Programme Details


Date: Thursday, 11 July 2019

Registration: 8:15 AM

Time: 9:00 AM–5:30 PM

Conclave Chair:

Ashutosh Varshney (Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences and Professor of Political Science at Brown University)


Niko Pfund and Ashutosh Varshney

Topic 1:

The Diary of Manu Gandhi (9:15 AM-10:30 AM)

by Tridip Suhrud, Professor and Director of CEPT Archives, CEPT University, Ahmedabad

Written by a young Manuben Gandhi, the diary is a record of her life and times with Mahatma Gandhi between the years 1943 and 1948. Manu Gandhi joined Gandhi’s entourage in 1943 as an aide to his ailing wife Kasturba in the Aga Khan Palace prison, and remained with him and his family until his assassination. Popular and much debated, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is a political icon who remains relevant even 70 years after he has passed away. When one says ‘Gandhi’, one automatically thinks of non-violent means of resistance, the making of an independent nation that India is, and much more. What does this intimate portrait of Gandhi stand to reveal about hitherto unknown aspects of his life? Seen from Manuben’s eyes, how do we understand the man and the Mahatma in the present turbulence of our times?



Ashis Nandy (Indian Political Psychologist, Social Theorist, and Critic)


  • Tridip Suhrud (Professor and Director of CEPT Archives, CEPT University, Ahmedabad)
  • Harmony Siganporia (Assistant Professor of Culture and Communication, MICA)
  • Ananya Vajpeyi (Fellow and Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi)
  • Sudhir Chandra (Author of Gandhi: An Impossible Possibility, and Editor of Violence and Non-violence across Time: Religion, Culture and History)
Ashis Nandy: A Celebration of his Hans Kilian Award
(10:30 AM-10:45 AM) 

Topic 2:

Line on Fire: Ceasefire Violations and India-Pakistan Escalation Dynamics (11:00 AM-12:15 PM)

by Happymon Jacob, Associate Professor of Diplomacy & Disarmament Studies at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

The India-Pakistan border in Jammu & Kashmir has witnessed repeated ceasefire violations (CFVs) over the past decade. As relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated, CFVs have increased exponentially. What is the key to understanding these violations that carry a potential not only to cause a crisis, but also escalate an ongoing one? Has incorrect diagnosis of the reasons behind CFVs led to wrong policies being adopted by both India and Pakistan to deal with the recurrent violations? What broader implications does the phenomenon hold for peace and security in South Asia?


Eswaran Sridharan (Academic Director and Chief Executive, University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India)


  • Happymon Jacob (Associate Professor, Diplomacy & Disarmament Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi,India)
  • Suhasini Haidar (Diplomatic Editor, The Hindu)
  • Manoj Joshi (Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation)
  • Colonel (Retd) Ajai Shukla (Consulting Editor, Strategic Affairs, Business Standard)

Topic 3:

In Their Own Words: Understanding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba 
(12:15 PM-01:30 PM)

by C. Christine Fair, Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor, Security Studies Program of Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Despite receiving significant global attention, a lot remains unknown about how Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) functions in Pakistan and beyond. Only a fraction of LeT's cadres ever see battle; most of them are despatched on nation-wide 'proselytising' (dawa) missions to convert Pakistanis to their particular interpretation of Islam, in support of which LeT has developed a sophisticated propagandist literature. How do we understand the canon of Islamist texts that is the most popular and potent weapon in LeT's arsenal? Can a thorough scrutiny reveal insights into how and who the group recruits and LeT's justification for jihad? As LeT continues to contend for a presence in broader global and regional politics, how can an understanding of its enemies, allies, and operations contribute to our current political deliberations?



Barkha Dutt (Indian Television Journalist and Author)


  • C. Christine Fair (Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor, Security Studies Program of Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University)
  • Max Rodenbeck (South Asia Bureau Chief, The Economist)
  • Shekhar Gupta (Editor-in-Chief, The Print )
  • Hilal Ahmed (Associate Professor, CSDS, and Associate Editor, South Asian Studies, Journal of the British Association of South Asian Studies)

Topic 4:

Capable Citizens: How India Outsources Justice for Gendered Violence (02:30 PM-03:45 PM)

by Poulami Roychowdhury, Assistant Professor of Sociology, McGill University, Montreal

Over the past three decades, women’s rights against violence have become heavily politicised in India. Diverse civil society organizations with multiple and, at times, contradictory agendas weigh in on legal cases. Activists argue that civil society oversight is a necessary antidote to state negligence. How does the politics of women’s rights influence punishment and gender inequality when state capacity remains limited? What types of governmental regimes and gendered citizens emerge in these contexts? Struggling with these challenging limitations, what happens to the spaces for women’s social and political assertions?



Harsh Mander (Director, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi)


  • Poulami Roychowdhury (Assistant Professor of Sociology, McGill University, Montreal)
  • Radhika Govindrajan (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington)
  • Madhav Khosla (Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows)
  • Pratiksha Baxi (Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Topic 5:

Clients and Constituents: Political Responsiveness in Patronage Democracies (04:00 PM-05:15 PM)

by Jennifer Bussell, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

Scholars of distributive politics often emphasize partisanship and clientelism. However, legislators in ‘patronage democracies’ also provide substantial constituency service: non-contingent, direct assistance to individual citizens. When the uneven character of access to services at the local level—often due to biased allocation on the part of local intermediaries—generates demand for help from higher-level officials, does the nature of these appeals provide incentives for politicians to help their constituents obtain public benefits? In the rapidly evolving socio-political constellations, what is the potential for an under-appreciated form of democratic accountability, one that is rooted in the character of patronage-based politics? What can a theoretical and empirical examination of political responsiveness in developing countries reveal?



Niraja Gopal Jayal (Professor, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)


  • Jennifer Bussell (Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley)
  • Kanchan Chandra (Professor of Politics, New York University)
  • Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research)
  • Shashi Tharoor (Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha)

Concluding Remarks:

Ashutosh Varshney