India's Farmer's Protest: An Inclusive Vision of Indian Democracy

by Natasha Behl, Associate Professor, Social & Behavior Sciences, Arizona State University

Date & Time: Friday, September 2, 2022, at 11:00 AM

Location: Durham 240 & Zoom


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Lunch will be provided for those who attend in person. Please RSVP for in-person attendance. 



India has been experiencing a democratic decline. Since coming to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party have become increasingly illiberal and authoritarian. The rule of law has deteriorated, rights and liberties have been curtailed, and scholars and the media have been silenced. If electoral constraint, constitutional design, judicial independence, and a free press haven’t slowed India’s march toward illiberalism, what can? In November 2020, India’s farmers began a highly organized protest against the government. In this research talk, I ask: how has this protest protected Indian democracy from further degradation, and has it radically altered India’s political future? I argue that the farmers’ protest provides an alternative vision of democracy, one rooted in radical egalitarianism. Protesting farmers have actualized the spirit of dissent enshrined in the Indian constitution by holding the current government accountable to it.