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Breaking new ground in scholarship, Niraja Jayal writes the first history of citizenship in the largest democracy in the world--India. Unlike the mature democracies of the west, India began as a true republic of equals with a complex architecture of citizenship rights that was sensitive to the many hierarchies of Indian society. In this provocative biography of the definin Breaking new ground in scholarship, Niraja Jayal writes the first history of citizenship in the largest democracy in the world--India. Unlike the mature democracies of the west, India began as a true republic of equals with a complex architecture of citizenship rights that was sensitive to the many hierarchies of Indian society. In this provocative biography of the defining aspiration of modern India, Jayal shows how the progressive civic ideals embodied in the constitution have been challenged by exclusions based on social and economic inequality, and sometimes also, paradoxically, undermined by its own policies of inclusion. Citizenship and Its Discontents explores a century of contestations over citizenship from the colonial period to the present, analyzing evolving conceptions of citizenship as legal status, as rights, and as identity. The early optimism that a new India could be fashioned out of an unequal and diverse society led to a formally inclusive legal membership, an impulse to social and economic rights, and group-differentiated citizenship. Today, these policies to create a civic community of equals are losing support in a climate of social intolerance and weak solidarity. Once seen by Western political scientists as an anomaly, India today is a site where every major theoretical debate about citizenship is being enacted in practice, and one that no global discussion of the subject can afford to ignore.


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Breaking new ground in scholarship, Niraja Jayal writes the first history of citizenship in the largest democracy in the world--India. Unlike the mature democracies of the west, India began as a true republic of equals with a complex architecture of citizenship rights that was sensitive to the many hierarchies of Indian society. In this provocative biography of the definin Breaking new ground in scholarship, Niraja Jayal writes the first history of citizenship in the largest democracy in the world--India. Unlike the mature democracies of the west, India began as a true republic of equals with a complex architecture of citizenship rights that was sensitive to the many hierarchies of Indian society. In this provocative biography of the defining aspiration of modern India, Jayal shows how the progressive civic ideals embodied in the constitution have been challenged by exclusions based on social and economic inequality, and sometimes also, paradoxically, undermined by its own policies of inclusion. Citizenship and Its Discontents explores a century of contestations over citizenship from the colonial period to the present, analyzing evolving conceptions of citizenship as legal status, as rights, and as identity. The early optimism that a new India could be fashioned out of an unequal and diverse society led to a formally inclusive legal membership, an impulse to social and economic rights, and group-differentiated citizenship. Today, these policies to create a civic community of equals are losing support in a climate of social intolerance and weak solidarity. Once seen by Western political scientists as an anomaly, India today is a site where every major theoretical debate about citizenship is being enacted in practice, and one that no global discussion of the subject can afford to ignore.

46 review for Citizenship and Its Discontents: An Indian History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sita Thomas

    This book is really good. Partition casts such a long shadow in India but this is never acknowledged by the lawmakers or the judiciary except in rare circumstances. Especially when it comes to citizenship, where India and Pakistan were in a unique situation - those displaced could make a unique claim of being a refugee to a country and a citizen of the same country. Aside from that theoretical issue, reading this book really provides insight into how our citizenship law has changed over the year This book is really good. Partition casts such a long shadow in India but this is never acknowledged by the lawmakers or the judiciary except in rare circumstances. Especially when it comes to citizenship, where India and Pakistan were in a unique situation - those displaced could make a unique claim of being a refugee to a country and a citizen of the same country. Aside from that theoretical issue, reading this book really provides insight into how our citizenship law has changed over the years. The makers of our constitution envisioned a citizenship based on birth, not blood. This can be attributed to several things and not least the aftermath of the expulsion of Jewish people from Nazi Germany and the Second World War. The horrible irony is that by changing the vision of citizenship from based on birth to a citizenship that’s based on bloodlines and ethnicity over the years in India has literally led the rise of fascism and arbitrary dentition of thousands in the name of citizenship. This book is a must read to understand the historical background of the NRC in Assam and the history of citizenship from the perspective of Constitutional Law as well as our bloody border histories.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sanjay Banerjee

    India began as a repulbluc of equals unlike the Western democrarcies with a complex architecture of citizenship rights that was also mindful of societal hierarchies in India. The author shows how the progressive civic ideals of the Constitution have been challenged by exclusions based upon social and economic inequality and have, oftentimes, been undermined by its own policies of inclusion. The book also explores a century of contestatiobs over citizenship from the colonial Period todate and anal India began as a repulbluc of equals unlike the Western democrarcies with a complex architecture of citizenship rights that was also mindful of societal hierarchies in India. The author shows how the progressive civic ideals of the Constitution have been challenged by exclusions based upon social and economic inequality and have, oftentimes, been undermined by its own policies of inclusion. The book also explores a century of contestatiobs over citizenship from the colonial Period todate and analyses evolving conceptions of citizenship as a legal status, as rights and as identity. For someone interested in how we reached the current state of contesting claims to backwardness and religious identities and its implications, this is a great book to read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christina Warner

    A great linking of contemporary social issues in India to the Colonial and post-Colonial political genealogies that shaped them. Also one of the clearest explanations of scheduled and "backwards" groups that I've seen. The text is academic, and the first couple of chapters did feel like a bit of a slog, but I was very glad to have read it by the time I got through it. A great linking of contemporary social issues in India to the Colonial and post-Colonial political genealogies that shaped them. Also one of the clearest explanations of scheduled and "backwards" groups that I've seen. The text is academic, and the first couple of chapters did feel like a bit of a slog, but I was very glad to have read it by the time I got through it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Devanshi

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shrey Nautiyal

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shiva Gupta

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rizwan Raiyan

  8. 4 out of 5

    Priyankar Bhunia

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vardaan Aggarwal

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tanvi

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alessandra Marino

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ciarra Halaska

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mansi Gupta

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kushal

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  16. 4 out of 5

    Surasika

  17. 4 out of 5

    Javits

  18. 4 out of 5

    Velpula Audityaa

  19. 4 out of 5

    Arpitaa

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Strode

  22. 4 out of 5

    Yasmin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jbondandrews

  24. 5 out of 5

    Devraj

  25. 4 out of 5

    H

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mahesh

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aditya Ganju

  28. 5 out of 5

    Udaiiiiiii

  29. 5 out of 5

    Priyanka Das

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikhil Kumar

  31. 5 out of 5

    Angad Mahal

  32. 4 out of 5

    Azusa

  33. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  34. 5 out of 5

    Nikita

  35. 4 out of 5

    Ariadna73

  36. 4 out of 5

    Apoorva

  37. 5 out of 5

    Roshan

  38. 4 out of 5

    Kunal Singh

  39. 4 out of 5

    Riya Roy

  40. 4 out of 5

    Prashaant

  41. 5 out of 5

    Namita

  42. 5 out of 5

    Aishe

  43. 5 out of 5

    Anirudh Karan Parihar

  44. 5 out of 5

    Kiran

  45. 5 out of 5

    Gulshan Parveen

  46. 5 out of 5

    Rohith

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