Populism, Liberalism et al had Ashutosh Varshney and Narayan Ramachandran in session. Ashutosh Varshney is a professor of International Studies at Brown University. His ideas on populism, follies of liberalism; his political inclination and the difference between Indian and American political structure were the center of discussion. Narayan Ramachandran, a weekly columnist of Mint drove the discussion.
The session started with Ashutosh exploring the idea of Populism. Populism, he said is rooted in the idea of political sovereignty. It rears its head during the period post-election, when the government selected by popular choice comes to believe that it should not be limited by any institution, even if it is judiciary. A populist government, thus sets out to function according to its electoral overview rather than following the law. There is a widespread notion, amongst this faction, that they have been elected and should police the law and all other institutions who by the virtue of not being elected should not have any control over the former. Vigilantism, according to him, is an integral part of Populism.
Ashutosh then went on to give examples of how even among populist governments, there lies a difference. In USA, he said, “the media has the liberty to go against Trump. CNN, Washington Times fearlessly attack the government. However, in India such is not the case…”. He explained how there was widespread perception in India that going against the government was going against the nation. The session also highlighted how liberalism was incomplete without the minorities.
About the Author: A wanderer at heart, Vibhuthi is the author of Rainbow, an anthology of poems that was published in 2009 by Nishaganti Publication. She treads through life, by twirling with words, reading into pauses and looking for meaning. She currently writes for Bookstalkist.