From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ : Democracy’s Must Take Road 9780815373070, 9781351244190


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Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Table of Contents
Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Being a Citizen: From Passions to Fraternity
2. From Nationalism to Citizenship: Majority Concessions and Democratic Consensus
3. Planning for the Poor: Limits of the Targeted Approach
4. Threshold Markers: Citizens or Beneficiaries
5. Skilling Citizens: Raising the Human Resource Base
6. Beyond Interest Enclave Politics: Civic Consumerism and Citizenship Aspirations
7. Space and Non-space in City Master Plans: Urban Utilities and Citizen Membership
8. Civil Society and Democracy: Bringing back the Citizen
9. Social Science and Democracy: An Elective Affinity
10. Citizenship as a Social Relation: A Critique of Multiple Modernity
Annexure: The ‘Telos’ of Modernity
References
Index
Recommend Papers

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From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ ‘One of India’s leading social scientists and scholar of international renown mounts a powerful defense of a universal and aspirational modernity. Engaging such fraught topics as ethnic conflict, industrial relations, targeted welfare, urban marginality, and social science itself, Dipankar Gupta attacks minimalist notions of democracy, civil society and citizenship. Instead he calls for a public sphere of mutual recognition, trust and accountability. Refreshing, erudite, wise and majestic, this is a vision we can all embrace.’ Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ brings together social theory with policy practice to enlarge our understanding of the difference that democracy makes to the life of a nation. Unlike nationalism, democracy takes our attention away from the past to the future by focusing on the specific concerns of ‘citizenship’. Historical victories or defeats, blood and soil are now nowhere as relevant as the creation of a foundational base where individuals have equal, and quality, access to health, education, and even urban services. The primary consideration, therefore, is on empowering ‘citizens’ as a common category and not ‘people’ of any specific community or class. When citizens precede all other considerations, the notion of the ‘public’ too gets its fullest expression. Differences between citizens are not denied, in fact encouraged, but only after achieving a basic unity first. This book argues that the call of citizenship not only advances democracy, but social science as well. Dipankar Gupta is one of India’s leading sociologists and public intellectuals. During his distinguished career, he has held several professorial positions both in India and abroad. To name only four, he is a former Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi and Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He was also the Leverhulme Professor in London School of Economics, and Fulbright Professor in the University of Massachusetts.

From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

by

Dipankar Gupta

First published 2018 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2018 Dipankar Gupta and Social Science Press The right of Dipankar Gupta to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Print edition not for sale in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bhutan) British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-0-815-37307-0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-351-24419-0 (ebk) Typeset in Minion Pro by Manmohan Kumar, Delhi 110035

For my parents, in memoriam.

Contents

Preface Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Being a Citizen: From Passions to Fraternity

ix xi xiii 1

2. From Nationalism to Citizenship: Majority Concessions and Democratic Consensus

21

3. Planning for the Poor: Limits of the Targeted Approach

44

4. Threshold Markers: Citizens or Beneficiaries

61

5. Skilling Citizens: Raising the Human Resource Base

86

6. Beyond Interest Enclave Politics: Civic Consumerism and Citizenship Aspirations

98

7. Space and Non-space in City Master Plans: Urban Utilities and Citizen Membership

108

8. Civil Society and Democracy: Bringing back the Citizen

136

9. Social Science and Democracy: An Elective Affinity

153

10. Citizenship as a Social Relation: A Critique of Multiple Modernity

169

Annexure: The ‘Telos’ of Modernity

182

References Index

191 202

Preface

I

n 2000 I made my points about modernity for the first time in a book form, but since then I have realized how important citizenship is to give modernity structure and substance. This is what then led me to examine citizenship in a comparative perspective and to also be concerned about social policies and how they impact everyday life. Till then, scholarship, for me, did not take the policy dimensions seriously, other than when it was useful to specifically understand caste, ethnicity and agrarian movements. But these engagements with state initiatives were not full bodied, but piecemeal in nature. My interest in policies was limited only to the extent that the empirical work at hand demanded it. From 2007 onwards I was increasingly convinced that while social science can contribute immensely to policy studies; more importantly, social science too can learn a lot by paying attention to this aspect of public life. From then on, most of my energies, which were never overflowing to begin with, went in the direction of understanding how our states, particularly democratic ones, advance or hinder citizenship. Naturally, India occupied a large space in my thinking but much of what I consider to be analytical in the way I look at this subject was also inspired by my experiences elsewhere in Europe and America. All that I have written since 2007 onwards was spurred by the aim of linking social science with policy, and examining to what extent the claims and counter claims of governments satisfy the rigours of social science. This led me to look at national statistics and large scale surveys to get a handle on some of the macro data of the day on which much of statecraft depends. I am happy that I learnt a lot as a consequence for I could now connect caste and ethnicity with phenomena such as

x

Preface

anti-poverty policies, health and education initiatives as well as urban planning. Regardless of whether or not the reader is satisfied with what I have come up with as a result of all this, I believe I have benefitted from these exercises. Some of the ideas and views in this book were fielded earlier in somewhat different forms: as lectures, seminar presentations and journal articles. Many of my thoughts on citizenship, health and social policy, as well as on modernity, first appeared as op-ed pieces in some of my newspaper columns. I have benefitted enormously from the suggestions I received from my readers and from fellow academics in seminars and conferences. The chapter on ‘Social Science and Democracy’ appears in almost the same form as it did for the first time in Global Dialogue, an internet journal of the International Sociological Society. Then there are fresh chapters too and a lot of revisions in between. This book is very consciously a work of praise to T.H. Marshall whose studies on citizenship appears time and again in this text. In a way, my attempt here is to ‘tropicalize’ Marshall and bring out the relevance of his work for Indian conditions. While Marshall’s evidence base was largely Britain and the impact that various welfare measures have had there, my attempt in this book goes, perhaps, at a tangent from this. What I would like to emphasize is how citizenship would have prospered had welfare measures, such as the ones in U.K. and in many parts of Europe, were in place in India. This leads me to oppose targeted developmental programmes for they do not ensure the foundations on which citizenship is built, which is that of sameness. If I have looked at the many shortcomings of our policies and the pace of development in India, it is merely to draw attention to the relevance of universal policies, especially those that are designed for health, education, urbanization and labour. This was not actually intended, but as it happens, my emphasis on these areas are also the ones that Marshall paid specific attention to in his own scholarship on what makes for citizenship. That the various chapters of this book pointedly refer to these issues is something I am rather pleased about. At the end of the day, I am alone responsible for the shortcomings of this book, but I fervently hope that they are not many, or too grievous.

Acknowledgements

I

am grateful to a lot of friends and well-wishers without whose help and encouragement these pages would never have been written. My association with Shubhashis Gangopadhyay has been a very exciting one where friendship and contestations were both manifest, but the former in much larger quantity. Sreedeep Bhattacharya has consistently helped me with his suggestions from a purely third person perspective, over and above leading me to important references I would have either missed or failed to trace. My indebtedness to Professor André Béteille has, by now, become a constant factor. Above all else, I must acknowledge that it was he who brought T.H. Marshall to my attention. I am grateful to the editors of this volume who went through every line with utmost care and brought many errors to my notice. At the end of the day, I am alone responsible for the shortcomings of this book, but I fervently hope that they are not many, or too grievous.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and – I took the one less travelled by And that has made all the difference The Road Not Taken Robert Frost

Introduction

C

elebrating differences is a credo all democracies claim to live up to. Some do, some do not, but most pretend. Multiculturalism has further amplified this celebration of differences for its stated aim is not to leave cultural appreciation of others to simply matters of individual choice and morality. Democracies have now gone a step further and have institutionalized defined forms of state level interventions to make sure that all sections, and all peoples, have the freedom to pursue their cultural practices unhindered. If not handled with care, this form of multiculturalism, well intended, no doubt, can raise several serious problems. The celebration of cultural differences under this aegis runs the risk of being forced, patronizing and, not infrequently, retrograde. High sounding, though multiculturalism is, there is a strong possibility of advancing a species of ‘group rights’ which is not without negative consequences. In such cases, the individual is no longer inviolable because the group the person belongs to may have precedence on some issues. For example, the ways which women are often barred from public life because group rights ordain them to be that way, are too well known to be brought up again. Apart from cultural differences, there are other more divisive factors as well and they cannot, and will not, rest on the margins. These have to do with livelihoods, incomes, access to social and welfare services, from education, to health and housing, all of which, much like cultural differences, require democracy’s intervention. The argument in this book leans towards the protection of the individual in the belief that if that is well and truly established, other forms of differences can be taken care of at much lower social costs.

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Introduction

This then sets the stage for our exercise. While citizenship must appreciate differences, it can accomplish this best if at the basic level there is an acknowledgement of the need to be equal first. This equality is not one of results, of dull monotony, of grey predictability, of the loss of human initiative; equalities of the kind that one tends to associate with totalitarian regimes. The equality that citizenship espouses if of a different order altogether. In this every person is ensured of equal respect and equal access to ways of acquiring socially valuable assets. None of this is possible if the state does not allow its citizens a straight line starting point, and, for that to happen, it is necessary to provide, above all universal education and health. Therefore, before we talk about differences, and talk we must; it is important to first stress equality of the individual in terms of opportunities, life chances and physical well-being. This is how T.H. Marshall understood ‘citizenship’ and we can do no better than to follow his lead on this subject. Though we shall constantly invoke Marshall throughout this book, it needs to be stated at the outset too. For him citizenship meant equality of status, first and foremost, and on its foundations he advocated that structures of inequality and differences be built. Marshall was, therefore, a proponent of differences: of freedom of choice, of respecting individual’s right to realize variegated potentials and ambitions, but equality of status remains the steadfast bedrock of them all. This aspect appears so ridiculously simple, once stated, but somebody had to say it first. Even when put across in such an easy to comprehend, straightforward fashion, the full burden of his position still escapes many scholars, politicians and commentators on the subject. Citizenship begins with law and ends with it – a law that respects the rights of individuals as in all democratic constitutions. Citizenship demands an equality of status as its foundational building block because no matter how different people may eventually end up being, they will always, as a consequence of the starting point, treat the other with respect. This respect is not one which needs to be drilled by exhortations, though some need to be enforced by law and political example. Citizenship is about quality of life; of being able to improve one’s future with the possibility of realizing one’s ambitions in a free

Introduction

xv

and open system. Citizenship cannot be real if the majority of our voters go to bed hungry. More importantly, if we have a great degree of resemblances to begin with, in terms of education, access to health, housing, etc., then respecting others comes easy. The ‘other’ is much like yourself and is quite unlike the multicultural ‘other’ who is clearly endowed with incommensurable heritage markings that requires will power to appreciate. If we begin with citizenship first, then it is quite simple to move to the next stage, that of respecting other ways of life. Differences are fine, even cherished, so long as they do not violate the fundamental equality that citizenship insists upon. In tandem with this, citizenship also teaches us that history is not as important as what is modern. True modernity is about how social interactions are ordered and not about objects such as cars, factories, clothes or ostentatious consumption. Modernity and citizenship come together and, indeed, they are twins that should never be separated at birth, as it has happens a little too often. Without one the other lacks sustenance and will naturally wither away. Modernity centralizes social interactions that are carried out with inter-subjective respect, and ethical anonymity. In other words, modernity makes it easy for people to trade social positions without knowing their antecedents, cultural background, family wealth, and so on. But for this to happen, citizenship must ensure, by law and decree, that the conditions for achieving the end results that characterize modernity, are well and truly in put in place. Therefore, citizenship is the means, and modernity is the end. In all of this, it is necessary to acknowledge that modernity is not a thing, an end product, a finished piece of artisanship. As citizenship grows and develops, so does it cohort, modernity. The greatest damage done to the understanding of modernity is when it is equated with all that is ‘contemporary’. Hence, if there is the Taliban, or ISIS, out there using highly technical instruments of warfare, then that becomes modern; if a dictator encourages science in the direction of mass destruction, then that too is seen as modern. When rich, spoilt people misbehave in public there is a fair amount of tut-tut about how modernity breeds bad manners. All of these are so untrue. If we free modernity from contemporaneity, and see it instead in terms of social relations whose

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Introduction

conditions are underwritten by citizenship, then we get a completely different result. This needs a change of perspective, and once that is done a wholly new modern world emerges. Just as citizens are not people, modernity is not high technology. Further, just as democracy keeps evolving over time, opening up hitherto unsuspected areas that require level starting points, so also does modernity. Neither of the two are finished products, though they are often seen in that fashion. If any society believes it has done all the heavy lifting and dogged climbing required to be democratic and modern, then one may be sure that a backward slide has begun. Just as citizenship always sets new goals, so also does modernity. No resting on laurels allowed here or else the laurels would fast disappear. Citizenship is clouded, in popular perception, by the concept of the ‘people’, in quite the same way modernity is confused with all that is contemporary. When ‘citizens’ and people are not clearly separated in theory and fact there is this constant and ever present danger of nationalism overwhelming individual rights. Nation-states are a necessary condition for democracy and citizenship but they have wholly different qualities. Nationalism is driven by sentiments of tradition, heritage, blood ties, soil, historical victories and defeats, and memories of pain and glory. While all of these are indeed necessary to win nationhood status and free ‘people’ from either a despot or a foreign power, they do not necessarily imply citizenship in any true sense. If this appears confusing, think of Adolf Hitler. He brought the German people together, but it was a majoritarian version of who constitute the true and authentic ‘volk’, and who do not. The past, with its blood and territorial linkages, are idiosyncratically chosen to privilege one set of people over others. As a result, while Hitler had the majority with him, even won elections convincingly, he was really a representative of a selectively designated version of the ‘people’, and never a champion of citizenship. Think of T.H. Marshall once again. If everybody is guaranteed equality of status as an inviolable initial condition, then it should not matter if some are Jews and others Christians, and, by the same token, some Hindus, others Muslims, some men, others women. If we do not move quickly from ‘people’ to ‘citizen’ then the fact of voting, or of majority opinion, can take a very non-democratic turn.

Introduction

xvii

Religious bigotry, ethnicity and violence of people against people, all in the name of democracy, will quickly come into play. So what would look like democracy from the outside, can actually be something quite different from the inside. This is the reason why almost all democratic constitutions begin by acknowledging the ‘people’ at the start but quickly move on to the appreciation of ‘citizenship’. Chronologically too, this is correct for people have to willingly submit themselves to becoming citizens. As ‘people’ they embark upon writing the constitution and once that act begins they become ‘citizens.’ I realize that T.H. Marshall is not an easily recognizable figure for many. This is probably because his work is specifically directed towards citizenship and also because he has not published much since his landmark work Citizenship and Social Class, appeared in 1950. While the citizenship theme has surfaced, from time to time, in scholarly works, what we tend to forget is that it was Marshall who set the tone for all later contributions on this subject. It is unfortunate that this is not fully appreciated. In the many recent writings on this theme, but it is also a tribute. It is a pity because we overlook the subtlety with which Marshall linked citizenship to individual aspirations as well as to collective well-being. It is also flattering because all too often Marshall is not quoted but his ideas are right on top, indicating the metabolization of his views, at a popular level. The fundamental chapters of T.H. Marshall’s Citizenship and Social Class are derived from his Alfred Marshall Foundation lecture, delivered in the London School of Economics in 1949. Though L.T. Hobhouse had famously argued against laissez faire democracy in his espousal of a more activist ‘New Liberalism’, what Marshall brought was an awareness of how citizenship had progressed from the 18th to the 20th century; from civic to political to social. In its final stage, citizenship was buttressed by substantive welfare inputs that made people equal in ways that the right to vote, by itself, cannot guarantee. From Hobhouse, Marshall also absorbed the idea that citizenship was intimately linked to progress and that there was no true democracy unless people were assured of security. Marshall openly admired Hobhouse, the Oxford don, and he may be also classed as his true intellectual inheritor. T.H. Marshall was born (1893 in a prosperous home and went to the usual educational trajectory of most well-to-do English people; first

xviii

Introduction

to Rugby School and then to Trinity College, Cambridge. He spent the best part of his professional career in the London School of Economics where, from 1939-44 he was head of the Department of Social Science. He also spent a few years in UNESCO from 1956-1960. He died in his beloved Cambridge in 1981 by which time he knew that he would always be remembered by his landmark work Citizenship and Social Class that was published four decades earlier. He had also authored Citizenship and Social Development in 1964, but his first work always remained his most quoted work. He has been criticized for arguing that the three movements of citizenship progressed rather effortlessly, without taking into account the many struggles that punctuated each stage. This is largely an unfair criticism, for Marshall was never dismissive of the hard work it took democracy to grow from one phase to the next. Next, it is not correct either that he postulated that democracy must go through these stages in stately progression. If that were to be the case then newly emerging democracies would have to wait decades, if not centuries, before they could even get to the stage of universal franchise. We need to also remember that Citizenship and Social Class grew out of his engagement with the British Labour Party and, especially, William Beveridge’s post World War II social insurance policy. Marshall also fought unsuccessfully as a Labour candidate in the 1922 British General Elections. Marshall was not a prolific writer, but sometimes it is just one great work of scholarship that can make one immortal. George Herbert Mead had, in fact, authored no book at all. His famous, Mind, Self and Society, was put together by his students from their records and recollections of his lectures. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell’s one time hero, had only written the slim Tractacus Logico Philosophicus in his lifetime. His later book, Philosophical Investigations, much like Mead’s Mind, Self and Society, appeared later. Even John Rawls, author of the famous Theory of Justice (1971),wrote just one other full length book, Political Liberalism, which appeared after a gap of nearly two decades, but its impact was nowhere near what his first book had created. This is probably a corrective to all those who believe in the dictum: publish or perish. What comes through clearly from the lives and times of these great scholars is that it is better to publish wisely than wantonly.

1 Being a Citizen From Passions to Fraternity

A

ll too often, democracies are threatened when the notion of the ‘people’ overtakes that of ‘the citizen’. While the former dwells on the past and is a mixture of history and mythology, the latter is based on objectively stated principles which ensure, first and foremost, that everybody in the state is an equal. The bond between ‘people’ is essential to form a nation, but has to be transcended should the final destination be democracy and not just freedom from a despot or a foreign power. At times of political tensions it is very tempting to hearken back to ‘people’ based unities, but what is overlooked is that those who make up ‘people’ keeps changing with new enemies entering the frame. Only citizenship can ensure a continuous relationship between us because its legal basis is equality between people based on mutual respect. In the constitutions of most developed democracies, the word ‘citizen’ appears much later in the text, never in the first paragraph. The one major exception to this is the Indian Constitution. Here, unlike all others, the term ‘citizen’ makes its first appearance in the first sentence, that is, in the Preamble itself. In this department, even the French Constitution is second best to ours as it mentions ‘citizen’ for the first time in Article 1, though still not in the first paragraph, certainly not in the Preamble. Like the American Constitution, ours too begins with the ringing words, ‘We the People…., but that is where the similarity ends. While the word ‘citizen’ appears in our Constitution before the sentence is over, one has to wait longer in the American book for this word to make an entry. Other Constitutions employ the term much later: the Italian Constitution in Article 3; the Spanish in Section 9; the Swedish

2

From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

in Chapter 2, and, in the German, it is way down in Article 16. The Constitution of the Netherlands does not mention the word ‘citizen’ at all and but uses the term ‘Dutch National’ everywhere. In comparison to us, others seem to have woken up days later.

The Significance of Citizenship Without getting too involved with India’s specific history and circumstances, the chronological shift from people to citizen is maintained in democratic constitutions. This is because when the task of framing a document of citizenship was begun, the authors were still people, waiting to be transformed to citizens, but only after the Constitution was approved. The Irish Constitution puts it plainly when it announces that: ‘We the people of Eire….give to ourselves this Constitution.’ Why is this emphasis on ‘citizenship’ so important? So much of our understanding of contemporary societies is defined by the study of nations and nationalism (Renan 1990; Hobsbawm 1990) but, useful as they are, we need to press more energetically on the question of citizenship. Today, democracy is the credo that dominates the political life of large swathes of the globe and holds out a promise to many more. At the same time, the specifics of ‘citizenship’ and its umbilical tie with democracy are not emphasized enough. This gives rise to a number of misconceptions. It is often confused with majority rule; sometimes with national passions, pure and simple; sometimes also with the simple act of popular franchise. All of these renditions are incorrect because citizenship can be violated in a democracy that gives majority opinion the ultimate pride of place and not the inviolable rights of citizens. One does not have to think too hard to find examples of this phenomenon; Hitler’s Germany comes immediately to mind. One, this is understood, other distortions to democracy are easy to understand such as those associated with majority rule and nationalism. At the same time, it must be noted, that while citizenship promises equality, this is strictly about equality of opportunity and not equality of results. There is no better scholar than T.H. Marshall on this subject. Marshall clarified that citizenship is about conferring equality of status on all

Being a Citizen

3

and on that basis allows structures of inequality to develop (Marshall 1950/1990, 1975, 1977; see also Turner 1993). To quote Marshall: ‘Differential status…was replaced by the single uniform status of citizenship, which provided the foundation of equality on which the structure of inequality may be built’ (Marshall 1950/1990: 34). Citizenship, therefore, does not mean that we should all be the same, think the same and live in the same way. Nor does it mean that everybody should earn the same income (ibid: 56). But there is a ‘single uniform status’ at the starting point which then promotes differences and, indeed, inequality too. This outcome, however, is far from being offensive. It neither advocates equality as sameness, nor does it allow for differential outcomes based on birth and privilege. This gives the notion of equality of opportunity a sound basis for it does not compromise freedom to grow and develop according to one’s choices and abilities. In Marshall’s view, the fundamental premise of citizenship is the promise that all must have access to the basics for independent, individual growth. This position is in consonance with the establishment of universal delivery of health, education and other such public goods. Once this happens, we have the opportunities to develop differentially as per one’s circumstance; some may end up prosperous, some may not; some may lead happy lives and others not quite that way. Consequently, citizenship will bring about a degree of respect as all of us have an overwhelming common factor which acts as a basis of our social being. The accidents of birth, whether of privilege, gender or location, will not determine our social profiles. That would depend on our own ability to achieve in whichever direction we wish to exert ourselves. This is why citizenship must embrace respect for all forms of beliefs, practices, ideologies and sentiments. The right to be different is inviolable, and that nobody can take that away, as long as the rights of others are equally respected. It is this basic equality in access of universal services that results in a robust sense of inter-subjectivity, or trading of places, and this happens quite spontaneously. As we begin with the same building blocks, it is easier to appreciate and understand how others live. If one section of the population enjoys certain basic freedoms, so must others. Ultimately,

4

From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

it is the observance of this ethic that ensures a self-censoring freedom which keeps us from compromising the freedoms of others. A consequence of this is the recognition of others as being our ethical equals even if we have no in-depth information of their background. This is a defining feature of citizenship as much as it is of modernity. As a result, wherever citizenship flourishes, modernity does too. The trouble is that neither citizenship, and with it modernity, happen naturally. They require assiduous attention to detail and careful planning from above to take root. We shall come back to this theme later, but it is important to make it clear right now that citizenship is a self-conscious move and is informed by a value that is completely new in human history. That we beat all other constitutions in developed democracies in employing the term ‘citizen’ so early in the text of our Constitution, must surely mean we were on to something. We were not starting with democracy’s initial conditions but with those features that advanced democracies have left us with. In addition, our recent pre-Independence history probably put our antenna up because of the success with which the British often divided the Indian ‘people’. This must have prompted our Constitution makers to make the transition to ‘citizen’ quick as they did not find a dependable ally in the ‘people’. The very ‘people’ who helped make our nation Independent could also succumb to calls of passion and fragment under different banners. The threat of the ‘people’ came up at different junctures even in the making of the Constitution. What about the ‘people’ from the 565 Princely states? Should not the Constitution be vetted by a referendum of the ‘people’? And, yes, what about the many particular customs of ‘people’, like caste, marriage norms, religious taboos, that run counter to some of the universal claims of ‘citizenship’? Did not the language question separate us into ‘peoples’? The quick transition to ‘citizenship’ put many of these problems to rest. We started the Constitution with the phrase, ‘We, the people of India…,’ but we could have just as easily begun with ‘We, the citizens of India….’ The General Elections of 1952, where voters participated as citizens, gave the Constitution an acceptance more profound that what a peoples’ referendum might have done. The princely states too were speedily integrated, even though some potentates dressed up their people in battle gear. Again, on the question of language policy, one

Being a Citizen

5

saw a level of give and take that only citizens are capable of. As these were weighty considerations, we took about three years to craft our Constitution, while the Americans spent less than four months. Given the fact that a technical shift from ‘people’ to ‘citizen’ was so central, and urgent, in our circumstances, we fired up a flare seeking out legal help. It is not surprising then that besides T.T. Krishnamachari, all other members of the Drafting Committee were lawyers. Led by none other than Dr B.R. Ambedkar, the Constitution stayed above narrow hostilities and idiosyncratic procedures, so typical of the everyday life of ‘people’. Even hallowed ancient legal texts, from the Manusmriti to the Sharia, speak in different voices because they freely mix metaphor with allegory. Undoubtedly, these qualify as ‘peoples’’ documents, even heritage, some might say; but not one of them would pass the test of citizenship. In this context one cannot but admire the specific contributions of Alladi K. Aiyar and Gopalswami Iyenger. Obviously, ‘citizens’ do not come off the shelf, readymade, as ‘people’ do. But be warned; sentiments that can both blind and bind people at any one time can also be notoriously fickle. Today it can be clan ties, tomorrow alien soil, the day after a remembered hero; in fact, stitching up any set of loose buttons will do. An untidy jumble of the past, complete with humiliation, and victory, is enough to make a nation (of people), but not a democracy (of citizens), least of all, citizens. No doubt, ‘people’ make a nation-state, but it is not infectious love, but hatred towards a foreign power, or a despot, that spurs them on. But once that rule, or ruler, is overthrown, they find it difficult to stay together for all the old tensions reappear. Holding on to ‘people’ after a nation is made is no easy task. Note, for instance, the tone of despair in Massimo d’Azeglio, the 19th century, Turin born artist and statesman, when he wrote in his autobiography: ‘Now that we have made Italy, let us make Italians’ (Hobsbawm 1988: 110). It immediately became one of the best known quotes of the day. ‘People’, and nations, everywhere need a good enemy to bond, not good friends. ‘Citizenship’, on the other hand, proceeds in the reverse direction; it does not seek out enemies, but friends contrary to the dynamics of ethnic and primordial formations The ties that unite citizens are those of ‘fraternity’ whose basic credo is not enmity with others, or set up culture specific boundary walls, but mutual self-respect.

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From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

Citizenship is self-sufficient; it sets targets for itself and does not need an external body to hate or hurt. This is why, unlike ‘people’ oriented activists, our Constitution makers must have thought: ‘Now that we have made Indians, let us make them citizens!’ Those nation-states that clearly saw that there was really no end to finding reasons to divide (see Anderson 1983), wisely decided to transcend to another level and seek citizenship instead. After all, once the people had rid themselves of their oppressors, what now exists to keep them together? As there were so many pre-existing distinctions in the ranks, keeping up a united front from now on was not going to be an easy task. The fissures that stayed submerged when as people they deposed the common foe, take on a life of their own afterwards and cannot be brushed aside. Old historical memories, variations in cultural practices, or regional linguistic differences, can easily come out from between the cracks and become major divisive factors. Some other identity is now needed to act as the cementing force and that is the rationale behind constitutions creating citizens. In this move, certain elements of the past had to be forgotten. This was important because it is hard to find a period in the centuries gone by that did not see warfare among those who are now one ‘people’. These memories could easily be watered to sprout more dissent and internecine conflagrations. A halt had to be put to this so that the happy memories of uniting in a national struggle together could be preserved. The surest way of achieving this is by swearing allegiance to a constitution that now binds the partisans of the earlier quest, but this time as citizens. The cementing factor is no longer ‘common hurt’ but ‘common respect’ and this can only be achieved by ‘universal’ law. ‘Citizenship’ seeks common ground by reaching out in friendship quite unlike what brought about the unity among people in a nation. Citizenship does not seek enemies, as people do in their nationalist phase, but proceeds in the reverse direction; it looks out friends, instead. The ties that unite citizens are those of ‘fraternity’ whose basic credo mutual self-respect. Citizenship is self-sufficient project; it sets targets for itself and does not need an external body to hate or hurt. When this distinction is blurred, several distortions occur. First, at the ideological-political level and, second, at the policy-planning level.

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In the following pages we shall take into account both these aspects, but to make headway in this endeavour we must constantly steel ourselves from being seduced by the appeals of nationalism.

From Nationalism to Citizenship The fact that the idea of a nation-state is made up of multiple narratives, or strands, is true not just about India but elsewhere in the world as well, including Europe. This is where we need to be careful. While many of these accounts usefully contribute to the actual making of a nation-state, we cannot just stop there (see Marshall 1950/1990: 41). The move from being a nation-state to a democratic-state is not an easy task. In this crucial transition it no longer pays to indulgently display one’s culture and history, and other like narratives, but to be selfconscious about citizenship. In this process a few cherished histories, heritages, myths, legends and legacies of great men and women have to be kept pragmatically aside. While some of these articulations may build a sense of community, such as that of belonging to a nation, they are frequently unhelpful if a liberal democratic constitution is to be successfully framed and lived by. ‘Nation-state’ narratives, as we underscored earlier, are about blood, soil, wars, sacrifices, gods, goddesses, religious sites, texts, etc. – all of which are usually a distraction when it comes to crafting a sense of unified and equal citizenship. While these tales of cultural heroics and religious virtues may create ardent nationalists, but nationalists are not always mindful of the ethics of ‘citizenship’. If this value is absent, or present only in a lifeless form then all we have is a nation-state, but no democracy. It is necessary to emphasize this for citizenship is hard to imbibe but without it there is no liberal democracy (Marshall 1950/1990: 33). In fact, in the making of a democratic nation-state many pure nation-state narratives may need to be undermined, if not outright erased and denied (Anderson 1983). Post-colonial India did just that with its Republican Constitution when it abolished untouchability, majoritarian privileges and feudal authority. We must also learn to forget many aspects of the past if we have to fashion an actually functioning democratic future. So from a democratic perspective, it is not as if

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From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

histories, myths and traditions are always positive, though they might help to super-charge a self-righteous nationalism. There are different versions of what makes for a ‘nation-state’, and there are also diverse ways of getting there. What they all have in common is that they galvanize their local cultures in one form or another, allowing for some aspects, denying other features and highlighting a select few. So it is not as if in the making of a nationstate, each aspect of the past gets expression: some do and some do not (Anderson 1983). In other words, at the end of the day there is no ‘yellow brick road’ or a privileged route in becoming a nation-state. We all come to it in our unique and specific manner. For example, when France became France only 18% of the population there spoke French. When Italy became Italy, only 2% of the population spoke Italian. It is, therefore, easier to establish a nation-state than to actually go the distance and create its citizens. Without liberal democracy no nation-state can be said to have fully arrived. In India too we have been wrestling with this project, since Independence, taking a few steps forward and then moving back. There are so many languages, histories and traditions that often work at cross-purposes making the mission of creating Indian citizens quite a challenge. When we began to consider ourselves as ‘Indians’, we tried to harness our multiple energies in such a manner that it would strengthen the unitary concept of nation-state, but what good would this be if we were not democratic at the same time? Yes, it is true that we had a huge job ahead of us. We had to bring a sense of unity as we were till recently, that is until the anti-colonial struggle bound us, multiple peoples with multiple cultures. Liberal democracy was still far away.

Nationalism servicing Citizenship But Jawaharlal Nehru, and other nation-builders like him, did a stirring job at this. They looked back into the history of our subcontinent in order to locate unifying factors in our multiple narratives to create a seed bed for democracy to take root. In his Discovery of India (Nehru 2008), Nehru found many such features in his country. Even at the plane of geography, our high mountains to the north and our deep seas to the south bound the people in this extensive landmass together. He

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also came across great degrees of similarity between the way rituals and religious practices were performed in different parts of the country. We may add to this mainstream catalogue the many ‘little’ practices of the people, marginalized communities included, which could be linked in a great chain of unity. Thus, while the harmonious elements in our many practices and beliefs received salience, those that did not had to be put aside. It did not matter how ancient they were, or how many advocates they had; if they came in the way of creating unity, and then citizenship, they were out of the door. But look at the unifiers? Apart from the very obvious ones such as how gods and goddesses appear under different names in different parts of India; apart from fact that the myths and legends, with little lost in translation, do the rounds in households of the poor and rich, north and south; apart from all these oft quoted references, we also find common themes between the heartland of India and what many of us erroneously consider to be our geographic hinterlands. For instance, Lord Ganesh appears on Tibetan thangkas; different version of the third eye of the peacock in North-eastern hill tales resembles Shiva’s famous feature; also how the legends of Radha and Krishna, or Ram and Sita, metamorphose in different parts of the country, including the North East, and the list can go on. These overlapping aspects from heterogeneous backgrounds and provenances together help citizenship find a convivial base. We have the Ramayana which travels all over India creating a sacralized cartography; different pilgrimage centres; institutes of learning, and sites where Gurus attained their enlightenment, and so on. This search for cultural overlaps across the geography of India is very Nehruvian in its orientation because they were carefully selected to emphasize just one end—the unity of all Indian peoples, where no one culture or history is privileged over others. It is because of this dense imbrication of cultural detail upon detail, practice upon practice, belief upon belief, that the past made of dissonances can be silenced. Only then can a Constitution such as ours assert in its opening line: ‘We the People of India….’ That we have a recognition of all this is because of adroit acts of leadership without which citizenship would never have been born in this country. In fact, here too we can take our cue from Marshall when he wrote: ‘The familiar tools of modern democracy were fashioned by the upper

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From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

classes and then handed down, step by step, to the lower…’ (Marshall 1950/1990: 41). Elsewhere, I have called this kind of leadership typical of the ‘citizen elite’ (Gupta 2013) While emphasizing unity care must be taken that this does not violate the ethics of liberal democracy. A nation-state, by itself, could easily be fascist or theocratic, but for it to be democratic, its heart must be cleansed of cultural egotism. In this context, we need to pause and take stock of how religion, indeed religions, can be accommodated within a democratic nation-state. As contemporary history has shown, the many narratives on religion have the capacity to pull us, often with great force and brutality, in different directions – and in that process, not just endanger the unity of the country, but also its democratic credentials. But we were in a sense lucky that in Gandhi we found an advocate of citizenship who was equally comfortable with religion and who vaulted over differences towards unity. Gandhi was, in the ultimate analysis, a democrat and not just an eccentric devoted to mudpacks, pacifism, vegetarianism and celibacy. It is the legacy of citizenship that the Father of the Nation bequeathed to us and for which he paid for with his life. Possibly, India could have become independent, perhaps even earlier, but, without Gandhi, India in all likelihood would not have been a democracy (Gupta 2013: 48). This is the aspect of Gandhi that we tend to forget: we look at Gandhi as a backward, spiritual, otherworldly ascetic snared by calculating politicians. But Gandhi’s most important contribution was that he made India a democratic Nation-State. It is this that Gandhi moulded with non-violence as his sole weapon. This is why he should be understood as an unrelenting and uncompromising liberal democrat for whom debates and discussions were the bedrock of guaranteeing citizenship rights to masses of people of diverse provenances. It is only after the idea of non-violence is made the centre-piece of democracy that citizenship steps in and majoritarianism is put in its place. If a public space of the kind sought by Habermas requires a transcendental and epistemological base (Habermas 1987a: 198; see also Habermas 1987b: 164) then it is to be found in Gandhi. If Habermas, by his own admission, was unable to locate an unerring and irrevocable principle which would give the idea of a free public space its conceptual mooring, it is because he did not consider Gandhi’s dogged insistence

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on ‘non-violence’ in deed and speech. Gandhi did revert, time and again, to religion to further his cause, but always keeping in mind the principle of non-violence. This is what helped us to overcome the many backward narratives of our tradition, and helped us to write a forward-looking Constitution. With a stroke of the pen we abolished untouchability, a major prejudice laden narrative that we inherited from our backward past. Then we abolished feudalism, and the ground under ancient ties of patron-client relationship slowly began to slip away. With Independence we could not rid ourselves totally of our past, yet we could control it negative influences by giving ourselves a Constitution that guaranteed the principles of liberal democracy. Multiple narratives of different origins, pedigrees and persuasions, were re-articulated to guarantee citizenship. Now why do I say this? I say this because I think democracy is a very tough act; it’s not easy at all. Many peddlers of democracy will tell you that democracy is a natural thing; you vote, do your homework, and that is it. Not at all! There are other forms of political governance which are much easier and very natural; guess what they are? Monarchy, fascism, racism, apartheid, these are really easy. With some gumption and guts, any adventurer and ego obsessed person can aspire to lead such regimes. But if you are talking about democracy, everything changes and the going gets tough. A little reflection will tell you that democracy is the most contrived and artificial human arrangement ever, and why is that so? This is because democracy is all about balance. When this balance goes wrong it needs to be righted and every such act advances democracy. Interestingly, whenever democracy rights itself from a situation of imbalance it not only changes the status quo, but also invites another crisis, and then again, another conscious attempt at correction. With each such move democracy gains a lot, and so does citizenship. Today, most of us take the legacy that citizenship has bequeathed us in India, and in the democratic world, more or less for granted, and that is a mistake. These forward steps took a lot of doing and very conscious interventions by human agency. These gains were all hard ones and came about because people with immense intellectual commitment and political perspicacity led these movements. That is the reason why we are here today facing each other with dignity as ‘citizens’.

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From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

‘Sociological Truism’ and Fraternity The central reason why, democracy is a difficult act is because of a human trait that sociology and anthropology have brought to our notice. Sadly, human beings around the world, regardless of space, time, economic position or whatever, believe uniformly that their culture, community, religion or customs are the best. Everybody else is the second best. So whether you are a Kung San tribal from the Kalahari Desert, or you are in the Chinese Middle kingdom, or from India’s Gangetic belt, or the Pueblo from Nevada, everybody, everywhere, think that that they are the best. The Kachins know there are Shans and the Burmese who live contiguous to them, yet consider these communities to be less evolved; perhaps even with tails tucked in. So, regardless of what you are; where you are; what position you occupy; what stage of history you are in, this is a human failing across the world. As it is so universal in scope I have been tempted to call it a ‘sociological truism’. This aspect looms large in studies on caste in India. When one considers how different castes think of one another, it so turns out that each one of them believe they are the best, at least, intrinsically so. And if they are not on top of the heap right now it’s simply because some chance misfortune took place in history, often really in times so ancient, that we may call them mythical. They had either lost a war; or some community stabbed them in the back; even our gods, with their idiosyncratic ways, could have dealt unfairly with them. But the distilled fact that remains is that no caste believes it is inferior to any other. Now, what does that sentiment leave behind? It leaves behind a mountain to climb if democracy is to be the governing political credo. This is a job that cannot be taken lightly, nor does it come naturally. Why? As the central tenet of democracy is fraternity, it goes against the ‘sociological truism’ we just mentioned. Quite clearly, fraternity is not a natural condition in us. Our natural condition is to spontaneously divide ourselves making, what Claude Levi-Strauss once said, cultural differences appear as if they were natural ones (Levi Strauss 1969). At the popular level, most of us are convinced that if other people are different from us it is because they are just made that way. This is a deep seated prejudice that fraternity must fight against so that we can emerge as citizens. Daunting as this task is, it must be

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accomplished for the sake of democracy. This is where the concept of ‘fraternity’ becomes an operative term and not a loose suggestion of goodwill. We have all heard about liberty, equality and fraternity, and often club the three together as a non-problematic trident. That is strictly not correct. Liberty and equality are, I think, relatively easier targets to achieve because you can get them through enforcement of legal provisions. You can say, for example, that everybody should get the same salary; or one must get a fair trial. But you cannot get fraternity by simply enforcing a law. Fraternity, in the truest sense, is like a very delicate plant; it has to be nurtured carefully and requires constant attention. If you take your eyes off it, some pestilence will almost certainly strike it. All around us the natural condition which is informed by the ‘sociological truism’ exists and that is from where the threats will come. The forces of caste, community and gender will, singly or in combination, attack democracy at the roots if we are not watching out for them. This is why one must always be alert; alert also against ourselves for our many frailties. So often we fail to recognize inadequacies that lie within us. We have all grown up worshipping Ambedkar. Some revere him for his crusade against untouchability; others for leading the New Buddhist movement, and so on. He was a man of many facets, each equally admirable. But I admire him most for his contribution during the period when he was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of our Constitution. At that time what he did was, I think, not just cerebral, but historically amazing. I can’t imagine anybody doing that kind of work, and under those conditions, the way Ambedkar did, and did brilliantly! The most enduring and endearing aspect of Ambedkar’s leadership was his advocacy that fraternity is, and should always be, the central principal of democracy. This was truly a very difficult task; it was much easier, then as now, in chalking up successes in the areas of ‘liberty’ and’ equality’. Even his insistence on uplifting Scheduled Caste was not charity or simple goodwill, but informed by the singular demands of fraternity. This aspect is exemplified, for instance, when we look at provisions in our Constitution safeguarding the rights of minorities. It was not a warm and hugging inclination out of which our Constitution established these freedoms and rights, but because of the unrelenting call of fraternity. It is because we believe that fraternity is

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central that the Constitution of India is what it is. Hopefully, in the fullness of time it may not be necessary to be self-conscious about them for the disposition towards fraternity might well become a habit. That, however, is a long time away, which is why democracy demands that we are constantly watchful and on our toes.

Citizenship and Utopia All of this implies that democracy is a perpetual utopia, a serial goal setter, always placing targets, near and distant, on the political agenda. Once people begin to believe that democracy is natural, or that democracy has accomplished it all, there is trouble ahead. In fact, the many crises democracy has faced over the years is precisely because people have fallen into lazy ways of thinking. Democracy needs utopia after utopia to reach out to and achieve all the time; it can never rest. Otherwise, there is not just the danger of stagnation, but of a negative dystopia setting in. We might recall, at this point, two very significant statements made by Karl Fichte, the famous German philosopher. First, if you think that something is right, is really, really right and if your heart says so and not the market or peer pressure, then that just has to be right. This is why young, research students must honestly feel moved by the theme, or problem, they have chosen for their degree. It is important that they have faith in themselves and are genuinely convinced that their efforts are academically worthy. The subject of investigation may have to be finessed, chopped and refined, but the original inspiration is the real thing. The second point for which one should be indebted to Fichte is when he said that the human condition is one where the moment you surmount an obstacle you set up another; and when you surmount that, there is yet another hill out there you just have to be climb; and this process never ends. So human beings are built to create utopias and achieve them in a continuous and demanding chain of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Subsequent scholars like Hegel and Marx used this insight for their own purposes. Likewise, a democracy too needs its thesis, antithesis and synthesis to power its engines endlessly. If we give up creating new challenges

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and surmounting them, democracy will not just suffer, but will begin a downward slide. At that point, dystopia will set in and this is what we have seen happen over the last 50 years or so. To a large extent, dystopia began to grow large in democracies during the decades of the cold war. The sentiments that rose to the fore in this period marginalized democracy and centralized the economy instead. So if you were a certified killer but an advocate of capitalism, then as far as America and its friends were concerned, you were on the side of angels. On the other hand, if you were a mass murderer but favoured communism then for those aligned with the then Soviet Union, you were a progressive and on the side of history. In all of this, nobody really cared about democracy and the fundamentals of fraternity. This is the major factor for the slow advance of democracy in the last half of the previous century. Wherever, and whenever, democracy advanced it was always by digging deep into the potentialities of fraternity. Over past hundred years or more, democracy has grown, not of its own accord, or internal momentum, but because new utopias were set by its leading practitioners. These included the extension of franchise, minority rights, workers’ rights, social welfare privileges, and so on. None of these happened in one swift motion, but at each historical juncture democracy realized something new about itself. These treasures were hidden in its capacious fold and earlier generations had not even suspected that they existed. Though these breakthroughs began in a particular country, over time they quickly spread to other parts of the democratic world. The cold war put all of this in deep freeze and, hopefully, the thawing out process will soon begin. We see signs of this awakening in recent years with the advancement of gay and lesbian rights, a fact that earlier democrats never quite countenanced. But this is how fraternity grows; there is always deliberate act of breaking new ground, mining out new riches, excavating new truths. All of this should make the point that dystopia is perpetually waiting in the wings, ready to strike. The moment we give up on utopian visions, it quickly steps in, but always by stealth. Some of us have been conditioned to believe that utopia is a bad word? But sociology, properly speaking, is respectful of utopia and, in fact, has understood epochal transitions through this lens. I am at this

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From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

point thinking pointedly of Karl Mannheim and his work, Ideology and Utopia (1936). In his view, a utopia is a projection of a future that is eminently realizable and, therefore, quite in contrast to fantasies. It is not a pie in the sky, but something that can be put to work on the ground. It is only when this condition is met that utopias qualify for our attention as sociologists and blow our hair back. You now have a dream that you can seek out and possess. Look back and you will find that the great stellar figures in democracy have often dreamt these utopias and convinced others that they were worthwhile. At the end, when they realized their goals, democracy took a great leap forward. In India, we had utopias too; this might be hard to believe, given the contemporary scene here, but we indeed had them once. Remember Mahatma Gandhi? When he said that he was against untouchability; what was that? Answer: It was pure utopia as at that time. Who could have ever imagined that it was possible to go against one of the central tenets of caste in practice? The very thought of making those who were considered ‘untouchable’ equal citizens must have been anathema to the majority of Hindus. Yet Gandhi pressed on with this utopia and finally won it. He did not yield to popular prejudice but stuck it out in the name of citizenship. Gandhi was Fichtean in that sense; he was convinced he was right and he was not afraid of setting up targets that others shrank away from. A democrat advances fraternity not by listening to people, but by pushing masses in the direction of citizenship, which is always a conscious effort. If Gandhi had gone with a paper and pencil and asked for opinions on this issue, most Hindus would say, ‘No; No; Never.’ This reality, however, did not deter him for he had a citizenship utopia in his mind. He fought for it, wrote about it, organized meetings and discussions over this and then, eventually, when India became Independent, he got his utopia. It was utopian thinking again that guaranteed minority protection in our Constitution and also made for women to occupy public spaces. In fact, much of what we find in our Constitution was first initiated by Gandhi. He was not a saint who strayed into politics, nor a man given to obstinate idiosyncrasies. This is the kind of image that many put forward, and they believe they are being sympathetic to the Mahatma, but they miss the point. Gandhi was a great democrat who dreamed utopias and

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fought to attain them. The film, ‘Gandhi’ by David Attenborough did not bring out this point sufficiently enough. By this reasoning, Jawaharlal Nehru too was a utopian democrat. He fought for the Hindu Marriage Act and, in that process, went against the practice of polygamy among Hindu men who saw nothing wrong with it. Unlike, dictators and monarchs, utopian democrats convince the majority, who are generally not in step with them, that they should make room for citizenship. It takes time and patience. These democrats do not say, as Louis XVI had once declared, ‘It is the law because I say so.’ Not always, either, do these utopian democrats succeed, but what they once started often gets picked up later and is then empirically realized. This was true in the case of workers’ rights and adult franchise; though today these measures seem to be the most natural features of democracy. At the time it was a struggle to put them in place and we should, therefore, be grateful to those who had the courage to dream. Just look back at the early days of democracy. The provisions in the 13th Century Magna Carta seem so primitive today, even though some believe that it was with the establishment of this agreement between the kings and the nobles of England that democracy began. If the kinds of Constitutions and laws in modern democracies are far ahead of what the Magna Carta provided for, we must admit that human agency has, time and again, strained to make a difference. Not just adult franchise, but the abolition of child labour, universal health and education, pension and social service networks, and a whole slew of similar provisions in advanced democracies of today are all stunning achievements of citizen-driven leadership (see Robson 1957). Previous centuries could never have dreamt of such institutions those who were ready to voice them had to face millions who would howl them down as utopians. Who would have thought in the mid19th century that women must have the right to vote? Who would have thought that Blacks in South Africa would one day live in an apartheid free country? Who would have thought, even twenty years back, that gays and lesbians would have rights equal to heterosexuals and would be able to express their orientation without fear? Now these measures are par for the course in most democracies and we are not struck by them any longer. So when we think of democracy, we must think of leadership, and with that comes a drive for adventure into fraternal

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From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

regions. Leaders of distinction have done this before and there will surely be many who will do them again. These are democracy’s true representatives for they are unafraid of taking risks; and unless you take risks, you can never be rewarded. Citizenship, when understood in this fuller sense, obviously gets activated by democracy, but not one that equates it simply with a political machinery, with adult franchise, and so on. We have come far down the road to look at democracy in terms of its historical initial conditions, which, by today’s standards, are quite primitive. The most unacceptable version of democracy is when it is equated with nondictatorships, including, supposedly benevolent, tutelary rule.

Minorities and Citizenship Likewise, when discussing religious traditions the mother narrative of citizenship must be kept firmly in place. When minorities are attacked, it is not hand-holding by bleeding hearts that will give them support, but the laws of the land which guarantee them rights as citizens and protect them against discrimination. Majoritarian politics specializes in minoritizing certain populations in the name of the people, soil, history, tradition, etc. Majoitarianism uses these cultural attributes to create fissures that may have continued from the past and citizenship must combat these attempts. This, however, cannot be done simply by reminding people to be ‘good’ citizens but by ‘enforcing’ those that guarantee citizenship, unambiguously and unequivocally. As we shall delve into in detail in a later chapter, minorities that are hurt and victimized nearly always respond in the name of citizens. This was as true of the Sikhs who were attacked in 1984 as of the post Godhra victims of 2002. The other bitter truth is that people are not naturally democratic. As we have remarked there is this persistent ‘sociological truism’ that constantly threatens it and that often happens behind our backs. It really takes no time at all for democracies to cede territories to majoritarianism in the name of the people. Ethnic violence is let loose on such occasions: citizens are forgotten and in their place we have ‘the people’ with their fanatic commitment to a special history, to a particular territory and to exaggerated memories of victimhood and persecution. On this

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surcharged emotional terrain it is impossible to combat facts with beliefs which is why historians nearly always fail to win over ethnicists. We found this happening during the Babri Masjid episode when no matter what historical and empirical facts were brought up, traditional beliefs remained unimpressed. For both Ambedkar and Gandhi it was essential to create a narrative of fraternity which would give substance and body to the legal title of citizenship. Caste is, if anything, the ultimate divisive institution that Hindu culture has created, therefore, to use it to correct past injustices will only create new ones. To believe that the spirit of fraternity can be advanced by using instruments that deny fraternity is obviously an exercise that is either cynical or unthinking. It is true that caste today is not like what it was in the past as the poor have equal voting rights, but at its core, it is combative, hurtful and antagonistic. The caste order is not just about the ‘system’, but it also created powerful ‘identities’ of difference down the line. This latter aspect of this hierarchical order is often misunderstood, or not understood at all. Thus while the old caste system may not have survived, identities around it are doing quite well; much of that, in fact, is evident in contemporary politics. These cleavages inspire many politicians, but it is also true, as we shall see later, they do not guarantee success at the polls. There is a perceptible move away from a quick endorsement of such kinds of allegiance and we shall examine them soon when we discuss the limits of cleavage politics. It is never enough then to exult in nation-statehood. It is only in democracies where fraternity is centralized that the true benefits of citizenship come to light. Nation-states reach their highest form when they are governed by a liberal democratic constitution. They sink to their lowest when fired by zealots whose only aim is to recreate the past and delve into culture and tradition. In such cases, it is not at all surprising that these nation-states become either theocratic or fascist; elections in such dispensations are a farce that only legitimize the given. India is clearly different from most other emerging nation-states for it embraced liberal democracy from the start. For this we must be grateful to our founding figures, but we cannot stop there. Liberal democracy is a continuous struggle; it demands relentless vigilance; it cannot rest anywhere but must always strive to higher expressions

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From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

of citizenship. It is when we drop our guard and are pleased with all that we have and see around us that liberal democracy takes a hit. It is then that insidious tendencies towards identity politics, towards ethnic intolerance, and towards a neglect of civic services, all come to the forefront. This is why citizenship must remain India’s guiding principle even if that occasionally runs foul of popular sentiments. It is not easy to practice democracy because this is one social arrangement that makes no concession to prejudice. A leadership that observes such a mandate alone has the credentials to be called democratic. Others who pander to populist passions do not deserve such an accolade, though they might have won elections by landslide margins. In conclusion, we must be mindful of a certain sequence of events. First the ‘people’ got together and then decided to make a constitution. Once this task was completed, those who agreed to this document became ‘citizens’ and were tied to one another by a liberal, democratic law. This law, in turn, replaced the old bonds of blood, territory, historical hurt, community passions, and so on. Consequently, when we see ourselves in India today, it is not so much as people but as citizens. From now on, any application of the constitution makes sense only because it addresses all of us as ‘We, the citizens….’

2 From Nationalism to Citizenship Majority Concessions and Democratic Consensus

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here is a widespread belief that contemporary democracies make unreasonable demands on minorities to conform, while the majority community goes unscathed. What this point of view overlooks is that a ‘majority’ was never a given, or a pre-existing, fact in most democracies. In nearly every case it came into being when traditional cultural practices of diverse, even hostile, communities were tabooed, even outlawed, by the demands of citizenship. This is how, for all public purposes, they could now merge and form a majority. The Hindu majority in India, or the Christian majority in Europe and USA, came out of this process. The Hindus were a cluster of diverse sects, till the Constitution of Independent India welded them as one. Likewise, Christian majorities were formed in the west when disabilities against certain denominations were lifted. In both cases, the transition was far from easy as they met with opposition from traditional cultural virtuosos. Majorities are still under observation and have to constantly modify their ways with every fresh step that citizenship takes. Minorities are, therefore, not alone, even majorities have to abide by the decrees of citizenship. Once this is accepted, the reluctance among existing minorities to forego certain practices in the name of protecting their traditions can be overcome. This would also force majorities to remember that democratic pressure relieved them of some of the shackles of the past and the job is not quite done.

Citizenship and Majorities: A Misplaced Debate A disturbing feature of democracies today is the constant tussle between the so-called ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ cultures. Minority cultures claim

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that they have been ignored, side-lined, made irrelevant, in the public life of the state and society, by the majority. At every turn, it is argued, the minorities must conform to practices that suit the majority, and no quarter is given. What this point of view ignores is that in a democracy, the ‘majority’, such as it is, comes in to being, in a number of instances, after a series of very hotly contested negotiations. In other words, rarely do democracies begin with a ‘majority’ fully formed and in place. In fact, the first task in most cases is to make a majority and then give it a semblance of antiquity, though it is recently born. Successful democracies constantly strive towards higher degrees of majority consolidation, dissolving, as they go along, many cultural differences of the past. Contemporary majorities comprise several diverse, sometimes hostile, practices and beliefs that were reconciled by the imperatives of citizenship to form a larger, composite whole. The Hindu majority in India, or the Protestant, even Christian majority, in USA or Britain, was neither a given, nor built in a day. If, and when, they give the impression of always being there, that only speaks of the success of a particular democracy’s deliberate fabrication. This chapter aims to make this point and show how deliberate and calculating the task of majority making has actually been. While starting on this task, one cannot help but be surprised at how such an elementary, and even universal feature, of most democracies has been overlooked by so many. This is unfortunate for it encourages two kinds of opinions that make the further consolidation of citizenship difficult. First, the ‘majority’ communities of today labour under the impression that their culture and values were always democratically inclined, hence kudos to their tradition. On the obverse side, there is a supercilious attitude towards minority beliefs and practices for not being democratic by inclination. Second, this also misleads minorities into believing that they alone are being singled out and targeted, in the name of democracy. They are expected to give up aspects that are dear to their identity, while the majority stays unscathed. In all of this, what is frequently forgotten is that the ‘majority’ communities of today are of recent vintage. They came into being only recently after citizenship tabooed many cultural practices as undemocratic. It is this systemic denial that made

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differences between certain cultures irrelevant in the public sphere and, out of this process, a majority was born. Had this historical feature received the attention it deserved, many of the conceptual wars on majority-minority relationships, especially in democracies, need never have occurred. Erasure of this fact from memory is damaging on both sides. It makes actually existing majorities impatient with the anxiety current minorities go through when they are asked to adapt their traditions to the tenets of citizenship. The minorities, in turn, believe it is their democratic right to hold on to every aspect of their tradition for, in the name of citizenship, the majority actually intends to wipe them out. There is, therefore, a huge error on both sides, and democracy suffers as a consequence. This brakes democracy’s march as it allows the majority-minority duality to continue. Should not citizenship aim, as its final destination, to create ever larger majorities till the term itself become meaningless? Observe the Hindu and the Christian majorities of today. They have not given up all their cultural values and practices, but only those that obstruct democracy, and what a fight it has been wherever this has been accomplished. A careful look at the pre-history of ‘majorities’ in democracies will nearly always throw up the culture wars that citizenship waged. During this period, some of the cultures that merged to later become a ‘majority’ had even threatened secession from the nation-state (most prominently in the United States). In most democracies, it required both persuasion and executive authority to forge these once fractious and dissenting groups to become a majority. When the clock started ticking, at democracy’s start, there was no majority culture, as such, in place. Therefore, all cultures must conform to the demands of citizenship and let not the presence of the ‘majority’ of today deflect attention from this truth. The demands of citizenship do not course down a one-way street where only the minorities mind the rules while the ‘majority’ can cross where it pleases. It is easy to overlook the fact that in the making of citizenship both the existing ‘minorities’ and ‘majorities’ have to necessarily move away from their pristine beginnings. True, the most numerous community (very often not a majority on its own) should move first and give up, or alter, many of its previous practices to be in accord with citizenship. That is how, slowly, a ‘majority’ gets settled. What is more, as citizenship

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and democracy are never finished projects, what seemed done and dusted at one time, appears backward and uncouth in later periods. This is why, as we shall soon see, even the majority, make no mistake about that, is always under pressure to transform many of its practices that had earlier evaded the eye of citizenship. Citizenship forces all cultures to conform to a higher ethic, one that cannot be totally subsumed by heritage, no matter how precious. It is only after such an undertaking has been accomplished that a ‘majority’, as we know it today, comes into being. It is worth reiterating that no tradition, left to itself, can be a friend of democracy and inclusivity. If this sounds a little strange it is because habit has made us believe that all democracies are governed by institutions and inclinations that are determined by the dominant culture. This ignores the many vital steps that had already taken place and only attends to the end product. If we stay true to the logic of democracy then it is clear that there are more adjustments waiting in store for majorities to undertake, just as they had in the past. Likewise, the minorities too should be ready to be part of this ever growing majority. The resistances to this can be lessened across the board once all parties realize that citizenship leaves nobody, and no culture, untouched.

Enter Nationalism: From Diktat to Contingent Dominance In the pages to follow, we will try and show how the formation of a majority community, in all democracies, required a series of negotiations before it could come into being. Though there is a tendency to extol nationalism, we should actually position it as democracy’s pre-history and not as the sufficient condition for its emergence. Nationalisms, by themselves, do not naturally flower into democracies. For that to happen, many restrictions on, even outlawing of, several egregious existing cultural practices had to be institutionalized. As was mentioned earlier, only after we begin to pay attention to this phenomenon that the reluctance to cultural compromises for the cause of citizenship is overcome. This is because nothing of the past stays really untouched – not for the ‘minority’, and not for the ‘majority’ either. If one were to look at current democratic nation-states retrospectively, then the self-conscious efforts to cobble together a majority culture would become obvious.

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What is, however, surprising is that once this end is reached it radiates a false sense of unanimity blanking out the processes involved in coming this far. The earlier epochs of monarchy and nationalism obeyed vastly different logics. In feudal times, it was the court that determined which culture should be dominant. This period saw varieties of ‘diktat dominance’, though the privileged were numerically a minority. The ways of the kings and potentates dominated this period; their religion, language, tastes and aesthetics were supreme. The phase following it was one of nationalism and the society was now geared towards commerce. Not surprisingly, the dominant culture of these times was that of the community which was best positioned to take advantage of the new circumstances. ‘Contingent dominance’ may be said to characterize this epoch as much depended on historical conjunctures where disparate circumstances mix. A new aesthetics developed as did a form of governance where contracts, more than fealty, took over. At times, it is also true, that the language of the state changed from that of the court to one that was more prevalent in the market place. What contingent domination, however, shared with diktat domination was the acceptance that certain cultures have precedence over others, and the subaltern ones had better adjust. Nationalism was also the epoch when trade and industrial activity grew and these demanded a centralization of administration and a linguistic focus. Gone were the days of monarchies when the king was atop many concentric circles which sometimes overlapped but otherwise led their own lives. Nationalism was thus boosted by the commercial imperative and in this language played an important role, often aided by religion and physical force. The way these combined and their order of appearance may differ from context to context. Commerce was always a constant factor and it is this that gave the post monarchical period its special fillip. We can see all of that much more clearly now than when all of this had not really consolidated and taken shape. However, before the matter was settled, the period of emergent nationalism saw specific patriotisms in violent confrontations. In this connection, the post Hapsburg period and the conflict between the English and the Irish come readily to mind. For example, strife was rampant in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where squabbling cultures defining specific patriotisms were out in full force. Italy, it may be recalled, experienced

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all of this in a near pure form. Battles raged in the years 1861-1890, between the Sardinians versus the Bourbons versus the Sicilians versus the idea of Italy (Rich 1977: 198-99). When quiet eventually came, it did only after a certain culture gained prominence, though not always because of numerical superiority. The honours fell on that culture which was commercially most adept, but may have required military prowess to back it up. Consequently, in the first phase of nationalism, it was the language, practices and lifestyles of this community that were prominent. Just as the ruling culture of the monarchical court dominated social life earlier, the leaders of commerce exercised sway in the nationalist phase. As nationalisms overthrew monarchies, it was now no longer the feudal establishment that was economically relevant. Those that replaced it were the ones sponsored by business and commerce. Consequently, there was a felt need to come up with a supra-local cultural format, including, most importantly, language which would serve this drive (Hobsbawm 1987: 92). The format for this was neither pre-written, nor issued by diktat; it was an unpredictable ‘contingent’ outcome (even luck, for those who prospered). As no firm assertion can be made why one culture surged ahead of others in commerce and also in print, we must leave the matter at contingency’s door. Very often, the communities closest to the ruling elite of the earlier regime took advantage of the hiatus that nationalism created, but not always. By and large, with the passage of time, many such antagonistic moments were overcome. This resulted in longish periods, decades sometimes, when nothing really happened till citizenship and individual rights made their presence felt. This jolted nationalism out of its routine. One of the first tasks of this new age was to make a ‘majority’ culture. Rarely did self-censorship take the lead in this; it was, in most cases, initiated by universal laws. As we shall soon see, for a ‘majority’ to emerge, many cultures had to give up, or modify, several of their existing practices and values. Minority cultures actually raised their heads later asking for more room for expression, but this only after the majority community had already faced the storm. It is worth noting that till this majority culture arose, on the back of compromises and excisions, there was nothing called ‘minorities’. Over time, many sections of existing minorities were absorbed into the majority as barriers to the

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full participation of the former in the social and economic process were gradually dissolved. However, as humans are humans, at some point this process stopped, leaving several communities outside the majority stream. It is from here on that the majority-minority confrontations began to occupy a large part of democracy’s dialogue, including those sponsored by multiculturalism. As we find our way through these discussions, there is no better guide than to recall how extant majorities emerged in the post-nationalistic phase, and to press on with this task.

Monarchy to Nationalism: Culture as Power To be able to position this argument, a little background detail on the transitions from monarchical rule to nationalism and finally to democracy is necessary. At the risk of some repetition, this would bring out the dramatic change democracy initiated when it replaced cultural domination by majority acquiescence. Though the ruling culture under nationalism was different from that of the monarchical age (recall, from ‘diktat’ to ‘contingency’ domination), the very fact that there should be one was never really disputed. In the age of citizenship, however, this kind of dominance was seen as abhorrent. When nationalism was the governing credo, the unity of subjects against monarchy was the pre-eminent theme. It was urgent, then, to form a broad based front so that nationalism’s post-monarchical dreams could come true. Often the community that was most numerous emerged from this churn, but it was not enough to simply have numbers on one’s side. It was essential that it also have qualities of entrepreneurship and possess a language that was commercially accessible and in wide currency. In several cases such, as in France, England and Germany, those who were culturally close to, or linked with, the privileged of the earlier regime, began with a certain advantage. This was not a universal trend, however. In India, for example, when the Mughal Empire collapsed, those close to it sank as well, and a new commercial class rose to the top. To a significant extent, it was also this category of people who led India’s national movement too. With some variations, this could be the story of Italy as well. At any rate, there was a change of personnel and a new economic and political leadership emerged. This was clearly a phase of great turmoil,

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and certainly not painless. Notice, for example, the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, post Wold War I, that was already alluded to. Incidentally, the motto of this Empire at one time was: ‘Indivisible and Inseparable.’ How quaint this must have seemed in later years when all its major languages formed nation-states of their own. Look at the many examples of this today. We have such full-fledged states, like Hungary, Austria, Czech, Poland, Bosnia, and Rumania, that came out of the dissolution of this once powerful kingdom. That most of them were absorbed in the Soviet bloc gave their nationalisms a different character from those others that came to life outside it. However, as they did not follow the normal democratic route of creating a majority based on cultural modifications and excision by consensus, all hell broke loose in most of them when Soviet control ended. As long as the Austro-Hungarian Empire was in place, just as when the Russian led communist bloc was powerful, those within it endured cultural domination by ‘diktat’. The Hapsburg Empire, at will, undermined Hungarian culture and privileged German instead, and there was hardly a murmur. This is how Emperors wanted things to be and that is how they were done. It is for this reason, that when nationalism grew out of monarchies, the notion that one culture, among the many at hand, should become dominant was not disputed. Instead, efforts were made to create one, not out of royal patronage, for that was the declared enemy. A departure of this kind was necessary as, in most monarchies, the rulers were actually a minority and it was privilege that counted and the rest had to defer to the nobility. Nowhere then, in the original condition of modern nation-states, was there was just one single culture and language in a political territory (Walzer 1979: 25). As a general rule, monarchies were governed by a minority and court culture rarely respected the ways of the bazaar, or of commerce. There were Germans ruling over English speaking soil and Spaniards in German kingdoms, not to mention horsemen from Central Asia who rode into what is today’s India. Nationalism corrected this, but left the idea of a not to be disputed dominant (not majority, yet) cultural ethos intact. If in the past, the ways of the royalty determined all else, under nationalism it was the ways of the most numerous and culturally best endowed community that set the pace. The idea of majority and minority, as we know it, had not quite

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taken birth. Yet, those in possession of this cultural advantage were not a handful, as in a royal court. Their everyday lives were connected with those of the rude folk, as was their language. This made it seem right when they claimed tthey spoke for all. To earn the legitimacy to do just that a legacy had to be created with the help of myths so that the dominant culture could have a special position. What was needed then were traits that could be randomly fused to bring together an otherwise disparate crowd (ibid: 26; Anderson 1983). German romantics, as much as Hindu revivalist, gave their respective nationalism a historical colour by sheer strength of will power. They energetically overwhelmed facts to create a ‘majority myth’ that pretended to be timeless. For Herder, in Germany, blond, virile Teutons roared in untamed forests, freedom emanating from their every demeanour. For the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, India’s past, including, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, was dominated by Aryan Hindus. When it is argued, in school textbook fashion, that European nation-states were blessed from the beginning by linguistic and cultural homogeneity, obviously important factual details are left out. From the nationalistic perspective, a good myth is always more serviceable than a good history. Hence, nationalism needed to put in place a certain commonality. As there were no instant practices and cultural traits that allowed for this, it had to be established on the basis of a putative cultural tie, most often, imagined (Anderson 1983). During this phase of nation-state formation, for the principle of popular sovereignty was most important, with the accent on ‘popular’. In this we could trace a long intellectual tradition beginning from Jean Bodin to Henry Austin, that is, from the 16th century to the 19th century. Myth, more than history, was relevant in such circumstances and its lessons were quickly lapped up by nationalist enthusiasts, also known as ‘patriots’. All unpleasant details were censored so that the end result could be one in continuation with the glorious rulers of yore who made golden ages. It is not as if such renditions of the past were easily translated across levels and strata, but, over time, a kind of mentality came about that made the propagation of nationalism less contentious. Under these conditions it was best to assimilate if one’s culture and heritage did not form a good fit with the dominant patriotic theme.

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For example, the Jewish community, for protecting its own interests, did not think it wise to stand out and submitted, as quietly as possible, to becoming French or German. Their identification, on occasions, was so complete that many of them were considered full members of the upper crust. All of this became hard to believe once the Nazis captured power and changed the face of Europe. Forget about the well-known banking family of the Rothschilds, there were many other Jewish people, even in the arts, who achieved social distinctions well before citizenship had established itself. For example, Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, whose fame was wide in 19th century Germany, is unarguably among the first and finest of modern European German painters. Through his works he brought the cultural life of his Jewish community to the full view of his admirers, who came from different backgrounds. Unlike many other prominent members of the Judaic faith, he did not convert to Christianity in order to be acceptable, an option hardly ever entertained today. But those were the days of court culture from above. In France, of course, there was the famous impressionist, Camille Pissarro, also Jewish. He too elegantly captured the world of the people he lived with, which was also a commentary of the period he lived in. The Dreyfus incident in France, and, ofcourse, Nazism, demonstrated that not wanting to stand out did not mean that prejudices that made you stand out had disappeared. Obviously, the call of citizenship was still muffled and unclear. However, well before democracy proper, it was clear, not just to the Jewish community (where the problem was magnified) but to other gentiles as well, that certain skills mattered. Therefore, fluency in French, English or German, and not just in the native dialect, increased one’s chances of economic prosperity (see Hobsbawm 1987; Anderson 1983). Integration was obviously the best strategy which is why, Bruno Bauer advocated just this in his famous pamphlet, ‘The Jewish Question,’ to which Karl Marx wrote his rebuttal in, ‘On the Jewish Question.’ As the monarchical past was still snapping at the heels of newly emergent nation-states, the tendency to have the ruling community call the shots was left uncontested. It was no longer ‘diktat domination’, but, as was mentioned, commerce powered ‘contingent domination’. This cultural dispensation gradually hardened into patriotism once it could be identified with territory. The old tendency to bludgeon peoples into

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submission, as was noticed even in the 16th century by Hugo Grotius, was now outmoded. This was principally because the legitimacy nationalism sought required popular participation. Commerce, after all, cannot be conducted by brute power, or, at least, that was not the best way of going about it. Acculturation, via education, was certainly a preferred option. Education played a principal role in helping nationalists get to a clearing from where the next steps could be plotted. Curricula in Scottish and Welsh schools followed the English model rather closely. In France, particularly with the Third Republic, children were educated uniformly in one language with a single curriculum. This is what made the French school teacher the face of the Third Republic. Austria and Germany actually predate the Third Republic in their advocacy of school education in a single language, in this case, German. Put together, this imperative blunted the edge of linguistic diversity and, over time, had a similar effect on many cultural practices too. Today, it appears almost natural that in certain nation-states communication should take place freely through the written and spoken word, but this was not always so (Anderson 1983). At the same time, it would be hazardous to spell out a single, privileged route by which language and nation-statehood were linked. Empirical correctness would not allow that as it would mean the compression of diverse tendencies into a tight box. For one, even when a certain language receives primacy in commercial matters, it is not as if the other languages die out or remain unused. What also helped nationalism, time and again, was the threat of foreign invasions. This is why Ernest Renan said in his 1892 address in the Sorbonne, that a ‘collective grief ’ could also help in the consolidation of nation-states (http://www.nationalismproject. org/what/renan.htm; accessed on January 2, 2016). In short, a number of possibilities exist to nation-statehood and there is really no yellow brick road to it. When English won over Welsh or French over Breton or Occitan, it was primarily because, at the start, English and French, respectively, triumphed for a number of quite different reasons. It was commerce at some places, as in England; or, as in France and Germany, the court decreed which language would be preeminent. The end result is that only one language, among many, in a geographical territory became

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the primary medium of communication, especially in the written form. In addition, it has also been found that these languages flourished in those specific geographies within a nation that had a commercial buzz and were economically dominant. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule and, in this, India is a clear example. Even though over a dozen major languages flourish here, attempts were made soon after Independence in 1947 to declare Hindi as the national language. When that failed, it was re-nominated, but this time as the official language, and that is how it figures in the Constitution. The need to be able to communicate across the many linguistic regions for economic reasons was the motivating force behind this. So strong was this impulse, that while Hindi was declared the official language, English still found a place as the ‘second’ official language. However, as primacy was given to Hindi in the traditional Devnagari script, it satisfied deep nationalist sentiments in India for there was now a close linkage with Sanskrit. Even so, this passage was dogged by major controversies before it was finally accepted. This cultural domination in the age of nationalism was not seriously objected to because those who were out of it were excluded in more ways than just language. They were unable to access the other technological and commercial advantages that the breakdown of serfdom had opened for them, and for which they had fought so hard (Hobsbawm 1987: 52). Thus, while one obstacle had been cleared, other visions came to light, but those could be approached best through the written word. This is probably why the Gaelic Welsh, proud as their past had made them, nevertheless, agreed to a subjugated status in the United Kingdom. In other cases there were indeed ‘subversive minorities’ (Hobsbawm 1987: 90) that had to be put in their place.

Enter Citizenship: Consensus Domination It is only much later that some of these cultures raised their heads again, but that was well after nation-states had consolidated themselves and when they had moved over to recognizing ‘citizens’ and not just ‘patriots’. This obviously meant that that the ground rules for governance had to undergo yet another shift. Thus, while a majority culture slowly rose to prominence, it happened only after a series of negotiations, within

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cultures and between them. Hence, this phase of cultural dominance is one of ‘consensus’. As this feature is often elided over it gives the impression that there was an unproblematic continuity between nationalism and democracy. Very rarely was this change marked by upheavals of the kind that followed the demise of the Mughal or the Hapsburg Empires. But under these placid waters, there were storms brewing and great waves of transformations were on their way. As democracy grew so did the idea of citizenship and this inaugurated an identity very different from, often contradictory to, that sponsored by patriotism. Democracy also sought cultural domination, but it loaded the dices differently from the way they were in both monarchic feudalisms and nationalisms. The transition was by no means sudden, decisive and smoothly established. Like all events in history, the path had its ups and downs and so often our view in hindsight keeps out uncomfortable facts. It is not as if this was the case everywhere, but, as in Western Europe and the USA, the strongest bastions of democracy today, the prevalent dominant cultures had to give in too. It is this submission to the cause of citizenship, demanding a series of concessions, which together made for the emergence of a ‘majority’ in many countries. Till democracy appeared, the ethic of being equal in fundamental ways was not really on the agenda. This required a steady hand to help those who had been disprivileged for long, but also a common cultural core from where citizenship friendly legal statutes could emanate. For this to happen, all sides had to give and make concessions. In fact, for best results, it is advisable that the more dominant communities (i.e., those which appeared in the period of nationalism) be the first off the block. Over a long period, these concessions became routine and went unnoticed, giving the impression that the majority that this process created was always there. The truth is that in all democracies for a majority current to grow it requires many contributing streams to be channelled, sometimes dammed. Over time, one tends to forget these deliberate acts at majority making. This is unfortunate for it then conveys the impression, particularly to later generations, that majority cultures arose fully formed, unmolested from the start. The flip side of this view then concludes that it is only the minorities who are being cornered and forced to adjust to majority

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pressure. The reality is that majority bending was under way well before the visible minorities and others were recognized. It is important that this reality be noticed and revived because that might provide a useful handle in reconciling identity politics of today with citizenship. It is not just India, but across the world the tension between citizenship and identity is palpable. This has often led to doubting the fairness quotient in democracies. While some argue that democracy must be rule bound and adhere to norms that are universalistic without yielding territory to particularistic pressures, others believe that cultural practices come first. The only way to resolve this contretemps in favour of the first position is to assert that citizenship is the sole identity that counts. Yes, there are others who dispute this position because they believe that people are, primarily, cultural vessels. To ask them to empty themselves of their contents, for the sake of a colourless, uniform, normative tag, viz., citizenship, violates the essence of being human. In this connection, the term ‘unencumbered’ individual (MacIntyre 1981; Sandel 1982) is used to designate an impossible fact of being devoid of a cultural self. But this is to misunderstand citizenship in the belief that it can only exist if all aspects of culture and tradition are drained out. This is unfair for a complete annihilation of all pre-existing cultural practices is not on the agenda, and never was. Only those sections that offend citizenship are excised; the rest can continue without restraint. That everybody comes with a specific culture, therefore, in a fundamental sense, we are all carriers of it, is an undeniable fact of our being. Nor is it that one can actually choose to be culture free, that option is actually not open to any human being. Cultures are incommensurable wholes and it is never an easy task to designate one as being intrinsically closer to democratic norms than the other. Further, as cultures, they all generate equal passion; therefore, when they are curbed for a larger cause, it will always take a lot of doing. It is rather easy to slip into the false belief that democracy and citizenship face rocky times only when there is a presence of multiple religious beliefs, languages and cultural practices. It is also incorrect to assume that the road is smooth and easy when instead the society is characterized by cultural homogeneity (see van Parjis 2004:380; Hero 1998). In this connection, a little mind game would help. Imagine a

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single culture, a monochromatic society, where there is unanimity in all walks of life. Even in this hypothetical world, the establishment of democracy would need sustained pressure as homogeneity does not imply instant accord with democracy and citizenship. What seems uniform and unruffled from the outside may carry many flaws within, especially those of internal discrimination against women, children and the handicapped. It is only when we view through the citizenship lens do these facts come alive. Let us then not despair at the presence of multiple cultures when charting democracy’s course. What democracy does is to reduce the multiple discordances in public life to consolidate citizenship. It does this, as we soon illustrate, by making certain forms of discrimination illegal and unacceptable. The telos of democracy is the conferment of equality of status without making all of us robot-like identical to one another (Marshall 1950/1990). This allows every other aspect of cultures to thrive except for those that run foul of democracy’s charter. Those have to be moderated, dismissed too, even if they belong to the cultural repertoire of the commercially, or numerically, dominant communities. When this happens, we can clearly see nationalism step back and constitutional, liberal democracy take over. Finally, majority making is not undertaken in the spirit of ‘civil altruism’ (Ignatieff 1991: 34), but one that is encouraged for the well-being of all. Imagine USA still prohibiting Jews from entering Harvard University, or setting up hurdles against their admission to prestigious American colleges. Till the 1920s, a variety of restrictions were in place to discourage bright Jewish students from entering upper class universities and educational establishments (see Sacks 1988). As the intention was to exclude them from these institutions, authorities hoped to stem Jewish enrolment by including, as qualifiers, chapel attendance and parents’ background. When these were not enough, they actually imposed upper limit quotas for Jews, so that their numbers would not exceed what was considered tolerable. Fortunately, for America, these unfair anti-Semitic practices were lifted after World War II (see Sacks 1988 for more details), allowing it to benefit from the enormous talent among the ‘Jewish folks’. From the sciences to the arts and even in the field of sports, there are Jewish stars everywhere in the United States – so much for ‘civil altruism’.

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Further, with the advent of democracy, those who had submitted earlier, that is, in the age of monarchies and nationalisms, do not suffer persecution quietly any longer. This gives the impression that cultures have suddenly multiplied. This is far from true for every major country has always had more than one culture actively in residence. To lend further credence, let us examine what some older and more established democracies had to undergo when project citizenship was inaugurated in their countries. We need to go back in time, at least to the 18th and 19th centuries, so that we get a clearer idea of how ‘majorities’ were actually made in some of the long running democracies of today. Britain would be a good starting point for she is widely acknowledged to be the Mother of all democracies. In contemporary times it might seem hard to believe that Quakers, Presbyterians, Methodists and Puritans were once considered ‘dissenters’ by the British throne. Consequently, as a form of punishment, they were all denied several government offices. Neither could they enrol in Oxford or earn degrees in Cambridge but were, nevertheless, forced to pay taxes to the Anglican Church. Even marriages of dissenters had to be presided over by Anglican Bishops, or they would not be recognized. These restrictions sound obnoxious to current sensibilities, yet the Test Act of 1673, which made many of these restrictions legal, was repealed around two hundred years later. In 1850, Oxford University dropped its disqualification of dissenters and the Burial Act of 1880 allowed dissenters to perform the last rites according to their own traditions. In fact, as late as the 1902 Education Act, only Anglican schools were recognized and not the ones run by other Christian denominations. Most recently, that is in 2013, the Succession to Crown Act underwent a major amendment and now allows Britain’s Constitutional monarch to marry a Catholic. Some prejudices were so deep that they took centuries to be overturned by law as nationalism had let them survive. Today, democracy has so righted itself in Britain that the past, even the recent past, replete with uncomfortable facts, is calmly forgotten. For example, the emergence of ‘free churches’ in today’s Britain, that is, those independent of state control, could not have been imagined a few decades ago. It was not just non-Protestants Christians who were minoritized (remember the 1780 massacre of Catholics) but even the dissenting Protestant ones were persecuted. Their inclusion, and self-

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identification, today as members of the Protestant majority in UK is not one which has an ancient, time-worn tradition behind it. Decades of political manoeuvring by Whigs and Liberals were needed for this to eventually happen. In France, the Third Republic, after 1870, came down heavily on the hitherto unchallenged Catholic Church. Religious heads no longer held the kind of authority they exercised even after the French Revolution, nearly a century ago. In 1905, matters came to a head when France set out to put in place its version of secularism, or laicite, which finally ended the domination of the Catholic hierarchy. This initiative was led by Emile Combes and it made Pope Pius X very furious; in fact, he addressed his followers in France to overthrow their ‘godless government’. That did not happen, but neither did this make the French irreligious or anti-Catholic. All it meant was that those aspects of their cultural practice that were inimical and hurtful to citizenship had to be removed, while the rest continued to survive. From 1905 on, no symbols of Christianity, the Holy Cross in particular, could be worn by any official, including government school teachers. Nor could these be exhibited in any state building. In addition, public officials were prohibited from addressing religious gatherings or appearing there as patrons. In fact, the command of temporal power over religion in France is really quite extraordinary. It is the only democracy where the state can nominate Catholic Bishops as it does in the churches of Metz and Strasbourg. Interestingly, the 1891 Papal Rerum Novarum made trade union activism acceptable after decades of opposing working class agitation. This impacted the entire Catholic ecumenical order. The ecclesiastical authority realized that if it persisted with its traditional position it would lose its flock for good. The reverberations of this were not only felt in Europe, but in distant Quebec as well where, subsequently, the Catholic Confederation of Labour emerged. In America, majority power was constantly in flux as it was a country of migrants and hence had a variegated population. Till as late as 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prevented Blacks from being ordained to priesthood. In earlier centuries, support for slavery came from many Protestant groups which the abolitionists had to contend against in their long struggle against this hated institution.

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Racial prejudices were so rampant that even a Pennsylvania judge could call for the ‘extermination’ of ‘animals, vulgarly called Indians’ (Lee 1987). A statement such as this makes even Andrew Jackson’s view that slavery was God’s will (Ellis 2002: 85) appear mild. Gay rights were unheard of in USA for a very long time and, even today, gay marriages are allowed in just a few states in that country. It was only in 2003 that the American Episcopal Church permitted an openly bi-sexual bishop to function. The Church of England and the American Baptist Church were consistently against abortion, as were many other mainstream religious groups in America. Along came the Roe vs. Wade judgement of 1973 that now made abortion legal and gave planned-parenthood a much needed boost. An earlier landmark judgment in the Brown versus Department of Education of Topeka in 1954 ruled against segregation of schools. This was opposed by many dominant white, Christian organizations and churches, but they had to eventually submit. India began its democratic career with Independence in 1947. This transition was specifically marked when its Constitution came into effect in 1950, which is, by all accounts, a remarkable document. That a traditional, economically backward, ex-colonised country could come up with a constitution as forward and accomplished as this would normally have been hard to imagine. Fortunately, its founding figures were aware of their enormous responsibility and took full advantage of being late comers by absorbing lessons from the experience of other countries. While in Britain, Chartists and Suffragettes had to fight for universal franchise for decades, actually over a century, but the Indian Constitution decreed that from the start. In addition, what it also did, by a supreme stroke of the pen, was to abolish caste prejudices from public life. India did not stop there, but later laws spelt out in great detail the punishments reserved for casteist behaviour and slurs against those who were once considered ‘untouchables’. It also took on Hindu practices that related to marriage and succession and created a single law that replaced many sectional, sectarian and tribal practices. This how the Hindu majority was established, enlarged and consolidated. The concept of ‘Hindus’ included Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists and created uniformity among these communities in matters of succession,

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inheritance, maintenance and property. Prior to this there were different inheritance laws, most notably the Dayabhaga in eastern India, and the Mitakshara in most of the remaining parts of the sub-continent, as well as male primogeniture in parts of Punjab. Over and above these, there was the Mayukha system that prevailed in western regions of India, including Konkan and Gujarat. Then there was the specific form of inheritance among the matrilineal Nayars of Kerala. Besides, large tracts of Tribal India had their own inheritance customs, most of which did not give any property rights to women. Let us not also overlook the vast implications that exist in the differences between cross-cousin marriages, specific to the Dravidian system of kinship, and ‘kanyadaan’, of the north. The Hindu Succession Act, the Hindu Marriage Act, Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act became law in a flurry of activity between 1955 and 1956. Among other things, these measures prohibited Hindus from practicing polygamy and also gave economic rights to women. It was difficult to get these measures through Parliament and it took several years of wrangling as the opposition to it came from quarters that claimed to uphold Hindu tradition. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, had to break up the original proposal into different Acts to fragment dissensions of Hindu activists, some of them in government. In fact, B.R. Ambedkar, the principal architect of the Indian Constitution, resigned in disgust as this bill could not be passed as a comprehensive whole in the first round. Eventually, it worked out to the satisfaction of Nehru and other secularists in Parliament, but it was such a mammoth task. In spite of the opposition against this intervention by the Hindu right at that time, today, seventy years later, there are little signs of this resentment. Nobody in the current political scenario stands up to justify the Hindu right to polygamy on grounds that marriage for them is not a contract but a sacrament. Very recently, two judgments also aided in further undermining some of the patriarchal elements in Hindu practice. In 2015, the Delhi High Court ruled that a single woman need not disclose the name of the father of her child and yet be eligible to be its guardian. This significantly amended the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act because, till then, only the father was recognized as the natural guardian of a minor.

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In 2016, Delhi High Court pronounced another landmark judgment amending the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) law to allow women to be ‘karta’, or head of the HUF. This is a significant step for it clearly gives women greater economic rights in family property. Also, in 2005, a new law came into force that allowed Hindu women to inherit agricultural property even though, as reports confirm, this is hardly ever visible on the ground (http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/03/02/theright-to-inherot-isnt-woking-for-indian-womwn-says-u-n-study/). Be that as it may, a beginning has been made on a variety of fronts; there are now legal strictures against patriarchy and that significantly constrains chunks of traditional Hindu practice. It is now a matter of implementation so that Hindu women can truly enjoy the rights that the laws grant them. The law can only go thus far, after that, enforcement agencies ought to take over and, equally important, people’s attitudes must change. There is scope for optimism on this matter. The Hindu personal legal code, which was scarcely sensitive to women’s rights, has had to make significant concessions under pressure. As we have just seen, under traditional Hindu law, Hindu women faced a number of disabilities, particularly in relation to property. On this count, it must be acknowledged that traditional Christian and Muslim laws were much more even handed in their dispensation, though far from being dismissive of patriarchy. Unfortunately, the Constitution left the Muslim Personal Law untouched which, sadly, continues to sanction unacceptable practices such as polygamy and triple talaq. The Portuguese Civil Procedure, while being quite advanced in certain areas, applies only to those who married the Catholic way in Church. Only when that condition is met will women inherit 50% of the property, but not otherwise. As far as the Hindus are concerned, there are several outstanding issues, even in the legal domain. For example, the majority community has imposed its taboo against beef eating on the rest. Hindu prejudices have also inhibited the recognition of marital rape. The grounds given for this resemble those that were offered 70 years ago when Hindu sectarians tried to scuttle the Hindu Code Bill that banned polygamy and gave rights to women. Once again, they brought out the old fear that Hindu marriage and family life would be hurt should marital rape

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is made a crime. Even today, it is not clear if a married daughter has a right to shelter in her parents’ home, or only gets it if deserted, divorced or widowed. We still hold on to declaring homosexuality as illegal and unnatural and justify it on grounds of Hindu culture. True, India has made major advances in containing several mainstream Hindu practices that flagrantly violate the templates of citizenship, but, as has just been mentioned, implementation is the key. The more rigorously these laws are put in place, the more enduring will be their impact on communities other than the Hindus. This will certainly aid in a quicker, and consensual acceptance of the Uniform Civil Code that was a promised item in the Constitution’s Directive Principles. The job, therefore, is far from done.

Conclusion: Making a Majority All of these inhibitions on tradition in every democratic society were necessitated because citizenship demanded them. As T.H. Marshall (1950/2009) correctly pronounced, citizenship confers an equality of status upon which, later, structures of inequality may be built. In this process, as will have been noticed, restrictions placed on traditional laws, customs and practices also helped in the making of a majority, but it was a majority of citizens. Hindus in India and Christians in the west were quite divided internally till democracy actually intervened to create a majority. There was no majority, readymade, as it were, but was crafted over a period of time through the deliberate intervention of laws that were informed by the ethos of citizenship. Doubtless, had these laws not intervened, advanced western democracies would have been a ragtag combine of different warring Christian denominations. In India too, the Constitution imposed a certain sameness on all Hindu sects in a large number of spheres, and even included the Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists within this category. We have certainly come a long distance, but a greater majority awaits us when we are all citizens, as Marshall defined the term. Thus, while some may conclude that modern states are built around the cultural norms of the dominant community they overlook the many obstacles on the way. There were negotiations, arbitrations, voluntary concessions, and even executive orders from the top, which combined in different

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ways in different societies to bring about this result. This is how a ‘majority’ came to be declared. The transition that was effected from the many plurals to a singular is obscured because the past is hard to recall when the present seems so convincing. It is true, the majority, once it has come into being, secretes an aura of confidence and hauteur that belies its troublesome origins. That is, in a significant way, a positive outcome because it denotes a satisfying culmination of a difficult process. On the other hand, a lack of awareness of this history gives rise to the impression that culture is a heavy baggage that only minorities carry. Such a view is often put forward in a protective fashion, as in the works of Kymlicka (Kymlicka 1989) to demonstrate the many choices open to individuals in a democracy. This is a persuasive way of advocating multiculturalism, but it overlooks the fact that unless these cultural alternatives are tempered by the norms of citizenship, it just will not work. There would be many contradictory takes on what is the right thing to do with respect to marriage, inheritance, maintenance and adoption, not to mention issues relating to sexual orientation. Our argument also contends against the position, executed most prominently by Charles Taylor (1995), that the community is always prior to the individual. The relationship between the individual and the community is nowhere as straightforward, not even in so-called ‘simpler’ societies where there is greater class equality. Anthropologists will give numerous examples of how people take cultural shortcuts, even alter customs and traditions, to suit their purpose. It still remains true that cultures have never been seriously, and consciously, trimmed in pre-democracies and traditions were never taken head on. Democracy, and its attendant, citizenship, made that happen and it is only then that a majority culture grew. Monarchies, as we saw, leveraged court culture to dominance and, in the age of nationalism, the community that was lucky enough to have the best commercial connections, usually came on top. Hence, the context of our discussion should be clear; the emphasis here is on making a democratic culture, with citizens in the forefront. This assignment does not happen spontaneously, but requires selfconscious and far sighted democrats to initiate such undertakings. It is an act of leadership, of assiduous application, done with the full knowledge that something new is being crafted. It is dedication of this

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kind that has brought about a ‘majority’, as we know it, in all established democracies. The direction of democracy, needless to say, should pull us inexorably towards dissolving majority and minority consciousnesses and proclaiming a single citizenship instead (Barry 2001: 37). This is the grand majority that still awaits us. To think otherwise, would be to undermine the promises of the future.

3 Planning for the Poor Limits of Targeted Approach

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n an economically underdeveloped country there is always the temptation to target policies specifically towards the poor. This approach appears unimpeachable for who can doubt that it is important to save millions from poverty and quickly. Unfortunately, such an approach does not really solve the problem though it keeps the poor alive, perhaps in a better condition, but still in a clearly depressed condition. Instead, it is much better to plan state level interventions that take the whole society into consideration and not just the poor. This ensures greater durability to these programmes, as well as makes them less prone to corruption. As the policies now have a universal import across classes they are more sensitive to matters of citizenship. Doubtless, it is easier to think of targeted populations but, experience has shown that, there is much less accountability in them even though they please populist sentiments. Surely, democracies are made by the ‘people’ is not being contested. But the fact that these ‘people’ then make a historic transition and become ‘citizens’, after a liberal constitution is in place, is not appreciated enough. From the very beginning of this move, it needed leaders to convince the people that citizenship was more important if the unity among them is to continue. As Walt Whitman had once remarked: ‘Produce great men and the rest will follow.’ As we just found, several political-ideological distortions occur when we fail to separate between being a people (as in a nation) and being a citizen (as in a liberal constitution). ) While this aspect often attracts heated attention, the distortions that emerge at the policy-

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planning level when citizens are fragmented into targeted groups, such as the poor, escape notice. Such state level interventions are distractingly unproductive, unless they are designed to bring the target groups in line with the rest. The initial idea behind Reservations for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) began with this aim, but degenerated in later years to become a source of patronage. The many anti-poverty programmes that have come and gone, or have remained and morphed, are probably the starkest examples of how the unifying concerns of citizenship have been compromised The formal intention in all cases was rather noble. Who in a democracy can ever object to lifting the economically poor (or even certain castes)? Those who devise these schemes are probably crafting them with utmost sincerity. Yet, experience has shown that such policies fail to deliver even though they have had state support for decades. In our view, the reason is largely because such policies were not aimed at citizens but at sequestered groups who are treated patronizingly as beneficiaries.

Caste Based Reservations We need to turn to the issue of caste based Reservation system. This is indeed a very contentious matter and has generated a lot of emotions on all sides. Just for this reason, it is time that this receives a dispassionate, yet sympathetic, analysis. Our intention here is to show that the Reservation System in India was never meant for poverty alleviation but to enhance citizenship. The Constitution of Independent India (established in 1950) enabled the Reservation policy to become law, not for reasons of ending poverty, but rather to enhance citizenship. Even though this provision, like the many anti-poverty measures, as we shall soon see, also had a target group in mind, yet its goal was quite different. This system was aimed specifically to uplift SCs and STs, but there is a major difference from those other schemes that also have certain designated categories in the cross hairs. A little background would help. The ex-Untouchables (now known as Scheduled Caste, or SCs) suffered centuries of discrimination and were forced to live a brutalized existence. Naturally, no democracy

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could open its account and not take this history on board. Likewise, tribal communities (now known as Scheduled Tribes, or STs) too deserved assistance for they had been hitherto confined to remote, inhospitable locations. The SCs and STs obviously needed a helping hand if they were to act as citizens and benefit from democracy’s promise of equal opportunities. The SCs and STs were not only wretchedly poor, but had been kept away from acquiring any socially valuable asset and, in real terms, they were asset less. Obviously, their human potential was never tapped and a lot of talent in them was never discovered. This is quite like what Thomas Gray philosophized in the Elegy Written in the Country Churchyard: Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air.

It is to tap these hidden potentials that could benefit society as a whole that gave India’s Reservation programme its foundational rationale Accordingly, it was decided that some government jobs and seats in public educational institutions be ‘reserved’ for them. As SCs and STs comprise roughly 15% and 7.5% of the population respectively, a proportionate number of government jobs and seats in state-run universities were set aside for them (Galanter 1984). It is this factor of ‘quotas’ that separates India’s Reservation policy from Affirmative Action. Nevertheless, this is a delicate operation. Care must be taken so that it is not captured by vested interests, but instead consistently fights prejudice, thus enlarging the common pool of citizens. At the same time, we must not forget, much like Affirmative Action, Reservations were not meant to remove poverty; there are separate programmes for that. Reservations were framed to give the SCs and STs a measure of respectability so that, in the fullness of time, they would overcome their initial disadvantages and function as full citizens. The founding figures of the Constitution hoped this provision would finally extirpate the caste system, and the ancient prejudices that supported it, from public life. Once sufficient numbers of SCs and STs were able to gain access to jobs in the public sector,

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Reservations were meant to be pulled back. This policy was intrinsically not redistributive, but rather one meant to enhance citizenship and bring about an equality of opportunity. T.H. Marshall, who we have already referred to, and John Rawls, would certainly agree with this proposition (Rawls 1971). Unfortunately, political laziness and opportunism worked in tandem to turn Reservations into something else. Very often it is misinterpreted as yet another anti-poverty exercise and there is a reluctance to even subject this programme to the slightest scrutiny. This has a populist ring about it and no politician has so far risen to defend the original intention of the Constitution on this matter. Today the Reservation system is slowly turning into an ersatz antipoverty programme, except that some of its beneficiaries are no longer poor. This is why it often appears as if this has become a variant of redistribution and subsidies initiatives. In 1991 another form of Reservations was introduced which further consolidated this drift. This add-on Reservations were not meant for the SCs and STs, but for the politically powerful rural communities who wanted urban jobs and longed for an urban presence. Consequently, a number of ‘rural’ castes banded together, even if they internally despised one another, to campaign as Other Backward Classes (or, OBCs). In this case it was not so much about equality of opportunities but equality of results and neither Marshall nor Rawls would have seen it with favour (see Gupta 2005a). Incidentally, the word ‘class’ in OBC was converted by stealth to stand for ‘caste’ in routine political discourse and action. What we have as the end result is a complete travesty of the Reservation system. Unlike the original which was meant for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, those included in the OBC category now are neither asset less nor powerless. In fact, it has become a sign of political clout to muscle a caste into the OBC category. Sadly, the reservation system which began with the promise of equalizing opportunities is now all about equalizing results. Vested interests have solidified around this provision and are happily and adroitly gaming the system. May the most powerful caste win! This is how a good idea went wrong, very wrong, but more of that in a little while.

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Forget the Poor The best way to fight poverty is to forget the poor and not plan for them. Experience from today’s developed world teaches us that the poor are best served when the delivery of public goods, at quality levels, is designed to benefit all classes. In plain words: no targeted policies, only universal ones; not sections of population/people but citizens. If one only aims at the poor, planners and those who can make a difference to a society’s outcome are not quite as committed. No matter what they might publicly profess, as these measures will not affect their lives, they have no real meaning for them. As a result, targeted approaches attract corrupt officials and very little is actually delivered on the ground. This is why it is important not to be solely attentive to how much money is being spent on public goods; the emphasis must rather be on delivery. In place of targeted policies we must think instead of citizen directed ones. These will have a universal quality about them and will impact all equally. The advantages of this approach are clearly visible. Think, for example, of the benefits that have come to western democracies as a result of universal health, education, and creation of public spaces in civic life. When such proposals are made in India, the usual answer is that there are no resources to fund them, as if these policies are luxuries that only the rich can afford. Though this sounds like a legitimate excuse, a closer look will tell us how unconvincing it actually is. When the growth rate is at about 8%, there is a lot of money around. It is just that the political will in India does not incline towards the universal delivery of public goods at quality levels. Nor is there adequate pressure put on the system by the elite of the country. They too believe that such universal delivery of public goods is a luxury India cannot afford. This does not worry them too much as they can access private dispensers of health and education, but they do not know what they are missing. When public hospitals serve up bad medicine, it takes little for the private sector to trump it. This is why the overall quality of health and education in India, both public and private, is so unsatisfactory. Further, money is not the issue and never was. Once again, we can learn from Europe and America. Britain was not rich when a comprehensive National Health Service was introduced there. In fact, when this scheme was implemented, Britain was at its poorest ever

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in recent history. It had come out bleeding and hungry after World War II and could not even hang on to India. Sweden began its famous career as the model social welfare state in 1932 when it was facing acute food shortages. Remember, Sweden was not always the rich and clean country it is today (Rothstein 2010). South Korea had a large illiterate population in 1953, but with universal delivery of education almost 93% of its people are literate today. Canada’s social spending also went up dramatically between 1930 and 1950. In the Basque region of Spain, universal delivery of public goods was promoted energetically after Franco’s death in 1980. This part of Spain was one of the poorest regions in the country then; it is the richest now. Even in terms of money invested in social welfare, India’s performance is very poor. If successive governments have not been mauled on this issue it is because public goods have been easily equated with the public sector in the popular mind. As state enterprises have a well-deserved poor reputation in India, it is easy to elide over the need for quality level, universal delivery of public goods. At the same time, there is nothing inevitable about the poor quality of state level services. Sweden and Denmark allocate over 30% of their GDP to public goods delivery but that has not made the administrations in these countries inefficient. In comparison, the United States spends as much 17% of its GDP on such services and is rightly pilloried by Europeans for being the most niggardly on this matter. In comparison, look at India. We should not be pointing fingers at any one for our spending on health is less than 1% of our GDP and the expenditure on education around 3%. Very recently, the Government of India has expressed the intention of raising its health expenditure to 2.5% of its GDP. This is a welcome move, though the amount designated is still very low. Where clarity is needed is on when this intervention is to take effect on a national scale. According to a Times of India report there is further reason to worry as it ‘is said that against the projected demand of Rs 34,316 crore for 2017-18 under the NHM (National Health Mission-DG),the allocation in the 2017-18 budget is only Rs 26,692 crore leaving a shortfall of Rs 7,625 crore’ (Times of India, 21 March 2017). That there is no pressure to increase the resource allocation to public goods is because we are not thinking in terms of delivering them universally at quality levels. As long as we target the poor in

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our development projects we might succeed in keeping the poor alive, the economy growing, but we will still be a long way from being a developed country. What puzzles most observers about India is how can there be such grinding poverty though the poor vote in impressive numbers in every election? Why can’t the majority of the poor vote the bad people out and get the good ones in. As numbers count in a democracy, the sheer numerical preponderance of the poor should make a difference. Very often people say that our democracy is in crisis and they worry about it, even lament about it. The question they should ask themselves: ‘when was democracy ever not in crisis?’ In fact because democracy has always been in crisis that democracy has grown and evolved. So, as far as I am concerned, ‘crisis’ is a good thing and can have very positive outcomes. As social scientists we can only acknowledge that our disciplines have grown over the past century, and more, precisely, because we engaged with crises at different junctures. If sociologists, economists and political scientists did not wager their disciplines on democracy’s many crises, none of their knowledge streams would have ever filled and flowed. Society, and least of all politics, is not arithmetic. It is not just about numbers. The choices we make at election time parallel our consumer behaviour in the market place. If monopolists use advertising to raise the entry price into the market, politicians do the same by keeping out those who can neither use nor ride violence. If monopoly practices rule out our dream car, the price for entering politics effectively rules out our dream candidate. This in turn encourages patronage based politics where things get done to loyal and lucky clients, but only if the benefactor looks kindly at them. Universal norms can be set aside with the promise of quick delivery. The poor need urgent help and will line up behind any scheme that holds out the hope of instant relief. They cannot wait for the revolution to come, or for files to be bureaucratically pursued. Under such circumstances it would appear that the best policy would be one that targets the poor with a range of subsidies and specially designed schemes. As patrons can make a difference here, it is always people with such credentials that have an advantage over others in elections. The rest have, at any rate, been priced out of the political market place.

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The poor, therefore, really do not deserve the leaders they get, and nor do most of us. Under these conditions, the poor would hardly move up the ladder in quick time, some would, of course, but their conditions would still be unenviable. What we also realize from the above discussion is that growth does not necessarily lead to development. This brings us back to where we started from. Public policy in any democracy must first respect the citizen. This does not come easy in poor countries because there is such a vast gulf, in every possible dimension, between those who make the rules and those who have to abide by them. The middle classes in such societies are wafer thin and the poor who are many still have aspirations. As we shall argue in this section, targeted policies run up against several obstacles, primarily because they do not centralize the concept of citizenship. To repeat: Marshall said that citizenship confers a status of equality on everyone as the foundation on which structures of inequality may be built (Marshall 1950/2009).This implies that when a democracy is mindful of citizenship, its priority must be to erase the persistent, and stubborn, distance between the poor and the rest. If this is the goal, it can hardly happen by targeting the poor, for then they will always remain less privileged. When citizenship is not the governing credo its policy makers are satisfied if those on the other side are a little less sick and a little less starved. That such people remain dependent on handouts and subsidies and, hence, never truly citizens, does not darken the mood of those who plan for the poor. As these anti-poverty measures are meant specifically for those ‘others’ who are poor and very unlike those who devise these schemes, they are nearly always unsuccessful. Their most enduring feature, across decades in Independent India, has been that of corruption and inefficiency. In fact, they are failures from start to finish, destined to falter and collapse from almost the moment they left the drawing board. Democracy is equalizing, not in terms of wealth, but as Marshall said, in terms of creating equal opportunities. To opt for universal social welfare schemes then requires a lot of planning and an even greater amount of cleansing of prejudices. To be able to think of those ‘others’ as aspects of one’s self is often the most difficult task. This is what adds to the attraction of ‘for the poor only’

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policies. The better off remain above the fray and the poor, no matter what little relief targeted programmes succeed in giving. They will still not have to rub shoulders with the scruffy classes and their prejudices stay unchallenged and intact. The targeted schemes begin most often with the wrangling over how to define the poor. Numbers float around, different criteria are contested, political barbs rent the air and all of this is quite heady, with a touch of noblesse oblige. As such efforts tend to be self-congratulatory they do not introduce even a pause to our established ways of thinking. For poverty to be tackled effectively, and on a more enduring basis, the causes of poverty should be looked at and not just its symptoms (nutrition, income, education, etc.) While these aspects inform us about the enormity of the issue, its resolution requires measures that involve the whole society, not just a section of it. This sectoral approach is self-limiting for it does not heed the basic sociological axiom that the whole is greater than the sum total of its parts. When we set out to address the root cause of poverty, and are not content with treating its symptoms, attention must rest on citizenoriented investments. These will necessarily be of the kind that impacts society as a whole because partial relief is actually no relief at all; the pain is about to come back soon. Investments have a long duration in terms of their efficacy, which is why they are called investments. On the other hand, subsidies, and redistribution for a designated population, are not long term in their impact. They could perhaps be justified as immediate, emergency plans, but no more. They do not expand opportunities, but work within existing constraints by maximizing, at best, whatever room the politics of the given allows. For instance the frequent debt relief to farmers does not actually take care of the structural inadequacies of India’s agrarian economy. A quick examination is perhaps called for to demonstrate the limitations of the politics of the given where target oriented redistributive policies rule.

Poverty Measures and Redistribution Policies Poverty, as we mentioned, very often becomes a game of numbers as it aims in quarantining off a section of citizens. We have already discussed

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this at some length, but need to stress here that the way out is to open up opportunities so that the poor are now freed to be like the rest. Sadly, our programmes in India lack this wider perspective. What we should appreciate is that it is neither good policy nor good manners to remain satisfied if the poor survive. While we make the political claim to remove poverty, but actually we only succeed in keeping the poor going. With some luck there might even be an improvement in their conditions, but they would still be dependent and never fully and truly citizens. It is not difficult to recognize the extent of poverty in India; it stares at you unblinkingly from every corner. There are, however, various ways of guising it and making it look less offensive than what it really is. One cannot, after all, frame targeted policies for the majority; hence the need to tone the numbers and the ugliness down, but still plan only for designated and defined people. The underlying impetus behind these exercises is to sequester the poor and treat them as a special problem; their problem, never our problem. The magnitude of poverty, even by official definitions, is actually quite unnerving: India with 17.5% of the world’s population has 20.6% of the global share of the poor. Under these circumstances, it is limiting to think just of the poor and leave the rest of the society intact, or untouched. To accomplish this marginalization, the first step is to get the numbers on your side. This they have managed with the official measurements of poverty which, till 2005, was the bare minimum caloric requirements to keep body and soul together. While the official poverty figure is 21.9%, the World Bank says it is about 23.6%, Tendulkar argued that it was more like 41.8%, while Saxena topped it up further and put the number at 50% (Saxena 2009). The World Bank prefers the Purchasing Power Parity route and concluded that anybody living on less than $1.78 a day should be classified as poor. Surprisingly, contestations of this kind grabbed policy wonks and many accredited experts have quarrelled over this now for decades. The government claims, in a very evident self-congratulatory fashion, that poverty numbers in 2011 had fallen from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 21.9% in 2011-12 (http://indiamicrofinance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ povert-in-india-2014-205.pdf); a reduction of about 137 million people. Many of those outside the immediate establishment differ on this figure. They believe that the picture looks salutary only because the minimum

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caloric requirement that earlier marked the poverty threshold has been lowered. Critics argue that this has artificially decreased the numbers of the poor without substantially bettering their lot. A mini revolution achieved with statistics riding shotgun. Regardless of this statistical controversy (see Rangarajan 2014), the number of severe and acute malnourished children in India is said to be equal to the population of Sub-Saharan Africa. If there is any scale for measuring poverty it should be this. Poverty, after all, is not just about calories which can be stuffed into one’s system by simply ingesting carbohydrates, but nutrition too (Khullar 2015a and 2015b: see Ninan on China in Ninan 2015: 38). This option does not have many takers in the Indian administration for it introduces complexities. On the other hand, to stay with calories helps dodge the spectre of famine from official records – but malnutrition still exists; just look at the children. As calorie intake is the primary index of poverty, not much attention is paid to nutrition. Rice and wheat are distributed through fair price shops at subsidized rates for those who are officially tagged as being Below the Poverty Line (or, BPL). Only these families have been issued ration cards with which they can make purchases through the Public Distribution System (or, PDS). If a family’s total wherewithal goes above the base line that determines poverty, even marginally (see Chauhan 2013), it cannot legitimately get a ration card and, therefore, cannot access the PDS. All of this is ideal ground for breeding corruption. On a routine basis, food invariably goes to the wrong address as those with some clout manage a ration card and take advantage of the system. N.C. Saxena (2009) estimated that a little over 17% of the richest quintile has a ration card that allows them to illegally buy grains at subsidized rates. In fact, a Planning Commission exercise found that it costs Rs 3.65 to deliver Rs 1.00 worth through the PDS (Ninan 2015: 33).Therefore, while we have not had a famine in living memory, it cannot be said that we have overcome either poverty or malnutrition. Redistribution that is specifically aimed at a target group will always run the risk of being under-funded, poorly planned, or wasteful, or all of the above. It is not as if this malaise haunts the food sector alone but characterizes nearly every other massive, state led anti-poverty

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scheme. We started our examination with food as this can quickly and easily translate the problem in rather tangible terms. But, as we shall see in the next chapter, similar shortfalls await almost every target oriented programmes. Oscar Wilde had once said that socialism in Britain was not to eradicate poverty but to keep the poor alive. As we have just seen, most redistributive, ‘for the official poor only’ policies, end up doing just that. What then is the alternative?

Labour Induced Development Most generally, when opportunities are created for the poor to escape poverty and not just be protected in their encysted lives, only then can we make some real progress. In other words, the thrust should be towards social uplift and not poverty uplift. This is a re-statement of the contention made earlier that the best way to help the poor is to forget the poor. That is when opportunity prospects open up which are citizen oriented and not poverty oriented. To proceed along these lines, two sets of things need to happen, preferably together. It is necessary that we have quality (and not quantity) human resources available to pressure the economy to function at a higher rate, both in terms of efficiency and productivity. What better way is there to improve human resources but through health and education? Our argument is simple; if these two services are not provided at quality levels, the poor will always be vulnerable and will always remain at low paid, low skilled jobs. This scenario would, however, change if they are assured good health and education, at par with the general population, or of the kind, that the non-poor would also find attractive. It may well be argued, at this stage, that it is wiser to concentrate on increasing employment but leave the matter of enriching our human resource base for later? Once our employment situation looks better, we would then have the wherewithal to attend to issues like health and education. This stand has many takers. It is also popular in administrative and government circles primarily because the heat is now off and things are postponed for another day. There are, however, serious drawbacks in this line of thinking.

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Consider the following. When cheap labour is abundantly available, the normal temptation of any business unit would be to dip into that pool. Training and skilling up the work force takes time, but more, they require investment which, in turn, entails greater risks. A few may even imagine such a scenario but are quickly dissuaded from taking it further. They know that such an ambition would be ruinous for it would cede advantage to their competitors who are happy to simply exploit the given labour conditions. It is perhaps expecting too much of entrepreneurs, who act in isolation, to concur that it is time to burn the leaves and allow stronger shoots to grow. It, therefore, needs concerted action from the state to make such low order labour force a thing of the past. Only an intervention of this order would alter the situation in a lasting fashion. If armed with proper health and educational facilities, the poor will now have greater confidence to refuse dehumanizing work. Better education would pressure the government, as well as private entrepreneurs, to invest in units that require greater skills for a higher price. Initially, there would be some reluctance, but eventually as this becomes the template of industrial activity, hesitation will lessen. Yields would gradually grow and this would propel the entire society on a prosperous path. Better health care would make the poor, as well as the not-so-poor, more confident of their future and negotiate as citizens and not as patronage-seeking clients. Several business interests would oppose a move of this kind. They would argue that a rise in wages, which this strategy obviously entails, would be ruinous for their industry and destroy their competitive edge in the global market. This is not true in the not so long run; we do know, across the world, better living conditions, including pay, leads to greater total factor productivity. But for that to happen, and for better jobs to open up, investment in human resources cannot be pushed back to another day. Today, the poor dare not refuse the most degrading work, at pitiable wages. Obviously, this happens because the bulk of them are unskilled and hence unfit to do anything better. Further, as there is a stagnant pool of low wage labour, this acts as a disincentive against investing in things that require high skills. When so much profit can be acquired at running risk free, low enterprise content units, why try doing anything better? This aspect is magnified because the poor are so deprived

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of good, accessible health services that a single catastrophic illness could wipe out whole families. Unless health and education are taken seriously from the start, and not later as luxury items, development driven opportunities will be hard to create. As this strategy depends critically on health and education for all, and not just the poor, the targeted approach must be replaced by the welfare state model. This is something that only the state can devise and implement (see Mor and Kalita 2015). Second, and this is a corollary of the first, employment opportunities need to be generated in high skill industry and non-farm occupations. In India today, people are leaving agriculture in their millions and are becoming the recruiting base for those who set up outfits that need little, or no, skills. For this to change, education and health for all, villagers and non-villagers alike, is necessary. Not only would low wage units now find fewer cheap labourers at their factory gates, it would also give access to agrarian refugees to more dignified industrial asylum. In planning health and education for all we must be mindful of a lurking danger. If such merit goods are left to market forces alone, without an adequate public provision base, then we may even fail to keep the poor alive. However, a question that often comes up in this regard has to be confronted right away. It must be stated, at the outset, that this is not the same as taking a hostile attitude towards enterprise, but just that there are certain limits within which the private sector should function. It is unfortunate that this idea faces opposition from among those who had benefitted from state interventions in health and education in their own countries. They have, obviously, forgotten their own history. Without a doubt, if the public delivery of health and education is poor, the market will not be challenged to provide quality level services either. If public schools and hospitals function badly, the private sector can make enormous profits by doing just a little bit better; which is hardly a challenge. This is exactly the situation in India. There are a plethora of private hospitals where the poor are forced to go because our public hospitals are near dysfunctional. Likewise with schools. Here again, the poor are increasingly sending their children to private schools they can ill afford, because the state-run schools are of such inferior quality. We shall return to this question soon.

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It is often said that India is too poor to afford society level, quality welfare programmes in health and education. In other words, we must learn to be patient; first get rich and then get healthy. In an earlier section on skilled labour we had dealt with a cognate objection, but we might as well take another swipe at it in the context of health and education. There are several reasons why this point of view should be shot down in plain sight. First, there is no shortage of money really, not even in India, but it is not optimally used. Our budget has a separate paper appended to it on tax expenditure, which is really a kinder word for ‘subsidies’, but this time it is for the ‘not poor’. According to government figures, the amount in terms of revenue foregone comes to an astronomical 5.6% of India’s GDP. If we were to take the revenue foregone on account of customs duty exemption alone that would be upward of 2% of GDP (see http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2013-14/statrevfor/annex12.pdf; accessed on 26 November 2015). Much of this is wasteful expenditure, as even personal income tax exemptions amount to just a minute proportion of what is euphemistically called tax expenditure. This is just a quick illustration, but there is a lot of money lying around in nooks and crannies that could be teased out and put to good use. Subsidies on the procurement of food grains only benefits 6% of farmers (the big ones); subsidies on liquefied petroleum gas, even kerosene again help better off households; the poor rarely use them; fertilizer subsidies also utilized primarily by rich farmers (see Khullar 2015a; 2015b) Further, it has also been estimated that if India could control the massive prevalence of water borne diseases alone, it will have saved about 2%-3% of its GDP. Nor is it that Indian bureaucracy is bloated. Of the roughly 400 million people in the workforce, less than 18 million are government employees in this country. In per capita terms, USA has five times more state officials per person than India does (see Swami 2012). It would, therefore, be incorrect to contend that we are constrained in funding health and education because our public sector employees suck out our meagre resources. In other words, money is readily available, but a political decision needs to be taken, one that will not give into the comfort zone of the present.

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Further, and this must be said to keep the record straight. When countries like France, Spain (post Franco), Sweden or Canada (to name a few) adopted universal health, they were poor and not rich (Gupta 2013: 137). This is why it is rather tragic that we are still wary of learning from those experiences, instead we team up with those who advocate private health and insurance. Politicians in less developed, often less citizenship friendly countries are all too keen to pick up these noises and amplify them. This then allows them to take the easy route; no exertion, no risk.

From Voters to Citizens It is at this stage we need to pause and ponder over a simple question. Is it possible to be a voter and not a full citizen? Citizenship is about quality of life; of being able to improve one’s future. At election time, notwithstanding the trumpeting and canvassing, there is little option but to choose from one among the many candidates on offer. An ideal representative may never be in the running, or has been drummed out by the power of money and media. Citizenship cannot be real if the majority of our voters go to bed hungry. We need not get into statistics at this point for they make an even more depressing reading. It is possible then to be a full-fledged voter and an underserved citizen. It is this dichotomy that we need to overcome urgently. The reason why democracy is the best system of governance is not just because people can vote, but that they participate as citizens. What then is a citizen that is more than being a voter? If we return to T.H. Marshall’s definition of citizenship then it is essential to ensure that before we exercise our votes differently we are fundamentally of equal status. Should that not be the case then the exercise of choice at the hustings will be influenced more by patronage than by the appreciation of political manifestos (Marshall 1950; also Marshall 1975). In simple words, unless citizens are fully able to overcome the accidents of birth, there will always be the tendency to vote compelled by the urgencies of the given. To realize this, an ordinary citizen, from a poor family, should be able to compete equally against those born in more affluent homes in the matter of gaining socially valuable assets. But for that to

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happen, universal, quality health care, education and infrastructural supports are essential across the board. Not only do these institutional supports directly serve physical and mental well-being, but they also give elections a substantive basis and a wholesome rationality. European democrats, both conservative and liberals fought for this outcome, step by step, from the 19th century onwards. They put in place the first templates of citizenship which were later filled out in two big bursts: one between the wars, and the other after the defeat of fascism. But without the early contributions of these 19th century democrats Europe would not look like what it does today. Many of them were members of the elite (Marshall 1950/1990: 41) but had to go against their own kind to set in place the first principles of citizenship. It is because of the exertions of such people that to be European today implies quality access to health, education and social welfare benefits. It is not as if India should be Europe and lose her distinctiveness, but then why can’t we learn, without being imitative, from the experiences in that continent when advancing citizenship? Europe, after all, was not always so developed. Nor was Europe efficient and, on the whole, corruption free, as it is today. Nor is it true that the advances in developed parts of Europe were on account of working class radicalism or because of a popular groundswell from below (see Rothstein, Samanni, Teorell 2010). Surely, democracies are made by the ‘people’ is not being contested. But the fact that these ‘people’ then make a historic transition and become ‘citizens’, after a liberal constitution is in place, is not appreciated enough. From the very beginning of this move, it needed leaders to convince the people that citizenship was more important if the unity among them is to continue. As Walt Whitman had once remarked: ‘Produce great men and the rest will follow.’

4 Threshold Markers Citizens or Beneficiaries

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hen is it justified to have a target population in mind and when is it not? It is true that there are times when it is necessary for the state to address a specific issue that concerns a defined section of the population. However, these should not be permanent features but applicable only in emergency situations and to a small and well demarcated category. In India, many poverty oriented policies have lasted for decades and they slowly become nodes of vested interests. The record shows that this approach has not only failed to deliver, but failed miserably. This, in turn, has given rise to variety of social distortions, and some of them are quite serious. To illustrate this point, three major areas have been taken for examination. The first is the clutch of programmes that are specifically anti-poor; second, the policy of Reservations, particularly for the Other Backward Classes; and finally, the manner in which the working class has been segregated internally and externally. There is an important methodological flaw when we use quantifiable numbers to identify those who qualify as beneficiaries. First, as a matter of methodological principle, targeted policies work best when they are aimed at a small minority. It is not possible to have special programmes that affect anything between 50% and 70% of the population. In which case, one might as well have a revolution! Therefore, such exercises in target oriented poverty removal programmes do not help when the numbers include almost the entire society. Of course, one could hide behind our awesome population figures and argue that there is little else we could do. With a billion plus on the census rolls, the most urgent task is to keep the poor alive.

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Doubtless, that is an urgent task, but what about removing poverty? Are we then destined to remain poor, for that is what it would seem? In spite of Antuday and MGNREGA, who can deny that poverty still haunts India? Is it not time we changed our tack and thought society and not just poverty? Perhaps that might help. Let us start by asking the question: why are quantifiable markers that separate population for state assistance ridden with exogenous and endogenous flaws?

Emergency Conditions and Threshold Markers Threshold markers work best to indicate emergency conditions that must be righted at the earliest. The danger mark of a swelling river, elevated body temperature, epidemic conditions, high inflation rates, even the price of tomatoes, are crisis signals. These figures prompt us to action so that a disaster can be averted in good time. The emphasis clearly is to take steps so that status quo ante, or past normalcy, can be restored and those dangerous signs do not pop up again. With threshold markers of this kind, administrative authorities have a bearing on what has to be corrected so that we can get back to our comfort zones. Quick and effective action can combat flood conditions, high fever, epidemics and inflation. Once the figures return to normal, authorities can then take their foot off the pedal and the administration rolls into cruise control. As long as these threshold markers signify emergency conditions that are far from normal, it is useful to depend on them. When it is not a question of getting back to a past normal, or status quo ante, but to transform the present normal, then these thresholds do more harm than good. This is especially true when a poor country, with low educational and health standards, seeks to better itself. While stress lines may be more pronounced in one segment of the society, it is not as if the fault is locked in just there. This is why threshold figures that segregate citizens from one another, end up being counter-productive. In other words, if it is not an emergency situation that calls for a return to status quo ante, it is best to resist threshold markers that isolate a population and cater to just that segment.

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Why should this be so? Where is the harm if we identify those below the poverty line and direct specific policies in that direction? Or, devise labour laws which separate workers on the basis of the size of the organization they work for? Or, put a numerical formula in place that can score different degrees of social backwardness for purposes of reservation? On the face of it, separating a population that is most needy makes eminent sense. Surely we should be able to sift out such people from the rest so that our interventions gain in cogency and focus. Appealing though this approach might seem to be, it is not really as effective as it looks. As we just discussed, in the previous chapter, policies that pull out one section of the population from the rest, encourage inefficiency, corruption and worse. When issues to be set right are transformative in nature and have society wide application then we are not thinking of emergency measures at all. As we are now in for the long haul, and a new world is being sought after, threshold markers can dangerously take our eyes off the ball. In circumstances such as these it is necessary to take the whole society along and think in universal terms. The overwhelming fact of economic backwardness in India has generated many anti-poverty programmes where the targeted groups are docketed, usually, the very poor and deprived. These intended beneficiaries have also been identified and tagged as being Below the Poverty Line (BPL). In the previous chapter again, we drew attention to the frequent, often futile, debate on who actually constitute the poor. The undeniable conclusion, at the end of it all, is the plain fact that there are just too many who live in absolutely wretched conditions. The numbers vary from the official 21.9% who are below the poverty line, to 50% and even 77%, depending on whose barometer we are looking at (see Tendulkar, et al. 2009; Report on the Conditions of Work…. 2007) But do we really need poverty statistics to tell us that India is poor? Does it really help to know if Arjun Sengupta has bested the late Tendulkar’s or the Planning Commission’s estimates and even that of N.C. Saxena (Saxena 2009; see also http://pib.nic.in/newsite/ PrintRelease.aspx?relid=68126; accessed 6 July, 2014; see also The Hindu, 19 September 2009). Regardless of this statistical controversy, the fact remains that between 10 and 15 crore families can barely feed

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themselves. We now begin to get a sense of the enormity of the monster we are looking at. With numbers as large as these can we really think of special programmes, just for the poor? There are two sets of problems which accompany such state targeted, anti-poverty drives. There are routine complaints that these policies fare horribly, yet money is routinely poured into them till another scheme is devised that then diverts the funds, and our minds. The reason why they never quite work and attract the worst in bureaucracy is because privileged decision makers would never stoop to access these services for themselves. We have already alerted the reader to this point, but it is worth repeating for this simple truth is often forgotten, or easily overlooked. As these poor targeted policies are meant for those who live in a different world, socially so distant, that is difficult to empathize with them. Therefore, when a policy is of no use, in real terms, to the better-off, why should they really bother, as long as the form filling has been properly done? Sadly, those who are under-privileged do not have the connections and wherewithal to take matters in their own hands. Therefore, policies designed to help the poor are either ill-conceived, or just allowed to rot. Take a few examples.

For the Official Poor Only The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) promises 100 days work a year to anybody in rural India who volunteers to do unskilled, manual work. This was a flagship programme of the previous government led by the Congress and was heralded as giving ‘the right to work’ actual expression. NREGA was later re-named as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, or MGNREGA, but did not change in substance. In spite of being cast as a game changer, the total funds it received never exceeded 0.3% of GDP; in other words, a sop! Be that as it may, it has come in for a lot of criticism on account of its non-performance in states where they were supposed to make the most difference. First, the 100 days employment provision was never really put in practice and was never achieved anywhere, in fact the average is 40 days per year (Ninan 2015: 174). Second, MGNREGA’s impact was really quite minimal. According to the Commission for

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Agricultural Costs and Prices (a government body), contrary to the political rhetoric, the impact of MGNREGA on raising agricultural wages is really minimal, perhaps less than 0.5% (see http://firstbiz. firstpost.com/economy/memo-to-sonia-nrega-wasnt-game-changergrowth-was-40134.html; accessed on 23 July 2014). It has also been found that about 72% of government’s unspent funds in 2013 were on account of MGNREGA (see Ahmad and Roychudhury 2015). Besides corruption and misuse, bad planning too takes its toll. Finally, notice, this scheme is all about unskilled labour; nowhere does it say anything about creating infrastructure, add to skills, or move people out of poverty. There are several other examples of failed redistribution policies as well. For example, the Rashtra Swasthya Bima Yojana, a cashless National Health Insurance Policy, launched in 2008, has several problems with it. As it was once again meant only for the official poor, those who narrowly miss acquiring that status were kept out. Besides the RSBY is also a poor programme. It only allows for a maximum expenditure of Rs 30,000, for a family of five, and is of little use when a poor family faces a catastrophic illness, or has an extra dependent. This is probably why very few from among those who qualify even avail of this scheme when it comes to the attending major ailments (Rathi: 2012: 15). Further, the fact that RSBY only works for a family of five clearly implies that if there should there be a sixth member, this initiative will get up and walk out of the door. It has also been observed that insurance companies begin by making very low bids to be included in RSBY and then fail to provide the actual cashless facility on the ground. Many private health care providers that had been empanelled in this scheme find the going not too lucrative and pull out. They complain of low returns and high administration costs, made worse by delays in being recompensed by the government (http://indian.express.com/article/india/india-others/governmentplans-new-trust-based-model-for-health-scheme/; accessed on 15 July 2015). This is a familiar story where the poor remain un-served for the policies intended for them, which are also poor in content and quality (see Mor 2015). Let us now turn to the audit report of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (another employment scheme). This scrutiny discovered that funds were utilized in the terminal quarter of the project just so that the

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books could be dressed up (www.planningcommission.nic.in/reports/ peoreport/cmpdmpeo/vol1/147.pdf; accessed on July 4, 2014). A Planning Commission study notes that, most often, poor beneficiaries need to pay speed money, they can hardly afford, to access the National Family Benefit Scheme designed specially for them (http:// planningcommission.nic.in/reports/sereport/ser/maker/mak_cht5b. pdf; accessed non 17 July 2014). The Integrated Rural Development Programme of the 1970s failed to make entrepreneurs of poor farmers as banks were reluctant to give them loans. So the IRDP was replaced by Swarnajyanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (a village level employment scheme) in 1999 which, reports suggest, were almost entirely used by the non-poor. Likewise, when the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, of 1989, performed below par, it was re-launched as Jawahar Gram Samriddhi Yojana a decade later, but that flopped too. In fact, it generated fewer man days of work than the programme it replaced with so much fanfare (Yesudian 2007). When the 1988 National Literacy Mission was launched there was great optimism surrounding it. It succeeded at one plane for it made 800 million adults officially literate, yet they were not trained to be functionally literate; and the gap between the two is wide (see Banerjee 1993: 1274-78). A Planning Commission study notes that, most often, poor beneficiaries need to pay speed money, they can hardly afford, to access the National Family Benefit Scheme designed specially for them (http:// planningcommission.nic.in/reports/sereport/ser/maker/mak_cht5b. pdf; accessed non 17 July 2014). The Public Distribution System is such a leaky bucket that at least 41% of its grain finds its way to the open market (see Yesudian 2007: 344-373). Even MGNREGA has come in for a lot of criticism on account of its non-performance in states where it would matter the most. According to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, the impact of MGNREGA on raising agricultural wages is really minimal, perhaps less than 0.5% (see http://firstbiz. firstpost.com/economy/memo-to-sonia-nrega-wasnt-game-changergrowth-was-40134.html; accessed on 23 July 2014). Besides downright corruption and misuse, bad planning too takes its toll. An audit report of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana discovered that funds were utilized in the terminal quarter of the project just so that the books could be dressed

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up (www.planningcommission.nic.in/reports/peoreport/cmpdmpeo/ vol1/147.pdf; accessed on 4 July 2014). The second drawback of the ‘for the-official-poor only’ approach arises as the numbers identified are so large that a policy informed by this perspective can easily lose itself. BPL markers, after all, do not neatly separate the poor from the rest as a clearly identifiable minority. In such cases, the best thing to do, policy wise, is to think society and not just of those who have been official tagged. For example, the Rashtra Swasthya Bima Yojana (a National Health Insurance Policy) is meant only for those who are officially Below Poverty Line (BPL). This automatically excludes those who do not have a BPL card (which is not easy to get) and who may still be very poor and unable to afford medical expenses. Yet, as they officially do not make the grade, they cannot use this insurance scheme. When talking poverty line, what needs to be kept in mind is that it is just a matter of a few rupees that separates a vast population from being considered as BPL. This is quite unfair, for so many of them are at the margins too. A better method of combating poverty would be to take on board, like on Noah’s Ark, certain essential services, which must be delivered to all, so that we can all sail into a developed world. Instead of looking just at survival levels and BPL markers, it is better to think of the quality and the scale of public goods, like health and education. Both Tendulkar and Saxena encouraged this perspective but they never quite got the attention that they deserved. Consequently, projects meant for the poor often go to the wrong address.

What ails Public Delivery of Education and Health? Education for the poor has had disastrous results. In 1988 the National Literacy Mission set out to make 800 million adults literate ran its full course, but what does it have to show for it? It was widely hoped that the Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalaya Scheme (named after Mahatma Gandhi’s wife), meant for educating poor girl children, would create a fresh stir. Sadly, an evaluation done in 2011 does not support this optimism. All the 18 schools established under this programme in Uttar Pradesh (the most populous Indian state) failed to even get the

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desired number of ‘poor’ girl students admitted in them (see: post. jagran.com/search/Kasturba-awasiya-balika-vidyalaya-kgbvv; accessed on 16 August 2014). The poor have obviously seen through these designed for poor government schools and, therefore, send their children to private school in villages at great personal sacrifice. It is not as if these schools are much superior performers or have better facilities. Sometimes, three grades are crowded and taught together in one room. The children here do a little better than those in government run schools, but not by much. Unlike the posh establishments that we usually associate private schools with, these are modest affairs and much cheaper, but still way higher than what an economically depressed small, or marginal farmer can afford. Even so, poor parents take the risk for, in private establishments, at least the teachers turn up. No wonder, preference for private schools has grown exponentially over the past three decades. Even the very, very poor, children from among the lowest income quintile, a significant number, as high as 15%, go to private schools (Desai, et al., 2010: 82). There is a great pressure to get educated, and then there is great unhappiness in what the government provides. This is what makes private schools so attractive even though the poor can hardly afford them and the quality of education is not that much to write home about either. The Human Development in India report (Desai et al. 2010) makes the startling revelation that about half the children in middle school can neither read or make sense of a simple paragraph, or do an elementary sum (Desai et al., 2010: 79-80; see also Ninan 2015: 35). If those who are better off should think that the quality of their education is superior, then that assumption too is gravely threatened. Credible surveys have shown that about 27% of those from the highest quintile are unable to read a short paragraph. Consequently, if educational standards should improve, the threshold of good education should be set by public schools, only then would private ones deliver at much higher levels. This is the only way to stop low-grade private schools from popping up at every corner. They would now have to deliver at much higher levels and, therefore, would not be an easy run at all. As these designed-for-the-poor government schools fail to deliver, even to the poor, enrolments have gone up phenomenally in private

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schools. This is easily revealed by the fact that while in the 1980s merely 2% of the country’s children were in private schools, today the number has ballooned to about 21%. If we take just the urban children, then the figure is as high as 51% (Desai et al. 2010: 80-81). Even among the lowest income quintile, that is, the very, very poor, as many as 15% of the children go to private schools (ibid: 82). That is how badly education for the poor has fared; so many of them have died on the vine. Drop out rates, as a consequence, are very high. Given the appalling conditions in government schools, it is not surprising that 15% drop out by Standard 5. Worse is to come because 50% of those who cross this hurdle drop out before Standard 10, and another 43% before class 12. This sequence is just as Hemingway once noted that one gets broke slowly and then suddenly. Women students fare much worse because as many as 40% of them are never ever enrolled (ibid: 77). That poor quality of education is not limited to the very poor either can be gauged from the fact that about 27% of those from the highest quintile are unable to read a short paragraph. This should demonstrate that if educational standards have to be improved in real and substantial terms, we cannot think within the threshold framework. When publicly run schools provide quality education to all, only then will education really begin to look up. The story is similar for the health sector too; in fact, it is the same story all over again. The 2005 National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) made itself almost impossible to succeed for its mission was not just directed to the poor, but also those in under-served areas. This double burden was just too much to bear and the NRHM spluttered at the starting line (Sharma 2014: 290-94). It failed to achieve its targets by such a huge margin that its presence was hardly ever noticed by the ‘poor’ in ‘under-served’ regions of the country (see International Institute for Population Sciences 2010). Consequently, nothing really changed by much because of NRHM’s intervention. To argue that NRHM brought down Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) or Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is disingenuous for the graph on this slopes at roughly the same angle from 1990-2012, across several governments. The sad fact remains that these special health for the poor programmes have not delivered and never will. This added note of

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pessimism also varies from the fact that health expenditure is less than 1% of our GDP and education hovers around 3%. The average amount spent on health in Upper Middle Income countries is 3.4% and for the European Union, about 8% of GDP (Gupta 2002: 54). We can make a beginning towards attaining these standards once we frame services on health and education through a universalistic optic and not through graded by threshold markers. Though doctors in public health sectors are better trained, such as in the Primary Health Centres in the rural areas, villagers still prefer the private practitioners (Desai et al. 2010: 116). This paradox can be resolved when we look at the dismal quality of service the public health system provides. In many instances, the doctors rarely ever turn up. This drives people to private health practitioners, many of whom don’t have a proper medical degree, nor are their clinics well equipped. The degrees that these ‘doctors’ frame and put up on their walls are an alphabet jumble of letters and read rather like an optician’s chart. The poor, therefore, continue to distrust government hospitals, just as they do state-run schools. This backgrounds why as many as 71% of the sick regularly go to private doctors (ibid: 107) even though they can hardly afford to. This is also why medical bills force so many people to fall into chronic debt every year. Extensive surveys have shown that as many as 39 million are pushed to poverty annually on account of ill health (Sinha 2011; see also Srinath Reddy et al.; see also Shiva Kumar 2011 et al.). It is now not surprising that in India about 85% of health costs are borne by the patient, much of it on account of hospital costs and the price of medicines (see also see also http://kff.org/global-indicator/outof-pocket-expenditure-on-health/; accessed on 15 November 2015). This number is unconscionably high. In high income countries, out of pocket expenditure on health is about 36% (https://www.ciaonet.org/ attachments/14764/uploads; accessed on 14 November, 2015). After examining the 60th round of the National Sample Survey, Indrani Gupta concludes that among those who reported going to hospitals, treatment cost was about Rs 6332 for rural India and Rs 9806 in urban India. Drugs consume about 63% of all medical expenses and this spikes poverty rates by 3.6% in rural India and 2.9% in urban India (Gupta

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2009). An earlier Planning Commission Report tells us that only 35% in India have access to essential drugs. Contrast this with the fact that in Upper Middle Income countries (and not just the very rich) 82% are able to afford such drugs (Gupta 2002: 54); It could also be said that a measure of development can be derived from the ratio on health expenditure to GDP. The greater the extent to which health is publicly financed indicates a higher state of development (see http://www.oecd.org/unitedstates/Briefing-NoteUNITED-STATES-2014.pdf; accessed on 15 November 2015). It is a sad truth, but public health expenditure in India is less than 1% of our GDP while the corresponding average in Upper Middle Income countries is 3.4% and for the European Union, about 8% (Gupta 2002: 54).

Social Backwardness and Threshold Markers Now is the occasion to return to the issue of Reservations, particularly for the ‘socially backwards’. This is yet another instance where a targeted policy has not only failed, but also encouraged, even legitimized, public mendacity in political life. This factor comes out starkly when we take up the question of reservations for the Other Backward Classes (or OBC). Right off, it needs to be clarified that the letter ‘C’ in OBC does not refer to ‘caste’ but to ‘class’. That in most popular renditions it seems natural to slip into believing it is ‘caste’ only shows the power of politics, and of incorrect and sloppy information dissemination. It is hardly necessary to recall that Kaka Kalelkar who was first commissioned to look into the issue of OBCs in 1955 gave up because he found the task impossible to accomplish. Yet in 1979 when Mandal came out with his report on identifying OBCs, he seemed to have little problem in coming up with a criteria set. When the government accepted these recommendations in 1990, the flaws in arriving at who qualifies to be backward according to a quantitative score, became all too clear. Hiding behind this quantitative threshold for establishing backwardness there are political interests. How they have influenced Mandal recommendations may not be immediately visible, but they are all lurking in there. Yet, a closer look will reveal the power interests that have gone into the making of the Commission’s recommendations.

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If one were to look closely at the criteria for social backwardness, it would become quite apparent that the considerations that went into the reckoning of who were the OBCs were politically weighted. Before we start disassembling this ingenuous scheme, let us remember that the Mandal Commission listed three categories of backwardness, viz., social, economic and educational. Further, though the maximum points a category of the population can score is 22, it needs only 11 to qualify as backward (see Gupta 2005a). That was not all. Very soon, the term ‘backward classes’ began to be operationalized in caste terms, and after that it became so easy. Just for the record, this is one terminological conflation that worried Kaka Kalelkar a lot when he was set to work on how to classify OBCs. Then another sleight of hand happens. Social backwardness is privileged over the other categories because this is one area where the indicators can be flabby and easy to manipulate. This is probably why the four indicators of social backwardness carry three points each, which is the highest among all the other criteria in all three categories. The criteria under education carry only two points each and for economic backwardness, which is probably the most important diacritic, the indicators carry just one point each. This itself should have sounded alarm bells, but they did not ring loudly enough. Before we begin, let us again recall that one needs but 11 points to qualify as OBC. Now take note of how easy it is to score those points simply because of the imprecision that characterizes these four indicators. The first indicator is whether the community/caste in question performs manual labour; the second is what other castes think of this particular caste; the third, do the women in that caste work outside the home; and, finally, whether 25% of females and 10% of males wed before the legal age of marriage. In this case, pay attention to the fact that points are being given for actually breaking the law: a law that was framed to combat child marriages and give women dignity. This structure of allotting points is almost tailor made for well-to-do castes to make it as ‘backwards’. With three marks for each criterion it is so easy to score 12 points; it takes just 11 anyway to make the ‘backward’ grade. As points for Social Backwardness have so much heft, Educational and Economic backwardness, which should have been more important, need not come into the picture at all (for a background

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see Béteille 2011: 107-17; Larsen 2002). Most landowning peasant castes are proud to call themselves hands on farmers, whether or not they actually perform manual work. The urbanized, rich Jat as well as the equally prosperous Maratha, claim this identity even if they are prosperous lawyers, doctors and entrepreneurs in real life. The second criterion of women working outside their homes is not a good indicator either as they need not necessarily be toiling on others’ fields or as coolie labour. Third, everybody knows that no caste thinks well of any other caste anyway, so three points are in the bag even before we start. We have already commented upon the dubious criterion on the age of marriage. In this connection, it also needs to be said that in India marriages are rarely ever registered. It is so easy then to claim that one was married before the legal age for there is no definitive way of ascertaining its veracity in most cases. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to argue, as critics of Mandal have (and many of them were sociologists), that the provisions for OBC reservations were devised keeping political considerations in mind. Indeed, this also demonstrates the salience of peasant castes in contemporary Indian politics (see Frankel 1989). If Social Backwardness alone can give a community 12 points, the sections on Economic and Educational Backwardness feature only as background props. They lend the recommendations a certain legitimacy, but play a marginal role, if any at all. A politically dominant community can well and truly establish itself as OBC by relying on the nebulous markers of social backwardness. That is not all. As this form of quantification to qualify as backward was never quite challenged, OBC activists have now begun to enlarge their demands claiming sometimes 65%-70% reservations in keeping with their supposed numbers. Once again we have a scenario, not unlike the poverty picture, where almost the whole society claims to be deprived and demands special privileges. This not only internally disarticulates targeted policies, it also perpetuates identity consciousness in a democracy. Babasaheb Ambedkar had said that the majority must recognize the rights of the minority, but here we have the majority demanding minority rights – now how ironical is that? What is worse, unlike the formulation for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), there is no concession here to making OBC Reservations time-bound. This

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feature is important to retain as the Ambedkar led SC/ST Reservations accepted in principle that this measure be limited to 10 years. That this has been repeatedly extended only undermines the principle behind why a time limit was placed. The ten year review period was inserted in the SC/ST Reservation format because these measures were supposed to be of a temporary nature, just as in emergency conditions. The violation of basic human dignity to SCs and STs were likened to a fever, an illness, an egregious growth on the body of a democratic state. Reservations were, therefore, considered as kind of emergency measure so that normalcy, of the kind that any democracy ought to experience, could return.

Labour Laws and Thresholds Citizenship is also threatened when threshold markers separates the workforce. We found that the Industrial Disputes Act not only held back entrepreneurship but also encouraged distrust between workers and managers. In order to evade a certain provision, attempts were constantly afoot to dodge the threshold marker by either employing less than 100 and, or, by keeping a person on the job for less than a year. Ask yourself: under these conditions how can skills grow and how can our industrial sector function in a highly competitive world economy. If it has not already been noticed, let it be stated here, by flogging cheap labour our economy can only go so far, but no further. The current situation should give ample evidence of that. The Industrial Disputes Act is founded on the principle of mistrust and bad faith. It belongs to an era that is long gone with none of the sensitivities that democracy has cultivated over the years. It is, therefore, at the level of foundational principles where we should begin our critique of labour laws in India. Much as we often evade this issue, the truth is that industrial relations in our country play on the hostility between labour and management. It is this that needs to be replaced by considerations of citizenship, for that is now the governing principle in all developed democracies. In this scheme of things, it is not as if workers and entrepreneurs must submerge thinking about their interests in favour of a distant ideal. What is being advocated instead is the honest admission that

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what works best for both sides must be begin with an acceptance of certain commonalities of collective existence. This would do a lot more good to all concerned than concealment, threats, inducements and opacity. Putting citizenship first does not mean that all differences and inequalities are either ignored, or wished away. What, however, is emphasized is that as citizens there must a common set of resemblances and unities that ought to be accepted by everybody. Only when this happens, there is something that endures between citizens, who may, at any point of time, be locked in a dispute. T.H. Marshall’s understanding of citizenship is once again relevant to this context. First and foremost, he argues, that there must be a status of equality between all of us and on this foundation structures of inequality can be built (Marshall 1950/1990). If the status of equality is first order priority, before we begin to be different in our own specific ways, how can this help us in labour relations? With citizenship there is the nurturing of trust, but this can only happen when the rules of dispute resolution are agreed upon and endorsed by both parties. By upholding the various thresholds we are doing nothing but ceding common ground. This why any attempt to reform India’s labour laws cannot stop short, but must go the distance. There are so many things wrong with it that any attempt at tinkering, or piece meal patch ups, will never really work. If there is one factor that infects almost every aspect of the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA) then that is the frequent use of ‘thresholds’ (for IDA see: http://www.advocatekhoj.com/library/bareacts/industrial/index. php?Title=Industrial%20Disputes%20Act,%20194; accessed on 14 September 2015). These thresholds encourage misuse and malpractice and create distances not just between workers and entrepreneurs but between workers too. If there are 100 workers, or more, then a certain set of laws become active; if a worker is employed for less than 240 days, then another set comes alive. That is not all; there are thresholds also to decide the payment of bonus, for allowing closures, or what makes for a small, medium or micro enterprise. As the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA) is beset by thresholds, ducking under, or vaulting over them becomes the paramount concern for both workers and entrepreneurs. If, on occasions, some capitalists may wish to stay under a threshold, it would then be in the interest of labour to

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see that this does not happen. All of these are aggravated by trade union laws which play upon thresholds and erect a divide between organized and unorganized workers. Thresholds encourage us to emphasize disunities rather than unities. These markers consolidate differences to make sure that the two principle classes in the industrial sector have as little as possible in common. Everything a worker or entrepreneur possesses and every law that leans one way or the other, have been won in a hard fight against a very significant and hostile ‘other’. This history is always on tap for ready recall, making the atmosphere between workers and their employers beset by tensions from the start. In a climate such as this it is perpetual war. Every now and then we can wave a peace flag, sign a treaty and call it ‘labour reform’ but those are just temporary fixes and won’t last long. That is why it is incorrect to believe that fiddling with thresholds will win us enduring acclaim. The relationship between entrepreneur and worker is fraught and tense to begin with and our Industrial Disputes Act (IDA) does its best to make it worse. The express desire, drawn from Gandhi, and Gandhians, to support small scale industries led to the first set of thresholds that segregated small, medium micro and large enterprises. This exercise did no good either to those who ran fragile cottage industries, or to those who owned and worked in bigger units. What happened instead was that this threshold helped to host a large number of malpractices. Fairly large enterprises began adjusting their operations by breaking up their organizations into smaller units in order to qualify as small scale and draw benefits on that score. Among the benefits are tax concessions, export support and, what is more, freedom from observing normal accounting standards. In fact, bidi making contrived to re-fashion itself as a cottage industry in order to beat the regulations that apply to the organized sector. The IDA recommends a ‘Works Committee’, which embeds reconciliation mechanisms, only if an establishment has a hundred or more workers and who have been employed for a year at least. Right away, the scope for fudging starts. If less than a hundred and if workers are not around for a year at a stretch, then the obligation to set up committee of this kind is off. Further, if a person is employed for less than a year (calculated as 240 days of continuous employment) then

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in the event of a lay off that worker can be dismissed without adequate compensation. The trick then lies in somehow making sure that no employee is kept on the rolls for more than 240 days as this makes laying them off so fuss-free and cost saving. Then there is this incredible clause, 25 C of IDA. Try deciphering it; it’s quite a challenge and here it goes: ‘Provided that if during any period of twelve months, a workman is so laid-off for more than 45 days, no such compensation shall be payable in respect of any period of the layoff after the expiry of the forty five days….’ Now there is a further 45 day threshold whose purpose is not quite clear, but it certainly would help the wrong sort to work around it. Likewise, only those workers are entitled to compensation when a unit of 50 employees, or more, who were at work for a year decides to close down. Now then we have another temptation: how does one keep enterprise strength to below 50 in order to be able to evade closure regulations. Obviously, this is a signal also for entrepreneurs to go small-scale so that they can easily duck under the thresholds that have been marked out. Things heat up once we come to Chapter V of the IDA. This chapter is dedicated to provisions regarding lay-offs, retrenchment and closure, but only in certain establishments. Now which establishments could these be? If an enterprise has hundred, or more, workers who have been ‘employed on an average per working day for the preceding 12 months (sic)’ then and only then will certain rules apply. Stay below this threshold number and you are spared of a whole host of regulations. At 99 employees, who average at less than one year of employment, the special provisions relating to lay-offs, retrenchment, etc., do not kick in (see Chapter VB, sec 25K). Cross this threshold and it is now necessary to get government permission to lay-off anybody. Approaching the administration for permission to cast off workers is a pain that no entrepreneur would like to entertain. The remedy then is to keep the unit strength to below 100 workers and, preferably, turn them around before 240 days are up. Let us now take up the issue of paying bonus and here again we are face to face with a threshold. According to our Payment of Bonus Act, bonus is an issue only when the unit has more than 20 workers who ‘are employed on any day during an accounting year’ (Section 1-3-b). The individual beneficiary of bonus should have, however, worked for

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at least 30 days continuously in the organization (section 8). Put all these numbers together and shake them up, what do you get? Answer: an aversion for large scale units on the side of the entrepreneur and a low accumulation of skills on the side of the worker. Obviously, all these thresholds harm both parties and yet we go on because we are slaves of habit. One hears a lot from industrial houses, and from organizations like CII and FICCI, about how damaging the IDA is because of its threshold linked obligations. They argue that this stops them from hiring and dismissing workers and right sizing their companies. These add to their perennial woes of observing a number of laws, including the inconsequential ones, whose only purpose seems to be to feed a variety of Inspectors (Debroy 2014) In the Indian case, the IDA also allows for exceptions to industries that are deemed to be seasonal. This sector is characterized on the basis of two criteria. Either the products manufactured are not in demand round the year, or, we are dealing with perishable produce. The two biggest industries that fall under this rubric are garment manufacturing and food processing enterprises, respectively (see Ramaswamy 2009). The justification in one case is that clothes are rarely good for all seasons and, in case of the other, only in some months do certain perishable vegetables and fruits grow. While all of this sounds legitimate for food processing units, the label ‘seasonal’ does not always fit well for the garment producing sector. After all, the weather is different in different parts of the globe at different times of the year. When it is summer here, it is cold in Australia, and when it is freezing in North America people are swimming and snorkelling south of the Equator. As the world is divided into different climatic zones, any real garment producing unit should aim to manufacture round the year and not be limited by seasons. The reason why some of these garment producing factories claim seasonality in their functioning is because of two reasons, and none of them very convincing. Unfortunately, one does not hear as many complaints from the side of the workers. This is largely because the unionized employees, whose wheels squeak the loudest, are on top of the heap and are completely protected. Therefore, established trade unions have no reason to raise this issue and this leaves those in the unorganized and informal sector unprotected and, to a large extent, unskilled as well. Take a look at

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what Chapter 7 has to say in Section IV: ‘In every establishment, the number of workmen to be recognized as protected workmen for the purpose of sub-section (3) shall be one percent (sic) of the total number of workmen employed therein subject to a minimum number of five protected workmen and a maximum number of 100 protected workmen and for the aforesaid purpose, the appropriate Government may make rules providing for the distribution of such workmen among trade unions….’ Hard to believe, but it is true; some workmen are to be protected, others not. Naturally, labour aristocracy is rampant in trade unions which is why trade unions, such as they are, find little fault with IDA and rarely voice threshold-based complaints. That the bulk of workers in the informal sector remain vulnerable is no concern of theirs. What have we accomplished then with our threshold markers in the context of labour relations? We have succeeded in obfuscating records, undermining labour standards and lowering human resource skill development. And yet, thresholds have a magical hold on all those who concern themselves with industrial disputes. The most they can think of, as in the case of Rajasthan, is of raising or lowering of some threshold or the other. If, however, there were no thresholds, then every worker would be on the muster; they would, without exception, be entitled to benefits; and there would be a set procedure for dismissal and lay-offs that would apply to all. To make the last point effective it is necessary to insist that to retrench or take a worker off the payroll, the compensation provided would be the same regardless of the number of days employed, or the size of the firm. This would immediately put an end to idiosyncratic management behaviour and make both labour and entrepreneur more responsible to each other and to the organization they belong (see Annavajhuila and Pratap 2012). To arrive at a more rational and citizen friendly set of labour laws we need to dismantle the existing Industrial Disputes Act and start all over again. The first hurdle is obviously that of ‘thresholds’ for it is this is the one factor that creates maximum damage. There is no point really in increasing or decreasing these thresholds, for they do not cure the disease, only postpones the eruption of malaise. Thus, when the Rajasthan government raised the threshold from 100 to 300 workers

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there was really no need to applaud. What they had basically done was to kick the can down the road. In place of thresholds, let us begin by recognizing every worker as permanent and entitled to figure on the muster from the start. Consequently, they are all entitled to Provident Fund, ESI Benefits and Gratuity. In addition, it is necessary to make sure that workers have a right to compensation should they be fired. This is akin to ‘severance pay’ and should be determined in terms of number of days worked. Such a provision would give some security to those who are being laid off for no fault of their own. Again, this is where the notions of citizenship and transparency work their way in. There is now no advantage in concealing the size of the enterprise or the terms of employment of the workers. This is because they will all get severance pay and other benefits at the same rate if they are fired. Therefore, it makes no difference now whether there are 10 persons on the muster rolls or a 110. Consequently, the books and records of enterprises become more transparent and honest. It also gives workers reason to cheer; they are all permanent to begin with until something goes wrong. This is how workers are respected and trusted as citizens and not suspected from the start as alien beings.

Trade Unions and Bad Faith It is now time to consider the wisdom of designating a ‘recognized union’ within an enterprise. This restricts options available to the workers and also prompts intense politicking between workers and management. To make matters more difficult, there are a number of provisions that must be met for a union to be ‘recognized’. Once a representative union comes into being it takes on a life of its own and becomes more or less autonomous from the people it is supposed to represent. Professionals enter the picture and the effects of the ‘outside hand’ become all too evident. From this time on, the flexibility required to address internal and urgent concerns of the workers is put away in favour of ideological and larger political concerns. Rather than quarrel over which of the many unions within a factory, or enterprise, be the ‘recognized’ one, it is better to think instead of a single Workers’ Council. All workers are members of this body and

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office bearers to it are chosen on the basis of universal, secret ballot. This does not bar unions from being active within the enterprise, but none of them can officially represent the workers. This responsibility rests solely with the Workers’ Council and its elected office bearers. Therefore, different unions, should they choose to do so, can set up their own panel of office bearers for election to the Workers’ Council. At the same time, they must be prepared to compete against nominees from other groups too. They are free to canvass their positions, even ideologies, but must be prepared to be challenged by other bodies. There could also be a large number of workers who owe no formal allegiance to any organization and their votes would matter a lot as well. Thus, while unions are not debarred from functioning under this scheme, it is the workers, ultimately, that choose their representatives for a fixed period, preferably a year. Office bearers of this council will be elected internally and only those who work in the enterprise are eligible to vote, just as no outsider can contest for any position either. Such a provision immediately undermines the intense rivalry between trade unions, as well as makes it difficult for the management to play off one union against the other. In all such cases, it is ultimately the workers who suffer. In units that are below 20 workers, and that is the only threshold entertained here, all workers will be in the Workers’ Council, much on the lines of a Village Panchayat. The surest way of strengthening the Workers’ Councils is by placing a time limit within which industrial disputes must be resolved. It is the fear of continuous litigation that makes many entrepreneurs seek remedies other than the formal, legal one. There is, however, a strong possibility that the suggestion to set up a Workers’ Council will be opposed by many established unions. This is not surprising for all of them thrive on the backs of ‘organized labour’ which, as we noted earlier, that form a miniscule proportion of the working people. This is why the principle of ‘Workers’ Council’ is of such paramount importance for it really protects the interests of those who are not part of the ‘labour aristocracy’, and will, probably, never be. No change in labour laws can be accomplished without both sides realizing that the winner-take-all attitude will just not work. This is why the emphasis on citizenship and transparency in the opening section of this paper. It is true that there will still be entrepreneurs

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who might not register their workers, but these will be for blatantly low and vile reasons. They can no longer claim that byzantine laws force them to take such steps against their better instincts. Under the scheme proposed here, as long as management allows ‘severance pay’ and other benefits to workers, they are free to downsize, or, even close down, their operations. If, in spite of all this, promoters of companies still resort to the practice of not hiring labour formally, it can only be because they wish to renege on workers’ compensations. In that case, when such a case is spotted, it will have to be severely punished. Contract labour, likewise, is not abolished but, once again, those who are contracted to work elsewhere are on the rolls of the muster of their parent firm. In that organization they are registered properly and eligible to all the compensations that other workers are entitled to everywhere. Obviously, certain other laws must come in place to make these labour laws function smoothly. The Finance Minister’s statement in his Budget Speech, alluded to earlier, regarding the establishment of bankruptcy laws, is a step in the right direction. In addition, the more resolutely we move towards a cashless economy, the greater the chances of workers being hired in an open and transparent fashion. It is needless to emphasize that while discussing labour law reforms we keep in mind that our workers have no social insurance they can really fall back on. In this context, to deny them severance pay, or PF and Gratuity, would be the most heartless thing to do; something that cannot be accepted by any yardstick of citizenship. To start afresh on labour laws a lot needs to be done by the management. It is really up to the promoters and their officials to establish an atmosphere of goodwill. It is this category that must take the first step for a lot depends on them. Once that happens, it will be easier to get the working people to accept that the good of the organization depends on both classes working in tandem. It is not a good idea at all to be in a relationship of either exploitation or patronage. What should matter most is that we are all citizens first. Towards this end, it would be a wise move for the management to go the German way and appoint workers’ representative on the Supervisory Board of a company. This has worked in that country and there is no reason to believe that it will not succeed here. It must also

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be acknowledged that workers are not fired simply because it pleases the management to do so. A good worker is an asset which is why the tactics used to keep units small and fire workers every 240 days actually damages both sides in the not too long run. By accepting the fact that workers too need protection as citizens, owners and shareholders of a company get greater room for manoeuvre. This is the only way citizenship can be advanced within the factory gates. The Industrial Disputes Act is founded on the principle of mistrust and bad faith. It belongs to an era that is long gone with none of the sensitivities that democracy has cultivated over the years. It is, therefore, at the level of foundational principles where we should begin our critique of labour laws in India. Much as we often evade this issue, the truth is that industrial relations in our country play on the hostility between labour and management. It is this that needs to be replaced by considerations of citizenship, for that is now the governing principle in all developed democracies.

Universal versus Targeted Policies It would be fair to conclude that the poor can be best served if we pay attention to how society, as a whole, fares in terms of essential public goods. As thresholds keep certain facilities outside the general pool, their horrible standards of delivery escape notice. This also explains why the ease with which these ‘for-the-official-poor-only’ programmes can fudge funds, figures and facts. As a result, targeted approaches attract corrupt officials and very little good actually happens on the ground. This is why it is important not to be solely attentive to how much money is being spent on public services; the emphasis must rather be on delivery. After all is said and done, and money poured endlessly in a bottom less bucket, one overwhelming question keeps cropping up. Is it really helpful to have a quantitative threshold marker to take people out of poverty? Our Indian experience gives us a negative story of failed attempts, and all of that is naturally disheartening. But if the experience of many developed countries is anything to go by, then the universalization of health and education is the surest way out of poverty to prosperity. Text book history will tell us that most European

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countries did not begin by being rich, but became wealthy because of the universalistic policies they adopted. Citizenship cannot do well if populations are divided by thresholds in order to implement this or that policy. If we keep certain categories of people in dependence then democracy and citizenship both suffer. It is clear that redistribution, plain and simple, that directly benefits the poor has little chance of success. They neither help the economy to develop nor rescue the poverty stricken out of their conditions. We have tried to demonstrate this with many examples in the pages above. To think citizenship is the best way out and for that we must think opportunities. Human resources matter as much as the other factors of production. And, as we all know, if there are no skills then the fillip towards establishing high technology industries is low. All of this demonstrates a truth that we have mentioned in different forms time and again. The pre-condition to development is to expand opportunities and the pre-condition for that is to improve standards of delivery of health and education, both private and public. Only then would we have the requisite human resource base that can both demand and power a sophisticated economic machinery. But what we don’t always pay attention to is that this cycle can only be broken by state policies that determinedly go against existing biases and ennui. It is also possible to find simple, objective ways by which opportunities creating investments could be measured for their delivery efficacy: 1. The decline in Out of Pocket (OOP) expenditure in health care; 2. The increase in numbers of functionally literate such that those in Primary, Middle and Senior Schools and all the way up, are actually trained appropriate to their level of learning; 3. The fall in the contribution of the informal sector in our economy; 4. A significant rise in the demand and supply of skilled labour; 5. A significant growth in the salience of R&D in industrial enterprises and the emergence of large scale manufactories. It is possible to add a few more indicators, and many readily come to mind. But if efforts are made to measure up on at least the five metrics mentioned above, other benefits will naturally follow. To come out looking good on these indicators there is little option but to invest in

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these fields and nurse these investments. After all is said, this is what needs to be done, if opportunities are to grow on a social scale. In India we have often complained that we have no money and that we are too many. Does that mean we are doomed forever to handouts and subsidies? Or, that by the time real change happens several generations will have come and gone. An important feature of democracy is that it makes all us citizens very impatient!

5 Skilling Citizens Raising the Human Resource Base

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he industrial sector, burdened by the labour laws, is not serious about enlarging its skill base. For that to happen, workers must be employed for much longer spells and the units too must be of a certain size. Only then will skills develop endogenously and incrementally enrich, through R&D, the human resource base, whether of an enterprise or organization. Unfortunately, this is not quite what is happening in India which is why the industrial sector suffers from an absence of skilled labour, made worse by the poor quality and paucity of vocational institutes. Agriculture has for long been characterized by informal labour, and informal labour alone. As rural India finds itself under greater pressure it expels millions to the cities, but they are largely unskilled and are characterized only by their determination to work. These people are then hired by the non-farm sectors in urban India and the union with informal labour continues. As the unwritten pact with informal labour continues, citizenship remains undermined. It is only when workers are able to move up to formal terms of engagement that their rights and claims as citizens are properly recognized. Raising skills and putting people on a common footing is best achieved when the tenets of citizenship are kept in mind. To stay with our examination of labour laws for a little longer, we find that the Industrial Disputes Act does little to discourage the enhancement of skills as this urge is dampened down by the advantages of packing one’s enterprise with informal labour. As minimum labour norms and standards are really rock-bottom, they help ‘ensnare the industrial economy in the syndrome of low wage productivity’ (Sharma 2007: 2; see also Basu and Dixit 2004).

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Unfortunately, in practice India has clearly opted for the ‘low road to growth’ which exploits cheap labour and not the ‘high road to growth’ that pushes up innovation and technology (Basu and Dixit 2004). This, in spite of the fact that we know that ‘increases in real wages (are) generally accompanied by a still higher increase in productivity across industry groups, resulting in lower unit costs, across industry groups’ (p.6).

The Challenge of Informal Labour India’s great hope to surge as a manufacturing and economic power has been held back to a significant extent by its labour laws. If anything, the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA) does its best to undermine growth potentials and encourages the wrong kinds of practices that can never take the country forward. Though it sounds very good, kind and generous –even Gandhian – to eulogies the small scale sector that depends heavily on informal labour, the truth is that by doing so we are not really doing our country a favour. Worse, the IDA does not encourage the establishment and flourishing of the organized sector either. Therefore, small or big, our economy is hamstrung by our laws that eventually end up in entrenching informal labour. On the other hand, it is better to move in the direction of formal labour by making sure that even if enterprises start small, their ambition should be to grow large before long. Nobody would ever dispute that informal labour dominates our industrial sector, but they may not know the extent to which it does. The National Sample Survey (2010) shows that about 79% of workers do not have a written job contract. As a consequence, most of them suffer from other attendant disabilities too, such as not being eligible for paid leave or social security benefits (Rustagi 2015: 67). This may test one’s credulity. But 74% of wage workers in nonagricultural occupations earn their incomes in the informal sector. Overall, only about 7% of our labour force is in the formal sector. This does not mean that there is no aspiration among the poor for more formalized working conditions and an opportunity to up-skill themselves. The rise in literacy rates in rural India demonstrates this urge. The 2001 Census shows that, in the inter-censal period,

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the literacy in rural India went up by 14.5% while the rise in urban India was 7.2%. The formal sector cannot stand outside this process; it too has opened its gates for informal labour to enter its establishment, and how. As a result it has been smudged, and not just at the margins, by the dominant presence of informal labour, whose numbers are growing by the day. It has been observed that between 1999-2004 the contribution of informal labourers to the formal sector had grown from 37.8% to 46.6%.This factor is not always appreciated, and or understood, but the figures speak for themselves (National Commission, 2007; see also Srija and Shirk, 2014). That this has happened in the heart of the organized sector and during the period when liberalization of the economy was in full swing (Report on Condition of Work and Promotion: 4) make these numbers all the more alarming. It is hardly surprising then that the numbers of informal and unorganized workers has grown significantly over the years. Using another scale of measurement Sood, Nath and Ghosh demonstrate that the share of contract workers in organized employment has more than doubled between 2003-4 to 2009-10 (see Sood, et. al., 2014: 60); see also Fallon and Lucas 1991; see also Hazra 2001). The Indian Labour and Employment Report (Institute for Human Development 2014) also points out that average daily earning of a casual worker in 2011-12 was just Rs 138 in rural areas and Rs 173 in urban areas as against Rs 298 in rural areas and Rs 445 in urban areas for regular workers (p.4). Interestingly, and along the same lines, non-agricultural units employing less that 10 people has increased by 110.8% between 1980 and 2005 (Five Year Plan 2002-07, vol. 1 Annexure 5.3; see also Statistical Outline of India 2006-7: 35). Finally, as minimum labour norms and standards are really rock-bottom, they help keep labour informal and ‘ensnare the industrial economy in the syndrome of low wage productivity’ (Sharma 2007: 2). Maity and Mitra show how informal labour in manufacturing today is closer to 84.54% (Maity and Mitra 2010: 8-9). It is not surprising then that Indian corporates and the state have both chosen an easier route. This is an urgent situation that needs correction as it is only getting worse by the day. No doubt, labour laws cannot do everything; they need a little help from outside. For one, the BIFR must be dismantled

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(the Finance Minister expressed that view in the 2015 budget speech) and fast speed courts set up to settle labour disputes. Needless to say, as the social security sector is almost negligible in our country, labour laws must take that on board or else workers would be completely unprotected in times of distress. Let us quickly recall that the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), teeming as it is with thresholds of different kinds, makes it so easy and tempting to manipulate. First there is the size of the unit. If it should have 100 workers or more then there are separate set of rules that govern rights of labourers as well as the procedures to close down or retrench. To make sure nothing goes wrong, they doubly secure themselves by keeping most of the labourers on rolls for less than 240 days. That this takes away a basic trust on the basis of which citizenship is built is not entertained with any seriousness. What matters most in these conditions is to make sure that workers do not get what they yearn for the most – job permanency. When labour is kept dangling it causes enormous damage to the well-being of the enterprise as well. Their small-scale orientation and size makes it unattractive for them to build and consolidate a human capital and skill base (see Rani 2008). As workers are not engaged over a long term they find nothing to keep them loyal to the organization, nor make special efforts to hone their skills (see World Bank Report 2006). Put all of these factors together and stir and just one answer comes to the top. Such an arrangement hurts both sides. Workers do not build expertise and, over time, the enterprise loses valuable additions to its human capital, and nobody really wins the war. Moreover, as units are encouraged to remain small, any chance of actually becoming a major innovator in the field can never be seriously entertained.

Enlarging the Skill Base in the Industrial Sector Dibyendu Maiti and Sugata Marjit still doubts on this subject. According to them, where there is weak governance, informal labour and extra legal transaction, the greater will be the wage difference between formal and informal labour as well as low R&D in the formal sector (Maity and Marjit 2009: 17). Under these circumstances, there is, therefore, a clear disincentive towards establishing high technology industries

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which need constant R&D. This is why our industrial sector has not yet matured to the extent that our once poorer neighbour, South Korea, has. Too add to all this, when there is a multitude of small companies, it is much harder to implement standards regarding safety and working conditions (Basu and Dixit 2014) Barring a few, businesses in India do not want a first rate labour force, for if they were to get one, they would not know what to do with it. What we have instead is a plethora of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the bulk of them unregistered (see Annual Report 2013-2014: 33). These units invest zero in R&D, but make a killing by flogging a low wage work force. If MSMEs did well, when the going was good (up to 2008-09), it was because their main edge in the international market was cheap labour. In fact, it is this unskilled labour force that contributes, as we mentioned earlier, about 43% of our export earnings. Finally, consider this factoid: The vocationally trained labour force is a stagnant 5%, in India, but a staggering 95% in South Korea. Today, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and many African countries, can easily out-cheap our cheap labour which, like water, always seeks the lowest level. There is little effort in India to take rural migrants out of their primitive, or original, condition, in terms of their skill sets. From all of this it is clear that the informal sector is happy to draw on low-wage and low-skill labour, with practically no investment in R&D. Even the highly skilled and much acclaimed IT sector spends a fifth of what other countries do on R&D (Gupta 2002). Sengupta and Basu also point out that Indian firms, in the main, find little need to hire qualified people on their rolls (Sengupta and Basu 2012) and not interested in R&D investments. Even the Prime Minister of India, otherwise favourably disposed to business, had to admonish corporate leaders early September this year to take risks, be real entrepreneurs and not behave like consultants who live on salaries. The problem goes much deeper and it is here that we need to rethink our basic orientation. The Indian state must correct, and not encourage the bias, against R&D and creating enterprises that are front runners. Such units will necessarily have to engage with formal labour as the levels of skills that will now be required will demand a different kind of workforce. A beginning in this direction can be made by making

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dramatic revision in the Industrial Dispute Act (1947); particularly in sections 25K, 25FFF, 25(2)(a)(ii), 25(2)(b) (see also http://plabour. gov.n/pdf/acts/inustrial_disputes_act_1947.pdf; accessed on 14 October 2015). It is the pressure to stay within the templates of this law that makes most entrepreneurs think small so that they do not attract the attention of the state, nor of trade unions. This leads to, among other problems, the inability to properly regulate these factories and workplaces. As Basu and Dixit have made clear that the smaller an unit, the harder it is to regulate it (Basu and Dixit 2014). Now, let us take up the issue of whether Indian entrepreneurs really want skilled labour? To begin with, as Subodh Verma points out, only 2% of youth in our country have vocational training. But what about those who have acquired skills through some kind of formal training? Even among this category we find that as many as 65% of rural labourers who had received training in mechanical engineering or computer skills are working in construction sites or in agricultural fields. Moreover, 60% of those who had done textile related vocational courses are not in the labour force (Verma 2013). In addition, Mujumdar (n.d.) draws our attention to the low priority given to skill development in India. The numbers that received some form of training were in the majority unemployed. As far as vocational training institutes are concerned, once again there is a woeful mismatch. If one were to aggregate all the training centres (about 8,800 Indian Training Institutes and 450 polytechnics) then they can, at best, absorb about 3% of the 14 million students that annually pass out from school. In Korea the figure is 31% and in China it is as high as 55% (Mujumdar n.d., see also World Bank Report 2006; see http://www. indiaeducationreview.com/need-vocationalisation-education-india; accessed on 16 October 2014). Under these conditions, what chances are there of creating respectable job opportunities for the millions of workers seeking proper employment? For all of this to fall together as a piece, Kaushik Basu believes that India needs to invest in infrastructure much more determinedly and consistently than it does now (Basu 2014: 7). Axel C. Hettiman also demonstrates the lag India has to make up in this department if it is to be a competing power in Asia is really quite huge. China, for example, spends Rs.5132 on infrastructure per capita, while India

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spends only Rs 752. Germany produces 1.7 kilowatts of electricity per person, India 0.15 (Hettiman 2015). If one were to use China as a measure, it upped its power capacity by 85% between 2000 and 2010 (http://siteresources.worldbabnk.org/INTEAPINFRASTRUCT/ Resources/855084-1137106254308/ResourceReq (accessed on 29 October 2015). Only when investments of this order happen that opportunities for employment in the formal sector also rise. To remain cottage-industry like, producing artisan level wares, thinking like the old fashioned villager, will only encourage handouts of various kinds. The government must snap out this thrall and take bold steps into the future. This can be best done by conceiving projects that encourage employment and high skills and not be satisfied with just keeping the poor alive. It is necessary to open this line of thought if we are to move away from low wage industries to high wage, high skill ones. Even if such a suggestion were to be accepted it is not as if this, like a magic wand, would bring about an instant transformation in the quality of India’s labour force, or encourage R&D. The added complication comes from the fact that it is not as if just the small scale entrepreneur gains out of this. Sadly enough, as we noticed earlier, those workers in the few 100 plus enterprises are also beneficiaries of the Industrial Disputes Act. As they are protected by law they are not really interested in seeing to it that those in less privileged circumstances raise themselves sufficiently enough from their humble origins. If workers’ unions in these industries were to agitate for the formalization of work across the board they would have to give up some of the securities. The one that they want to cling on to is the privilege of never being fired at all, no matter what. This is why an urgent change in labour law was recommended in the earlier chapter. It is necessary that workers not be singled out, and fragmented, by thresholds, either at the level of firm size or number of days employed.

Agricultural Sector, Informal Labour and Horizontal Mobility Even though agriculture in India has long ceased to be the principal occupation it is still a source of livelihood for a majority of the population.

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The agricultural sector is, of course, a very vital part of our economy and where informal labour and disguised unemployment can be found everywhere. This is to be expected as over 85% of all land holdings are below two hectares, and about 67% below one hectare. Area under food crops has also come down between 1950-51 and 2009-10, from 80.7% to 73.5% (India: Key Data. 2007). Naturally, and this is almost predictable, between 1994 and 2001, real investment in agriculture has declined by as much as 20% (Acharya, Cassen, McNay 2004: 216).What is even more impressive is that the economy of rural India has moved quite a distance from being agriculture based. According to the National Sample Survey (66th Round) the percentage of non-agricultural households has increased from a pre-existing high of nearly 32% in 1993-94 to over 42% in 2009-10. Relying on the 50th and 57th round of the National Sample Survey, Omkar Goswami estimates that about 35% of rural households are non-agricultural (Goswami n.d., see also Lee, Dias and Jackson 2005: 28). Equally noteworthy is the fact that the rural non-farm sector contributes as much as 61% of rural net domestic product (http://www.indiastat.com: 58; see also Chaddha 2003: 55). Alongside, we may also note that even public expenditure on agriculture research is barely 0.45% of GDP, while in other developing countries it is 0.7% and between 2%-3% in advanced economies. It is because of the moribund and stagnant nature of agriculture in India that we find a high rate of migration from the villages in search of employment. Migration figures suggest that this surge is primarily because rural India is expelling people because agriculture is no longer a viable option. For example, in just one year, between 1999 and 2000, the proportion of people migrating for jobs has jumped by as much as 15% (Manpower Profile of India 2005: 303, table 6.12; see also see Kundu and Saraswati 2012: 221). As these workers are almost always unskilled they are only good enough to be absorbed in the informal sector, if at that. Between 1999 and 2000, the proportion of people migrating for jobs has jumped by as much as 15% (Manpower Profile of India 2005: 303, table 6.12). Earlier, the major reason for migration was marriage; no longer. The bulk of this migration is from poorer regions like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (ibid: 25, table 1.1.17). According to the latest 2011 Census, 18 new million plus cities have come up in the past ten years,

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but that is just a tiny part of the story. Besides the emergence of these big urban centres, there are 72 new class I towns and about 2774 Census Towns. For the first time the increase in growth of urban population is greater than of the rural population in plain numbers. In terms of percentage, while rural India grew at 13%, in urban India the growth was as high as 31%. It should not be surprising then that over five billion railway tickets are sold every year in India. As anyone who knows this country will vouch, a very large number of travellers journey ticketless. In which case, the number of people using Indian Railways is bound to be much higher. The fact that the proportion of men in agriculture has fallen between 1997 and 2005 is another indication of why people are so willing to up and leave the village (Manpower Profile of India 2008: 186). Young men are leaving their farms in the care of their wives and parents and migrating in large numbers in search of jobs anywhere. This is why the number of female cultivators has gone up, and so has the percentage of cultivators who are above 60 years of age (ibid: 187). Thus while the percentage of cultivators in general is 44.26% when it comes to those who are over 60, the number goes up to 63.36% (ibid: 193, 237) These migrants, poorly trained and desperate for work, will do anything for a living. Thus while there is little vertical mobility, though there is some, there is a huge horizontal mobility. Urban areas, big and small, are where illiterate and poorly educated workers go to in equal numbers (Kundu and Mohanan 2010). The movement of people from village to town and from mud huts to urban slums is most impressive. Given the low level of skills in the industrial workforce, it would not be unfair to say that rich entrepreneurs get wealthy because there are so many poor who are willing to work at very low wages. The informal and small scale industrial sectors are also, and predictably, places where legal norms are hardly ever enforced. That the organized industry is increasingly farming out work to the informal and unorganized sector further illustrates where the poor find jobs once they leave the village. This is in tandem with the fact that the rate of urban growth in poorer states is keeping up with the better off ones, and often higher than the national average.

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Often, they do not leave the village for an urban work place; they may go to another village and find a job in a household industrial unit there. Most of the migration, according to Marius-Gnanou and Morican Ebrard (n.d.) is from village to village. This is probably because the largest number of Household Industrial units is to be found in rural areas (Census of India 2001; H Series; p. 93; table H-1) From 1981 onwards, the Primary Abstracts of the General Population figures in the census show that the numbers of those in Household Industry is going up steadily, both in urban and non-urban locales. Also, and this is significant, more men than women are employed in these units. The more backward the region, the greater is the proportion of men in household industries. In UP, for example, six times more men than women work in these manufactories. In Rajasthan the figure jumps to an unbelievable ten (ibid: Part (II) B 9i) Primary Census Abstract: General Population). This shows that working in Household units is most often the major source of livelihood for these families. As employment in the lowly skilled, unorganized sector is the only kind of work these migrants are capable of, and as this is usually the kind of jobs that are available, it is here that we find the largest concentration of workforce outside agriculture. It is not surprising then that there should be so many leaving for work wherever they can find one. While discussing all of this, let us not forget the contribution of these informal units to India’s overall growth picture as well as to her export performance. We ought to keep in mind that the long arm of globalization goes right down to the rudest hut in the poorest parts of India where a lonely weaver is making a tufted carpet or fashioning a shiny piece of brass. However, it is this horizontal mobility that helps the poor to survive. They move from one kind of poverty to another, and with each move, hope bubbles up within them. Perhaps, tomorrow will be a better day.

Receding Promise of the Demographic Dividend What does India want to be when it grows up? More than 50% of its population is under 50 and about 60% is between 15 and 60 years of age. With so many young people India’s future can only be awesome. So what is holding us back?

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If this population profile is to translate into an asset and become a demographic dividend then the young have to be skilled and qualified. In other words, the economy must keep it coming at all levels. Between 1965 and 1990, Latin America resembled East Asia in terms of its age structure, but only the latter surged ahead because it had proper policies in place. With an educated and trained population the numbers of skilled labour force rapidly grew in East Asia and raised the productivity of those in the working age. In India, sadly, the working class is still quite backward. The Institute of Applied Manpower Research tells us that the percentage of workers who have middle and high school qualifications is actually declining. Even in India’s glamour Information Technology (IT) sector, only a third of its professionals have a formal engineering degree. Instead of a demographic dividend we could well be looking at a demographic drag. To state the obvious: when there are a large number of jobless, or under-employed, youth, crime rates tend to go up. In other words, if there are more young than old it does not naturally lead to development. As Qeiroz and Turra (2010) pointed out, there is a small window of opportunity which must be capitalized upon at the right time. The young population can become a demographic dividend only when social policies shine a light on it. Without such measures, a crowded young set is just a tawdry street away from a life of vagrancy and worse. One, therefore, tends to worry about the recent Census data on employment. The numbers show that there has been a slow fall in the percentage of main workers (those employed for more than six months) and a steady rise in the case of marginal workers (those who are clearly under-employed and or have work for less than six months). This is not good news. To make matters worse, employment in the organized sector resembles a still life painting. Its numbers have more or less refused to budge from the miniscule 30 million or so it achieved two decades ago. In addition, there has been a fall in the number of daily workers in registered factories. This picture too has to change with fairly quick brush strokes for the young to look good. The principal reason why a large percentage of Indians are below 60 is because Infant Mortality Rates (IMR) have fallen on account of better drugs, primarily, antibiotics. Even though IMR in India is 55 per thousand, and much too high by civilized standards, it has dropped

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significantly over the last fifty years. On the other hand, a falling IMR has other consequences. Societies with low Infant Mortality Rates (IMR) do not keep churning out babies. Over a period of time couples realize that they now have more children than they want, or need. This depresses fertility, resulting in fewer births. The time then to take advantage of an overwhelmingly young population is very short, just about a generation or so. It is that fleeting period between falling IMR and a high fertility rate when the iron is really hot. If at this time the youth are exposed to better health, quality education and innovative industrial practices, then the demographic dividend is like cash in the bank. This window does not stay open for too long. Consistently low IMR will soon prompt rational parents to limit their family size. An initial fall in morbidity, such as with a drop in Infant Mortality Rates, causes a ‘boom generation’ of the young. Now what happens with this group of young people is a matter of policy and not of nature. For a long time it was believed that high population slowed down economic growth. It has now been concluded that rising numbers do not necessarily lead to lower per capita incomes. Even the United Nations, which is a notorious slow learner, has woken up to this reality. It has now curbed grants for purely population control interventions. The emphasis among demographers today is to look at the age structure and not just at numbers, especially when linking population with development. This draws our attention to the difference between demographic crowding on account of a birth boom, and a true demographic dividend. It is only in the latter case that a society can stick out its chest for its young are usefully contributing to it.

6 Beyond Interest Enclave Politics Civic Consumerism and Citizenship Aspirations

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here has been a dramatic shift in the nature of politics in India, and elsewhere too, which signals the growing emergence of citizenship pressures on our elected leaders. Time and again, India has erupted with movements which demand better civic services, end to corruption and greater transparency in public conduct. In most instances, these uprisings are short lived for they are usually led by non-professional politicians. It is also true that these expressions of protest are outside party formations and, paradoxically, it is this that lends them such credibility. Unlike the recent past when power struggles were arraigned around cleavages established by producerist economic interests, the emphasis today is quite different. The new brand of politics that we see around us, even when conducted by established parties, is to pay attention to civic consumerist demands. Those that do not and still cling to caste, or linguistic cleavages, do not quite succeed the way they once used to. This is a basic truth: Social Sciences, everywhere, are guided by events and crises. While it is true that academics must keep their heads above the flow of the everyday, this should not mean they ignore the pressing realities around them. It is only by seriously engaging with events we realize that a very significant shift is gradually taking place in politics. Agitations are veering, more and more, in the direction of citizenship, but not yet in a full blown form. Old habits of politics do not die overnight, nor are new trends easily visible at the start. Times are, however, changing and the rush of contemporary events give notice of that. Take a look at the uprisings around the world and feel good that we are indeed part of the global order. Not only have the Tweeterati and the internet altered ways of communicating political

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activism, but the phenomenon itself has also undergone a change – both internationally and in India too.

Limits of ‘Cleavage Politics’ In the past politics was largely about class against class, producers against non-producers, grain growers versus revenue appropriators, rich migrants versus poor autochthones, and so on. In short, democracy thrived on ‘cleavage politics’ when activism depended on the economy’s fault lines to energize itself (Lipset and Rokkan 1967). These then formed the natural political territories of different parties and that is what gave them stability. Nationalism and industrialization added significantly to this and brought about a separation between those at the centre and marginal groups at the peripheries. Even when distances seemed to be clearly cultural in flavour and form, they easily lent themselves to economic livelihood markers. These drew sustenance from the location people held with respect to the factors of production-land, labour, capital, enterprise, etc. It would, therefore, be appropriate to term these prime movers of social mobilization to be ‘factor producerist’ in character. Even when migrants were brutalized by ‘sons of the soil’ the deep answer should be sought in the realm of economic differences. Caste interactions and contestations were also seen in factor producerist (or, simply, producerist) terms – landlord against tenants, manual workers against mental workers, cultivators versus artisans, to name a few binaries. Gender differences too were understood along similar lines. It was crucial to know who works indoors and who works outside, who milks the cow and who trains the ox. What was generally common in these ‘producerist’ themes was that some people had fatter wallets to beat up others with. The world is changing and politics is not as closely pegged to producerist cleavages as it had been in the past. The most energetic political expressions in recent times in India were the anti-corruption movement of 2011 and the unrest in the aftermath of the brutal rape in December 2012. In these instances the troops did not rally around social cleavages, or fault lines that separated classes, communities or estates, but were prompted by the call of citizenship. Anna Hazare is no

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longer as central as he once was just a few years ago but, nevertheless, his imprint remains. Today, there is a growing awareness that the government should be held responsible for the poor delivery of civic services. It was not as if this was a recent complaint, but as the activists said, and large numbers happily acquiesced, misrule had now reached a crescendo. Corruption and political high-handedness were seen as the principal factors behind the popular, public anger against the party in power (the ‘establishment’ really). Nor was this resentment present to any one class, or gender. It was a united front, of sorts, where multiple classes, rural and urban, the highly educated and the not so well lettered, came together to demand, as citizens, services from the state. This movement was also an indicator of another emerging trend. The most passionate political mobilizations today are led by non-party activists and organizations. Instead of the old political categories that clung to cleavages based on one’s location in ‘factor producerist’ terms we now have the emergence of ‘citizen consumerism’. In this emerging altered political format the demands are for services that are promised as part of the democratic contract between citizens and the state. This is what has stunned the entrenched political parties because they were still playing with cleavages and hanging on to old ghosts that were indeed very scary once. In essential terms, this phenomenon is also reflected in the ‘Arab Spring’ uprising; in what happened in Brazil in 2013 around the construction of a football stadium; in Istanbul 2013 when the government decided to concretize a park and build a mall on it; and, indeed, in what took place in recent years in the anti-graft and prodemocracy agitations in Thailand. Categories drawn from factor ‘producerist’ categories are not only of little relevance in comprehending these political mobilizations, but they may well be misleading too. In all such mobilizations there is little doubt that the civic, or citizen, consumerist impulse is what drives these mobilizations and gives them their appeal and diacritic. As a result, producerist ideologies that build on economic themes are struggling to be heard. Perhaps, their day will return, but that is clearly not going to happen in the immediate future. The term ‘consumerist’ should not be confused with the more widely known term, ‘consumerism’. The latter denotes an unending greed to

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buy the latest and aggrandize oneself with possessions that have a built-in obsolescent element in them. Perhaps, it would be best if the term ‘civic consumerists’ were employed for this category demands citizen directed state services for their ‘consumption’. Unlike greedy consumers, the ‘civic consumerist’ centralizes the state, not the market. To a significant extent we now know why factor producerist strikes at industrial centres are now so few and far between. It is not as if factories in India, or even the Asia-Pacific region, are today humming the sweet sounds of contentment (see Macdonald 1997: 13). Yet, it would be hard to deny that industrial unrest around ‘factor producerist’ demands are becoming increasingly rare. Notwithstanding the recent Maruti strike near Delhi (see Annavajhuila and Pratap 2012), rarely do we see a full throated movement of the farmers or of the workers where the ‘producerist’ theme dominates. In fact, the number of strikes has fallen significantly over the years. As recently as in 1979 there were 3,187 strikes and lockouts in India, but by 2000 the number had come down to 771 and in 2006 it was a low 346 (www.theopendata.com/ site/2012/03/strikes-and-lockouts-in-India/; accessed on 20 January 2013, and www.industrialrelations.naukrihub.com/analyses-of-strikes. html; accessed on 22 January 2013).

Misreading Civic Consumerism as Factor Producerism We should, as always, begin with what is most obvious. There is no doubt that the anti-corruption movement or the public outrage against rape, have brought people together, across class and ‘producerist’ categories, like never before. As these participants do not come with specific working class, rural or white collar interests, they are often viewed with cynicism. If the protestors appear rootless then that aspect should be taken into account and not trivialized. Further, as these political expressions are party-free they lack a dedicated band of professionals to keep the organization in working order. This, naturally, reduces the life time of such movements, but when they flourish they are dismissive of producerist cleavages and link across those divides. The easiest way to reject this view is to show that class divisions exist and so do prejudices and interests based on them. Indeed, our earlier chapters give many instances of that. The point, however, is that at the

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political, or mobilizational, level, civic consumerist interests are much more vivacious than factor producerist ones. We are so used to ‘producerist’ grooves that anything that defeats it, or ignores it, makes us intellectually very uncomfortable. That civic consumerism is what drives people to politics can also be gauged from the fact that when established political parties lead demonstrations against price rise or FDI in retail, they look so stagey and contrived. The popular passion to buoy them is missing because the old ‘producerist’ passion and clarity are no longer there. Unless, civic consumerist issues are in the spotlight, popular endorsements will be hard to get. The recent 2014 elections in Delhi can act as a pointer in this connection. What mattered most to the electorates were issues of corruption, rising electricity bills, privileges and perks of those in high office, not to mention inflation that hurts all. None of these issues is class specific, except that it affects different classes with differing degrees of severity. The election results clearly show that, except for those at the rarefied top, everybody else is negotiating through the system in, bad faith. Earlier cleavages such as between rural and urban, or between workers and capitalists, or even between castes, no longer heat politics the way they used to. In fact, when was caste last heard of in election campaigns over the past five years, or so? Or, even when mentioned, failed to gain traction, as in the 2015 Bihar elections. Rural-urban distinctions are not that clear any more, nor do caste ties lock in people with the firmness of the past. If one were pressed to substantiate this point all one has to do is to direct attention to recent election outcomes. The BJP prospered in the 2014 general elections after it had publicly junked the HinduMuslim divide; the Badals in Punjab rarely recalled the Panth; and Akhislesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh dished out computer tablets and not caste war. There are good reasons for these changes to happen. As a sequel, we must also take note of BJP’s quick slide from grace in the 2015 Bihar elections when a spirited attempt was made to revive the Hindu-Muslim cleavage. The trend for aspirations to converge across the country, regardless of class and community, is probably the single most distinguishing factor in contemporary politics. Everywhere, and for everybody, the road to the future is via education, health and civic services. As a result, political leaders are

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now forced to compete against one another in expressing this social urge rather than pitting those on one side of a social cleavage against the other. Dividing voters along old fault lines was once as easy as parting one’s hair, but not any longer. To a significant extent then, it is now a question of how political parties address collective aspirations rather than sectional causes. Experts have yet to wise up, but election previews show that flaunting cleavage in politics does not work that well anymore. Citizens are beginning to vault across social faults to press for a dignified delivery of civic consumerist services from governments of the day. This trend has every potentiality of growing in years to come.

Urbanization and the Emergence of Civic Consumerism Where did the forces that undermined the ‘producerist’ logic emanate from? What has happened in the years between 1980 till now that warrant a fresh examination of reality as well as the conceptual tools to apprehend it? We did not see a revolution, any major convulsion, any clear breakdown of our society, so why has ‘producerism’ lost out? Surely, no one conceptual system will get it right all the time, but why is ‘producerism’ so clearly out of step with what is happening in the streets? Political parties seem unable, or just unwilling, to accept this change, for it hurts certain vital interest groups in them. This, however, is not a burden sociology carries and it can, therefore, undertake such an enquiry without inhibitions. If producerism has lost its symbolic energy, there are good reasons for this. The most important one, however, is the breakdown of the village economy and the growing rates of urbanization. As urbanization in India, Tunisia or Egypt is unaccompanied by adequate social services and delivery mechanisms, civic anger against the governments of the day have grown. It is urbanization without social buffers which is the new melting pot. It is this that is making a hash of old ‘producerist’ categories and uniting under-served citizens instead. Look at the urban profile of some of these countries that are now heaving with ‘civic consumerist’ anger. Brazil today is nearly 85% urban, but was only 46% in 1960. Tunisia, likewise, is today 66% urban, a jump of nearly 30% from what it was in 1960. Cairo houses 25% of

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Egypt’s entire population and half of the country’s urban population and Bangkok is home to over 30% of Thais. Now take a look at India. We had just drawn attention, in the previous chapter, that in the past 10 years, 18 new million plus cities have come up as well as 72 new Class I towns and over 2770 new census towns (see Census of India 2011). For the first time, the increase in urban population, in actual numbers and not percentages, has exceeded that of the rural. A closer examination will also tell us that inside every village there is a town waiting to come out. Both country and town have been gradually moulded by these pressures and have assumed visages that would have been quite unrecognizable in the past. Consequently, it is no longer easy to distinguish between industrial and non-industrial workers, between rural and urban occupations and between residence in village and city. With the coming of liberalization some of the earlier tendencies, such as the pressure on agriculture, have become more tangible. At the same time, with the emergence of the export sector, a large part of the rural workforce has moved quite spontaneously to non-farm occupations. Thus, while their educational levels and skill sets have not changed by much, their locations, both at home and at work, have altered a great deal. Farmers are no longer just farmers in the old sense. They may now be classified, for the most part, as industry and factory workers, but they have recently turned earth with their finger nails. The boundaries between agriculturists and labour are getting blurred and have lost their earlier clarity. When we come to the white collar class, including those with frayed white collars, many of them are barely hanging in. Conversation around their dinner tables is not always pleasurable, nor the fare on it appetizing. An illness, a death, an ambition to study further, can put tremendous pressure on such families. This is why many of those who gathered at Anna Hazare’s rally in 2011, and joined the anti-rape agitations in 2012, came from angry, middle class to almost middle class backgrounds. Many of the young among them had pieces of paper that showed off their degrees, or diplomas, but were either unemployed or employed below their perceived station. Some of them were a few generations urban, others still had home and family in villages, yet their enemies were not sectorized in different ‘producerist’ categories, like landlord

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or capitalist. Instead, they had a common enemy and they see its face in the un-delivering state. How did we get here? Let us start with Rural India.

Why the Rural is not really Rural Anymore India was long considered to be an agricultural society, but not anymore. When India became a free country, almost 50% of its economy was agrarian, but now only about 14%, at a stretch. Of all the sectors of the economy, farm based activities show the lowest rates of growth, sometimes in negative territory as in 2015. Demography and population growth supposedly explain the shrinking size of agricultural holdings but, truth be told, nobody wants to be a farmer any more That this has been happening steadily over the years does not lessen the effect of its cumulative impact on agriculture. All of this indicates that the categories with which we viewed the countryside are not relevant anymore. What is also true is that there is little reluctance towards acknowledging this reality on the part of those who encounter such category blurs. Naturally, therefore, the earlier understanding of rural India needs to be revisited and, perhaps, abandoned. By now agriculturists are ready to accept the fact that their future lies elsewhere, perhaps in cities and town, perhaps also in household and informal industries. If they cannot make it to those places, at least their children should; this probably explains why the percentage of cultivators beyond 60 years of age is higher than those who are younger (Manpower Profile 2009: 233). Most small family farms are clearly being tended to by a senior generation so that their young can go out into the big, wide world. No wonder then that a hallowed and long cherished cleavage distinction is facing rough weather, that is, between urban and rural. Many of our villages would not qualify as rural if the official definition that 75% of working age males should be attached to agriculture. Very often people continue to live and work in villages but are almost urban in terms of their occupational profile. So the earlier line that separated the farmer from the worker is slowly getting erased as well. As a result there has been a tremendous increase in Rural NonFarm Employment (RNFE) all over the country. What was once a

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secondary occupation for most villagers is often the primary one today. The National Sample Survey (66th Round) shows that the percentage of non-agricultural households has increased from a pre-existing high of 31.9% in 1993-94 to 42.5% in 2009-10 (National Sample Survey 200910; see also http://www.indiastat.com/india/showdata.asp?secid=324; accessed 7 August 2007). All of this may have led to greater ‘producerist’ resistance if the opportunities for switching jobs and residence were not there. This is an imponderable ‘if ’ and need not detain us just yet. That the poor could move from poverty to poverty with a change of locale also meant a release of hope and a certain disdain from going back to where they once were. These migrants, poorly trained and desperate for work, will do anything for a living (Kundu and Mohanan 2010). If these rural migrants have been absorbed to some extent in nonagricultural jobs it is because, in India, surprisingly skilled labour is not in high demand in industrial occupations either. This is where ‘globalization’ and its cohort ‘economic liberalization’ have played a role. In particular, one should emphasize the significance that the opening of the export sector after the 1991 economic reforms has had on social relations. It is this that has undone many of the earlier ‘producerist’ categories that had held for decades. It is this again that has allowed horizontal, if not always vertical, mobility for those looking for alternatives to a rural life but without too many skills in the bag. To be able to exit from the village and the demise of old statuses meant the release of new ambitions and in new surroundings. Now education, as we found, has assumed much greater importance for the poor for they see it as a reliable way of edging out poverty and, for many, this has also resulted in upward mobility. For most, however, the piece of paper that they call a ‘degree’ or a ‘diploma’ is not getting them a job. They know enough English to realize that their English is not good enough; they have enough contacts in the world to know that their contacts are not good enough either.

The Citizens Front and Civic Consumerism Social welfare services, from health to education to security and housing are essentials of civic consumerism. As these affect all classes, it creates

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a demand for civic consumerism that is not cleavage based. If any of these services are docketed specially for certain target groups, like the poor, or the Scheduled Castes, they will only attract corruption, and, as a previous chapter has shown, we have a long history of that. When governments rely on such emblematic gestures they only succeed in miring our society in a low wage economy which, in the not-so-longrun will affect the rich adversely too. When it comes to societal well-being, the rich cannot do it by themselves. They cannot reproduce talents endogenously, nor can they buy their way to everything. They cannot escape pollution or dengue, nor can they get state of the art health and education when the general standards in these sectors are falling all over. Where will the talent for good doctors and teachers come from if a bulk of the population is locked in poor schools and hospitals? As a result, India has only six physicians per 10,000 population, whereas China, no leader in the field of health, has 14 (India Human Development Report 2011: 166). Not every teacher or doctor can hope to go abroad, or get a happy position in a private hospital or school. This will obviously deprive these sectors of a regular flow of talent that draws on a wide social base. Consequently, to be a doctor or an engineer or a teacher may not be quite as starry an option as it once was. This will drive the costs for these services in the private sector even higher and the standards of training and delivery at the state levels even lower. That is how closely the world of the rich and the poor are connected through the medium of social services. The most intellectually challenging projects for the future will not be between this or that ‘producerist’ category, such as class or status group, as it has been for a long time. The future that suggests itself to us will test academics and force them to examine and explain how state services reach out to citizens and how citizens view the state. No doubt, these issues will be refracted through categories, but they will not be dominated by those of ‘producerist’ provenance. In such endeavours, the state will be the common point of reference and this will often merge difference between people on several issues. While the citizens are not, and will not be, a homogeneous mass, yet the attention of its different constituents will be largely on the delivery of state services. As a result, the unities between citizens will be much greater than what has been in the past.

7 Space and Non-space in City Master Plans Urban Utilities and Citizen Membership

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he need to move beyond cleavages can also be seen in the way our cities are planned. The first instinct in most cases is to cater to the lowest level of cleavage based on needs, thus giving a wide berth to the imperatives of making cities citizen friendly. Most efforts at town planning in India are aimed towards targeted citizens, but spend practically no time on how important it is to build public spaces first. This is a replay of the other targeted policies we had earlier mentioned. Once we design housing specifically for the poor without linking the inhabitants of these dwellings with the city as citizens, we end up building enclaves and gated communities. The dangers of this are well known, but time and again, this is precisely what our town planners end up doing. A well planned city is one where its residents take a certain amount of pride in living and this goes well beyond base utilitarian satisfaction. This chapter argues that it is this movement from impartial non-space to a connected notion of space that makes all the difference between a good and bad city. For this to happen, public spaces must work in tandem with public aesthetics or else an ugly structure will soon get uglier. At the end, if something is built just to satisfy a certain utility, such as mass housing, without aesthetics and an attention to public space, these units will also decay rapidly. To strengthen this point of view town planning in different parts of the world are contrasted and compared with India. Human beings can leave nothing alone, least of all geography; which, as it turns out, is just as well. Imagine, if that were not to happen then society would collapse. Over and above all else, what culture needs is geography to enact itself. Geography, therefore, is repeatedly put

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on the rack of society, bleeding it, marking it, shaping it, and taking it away from what it once was. The potentialities of this dynamic are almost endless. Settlements, agriculture, hunting, mining, and even pleasurable activities like boating, hiking, playing, are all possible because ‘geography’ is being altered and socialized. Sometimes the changes are perceptible and rapid, but all too often they happen so gently that they escape attention. Concurrent with this is the fact that no matter how great the emphasis that some of us put on culture being lodged in our heads, a sociologist always looks for culture in practice. The moment we do that we realize that cultures are always enacted; and where can they be enacted? In geography, of course! Accepting that implies that we have now converted what was once geography into something else. It has now gained an additional dimension that has transformed it quite substantially. What was once geography is now, for all sociological purposes, a different phenomenon for it is culturally loaded. This is why Lefebvre, one of the earliest sociologists on this subject argued, that space ‘serves as a tool of thought and action…’ (Lefebvre 1974, 1991: 26; see also Harvey 1990: 203). Predictably, sociologists have covered a lot of ground in understanding the nature of this geography transformed by human interactions (see, for example, Lefebvre 1974, 1996; Augé 1995; Harvey 1990) and we can bring those to bear in our understanding of how cities evolved and how they are planned. This task necessarily alerts us to zones of conflict and tension as different people have varying ideas and interests. For Lefebvre (Lefebvre 1996) in addition, the city was something the workers, the underclass and the marginals must reclaim from the powerful elite.

Space, Non-space and Master Plans In such renditions, this culturalized geography is a contested terrain and subalterns must steadfastly resist all state led attempts to control them (see also Foucault 1975:226-30). Here, however, we are not really concerned about the city being a site for a kind of class war, though there is reason enough in India to do an analysis of this kind (Kundu 2003; Mukhopodhyay and Maringanti 2014). At the same time, it is not easy to overlook the fact that the stated aim in most contemporary city

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Master Plans is to include everybody in an ‘Athenian agora’ (Harvey 2005) of sorts. Master Plans today cannot be unmindful of such political consideration and yet it is not as if this sentiment is expressed in a uniform way. At this point we need to get away from Lefebvre, Harvey and Foucault and instead recall Marc Augé who first alerted sociologists to the fact of ‘non-place’ (Augé 1995: 34). His formulation on this subject has provided us with an important starting point which many of the others, mentioned above, failed to do. According to Augé, there are large tracts of our modern, even postmodern, life where we go in and out of ‘non-places.’ While our cognitive apparatuses readjust spontaneously to such transitions, we do not pay adequate attention to the sociological content of what we go through quite routinely. They remain ‘untheorized’ yet occupy a significant chunk of our quotidian world. Non-places are where there is a certain instrumental rationality at work and, while they do their job, they do not arouse a sense of membership, or commitment. Think of an airport, even the best ones in the world. They are actually non-places for those who live in that city will never say that they belong there because of the grand landing and take-off facilities within their reach. Delhi now has a great Terminal, but I have not heard anybody say that this is why their heart beats faster when they think of India’s capital city. Malls can be non-places and so also can some apartment buildings, but there is less ambiguity when we consider office complexes, airports and supermarkets. Very rarely would they qualify to be anything other than non-places as their overwhelming quality is that of instrumental efficacy. As this feature critically defines them moving between nonplaces, such as from one office to another, or from one airport to another, is hardly problematic. In contrast to these ‘non-places’, we can posit the presence of ‘space’ – an area that arouses membership, metaphors and attachment. These ‘spaces’ are inhabited by the heart, as much as by the body; by belonging rather than by rationality. In India, for reasons such as these, villages are often seen as ‘space’ for it is a wrench for many to leave and go to the city for jobs. In many romantic versions of rural bliss, every

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tree and knoll gives the rustic farmer reason to be attached. Whereas the city is a ‘non-place’, par excellence, crowded as it is with buildings and structures that ooze instrumental rationality, it is the countryside where one truly belongs. Of course, all of this is far from actually being true, but the allusion to town and country was made just to emphasize the difference between non-place and space. Incidentally, for the sake of convenience, we shall, from now, on refer to ‘non-place’ as ‘non-space’. Terminologies should not matter, the argument should, hence let the introduction of this neologism not detain us any longer. When we look at contemporary city Master Plans, the difference between space and non-space becomes very significant. In some Master Plans there is a special emphasis on space – where belonging and membership matter; then there are others where non-space and instrumentalities are central. While Master Plans do not quite divide the world, there is, in general, a greater emphasis on space in the west, while developing societies are partial towards non-space. It is because of such realities that the kind of arguments that Lefebvre, et al., put forward where the city is a battlefield between classes appear beside the point. In both cases there is the stated objective, in most Master Plans, to serve the citizens, except that they approach their tasks differently. Once again, it is not as if these two modes are mutually exclusive, but one can sense a certain disposition to one side or the other. Master Plans are often aspirational, yet it is interesting to note the trajectories city authorities take even when dreaming. When non-spaces are uppermost in the minds of planners, the need to create utilities that deliver effectively at the lowest price is obviously the most attractive option. If it is cheaper and quicker to ‘regularize’ unauthorized constructions, or ‘redensify’ existing habitations, start group housing and multi-level parking, etc., then so be it (see Master Plan Delhi – MPD 2021: 31-40). On the other hand, planners are often obsessed with creating public structures that are aesthetically pleasing and aimed to create a sense of belonging to the city. To be fair, it could well be argued that thinking utilities gains urgency when a vast underprovided population lacks the basics. That, however, still leaves enough room to make a choice on how the mix of utilities and aesthetics are to be blended.

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City planners in India seem to have chosen. The compelling drive to address pressing shortages regarding, housing, water, electricity and roads, pushes back all considerations of public aesthetics and public place. The Master Plan of Delhi suggest parks, playgrounds, heritage sites and green belts, but there is no mention of how exactly they will be provisioned and provided for (MPD 2021: 95-102; see also MPD 1962) In the west, on the other hand, we find a more pronounced emphasis on public aesthetics even when planning utility projects. This explains why urban structures in Europe and America often generate a sense of ‘membership’ though many of them were not made for recreation or pleasure. It is not uncommon for an ordinary resident in many western cities to be familiar with the names of architects who have designed a rail station or the entrance to a market square. In contrast, the disregard that characterizes what town planners produce in developing societies may well be because the aesthetic dimension is missing. Structures are ugly to begin with, and their upkeep makes them uglier. As ‘membership’ deficiency is obvious in relation to these planned creations, non-spaces proliferate the landscape of cities like Delhi. Keeping this optic in mind we shall now look at a few, select city Master Plans and judge for ourselves which option they give weight to – the urban utilitarian one or the civic membership one. We must also realize that not all aspects of Master Plans are realized completely anywhere in the world. Master Plans are often aspirational, yet it is interesting the trajectories city authorities take even when dreaming. There will be occasion later to argue about issues such as core citizenship values and how class and economic stratification leave their mark on the planning process. In fact, the Master Plans actually give us a privileged access into how states view their citizens and how citizens are able to impact the state. We might now also ask the further question: is there some kind of temporal progression at work? Does it begin with citizens first getting a nook in the urban sectors, a foot in the door, as it were. Only later, after a lag, do ideas of public aesthetics and civic membership develop? Like the rings around a tree can tell us its age, the maturity of a contemporary urban centre too can be divined from the relationship between its utilitarian and aesthetic elements. To complete the circle, even when

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Planners imagine, it is interesting to know if they are conjuring a ‘space’ or a ‘non-space’.

Domination of Non-place: The Master Plan of Delhi The Master Plan of Delhi follows a route that is not uncommon, in India, at least. The format is fairly predictable whether we are examining the capital of the country or Mumbai or Bangalore. There is a great degree of emphasis on handling urban congestion, human and vehicular, as well as making additions to the cityscape with very little thought to either public aesthetics or public space. There is no doubt that population increase in urban metropolitan centres is a major problem, even if the rate of growth is going down. The numbers are still immense and, by all accounts, the city is stretched beyond its limits, literally and figuratively. The decadal growth rate in Delhi between 2001 and 2011 was 17%, almost half of what the figure was in the previous ten years. This is of little solace because that still makes Delhi a city of over 16 million. It is also a common refrain in the city’s Master Plans that conditions are worsened by the continuous flow of migrants (MPD 2021: 13) and by the presence of ‘pollution/ nuisance’ producing industries (MPD 2021: 10). The class bias is further emphasized by the preference for ‘high tech’ enterprises, which, for some reason, are considered to be neither polluting nor a nuisance (ibid). While there is a bold, and rather brave, attempt to get rid of ‘nuisance’ producing industries (‘noxious’ too; see Banerjee 1975: 1782), there is also the admission that existing ‘nonconforming industrial centres’ should be modernized. Not just that, we must also make room for the vast informal sector as well as for ‘Hawking and No Hawking Zones’ (MPD 2021: 7; see also, 56-57). For further industrial expansion it is best to think of areas outside the centre of Delhi but not without allowing for ‘green buffers’ which must be at least 10 metres wide (MPD 2021: 74). No design has been proposed anywhere for any of these proposals to make them attractive; even the green buffer’s purpose is utilitarian: so that the city can breathe. This is not to say that the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD 2021) is an elitist document all the way. There is a clear commitment in the proposal to allocate about 50%-55% of the new residential units in the city exclusively for the economically weaker section. In addition,

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the MPD also advocates ‘in situ’ slum rehabilitation, which is quite a radical prescription to suggest (ibid: 6, 28). In its earlier incarnations, such a policy was hardly ever taken seriously. This must upset the city’s upper classes whose gated neighbourhoods would now no longer sequester them from the stench and sight of poverty. On the other hand, the better off may prefer that the poor be rehabilitated in high rises in parts of the city that are still unfashionable and low priced. The advocates of such constructions might well contend that as these would be permanent structures, and not flimsy, shanty towns, no political hand can easily wipe it away. While this may seem reasonable, it is equally true that high rises need high maintenance and they can also sever the connections residents have with their livelihoods.

1: Lower Income Group Rehabilitation in Delhi

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The pressure of numbers is not quite tackled yet. The planners have, therefore, further decided to authorize ‘unauthorized colonies’ and ‘regularize them as per government policy’ (ibid). That the government has found it difficult to put its own laws in place is accepted time and again in the MPD, and this is yet another demonstration of it. The guidelines for industrial dispersion were not adhered to either (Kundu 2003: 3530; see MPD: 7) even as views were expressed about their, so-called, nuisance value. In fact, the MPD 2021 is rather unusual for the way it excuses the many transgressions that it is subjected to, time and again (Mukhopadhay and Maringanti 2014: 44-45). Designated ‘green belt’ stretches were not spared either and were routinely invaded by both ‘planned and unplanned developments’ (MPD 18). What is baffling is how such crucial provisions could be repeatedly undermined by ‘planned’ aspects of developments without facing any opposition. At any rate, here is a stubborn fact. About 4.8 million people need accommodation now (MPD 2021: 17), or, to put it in concrete terms, 1 million houses have to be constructed fast (ibid: 31). Initiatives towards ‘redensification’ of already existing neighbourhoods (ibid: 26), group housing, and in situ slum development (ibid: 34) will help, but there will still be an obvious lack of space. All of this put together will take care, at best, about 40% of housing needs which is why it is necessary to urbanize land that is still lying unused and unpopulated (ibid: 31). In addition to all of this, FAR has been handsomely increased and mixed land use too is now permitted in many more localities (ibid: 175-76). What about vehicular traffic? That too is growing exponentially in the capital. It is said there are more four-wheelers in Delhi than in the other Metros of the country put together. This fact is seen rather in the nature of a ‘force majeure’, as if nothing can be done to stem this process. Given the routine violation of the Master Plan, it is probably wise not to imagine that traffic density and size can be brought down in a reasonable period of time. In this context it is understandable why attention is given, time and again, to parking spaces in residential areas after calibrating them with plot sizes (ibid: 3, 45, 108, 125). In the Master Plan of Delhi of 1962 there was a clear instruction that ‘arterial cycle tracks’ be made connecting different parts of the city

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2: Delhi Urban Plan (Delhi – 1400 sq. kms [approx.])

to the Central Secretariat (MPD 1962: 30), but as experience shows, nothing has been done on that front. Yet MPD 2021 again makes similar promises without explaining why nothing of the kind has been done to make Delhi either cyclist or pedestrian friendly (MPD 2021: 117). Elsewhere, the latest Master Plan only concedes cycle tracks in local neighbourhoods-though even that is nowhere in sight – and walkways in Connaught Place – something that has always been there (MPD 2021: 101, 106). The tokenism toward ‘pedestrianization’ is stark for it is limited to just four sentences (ibid: 109). Laughably, ‘public art’, just one paragraph (ibid: 108) It is not as if a future where public transport will increase in size and efficiency is not envisioned; it is and with some passion. The Metro tracks in the city provide a good network of transport corridors that can be upgraded as ‘Influence Zones’ (ibid: 25). If that were to happen then a large cross section of the urban population could walk to the station and take the Metro to work. If development in the future takes shape along these lines, then Delhi will not be as dependent, as it is today, on

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private vehicles. Who knows, in the years to come, Delhi, one day, might well become a pedestrian friendly city (ibid: 109), miracles do happen! At the same time, where are the attempts to get us any closer to these miracles? As far as one can tell, there are no political strategies or designs in place, nor a special team of architects at work. Large tracts of the city are today impossible for pedestrians, let alone cyclists, but MPD 2021 has no plans to correct them at all. No wonder, the promise of making Delhi a pedestrian friendly city gets but 7 lines, in a volume running into over 300 pages (ibid: 108). In fact, the entire issue of ‘urban design’ is covered in less than 6 pages and, that too, in a rather perfunctory fashion (ibid: 104-09). Clearly, the planners are besieged by the very real problems of the city and the instrumentalities of managing them are what this Master Plan is really about. There are far too many people; there is a relentless growth of unauthorized industrial and commercial units; squatters are just about everywhere, and so on. On top of all of that there are serious infrastructural issues, such as water, electricity and roadways. Given these enormous tasks, the planners probably feel that the idea of giving the city a soul, something beautiful, something one can identify with, is secondary. Even parks and green belts are contemplated, but from an instrumental perspective: to give the city lungs; to allow the entry of traffic to homes and offices, and not for the joy of walking in them and calling them one’s own. Even in President Abdul Kalam’s plan of Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (or, PURA) the stress, by definition was on ‘amenities’. Given current village conditions this, by itself, is a good idea to nurse. It would have, of course, been better if the idea of ‘space’ was inserted somewhere in PURA. On account of pronounced self-interests, many of those who actively lobby to alter aspects of Delhi’s Master Plan are also concerned about instrumentalities. That a similar attitude prevails in the Master Plans of other Indian cities too is not surprising, as Delhi takes the lead in this department. This is true of Bangalore as well, though it is often regarded as the ‘garden city’ of India (see Bangalore Master Plan 2015). Once again, there is a nod in the direction of maintaining heritage and green belts, but the emphasis is heavily weighted in favour of housing, industry and roads. Interestingly, it was Jagmohan who, in the Emergency years (1975– 77), often expressed his wish to change Old Delhi (or Shahjehanabad)

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from its present squalid status. To get this done, Jagmohan advocated a mix of sternness and vision so that the splendour of the past could be recreated. He was passionate enough to write a book on this subject and called it, Rebuilding Shahjehanabad (1975). There is a Haussmann like quality in this work, magnified manifold, by his unequivocal disdain for ‘bums and bad characters’ that inhabit that part of the city. This is further compounded by the fact that Jagmohan came over a hundred years after Haussmann (more of him in a while), during which period the world saw a substantive increase in democracy. Nevertheless, he realized that to re-build the Old City was no easy task and could not be accomplished simply by removing the urban poor. However, it must also be said that unlike other planners, Jagmohan believed that a city should ‘stimulate thinking, give rise to ideas, provide ambience to nurture the creative urge in people’ (quoted in Pati 2014: 49). In that sense, he was not completely wedded to an instrumentalist approach to city planning. The serious drawback, however, is that Jagmohan’s aesthetics was at somebody else’s expense.

Domination of Place: Some Master Plans from North America and Europe While we covered only a handful of Master Plans of western cities, what this random search, nevertheless, threw up was how many of them actually thought of public aesthetics. And whenever that happened, there is an accompanying, explicit acknowledgement of the need to instil a sense of pride and membership among the city residents. Oslo’s Master Plan is among the exceptions to this rule, for it resembles, in tone and tenor, the Indian story. Impressive concrete and glass structures can create a feeling of wonder, but not one of belonging. Public aesthetics is active when spaces are created where residents can come together with a sense of rootedness and membership, as in a community. Public aesthetics, be warned, is not limited to architectural wonders that are on view and out in the open. Public aesthetics comes alive when beautiful places are created which people can, and do, use in a number of ways, not least of all, to idle, meet and shoot the breeze. Amanda Burden, Mayor Bloomberg’s appointee as the Head of Planning in New York, is a true

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practitioner of this process. She describes how it is important for a city to not just have parks, but to design them in such a fashion that those who visit it feel it is their own (see www.ted.com/speakers/talks/ amanda_burden; accessed on 25 August 2014). To this end, she emphasized a number of details, not excluding the need for movable chairs and for a combination of aesthetic pleasure and everyday life She also argues that grand skyscrapers, or sweeping plazas make little impact in terms of citizen membership. According to her: ‘Even more important than buildings and cities are the public spaces between them…Lively enjoyable public spaces are the key….’ Beautiful public spaces, that are convenient and handy, contribute fulsomely to a sense of belonging among people and, along with it, a sense of civic pride. It is worth recalling, in this connection, that in the 1811 Commissioner’s Plan of New York, what is today’s Central Park found no mention at all (see http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Comissioners%plan27_Plan_of_1811; accessed on 3 August 2014). As we all know, this massive area, from Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue and from 59th Street to 110th street, is what contemporary New Yorkers perhaps treasure the most. Coming back to Amanda Burden, her crowning glory is perhaps the Highline Park where an old railway bridge was transformed into a beautiful recreational space. The daringness of the job itself strikes people with awe, and then there is the beauty and aesthetics that just about seals it.

3: New York, Park with Chairs (see Amanda Burden)

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4: New York’s Highline Park Courtesy: Epicgenius – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex. phpcurid=35575854

This has inspired authorities in far away Singapore. They now want to add some extra ‘space’ in their city by developing a Green Corridor on the lines of New York’s Highline Park. Here too an abandoned railway track is the chosen site, but it has not quite made the grade yet. However, the plans are ambitious: there is also talk of releasing tigers there, recalling the jungle past of Singapore. Just so these wild animals and human don’t run into each other, elevated platforms for pedestrians are being plotted on the drawing board. It is difficult to say what it will all look like eventually, but the realization that city cannot be only functionally efficient has reached Singapore. The authorities here had gone some extent down this road already in the way housing for the poor are made in this city state. Kuala Lumpur, another great Asian city, has still to consciously make such a decision. As of now, the major emphasis of its planners is to stun the world

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5: Wall Street/New York Courtesy: stock-photo-new-york-city-may-wall-street-may-in-new-york-ny-wall-streetis-home-to-the-new-103350728

with its magnificent sky rises and sweeping plazas where, sadly, there are few places to sit. Downtown Detroit, by all accounts, is a depressing city in its downturn phase, but it was no sparkler either in its brighter days. As its downward slide became increasingly apparent, the authorities there decided to take urgent steps to pull it back from its misery. Interestingly, the job did not begin with raising the level of public utilities but with the emphasis on arts, design and cultural spaces that would encourage community feelings (see www.detroitmi.gov/Portals/0/docs/planning/planning/ MPlan/MPlan_%202009/Executive%20Summary.pdf; accessed on 8 September 2014). Belle Isle’s beauty was further accentuated by these efforts and the abandoned workshop of Chrysler Company, Refuge Gateway, was converted into a spanking park (see www.fws.gov/ refuge/Detroit_River/refuge_units/refuge_gateway.html; accessed on 5 September 2014). In 2004 this area was adopted by Wayne County for re-development, and look at it now. Refuge Gateway has shed its past and become quite the joy and pride of Detroit, as it fully deserves to be.

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Amsterdam (USA), like Detroit, been in decline for over fifty years. Gray and grimy though large tracts of the city might be, there is a conscious effort among its planners not to give in to this given condition. Towards this end, its 2003 Comprehensive Plan places the need to improve the city’s image and create a positive identity as the very first item on its agenda. As a result, the stress is now on ‘nice neighbourhoods, cultural diversity, beautiful parks, great-tasting and abundant water, excellent golf course, and its location as a gateway to the Adirondacks, Saratoga, and other regional destinations….’ (City of Amsterdam 2003: 2). In short, Amsterdam should become the symbol of the entire Mohawk valley. The planners of London, Ontario (not the capital of UK) believe that the ‘public realm is the “living room” of every community.’ Accordingly, it intends to fashion its downtown in such a way that its civic pride can be showcased and that it becomes a ‘calling card to the world’. Obviously, the fame of its namesake in the United Kingdom is a trifle galling. Be that as it may, but how much more explicit can one get? Moving on to Europe now. It is not as if Master Plans of major cities in this continent are alike in stressing ‘space’ over ‘non-space’, but many do. Oslo and Amsterdam (in Europe) do not emphasize ‘space’ like some of the other places do, but focus instead on pollution and carbon print. It may well be argued that this is yet another way of creating citizen membership, something that residents can be justifiably proud of. Yet the fact that there is hardly any mention of public aesthetics in these documents is worth noting. In Amsterdam the concern over pollution began well before many other places in the world. In the early 1950s it started the ‘White Bicycle Plan’ to reduce motor car pollution. Its most recent 2011 plan is along the same lines, i.e., how to conserve energy and make Amsterdam a ‘sustainable city’ (see cityclimateleadershipawards.com/ Amsterdam-amsterdam-smart-city/; accessed on 24 September 2014). Copenhagen planners had a similar objective in mind and accordingly set up a blueprint to make the city ‘carbon neutral by 2025. (see http:// cityclimateleadershipawars.com/copenhagen-cph-climate-plan-2025; accessed on 8 September 2014). In Berlin, West Germany, planners have actually recommended that the airport in Tegel be closed because of noise pollution and not because it was economically unviable (see https://www. berlin-partner.de...Masterplan%20Industrie%20Umsetzungsbericht%20 2011%20(english).pdf; accessed on 11 September 2014).

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Elsewhere in Germany, when things had to be built practically from scratch, a different attitude seemed to have prevailed. Hell fire broke loose in February 1945 when Allied raids reduced Dresden city to rubble. A major casualty was the famous Frauenkirche, the largest Protestant Baroque church in Europe. Dresden went through two days of ceaseless bombing that took away thousands of lives. The horror of it all inspired many historical treatises and novels, including Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5. In the early 1990s, when the citizens of Dresden decided to reconstruct their city, their first thought went to ‘beauty’. They sent out an international appeal for the reconstruction of Frauenkirche to which Prince of Wales responded most famously. Stone by stone the church was re-built to its original shape and size – a remarkable feat, no matter which standard one use. Additionally, it was decreed that all new constructions were to abide by the aesthetic style of Old Dresden and modernist architecture was specifically repudiated. The citizens of Dresden were determined to have their old ‘space’ returned back to them (www.intbau.org/archive/Dresden. htm; accessed on 27 September 2014). In fact, Bernardo Bellotto’s 18th century portrait of Dresden was used as a reference point. The synagogue and the opera house too were rebuilt and alongside Prager Strasse was recreated as a modern public space. The rebuilding of Warsaw also paid attention to restoring its central historic centre and thousands of ordinary citizens helped in this task. It was a kind of ‘group therapy’ (Calame 2005: 38), as the Warsaw comeback was based on the consideration that individual attachments matter (ibid). Contrast these with the Coventry experience in Britain. It was pounded ruthlessly by the German Luftwaffe in 1940. Unlike Dresden, there was a significant section which felt that the time was now right to rebuild Coventry from scratch and forget its historic past. Yet, in doing so, little attention was paid to what the residents wanted and how they could identify with the new city with a sense of belonging. Donald Gibson who took charge of the task is still remembered for creating a thoroughly unimaginative city. He had the chance of making something beautiful that the people of Coventry could feel attached to, but he let it slip by. In the end, Gibson succeeded in making just a vast non-space. Even Hull did better. This North East England city, once a fishing hub and never really a ‘happening’ place, began its re-creation drive in

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6a & 6b: Dresden Frauenkirche (The Church of Our Lady) – before (6a) and after (6b) Courtesy: Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-60015-0002,_Dresden,_Denkmal_Martin_ Luther,_Frauenkirche,_Ruine

the closing years of the last century. It started this process, before all else, with the construction of an attractive city centre that is connected to its many waterfronts (see: www.hull.co.uk/template02.asp?pageid=201; accessed on 10 September 2014). The aim was to create ‘a beautiful,

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prosperous heart for a great European maritime city, proud of its distinguished history and confident in its future….’ (see www.hullccconsult.limehouse.co.uk/file/2056325; accessed on 10 September 2014). Cities can be beautiful, even grand and could be made grander. But Master Plans must also cede territory to public aesthetics where the joy of belonging is allowed to flourish among the residents of that ‘space’. For more European illustration where ‘space’ is on the masthead, let us go to Chartre. This little town, not far from Paris, followed a Master Plan that would emphasize its Cathedral, which is its centre piece. To enhance its appeal among residents, all new constructions there would be near architectural marvels, but with a difference. Many of them would be artfully suspended so that in their commodious shelter leisure facilities and fun options could develop and prosper. Of course, like most other Master Plans, this one too is concerned about industrial locations and highways, but the concern for public aesthetics is up front. Time will tell if they will actually be delivered. Hague, on the other hand, has already created a New Hague Passage in the memory of the historic one to the North. Just to make it special, the project used blue ceramic tiles for which Holland is justly famous. It is also an oblique reference to the same shade of blue in the flag of William of Orange (www.tschumi.com/projects/29/; accessed on 8 September 2014). To Gothenburg next, where there are several visions at work and we are not yet clear which one will eventually take shape. The Gota River inconveniently splits the city in atleast two halves, making an easy connection between the two rather difficult. So what did the City of Gothenburg do? It invited 10 Town Planning Teams from across Europe to spend a week in June 2011 and imagine a new Gothenburg. Many ideas came up, including floating car parks, a floating grass carpet, and floating tennis courts, all of which would span the river connecting the fragmented city in a pedestrian friendly way. So far, just the car parks are sitting on the waters and little else – maybe some day the other parts of such plans will also be realized (see www.centralaalvstaden.nu/wpcontent/uploads/2011/10/GRAU-brief.pdf; accessed on 29 August 2014; see also www.alvstaden.goteborg.se/wp/content/uploads/2012/12/ rivercity_vision_eng_web.pdf; accessed on 24 September 2014). Once again, a hefty dose of public aesthetics on the drawing board, if not exactly on the ground, or waters, as the case may be.

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7: New York 1811 plan

It is, as we have found, that not all important western cities begin with ‘space’ as their leitmotif and a concern from the start. The transition some of them made from thinking non-space to space is a rather contemporary phenomenon. In many instances, as we have seen (Gothenburg and Chartre, for example) these ideas are still in ‘imaginary space’ (Harvey 1990: 219), but in consideration, nevertheless. If one cares to look at the Master Plan of New York in 1811, it was so very unappealing: all grids and rectangles and long lines in between. Even in those days, the city folk there found it ‘monotonous’ The New York of today cannot disown its grids and sinews, but with a generous hand of pubic aesthetics, a sense of membership has come to life in the city. Hitler’s dream city ‘Welthaupstadt Germania’ was to be his capital and, by extension, the capital city of the world. Albert Speer designed it with the Konigsplatz (today’s New Platz der Republik) at the centre, a great hall, a new chancellery with double the number of mirrors as in the Versailles Palace. It was also to have the largest stadium ever, given Hitler’s obsession with grand spectacles. Interestingly, the magnificent and awe inspiring parade grounds that was so central to the plan would be closed to the public and only reserved for affairs of the state. So many wonderful structures and so little public aesthetics! How far Germany has travelled, and New York too, as have many others in Europe and in the west, is surely worth taking into account.

Then and Now: Paris and Bilbao Paris and Bilbao; one a historic showcase of Europe, and the other, a relative new comer, are useful examples to show the difference

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democracy makes in creating city ‘space’. Again, a word of caution: no unilinear causality is being dreamt of here, just an interesting tendency. It is true that Eugene Haussmann’s mid-19th century France was not particularly developed in terms of democratic concerns. Haussmann’s grand plan to rescue Paris from the bags of cesspool it had degenerated into, was done without much thought to the poorer classes who lived in the city. In 1851, the French Senate changed the laws of appropriation making it easy for Haussmann to take over large tracts of land, buildings included, to reshape the city. Three thousand workers toiled night and day for years to make his ambitious plan a success. The areas of rue St. Martin and rue St. Denis, which were the worst affected by cholera, were given a huge make over. At the same time, land was sliced out of the famous Jardin de Luxembourg, not far from St. Michel, to build Boulevard Raspail and its magnificent structures, the Haussmann way. The very thought of eating into park property would be quite unthinkable today; that is how evolved the idea of the public is in our consciousness today. (See Image 4) Haussmann had his critics which ranged all the way from Jules Ferry (the ardent Republican advocate of education) to Emile Zola (1954) in The Kill (or, La Curée). In their view, the old city of Balzac was disappearing and a new one was coming up, with squares and broad avenues that turned out the poor. These concerns were a trifle exaggerated at the time for in a few areas alone, the 1st arrondisement, for example, there was an exodus of the poor. In the decades that followed, Haussmann’s elitist interventions became much more apparent. Over time, as rents climbed, Paris became vertically segregated, with the rich living on the 2nd floor (grand stage) and the less fortunate people, principally their servants, in the levels above. The numbers of the general category of the poor diminished in Paris over a period of 30 years, making it the middle class metropolis it is today. That being said, it is also true that during these years democratic awareness grew in Paris and elsewhere. Yet, as it was still the venue for most strikes and uprisings, for Paris is the centre of France, scholarship tends to exaggerate the appropriation of the city by the rich (for example, Lefebvre 1996). Haussmann ideas and views are hardly on parade anywhere today. What we see are parks and boulevards that are not the property of the rich, or the agents of state power. Even

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so, Haussmann’s ghost is still around. This is especially true when we see the growth of the region outside the central part of Paris, the ‘Peripherique’, where the ragged and not so ragged people live. Incidentally, it may also have been Haussmann’s ghost that energized Lefebvre, Foucault and Harvey, even so, in my view, their positions appear rather staid and dated today. Enter Sarkozy, and this new, democratic and inclusive drive gets enlarged. It now manifests itself in aesthetically connecting neighbourhoods that had for so long been separated. The Grand Paris project stated this objective as the first of the five requirements to kick-start its objectives (see www.invest-in-france.org/.../fact-sheetgreater-paris-december-2011.pdf; accessed on 25 August 2014). The intention, very clearly, was to rid Paris of Haussmann’s ghost, once and for all. If Gothenburg is divided by the river, Paris is by the circle, or the ‘peripherique’ around it. Haussmann, as we just saw played a huge role in this. Consequently, there were parts of Paris that some of its residents saw as being kind of alien to them. Haussmann may have destroyed the Paris of Balzac, but in the century that followed a new middle class had grown and they made the city their very own cultural ‘space’. But the nagging fact remained: the ‘peripherique’ was still not integrated. The lower middle class lived there and many of them were first or second generation migrants. Paris has about 2.25 million people, but the Paris Metro area has a population that is four times greater. Though the heart of Paris is extra-ordinarily peaceful, its fringes are not quite that way. If there is a middle class guilt Parisians carry then it is the way they have kept out those in the ‘peripherique’. In comes Sarkozy and he wants to leave his stamp, and how? Not by building more multi-storey homes for the people of the ‘peripherique’ but by establishing a ring of parks and walkways that would connect different parts of the city easily to one another. Sarkozy’s planners even thought of the impossible task of lifting the Elysees Palace and taking it across to the depressed neighbourhoods of Paris, just to show: ‘we care’. They must have said: ‘Why not?’ After all, the Louvre’s many exhibits were bodily removed, post-French Revolution, from the churches to its more secular location today. They also envisaged a new railway station below the place where Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est presently stand. The land thus freed at the surface

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would be converted into a series of gardens, restaurants, walkways and shops where the public could mingle and idle (see Ourousof 2009). A grand EuropaCity was also designed between Paris and Roissy whose leafy surroundings and open spaces might leave even Paris gasping. This was a classic ‘imaginary space’ of the kind which even Lefebvre could hardly have conceived (see also Harvey 1990: 219). But out went Sarkozy, leaving all these plans in the air and Elysees Palace stays exactly where it always was. Right till the close of the 1970s, Bilbao, in the Basque province of Spain, looked like a wasted industrial city. The large iron and steel mills and the shipbuilding yards had seen better days and were now in slow, terminal decline, with no signs of revival. In 1980, after General Franco died, and democracy came to Spain, the Basques were quick to accept a new role for themselves. The terrorist militants in that province had already caused havoc with their indiscriminate violence which further underlined the area’s economic vulnerability. When the Basque Nationalist Party took over in 1980, a great change happened that altered the face of the region, Bilbao included. First, its members had all the passion of the militant terrorists, but would have none of their violence. Instead, it trained its energies towards developing

8: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao Courtesy: Author

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the Basque country in order to make it a showpiece, not just of Spain, but of Europe as a whole. The first thing they did was to establish the almost unbelievably lavish, and extraordinarily exquisite, Guggenheim Museum. To maximize the impact of this structure it was planted in that part of Bilbao that was probably i1811ts darkest. The idea was to tell the Basques that they could do better than the rest and that poverty and grime need not be their destiny (Crawford 2001). Whereas Bilbao once had just two bridges across the polluted Nervion River that ran through it, today it has over 11 bridges and the water under it is a clear, crystal blue Ploger 2007: 20). There are three sculptures in the centre of Bilbao that best depict how decisively the Basques wanted to symbolize their move away from the past. These pieces are about four feet tall and shaped like crumpled pieces of waste paper; seen together they symbolize the trashing of Bilbao’s past. Today, Bilbao is the leader in public aesthetics and it has used this charter to order where the port should be and where the new steel mills should be located. Stand in the city’s central square and look around you at the hills that surround it and you will still find sheep and cattle grazing in the heights. All that could have been colonized for housing, industry, tech-park, the works, but the Basques decided to let the bucolic ambience stay. They have managed to merge the past with functionality, but without ever giving up on the aesthetic side, which always comes first in their city plans. This is not a story of Bilbao alone, but also of other parts of Basque Spain: None of this could have happened without the determination of its planners to make Bilbao, and other cities in that region, both beautiful and useful. An old wine bottling factory, again in central Bilbao, has been converted into a public facility with a rooftop swimming pool, art gallery, library, a bar, restaurant, auditorium and wandering area. It is open to all and completely free. Architecturally, it is very attractive and those who use it will also tell you how pleased they are with it. Functionality, yes, but not at the cost of public aesthetics. That place is now where the city people meet, take their children to and spend long hours happily inside it, for it can rain for days at a stretch in Bilbao. Its chief architect is a household name and a lay city dweller will tell you the significance of the differently designed pillars of the building.

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9a & 9b: Other Basque Towns Then and Now – Puenta Sorbe before [9a] and after [9b] Courtesy: Barakaldo Pasadena y Presente; publisher Barakaldoko Udal Gorena

Public Aesthetics and Space: Is there a Choice? Engineers, mechanics and artisans make buildings, parks and bridges, but it is people who inhabit them. It is up to the Master Planners and the city authorities then to decide whether to give priority to ‘space’

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or ‘non-space’. The everyday lives of citizens depend on this question. Can they do anything about it? In the abstract, of course, they should be able to, but in the concrete, it is very difficult. These are issues that are usually dealt with at the top, but a lively body of citizens could also exert pressure so that non-spaces do not dominate their lives. As Paris became more and more middle class, the city acquired a sense of space that Haussmann’s grand plans did not quite succeed in bestowing. Of course, New York had Amanda Burden, but Basque country did too, in fact, several of them. It is because a definite vision powered them that these cities have today acquired a strong sense of ‘space’; but would that have worked if these societies were not quite middle class? Look at the transformation of Paris, New York, or Bilbao, and what is it they have in common? In all of them a strong and numerous middle class has come into being and this has made a huge difference to the way things were in their respective pasts. Can it then be said that the idea and practice of creating ‘space’ (by whatever name) is a middle class project which works best when there are middle class people everywhere? Does space come alive only when there is a great degree of commonality between people, and where the basics are taken care of? Only then can we assume that inter-subjectivity has a fair chance of becoming a taken-for-granted social attitude? In other words, must we suffer non-spaces as long as the society is stratified and marked by class and status differences? That is the big question! In India, and countries like ours, the overwhelming burden of town planners is to fix the city so that it can take care of the numbers, both of people and of vehicles. This is what makes infrastructural issues like roads, houses, water and electricity, to name a few, so important. There are poor people out there without a roof over their heads and many more whose future is uncertain, no matter where they may be today. Under these circumstances it does appear contrived and artificial to give significance to ‘space’. Dwellings have to come up fast, roads built in quick times, sewer lines laid, and the list goes on and on. Once the utilitarian aspects of town planning are in place, perhaps then one can turn one’s attention to more the more elevating aspects of space and membership. Convincing though this argument sounds, we need to take a pause right here and entertain an alternative thought. When ‘space’

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considerations are kept in abeyance can ‘non-space’ facilities and structures come up effectively? If town planners feel that city structures and green belts are meant to fulfil a certain function, a straight utility, the commitment to build quality can be easily overlooked. Further, if much of this is to service the poor and under-privileged, those ‘others’, can the thought of creating ‘space’ truly surface? It is worth asking in this connection if the many transgressions to Master Plans are routinely tolerated, and often encouraged, because the city belongs to nobody? Look at the earlier plans of Delhi and you will find violation after violation which later Plans calmly condone. The latest one actually advocates the ‘regularization’ of illegal structures (MPD 2020: 37-40). This is not the story of Delhi alone, but of several cities in India – in all of which the logic of non-space appears almost unstoppable. Master Plans probably need to be thought out differently. Poverty should not be an excuse for ugly functional ‘non-spaces’, for without a sense of aesthetics, nothing lasting and worthwhile will ever get done. Eventually, that hurts the entire society, particularly those who are contributing to the state’s coffers in a number of ways. In the final analysis, we are all ‘citizens’ and the vitality of this status can be palpably felt when we look at, and interact in, public spaces with a sense of membership. As long as projects are for ‘other people’ with whom a sense of membership in difficult to cultivate, non-spaces will continue to fail in their stated intentions. They will not only be ugly, but will soon become dysfunctional and, not much later, a relic, that even the poor would avoid. City planners, in many countries, have taken this attitude head on and ready to combat it in force. They have been busy for some time now in reconfiguring apartment buildings, including those meant for the underprivileged. Moshe Safdie’s demonstration, for example, of how this can be done, and in some cases, has already been done, should get people thinking. Interestingly, some of these plans take into account at least three hours of sunlight coming in, and gardens too. With such awesome ‘spaces’ thrown in, poor housing will not look poor anymore. Note further, all these plans are budget constrained and none of them are big money ‘vanity projects’. The view that low-income homes must necessarily look ghastly should be banished, if not buried. (www.ted.com/talks/moshe_safdie_how_to_reinvent_the_apartment_

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building?utm_source=t.co&share=1dd54978eb&awesm=on.ted.com_ d0USI&utm_medium=on.ted.com-none&utm_campaign=&utm_ content=roadrunner-rrshorturl; accessed 9 October 2014).

Contrasting Master Plan 1962 with Master Plan 2021 While concluding it is worthwhile to spend a little time examining the Master Plan of Delhi 1962 in light of the Master Plan of 2021. This is especially warranted as the Master Plan of 1962 specifically advises that such exercise should be continuous in character and not like episodes of ‘fitful fever’ (MPD 1962: 39). In the earlier Master Plan (MPD 1962), the concern of making the city a beautiful one occurred in the opening pages and with some degree of commitment (MPD 1962: 9; see also MPD 1962: 33-35); but no such concern exists in the later plan, though it promises continuous reviews (MPD 2021: 210). As was mentioned earlier, MPD 2021 does mention the need for green belts and preserving heritage but without a concrete plan as to how that should be brought about. Nor, it needs to be repeated is there any nod towards making them aesthetic. In MPD 1962 there is a specific, and commendable, piece of advice, to make interconnected greenways between residential and office areas to facilitate pedestrian spaces and cycle tracks (MPD 1962: 33, 92). This was a very clearly articulated proposal, but it did not find any application over all these years and, not surprisingly, it is totally ignored in the later plan. As far as making way for cycles is concerned, once again MPD 2021 reiterates what was said earlier in 1962 but without accounting for why this did not happen over five decades and more. In fact, what cycle tracks were available in the 1960s disappeared by the 1980s. When it comes to cluster housing, or group housing, the 1962 Plan explicitly advocates open balconies, if not air-conditioning (MPD 1962: 68), an aspect of comfort, and consideration, totally overlooked in the later Master Plan (See Image 5). Finally, the MPD of 1962 clearly advocated that urban villages within Delhi should not bear a ‘pock marked look’ (MPD 1962: 27) and even gave Kotla Mubarakpur as an example. The latest Master Plan does not even see this as a problem and, if truth be told, it even tends to condone this fact in the name of expediency (see (www.liveindia.com/news/1y.html; accessed on 5 September 2014).

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Thinking ‘space’ and thinking ‘civic membership’ are both contagious and infectious, especially when let loose from the top. Or else, we can wait; perhaps history will deliver us a middle class society one day. We can then crank up our plans on ‘space’ and ‘membership.’ But what if history does not? What then? Should the given not be prodded, cajoled, even provoked to change? But that is exactly what planners are there for. To serve the given is the job of a journey man; planners must be way more ambitious.

Notes 1. Malls may appear like ‘spaces’ for many; especially among the India’s well to do young people who think these are safe areas to meet, away from the watchful eyes of their parents and of gawking strangers. In Malls, the so-called Indian ‘middle class’, find a ‘space’ for themselves, but there are a few problems associated with such an association. While Malls can be a meeting ground for people, with congenial coffee shops, and so on, there is an added complication in the Indian case. Entry to these Malls is carefully manned to keep the ‘riffraff ’ out. The poor and even the lower end of the lower middle classes are often not allowed to come in and, if they do, they feel uncomfortable while there. In that sense, Malls in India do not exactly qualify as ‘space’ universally for the city’s residents. 2. What is quite shocking and reveals the hidden biases of the planners is that they allow for ‘servants’ quarters’ to be as tiny as 11square metres. Should it be more than 25 square metres (which is still tiny) then the area will be counted in density as a full dwelling unit (MPD: 46). 3. Commercial traders made a representation saying that shops and establishments should be allowed everywhere and even on the narrow streets of the urban villages, now included in Delhi – the Lal Dora area (www.liveindia. com/news/1y.html; accessed on 5 September 2014). 4. This aspect of democratic politics was noticed by Henri Lefebvre as well when he argued that in medieval times the importance of ‘dwelling’ mattered only to the superior classes (see Elden 206: 193 ff.) 5. Could it be that the American advisers in Ford Foundation who coauthored MPD 1962 were more thoughtful of this aspect than the later allIndian team that framed MPD 2021?

8 Civil Society and Democracy Bringing back the Citizen

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he study of ‘civil society’ emerged almost simultaneously with an awareness of citizenship. One finds an early statement of this in Hegel and this continues down the line till Rawls, with several other scholars in between. According to this stream of thinking, civil society comes into being when intermediate institutions arise that connect citizens to the state. It is this that makes the state answerable to the public and it is this that forces those in authority to be transparent in their conduct. It is through the medium of civil society, again, that everyday life of everyday citizens finds its linkages with the state, both in terms of policy making and service delivery. In recent years, however, this notion of civil society has been appropriated by several multilateral agencies, the UN funded ones included, that see the matter very differently. For them, civil society is about Non-Governmental Organizations (or NGOs) who function outside the state, sometimes even in spite of the state. In the NGO version of civil society, the state is a necessary evil that has to be circumvented. What happens, as a consequence, is that people are transformed from being citizens to beneficiaries. This is a huge step forward for NGOs and non-state actors, but a big step back for democracy. Most of the significant advances in democracy were stoutly resisted when they were first brought up. Earl Gray, for example, lost initially in his attempt to broaden franchise, but it happened later. Robert Peel, in his first round as Prime Minister, failed to abolish the Corn Law, but managed to do so when he came back the second time. Benjamin Disraeli’s cabinet was full of crusty aristocrats but he set in place far reaching changes in urban conditions and employment terms for

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workers. The Insurance Act that David Lloyd George got going was also resisted by many but eventually went through. In this, the arch conservative, Winston Churchill, backed him to the hilt. Who were the feminists who led the suffragette movement? Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst, for example, were from the elite quarters of British society.

Leadership and Fraternity So your class does not always determine your political interests. We know that Mao Tse Tung wasn’t really a deprived person, but without the help of people like Lin Biao and Zhou Enlai, who came from wellto-do backgrounds, he would perhaps not have succeeded in making the Chinese Revolution. Lenin came from an aristocratic family, as did Prince Kropotkin and, in both cases, they went against the class they were born into. So regardless of background and birth, very often democrats thought of citizenship and not self-interest, and stepped forward to advance fraternity. The riches of citizenship were hidden under mounds and mounds of dirt and filth. But it is the leaders who lead the dig and when you see them in full splendour you are tempted to say, ‘But of course’. At this point I need to draw in a very recent experience. I was lucky that a good friend of mine brought to my notice how the Basque province of Spain had advanced dramatically in 20 years after the death of General Franco. Till 1980, Basque Spain was the poorest region in one of the poorer countries of Europe. Not any longer. It is now second to Germany on most human development indices and occupies the first position in terms of doctor-patient ratio and in the European Innovation Index. Accomplishments of such a high order do not come easy. What was the secret then behind the success of the Basque region? How did it become the most the most shining part of Europe after being way down for decades? The first Finance Minister of Basque province told me that they were able to get their region out of poverty by simply by emphasising ‘citizenship’. At a time when they were desperately poor and under developed, the new leadership, after the dictator General Franco was no more, put their might into advancing health, education, science and research. Most economists would tell you that this is complete madness,

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but the new leaders of Basque believed in a utopia. Once again, it was the sheer energy, determination of the new democratic Basque province that made a difference to the everyday lives of people there. The Basque leaders had to correct years of misrule under General Franco. He even had Basque people bombed in Guernica (in Basque country; and which inspired Picasso’s painting bearing the same title) so that his German friends could test the payload in their fighter planes. It is only after Franco left this world that the Basque people got a chance to breathe free and exercise their will. They chose not to express the historic injustices against them in angry, identity terms, but by showing the world that their democracy is just about the best there is. There is a serious lesson in all this. Very often we argue that we are not progressing because we have a democracy, but so did Basque Spain, and look how they pulled it off. Dictatorships are not usually efficient which is why the idea of wielding a stick and getting people in line is so abhorrent to those who uphold ‘citizenship’. To those of us who are still not convinced, think of the Basque region and read about their progress. It is also democracy that realized the potentialities in the industrial revolution; democracy brought about advancements in management systems that are central to corporate functioning today; and it was democracy again, that let loose the knowledge explosion. So before anybody runs down democracy, think of what it has given us and how extraordinary its impact has been in everything we do (see Gupta 2013 for more details). Finally, democracy is a balance, a fine balance, between the rule of law and the rule of numbers. If it were just the rule of law we could have had a monarchy, dictatorship, anything, but democracy. If it were only a rule of numbers we could have had pure fascism; Hitler, after all, was elected to the post of Fuehrer. In the same way, the modern economy too is a balancing act. It has prospered not because of capitalists but because of ‘entrepreneurs’, as Joseph Schumpeter had pointed out long ago. There is a balancing act going on there as well for behind every innovation, there stands the law in the form of regulation. After all, as Durkheim reminded Herbert Spencer, society always comes before the economy. Is it then too much to ask that we should also like our country to be a leading one not by the force of a stick or blunderbuss, but through

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the mechanisms provided to us by democracy? Foremost among the interventions that are required to take fraternity forward is to provide for universal health and universal education, just as the Basque province had done, and just as the most advanced countries in Europe did years back. There is always the money, as the history of democracy shows us; the point is to use it efficiently for citizenship. Sweden was very poor in the 1930s. It could not feed over a million people during those years, but it was at that time that they started investing in social welfare schemes. This was equally true of Austria after the First World War. Canada’s universal health scheme began in the 1940s in Saskatchewan because of all the provinces of that country this one fared the worst during the war in economic terms. Britain too, institutionalized the National Health Service at a time when its economy was ravaged by World War II. So not having the money to advance measures central to fraternity and citizenship is a very lame excuse. The introduction of welfare services is a matter of political will and leadership and cannot be reduced to crass calculations of where the funds will come from. Should India face a war against a hostile enemy, shall we fold up and say that as our treasuries are depleted we refuse to fight. Somehow, we will find the resources to defend our borders for we cannot allow our society to collapse. Likewise, illness and illiteracy are destroying the core of our country and we must find the resources to combat these shortcomings without looking for excuses. This is along the lines of what Marshall (1950/1990) recommended when he advanced the view that citizenship requires equality as a basis for differences. When citizenship provides substantive equality in the realms of education and health, birth does not matter as much. Under these circumstances, achievement counts for a lot more in the eventual determination of a person’s status. The time for India to take a leap in democracy has come and we should not let it go. Forget about our traditional past, even the country we knew after Independence has undergone immense changes. We no longer live in a land of villages, not only because we are urbanizing rapidly, but also because village India is transforming at a fast pace too. An earlier chapter already alerted us to the fact that about 64% of the rural net domestic product in India comes from non-agrarian

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occupations. In simple words, well above half the economy of the countryside today is not dependent on farm based incomes. Almost every village in India has a number of workshops producing all kinds of things, from brassware, to mirror work, to carpets, to cotton fabrics, and the list just goes on. Nor is it that such activities are taking place in advanced districts of India; in fact, poorer regions like Mirzapur and Bhadohi (or Sant Ravidas Nagar), in east Uttar Pradesh, constitute the carpet belt of the country. The poor weaver there is linked by a long supply chain, and several intermediaries, to markets in London, New York, Paris and Stockholm.

Citizenship and Aspirations The aspirations of poor people have also changed remarkably. As rural India is gradually giving up its agricultural character, parents are investing more heavily than they did in the past in their children’s education. This factor comes through when we note how many people today are sending their children to private schools (see Chapter 2). We also noted there how dismal public health delivery is. It is also quite clear that just setting up a school in a village is not enough; we must pay attention to standards. That, however, will happen only if education is delivered universally keeping citizenship in mind and not just poverty. Likewise, with health. Over 30 million go below the poverty line every year on account of medical expenses. About 25% of ailing people in India do not even seek help because they cannot afford it. In the end, there is this suppressed cry for citizenship which has not yet been sensed by many of us. The scale at which such welfare services are required necessitate state intervention and cannot be left to philanthropic good will. The term civil society, in traditional scholarship, drew attention to this aspect in bold letters. It once referred to institutions of democracy that linked people to the state. Today, in the hands of multilateral agencies it refers to NonGovernmental Organization (NGOs) that are either anti-state or function outside of the state structure. This has harmed the delivery of substantive citizenship for the state has been absolved of many of its basic responsibilities. Why and how did this happen?

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Civil Society and its Vulgarization It took several decades. To begin with, it was important in the newly emerging nation-states to thumb their nose at the west as they also symbolized colonialism. Consequently, several variants of statism became the norm in many newly independent societies. Everywhere from China to India to Egypt we had to catch up with the west and overtake it. And what better instrument was there but the state to accelerate this process. To understand this we must take into account three stages in the relationship between the state and institutions of development. In the first instance the state was the clear agent of change. Then it was accepted that community development, but under state aegis, would get citizens to exercise their democratic rights through local bodies of state governance more effectively. Finally, we have now come to a situation when the NGOs are synonymous with the term civil society. In my view this is where we need to be more discerning and cautious for citizenship is at stake. When newly emerging nations were coming up in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the term civil society did not really enjoy much eminence. This was unfortunate but the insistence in those days was to rely on the state as the major mobilizer of social transformation as the people were still too weak and under equipped to contribute to this process meaningfully. State directed development from above informed the policies of Nehru and Nasser, as much as it did Mao Zedong. The emphasis all along was to deliver economic goods to people without worrying too much about transparency, rights and accountability. In these renditions of development the state was not just the major player, it also wrote the script in which everybody else had a predetermined role to render. Let us also remember that in those years it was politically attractive for newly emerging states to reinvent the process of development and not wait for the slow and steady route which, it was popularly believed, was the western road. New nation-states often undermined, when they did not actually ignore, democratic institution building and citizenship concerns. These, their leaders felt, were much like speed breakers on the highway to economic development. With time the mismatch between promise and performance began to show up giving rise to the belief that lofty mega-structures of the

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state were at fault. They now needed to be broken down into bite sized morsels that ordinary people could handle in a decentralized fashion. Local self-governments that emerged from this thought process were meant to deliver directly. But unlike centralized bodies, if these agencies failed they could be easily held accountable for they were primarily at the village or, at best, district level. This downward devolution of powers was necessary so that citizens could handle their immediate interests without depending entirely on a distant, governmental machinery. However, it was not as if the state structures were being by-passed; they had actually metamorphosed so that both delivery and planning would reflect the popular will. This was the period of Community Development Programme, Integrated Rural and Tribal Development Programmes, and so on. The need for Panchayats to come forward with regular elected bodies was part of this thrust. Soon however it was realized that none of these local level bodies were making a difference in the alleviation of poverty or in setting up institutions that would look after the welfare of citizens by making public goods more accessible to them. Thus, while these institutions were not shut down, it was clear that they were not equal to the task that was cut out for them. This state of affairs continued for several decades and the frustration with the state and its agencies kept growing among all classes. In rural India, the dissatisfaction levels were probably significantly higher, except among sections of the rural elite who cornered much of the privileges that local self governments had to offer. Besides, these agencies had little control over finances and the range of activities assigned to them was quite meagre. Village schools, for example, remained in their dismal condition and received no help in real terms either to afford better teachers and facilities. In many ways this was an unfortunate and retrograde development. It created an ill-advised mindset that only saw evil and incompetence in the state. Western industrial societies, in the past and today, rely a lot more on state agency than what we are often led to believe (see Ch. 2). But by the time India became Independent there were two blocs that divided the world – the USA led alliance and that dominated by the USSR. In this ‘cold war’, truth was put on ice and half truths as well as exaggerated claims of capitalist versus socialist models dominated

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the world of political ideas. Consequently, the facts about state funding in America and other such countries and the extent to which such contemporary institutions in the west depended on public money to establish themselves was lost. What was most unfortunate in all of this was the downgrading of initiatives from the central (or, federal) authority in directing developmental projects that were citizen oriented. Instead, local self government mentality carried on in its distorted condition justifying specific targeted programmes for the poor, and not for citizens as a whole. Quite forgetting its own history, American led foreign policy tabooed state intervention as this was supposed to reflect communistic tendencies. Instead, free markets and private entrepreneurship were encouraged in areas, such as health and education, where diligent and vigilant state control of funds and performance were called for. The cold war rhetoric had an amnesiac effect on America and all that mattered now was free enterprise; that was the unalloyed good and citizens had to adapt to it. Europe still abides by the alternate thesis that states should, at the level of welfare services, keep the market at a distance and adapt itself to needs of citizens. This model of development gradually lost its legitimacy in India within a few decades after Independence. This is because the state, through its rank incompetence and corruption, failed to deliver to its citizens. Consequently, the state sector was equated with all that was wrong and venal. This judgment gradually gained momentum in public imagination and today most of us, uncritically, believe that anything done by the state cannot service citizens, but just a corrupt few. That this is not the experience of large parts of the globe, the European continent, for example, is never fully acknowledged. In those early post-Independence years, however, India was particularly blessed. It had a sterling leadership, the likes of which are hard to find anywhere in the world today. It was, therefore, natural that those who led us through the tribulations of the anti-colonial struggle should be at the helm after Independence. Besides one has to acknowledge the broad demotic support that state led development had in India in that formative phase. If only the state could actually take control of the ‘commanding heights of the economy’, as promised, and not be a limp, leaking sieve, matters may have been quite different.

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Ultimately, it is hard to escape the conclusion that though the first round of leadership that India enjoyed was indeed fortunate, yet it failed on a number of fronts. Today after nearly seven decades of Independence, our record on education, health, housing, and so on, is hardly worth bragging about. The Indian state could have buckled down to work and made sure that the public sector was delivery oriented. At best, after all these years, it still remains, at best, a statement of faith, at its truest, a sponge to soak in unemployable labour. There were mitigating factors, of course, such as the lack of human and material resources, but is that a good enough excuse? What shielded successive governments from large scale criticism of the public sector was the strong ideological bent of anti-colonialism that still reigned over our hearts and minds. Most of us were not convinced that there was any other way. The various Five Year Plans stoked our enthusiasm, and hope, but disappointments kept piling up, especially on human development indices. The public sector took a further beating with Mrs Indira Gandhi. As Prime Minister, she virtually made the public sector synonymous with labour absorption making its efficacy to deliver to citizens secondary. Some of France’s most successful companies are state run, for example, Électricité de France, but for whatever reason, India refused to learn, or be inspired, by such examples. In our case, raising the issue of efficiency was tantamount to letting the side down as if this meant an unbridled encouragement to the private sector. In fact, this point of view was given high theoretical status in a number of works during this period. With time, disenchantment with the public sector grew in India; nor, since the 1990s, did the Soviet Union, a convenient ally for decades, cut an attractive figure any more. What we saw around us was waste and corruption and very little action on the ground. At around the same time Poland wanted democracy and communist bloc put its might to suppress this popular upsurge was just too blatant to be ignored. The fact that the might of the Soviet state should crush genuine democratic expression took away huge chunks of credibility that this country hitherto enjoyed in India. So if the state was all bad, was it time for the private sector to come in? This was a major problem because in the meanwhile capitalism had not exactly covered itself with glory either. Unemployment, lockouts,

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environmental degradation and the swallowing up of great quantities of oxygen by the energy-rich west, stained capitalism too. Besides, those who were looking for an alternative to socialism were not about to fall into the arms of capitalism: that would be too sudden and a bit unseemly too. An appropriate period of mourning was necessary and that is when the term ‘civil society’ was reinvented to act as a stand in.

Non-Governmental Organizations Civil society, in this avatar, no longer referred to institutions linking citizens to the state, but to Non-Governmental Organizations (or NGOs). These NGOs are attractive propositions because they bypass the state, as well as the private sector, though they are open to funding from both. It is this curious combination that made these new ‘civil societies’ so attractive. These organizations were there to do social service and help the poor whom states, like the one India, had failed to do. Nor were these NGOs about to become agents of the market either. The revolutionary urge, so to say, was met which is why many NGOs, till now, have a romantic aura about them. As will be easily apparent, the less effective a state, the greater the presence and attraction of NGOs. The new Civil Society no longer connects people to the state, as in classical theory, they now bypass the state and deal directly with the people. This does not seem like such a bad idea as most politicians in less developed societies are either inefficient or purveyors of corruption; or so, it is popularly believed. Things have now come to such a pass that to remind contemporary civil society enthusiasts of the original meaning of the term is almost bad manners. NGOs, therefore, took on a persona of great significance in recent times because of the general disenchantment with the state. The state structure and the various administrative bodies it spawned seemed very uncivil and uncooperative to the bulk of the population. It served the narrow interests of the upper echelons of the bureaucracy and their close associates in the private sector. For decades enterprises such as Hindustan Motors and Bajaj reaped enormous profits because they were protected by the state in the name of economic sovereignty. Many corporate houses prospered out of this alliance and indeed when the first stirrings of liberalization occurred in the early 1990s

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several industrialists objected to it. When they did this, both individually and through their affiliated chambers of commerce, they probably did not realize they were playing back an old record. This is exactly what Indian businesses objected to in the 1950s in the name of protecting domestic enterprise but which ended up in creating a virulent form of crony capitalism. Other countries, like South Korea, also took this step in the 1970s to safeguard domestic entrepreneurs. Yet the outcome there, unlike India, was higher industrial production, higher savings as well as incredible surges in health and literacy rates. South Korea began from a lower base than that of India in 1950, but today boasts of Information Technology skills second only to USA. In the Indian circumstances, an inefficient state justified the birth of NGOs, and many of them did a lot of good. Of course, their scope was limited, but in their own world they saved many a starfish; not all thrived as a result of their interventions, but some did. On the other hand, if truth be told, many NGOs, were as corrupt as the state they were trying to replace, which was certainly not very good news. Some have also argued that had multilateral agencies like the United Nations not legitimized NGOs as ‘civil society’ it would have taken them much longer to stabilize. The way it all happened was less intrusive; for neither was free enterprise challenged nor the under-performing, over-weaning state. The state had become uncivil, so it was now for NGOs to introduce some civility in everyday lives of everyday people. As a consequence, NGOs found propitious ground for breeding in states that were either weak, corrupt or existed only in name. In countries like India, Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the developing world, where both state level corruption and ennui are like facts of life, NGOs were obviously the answer. Interestingly, wherever societies are economically well off, but otherwise corrupt, NGOs play an insignificant role. Italy has roughly the same level of corruption as Korea, Japan shares a similar position in this regard with Chile and Hungary is as corrupt as Botswana and Uruguay (Chan 2008: 168). Yet nobody would think of NGOs as civil society organizations playing a significant role in Japan, Italy, or even Hungary. It is then not just corruption but economic well-being, in general, that makes or breaks the need for civil societies. As the correlation between poverty and maladministration is very high, countries that

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are poor provide the legitimacy for NGO type civil societies to step in. The state, in such cases, is given a wide berth, in fact, let off the hook (see Murray 2007: 12)! It is against this background that the growth of ‘civil society’ organizations needs to be appreciated. Unlike the earlier understanding of ‘civil society’ the NGOs today are not dealing with citizens as much as with beneficiaries. NGOs have only so much funds and resources for, after all, they are not the state. This is why even the best NGO cannot offer its specialized services to those who are outside its reach. NGOs look upon their jobs as helping mitigate the circumstances of those who come within their zone of activism, but, obviously, they cannot serve the entire society. Hence by the very compulsions of their limited spread they cannot address citizens, but only beneficiaries. Yet, the World Bank, the UNICEF, Ford Foundation and Oxfam, to name a few, are keen to support NGOs who steer clear of the state. In some instances, NGOs are ideologically hostile to any state formation of any kind. One needs to but take a quick look at Oxfam’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, or Ford Foundation’s programme Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom, to appreciate the how these institutions think. But because these international agencies have walked in with their advocacy of NGOs in a situation of ideological vacuum, their rendition of ‘civil society’ has many takers. It is justified as authentic, whereas the state is not; it is justified as friendly to women and the poor, whereas the state is considered to be authoritative and even patriarchal. Not just that, NGOs are often seen as respectful to tradition whereas many wicked, modern states want to undermine, if not abolish it. NGOs step into the breach to salve the hurt of an anguished population whose heritage and history are in peril. On the other hand, is it not better than something be done instead of nothing? The state’s machinery is jammed by corruption and disuse so that if anything has to be accomplished it must come from the outside. Given the immediacy and extent of misfortune that millions of Indians are forced to live in, it would be difficult to turn one’s eyes away and sit on one’s hands. This further justifies NGOs and their functioning. It would be wrong to pick holes in NGOs simply because they are unable to do what the state can do. When people needlessly suffer from poverty, hunger and ignorance, it is understandable why philanthropic, good

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Samaritan sentiments should well up so often. This much is indubitable. What is being contested is the wisdom of allowing the state to withdraw for that metamorphoses citizens into beneficiaries. In the short run, NGOs are lessening the effects of poverty for a few and the conscience of even fewer. In the long run, this attitude breeds an ideological position that bails out the state from being accountable to its citizens.

Beneficiaries or Citizens We need to ultimately make up our minds: are we going to make India a country of beneficiaries or of citizens? If we are keen on promoting citizenships then let us call the NGOs for what they really are, viz., charitable organizations, and not civil society. If citizens are not being addressed then the sobriquet civil society does not appear justified. What needs to be acknowledged is that several NGOs have distinguished themselves as philanthropic entities whose members give their all to help as many as they can. Those who received this aid and support, however, remain beneficiaries, not citizens, for there are so many others like them who are perforce left out. Vijay Mahajan, who started Basix, once a very successful micro credit venture, placed on record his observation that organizations, such as his, could do very little to develop the country as a whole (The Hindu 15 November 2006). It is also true, as we have commented all along, that several state led programmes too can target beneficiaries and not citizens. This happens when the governments becomes dole givers, in one form or the other. The services now rendered are not of quality, but meant really to keep body and soul of the poor together; and the rest of the society stands outside this process. This rationale is an old one, and dates at least as far back as the Poor Laws in Britain (see Chapter 2 for more details). Even in this instance, the poor were seen as beneficiaries who had been saved from a life of hunger and criminal predilections. When the Poor Laws were finally dismantled in Britain they were replaced by policies that strove to deliver quality public goods to the people regardless of wealth and station. This is an important departure for it signals the move British policy made from philanthropy to advancing citizenship. Unlike the older versions of civil society, the NGO kind does not thematize citizenship in any significant way.

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What raises alarm bells is that multilateral agencies bestow on these organizations a legitimacy that lets the state walk away. Politicians are often heard advising petitioners to go to an NGO for redressal for government agencies are like the kiss of death. The World Health Organization, for example, supports health interventions in India that are community oriented, depend on traditional healers and devoted primarily to preventive health care (Djuknov and Mach 1973: 105). The World Health Organization (WHO) would never dream of putting forward such a plan for the developed countries. Where in the advanced world is health care put in the hands of traditional healers? Where in the western hemisphere is health care based on community participation? It is as if poor people can get by with poor medicine, but quality health care is only for those who can afford it. This is essentially a re-statement of the Poor Law of 19th century Britain. One should remember that it is only with the emergence of citizenship that made such laws repugnant in Britain (Marshall 1950/1990). For the record, one must have both Whigs and Tories for this outcome. The ideological shadow then that multilateral agencies cast to undermine the state holds up the emergence of substantive citizenship in the developing world. Worse still, most of us who are so tired of the government readily subscribe to the beneficiary theory of civil society which multilateral agencies, such as the World Bank, WHO and the Ford Foundation, support. Now, as a final piece of irony, politicians are setting up their own NGOs with great enthusiasm for they can become pretty remunerative undertakings. So while they are loathe to work for citizens, they are more than happy to be patrons of selected beneficiaries of their special NGOs. No wonder civil society has become good business. In fact, the more they fail as politicians and functionaries of the state to deliver to citizens, the greater is the justification for them to set up and support NGOs. As mentioned earlier, NGOs came through as champions only in two special circumstances. They won approbation in states that were either dictatorial and authoritarian, or simply corrupt and inefficient. Even when advanced, western societies set up civil society organizations (or, NGOs), their work site is rarely ever their own country, but elsewhere in some far away benighted land. They do not need civil society for themselves for they are full-fledged citizens in their own country. Civil

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Society organizations (NGOs) are, therefore, for those others who the state has bypassed; it is for those who have not been treated as citizens by their own political system. In these lands there remains a stubborn, persistent ideological vacuum. Marxism was done and dusted, and capitalism too rapacious to be idolized, and this left the road wide open to NGOs. Better that, any day, than rounds of unrest and strife for that is clearly an enemy we do not know. In India, NGOs as civil society won immediate acclaim among a wide swathe of intellectuals and commentators. They were then toasted and hailed as thought leaders of the future. But look at it closely: there is nothing intellectual about NGOs and their variant of ‘civil society’ activism. When they are good they are filling in a vacuum, but they become counter-productive when they appear as answers to the future of poor, developing countries. The promise of citizenship is thus pushed back even further and, in essential terms, status quo is retained.

The Indian School of Civil Society However, even now in India it is not as if the scholarly tradition of ‘civil society’ has keeled over and given in to completely populist NGO versions. In India, quite fortunately, academics have not been persuaded by the soft, pulpy versions of civil society and have stayed true to the classical tradition. It is not as if this is without exception, but, in the main, Indian scholars on this subject generally view civil society in the context of a democratic state and citizenship (see for example, Béteille 1999, 2005; Dhanagare 2005; Mahajan 1998, 1999/2003a, 2003b; Chandoke 2003; and Jayaram 2005). If one were to take Jayaram’s extremely competent compilation of essays on this subject, then this trend in Indian scholarship on civil society would come through very clearly. Interestingly, almost every author, some sociologists, some political scientists, is inspired by the classics. Their works are peppered with quotations from Rousseau, Ferguson, Adam Smith, Hegel, Tocqueville, right down to T.H. Marshall and John Rawls. This is why there is a wide gulf between them and those who advocate the touchy-feely NGO variety of civil society. There is probably a sociology that is yet to be written explaining why this should be such a strong trend among Indian scholars. It is probably

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because many of them were born around the time when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister and are still affected by his charisma and promise. For this reason, the compulsion to write on civil society did not arise because a totalitarian state has fallen and a vacuum has resulted from it; nor also because India is a failed state and needs NGOs to back it up. It is quite likely that Indian authors, such as those mentioned above, were actually wary of NGO usurpation of the civil society mantle and wanted to keep the democratic traditions of the concept alive. While there have been many shortcomings in the sub-continent, yet there are enough reasons to hope for a better tomorrow in which citizens and not beneficiaries, dominate. Apart from their insistence on citizenship, these India based scholars (dare we say, ‘Indian School of Civil Society?’) also believe that the state be held accountable on constitutional lines. However, it is not as if these intellectuals work as a team or are in a conscious intellectual partnership. Though they all advocate a citizen-centred understanding of civil society, they have different sources of inspiration. For example, André Béteille depends on Alexis de Tocqueville’s study of intermediate associations and with excellent reason. Tocqueville devotes a clear section on civil society in the chapter ‘Why democratic nations show a more ardent and enduing love for equality than for liberty,’ For him those in a civil society have ‘the right to enjoy the same pleasures… to live in the same manner and seek wealth by the same means…’ (Tocqueville 1969: 503). Sadly, Tocqueville’s endorsement of civil society is not as well-known as it should be. While Béteille may have found inspiration in Tocqueville, many of the others who we are thinking of here, take their cue from Hegel, Ferguson, even Adam Smith. Hegel was probably the most outspoken on this subject especially in his Philosophy of Right. In this work he sets up civil society as an integral aspect of the three moments of freedom where the citizen is central (Hegel 1945: 36, 113 and passim). Others have been inspired by John Rawls’s new social contract theory that draws attention to the difference principle and the veil of ignorance (see Rawls 1971: 105-6, 142-5). Where does this leave the study and practice of civil society today? Advocates of the Washington Consensus, what with their championing of the private sector, obviously have no problems with the NGO version

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of civil society. As long as the state is not pressured to deliver to citizens, and as long as the private sector is favoured to deliver public goods, free market enthusiasts are satisfied. The truth, however, is that NGOs even when they are well intentioned, cannot replace the state and cannot convert beneficiaries to citizens. Once this aspect is consciously articulated a popular, demotic demand that the state be pressured to deliver to citizens will gain ground. If there is any doubt on the worthiness of such a political position, ask yourself, once again, why the US state does not rely on market forces alone for its own citizens? This is why it spends proportionately more on health and education, on farmers’ subsidy and on public bureaucracy than India does. But the most important realization that will follow from the rejection of the NGO brand of civil society is that the public sector need not be inefficient at all. This realization comes to the fore only when the citizen is not dismantled for beneficiaries. It is not only important to be mindful of western scholarship but of western empirical reality too. It may be also be noted that in late 19th century it was France, no less, who looked to America for instruction on public education. During the New Deal years again, Europe deliberately sent experts to pick up lessons on social services from the USA. There is then a large dose of double talk when USA today advises other countries to depend on the private sector for delivering social services. This is why the state should not be let off the hook no matter how disappointing our experience has been so far with our governments and with state-run agencies. Recall once again that the best schools, universities, medical colleges and hospitals, energy providers and transport system in France are public owned. They are some of the most outstanding in the world and there is no reason to doubt their competence. It is time to go back to the classics in order to go forward down the road towards embracing citizenship. As long as civil society is linked to NGOs it will only be a charmed circle of beneficiaries who will be the target group of their activism. Calling out to citizenship not only puts the state under pressure, but leads to a greater emphasis on social equity as a hallmark of public life.

9 Social Science and Democracy An Elective Affinity

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he relationship between the social sciences and democracy is very intimate; it is very difficult for one to survive without the other. This explains why in some rich countries, but which are not democratic, social sciences tend to do very poorly. At the same time, it is not as if that in such places there is no increment in knowledge; there is, but in the non-social science streams. This affinity between social science and democracy is so intrinsic that one may even say that there is an elective affinity between them. Even a quick examination of contemporary economics, political science, sociology, even history and philosophy, will show that they can prosper only in democracies. None of these disciplines draw their charter from tradition, on the contrary, their rationale is actually based on the modern concept of citizenship. They are, therefore, not western-centric branches of knowledge as much as they are ‘citizencentric’. Ever wonder why social sciences, including philosophy, flourish today only in democratic societies? There are many rich countries in the world; Saudi Arabia, China, and Russia, for example, but their social sciences are in a miserable condition. Interestingly, there has been a resurgence of social sciences with the return of democracy in many Latin American nations, such as Mexico, Chile, and even Colombia. Now that Cuba is opening up somewhat, let us see, if in the years to come, it becomes a significant contributor to this sphere of knowledge. What makes this issue even more interesting is that many of these rich and powerful, but non-democratic states, have indeed made great strides in the exact sciences. China and Russia can match the advances in electronics, physics, medicine, transportation, and in a whole lot of

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other associated areas, with the best worldwide. Bring in sociology, political science, economics, even history, and these countries falter and fail to make the grade. This is not an overt defence of these disciplines; maybe some societies are happier without them and do not even notice their absence. Nevertheless, it is hard to evade the conclusion that it is only in democracies that social sciences are pursued actively. The question then is: Why is there such an ‘elective affinity’ between the two?

Neither Western nor Eurocentric Alongside, we must also consider the charge that social sciences are western oriented and, therefore, their categories make little sense in Asian and African societies. The concepts they employ, the questions they raise, are of little meaning to places like India, for instance. If this were true, then to argue, as we just did, that democracies alone have developed social sciences could be masking a more superficial prejudice. Democracy now becomes just a cover for modern social sciences to appear culture-neutral. In actual fact, however, they are only addressing purely European or American cultural and historical concerns. It is this line of thinking that has prompted many non-western critics of social sciences to delve into, and promote instead, indigenous categories. In their view, a corrective of this sort would not only be more authentic but would also expose the universalistic pretensions of the social sciences. Before we give in to this conclusion, we must remember that the social sciences are a recent development even in Europe and America. The themes, theories and terminologies they work with are very removed from their earlier indigenous, or traditional, forms of thought. When these knowledge systems first came about, they were novel in those parts of the world as well. They drew none of their analytical powers from the intellectual conditions of medieval, or even, late medieval, Europe. Take, for example, the concept of secularism. Secularism is not a term that can be found, in its current form, in traditional Europe. The secularism of today came to life well after absolutism was dead and buried in that continent. This term does not simply mean the separation of church from state, as is popularly understood, but actually stands for a system where an individual is free to decide what is true. Even after the church was spectacularly undermined by King Henry VIII,

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secularism did not come to Britain. The Pope had been humiliated by the state, surely that should have been the beginning of secularism? But, no! Secularism had to wait for a few more centuries before it could really make its entry on the world stage. If at one time, knowledge came from the church and nobody dared challenge that source, now it was the state that took over and did just about the same. Those who asked questions, just questions, nowhere near offering alternative points of view, were severely persecuted and prosecuted by absolutist rulers. The famous astronomer, Tycho Brahe, advised fellow scientists to keep their instruments light as they may have to flee at a moment’s notice (see Koestler 1990: 290-97). There was no telling when their patron, the monarch, would be upset by them. Interestingly, some of the medieval astronomers actually masqueraded as astrologers to win the favours of the rulers under whom they served. Therefore, when some Indian scholars argue that secularism is a western term what they forget is that it appeared very late even in Europe. It truly came into its own when beliefs, knowledge, information and viewpoints were freed from a superior agency’s reach and did not need its sanction. It was not enough for truth to shift headquarters from the priest’s pulpit to the prince’s chamber. The transition from: ‘this is true because the church or the king says so’ to ‘this is true for me because I believe it to be true’ took a long time to surface. It is only after this became, more or less, standard practice, that we might begin to accept the arrival of secularism and, with that, of modernity too. As long as knowledge was a lump of beliefs that was handed down from above, whether church or state, secularism was out of the question. It had to wait in the wings till the conditions were right for the individual to ask the all-important question: ‘Before I believe what you say, prove it to me’ (Mannheim 1936: 31). While all sciences need secularism to thrive, the need is the greatest in the social sciences because here we are studying people in action. Their lives do not remain static primarily because the contexts they live in differ vastly across the globe and in history. Regardless of time and place, water always quenches thirst, rainbow always arcs the sky and burning fire always brings both smoke and light. None of these require democracy to appear, nor have they changed in any way after its arrival.

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Democracy as ‘Other’ Seeking and ‘Error’ Seeking In the social sciences the situation is vastly different. Before democracy, the context for the pursuit of social sciences just did not exist. Nor were certain kinds of data, that are the staple items in modern sociology, political science, economics, and so on, even available, or considered to be valid. Social sciences were born when a new context came to the surface and when a new set of facts became relevant for the first time. It is this twin thrust that together propelled the growth and advance of the social sciences. In terms of context, it is now relevant, no, essential, to frame observations with the understanding that what others do impacts on the self, even defines it. This aspect, which is so central today, did not actually exist with the same kind of valency and weight in the past. In earlier times you had communities, groups, solidarities, tribes, castes, affines and blood relatives, living, for the most part, within their confines, but we had no society. For that to emerge, it was necessary that wide ranging interactions happen across these primordial frontiers, on a regular and institutionalized basis. As this took a long time coming, it stands to reason that social sciences, that expressly studies such societies, too arrived only recently in human history. When there is society people need to connect outside their immediate sphere of influence where familiarity reigns on the basis of rules that are inward looking. As Burckhardt, the 19th century Swiss scholar of the renaissance noted, the adage: ‘Parma rejoices because Cassius sleeps within its walls’ (Burckhardt 1990: 107) rang true in medieval Europe as well. With the coming of society, it is no longer possible to remain tightly bound within pre-existing groups and categories. From now on, the awareness of the ‘other’ becomes pivotal to the constitution of even one’s self. In a democracy, the salience of this context becomes all the more significant in everyday, routine behaviour. No policy or economic initiative can now take place without considering a multiplicity of interests, even those originating from less privileged quarters. This is why it makes eminent sense to characterize Britain’s 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act as a major step in the establishment of democracy.

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From now on labour was no longer confined to parish run poor houses, but could move freely in search of jobs. In days, when there was no ‘society’, the past and the present mingled unproblematically, only to be disturbed in times of war. This explains why historians often argue that though India saw many invasions, the basic structure of society remained the same. Let us not forget, not just wars, there were revolts too; but even these revolts did not make a substantial difference to routine lives, and the past soon re-established itself. If there was any awareness of the ‘other’ it was one of hostility and distance – not one where it was necessary to make common ground and realize freshly negotiated relations. If truth be told, this practice does not come easy and must be ingrained by a democracy that is ever vigilant and constantly on guard, lest we fail. So much for context, let us now turn to how democracy brought to surface a new, grand fact. From now on we must accept human beings as rational goal seeking actors, who are liable to make ‘errors’ (Parsons 1959: 46). This became possible only when democracy set in place universal laws which compelled everybody to accept the general rules of interaction, leaving actual choices open. Therefore, an error which does not violate the universal law, is acceptable, even encouraged, for that is what allows for innovation and enterprise in all fields. Innovations outside the context of universal rules are more like adventurism and cannot be properly integrated within modern societies. Those who are intrepid enough to break the norms and bonds that conventions impose are the only people capable of such daring performances. It is only when adventurism is normalized does innovation come into being and for this to happen it is essential to have universal rules in place. It is only after this universality sets the outer limits of what cannot be done that a new world opens up. Now we are faced with a number of choices but we are also liable to making a number of errors too. This is a welcome price to pay; it is only when one is unafraid of making errors, do innovative things happen. The best example of this is in sport. It is hardly a coincidence that sports came into our world only with democracy. In tradition, people played games, frolicked, had fun, but did not engage in sports. The transition from games to sport came with the establishment of

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universal rules. These were known to everybody in advance, including the spectators, and applied equally, to all players, regardless of birth and social station. This, in a microcosm, is what democracy does across social fields on a much wider scale. The referee blows the whistle not when a player commits an error and, say, fails to kick the ball into an open net, but when the striker fouls and trips the goal keeper. What does this imply? The answer is clear but not always appreciated. As individual errors are not penalized as deviant behaviour, there is always scope both for improvement and for innovation. As long as the universal law is not violated, all errors that respect its boundaries are actually welcome. Who knows how many errors Michael Jordan made before he perfected his art of leaping in stages? Or, take Mohammed Ali: his famous ‘rope-a-dope’ tactic came out of his admission of the errors he committed against younger and stronger boxers in the past. It can well be the case, that actors make an error, in their own estimate, in the selection of ends too. It is only when errors find structural acceptance that they can often evolve to bigger things that the world had hitherto no inkling of. This in turn forces us to accept that there are many ways towards attaining certain ends, provided they are allowed for by the universal rules in place. Think of sport again and any confusion on this question should disappear. With democracy, therefore, it is not as if there is just one ordained way to doing things and that everybody must take just that one route. Obviously, some of the ends and routes chosen to attain them will be in error, and that is the name of the game. Now there are different ways of raising children, leading a married life, choosing jobs and professions, making friends, and the list goes on. In the past, these choices did not exist; in fact, one did not even have friends – only relations. Notice closely the intimate connection between allowing for errors, even error seeking, and the awareness of others as aspects of the self. Errors do not affect the pure sciences the way they do the social sciences. In a laboratory, an error can be sequestered and even hushed up, but this phenomenon would fall in the realm of the ‘sociology of science’. The facts as seen in a test tube or petri-dish, or particle accelerator, or whatever, are not in error; it is another matter that an analyst might make mistakes in reading them. In the social sciences, however, errors constitute the empirical material itself, and that makes all the difference.

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It is, therefore,  in  this thicket of trial and error that human beings commit that social scientists find their facts. Making a mistake may be unfortunate from a personal point of view, but from a disciplinary perspective of the social sciences they are absolutely fundamental raw material. It is because these ‘errors’, and their fall outs, happen often enough that social scientists get both their data base and their concepts. Democracy then is the necessary condition for the emergence of social sciences, for it is only now that acceptance of errors within universal rules becomes unexceptional. Even when some find it difficult to break with traditional prejudices, they are constrained in public life to keep their primordial instincts on hold. This begins, first and foremost, from the admission that if we can make errors ourselves and choose another route, then such opportunities should be available to others as well. Differences do not just lie with other people; they often lie within us too. This immediately reveals the distance the present has moved from the past; we can now, for the first time, understand the gravitas behind the term ‘tradition’.

Economics Imagine yourself as an economist in a pre-democratic society. You would hardly know what to study and what concepts to use. For all practical purposes, the market was known and buyers and sellers of commodities and services were pre-fixed and tagged from the start. Medieval ‘karkhanas’ produced for a defined category of buyers and for this skills were certainly needed, but not enterprise. It is only after we acknowledge that others contribute to the economy that we can even conceive of something like the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact, it took a while for this fact to toil its way to prominence. Though it was being talked about from the early decades of the last century, it was only after World War II that economists agreed on how to standardize and measure it. GDP is not out there in the real world, it is an abstract idea whose worth became noticeable only with the awareness of ‘others’ in the economy (see Coyle 2014: 47). Nor was there really an option earlier to make an ‘economic’ error within the system. It is for this reason the phenomenon of risk taking did not arise either, because buying and selling was either an outcome

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of custom or of patronage. There was no ‘hidden hand’, no market disequilibrium, no errors of judgment that led to economic swings and bankruptcy. If people managed to fall on bad times from a position of wealth and privilege there were just about two routes open: finance a losing war or get bested in a game of dice. Conversely, win a war and win a fortune and win yourself a position at the top of the hierarchical pecking order. As an economist again, where is the room to look at matters like ‘entrepreneurial skill’ for that implies taking calculated risks? In the past, neither was land easily alienable, nor labour free to move around (recall the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act), and status was defined from the start. If we take them together, it is easy to realize why economics as a scholarly discipline, with its challenges and puzzles, had no place in pre-democratic times. The term ‘hidden hand’ is now used freely, but Adam Smith employed it only thrice. Though he had coined the term he did not run riot with it for the time was not yet right for its robust application. By the early decades of the 20th century, however, this phrase was hard to miss. It was used all the time because it sat well with an entrenched democracy and, its cognate, a risk taking economy. Not just that; when we think of the ‘hidden hand’ today we find that these words have gained a symbolic aura that spills well outside the disciplinary margins of economics. As errors take place in a context where multiple interests interact, as they should in any true ‘society’, a democracy must eventually conduct its economy with this sensitivity. Therefore, while the market tells us how the hidden hand operates, occasionally the exposed hand of the state is necessary to keep social equilibrium in place. If the economy rights itself again, it is simply because the basic principles that govern economic transactions still remain firm. If the government were to break this code and give in to the interests of one class or the other, then it will take that much longer for a hurt economy to heal. In essence, this is also what Goran Therborn argues, but from a Marxist perspective (Therborn 1978: 242-3). This again reveals, in bold, the salience of the two all important features of democracy, viz., awareness of others, the cross cutting of interests, and the admissibility of errors Even while calculating the marginal utility of any factor of production, there is scope for errors because every constituent of the

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phenomena in question is not homogenous. Change the composition of the factors and new numbers come up, but who makes that all important decision on the mix of land, labour, capital and enterprise? The error prone business person! That sometimes this individual succeeds, is because the system allows for errors in its governing principle. Economics, as a discipline, would not have a leg to stand on if it were not for the basic principle that people make mistakes in judging how others will behave. Flip the coin and we can also find several instances when entrepreneurs made the right call and won. Sometimes there will be miscalculations, sometimes, spot-on decisions, but at every turn there is a risk of making an error at the individual level. This feature is present at even the highest echelon of the economic establishment in a democracy. Is this the right time for quantitative easing? Should the exchange rate be pegged at a certain level? Should that be against all major currencies, or just a few? Course corrections occur on all such decisions and sometimes things may go completely wrong. In a totalitarian economy, unlike a democratic one, the scope for such instances is severely restricted because most things are administered. That being the case, decisions are taken from above and we have a re-play of the dominance of ‘objective knowledge’. Once again, this leaves the individual with little chance of contemplating an economic option with the assertion: ‘prove it to me.’ When was the last time you have ever heard of a good economist coming out of dictatorial and non-democratic society? There are a few you could name, but all of them tried hard to figure out if there was any scope of reconciling a free market within a totalitarian economy.

Political Science The situation with political science is all too obvious. Democracy demands that there be universal franchise where everybody votes. That this took some time to evolve does not take away from the fact that authority comes only with popular mandate, freely exercised. Political Science, as we understand it, would lose its entire raison d’être if the first categorical distinction between power and authority were not to be made. Look closely, for it is here that the overwhelming sense of the ‘other’ manifests itself. Power can be exercised without

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a true society coming into being; alien rulers and invaders can issue diktats that force people to do their bidding. There have been countless studies to suggest that in medieval and pre-modern times, the source of power was a distant monarch whose rule was exercised by local satraps. For this arrangement to be realized it was not required for rulers to be aware of other people, just keeping track of hostile potentates was enough. Once we make the transition from studying power, or even influence, to examining the roots of authority, we are face to face with society where other people count (see Weber 1946). For power to become authority, it is necessary that it be acknowledged as legitimate even by those who may not have voted for the party, or parties, that head the current government. Democracy not only accepts the multiplicity of interests in society, it also considers this fact to constitute its necessary condition. Yet, on all occasions, conflicting views and ends must be expressed within the framework of free and fair elections. This is important, for no matter which party wields authority, it does so, not in the name of God, or King, but People. In order to succeed, any authority seeker must balance the conflicting interests of the agriculturists, industrial labourers, the white collar class, and so on. The list is actually very long, for almost all of these fractions have sub-fractions, which, in their totality, compel those in politics to pay attention to ‘others’. Botch that up, make mistakes with these numbers, then you are done for now and can, at best, live to fight another day. This brings us directly to the issue of error admissibility in democracies. This feature is writ large in the very nature of popular elections. Regardless of how charismatic a leader may have appeared in the past rounds at the polls, the future of such people is never certain. In a democracy those in authority can never take their elevation for granted. As voters can change their minds, and are even encouraged to do so (error correction), you can be on the saddle one day, and unseated the next. Once again, for political science, it is imperative that errors be admissible within the system so that people can make and unmake mistakes, but within a bounded set of rules. Without democracy, no choices, no elections, no recanting and no antiincumbency factor, either. In fact, if one is not allowed to make

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mistakes and then correct them subsequently, elections would be a total farce-something of the kind that happens in North Korea, or in monarchies and theocratic societies. Let us take a further step. Why is it that only in democracies the study of the constitution is so absorbing and that there are so many experts who devote their life’s work to this subject? The answer, very simply, is because these documents are, at the very least, open to amendments. This is a clear admission that even hallowed founding figures can make mistakes, and big ones at that. They too can commit errors, hence the amendments. These changes too are not final and can be subjected to further re-thinking. If the constitution were written in stone, like the tablet of Moses, then there would be only worship and no political science. This is why constitutions make it a point to leave enough room, and procedural directions, for amendments. Obviously, the authors of these texts realize that they too are prone to committing errors, and these might well be spotted by later generations. While all democratic constitutions allow for amendments, in no case will they tolerate a dilution of their foundational principles. Democracies often present these binding constraints under different rubrics. If in USA they are called ‘inalienable rights’, in India they are clubbed as ‘basic structure of the constitution’. But, no matter what the term, it is almost certain that such restrictions will always be there. It is, therefore, within these constraints that amendments are allowed, but in every case, after considerable discussions at a number of levels. As the constitution lays down the basis of universal laws, care must be taken that any amendment to it does not affect the sanctity of its being.

Sociology Let us now turn to sociology. This discipline’s primary objective is to refract phenomena through classes, categories, genders, occupational groups, and so on. If we are discussing marriage, then we must look at it in terms of its actual practice by refracting it through categories, such as those mentioned above. Depending upon the theoretical point that is being pursued, different layers will become important: sometimes caste, at other times class, or even religion, occupation, and so on.

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This demands an awareness of ‘others’ in the first place, or else such an exercise in refraction could never be conducted. It is on account of refraction, of the kind just mentioned, that sociology is able to resist popular conceptions of reality, more specifically, the aura of essentialism (Berger and Luckmann 1967). If sociology were not to conduct such exercises, fixity in form and presentation would have characterized all social phenomena, rendering them unworkable as scientific variables. Further, essentialisms allow biases of all sorts to thrive unchecked, which is why the first enemy of sociology is every day, lay theorizing. Consequently, sociology is a science that self-consciously digs deep into the comparative method (Béteille 2002: 102). In doing so, it is not just variations in space, but those over time, too, that become relevant for examination. This forces the scholar to be dispassionate and critical, especially towards what is closest to one’s heart. Take away this method from sociology and we will immediately be grounded by such stark relativism that it would be impossible to converse across contexts. It is through comparative studies we get to the understanding of the general features of a social phenomenon, whether religion, marriage or social preference. Alongside a new standard has also come in place and that is the awareness of how context makes for the difference in the manifestation of social facts. This is why it is not difficult either to demonstrate sociology’s link with democracy. As can be easily surmised, it is in the awareness of ‘others’, the context, that this discipline most ostensibly defines itself. In this case, it is not the realm of authority, or wealth creation, that is uppermost, but how people interact within and across cultural borders and economic boundaries. It is this attribute of deliberate refraction that allowed sociology to be a pace setter in a number of areas, most notably, the study of social mobility. Briefly put, sociology is a subject where relations between people matter because the whole is, very explicitly, greater than the sum total of its parts. However, if we are not living in a democracy, where is the freedom to refract and ask those questions most relevant to the discipline? In a monarchical, dictatorial or theocratic dispensation, those in power would wonder why such an exercise was being carried out in the first place. Without the freedom that democracy allows, any enquiry along these lines runs the risk of being labelled as subversive. A democracy,

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on the other hand, finds nourishment from such investigations. This is because all aspirants to authority must compete against one another in trying to gauge how best to represent multiple interest groups. A misreading can happen here. Sociology might create the impression that it is activist in orientation, or that it prompted by policy makers and their immediate interests. Nothing could be more incorrect. At the same time, it is also true that those in democratic political circles can profit from sociology. They can learn about the tensions inherent in a social setting and also apply the results of refraction that sociologists are so adept at performing. If policy makers want a complete picture of the nature of the problem they are dealing with, they can turn to sociology. If, on the other hand, sociologists are tempted to work at the behest of activists, they would taint the refracted data to suit nonacademic interests. Whether or not activists are attracted to sociology, this discipline is best equipped to handle the all-important question regarding the direction of change. This issue always succeeds in generating redhot contestations on all sides and that, more often than not, obscures the view. It is here that sociology can help in plotting out the options available such that we move steadily towards being a more inclusive society. In operational terms, this translates into greater participation, and greater tolerance of differences and errors. At the very heart of sociology, it may be recalled, nests the proposition that people make errors, but also try to correct them, in seeking goals through means not pre-determined. The point, by now, has been made and there is little advantage in labouring this issue by bringing in history and philosophy. In essence, the same argument holds, with some nuances, of course, that take into account the particularities of these disciplines. History, properly speaking, is an obsession with the present. We do not look at the past for past’s sake, but from the vantage point of our finite lifetimes. In this process we realize that all heroes have feet of clay, and no era, or age, however triumphant, is actually golden. The critical mind inflicts itself on our scrutiny of bygone periods and forces us to bend to the democratic context. It is this that makes it possible for us to accept flaws of the past and how earlier epochs have influenced social relations in the present. Without this, history

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would be a colourless chronicle, or a colourful hagiography – in both cases academically useless. Philosophy, likewise, went through a tremendous transition with the coming of democracy. Even till the late nineteenth century, the major problem that concerned thinkers like Immanuel Kant was to figure out what makes the ‘self ’ a ‘self ’. How does the self perceive, acquire consciousness, appreciate art, think abstract, think aesthetic, and so on. However, from the time of Hegel there was a spirited emphasis on the relationship between ‘self ’ and ‘other’. As society and democracy began to matter, it fell upon Hegel to first raise the issue of civil society as a complement of ethics (Hegel 1945). By doing this Hegel showed us how ethics was a contemporary phenomenon and vastly different from what we take morality to be. Ethics is primarily about giving dignity to those we interact with even when we have not been properly introduced. Regardless of a person’s origin or circumstance, the ‘other’ is always an aspect of the self. Nor can a man any longer look at his wife and children as property; he must now consider them as free citizens. After Hegel, the self was no longer alone because the ‘other’ became its constant complement. This then set the framework for debates about what was ‘correct’ practice as far as citizenship was concerned. This concern dominates contemporary philosophy even today. Habermas, for example, believes that the only real context for today’s lifeworld is the public space (Habermas 1987a). Or, think of Levinas (Levinas 1998) for whom ethics was always about the ‘other people’. The ‘self ’ which, in isolation, ruled western philosophy from Descartes to Kant, now has had to make room for the ‘other’. This transformation should not be read as accommodative, but rather as constitutive, because philosophy today clearly admits that there really is no self without the other.

Not Euro-Centric but Citizen-Centric It is time now to tie in the various strands. If we accept that a democracy signifies a concern for ‘others’ and allows for errors being committed, then we are really talking of ‘citizenship’. Citizenship is really ethics writ large and it is this aspect that forms the corner stone of the basic statutes of democratic law and governance. Our constitution and our

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penal codes are premised on the acceptance of ‘others’ as being ethical agents, ontologically similar to ourselves and complements of our being. By the same token, if a citizen commits an error that does not impinge on the citizenship freedoms of others, then there is room for self-correction. Law swings in only when freedom of ‘others’ is trampled upon by the wilful activity of those who seek goals with means that are contrary to the tenets of citizenship. Social scientists, however, go further. They try to strengthen citizenship for they realize that in doing this they would also consolidate their respective disciplines. This is why one reads with appreciation Jürgen Habermas because we find in his writings ways of advancing the cause of the public via a congregation of citizens. Or, when John Rawls advises policy makers to hypothetically go behind a ‘veil of ignorance’ and try to imagine how the worst off could be best served (Rawls 1971: 1055-56; 142-45). Can we say, in fairness, that these are concerns that are ‘western’? It is true that scholars in Europe and America may have first raised such issues; perhaps, they also worked on them with great vigour. Yet, when we read their contributions why is it that they make sense to us? India may be backward, may be poor, but because we are democratic we can see the first glimmers of citizenship and, without consciously willing it, we want to acquire it in full. We satisfy this urge by enquiring into issues such as that of urban and rural existence, of life in factories and fields, and how diverse linguistic groups and castes interact. These investigations are based on an indefinite range of actions that are ‘error’ prone because they strive to integrate the self with the ‘other’. An ambitious exercise of this sort would be impossible if fallibility, at every step, were not allowed for. It would then be fair to suggest that our social sciences are not west oriented, or Euro-centric, but are designed to enquire into social conditions that only democracy can create. By the same token, it is democracy that allows economics, political science and sociology to coexist happily and with profit. All of them depend on the same context, viz., society; and all of them must accept the grand fact that errors across all relevant social actions. It is not surprising then that we, in India, have several world class sociologists, economists, historians and political scientists in our ranks. This is because we function under conditions, and with concerns, similar

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to our counterparts in the west; why, we ask very similar questions too. And because this is an old tradition too it has worked here but not elsewhere in the subcontinent. Euro-centric problem is a colonial one. Now, what is wrong about that? And why should that be Euro-centric at all? When the ‘other’ becomes so central, and when the acceptance of ‘errors’ is routine, then we are actually talking about citizenship. In other words, the strength and depth of a democracy can be judged from the strength and depth of its social sciences. Take away democracy and watch sociology, economics and political science get wasted as if on barren soil. Without going into detail on this subject, it is indubitable that democracy and citizenship are of a piece and you cannot have one without the other. Perhaps, autocratic societies can boast of a higher standard of living for those over whom they rule. Let us also grant that on some fronts such societies are richer, stronger and the health status of their population is enviable. However, if we are thinking of freedom of choice, the openness towards ‘errors’ and the ground level realization that others impact the self, then these conditions are available only to citizens in a democracy. Consequently, it would be incorrect to characterize the social sciences as either Western or Eurocentric. If anything, they should be seen as citizen-centric, perhaps even citizentric, disciplines.

10 Citizenship as a Social Relation A Critique of Multiple Modernity

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odernity is much misunderstood for it is all too often linked with morphological factors such as factories, cars, technology, sky scrapers, urbanization, and so on. While these are definitely cohorts of modernization, they too do not bring out the depth and profundity of the concept. Modernity, properly understood, should be about social relations and not so much about things. This is the way it is for all other sociological concepts, so why should it be different in the case of modernity. Once we change our perspective and examine modernity as social relations we realize that its scope and reach are best arrived at when linked to the notion of citizenship. Some of the hallmarks of modernity are achievement based identity, transparency in public affairs, accountability to stakeholders, all of these overlap with the most elementary understanding of citizenship. All too often, instead of exercising patience and analytical discretion, some scholars have gone ahead and put all that is contemporaneous as modern. For example, if the technological advance of a society is high, then that society is designated as modern. Obviously, modernity now has several, incommensurable axes which logically leads to the proclamation of multiple modernity. This term is a misleading one for it takes away the distinction between modernity as a social relation and modernity as a set of things. Unlike most other thorough bred sociological concepts, modernization is often defined in terms of attributes and not as relations between people. This is quite contrary to the spirit of Sociology where all dominant concepts have a strong interactive aspect. Capital, for instance, is not just a sum of money, but it brings together workers

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and owners of capital. Likewise, authority is understood as a relation between the ruler and the ruled for brute power is now legitimized making it possible to study politics across historical periods. Kinship terms, of course, are all about social relations; a wife is not a woman and a father is not just a man. The list of such sociological concepts is very long, yet modernization often suffers as an analytical term for it is frequently associated with ‘things’ and not examined as a phenomenon that calls out to social relations.

Morphological Modernity For example, Daniel Lerner (1958) saw modernization emerging as a consequence of the mass media, literacy, ability to vote, a high population density, a free market and a growing movement from fields to factories and from rural to urban. But now we know that such an understanding hardly takes into account the fact that patron-client relationships can persist across town and country and from fields to factories; in voting behaviour and indeed, in market relations as well. Lerner’s ideas on this subject are not unlike Hoselitz’s position that modernity lives in cities (1953). Morphologically again, Marion Levy Jr. (1966) picks on technology as a defining feature of modernity. According to him the ‘definition of modernization hinges on the uses of inanimate sources of power and the use of tools to multiply the effect of effort....A society will be considered more or less modernized to the extent that its members use inanimate sources of power’ (1966: 11). Does this make all industrial societies modern? Would North Korea be a modern society? Would Saudi Arabia be modern, indeed would all of India be modern too. Alex Inkeles (1969) also emphasized factory work, but stressed another morphological trait strongly, namely, education. Yet, do we not know scores of educated people becoming jihadists and Hindu sectarians? In recent times, morphological, or trait oriented, definitions of modernity got a powerful boost from S.N. Eisenstadt. Probably recognizing the trap that such treatments of modernity were falling into, Eisenstadt declared that modernity should not be seen singularly, but in its plenitude. He declared, in a famous article published in the Daedalus, that we should not be discussing modernity as much

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as multiple modernities (Eisenstadt 2000). This certainly made the old attribute seeking conceptualization of modernity rest easier, but Eisenstadt was actually shifting the burden from one to many. Apart from the old saying that security lies in numbers, the truth is that the idea of multiple modernities made backward countries, continents even, look good. Arabia, Asia and Africa gazed happily into the mirrors they were holding up to themselves and saw ‘multiple modernities’ everywhere. Now they were vindicated: we all had our own modernity, so who was to tell whom about which route to take or what goals to aspire for? This allowed Eisenstadt to calmly slip in fundamentalism as a variety of modernity along with the nation-state and globalization (Eisenstadt 2000: 16). A cold assessment of this view should reveal a monumental categorical error which local patriotism and cultural chauvinism do not want to recognize. What the term multiple modernities essentially does is that it confuses all that is ‘contemporaneous’ with all that is ‘modern’. This may seem little more than an oversight to some, but its consequences are quite damaging. Multiple modernities takes the heat off backward, atavistic and downright dictatorial and illiberal regimes by making them appear as if they were kindred souls with established modern-democratic societies. Eisenstadt goes to the extent of calling Jacobinism a modern phenomenon so that hard dictatorships can use this label and hide their backward policies and attitudes. Yes, Jacobins used violence for political ends, but just because they appeared in late 18th century Europe, does not make them modern. Nor by extension, can nationstates, as nation-states, be considered modern either. What Eisenstadt needs to reflect upon is that some of the most intolerant regimes with immobile patriarchal and ethnic values are also viable nation-states.

The Modern and the Contemporaneous The root cause for the confusion that multiple modernities generates lies in its inability to distinguish between the ‘contemporaneous’ and the ‘modern’. The contemporaneous is event based and is understood in terms of all that happens in the here and now. Modernity, on the other hand, is a sociological concept that is not limited to the immediate but

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is rather tuned to the conceptualization of relations between people. Eisenstadt’s treatment of the subject is focused on the contemporaneous and brings out the worst elements of earlier studies on modernity. It does so by italicizing morphologies and not social relations. Inkeles, Hoselitz and even Marion Levy Jr., tended to flit between morphology and social relations, but as they did not make the category distinction clearly, modernization got a rather simplistic rendition in terms of attributes-urbanization, literacy, free markets, overcrowded cities, gun wielding fundamentalists, nation-states, and so on. How then does one rescue ‘modernity’ from such ill-conceived and half-baked conceptual formulations? Simple: by emphasizing relations between people. It is not as if most of the scholars mentioned above are unaware of Talcott Parsons, or Max Weber or Karl Marx, it is just that they have not put the contributions of these earlier scholars to work in a full-blooded fashion. This is why they tend to get carried away by the immediate charms of the given and the commonplace. If one were to take our lead from Parsons, Weber and Marx (and they have many noteworthy disciples), it would soon become apparent that modernity is as modernity does. This is especially so when we examine this concept in terms of how it orders social relations. In such a scheme of analysis, modernity would gain credence from the fact that it emphasizes universality of rules and norms and transparency in public affairs. Once we put these relational elements together, intersubjectivity, or the ability to see oneself in others, becomes an obvious consequence. When social relations exhibit these attributes then it is about time they are called modern, whether or not they have conquered the highest technological peaks. This is why it is hard to group North Korea, parts of the Middle East, or those who once hid behind the old-fashioned ‘iron curtain’, as modern. Where was transparency and universality in those countries? Consequently, there was no room for inter-subjectivity either. If Parsons and Weber support the ideas of inter-subjectivity and universality, Marx’s demonstrates that all market relations are not actually transparent. In other words, entrepreneurial freedom does not necessarily entail inter-subjectivity. One should in fact go quite a few steps further. From Hegel, to Marx, to Weber, to Husserl to Mead to Habermas to Levinas, sociological theory has consistently stressed

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the relationship between self and other. If that be so, why should modernity be deprived of this privilege and only be understood in terms of attributes which are not relationship laden?

Inter-subjectivity and Citizenship Once we begin to associate modernity with ‘inter-subjectivity’, ‘transparency’ and ‘universality’ it will immediately become clear that we are talking of a project at work. If we are emphasizing relations as being all important, it is simply because we have seen urban spaces, education institutions, factories and even elections, unable to wipe out traits of the past. Cultural bigotry not only persist but has, on many occasions, been strengthened, giving rise to the spurious allegation that modernity support fundamentalism or ethnicity. Patron-client relationships continue to thrive through the so-called ‘free market’ bringing in all kinds of economic distortions. Worse, by pegging modernity to the attribute of ‘nation-state’, dictatorships can now claim the mantle of modernity simply because they are fiercely nationalist in their disposition. As we have seen so much of all this in recent decades, the innocence of the past, when modernity was only morphologically understood, needs to be overcome. In this context, the notion of ‘multiple modernities’ is not just wrong, but actually dangerous. It gives the worst regimes reason to gloat in a ‘modernity of their own kind’. When modernity introduces ‘inter-subjectivity’ it enables, as John Rawls once said, ‘to share in one another’s fate’ (Rawls 1971: 102). This breaks down the forces of patron-client relationships and creates a citizenry. When thinking along these lines, it is almost impossible not to recall T.H. Marshall time and again, especially when he insists that citizenship confers an equality of status, upon which structure of inequality may be built (Marshall 1950/1970; see also 1977). Further, once we enter the modern age, these relations between people are universalized such that rules of interaction envelop all social actors. As modernity gives this attribute a definite legal status, an individual can also be seen as a formal and substantive bearer of certain institutions of which the person is a part (Giddens 1991). In a modern society then, one will always trust institutions more than people, for the former embodies relations on a societal scale.

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Ultimately, it is this that enables a modern person from giving into the compulsions of patron-client ties. In other words, a modern society should not allow exclusive access to institutions that allow us to gain socially valuable assets, or skills. If that does not happen, patron-client relations naturally begin to dominate, making a travesty of modernity and citizenship too. In a modern society, if a person falls sick, the hospital is universally available; if a child needs education, the schools are there; if a rule is violated then regardless of who is involved, the guilty will be punished. This compels patrons to quietly fold their tents and go elsewhere. This also encourages inter-subjectivity in social relations for attitudes of distance and domination are subdued by the forces of modernity. The individual stands supreme in a modern society, but not in a selfish fashion, seeking only personal satisfaction. This individual is now constrained by an institutional setting which embodies the interests of society in a transparent, inter-subjective way. It is because an individual must function within such universal constraints and norms that the best in the person comes to the fore. A person is challenged to play by the rules and this invariably makes one perform way better than what would have been the case if such norms were not in place. If this is difficult to understand, just think of sport. If Michael Jordan or Sachin Tendulkar are so great in their own disciplines, it is because they played within a transparent and universal set of rules. Had they played cricket or basketball by idiosyncratic, culture based norms, they would hardly have been the super stars they now are. It is because a modern society is universal in nature that its most obvious characteristic is inter-subjectivity. This inter-subjectivity is the unconscious, untheorized, unthought out way we see ourselves in those around us. This is best exemplified in the respect that is given to others in social interactions even if they appear as anonymous personages. This ethical anonymity can only be achieved in modern societies as they are blind to ethnic and other ascribed traits and instead depend heavily on the transparency with which universal norms are upheld (see Gupta 2005b: 9). This is what allows for the emergence of intersubjectivity in social relations without people having to think about it in a self-conscious way. It is this inter-subjectivity that Marshall

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captured in his own fashion when he discussed citizenship, which has been mentioned a little earlier.

Errors of Multiple Modernity What does the term ‘multiple modernities’ do instead? It does not take up the question of universality, transparency or inter-subjectivity but allows for violence, bigotry, religious wars and deep wounding weapons to colour modernity. That it manages to do this with such facility is because it equates the modern with the contemporaneous and clouds popular judgment. It is tempting to mock at the clustering of inter-subjectivity, transparency and universality and ask: ‘Where is this modern society? Is it just in our heads or does it have any empirical substance at all? Those who sneer at the relational aspects of modernity forget that there is no such thing as a pure of anything; there is no pure fundamentalism either. Nor is there a pure capitalism, a free market or even a perfect relationship between mother and child. Modernity is a project that has achieved greater success in some places and less elsewhere. This obviously implies that there is a telos of modernity – a general direction that can be foreseen but only if certain conditions are upheld (see Annexure). Even if a society would uphold universality, transparency and inter-subjectivity, the fidelity to such aspects, will be differently expressed in different climes and regions. This does not mean ‘multiple modernities’ either, for a singular telos runs through all these variations. A little care will show, that in all definitions there are certain features that are unbending which allow a society to be designated as capitalist, or democratic or, as in our case now, modern. If the conditions for transparency, universality and intersubjectivity are not present, or present weakly, or present but constantly compromised, then that society is way back in terms of modernity. If on the other hand, many of these conditions are met strongly enough, we have a more progressive and modern society. How modernity expresses itself may be different but it must abide by the three conditions mentioned above. In some cases, a modern society may not want to give any space to members of the government having anything to do with religion, as in France; elsewhere, a modern society

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may prop up a titular monarch, but that head is governed by democratic law, as in Britain. America and Japan have their own varieties, as do Spain and Portugal, but when we come to North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan or Libya, one has to draw the line. Though each of these countries are contemporaneous (they also call themselves ‘modern’ and ‘democratic’), the social relations in them are so weighted against the relational tenets of modernity that they just do not make the grade. They would pass off if the generous criteria of ‘multiple modernities’ were to be employed, but then, modernity will have lost its conceptual edge. Multiculturalism, like Multiple Modernities, is an affront to modernity. In multiculturalism, it is not the individual who is at the centre, but the community, race or ethnic group. Will Kymlicka argued some years back that the ability to observe different kinds of community practices enlarges our levels of choices (Kymlicka 1995: 121-23). That much is true, but what is troublesome, is that if some cultural practices offend the rights of the individual, as they often do, which side should we then opt for? Diversities can only be accepted if they do not negate the rights of the individuals that guarantee true citizenship and allow for the emergence of inter-subjectivity. If Hindus and Muslims do not have the same access to acquire socially valuable skills, if women, regardless of their religious background, cannot seek justice when patriarchy violates them, then there is no justification at all to call the circumstances within which these happen as being even remotely modern. It would be incorrect then to argue in terms of cultural rights because groups do not have rights – only individuals do. On the other hand, it is perfectly legitimate, from a modern standpoint, to articulate cultural policies so long as they do not infringe upon individual rights. So, at one level we have rights and at another policies, and the distinction needs to be kept intact. We cannot allow diversity, as Bhabha seems to advocate (1991: 208), a free run for that would then enliven attitudes that are inimical to modernity. Rajni Kothari once felt that it was only by observing tradition that it was possible to enact ‘human governance’ (Kothari 1988: 3) forgetting that some of the most atrocious acts against fellow beings existed in tradition and in many cases there was just no recourse against them. Kothari’s heart was in the right place: he had seen democracy in India put to use to squash civic liberties in the name of majoritarianism, but the answer he sought was wrong. If only he

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were not to equate modernity with everything contemporary, he would have probably attempted to take India away from tradition, instead of succumbing to it.

Multiculturalism in a Democracy Multiculturalism is a residue of democracy, but not its governing principle. It arises from policies that allow people of different communities to observe their tradition, but under strict conditions. What multiculturalism in its best form does is to invite everybody but nobody is preferred. This takes the stuffing out of discriminatory prejudices and makes all individuals, regardless of their provenance, equal players with equal access to socially valuable assets. This can only happen if the basic common denominator is individual rights based on the three principles of modernity, namely, universality, transparency and inter-subjectivity. Multiculturalism, as a policy, is the collateral beneficiary of modernity and cannot pose as its competitor, or stand apart. It is only because modernity, and its activist cohort, democracy, are culture blind, that culture gets room to play and express itself equally with other cultures. This is why democracy is such a difficult social arrangement as it is not at all in keeping with our native traditions, cultures and prejudices. Claude Levi-Strauss had drawn attention to how human beings spontaneously give cultural differences a natural colour such that the ‘them’ can never be like the ‘us’ (Levi-Strauss 1969). This anthropological truism holds through time and space, even the most rudimentary stone age societies observe it. This is why democracy is not a spontaneous phenomenon that can be practiced without effort, but requires constant surveillance. As democracy puts citizenship and fraternity in the centre, it rejects, in principle, our given prejudices that emanate from old cultural practices that separate people on a perennial basis. Democracy without modernity would be just a majoritarian game, in which case, it is pure nationalism. In that event, all old histories of blood, soil, territory and remembered historical humiliations come to the fore. This is why it is not correct to equate modernity with the nation-state as some scholars had done, and discussed in earlier paragraphs. On the other hand modernity without democracy would be

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a geek’s paradise, open to a rational usage of technology with no thought as to how different classes of people, in different cities and villages and with different background conditions, are going to be affected by them. The frequent outbursts against the construction of dams in India are not because the protestors are backward, but because they want their citizen rights to be respected. A plain, rational logic, on its own and without democratic reasoning, is not modern and for good reason; it offends inter-subjectivity. This is why modernity is not pure and simple rationality either. Gandhi had many irrational fads, but he was modern because he believed in non-violence in deed and in words (Gupta 2013: 46-67). It is this that opened the gates for citizenship and once that happens, can modernity be too far away? As modernity has to do with universality, transparency and intersubjectivity, it naturally promotes a kind of homogeneity at base – one might even call it iso-ontology. Just as Marshall had said about citizenship, modernity too grants a solid basis of uniformity so that people can choose to be different as long as that basis is not jeopardized. To argue that homogeneity is bad or evil, as many Multiculturalists tend to do, is just too romantic for words. There is nothing wrong if in certain essential aspects we resemble each other. When that happens it shows universality, public transparency and inter-subjectivity at work – or, at least, gives evidence of such aspects struggling to find a place. In fact, Emile Durkheim had once said that his first obligation was to resemble the others (Durkheim 1957). It is for a similar reason that Emmanuel Levinas insisted that to be ethical is to centralize the other (1998). If India were not to promote homogeneity to the extent it did, it would have been impossible for India to remain together. India survived the worst predictions of specialists, lay people and politicians and stayed as one simply because it was able to project its territory as sacred space in the popular imagination. By itself, this is no great virtue, but as it also enabled secularism to become a fundamental trait of our Constitution. This is an aspect that needs to be celebrated. India’s economy too, over the years, developed linkages, both forward and backward, across regions, and these have again brought about a greater degree of homogeneity in social life. Our educational curricula have a lot of elements that are in common which is why it is possible to take national qualifying examinations

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and for migrants to move out of their provinces and localities to far distances in search of jobs. But as the access to health and education in India varies vastly from class to class and from rural to urban, it makes it difficult for Marshall’s notion of citizenship to apply. As there is a clear lack of equality when it comes to issues that provide the foundations of social life, citizenship is automatically threatened. When there is a striving for homogeneity in terms of citizenship ties then that should be welcomed, and not derisively addressed. In India today there are a number of features that should make us sit up and take stock of modernity and its promises, instead of bartering all that away in the name of multiculturalism or multiple modernities. Marshall’s doctrine of citizenship conferring an equality of status is far from being realized in practice. Our Human Development Indices show such a wide variation across income groups and professions in society that many often wonder what good democracy has done to us. It is, however, not democracy’s fault, for democracy enjoins us to deliver to citizens so that we can all equally access the fruits of modernity. The problem is, as mentioned earlier, democracy is not easy; it is hard to practice for it requires dedication and determination to resist all those low hanging alternatives. The temptation to lapse into multiple modernities or multiculturalism is to be feared as that would be highly injurious to our future. It is important to be warned from the start that once these anti-modern elements get a toe hold it will not be long before they claim the whole nine yards. The extent of fragmentation of the rural economy has been commented upon at length by several scholars and administrators. This is why there is such a powerful urge today to leave the village for the city, but that is still a difficult proposition. While village life requires one kind of patron-client relationships, heading to the city for an urban job calls out to another kind of patron-client bonding. This time it may well be the contractor who replaces the landlord, or the slum lord who takes over from the village oligarch. Under these conditions, when futures are uncertain, the only insurance that a person has is the family, kin and clan. Quite naturally, these phenomena are buoyant and exist side by side a defunct village economy and a struggling urban dream. As one is beset by vulnerabilities, the past tends to haunt the present. Democracy needs

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to tackle this head on with a social security network along the lines that Marshall had recommended and not give into multiculturalism or multiple modernities. Poor people, as we pointed out in an earlier chapter, can slip into poverty overnight when somebody in their family is seriously sick. The fact that roughly 76% of all health expenses are borne by individuals (known as out-of-pocket expenses) in India, gives one an idea of how far we have to go so that inter-subjectivity can become visible first and graspable next. There are few countries that are worse than India in this respect, Pakistan and Iraq immediately come to mind. But are these the societies that India should be taking its cues from? Instead, there are other models, as we described earlier. While state expenditure on health in India barely touches 1% of our GDP, in Europe it is on an average 8% of GDP and in USA about 14% of GDP. If, therefore, traditional practitioners of health get some mileage it is because modern medical facilities are not available to the poor. Contrary to what many anthropologists and culturologists (multiculturalists among them) think, most sick people go to the allopath first. It is only when they are turned down at the door of such a practitioner that they look elsewhere for help. If so many of them cannot afford medical care and therefore retreat to the smoky dens where exorcists and magicians dominate, can we term this as unconditional subservience to cultural norms? The aspiration across the board is to access uniform facilities that will bring about a clear uniformity in starting conditions, just as Marshall had insisted in his study of citizenship. Today, the cry everywhere, including in the poorest quarters is to have our democracy deliver to aspirations and not just needs. Needs keep people in one place, in a stagnant condition, but when it is about aspirations, one sees society on the move. Unfortunately, most of our current policies are closer to addressing needs than aspirations. That is why we have a plethora of initiatives that go under rubrics such as health for the poor or education for the poor. These government led initiatives soon degenerate to poor health and poor education and, at best, keep the poor alive but not eradicate poverty. Aspirations always seek to break cultural barriers. Women need to be educated, poor want better jobs, and cities beckon people not

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just because incomes and facilities are better there, but because intersubjectivity gets more space in urban conditions. In none of these cases can culture or multiculturalism provide any succour. Nor can we design health and education to meet the needs of just women, or just scheduled castes or just the poor. They must all be culturally neutral in the end; else how can we aspire to modernity and, with it, to citizenship in a democratic state. Religion is a private matter and if it is ever allowed to enlarge itself by eating up the individual, the first victims would be modernity and, with it, democracy. This is a fact that multiculturalists are unaware of. However, religions generally express certain values that can be harnessed for the cause of modernity and cultural policies of democratic states should be sensitive to them. All faiths talk of charity, oneness of humankind, and forgiveness. If handled sensitively and imaginatively those religious texts that openly espouse these values could be integrated in public proclamations of fraternity. This, however, should not mean that the entire religious baggage should get a free entry into the modern world. There is no harm in confessing that we in India would like to enjoy the fruits of modernity as the Europeans do. It does not mean that we must imitate Europe, but if we can learn from it, where is the harm? Europe put culture in its place, and with it, multiculturalism and multiple modernities, by providing institutions that supported universality, transparency and inter-subjectivity. Europe’s social network created a modern citizenry as well as an autonomous patron free middle class. Nobody is perfect, but can’t those countries that are less modern learn from more modern ones? Why give up the ghost and yield to the temptations of sirens, for that is what multiculturalism and multiple modernities really amount to?

Annexure

The ‘Telos’ of Modernity Interviewed by Nicola Missaglia, ResetDoc, Rome.

Are there different paths to modernity? If yes, how is India’s modernity different? There are indeed different paths to modernity. There are the various European paths, the American path, the Ataturk path, the Lee Kuan Yew path, the Indian path, and so on. What is significant is that each path, if successful, will yield a set of results which must be present for a society to be called ‘modern’. We must be careful in not overstating the case because no society can ever arrive at this final destination completely. Why is it not possible to be completely modern? This is because ‘modernity’ is an evolving project. The idea of being modern is not a static one. Much like democracy, whose demands keep growing and changing with time (for example, the rights of women, rights of minorities, the dismantling of property qualifications as eligibility criterion for voting rights and so on), so too in modernity the characteristic features keep changing with time. With every progress modernity makes, a new horizon opens up. This is true not just of democracy and modernity, but also of other concepts like capitalism or socialism. Therefore, just as no society is fully capitalist, but to be counted as one, some essential features must be dominant; similarly to be modern, certain crucial characteristics must be present. What are these essential features of modernity? While the understanding of modernity might mutate with time, a little attention will show that the changes that we see are really instances of the original telos (idea that seeks fulfillment) expressing itself more and

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more comprehensively. In democracy, for example, the rights given to women and minorities are manifestations of the original impulse in democracy; they are not in the nature of afterthoughts. Likewise, for modernity today it is important to stress the following features: inter-subjectivity between social actors; ethical anonymity in social relations; and the public constraining the private world. These result in open hierarchy; public ethics replacing private morality; transparency and accountability in public behaviour; and trust in institutions replacing trust in people What do you mean by inter-subjectivity? To understand inter-subjectivity, it must be seen in conjunction with its complements, viz., ‘ethical anonymity’, and the domination of the ‘public over the private’. In my view these are different ways of expressing the same thing. Tautologies are sometimes useful for they bring to fore certain characteristics of the original statement that might go unnoticed. The original statement of modernity, its telos, is inter-subjectivity. While we know there are other people, performing other roles, we also know that their lives and our lives intersect in a number of places. We could easily be them, and their lives and ambitions are not too different from us and those of our family. In other words, our collective existence is within an ontological horizon that is largely uniform. Thus even as we are different, we all have similar starting points because these are equally accessible to all. On account of this inbuilt inter-subjectivity in modern societies, one’s relationship with strangers is not predicated on one’s preknowledge of the person’s role and status. I may not know a person but I would still accord respect in my interactions with such an individual just as if that person could be me, or very much like me. Anonymous relationships are thus marked by an ethical consideration. For these reasons our interactions with others who may belong to a different linguistic or religious community are conditioned primarily by the principle of inter-subjectivity. This not only puts ethical anonymity in the forefront but, by the same token, also calls out to the public sphere to dominate the private. Marital rape and child abuse can no longer be seen as a private affair, as individuals are first members of the public and hence deserve

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recognition first and foremost at that level. Any instance of domestic violence, for example, will be viewed in inter-subjective terms and the principle of ethical anonymity will come into action at once. Consequently, hierarchies, such as they exist, will be open and not closed. Inter-subjectivity cannot operate in closed hierarchical systems, such as caste or race. One will need to learn to trust institutions over personal relations or else inter-subjectivity and ethical anonymity cannot be fully experienced. Hence, morality which can be privatized will be superseded by ethics. Why should morality and ethics not be identical? This might seem like a difficult philosophical tangle, but it is really quite simple if we recall Emmanuel Levinas’s view that ‘Ethics is other people’. It is possible for a person to claim a high moral status, either as a vegetarian, or as a truthful person, or as a good parent, and yet live with others who do not abide by such norms. On the other hand, it is not possible to be ethical alone. Ethics is setting up rules of interaction where other people matter. This is the reason why ethics demands transparency and accountability in public life. It becomes much more realizable as it is built into our conduct and is not an outcome of individual will power or exceptional conduct. Consequently, our relations with other people who may be unknown to us are, nevertheless, conditioned, in the ultimate analysis, by inter-subjectivity. These in turn lead to ethical anonymity and the domination of the public, thereby closing the circle that the original telos of modernity set in motion. If we keep this understanding of modernity uppermost, we realize almost instantly that no society is fully modern; but some are closer to modernity than others. This is just what we might say even of capitalism, welfare state, and so on. No country can fully qualify, but some do much more than others. Is modernity the same as technical innovations, industrialization, etc? We should also note that modernity here is not being understood as a morphological attribute, such as in terms of the number of cars, or slums or smoking chimneys. Modernity is about social relations. All major social concepts are defined in terms of relations between people; so why should modernity be any different? Capital is not just money,

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but a relation between capitalists, labourers, engineers, managers, shop floor supervisors, etc. It is the specific character of these interactions that makes a society capitalist. Likewise, power too, is a relation especially when it is seen in terms of legitimate authority. Can one have contemporary advances in technology without being modern? What has been said so far should also clarify the confusion between the modern and the contemporaneous. Just because something is happening today does not make that event modern. Not all contemporaneous facts and occurrences can claim to be modern: some can, but some others must be kept out. To argue, for example, that the use of modern technology to kill ethnic enemies is a sign of modernity is unacceptable. This is how detractors of modernity give this phenomenon a bad name. This first order confusion between modernity and contemporaneity needs to be clarified at the start. Is there then one modernity or many? After all societies are so different, so modernity must reflect this. Can India’s modernity be different from that of Europe? Modernity has its central telos but there are several possible paths to becoming modern and realize this telos. In each case, however, modernity must be carefully grafted as it is not something that grows naturally. This is yet another attribute modernity shares with democracy. When scholars argue that there are multiple modernities they are almost always unable to either distinguish the path for the destination or, as more frequently is the case, the contemporaneous from the modern. The other danger of succumbing to the allure of multiple modernity is that we fail to pressure systems to be modern in the inter-subjective sense. In its place we find flabby justifications for non-modern behaviour in contemporary times. This is done under the lofty pretence that no one version of modernity should have cultural hegemony over another. The fact is that modernity, wherever it has appeared, in whatever form, to whatever degree, is because it has been deliberately introduced. While those who were responsible for this development may not have known all its consequences, modernity does not grow calmly out of capitalism, or out of socialism. True, welfare societies and social democracies are the best examples of most achieved modernity but

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these dispensations were clearly outcomes of deliberate interventions. Let Europe not forget its own history! It is not just a question of Europe versus India. Yet, one must admit that Europe has a lot to teach us while we consider the various routes to modernity. There is no need however to imitate Europe, especially when we have the wonderful opportunity of learning from it. If we admit multiple modernity then we lose sight of its telos and confuse it with the contemporaneous. This would give modernity a bad name and halt the progress of humankind in our subcontinent. Is there some kind of exoticism in Europe’s interest in India’s quest to be modern? Yes, sometimes there is a kind of exoticism in the European interest in India. Among other issues, it crops up again in the context of multiple modernity. Europeans and North Americans want to be politically correct and hence find it difficult to say outright that India is not ‘modern’ in the way their societies are. It is much more convenient to suggest that India is modern, but in a different way, the Indian way, the spiritual way, the Hindu way, or whatever. Exotic idealizations are useful for political domination, but never for a scientific understanding of a society. Exoticisation also separates the observer from the observed in a way that is so complete that it often escapes attention. As Europe is largely monocultural, its way of expressing democracy and addressing minority issues has to be different from that of India. True, democracy came to Europe differently, because each European country came to nationhood differently. Again, the same argument: there are many roads to nationhood, but every nation, once it becomes a nation, must make its territory sacred on a popular basis. Patriotism gets its emotive appeal from this fusion of blood and soil. Once this is acknowledged, it will be easier to appreciate why democracy is not the same as nationhood, nor does it emerge easily from it. It is important at this point to correct another misunderstanding. Europe was not monocultural when nations came out of its empires. In post-revolution France only 17% spoke French. After Italy was formed Massemio d’Azeglio discovered that only 2% spoke Italian.

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This prompted him to proclaim: ‘Now that we have made Italy, let us make Italians.’ Since then nation states have evolved and many have become democracies, particularly in Europe. Over time, democracy included minority rights and respect for other languages as well. Today, these are part of democracy’s legacy and we cannot pretend that India in 2011 is 18th century France or 19th century Italy. In Europe, the minority issue is linked to immigration, which is what makes it very different from the Indian case. Does it mean that India’s approach to minorities has to/will be different from that of Europe? When you have minorities it is not a question of numbers that decides their fate and nomenclature. They must feel persecuted enough to band together, and this sentiment is often accompanied by real or imagined economic and or political grievances against them. If these minorities are from within the original population, then their claims have a different kind of resonance than those who have come from another country. The two cannot be equated. The minority problem in India is primarily a Muslim one, though Sikhs, Parsees and Christians have also been added on for the record. The real issue is with the Muslims and this is a post-Partition phenomenon. The hostility between India and Pakistan keeps invoking the horror of the Partition that justifies ethnicists in both countries. There is clear evidence to show that ethnic riots in India have always been on account of administrative connivance, if not outright support. They have also been timed to maximize electoral advantage. While the victims of ethnic riots, the minorities, demand their rights as citizens and want justice, the majority community members claim that they have acted in the name of the ‘people’ to teach ‘outsiders’ a lesson. Muslims in India are likened to Pakistani agents by the majoritarian ethnicists to justify their assaults in the name of patriotism. This shows that nationhood and patriotism have little to do with the ethics of citizenship which is all about inter-subjectivity, hence modernity. Minorities cannot be decided by numbers alone. The best way to tackle the minority issue in India is to make sure that the laws of the

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land are upheld by those in authority. This seems simple, but is not quite so in practice as it is the state and its administrative wings that are implicated, often closely, in the carnage. The minority problem in the West is on account of migration and the solutions to that will be very different from the Indian case. The European case is also of a dissimilar order from the Indian one on two further counts. First, language has never been an issue which has raised minority consciousness or feelings of persecution in this country. Second, as phenotypical differences in physical types are largely unremarkable, they have not led to racism and racist politics in the entire subcontinent. What however stands firm is that no concessions can be made, either in India or in the West, that compromise values of citizenship. Once that happens there will neither be inter-subjectivity, nor the domination of the public over the private. People will claim special privileges on religious grounds, either for the veil, or for keeping women at home. This will justify domestic violence and perpetuate medieval traditions. A citizen is a modern concept for it embraces all the virtues of modernity discussed earlier. This point is important as there is a lot of pressure to yield to certain traditional customs in the name of being democratic. Very often it is the cultural virtuosos among migrant communities that make such demands, for it is in their interest that these concessions be made. Over time, the interests of these virtuosos consolidate and they become the mediators between the state and the migrants. That they are able to do this at all is because these virtuosos prey upon the initial feelings most migrants have of being rootless. This helps the virtuosos to pose as the spokespeople of the migrant communities, giving the impression that the many of the so-called ‘multicultural’ demands they make are not for themselves but for the people they claim to represent. It should be very clear that migrants have chosen to come to the host country. The host country should, on its part, treat the migrants, without prejudice, as equals; even help them to become equals. Receding from citizenship and inter-subjectivity to placate the calls of alleged ‘multiculturalism’ of the virtuosos will do more harm than good to the migrants.

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Does India have anything to learn from the West? What India can learn from Europe is that the law cannot be compromised to suit special claims by the majority community, or to condone and overlook attacks on minorities in the name of the people or under the cover of patriotism. How can democracy tackle multiculturalism? One needs to take on board from the very start that there was no multiculturalism before democracy. In the past, different communities lived side by side, but it was the rule of the dominant community, who were often in a numerical minority, that mattered. The idea of multiculturalism is a creation of democracy. Having said that, multiculturalism is a problem in the West primarily because Europeans have forgotten their own history. Europe has progressed down the road to modernity because it steadfastly fought (with some reversals, of course) to establish a public sphere where citizens function in a hierarchical structure that is open to everybody. Today, a variety of multiculturalism wants to close off certain aspects of this open society in the name of religion or tradition. When that happens, it is the job of modernity and democracy to oppose such moves without compromise. Citizenship cannot be bartered at the counter of multiculturalism. Uniformity of dress and religious behaviour is not the issue. That should be allowed. But when they impede freedom of the sexes or promote the domination of a community of elders, and so on, then such cultural practices have to be strictly put away. Do you think India will have to choose between democracy and tradition? Democracy is a modern concept as it involves inter-subjectivity, ethical anonymity (an essential requirement for an urban and cosmopolitan life) and the domination of the public in all realms, including the domestic. Under such conditions it cannot tolerate caste and other traditional barriers to an open society. Once compromises are made on this count, democracy will remain in form, but will be hollowed out from within. There will be elections, votes will be cast, but the rules of the game will not be of the kind that will allow inter-subjectivity to develop. Instead, one might see a

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kind of patronage based democracy, where we elect patrons through the ballot box. Not unlike the cultural virtuoso among migrants, there is also the live possibility of ethnic sectarians and caste leaders emerging in India in the name of democracy. Even if the people would like to vote for secular issues, all too often communal and ethnic activists raise passions to such a pitch that matters which really count are obscured from popular view. We need to remind ourselves, repeatedly, that democracy is not easy, nor a natural social arrangement. It has to be nursed very carefully and constantly guarded against attacks from passions, such as those of racism and ethnicity, which are much more intrinsic in human beings all over the world. Likewise, dictatorships and monarchies are again not so difficult to put in place. Democracy is the most demanding and unnatural of all social arrangements. (Reproduced from Seminar, No. 621, ‘Minorities and Pluralism’, May 2011)

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Index

Afirmative Action 46 Ambedkar/B.R. Ambedkar 5, 13, 19, 39, 73, 74 Anderson 6, 7, 8, 29, 30, 31 anti-poverty programmes 45, 63 policies x exercise 47 measures 45, 51 scheme 54, 55 drives 64 André Béteille/Béteille xi, 73, 150, 151, 164 Basque 49, 129, 130, 131, 132, 137, 138, 139 Below poverty line/BPL 54, 63, 67 Bilbao 126, 129, 130, 132 bureaucracy 58, 64, 145, 152

14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 45, 47, 51, 59, 60, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 89, 98, 99, 112, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 166, 167, 168, 169, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 187, 188, 189 citizen elite 10 civic consumerism 98, 101, 102, 103, 106, 107 civil society 136, 140, 141, 145, 146, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 166 community 7, 12, 13, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 42, 73, 102, 118, 122, 141, 176 development 141 Constitution 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 21, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 45, 46, 47, 178

Caste ix, 4, 12, 13, 16, 19, 38, 45, 46, 47, 71, 72, 73, 98, 99, 102, 107, 156, 163, 167, 181, 184, 189, 190 Catholic 36, 37, 40 Chandoke 150 citizenship/Citizenship/‘citizenship’/ ‘Citizenship’ ix, x, xiv, xv, xvi, xvii, xviii, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,

dominant community 41, 189 demographic dividend 95, 96, 97 Diktat/diktat 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 162 domination 25, 30 domination 25, 27, 28, 30, 32, 33, 37, 113, 118, 174, 183, 184, 186, 188, 189 Dresden 123

Index

Dreyfus incident 30 Durkheim/Emile Durkheim 138, 178 Eisenstadt/S.N. Eisenstadt 170, 171, 172 elective affinity 153, 154 objective 111, 122, 128, 163 ‘Error’/error seeking/‘Other’ seeking 156, 158 ethical/‘ethical’ xv, 4, 174, 183, 184, 189 anonymity xv, 174, 183, 184, 189 equals 4 ethics 7, 10, 166, 183, 184, 187 morality xiii, 166, 183, 184 economy 15, 50, 52, 55, 74, 82, 84, 86, 87, 88, 93, 96, 103, 105, 107, 138, 139, 140, 143, 159, 160, 161, 178, 179 agrarian 52 cashless 82 industrial 86, 88 low wage 107 modern 138 totalitarian 161 village 103, 179 rural 179 world 74 factor producerist/producerism 99, 101, 102 Five Year Plans 144 fraternity 1, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 137, 139, 177, 181 Gandhi/ Mahatma Gandhi 10, 11, 16, 19, 76, 178 group rights xiii Habermas/Jürgen Habermas 10, 166, 167, 172

203

Haussmann/Eugene Haussmann 118, 127, 128 health care/health sector(s) 56, 60, 65, 69, 70, 84, 149 Hegel 14, 136, 150, 151, 166, 172 Highline Park 114, 120 Hobsbawm 2, 5, 26, 30, 32 inheritance 39, 42 Industrial Disputes Act/(IDA) 74, 75, 76, 79, 83, 86, 87, 89, 92 informal labour 86, 87, 88, 89, 92, 93 inter-subjectivity 3, 132, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181, 183, 184, 187, 188, 189 Jagmohan 118 Jewish/community 30, 35 Kant/Immanuel Kant 166 Kymlicka/Will Kymlicka 42, 176 Kundu 93, 94, 106, 109, 115 labour force/work force 56, 87, 90, 91, 92, 96 labour laws/Labour Laws/ 63, 74, 75, 79, 81, 82, 83, 86, 87, 88, 89 and Thresholds 74 Laicite 37 Levinas/Emannuel Levinas 166, 172, 178 Levi-Strauss/Claude Levi-Strauss 12, 177 Mahajan G. 150 ‘majority’/majority community 21, 24, 26, 40, 187, 189 Mandal 71, 72, 73 Mannheim/Karl Mannheim 16, 155

204

From ‘People’ to ‘Citizen’ Democracy’s Must Take Road

Marshall, T.H. x, xi, xiv, xvi, xvii, xviii, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 35, 41, 47, 51, 59, 60, 75, 139, 149, 150, 173, 174, 178, 180 Master Plan 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 122, 125, 126, 133, 134 MGNREGA/NREGA 62, 64, 65, 66 Minority/minority 15, 16, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 43, 67, 73, 187, 188, 189 cultures 21, 26 rights 15, 73, 187 issue(s) 186, 187 problem 187, 188 consciousness(es) 43, 188 protection, 16, 73, 187, 188 modernity ix, x, xv, xvi, 4, 155, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189 monarchy 11, 25, 27, 138 MSMEs 90 multiculturalism xiii, 27, 42, 176, 177, 179, 180, 181, 189 multiple modernity 169, 175, 185, 186

non-space(s)/‘non-spaces’ 108, 111, 112, 123, 126, 132, 133

nation state(s) xvi, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 19, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 141, 171, 172, 177, 187 National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector 88 National Health Service 48, 139 nationalism/Nationalism xvi, 2, 7, 8, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 42, 99, 177 Nehru/Jawaharlal Nehru 8, 17, 39, 141, 151 Non-Governmental Organizations/ NGOs 136, 140, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh 29 Rawls/John Rawls xviii, 47, 136, 150, 167, 173 Renan, Ernest 2, 31 Report on the Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganized Sector 63, 88 reservations/Reservations 45, 46, 47, 61, 71, 73, 74 Roe vs. Wade 38 Rural/rural 47, 64, 70, 86, 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 100, 101, 102, 104, 105, 106, 140, 142, 170, 179 areas 70, 88, 95

Other Backward Classes (OBC) 47, 61, 71 ‘Other’ seeking 156 See also, ‘Error’/error seeking 156, 158 out-of-pocket expenses 180 Parsons/Talcott Parsons 157, 172 people to citizen/voters to citizen 2, 59 Planning Commission 54, 66 poverty 44, 45, 46, 47, 63, 67, 140 alleviation 45 line 63, 67, 140 private 48, 84, 183, 188 Protestant 22, 36, 37 public/Public 48, 84, 126, 127, 129, 136, 183, 184, 188, 189 aesthetics 108, 112, 113, 118, 122, 125, 126, 130, 131 Distribution System/(PDS) 54, 66 space 10, 108, 113, 123, 166 PURA 117

Index

communities 47 economy 179 elite 142 households 93 India 64, 70, 86, 87, 88, 93, 105, 140, 142 labourers 91 migrants 90, 106 population 94 and urban 100, 102, 104 workforce 104 secularism 37, 154, 155, 178 Scheduled Tribes/ST(s) 45, 46, 47, 73 Scheduled Castes/SC(s) 45, 47, 73, 107, 181 Schools/schools 31, 36, 38, 57, 67, 68, 69, 70, 84, 107, 140, 142, 152, 174 public 57, 68 private 57, 68, 69, 140

205

state-run 57, 70 government 68, 69 Village 142 skills 30, 56, 57, 65, 74, 78, 84, 86, 89, 90, 91, 94, 106, 146, 159, 174, 176 space and non-space 111 see also non-space and space subsidies 50, 51, 52, 58, 85 targeted policies 48, 51, 53, 61, 64, 73, 108 threshold markers/Threshold Markers 61, 62, 63, 70, 71, 74, 79 trade unions 78, 79, 81, 91 urbanization x, 103, 169, 172 utopia/utopian 14, 15, 16, 17, 138 Voters to Citizens 59