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  • Author: S. Y. Quraishi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: DR. RICHARD JOHNSTON: Welcome everyone to the welcome lecture from S. Y. Quraishi to the Comparing Elections and Electoral Systems in North America and India Conference. My name is Richard Johnston. By a vote of three to one, I was chosen as the person to do the introduction so I was not present at the time the vote was taken, but I am actually very pleased to be asked to do this. Just so you know, my current affiliation is the University of BC, but I am a former Penn person. It doesn't feel very former at the moment, I'll say, which is very pleasant. Anyway, my task is not to talk about me, but to introduce S. Y. Quraishi, the Chief Commissioner for Elections for India. I can't underscore how big a deal it is for us to have Dr. Quraishi here. The position is recognized in the Constitution of India. It is an enormously important role. This is the largest election task in the world. Not only does the Elections Commission take care of the Parliamentary elections, Lok Sabha elections, but also Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections, and elections in several states. So Dr. Quraishi is responsible for organization of elections, certainly to a Canadian, on an unimaginable scale. He is the seventeenth Chief Commissioner. He has been so since the third of July last year and served on the Commission for four years before that.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Sunil Khilnani
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: The idea of democracy, brought into being on an Athenian hillside some 2,500 years ago, has travelled far, and today attaches itself to a growing number of political projects. In everyday political talk, as well as in the specialised fields of the political and social sciences, terms like “spreading democracy,” “promoting democracy,” and, of course – “imposing democracy” – have become ubiquitous. Underlying such talk is a belief in democratic universalism; the idea that, as Larry Diamond, erstwhile advisor to Paul Bremer in Iraq, has put it: “Every country in the world can be democratic.” Yet, even as the ambition is asserted to spread democracy across the globe, our conceptions of what democracy is have narrowed: to a “checklist” model, a prescriptive blueprint, based almost entirely on Western experience.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Shashi Tharoor
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: Good afternoon and welcome. I hasten to reassure that I am not Francine Frankel; my name is Peter Geithner, I am a member of the International Advisory Board of CASI. Because Francine is in India as we speak, I have the privilege of introducing our speaker this afternoon. As those of you who have had a chance to read the announcement will, I am sure, agree, to have this afternoon Dr. Shashi Tharoor. He is a most unusual fellow, I think we can all agree. Unusual in the sense that he has managed to pursue not only one, but two careers, and to do so with extraordinary success. As an international civil servant, and now, Undersecretary General of the United Nations for Communications and Public Information, and as one of India's most respected authors. An award‐winning author, I might add, for both his fiction and his non‐fiction writing. On the fiftieth anniversary of India's independence, Dr. Tharoor wrote of India's—and I quote—“extraordinary mixture of ethnic groups, profusion of incomprehensible languages, variations of topography and climate, diversity of religions and cultural practices, and range and levels of economic development.” He also went on to remind us that India's pluralism—and again I quote—“emerges from its geography, is reflected in its history, and is confirmed by its ethnography.” I suspect we will hear more along these lines this afternoon, as Dr. Tharoor speaks to us about, “From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond: Democracy and Identity in Today's India.” Shashi—Dr. Tharoor.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Nationalism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: India, Southeast Asia