Unit 1(phase1):Politics, Economy and Philosophy of Contemporary India

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Unit Leader

WAKAHARA Yusho (Ryukoku University)

Main Researchers

  • AKAMATSU Tesshin(Ryukoku University)
  • KATSURA Shoryu(Ryukoku University)
  • NAGASAKI Nobuko(Ryukoku University)
  • YOSHIDA Osamu(Hiroshima University)
  • OKAMOTO Kensuke(Ryukoku University)
  • SHIGA Miwako(Senshu University)
  • SUGIHARA Kaoru(Tokyo University/Ryukoku University)
  • UEDA Tomoaki(Ryukoku University/National Institutes for the Humanities)

Contemporary Indian politics presents great complexity, which makes its study more difficult. The growing importance of India in the global economy and in the international politics means that there is an increasing need for effective methods for analyzing the position and role of India in the world on different levels. At the international level, India is trying to establish its position as a great power in South Asia region, by overcoming the situation in which it has been considered as equal to Pakistan in issues such as nuclear development and economic relations. However, the central government's pursuit of policies that would enable such a role as a great power in the region does not always get the support of the politicized people in India. Identity politics based on castes and mobilization by Hindu Nationalism dominate both state and national level elections. Politics at the state level attracts more attention of the people and accordingly of politicians more than that at the national level. This situation sometime causes inconsistency in policies of the central government, and makes it difficult to understand Indian politics.

The discrepancy between the global strategy at the national level and the reaction at the local level is not uncommon throughout the world today. And yet, what distinguishes Indian politics in addition to its size and diversity is a parliamentary democracy which has nearly continuously been maintained since its independence and is recently functioning beyond its fundamental role as a tool for establishing political legitimacy. These phenomena make Indian politics quite interesting in terms of political science, going beyond the framework of area studies.

Democracies face a variety of problems all over the world, but human beings have not found a more effective form of government than democracy. In that sense, contemporary Indian politics might well be indicative of the future of democracy. Given this, Unit 1 will cover the Indian politics from the following three perspectives.

Contemporary India and Traditional Philosophies (Sub-unit A)


The relationship between contemporary Indian politics and traditional philosophies will be analyzed from the following perspectives.

  1. To analyze the traditional concepts such as satya (truth) and dharma (morality) which appear in the classical literature and still live in contemporary Indian politics.
  2. To analyze the relationship between contemporary Indian politics and traditional logics. Political discourse and judicial discourse are also analyzed.

The Elites and the Mass: Gandhi and Ambedkar (Sub-unit B)

AKAMATSU Tesshin / NAGASAKI Nobuko / SHIGA Miwako / ICHIKAWA Yoshihumi

As a part of our studies of modern and contemporary political thoughts in India, we will examine the relationship between Gandhi who led India to independence, and Ambedka who opposed him as a leader of the depressed, i.e., "Untouchables" or Dalits. We will clarify the problems of Gandhi's thought from the depressed/mass perspectives and also discuss the problems of Ambedkar's from Gandhi's view as well. In addition, we will also examine the minority politics, secularism in India and Japan, and etc., considering the friction between the elite and the mass/lower/depressed classes.

Contemporary Indian Politics from the State Politics Level (Sub-unit C)

KONDO Norio / YOSHIDA Osamu / UEDA Tomoaki / NAGASAKI Nobuko / SHIGA Miwako

We define three levels at India politics, i.e., grass-root level (mass mobilization), state level and national/international level. We then will develop the method for analyzing politics at each level, and examine how these three levels mutually interact focusing state level.

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