Politics and Identity

Politics and Identity

The demography of India is one of the most complex in the world. With 22 official languages, more than 2,000 ethnic groups, and every major world religion represented, democratic governance is both enriched and challenged by this diversity.

Indian politics often intersect with the many and varied identities of the Indian electorate. The rise of Hindu nationalism, the success of caste-based parties, and the vitality of regional parties all illustrate the phenomenon of identity politics, and in an era of globalization, it is increasingly important to understand the ways in which politics and identity are linked.

The Georgetown India Initiative engages the intersection of politics and identity through research, teaching, and outreach activities.

For an overview of Georgetown’s engagement with issues of politics across schools and programs, visit the Global Georgetown website.


The Nation as Mother and Other Visions of Nationhood

November 9, 2017

On November 9, Dr. Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University, gave a talk on his newest publication, The Nation as Mother and Other Visions of Nationhood (Penguin India, 2017). This interconnected set of…

From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy

November 2, 2017

Foreign policy does not exist in a cultural vacuum. It is shaped by each country’s experience and self-perception. India’s foreign policy is as deeply informed by its civilizational heritage as it is by contemporary ideas about national interest, and…

The Long Life and Lingering Death of the Indian National Congress

April 10, 2017

The Indian National Congress was founded in 1885 during the British Raj in India, and after independence in 1947, the Congress Party became India’s dominant political party, winning an outright majority on six occasions and leading the dominant…

When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics

March 1, 2017

In India, the world’s largest democracy, the relationship between crime and politics raises complex questions. Free and fair elections exist alongside rampant criminality, and political parties recruit candidates with reputations for wrongdoing…

FICCI Indo-U.S. Forum of Parliamentarians

September 12, 2016

On September 12 and 13, the Georgetown University India Initiative hosted a delegation of seven Indian members of parliament for an executive education workshop. The MPs heard lectures on foreign policy from Georgetown University and Georgetown Law…

An Inside Look: How the Ruling Party is Changing India

October 29, 2015

This event featured a conversation with Poonam Mahajan, a member of Parliament representing the Bharatiya Janata Party. Poonam Mahajan was the first member of the ruling party in India to visit Georgetown University since the election of Prime…

Understanding India’s Democracy: MP Rajeev Gowda

September 29, 2015

This event featured a discussion with Rajeev Gowda, a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India's Parliament. During the talk, Gowda discussed how the Indian parliament has been functioning in the recent years, especially in the light of…


The View From New Delhi: A Conversation With Indian MPs Video

In early August, both houses of India’s parliament overwhelmingly passed a landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill that will bring India closer to a common market than ever before. This milestone comes as the government of Prime Minister Narendra…