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Memo On The Nano Motor

A study of Gujarat sees it as an exemplar of an evolving triad—State, liberal market, communalised governance

Memo On The Nano Motor AFP (From Outlook, July 23, 2012)

The narratives on Gujarat over the last decade have been among the most polarising in India. The 2002 riots made Gujarat the centrepiece of the secularism versus Hindutva divide. The Hindutva response of projecting the state as a model of development laid the ground for an understated widening of the growth versus inequality divide. More recently, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s ways have brought to the fore the conflict between authoritarianism and democracy.

In the midst of such sharply polarised views, it is easy to slip into simplistic understandings of what is happening in Gujarat. These views are often led more by predetermined conclusions rather than a calmer analysis of evidence. Against this backdrop, Nikita Sud’s work is refreshing. Going beyond casual contentions, Sud takes us into the underlying complexities with a great deal of competence, even if she falls somewhat short of providing us with an alternative perspective that will help us understand the larger processes in Gujarat’s and India’s recent political economy.

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