India's Crisis Decade: the 1970s and Contemporary Analogies

Panel Discussion
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 -
4:30pm to 6:00pm
144 Louis A. Simpson International Building
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 -
4:30pm to 6:00pm

Gyan Prakash, Dayton Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University
Srinath Raghavan, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and Visiting Professor of International Relations at Ashoka University

Sunil Khilnani, Avantha Professor and Director, King’s India Institute; Visiting Professor, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University

During the 1970s, India experienced war, inflation, student and popular protests and, most impactful of all, the Emergency of 1975-77: a twenty-two month period when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi suspended constitutional rights and democracy and governed in authoritarian mode. Historians have only recently begun to turn their attention to this period of multiple crises in India, and to examining its longer term effects on the shaping of India's democracy and its economics. Princeton historian Gyan Prakash and historian Srinath Raghavan, based in Mumbai and a Professor at Ashoka University, will discuss their research on India in the 1970s, and debate to what extent the events of that decade offer any insights on the current rise of authoritarian nationalism in India.  

Gyan Prakash is a historian of modern India and the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History at Princeton University and served formerly as  Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Davis Center for Historical Studies (2003-2008). Prakash received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Delhi in 1973, his Master's degree in history from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1975, and his doctorate in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. His field of research concerns urban modernity, the colonial genealogies of modernity, and problems of postcolonial thought and politics. He is the author of Bonded Histories: Genealogies of Labor Servitude in Colonial India (1990), Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India (1999), and Mumbai Fables (2010), and has co-authored a book on world history, Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (2002). He has edited or co-edited three anthologies: After Colonialism: Imperial Histories and Postcolonial Displacements (1995), The Spaces of the Modern City: Imaginaries, Politics, and Everyday Life (2008), and Noir Urbanism: Dystopic Images of the Modern City (2010). His book Mumbai Fables was adapted for a film, “Bombay Velvet” (2015), for which he wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay. His forthcoming book is “Emergency Chronicles.

Srinath Raghavan is Senior Fellow at Centre for Policy Research and Visiting Professor of International Relations at Ashoka University.  He is author of several books including War and Peace in Modern India: A Strategic History of the Nehru Years (Macmillan, 2010); 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh(Harvard University Press, 2013); and India’s War: The Second World War and the Making of Modern South Asia(Basic Books, 2016). His next book, Fierce Enigmas: A History of the United States in South Asia will be published by Basic Books in October 2018.