot of the people in 2014 who supported Modi some of them were taken in by the rhetoric but a lot of them were perhaps couching their innate preference for some of the other positions of the BJP like their positions on Muslims or cow slaughter or whatever and instead making it sound respectable by talking about economic freedoms where they didn't really give a damn about economic freedoms so it's not that they decide to support a particularly der but it's like okay I do not like Muslims but I cannot say that and therefore I will say that I want free markets yeah that's the way so what uses an identity pouched as ideology so on the question of majoritarianism you know but you are expressing so you do not sing but by voting for that particular political party it may not be your top priority right so you may be actually so so that's a very different thing what you're saying that you're voting for that particular political party which espouses anti-muslim view and you have voted for the anti-muslim view but you don't want to say that out loud red and so you saying it's it's but but is being anti-muslim why are you being is it just prejudice against Muslims or do you think you have problems with Muslims because there are some interest in while they are taking away your resources that given more preference by the government why do you not like Muslims I am saying that there are perhaps just a substantial number of people who are simply bigoted and who couched their bigotry in more respectable terms so they will find a way to couch like they will rail against the pseudo secularism of the Congress which is actually a point with a lot of merit but they might be bringing that point of for other reasons or they might be saying that no you know we need minimum government maximum governance which of course in reality hasn't happened at all under Modi we've had maximum government minimum governance but you know they will couch it in respectable ideological terms but those instincts will be based around identity I am just hypothenar I mean I don't mean to disagree with no no no she says I think what you are asking is a very very important question we don't do justice to that question in the book and perhaps this is something to sort of like think about because if your hypothesis about prevalence of bigotry is correct that we have high prevalence of bigotry the implications of that is that we should be seeing Fri it's for coming on violence almost on daily basis we don't see that happening I think then you would argue that bigotry to violence is sort of like another change it's another chain but also I'm not saying there's a high prevalence of bigotry I kind of have more faith in my country than that I think that there are a lot of reasons why one can vote for say the BJP and bigotry is just one small part of the mix it's nice to work for them whatever asking is easier and also I completely like we talked about leadership a little later in the episode but I also agreed that you know Modi as a transformational leader a lot of his support especially in his recent elections when you consider the broad base of the support and the number of the let's sue voted for Modi a lot of it is not because of identity is definitely because of ideology and that almost in fact proves very emphatically the point that you're making so I didn't really mean to sound as you know I like that I like those questions in fact some a push back is very very important because this is not the end of the research on ideology and an party system this is the beginning of it and and of course the beginning of the research there are going to be lots of mistakes there are lot of going to be deficiencies then and these questions will make us think hard and perhaps come up with better answers no and you've made me through your book you guys have made me question my prior assumptions so in a sense maybe this is just reflexive and fighting another point that you kind of bring up and and again you're not taking an absolutist position it's important to say is for example votive library right where you say that it is simplistic to say that voters are bribed during elections that's not quite how it is can you elaborate a little so now there is a large literature on developing countries which basically describes them these countries as patronage democracies client holistic politics where basically the one-line summary of this argument is that voters in these countries vote for a politician in exchange of some goodies that could range from job expectation of job to oh sorry a samosa or some cash now we're not saying that these things are not there in our elections basically that would mean via closing eyes and not looking at what is happening and so all of this like cash supply or distribution of these goodies are there but what we are sort of challenging is that the vote is not contingent upon whether I receive an item or not it has become like a so it's not quid pro quo but its ante up quid pro quo we're basically like a poker game the political culture in LA and this is a lot a good thing in last 70 years have evolved in a way that all politicians have to put in money and and that will sort of like make them seem available or competitive to be in the race but that would not sort of determine whether they are going to win the election for sure or not but if you don't put in money you surely won't lose so it's like a hygiene factor I think a mutual friend will invest you know who introduced us made this point in his podcast with me where he kind of said that you know better bribery works or not all parties have to at least offer a bribe and a counterpoint to doesn't that then make bribery there you go for example and it also depends on like bribery is not just giving a sack of rice for a pressure cooker or whatever there are sort of policy bribes for example farm loan waivers we've kind of reached the equilibrium in this country where it is understood that to win an election that is one of the things we will have to do offer a farm loan waiver which often in the short immediate term I think provides even a necessary anesthetic performance sometimes but is nowhere near the long-term solution that we need to do and don't carry out those long-term structural reforms absolutely I completely agree with you and that's why we think that despite this ideological conflict the political culture is such that competitive populism in our politics is going to continue and and the limited point we wanted to sort of make through this chapter is that these goodies or even bravery by the incumbent in form of policy happens during all party regimes and if this was driving our electoral politics incumbents would always have a leg up and they should be returning back not just as MPs emily's and government one of like we have a big example on 2017 yupi election where ecclesia the ran a government which was peach village by rulebook he in fact targeted almost every kind of water that was possible and at leash by no means was running so his government may have been a little bit unpopular but he was certainly seen as a popular leader and despite that they not just lost the elections but lost it bad so the limited idea we are making there is influence of the so these goodies are very much part of our election game a lot of cash is sort of like needed to build the campaign in a short period of time but the boat is not contingent upon this wood is very much an independent choice it is partly driven by identity partly driven by ideology maybe at margins some woods will be getting influenced by these goodies and welfare policies but to describe this as a patronage democracy or a client allistic politics is a little bit of a stretch that's a fair point and and you're making an advanced point you're not being absolutist in saying that bribery doesn't matter at all you are saying is multifactorial this might be one of the factors let's run overstated just to needle you I say I used to write limit weekly limericks for The Times of India so just true needle you I'll quote a limerick about exactly the subject it's clear that in this called politics in the Limerick is a neethu who loves currency notes told me what his line of work denotes it is kind of funny we steal people's money and you some of it to buy the votes you stop good no but your book is perhaps a response to that let's move on to another subject which you know you brought up a moment ago and I found your chapter on it quite fascinating which is the subject of leadership where you point out that there are really two kinds of leaders in politics especially Indian politics and one kind is driven by ideology tell me a little bit more about this ah so and it's related to this logic of bribery and and and patronage so a lot of research in political science is basically focused on these small-time fixers or very local level politicians whom we describe as transactional leaders that I will do something for you and you vote for me and and so the focus has been on these fixers and brokers and local level politicians what political signs and and this is like a serious problem with in political science that we told studied leaders leaders of sort of like not just Prime Minister's or chief ministers but basically people who have influence in a large part of society and the reason they have a large influence because the project themselves has transformational they may not turn out to be transformational but the vision they project is that they are going to transform society and because of that kind of vision they can not only enthuse their own party carders but they inspired a large swathe of masses and and there is some measurable impacts which we show in the book but think of the politics in this country is not shaped by these local level brokers and local level politicians political parties are moved in moved in the system by these big influential leaders as soon as you think of lalu yada you may sort of like imagine something about him of being a backward caste politician right my a–they a Dalek politician or really moody a Hindu who the Chandra you attached some ideas with all these leaders right and and that's why what what we are trying to make the case in this chapter is these leaders who project themselves as transformational for free and ideological vision and and they structure or shape party politics in the country and yeah and and so transactional leaders tend to be more local whereas transformational leaders are you know many of the great names that have walked on the Indian political landscape like Indira Gandhi another I M G Ramachandran narendra modi year to the present day my avati and kin serum are all transformational leaders because there is a broader ideological view that they have and a specific place they have on the issues of both statism and recognition that appeals to people and think of like in 2014 and 20:19 journalist and political scientist and common people alike would talk about a moody effect in the election what does moody effect means is it just about Modi's personality she was not promising them that you would for me I will get a road in next to your house or I'll offer you some house or sorry or 500 rupee no train might be offering 15 like that's differently but but the idea is these even talk about Lorraine's moody Lorraine the moody represents some vision and he can very well articulate that vision and perhaps that is the reason of his popularity because there is clarity of articulation on one side of the ideological spectrum and there is disarray on the other side and that increases the gap which sort of like creates a moody effect no and I'll ask you to elaborate on as we ending the episode a little later will be essentially how Moody's transformational appeal as it were is so are that he actually I think in the selections model it's what it for the BJP ran for Congress yeah that had happened in 2004 in 2014 also and and in fact the leader Jignesh me Bonnie had a lament on Twitter other about how he doesn't understand why so middle it's a voting for the BJP and given you know where the BJP once stood on the politics of recognition is surprising but it's also very interesting how you know Modi's managed to on the basis of his leadership sort of widen the base of his party as it were what I'm gonna ask you to do and what I found very sort of insightful and if I had one feedback for the book I would ask you why did this come so late in the book where you talk about the four different political periods in in the political evolution of India which is like really fascinating to me so just kind of take me through those four periods okay so it comes late into the book because we are boring political scientists we have sort of like a way of presenting the material right theory counter-argument evidence and then what are the implications right what is the big picture implication of this so so that's addendum our way of writing things so what we are basically it's a rereading of Indian political history so there is a consensus among political scientist that 1952 to 67 was the first phase of party system where Congress was a dominant party political scientists likely care about party system because it structures the rules of the competition so in some ways as a voter you are going to choose from the menu that you are going to get and so party system in some ways is presenting you the effective choices that you have and what I found particularly interesting about your analysis was that you were talking about these four different periods in the context of the ideological cleavages in your book which is statism and recognition so kind of take me through dad that you know where was the Congress in that first period with regard to those two how did that change how did it is so so I would sort of like now ask you to imagine a three-dimensional space where if if you have one axis of recognition and another axis of statism congress in the beginning is sort of sitting at the center the large umbrella political party sitting at the center then on the right you have lots of smaller political parties so party agents and RAM logic Parishad of carpet Reema Raj Hindu Mahasabha later on in 60s you get a Swatantra party so there were lots of these parties on the other side you had lots of socialist parties so progr Socialist Party Kishan was dual party communist parties so these were there in the beginning what happens in 1967 dominance of Congress in the big legal Congress is so just to clarify than the Congress is doing both a certain amount of stratagem and the politics of recognition but those on the left the Communists and the Socialists and all feel not enough yes and those on the right say that knows the state should not interfere with society so much and no don't give reservation that that is correct so so actually the first split in the Congress first big so that was a split around 1906 when the Surat Congress got split but I think in 1930s and 40s when we are closer to the independence there were politicians who you would describe as socialist or communist within the Congress party so Congress was the large national umbrella movement the socialist bill what the Congress party felt and at one point later who was part of that group felt that the Congress leadership is not doing enough on their policy platform so they'd leave the Congress party and form the Congress Socialist Party in 1934 which later on becomes the pressure Socialist Party and KMP p.m. then Socialist Party so that's the linear so the what you would in traditional sense think of the Socialists within the Congress left the Congress pre independence and slowly the process was complete by 1950 60s and then you had lots of these right-wing players so Congress was basically sitting in the center in a sense they were doing few things but not doing enough for example they did appoint kakaka Lilker Commission on the OBC reservation but they don't do anything on that right and and similarly on the on soap Hindu code bill happens but nothing happens on the uniform Civil Code so they were not they were not tricky to the logical conclusion and whereas the right-wing parties had a very different idea so in 67 when mrs. Gandhi is now the Prime Minister of the country see faces challenge from the right and what she does is basically moves the Congress party closer to the curve so in fact the 67 government had Communist Party of India basically supporting mrs. Gandhi's Congress so she moves closer to those ideological position on both especially the statism part between 67 and 89 in fact she takes lots of steps related to the marriage age related to dowry which basically further in some ways the traditionalist a Hindu traditionalist within the Congress felt further marginalized and they slowly started leaving out the Congress party if you think of the the syndicates within the Congress party they were in some ways the conservative politicians in fact Bhusari la Linda who was two-time interim prime minister is also one of the founding members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad so because she moves the Congress party in one direction now the space was created there so dry cleaning elements basically started coming together so no now what you see in 1980 as party agent a party is not just the party isn't a party it had elements of BJ's but also elements of Hindu Mahasabha elements of Rama Raja Persia the elements of southern threw the party elements of Congress organization which was the split splinter group of the Congress party so all the conservative elements basically coalesced together and form the Bharatiya janta party in 1980s and if you think of the would share with PGP is basically getting in 89 91 this is basically the addition of all these groups in what they used to get in line – so accelerating that for her personal political survival in drag and in each to reposition herself politically and because her opponents in the party happened to be towards the right she goes towards left again we are using mister in terms yeah but she goes towards the left there's more stat ISM therefore she goes towards and therefore she leaves dead space which eventually go Alice's all those years later into the BJP which is now a more powerful force and in fact you point out I think at one point that in the 89 or 91 elections the BJP got asthma at the the same boat share as the Jensen plus the Swatantra party in the series so it actually coalesced into that one entity and then that's correct yes so in terms of the the ideological issues of stratagem and recognition in Dragon they moved a lot towards strat ISM and on the recognition front what was happening so recognition front what happens is basically she doesn't she's standing right there which basically now opens up a space for all these socialist parties basically they were trying to do some sort of like class mobilization in the first party system post 67 they all become backward cast parties of North India so they start because nothing was happening on the reservation front so now basically the centrist Congress party is caught in the middle you have basically socialist parties mobilizing on the cast angle the right-wing party is mobilizing on the religion angle and this statism angle and the Communist Party is saying you are not done enough on the statism so basically Congress starts getting squeezed hmm so in the second party system which is 67 to 89 Congress doe remains dominant nationally but in the states now it is facing challenges in some places from the BJP in some places from the Communists in some places from the these backward caste parties or regional paths and everywhere these regional parties have come up like in Tamil Nadu for example Yankee or Nadi MBA yeah basically yeah running the roost then let's go to the third part so the third party system basically begins in 1989 when Congress loses its national dominance also and we get a fragmented party system so what happens in this period that in places where Congress gets regional parties which are ideologically very similar to it Congress party is almost finished in that state you coated the example of Tamilnadu what Congress was basically doing was one time aligning the DMK one time aligning with with AI DMK basically Congress party gets caught between AI DM k & DM k and it's now virtually not a player in Tamilnadu something very similar happens in Luthor pradesh congress party basically is squeezed by both the presence of the Samajwadi Party and Bao Zhu Samaj Party and come to think of it the reason is that Congress it is hard to distinguish ideologically on the question of recognition and on the question of statism so these parties are indistinguishable from the Congress party in fact Congress party survives in the state and does well in the state where it is in direct competition with the BJP think of Madhya Pradesh think of Rajasthan think of Chhattisgarh think of Himachal Pradesh in all these states the direct competition of the Congress is BJP and these two parties are ideologically very different so therefore it can survive when you know it has that positioning advantage or the voices yeah and we use this example to make the point that a lot of people think that the decline of the Congress was is due to leadership or due to organizational atrophy and if these two were the reasons you have the same leader you have the similar organization but the decline of Congress varies across Indian state depending upon whose Congress parties main competitor right so you see one kind of Congress which is alive and kicking when it competes with the BJP but another Congress kind of Congress party which is now defunct in states like u P Bihar Bengal and Tamil Nadu where you are competing with regional parties so now in this third party phase the two Big M words that come up here are mandoline one there so tell me how the resurgence of Monday and the arrival of Mundell how do they play in this ideological landscape of recognition and statism and how does that bring a lead into the fourth era which we're in right now so in the book basically we mentioned about that perhaps 2014 is the arrival of the fourth party system where BJP is going to become the focal point of competition and now the 2019 results basically confirm that we are indeed in a BJP dominant party system what happens you mentioned these Mondays and Mandel which simultaneously occurs in between 1989 in 1991 now Congress party on both question remains ambivalent in fact so think of the politics that is emerging right somebody tells Rajiv Gandhi the Prime Minister that you lost the by-polls in 1986 because you there was some controversy related to Shah Bano case and you didn't do enough Rajiv Gandhi in fact sort of like twist the Parliament's fan and passes a law so he's basically sometimes playing with the Muslim conservative politicians and at other times he's trying to be a liberal reformist then someone basically tells him perhaps that now the Muslims are gone you should think about Hindu conservative politician so rajiv gandhi basically begins the 1989 election campaigns from i you there so basically playing with fire trying to do both the things whereas the BJP takes a very clear position on both the issue they don't seem much at least publicly on the question of mandel reservation because they know it would be an electoral society to oppose reservation for such a large group but they do prop up proxy opposition to Mandal reservation and to counter the effects of Mundell reservation in fact join the bandwagon of Mundell mobilization so romantic mobilization was happening at the backdrop through wish when do persia then add other RSS affiliates since early nineteen eighties after the meenakshi put on conversion in 1982 it gained momentum during late eighties and this seemed like a good opportunity for them to counter the effects of Mundell and create a pan in the whydentity so because bgp took some sort of like clear position the first effect of that was that the upper caste basically thought that this party takes care of their ideological platforms they left congress and mass in the hindi heartland and joined the BJP congress is not doing so he's ambivalent on these positions whereas regional parties were clear like the SP was clear on the question of reservation and also in some ways sided on the position which muslims would have wanted them to take on rahman their mobilization and they got the benefit of of that so there were two parties which took clear position the Congress didn't do anything and that's why basically Congress slowly faded in the Hindi heartland of U P and Bihar so bring me now to the fourth orbit era so in 2014 what you see is emergence of BJP as the principal pole of Indian politics and 2019 basically now cements the BJP spoken now what is likely to happen and this is a working paper on 2019 elections from where I'm sort of like going to make the case that it seems and so far the conversation seems on short-term factors which led to Moody's victory which is basically the leadership popularity the organizational advantages BJP has or their successful presentation of 2019 as a national election and using national security platform or basically removing inconveniences through massive welfare schemes such as Woodville I and other things while these factors are definitely important the reason I think BJP is becoming the dominant pool of Indian politics is large structural shifts that are taking place in Indian society the first one is very simply that the size of the middle class is increasing the size of the urban population is increasing the size of educated voters is increasing the size of people who are more media sort of like exposed to more media is increasing and these are likely to be against both status and these these guys are essentially in some ways BJP voters and and so what is happening is that the size of the BJP the PI from which BJP can draw is increasing but just increase in demographic share does not mean that they are more likely to vote for the BJP the second thing I think what is happening is basically all so we don't have good evidence on on statism but there is clear clarity on politics of recognition scale playing a role in basically bringing these new groups to the BJP fold one I think what is happening political majority realism is increasing and second the BJP is views of this EWS quota to change the whole debate on recognition and affirmative action is is bringing these new group of voters and what is interesting and I don't have a good answer right now it seems that political majority realism is not linked to Hindu nationalism and this point is important because if it was old-style Hindu nationalistic politics I don't think you would have got an increase in would share of Dulles and lower o be seized for the BJP so I think the old Hindu nationalistic card was rooted in upper caste sensibilities whereas this new moody's political majoritarianism is devoid of those upper castes biases and it's a new kind of sort of majority and it is an OBC himself and as you point out in your book some of the reasons for the rise of an OBC like Modi to power and the BJP have to do with go in the cheerios rescission in the 90s through sort of widen the social base of the BJP which you know brings me to two questions I'll kind of end the episode with because we're running out of time but you know that the tons of fascinating material in your book another question I wanted to ask was you've got a very good analysis about the decline of the Congress and why many of the traditional reasons started out by people don't necessarily work but as we don't have time for that in this episode but I hope my listeners will go buy your book instantly and read it support good scholarship but both my questions are essentially about the BJP one of them is that one of the things that Amit Shah has been doing as a political strategist is sort of widening the base but what widening the base can also in some ways mean diluting the ideology or what the party stands for for example they are getting sort of defections from other parties almost indiscriminately now anyone who wishes to join and can bring a base with him just join and then that you know so it's a question of will to power versus ideology the will to power is fantastic but doesn't this dilute the ideology in what the party actually stands for question number one and in question number two as you point out the increasing urbanization of this was one of the very interesting points towards the end of your book that the increasing urbanization of India makes another kind of fissure apparent where a lot of the people who sort of suppose moody for multiple reasons now will not have those multiple reasons to support him in future so just rely on that's that's correct I think so BJP is now a dominant party but will it remain a dominant party for a long time they need to so there are emerging contradictions within the coalition that has brought BJP to power and they have to work on it you are absolutely right about basically vzp taking in politicians from outside and whether they put dilute ideology now that remains an open question because political parties are not just there to sort of like follow an ideological doctrine it but primary reason they exist because they want to be in part so given that there is some sort of like vinne ability factor associated in bringing these politicians all political parties would do that but is BGP going to sort of like allow these new kind of politicians to run the show and not tow its ideological line I think if they do that they would be in trouble with their ideological sort of like Fountainhead and there would be sticks from Rush to UM save excel in fact there have been warning signs after this election they are continuously trying to push back that don't make it a personality centric government or personality centric election not on personality this is a victory of our ideas the second point I think we must start sort of like keep this in mind and that that happens with all political parties when you expand you bring in not just different sort of like politicians who don't share your ideology but you also bring voters who are not part of your core support group now they will come to you and vote for you but they would want something in written they would want representation this is what happened with the Congress parties in 1970s it was getting wood from all segments of the society but large part of Congress leadership remained upper caste so basically many leaders moved out and form different political parties and and the decline of the Congress thus began it would happen with the BJP also if the parties remains upper caste in its leadership structure for some time when you have a charismatic personality like moody these contradictions would be sort of like subdued but once someone like Moody goes and you don't have a replacement these would unravel like anything the final point which is important that we have to understand the changing context in India so BGP in some ways practices conservative politics on social norms but large segment of voters which are voting for BJP are receiving global messages and we are as much we will get integrated into global economy they would receive very different kind of messages and aspire a very different kind of life so they might be bootie Modi for fulfillment of certain aspirations but if all other parameters they feel threatened by the politics of BJP that would create its own sort of like contradictions and fissures and I think that is where the BJP challenge lies to be able to manage these contradictions and hold on to the ideological coalition they have created in fact you could argue that you know the fact that they won in 2014 and 2019 is almost like a perfect storm of events coming together managing to draw all these disparate social groups who are not yet this enamored of the BJP and there's a telling line from your book when you talk about the growing urban motorway you say code the young may hold their noses and vote for the BJP especially because of a lack of credible ideological alternatives but this support will not last because this group is not enamored of majoritarian politics stock code which is interesting and is it also the case that there might be people who might feel that the BJP led by Modi in this sort of broad-based avatar is not doing enough for the Hindu cause it is possible right Rahul has been fantastic talking to you I learnt a lot today thank you for those questions Ike I enjoyed it if you enjoyed listening to the show head on over to your nearest bookstore online or offline and pick up ideology and identity by Pradeep Chiba and Rahul Verma you can follow Raul on Twitter at Rahul underscore t Verma you can follow me at Amit Verma ami TV a RMA don't make mistake you can browse past episodes at the scene in the unseen at seen unseen Rin thing Pragathi dot-com and IBM podcast.com the scene in the unseen is supported by the Turkish Allah institution an independent center for research and education in public policy Takshashila offers 12v courses in public policy technology policy and strategic studies for both full-time students and working professionals visit dr. sheila ogden for more details thank you for listening I am Satya hi I'm Rita we are from the open library project and we host a podcast called paperback paperback is a podcast where we engage with stalwarts and experts from various industries suggesting nonfiction titles that contributed to their journey in a big way we've had guests like Anjali Rena dr. 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