May 10, 2007


Q&A: 'India is an unlikely democracy' (A Srinivas, 11 May, 2007, Times of India)

Ramachandra Guha's recent work, India After Gandhi, on India's post-Independence period till 1989 celebrates the country's sheer survival as a democracy when everyone was busy writing it off as being too diverse to remain as one entity. In a conversation with A Srinivas, Guha discusses India's "unnatural" case.

Q: How would you compare India with EU?

India anticipated EU as a multilingual nation state. The real success of India is its linguistic pluralism. As for secularism, we admit that this is flawed, in theory and practice. Pakistan was divided on the basis of language, Sri Lanka is trapped in civil war because it enforced a common language. But India has 15 different languages and 15 scripts. It has never been attempted before. Language is a fundamental feature of human identity, more than even caste or religion. Usually a nation is defined on the basis of religion, language, a common enemy, a common shared history of victimisation in the hands of an oppressor. India is an unnatural nation and an unlikely democracy.

...than a former British colony becoming a democracy. But it will devolve into its constituent parts because it is an unnatural nation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 10, 2007 10:44 PM

They're united by the English language.

Posted by: erp at May 11, 2007 7:06 AM