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Contemporary Indian Politics


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (60 EC, 120 EC or research). Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to one of the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact the co-ordinator of studies prior to registration.


India has been hailed as one the largest successful democracies in the world, and indeed, an inspiration for decolonized countries in the global south. Its immense diversity and complexity (with many religions, regions, castes, and class) have animated the political domain in often fiercely contentious ways. Political contestations have played out not only in the realm of formal electoral politics, but also in multiple arenas of everyday life, posing new puzzles for analyses. Contemporary Indian politics has been in the global headlines in recent times; analysts have pointed to democratic backsliding with the rise of populism and increasing state control of democratic institutions under the right-wing regime. The course will examine key themes in contemporary Indian politics like political institutions, party system, caste, class, region, religion, media and civil society, anchoring on historical, anthropological and comparative perspectives.

Course objectives

The course aims to impart an in-depth understanding of contemporary Indian politics which will enable the students to:

  • know the multi-layered political landscape of postcolonial India and working of Indian democracy;

  • understand how different political institutions, actors and processes have shaped Indian political system;

  • comprehend how Indian democracy negotiates with challenges and contestations;

  • think comparatively about global politics; and

  • develop skills in research, analysis, presentation and writing on Indian politics.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar.

Attendance is compulsory for all classes. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. Absence in the class without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Participation in class, short written assignments & presentation 50%
One long research paper & presentation 50%

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Only if the total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower) students will be given an option to resubmit the final essay (50%) within a set period of time.

No re-sits or resubmissions are possible for the other assignments.

Inspection and feedback

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Course Outline with reading list will be provided on Brightspace at the start of the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.