The internal structure of Indian democracy has seen rapid changes since the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations in 1989. Who Wants Democracy? defines two important shifts in the polity. Even as the elite are increasingly stepping back from active participation, the less privileged classes are coming forward to engage vitally with democratic processes.
Javeed Alam highlights how the poor return in every election to choose their representatives and what the voting patterns reveal about the links between regional voices and national unity, between the politics of community and the ideal of citizenship.
This second edition includes a Prologue in which the author takes up certain theoretical issues. Discussing the democratic possibilities that modernity still offers, he says that the ‘presence of critique’ within modern thought can enable people to deepen their understanding of the idea of freedom.
Javeed Alam is former chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.