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While there is overwhelming support for democracy in India and voter turnout is higher than in many Western democracies, there are low levels of trust in political parties and elected representatives. House of the People: Parliament and the Making of Indian Democracy, written by Ronojoy Sen, looks beyond Indian elections, which has increasingly occupied analysts and commentators, and focuses on the Lok Sabha. The book examines two broad questions: Is the Indian Parliament, which has the unenviable task of representing a diverse nation of a billion-plus people, working, if not in an exemplary manner, at least reasonably well, to articulate the diverse demands of the electorate and translate them into legislation and policy? To what extent has the practice of Indian democracy transformed the institution of parliament, which was adopted from the British, and its functioning?
The author will be in conversation with Aparna Chandra and Rajeev Gowda, moderated by Nitin Pai. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.
Dr Ronojoy Sen is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies and the South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore. He has worked for over a decade with leading Indian newspapers, most recently as an editor for The Times of India. His latest book is House of the People: Parliament and the Making of Indian Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2022). He is also the author of Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India (Columbia University Press/Penguin, 2015) and Articles of Faith: Religion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court (Oxford University Press, 2010; revised ed. 2018) and has edited several books. He has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago and read history at Presidency College, Calcutta.
Dr. Aparna Chandra is an Associate Professor of Law at National Law School of India University, Bangalore. Her areas of teaching and research are constitutional law, human rights, legal theory, gender and the law, and judicial process reform. Her on-going research includes a collaboration with the Israel Democracy Institute on a European Research Council funded multi-nation study titled Proportionality and Public Policy; a University of Chicago funded research project titled Empirical Analysis of Indian Supreme Court decisions; and a collaboration with the Centre for Reproductive Rights, New York on a book on Reproductive Justice in India.
Aparna received her LL.M and JSD degrees from Yale Law School in 2007 and 2013, respectively. She was a Lillian Goldman Scholar at Yale Law School from 2010-2012. Her doctoral dissertation (under the supervision of Judith Resnik and guidance of Bruce Ackerman and Alec Stone Sweet) examined the role of international law in domestic constitutional adjudication, with a primary focus on the Indian Supreme Court.
MV Rajeev Gowda
Professor Rajeev Gowda is Ex-Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Karnataka. He has a B.A from St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, an MA in Economics from Fordham University and a PhD in Public Policy and Management from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and taught at the University of Oklahoma. Until recently, he was Professor of Economics and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and a Director on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India. He has authored and edited books, scholarly articles and reports on policy issues. He has mentored start up companies and works on urban renewal and youth empowerment, among other areas of interest. He has been a Carnegie Council Global Ethics Fellow.
He is the Managing Trustee, Resurgent India Trust, which launched the Bengaluru Needs You initiative.
Nitin Pai is co-founder and director of the Takshashila Institution, an independent centre for research and education in public policy; and author of Nitopadesha: Moral Tales for Good Citizens. His current research includes information warfare, the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific. He teaches international relations, public policy and ethical reasoning at Takshashila’s graduate programmes. He is currently a columnist with Mint, ThePrint and Sakal, and a non-resident fellow at the Institute for South Asian Studies, Singapore.
Pai spent over a decade at the Telecommunications Authority of Singapore (TAS) and its successor the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) in broadband development and technology foresight. He has also worked with SingTel’s international connectivity business and undersea cable projects. He was a gold medalist from the National University of Singapore’s LKY School of Public Policy, an undergraduate scholar at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and an alum of National College, Bangalore.