Despite The State: Why India Lets Its People Down and How They Cope
Author: M. Rajshekhar
9788194879015 | PB | pp. 300 | 2020 | Westland Context
Despite The State by M. Rajshekhar explores Indian democracy that has been hijacked by vested interests, interested only in power and pelf. In state after state, the author M. Rajshekhar found an unholy nexus between politicians and crony capitalists.
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What are the sources of political patronage in India? Why is the education system in such a mess? Why do state governments gift bicycles for students but neglect to recruit teachers and why do they offer compensation when a family member dies but nobody cares about not having enough doctors? How deep are the roots of democracy in the country? What explains the plight of small scale industry? How do politicians extract rent?
The author M Rajshekhar spent 33 months doing in-depth reporting on the political economy of six states — Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu — to try and answer these questions. This excellent book is the outcome of his efforts. The picture that emerges is of a democracy that has been hijacked by vested interests, interested only in power and pelf. In state after state, Rajshekhar found an unholy nexus between politicians and crony capitalists.
Apart from dissecting the impact on the economy, the author also cites numerous instances of the erosion of democracy, the rising communal tensions and the attempts to stifle dissent.
Rajshekhar’s summing up: “In every state, democratic institutions, ripped free of the founding values of a young idealistic democracy and hijacked by power structures, are declining into disorder and unaccountability.”
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