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Faculty Seminar | Populism and Caste in contemporary India: Socio-political pragmatisms of caste associations


Conference Hall, Ground Floor, Training Centre, NLSIU


Wednesday, September 6, 2023, 4:15 pm

This week’s faculty seminar will be held on 6th September, 2023.  Dr. Aniket Nandan will be presenting a paper titled ‘Populism and Caste in contemporary India: Socio-political pragmatisms of caste associations’.  Dr. Karthikeyan Damodaran will be the discussant.


The essay is part of the forthcoming article as contribution for Springer Encyclopaedia on New Populism and Responses of the 21st Century, edited by Joseph Chacko Chennattuserry, Madhumati Deshpande and Paul Hong, in the section Society, Reflexivity and Populism. This essay assesses the core principles of populism in order to understand the trajectory of populist discourses in India. In doing so, the role of caste and its associational structures as a socio-cultural and political category finds significant attention. The essay argues that, in contemporary India the core value of populism, aimed at addressing the ‘will of the people’ or popular demand of the majority, has found itself stifled in the clutches of ‘will of the few’ who not only reproduce the socio-cultural hegemony but have also been able to postulate and dominate epistemic positions. However, this argument is not devoid of the foundation that India indeed witnessed phases of constructive populist discourses which in present times seems to be enmeshed within the metanarratives of a caste society.