Grand Tamasha ●
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One year ago, Chinese and Indian forces traded blows in the remote Galwan Valley—resulting in the first deaths along the Line of Actual Control since 1975. Months later, India would be hit by the coronavirus, whose precise origin story in China we still do not fully understand. Indian public opinion towards China has soured and Beijing has nervously watched India double-down on its engagement with the so-called “Quad.”It’s against this backdrop that the scholar Kanti Bajpai has released a timely new book, India Versus China: Why They Are Not Friends. Kanti is the Director of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation and Wilmar Professor of Asian Studies at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore and he joins Milan on the podcast this week.The two discuss the untold pre-history of the Chinese-Indian rivalry, the sources of the trust deficit between the two countries, and China’s surprising soft power advantage. Plus, the two discuss possible scenarios for China-India conflict and India’s pressing domestic reforms agenda. Grand Tamasha, “Darshana Baruah on the Indian Ocean Imperative,” April 6, 2021Grand Tamasha, “Ananth Krishnan on What China’s Rise Means for India,” October 20, 2020Grand Tamasha, “Ashley J. Tellis on India’s China Conundrum,” September 22, 2020“Off the Cuff with Kanti Bajpai,” ThePrintKanti Bajpai, “Why does China consistently beat India on soft power?” Indian Express, June 23, 2021
Grand Tamasha ●
access_time28 days ago
Over the last two-and-a-half years, Milan and his guests have spent a lot of time on the podcast talking about some of the biggest questions facing Indian society. What is driving an increase in religious nationalism? To what extent is religious intolerance on the rise? Is caste morphing from a marker of hierarchy to a marker of difference? And what, if anything, does it mean to be truly Indian?These are just some of the questions a landmark new study by the Pew Research Center—released today—asks and answers, drawing on an important new survey of religion, identity, and belonging. On the show this week, Milan is joined by Neha Sahgal, associate director of research at Pew and one of the lead investigators of this new work. Milan and Neha discuss the coexistence of religious tolerance and religious segregation in India, the salience of caste identity and Hindu nationalism, and the evidence for “secularization theory.” Plus, the two discuss why South India is an outlier in many respects and what larger lessons the study holds for Indian democracy. Neha Sahgal et al,"Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation," Pew Research Center.
Grand Tamasha ●
access_time1 month ago
Note: Milan’s interview with Arora Akanksha took place on June 18. On June 19, the United Nations General Assembly formally approved a second term for the incumbent António Guterres—officially bringing the selection process to a close. Earlier this month, the United Nations Security Council recommended the reelection of António Guterres as secretary-general, virtually assuring the Portuguese leader a second term at the helm of one of the world’s most consequential bodies. But not everyone is standing by to coronate Mr. Guterres. Arora Akanksha—a Canadian citizen of Indian heritage—is running an insurgent campaign to unseat the incumbent Secretary-General. Her campaign has attracted attention—not only for its boldness—but also because Ms. Akanksha has spent the last several years toiling inside the UN and has been unafraid to call out its shortcomings from within.Arora joins Milan on the podcast this week. The two of them discuss her north Indian roots, circuitous path to the UN, and unlikely decision to run for the UN’s top job. Plus, the two discuss Arora’s diagnosis of what ails the UN and her priorities for reform. Rick Gladstone, “Who Is Arora Akanksha, the 34-Year-Old Running for U.N. Secretary General?” New York TimesAdam Iscoe, “On the Secret Campaign Trail to Lead the U.N.” New YorkerStephanie Fillion, “A Millennial UN Staffer Who Is Daring to Run Against Secretary-General António Guterres,” PassBlue
Grand Tamasha ●
access_time1 month ago
In India, there are growing signs that the country is slowly exiting the second wave of the COVID crisis as people get back to work, localities lift lockdown restrictions, and markets reopen. But the second wave leaves behind a trail of devastation, loss, and widespread anger. And Indians may not have much time to enjoy a return to normalcy, as government officials are already warning of a third wave of the virus.To discuss where things stand in India today, Milan is joined Niha Masih, a Delhi-based correspondent for the Washington Post. Niha reflects on her family’s struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental toll the pandemic has taken, and the under-reported challenges rural India faces. Plus, the two discuss the Indian government’s new vaccine policy and the political implications of the crisis for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Niha Masih, “My whole family was infected in India’s devastating coronavirus surge. Not all survived,” Washington PostNiha Masih and Taniya Dutta, “As India’s pandemic surge eases, a race begins to prepare for a possible next wave,” Washington PostNiha Masih, “India’s coronavirus crisis spreads to its villages, where health care is hard to find,” Washington PostJoanna Slater, Niha Masih, and Shams Irfan, “In an Indian city, obituaries reveal missing coronavirus deaths and untold suffering,” Washington PostJoanna Slater and Niha Masih, “In India’s devastating coronavirus surge, anger at Modi grows,” Washington PostMilan Vaishnav, “Will voters hold Modi to account for India’s covid-19 crisis? Don’t bet on it,” Washington Post“Sadanand Dhume and Tanvi Madan on the political and foreign policy ramifications of India's COVID second wave,” Grand Tamasha“Samanth Subramanian on India’s Vaccine Conundrum,” Grand Tamasha“Anup Malani on India’s COVID Second Wave,” Grand Tamasha
A troubling surge in hate crimes and discrimination targeting Asian Americans has hit the headlines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The violence has cast a newfound spotlight on the bigotry many Asian immigrant populations experience in the United States.While Indian Americans have not borne the brunt of the discrimination of the COVID era, the community is no stranger to prejudice. A new study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins-SAIS, and the University of Pennsylvania looks at the question of discrimination and the broader social realities of the Indian diaspora of the United States.Milan is a co-author of this study, and this week he sits down with his fellow co-authors—Sumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, and Jonathan Kay—to discuss the report’s findings. They discuss the degree of everyday discrimination Indian Americans face, the connection between polarization in India and divisions in the United States, and the ways in which divides in the diaspora could affect U.S.-India relations. Plus, the group reflects on larger issues of identity, social networks, and belonging in the Indian diaspora.Episode notes:Sumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, Jonathan Kay, and Milan Vaishnav, “Social Realities of Indian Americans: Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey”Grand Tamasha, “Sumitra Badrinathan and Devesh Kapur Decode the 2020 Indian American Vote”Grand Tamasha, “Sumitra Badrinathan and Devesh Kapur on How Indian Americans View India”Sumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, and Milan Vaishnav, “How Will Indian Americans Vote? Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey”Sumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, and Milan Vaishnav, “How Do Indian Americans View India? Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey”
Sadanand Dhume and Tanvi Madan on the political and foreign policy ramifications of India's COVID second wave
This week on the show, Milan is joined by Grand Tamasha news round-up regulars Sadanand Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute and the Wall Street Journal and Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution. This week, Milan, Sadanand, and Tanvi discuss the political state of affairs in India in the wake of recent state elections, the foreign policy ramifications of the COVID-19 second wave, and the government’s ongoing tussle with social media companies.Plus, the three speculate about who will lead the opposition in India’s 2024 general elections. Episode notes:Sadanand Dhume, “Modi Declared Victory, Then Covid Struck Back With a Vengeance,” Wall Street JournalSadanand Dhume, “India’s Second Covid Wave Recedes. Will a Third One Sweep In?” Wall Street Journal Dhruva Jaishankar and Tanvi Madan, “How the Quad Can Match the Hype,” Foreign Affairs
In the early 1990s, India legislated sweeping new gender quotas in local government in the hopes that women’s political empowerment would help to rectify centuries-old social and economic inequalities. But, despite these moves, we know surprisingly little about whether and how quotas have undone entrenched social, political, and economic hierarchies around the world.A new book by the political scientist Rachel Brulé—Women, Power and Property: The Paradox of Gender Inequality Laws in India—tackles precisely this question through a broad-ranging study of quotas in India and their impacts not just on women’s lives, but on the broader system of status hierarchy and dominance that permeates Indian society.Rachel, an assistant professor of global development policy at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, joins Milan on the show this week to talk about her new book, the entrenched nature of gender inequality in India and around the world, and the complex effects of quotas on development outcomes in India. Plus, the two discuss the prospects of the Women’s Reservation Bill, a long-pending bill that would reserve one-third of parliamentary and state assembly seats in India for women.Episode notes:Rachel Brulé and Nikhar Gaikwad, “Culture, Capital and the Political Economy Gender Gap: Evidence from Meghalaya’s Matrilineal Tribes,” Journal of PoliticsRachel Brulé, “Reform, Representation & Resistance: The Politics of Property Rights’ Enforcement,” Journal of PoliticsIsabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
One of the enduring puzzles about the tragic second wave of COVID is how India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, faces an alarming shortage of vaccines. A new essay by the journalist Samanth Subramanian for the online news organization Quartz argues that there’s no single answer, but rather a “timeline of dysfunction” marked by what he calls “government negligence, corporate profiteering, opaque contracting, and the inequities of the global pharmaceutical market."Samanth is a senior reporter at Quartz covering the future of capitalism. He has previously written for the Guardian Long Read, the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and WIRED. He's also the author of three books, including A Dominant Character: The Radical Science and Restless Politics of JBS Haldane, one of the New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2020. Samanth is Milan’s guest on the show this week and the two discuss how the Indian government has managed the deadly second wave of the COVID pandemic, the role the Serum Institute of India and its enigmatic CEO have played in India’s vaccine production, and the patchy rollout of the government’s vaccine delivery. Plus, the two discuss what the United States and the international community must do to help vaccinate the developing world.Episode notes:Samanth Subramanian, “In the push for new vaccines, taxpayers keep paying and paying,” Quartz.Samanth Subramanian, “The US’ support for vaccine patent waivers still leaves plenty to be resolved,” Quartz.Samanth Subramanian, “Why is India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, running short of vaccines?” Quartz.Samanth Subramanian, “India is feeling all the pain—and none of the gain—of an undeclared lockdown,” Quartz.
More than fifteen years ago, India’s parliament passed a sweeping piece of legislation known as the Right to Information Act—a law that transforms the way ordinary citizens access the inner workings of government, offering them an unprecedented glimpse into how policy is made, how funds are allocated, and how interests are served. A new book by the political scientist Himanshu Jha, Capturing Institutional Change: The Case of the Right to Information Act, asks a seemingly simple question: why would a state that is so deeply penetrated by vested interests, initiate a far-reaching process of reform that would expose the very special interests who have benefited from opacity in the first place? This week on the podcast, Milan sits down with Himanshu, who is a lecturer and research fellow in the Department of Political Science at the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University. The two talk about the domestic and foreign origins of law, the implementation challenges it has faced, the ways in which it has challenged vested interests, and how the government has tried to undermine transparency.
On Sunday, the highly anticipated results from five state assembly elections across India were announced. These results come at a time of great uncertainty in India as the country is in the throes of a devastating second wave of the coronavirus, which is racking up nearly 400,000 new cases every day. To help make sense of these elections and how they fit into the broader Indian political landscape, this week on the show Milan speaks with veteran journalist Aditi Phadnis, political editor at the Business Standard. Aditi and Milan discuss the reasons behind Mamata Banerjee’s decisive victory in West Bengal, the Left’s historic showing in Kerala, the BJP’s win in Assam, and the DMK’s comeback in Tamil Nadu. Plus, the two discuss the implications of this election for Indian federalism, governance, and the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Episode notes: Milan Vaishnav, “Will voters hold Modi to account for India’s covid-19 crisis? Don’t bet on it,” Washington PostNeelanjan Sircar, “The Bengal model to counter the BJP,” Hindustan TimesAditi Phadnis, “It's BJP again in Assam, but who will be the next chief minister?” Business StandardAditi Phadnis, “Going gets tougher for Modi govt as election results favour Opposition,” Business StandardAditi Phadnis, “Mamata Banerjee's wheelchair stops the BJP juggernaut in West Bengal,” Business StandardAditi Phadnis, “National politics set to change as Mamata Banerjee keeps West Bengal,” Business Standard
It has been a harrowing week for India. The country is reeling under the effects of a devastating second wave of the coronavirus, which is responsible for more than 300,000 new cases a day and more than 2,000 fatalities. And these official numbers are almost certainly a dramatic undercount. To understand what is driving this new second wave of the virus and the global health implications of the surge, professor Anup Malani joins Milan on the show this week. Anup is the Lee and Brena Freeman professor at the University of Chicago Law School and a professor at the Pritzker School of Medicine. Anup and Milan discuss India’s second COVID wave—what we know, what we don’t know, and what we need to find out. Plus, they discuss the findings of numerous serological studies Anup and his co-authors have conducted across India, the contested role of lockdowns, and the worrying prospect of vaccine nationalism. Episode notes:Anup Malani, “Research Notes” newsletterSerological studies carried out by Anup Malani and his co-authorsArvind Gupta et al, “To Friends in the United States: Facilitate Global Vaccine Manufacturing”Amanda Glassman and Rachel Silverman, “The International Community Has One Job: Getting COVID-19 Under Control”
This month, voters are going to the polls in five Indian states to select the members of their respective state assemblies. These polls are being seen as a test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and the ability of the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to grow or further consolidate its popularity in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Election results will be announced on May 2 but, before then, we will hear from a litany of exit polls that will try to predict the outcomes of these five contests. The exit polls conducted by Axis My India will among the most eagerly anticipated. The firm has garnered a reputation for accurately predicting a spate of recent elections across India. Milan’s guest on the show this week is Pradeep Gupta, the Chairman and Managing Director of Axis My India and author of the brand-new book, How India Votes: And What It Means.Milan and Pradeep discuss why it is so hard to conduct election surveys in India, why Indian voters are delivering more decisive mandates of late, and how Narendra Modi has established a unique connection with Indian voters. Plus, the two discuss the state of the political opposition and how Modi was able to turn demonetization, a questionable economic policy measure, into a big political winner.Episode notes:Pradeep Gupta’s interview with Karan Thapar of The WireMilan Vaishnav, “Understanding the Indian Voter,” Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceAmit Ahuja and Pradeep Chhibber, “Why the Poor Vote in India: ‘If I Don't Vote, I Am Dead to the State’”
Most people who work on India regularly refer to India as the world’s largest democracy and the most enduring democracy in the developing world. However, they often have to footnote such statements with the caveat that India experienced a twenty-one-month period of Emergency Rule in the late 1970s during which democracy was placed in cold storage.A new book, India’s First Dictatorship--The Emergency 1975-1977, by Christophe Jaffrelot and Pratinav Anil breaks new ground in providing us with a comprehensive history and political analysis of this exceptional period. Christophe joins Milan on the show this week to discuss why the Emergency was imposed, how it was imposed, and why—in the end—it was undone. Plus, the two talk about talk about parallels between the political power structure in India circa the late 1970s and today.Episode notes:Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, “Interview: Christophe Jaffrelot on understanding the Emergency and its relevance to Modi’s India,” Scroll.inPratinav Anil, “The Myth of Congress Socialism,” Himal Southasian
Few regions of the world have gotten more attention in the first few months of the Biden administration than Asia. And, within Asia, top leaders from Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to President Joe Biden himself have singled out the importance of the Indo-Pacific region in particular. To discuss why this region has gotten such significant air-time and to help us understand what shape greater power competition might take there, Darshana Baruah joins Milan on the podcast this week. Darshana is an associate fellow with the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where she leads Carnegie’s new Indian Ocean Initiative. Darshana and Milan discuss the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean, India’s evolving views toward the “Quad,” and how the United States and India might cooperate in this critical region. Plus, the two discuss China’s strategic motivations and the existential issue of climate change for the region’s small island nations. Darshana Baruah, “Showing Up is Half the Battle: U.S. Maritime Forces in the Indian Ocean,” War on the RocksDarshana Baruah, “What is Happening in the Indian Ocean?” Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceDarshana Baruah, “India in the Indo-Pacific: New Delhi’s Theater of Opportunity,” Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceEvan Feigenbaum and James Schwemlein, “How Biden Can Make the Quad Endure,“ Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The Biden administration has been in office for just a little over two months but India has already emerged as an important foreign policy priority for the president and his new team. But what do the United States and India seek to do together? What is the significance of this month’s leadership-level Quad summit? And, at a time when democracy is under stress globally, how are these two democracies managing their own domestic challenges at home? To discuss these questions and more, the Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu joins Milan on the podcast this week. There are few people in the Indian government who have more experience living and working in the United States as Ambassador Sandhu, who is on his third tour of duty in Washington. Ambassador Sandhu and Milan discuss how U.S.-India relations have evolved since the former’s first posting in Washington in 1997 and what the future might hold for the bilateral partnership. Plus, the two discuss democracy in India, the importance of the Quad, and the state of U.S.-India economic ties. Episode notes: Joe Biden, Narendra Modi, Scott Morrison and Yoshihide Suga, “Our four nations are committed to a free, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” Washington PostMilan Vaishnav, “The Decay of Indian Democracy,” Foreign AffairsSumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, and Milan Vaishnav, “How Do Indian Americans View India? Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Rasputin, Lucifer, Evil Genius, Sombre Porcupine, The World’s Most Hated Diplomat. These are just some of the choice names that people have given for the former diplomat and politician V.K. Krishna Menon. Menon is, in many ways, one of the most consequential figures in post-Independence India and he is the subject of a recent book by the politician and author Jairam Ramesh, titled: A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon. The book was awarded the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay-New India Foundation (NIF) Book Prize for 2020. Jairam Ramesh is Milan’s guest on the show this week. The two discuss Ramesh’s approach to biography writing, Menon’s inscrutable personality, his status as Nehru’s “soulmate,” and his lasting legacy for Indian foreign policy. Plus, the two discuss Menon’s contemporary relevance as India stares down the possibility of another conflict with China over their contested border. Episode notes: Jairam Ramesh, Intertwined Lives: P.N. Haksar & Indira Gandhi
This week on the podcast, Milan is joined once more by Grand Tamasha “news round-up” regulars Sadanand Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute and the Wall Street Journal and Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution. This week, the trio discuss three topics: last week’s heads-of-state summit of the “Quad” countries; recent, controversial assessments on the health of Indian democracy; and the Modi government’s renewed economic reforms push. Plus, the three offer recommendations for Indian cultural exports that sustained them during the pandemic.
The contested borders between India, China, and Pakistan render the Himalayas one of the world’s most dangerous geopolitical flashpoints in the year 2021. A new book by the journalist Myra MacDonald, White as the Shroud: India, Pakistan and War on the Frontiers of Kashmir, takes readers inside the long-simmering conflict over the Siachen glacier—one of the most obscure and forbidding battlegrounds in the world. Myra joins Milan on the podcast this week to talk about her new book and its larger implications for regional and global politics. The two discuss Myra’s lifelong passion for India/South Asia, the origins of India and Pakistan’s decades-long battle for Siachen, and the toll war at 20,000 feet takes on soldiers from both sides. Plus, Myra reflects on how the Modi government’s August 2019 abrogation of Article 370in Jammu and Kashmir has impacted relations with both China and Pakistan. Episode notes: Myra MacDonald, Heights of Madness: One Women`s Journey in Pursuit of a Secret WarMyra MacDonald, Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian WarGrand Tamasha, “Ashley J. Tellis on India’s China Conundrum”
Shoumitro Chatterjee and Mekhala Krishnamurthy on the Economics (and Politics) of India’s New Farm Laws
In September 2020, Indian lawmakers approved three controversial agriculture bills amidst an uproar on the floor of Parliament. That uproar would soon manifest outside of Parliament as tens of thousands of farmers took to the streets on the outskirts of Delhi to protest the passage of these laws. Today, the government and the farmers are locked in a months-long standoff, with everyone from the Supreme Court to foreign governments weighing in on the confrontation. To discuss the farm laws—the motivations behind them, their likely consequences, and the political fallout—Milan sits down with two experts on Indian agriculture, Shoumitro Chatterjee of Penn State University and Mekhala Krishnamurthy of Ashoka University and the Centre for Policy Research. The three discuss the state of Indian agriculture, the motivations behind the new laws, the anxieties that have fueled the protests, and possible compromises that can resolve the current impasse. If you have been watching the protests in India unfold but are struggling to make sense of them, this episode will help you fill in the blanks. Episode notes: Shoumitro Chatterjee, Mekhala Krishnamurthy, Devesh Kapur, and Marshall M. Bouston, “A Study of the Agricultural Markets of Bihar, Odisha and Punjab”Yamini Aiyar and Mekhala Krishnamurthy, “On Farm Laws, How the Centre Faltered”Mekhala Krishnamurthy, “Modi govt can bring real agriculture reforms only by working with states”Shoumitro Chhatterjee and Mekhala Krishnamurthy, “Farm laws: First principles and the political economy of agricultural market regulation”Bharat Ramaswami, “Constituency for reforms in BJP-ruled states can disprove fears that farm laws are a corporate plot”Shoumitro Chatterjee and Arvind Subramanian, “India’s Export-Led Growth: Exemplar and Exception”
One night in the summer of 2014, two teenage girls living in a remote village in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh went missing. Hours later, they were found dead and hanging from a tree in a mango orchard. A media frenzy ensued that propelled the case to the front pages of national newspapers and prime time cable news. It was quickly decided that this was another clear-cut case of rape and murder in India’s heartland. A haunting new book, The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing, by the author Sonia Faleiro reveals that the truth, however, is far murkier. Sonia is Milan’s guest on the podcast this week and the two discuss the origins of The Good Girls, the notion of honor in contemporary Indian society, the pervasiveness of caste in the Hindi heartland, the troubled state of policing, and the battle Indian girls face even before leaving their homes. Parul Sehgal of the New York Times has this to say about The Good Girls: “‘The Good Girls’ is transfixing; it has the pacing and mood of a whodunit, but no clear reveal; Faleiro does not indict the cruelty or malice of any individual, nor any particular system. She indicts something even more common, and in its own way far more pernicious: a culture of indifference that allowed for the neglect of the girls in life and in death.” Episode notes:Parul Sehgal, “A Double Tragedy in India and the Search for Elusive Answers,” New York Times.Rafia Zakaria, “Death in the Mango Orchard,” The Baffler
As a new administration takes office in Washington, followers of the U.S.-India relationship are eagerly anticipating what shape ties between these two nations will take under a new president. A new book by the journalist Meenakshi Ahamed, A Matter of Trust: India–US Relations from Truman to Trump, offers a sweeping portrait of this relationship over seven decades. This week on the show, Milan sits down with Meenakshi to discuss the evolution of U.S.-India relations, from the moment of independence in 1947 to Joe Biden’s inauguration in 2021. The two discuss Nehru’s perennial skepticism of America, Bill Clinton’s lifelong fascination with India, and how China’s recent actions have given the partnership an unprecedented boost. Episode notes: Rudra Chaudhuri, India and the United States Since 1947Tanvi Madan, Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped U.S.-India Relations During the Cold WarGrand Tamasha, “Tanvi Madan on the U.S.-India-China Fateful Triangle” Grand Tamasha, “Ashley J. Tellis on India’s China Conundrum”
Grand Tamasha ●
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Indian Americans are now the second-largest immigrant group in the United States. Their growing political influence and their courtship by the Indian government raises important—as yet unanswered—questions. How do Indians in America regard India, and how do they remain connected to developments there? What are their attitudes toward Indian politics and changes underway in their ancestral homeland? And what role, if any, do they envision for the United States in engaging with India? This week on the show, Milan sits down with his co-authors Sumitra Badrinathan and Devesh Kapur to unveil the findings of a new report they’ve authored on how Indian Americans view India. Milan, Sumitra, and Devesh discuss what their new data tells us about Indian Americans remain connected to their ancestral homeland, how they assess the performance of Narendra Modi, and how they view India’s democratic trajectory. Plus, the trio talk about what a more divided diaspora might mean for U.S.-India relations and India’s foreign policy in the years to come. Episode notes:Grand Tamasha, “Sumitra Badrinathan and Devesh Kapur Decode the 2020 Indian American Vote”Grand Tamasha, “Deep in the Heart of Texas: Inside ‘Howdy, Modi!’”Sumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, and Milan Vaishnav, “How Will Indian Americans Vote? Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey”Sanjoy Chakravorty, Devesh Kapur, and Nirvikar Singh, “The Other One Percent: Indians in America.”
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On Monday, the Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented one of the most highly anticipated Indian budgets in recent memory. Facing a global health pandemic, a severe economic slowdown, and continued anxieties over inflation, some commentators argued that this budget was not simply the most important of the Modi government’s tenure, it was one of the most important in three decades. To breakdown this year’s budget and to kick off the fifth season of Grand Tamasha, Milan was joined by Sukumar Ranganathan, editor in chief of the Hindustan Times. Sukumar and Milan break down the nuts and bolts of the budget—from spending priorities to the fiscal deficit and the government’s ambitious plans for disinvestment. The two also discuss the government’s broader economy strategy, including India’s continued inward turn on trade. Episode notes: Editorial, “What Union Budget 2021-2011 Gets Right,” Hindustan Times.Roshan Kishore, “Where the Budget Gets India’s Economy Wrong,” Hindustan Times.Yamini Aiyar, “Decoding the Budget and the Economics of Welfare,” Hindustan Times.Shoumitro Chatterjee and Arvind Subramanian, “India’s Inward (Re)Turn: Is it Warranted? Will it Work?”
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This week on the show, Milan sits down with Vinay Sitapati, political scientist and author of the blockbuster new book, Jugalbandi: The BJP Before Modi. Vinay’s new book gives readers the crucial backstory to understanding India’s current political moment and it is full of historical insights, colorful anecdotes, and a decent dash of insider gossip. Vinay and Milan discuss the unusual duo of Atal Behari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani, Hindu nationalism’s obsession with elections, the BJP’s “schizophrenic” approach to economics, and how the Hindu nationalist movement manages to balance the twin impulses of inclusion and exclusion. Plus, Vinay explains how a better understanding of the BJP of yesteryear can inform our thinking about Narendra Modi and Amit Shah today. Episode notes: Vinay Sitapati, “Election is the ideology,” Indian ExpressVinay Sitapati, Half-Lion: How P.V Narasimha Rao Transformed IndiaChristophe Jaffrelot, The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India This is the last episode of Grand Tamasha season 4! We'll be back in January with new episodes. If you have feedback or episode ideas, please contact us at email@example.com. Happy holidays!
By now, we are all familiar with the catch phrases, colorful billboards, and slick branding: Incredible India. India Shining. Make in India. New India. But these are not just the frivolous creations of marketing executives and tourist brochures—they are the stuff of 21st century nation branding. This is the argument of a new book by the scholar Ravinder Kaur, Brand New Nation: Capitalist Dreams and Nationalist Designs in Twenty-First Century India. Ravinder, a professor of Modern South Asia Studies at the University of Copenhagen, joins Milan on the show this week to talk about her new book. The two discuss how brand-building is displacing nation-building in the 21st century and who the makers of India’s “new brand” actually are. Plus, Milan and Ravinder discuss the untold backstory of the “India Shining” campaign and why Prime Minister Modi’s notion of a “New India” is not all that new after all. Episode notes: Martin Wolf, “Best books of 2020,” Financial TimesRavinder Kaur, “‘I Am India Shining’: The Investor-Citizen and the Indelible Icon of Good Times”Roshan Kishore, “Review: Brand New Nation by Ravinder Kaur”Ravinder Kaur, “Who Owns the Republic?”
Although this history has largely been forgotten today, India was the epicenter of three major pandemics throughout the 19th and early 20th century. A new book by the economist Chinmay Tumbe, The Age of Pandemics: 1817-1920—How They Shaped India and the World, takes readers on a tour of three previous pandemics—cholera, the plague, and influenza—that ravaged India and highlights what we might learn from this past trauma. This week on the show, Chinmay speaks with Milan about India’s “Age of Pandemics” and why this dark chapter in Indian history has been glossed over. Chinmay and Milan also discuss the parallels between pandemics past and present, how pandemics have shaped politics, and why the flight of internal migrants is one of the most stylized facts of pandemics in history. Episode notes:Chinmay Tumbe, India Moving: A History of MigrationGovernment of India, Economic Survey 2017-18, “India on the Move and Churning: New Evidence.” Chinmay Tumbe, “Excerpt: The Age of Pandemics”
Of the many questions being asked about U.S. president-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy, chief among them is how the new president might handle relations with China. The future trajectory of U.S.-China relations matters not just for the U.S. and China, but it also has real implications for India—its economics, politics, and foreign policy.On the podcast this week, Milan sits down with Evan Feigenbaum, Vice President of Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an expert on the Asia region—from China to Kazakhstan to India and Sri Lanka. Evan talks to Milan about the Trump administration’s Asia legacy, India’s inward turn, and the strategic relevance of the Quad. Evan also has some useful, pithy advice for how the incoming Biden administration might position itself in the Asia-Pacific.Episode notes:Evan Feigenbaum, “Biden Faces Immediate Tests in Asia”Evan Feigenbaum, “Asia’s Future Beyond U.S.-China Competition”Evan Feigenbaum, Twitter thread on America’s (missing) economic strategy in AsiaHindustan Times, “RCEP would have hurt India’s economy, FTA with EU not easy: S Jaishankar”
Last week, the world saw two highly anticipated elections come to an end. The never-ending 2020 U.S. presidential election finally came to a close—with Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden capturing the White House. On the other side of the world, tens of millions of voters went to the polls in the north Indian state of Bihar. The election produced a narrow victory for the ruling National Democratic Alliance—a coalition principally made of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its regional ally, the Janata Dal (United) Joining Milan to talk all things elections are Grand Tamasha news-round up regulars Sadanand Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute and theWall Street Journal and Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution. The trio discuss the key lessons of the U.S. 2020 election, the implications for India, and what the election tells us about the configuration of power in the United States come January 2021. Milan, Sadanand, and Tanvi also discuss the Bihar elections, what they say about Modi’s popularity, and the trials and tribulations of the political opposition. Episode notes:“Donald Trump Mashup”Sadanand Dhume, “Will Biden Say Howdy Modi?”Milan Vaishnav, “US: The end of a corrosive chapter”Tanvi Madan, “For Delhi, US election result is consequential in terms of how the next administration approaches China”
Thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, India’s economy is expected to shrink by at least 9 percent this fiscal year—a gut punch that comes on the heels of several years of continuously slowing growth. At the heart of India’s economic woes is a severe banking crisis that some have argued has sapped the vitality out of India’s investment cycle and consumed the energies of government economic firefighters. This week, Milan sits down with Viral Acharya, former Deputy Governor at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from 2017-2019, and author of the recent book, Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India. Milan and Viral discuss the health of India’s economy, the “silent crisis” afflicting India’s financial sector, the future of central bank independence in India, and the role that Indian economists based overseas can play back home.
Since the onset of the novel Coronavirus, award-winning data journalist Rukmini has investigated the virus’ spread in India like very few people have. Twice a week since March, she’s been recording her thoughts on the pandemic in a short “mini-podcast” called The Moving Curve. In 100 bite-sized episodes, Rukmini has helped educate Indians--and their political leaders--about this unprecedented public health crisis straight from her home studio. This week, Rukmini joins Milan to talk about the state of COVID-19 in India, the country’s surprisingly low fatality rate, and what large-scale seroprevalence studies tell us about where the virus is heading. Plus, Rukmini evaluates the impact of India’s lockdown and how the media has reported on the pandemic. Episode Notes:The Moving Curve Episode 98: “Pandemic Research, Made in India”Rukmini, “Covid-19 spread in some unique ways in India, new contact tracing data shows”Rukmini, “Why India has emerged as pandemic epicentre, despite early lockdown”Partha Mukhopadhyay, “Is India’s Covid-19 death rate higher than Italy’s?”IDFC Institute, “Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in slums and non-slums of Mumbai, India, during June 29-July 19, 2020”
Pankaj Mishra is the acclaimed author of numerous books of fiction and non-fiction. He is a frequent contributor to some of the world’s top publications the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Guardian, the New Yorker, and Bloomberg. His new book, Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race, and Empire, focuses on the decay of Western liberalism but somehow manages to cover an array of topics from Salman Rushie to The Economist to British colonialism and Indian politics. Pankaj and Milan discuss the state of Indian democracy, the (absent) standard-bearers of Indian liberalism, and how the Cold War-era conception of democracy helped India geopolitically. They also discuss what the British Raj can tell us about Brexit and the future of big government, for good and for ill. Episode Notes: Pankaj Mishra, Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race, and EmpirePankaj Mishra, Age of Anger: A History of the PresentPankaj Mishra, “Coronavirus Will Review an All-Powerful State”Ramachandra Guha, “The 50-50 democracy”Ashutosh Varshney, Battles Half Won: India’s Improbable Democracy
In the summer of 2008, the journalist Ananth Krishnan moved to Beijing to pick up some Mandarin. Little did he know that this fateful decision would kick off a decade-long immersion in Chinese politics, economics, foreign policy, and culture. This week on the podcast, Ananth talks with Milan about his new book, “India’s China Challenge: A Journey Through China’s Rise and What It Means for India.” Ananth, the China correspondent for the The Hindu, talks to Milan about India’s underinvestment in understanding Chinese domestic affairs, the lessons India should learn from China’s economic miracle, and the status of current border tensions between the two neighbors. Plus, the two discuss how India can respond to the economic and political challenge that China poses. Episode notes:Grand Tamasha with Ashley J. Tellis on “India’s China Conundrum” Ashley J. Tellis, “Hustling in the Himalayas: The Sino-Indian Border Confrontation”
Although Indians in America account for less than one percent of registered voters, this election season they have been actively wooed by both Democrats and Republicans in an unprecedented manner. Thanks to the increasing political influence of Indian Americans, the camaraderie between Donald Trump and Narendra Modi, and the addition of Kamala Harris to the Democratic ticket, there is a sense that this community’s votes are very much at play. Today, Milan speaks with Sumitra Badrinathan (University of Pennsylvania) and Devesh Kapur (Johns Hopkins-SAIS) about the findings of a brand new survey--the Indian American Attitudes Survey (IAAS)-- that sheds light on the political attitudes of Indian Americans (full disclosure: Milan is a co-author of the new study). Milan, Devesh and Sumitra discuss why Indian Americans, contrary to media reports, remain solidly with the Democratic Party and why they are overwhelmingly concerned with kitchen table issues, rather than foreign policy concerns such as U.S.-India relations. They also talk about the impact of Kamala Harris, partisan polarization among Indians in America, and why Republicans face an uphill climb to win over Indian American voters. Notes:Sumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, and Milan Vaishnav, “How Will Indian Americans Vote? Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey”Sanjoy Chakravorty, Devesh Kapur, and Nirvikar Singh, “The Other One Percent: Indians in America”Sara Sadhwani, “Kamala Harris is likely to bring in Indian American voters, this research finds”Devesh Kapur, “Diaspora, Development, and Democracy: The Domestic Impact of International Migration from India”
The political landscape of South Asia has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Insurgencies that were raging across the subcontinent in the 1990s and early 2000s have largely been contained and the heavy-hand of the state has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence. Why has this happened and what exactly does it mean for South Asia’s future?To shed light on the surprising conflict dynamics in South Asia, this week Milan is joined by political scientist Paul Staniland, author of a recent Carnegie essay titled, “Political Violence in South Asia: The Triumph of the State?” Paul is an associate professor at the University of Chicago and nonresident scholar with the South Asia Program at Carnegie.Milan and Paul discuss intra-state conflict trends in the region, the massive rise in India’s internal security forces, the precarious state of liberal democracy in South Asia, and what South Asia can tell us about political violence in America.Episode notes:Paul Staniland, Adnan Naseemullah, and Ahsan Butt, “Pakistan’s Military Elite.”Paul Staniland, “Leftist Insurgencies in Democracies.”Paul Staniland, “4 Questions on India, Liberalism America, Etc.”Paul Staniland, “Trends in Insurgency in South Asia.”
If you’ve watched prime time television in India at any point in the last two decades, there is zero chance that you are not acquainted with Milan’s guest on the show this week. Since 1999, the journalist Nidhi Razdan has been reporting on the biggest news coming out of India--from politics to the economy and, especially, foreign affairs. A stalwart presence night after night on NDTV--one of India’s leading news outlets--Nidhi was the executive editor of the channel and the primary anchor of their prime time news show, “Left, Right & Centre.” In June 2020, Nidhi announced that she was taking a break from reporting journalism in order to teach journalism at Harvard. Milan asks Nidhi about how television journalism has changed over the last two decades, why the business model of journalism is broken, and the festering issue of self-censorship in newsrooms. Milan and Nidhi also discuss the surprise “India angle” to the U.S. elections and the international ramifications of the Article 370 decision in Kashmir, Nidhi’s home state. Episode Notes:Nidhi Razdan, “The Shameful Vilification Of Rhea Chakraborty”Amit Varma, “Driven to Extremes. Part 1: News Television”Sevanti Ninan, “How India's Media Landscape Changed Over Five Years”Priya Ramani, “Your Guide To Loving Indian Media Again”Grand Tamasha episode with Ashley J. Tellis on “India’s China Conundrum”
For the first time in decades, shots have been fired between China and India along the Line of Actual Control. As India grapples with the twin domestic crises of COVID and the economy, it simultaneously must manage a complex diplomatic and defense engagement with the Chinese. This week on this show, Milan sits down with the Carnegie Endowment’s Ashley J. Tellis, one of the world’s foremost experts on Indian foreign policy. Milan and Ashley discuss recent fighting along India’s Chinese border, the motivations animating Chinese strategic calculations, the implications for U.S. foreign policy, and growing international concerns about the character of India’s domestic regime. Notes:Ashley J. Tellis, “Hustling in the Himalayas: The Sino-Indian Border Confrontation”Ashley J. Tellis, “India’s Path to the Big Leagues”Carnegie India webinar, “The Sino-Indian Border: Escalation & Disengagement”Sushant Singh, “Can India Transcend its Two-Front Challenge?”Seema Sirohi, “Pre-Election Bhai-Bhai”
This week on Grand Tamasha, Milan is joined by podcast regulars Sadanand Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute and the Wall Street Journal and Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution to discuss the triple-whammy of crises facing India. The three discuss the latest on India’s contested border with China, the raging COVID pandemic--which shows very little sign of slowing down, and end with a discussion of the latest economic data. As always, they end by chatting about the news you need to be following (but may not be) and who had the best and worst weeks in India. Notes:Tanvi Madan’s book, “Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped U.S.-India Relations During the Cold War”Sadanand Dhume’s Wall Street Journal column, “What Beijing Lost With Its Border Clash Blunder.”Yamini Aiyar on the future of India’s fiscal federalism.Vivek Dehejia on India’s endangered growth story.Vijay Joshi’s book, “India’s Long Road: The Search for Prosperity.”
Scaachi Koul is an Indo-Canadian culture writer at Buzzfeed and the author of the 2017 book of essays, “One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter.” For those of you who spend any time on social media, you will know Scaachi is a force of nature--dishing out sharp-witted takes on cultural and political issues from Kamala Harris to the Netflix show Indian Matchmaking. But she’s also written extensively about her Kashmiri identity and her life as an Indian woman growing up in Canada. This week on the podcast, Scaachi joins Milan to discuss her Indo-Canadian upbringing, how politics in Kashmir stirs up family conflict, and the cultural import of “Indian Matchmaking.” She also talks about her unique relationship with her father--a frequent (and humorous) presence in her writing and on her social media feed. Episode notes:Scaachi’s article on the Kamala Harris VP pick.Scaachi’s essay on how Kashmir is dividing her familyScaachi’s 2017 book of essaysScaachi’s take on the Netflix show, “Indian Matchmaking”
If you’re listening to this podcast, chances are you are a fan of the podcast, “The Seen and the Unseen.” For 186 episodes and counting, the journalist Amit Varma has been putting together some of the most thoughtful, insightful and eclectic conversations with the best and brightest in India. This week, Amit joins Milan on the show to reflect on his career as a journalist, author, entrepreneur, podcast host, and--yes--professional poker player. Milan talks to Amit about his libertarian leanings, his views on nationalism, and why exactly India has so few economic reformers.Show notes:1. Amit’s podcasts: “The Seen and the Unseen” and “Econ Central”2. Previous episodes of “The Seen and the Unseen” with Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Karthik Muralidharan, and J.P. Narayan.3. The archives of “Range Rover,” Amit’s poker column for the Economic Times4. A previous episode of “The Seen and the Unseen” in which Amit speaks at length about libertarianism5. Amit’s newsletter, “India Uncut”6. Amit’s Times of India column on nationalism
On August 15, 2020, India celebrated its 73rd birthday. To reflect on the state of Indian democracy and to kick off the podcast’s fourth season, Pratap Bhanu Mehta joins Milan for a wide-ranging conversation on India’s past, present, and future.Pratap is a professor of political science at Ashoka University and contributing editor and columnist at the Indian Express. He is a noted author, scholar, and commentator, not to mention arguably India’s finest public intellectual.Pratap and Milan discuss what the COVID crisis says about Indian democracy, the future of secularism in India, the popular yearning for strongman rule, and the maladies plaguing India’s rule of law institutions.
The police in India, as in America, face a reckoning. From the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests to the Delhi riots and the COVID pandemic, recent events have raised troubling questions about the quality of Indian policing. In 2019, the non-profit Common Cause and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies issued a report on the “Status of Policing in India.” The report is one of the most comprehensive, empirical examinations of the police on record. This week on the show, Vipul Mudgal, the Director of Common Cause, joins Milan to discuss the colonial legacy of the Indian police, the personnel and operational challenges ordinary police officers must confront, and the contested role the police have played during the COVID pandemic. Vipul also outlines a reform blueprint for more effective policing. Programming note: This is the very last episode of Season Three of Grand Tamasha. As usual, we are going to take a little time off this summer to recharge our batteries and prepare for a brand-new season of Grand Tamasha, which we will kick-off at the end of the summer. During this break, please send us your feedback, comments, and criticisms. You can contact us on Twitter @MilanV or email the Grand Tamasha team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a hard truth about policy conversations on India: we rarely hear about India’s northeast. In fact, in doing more than 50 episodes of this podcast, not even one has been dedicated to the northeastern region of the country. The Northeast is a region of immense geostrategic importance. It is home to nearly 50 million Indian citizens. It is also home to South Asia's longest running armed conflict, where over 50,000 people have died. And, yet, it is often written off as a footnote, an outlier or part of the periphery. To enlighten us--and to educate us--about this often overlooked corner of India, social activist and indigenous leader Binalakshmi Nepram joins Milan on the show this week. Bina is the Founder of the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and also serves as Convenor of the Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace. Bina and Milan discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the Northeast, how the region fits into India’s popular imagination, the intense discrimination the region’s citizens endure, and the decades-long conflict that has upended the lives of tens of millions of ordinary Indians. Plus, Bina tells Milan about what inspired her to establish two of the Northeast’s leading human rights groups.
Roshan Kishore on India’s flagging economy, the impacts of the lockdown, and the government’s policy response
Two weeks ago, the Modi government announced a series of economic measures intended to get the Indian economy back on track after the country’s prolonged lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.Over five days, the Finance Minister addressed a series of daily press conferences in which she outlined the government’s plan of action to assist the country’s poorest citizens, reform the country’s regulatory framework, and stimulate new investment.To break down the meaning of these latest moves, Roshan Kishore, Data and Political Economy editor at the Hindustan Times, joins Milan this week on the show. The two discuss India’s long-term economic downturn, the immediate impacts of the nationwide lockdown, the Modi government’s economic relief package, and the state of the political opposition.
This week, Milan sits down with podcast regulars Sadanand Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute and the Wall Street Journal and Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution for a special live edition of the Grand Tamasha news round-up. The three discuss India's emerging response to the coronavirus, its economic fallout, and the ramifications for India's foreign policy. The trio also answered viewer questions, recommended their favorite quarantine binge-watches, and debated the role of peas in keema. Watch the livestream here.
YOU'RE INVITED: Join Milan, Tanvi, and Sadanand for a special LIVE episode of Grand Tamasha on Tuesday, May 19, at 11am EST / 8:30pm IST. Tune in as they break down the week's news - and join the live chat to ask questions! Add it to your calendar, and join the live show here.
This week on the show, Milan is joined by New York Times journalist Sopan Deb--author of the brand-new memoir, Missed Translations: Meeting the Immigrant Parents Who Raised Me. Whether it’s Hasan Minhaj’s comedy--OR the spectacle of the “Howdy, Modi” rally in Houston--OR Aarti Shahani’s heartbreaking memoir--listeners of this show know that getting inside the Indian immigrant experience is one of Grand Tamasha’s obsessions. On the surface, Sopan is a successful journalist, comedian, and cultural commentator. But in his new book, he explores a side of his life that existed well below the surface--his estrangement from his parents, the alienation he felt as an immigrant kid in a mostly white New Jersey suburb, and the heartbreak he endured watching his family life not so much fall apart as melt away. Milan and Sopan discuss his toxic family life, his Indian-American coming-of-age story, and his life-changing journey to meet the parents who raised him. YOU'RE INVITED: Join Milan, Tanvi, and Sadanand for a special LIVE episode of Grand Tamasha on Tuesday, May 19, at 11am EST / 8:30pm IST. Tune in as they break down the week's news - and join the live chat to ask questions! Add it to your calendar, and join the live show here.
Former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian on India’s Economic Response to the COVID-19 crisis
YOU'RE INVITED: Join Milan, Tanvi, and Sadanand for a special LIVE episode of Grand Tamasha on Tuesday, May 19, at 11am EST / 8:30pm IST. Tune in as they break down the week's news - and join the live chat to ask questions! Add it to your calendar, and join the live show here. After a six-week nationwide lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 3rd the Indian government commenced a calibrated relaxation of this unprecedented shutdown. To discuss the economic impacts of the crisis and what steps government can take to cushion the blow, this week on the show Milan welcomes back the economist Arvind Subramanian. Arvind served as the chief economic advisor to the Government of India between 2014-2018 and is currently a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute.Milan speaks with Arvind about how Indian authorities should respond to the economic crisis, the utter failure of global economic cooperation, and whether China’s reputational hit offers India an opportunity. Plus, the two discuss Arvind’s long-standing support for a universal basic income (UBI) for India and whether the country has the necessary infrastructure in place to deliver an effective UBI.
In a much cited 2009 essay, economist Lant Pritchett argued that India is not a failed or a failing state, but a flailing one. In Pritchett’s words, India is “a nation-state in which the head, that is the elite institutions at the national level remain sound and functional but this head is no longer reliably connected via nerves and sinews to its own limbs.”A new book the author and journalist Shankkar Aiyar takes the argument one step further. Aiyar’s new book, The Gated Republic: India’s Public Policy Failures and Private Solutions argues that the failure of India’s public sector to deliver on its most essential functions has created a massive gap, which the private sector has had no choice but to fill.On this week’s episode, Milan speaks with Aiyar about the causes and consequences of the proliferation of India’s “gated republics,” what the COVID-19 crisis reveals about the Indian state, and whether democracy is part of the solution or part of the problem.
This week, Milan sits down with podcast regulars Sadanand Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute and the Wall Street Journal and Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution for a special “Happy Hour” edition of the “Grand Tamasha” news round-up.The three discuss how India is faring in its pitched battle against the Coronavirus, the reasons behind festering anti-China sentiment among many Indians across the political spectrum, and the impact COVID-19 is having on India’s domestic politics.Plus, the trio discuss their personal lockdown strategies for staying sane during self-isolation.
India is in the middle of an unprecedented 21-day countrywide lockdown as it tries to contain the growing threat of Coronavirus. This virus has wrought so much fresh destruction but it also has the potential to exacerbate pre-existing inequalities in Indian society.This week on the show, Milan speaks with Amitabh Behar, the Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam India. For seven decades, Oxfam India has been providing humanitarian and development assistance across India in an effort to address gaps in service delivery, gender equity, injustice, and livelihoods.Amitabh and Milan discuss India’s response to the crisis, the precarious lives of India’s urban poor and migrant labor, the pandemic’s particular effects on women, and the connection between entrenched social norms and violence against women.