Author: Amarjeet SinhaPublisher: RupaYear: 2005Language: EnglishPages: 412ISBN/UPC (if available): 8129106868
This book is an attempt to understand the nature of India’s Political democracy and its implications for persistence of poverty and failure in securing human well-being for all, in spite of five decades of freedom. Policies of positive discrimination have surely contributed to making India’s democratic experiment dynamic, throwing up political leaders from all social groups, and expanding and broadening the circle of elites or the powerful in society. However, the political mobilization of the poor has as yet not translated into a rejection of hierarchical hegemonies that disregards and overlooks poor people’s entitlements to basic human well-being as access to education, health, livelihood, food and social security, by seeing human development and social opportunities as an inalienable, fundamental, human right of each and every individual.This has been possible as those who represent the poorest of the poor can survive in politics by resort to primordial loyalties of caste and religion, over-riding more serious concerns like human well-being in a right based perspective that challenges persistent deprivation and assetlessness of poor households. The performance of the states has been uneven and there are useful lessons to be learnt from region specific efforts at securing basic human well-being. Inequalities in social opportunities persist in spite of the ascendancy of hitherto under-privileged social groups in the political sphere. The book argues that securing entitlements of the poor to quality education, good health, assured minimum food and social security, and adequate livelihood is the greatest challenge for contemporary India.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSA NOTE ON THE BOOKIntroduction: Democracy and Well-beingLessons from Indian StatesThe marginalized and the Practice of DemocracyMeeting People’s Health NeedsBasic Education for allLivelihood Struggles of the PoorSocial Security and the Poorest of the PoorEpilogue: Waging the Entitlement WarReferencesIndex