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How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal Franchise
February 23, 2018 - 11:00-12:00
Centre of Global South Asian Studies invites you to a public guest lecture by Dr Ornit Shani, Senior Lecturer, Department of Asian Studies, University of Haifa.
Ornit Shani received her PhD from the University of Cambridge. She was a Research Fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge University. Her current research focuses on the modern history of democracy and citizenship in India. Her new book How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal explores the greatest experiment in democratic human history. It tells the untold story of the preparation of the electoral roll on the basis of universal adult franchise in the world’s largest democracy. The
The talk explores how the principle and institution of universal franchise attained meaning and entered the political imagination of Indians. It argues that it was the way in which the preparation of the first electoral roll on the basis of adult franchise became part of popular narratives that played an essential role in connecting people to a popular democratic political imagination. The bureaucrats who managed the operation communicated their directives for the preparation of electoral rolls as a story through press notes, which were widely discussed in the press. People could insert themselves into this narrative as its protagonists. This process, in turn, gave rise to a collective passion for democracy, contributing to the democratisation of feelings and imagination.