Power and Contestation

India since 1989

Nivedita Menon and Aditya Nigam


Gives an introduction to the changing history of India since the end of the Cold War. It also shows that the turbulence and turmoil are signs of India's continued vibrancy and democracy.

1989 marks the unraveling of India's 'Nehruvian Consensus' around the idea of a modern, secular nation with a self-reliant economy.

Caste and religion have come to play major roles in national politics. Global economic integration has led to conflict between the state and dispossessed people, but processes of globalization have also enabled new spaces for political assertion, such as around sexuality. Older challenges to the idea of India continue from movements in Kashmir and the North-East, while Maoist insurgency has deepened its bases. In a world of American Empire, India as a nuclear power has abandoned non-alignment, a shift that is contested by voices within.

Power and Contestation shows that the turbulence and turmoil of this period are signs of India's continued vibrancy and democracy. The book is an ideal introduction to the complex internal histories and external power relations of a major global player for the new century.

Author Bio

Nivedita Menon is Reader in the Department of Political Science at the University of Delhi . She is author of Recovering Subversion: Feminist Politics Beyond the Law (2004) and editor of Gender and Politics in India (1999). A feminist scholar and political theorist, she has been involved in a wide range of political and social movements, especially against the rise of sectarian politics, against mass displacement of workers and in the anti-nuclearization movement.

Aditya Nigam is currently a Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. He has written and published on issues relating to Marxism, modernity, nationalism and identity, and is currently working on a book on the left in a post-utopian world. He is author of The Insurrection of Little Selves (2006). He was a full-time political activist with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for over a decade and has worked with various social movements before reentering academia.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction: The Conjuncture of the 1990s
  • 2. Revolt of the Lower Castes
  • 3. Hindutva: Politics of the Hindu Right
  • 4. Nation Under Siege
  • 5. Globalization I: Accelerated Development
  • 6. Globalization II: The New Economy of Desire
  • 7. Left and the Social Movements: Looking Towards the Future
  • 8. India in the World


'This is a sophisticated yet accessible survey of contemporary Indian politics and society. It will be an excellent textbook and a handy reference work to a complex field of study'
Faisal Devji, New School University

'Addresses the multiple trends in Indian politics while also offering a coherent and sustained argument about the principal driving forces. To manage to accomplish all this while maintaining a perspective at once local and global is no mean feat.'
Gyan Prakash, Princeton University

'Menon and Nigam provide us a much-needed, readily accessible, deeply informed, and critically sophisticated insiders' analysis of political reality in India during its rapid rise to global stardom as a neo-liberal icon of economic success.'
David Ludden, New York University

'This book, written by two academics who are also campaigners, offers the best survey of recent Indian history that I have seen.'
Barry Pavier, International Socialism

'A great introduction to the complex contradictions that make up contemporary India .. A critical, insightful, and yet accessible description of India's present history ... Brilliant analysis ... A forceful book.'
Labour/Le Travail


Publication Date: 1 October 2007
240 pages

Not available in: India

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781842778159
eBook ePub: 9781848137578
eBook PDF: 9781848131644
eBook Kindle: 9781780328560
Library Edition: 9781842778142

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