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We The People

We The People

Establishing Rights and Deepening Democracy

Nikhil Dey
,
Aruna Roy
,
Rakshita Swamy
Select Preferred Format

Who are the people of India? What are their rights? What are their claims on the Indian Constitution and on democracy? We the People, the fourth volume in the Rethinking India series, brings together a collection of essays that explores the process of germination and growth of undisputed universal rights, and of them being developed as tangible entitlements in India. The essays also examine the continuing challenge of establishing, realizing and protecting these entitlements.
The authors are academics, activists and practitioners who have a strong relationship with social movements. Their narratives trace the use of the rights-based framework of the Indian Constitution by sociopolitical movements in order to strengthen the economic, cultural and social rights of ordinary Indians. The multiple perspectives draw upon and contextualize the complex relationship of the citizen with the state, society and market in democratic India. Their sharp critiques have a counterpoint in stories of creative, successful alternatives designed by peoples’ collectives.
There is both an explicit and implicit challenge to conservative notions of ‘market-led development’ that see competition and profits as central to ‘progress’ and success. The essays showcase the continuing dialectic between established constitutional rights and shifting state policy. They provide invaluable insight at a time when many sacred pillars of neoliberal ‘globalization’ are crumbling, and the capitalist superstructure is itself turning to the state for survival. They promote understanding and scholarship, and enliven debates as we continue to search for answers in uncertain and challenging times.

Imprint: Vintage Books

Published: Aug/2020

ISBN: 9780670092970

Length : 176 Pages

MRP : ₹499.00

We The People

Establishing Rights and Deepening Democracy

Nikhil Dey
,
Aruna Roy
,
Rakshita Swamy

Who are the people of India? What are their rights? What are their claims on the Indian Constitution and on democracy? We the People, the fourth volume in the Rethinking India series, brings together a collection of essays that explores the process of germination and growth of undisputed universal rights, and of them being developed as tangible entitlements in India. The essays also examine the continuing challenge of establishing, realizing and protecting these entitlements.
The authors are academics, activists and practitioners who have a strong relationship with social movements. Their narratives trace the use of the rights-based framework of the Indian Constitution by sociopolitical movements in order to strengthen the economic, cultural and social rights of ordinary Indians. The multiple perspectives draw upon and contextualize the complex relationship of the citizen with the state, society and market in democratic India. Their sharp critiques have a counterpoint in stories of creative, successful alternatives designed by peoples’ collectives.
There is both an explicit and implicit challenge to conservative notions of ‘market-led development’ that see competition and profits as central to ‘progress’ and success. The essays showcase the continuing dialectic between established constitutional rights and shifting state policy. They provide invaluable insight at a time when many sacred pillars of neoliberal ‘globalization’ are crumbling, and the capitalist superstructure is itself turning to the state for survival. They promote understanding and scholarship, and enliven debates as we continue to search for answers in uncertain and challenging times.

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Nikhil Dey

Nikhil Dey is one of the founding members of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and has been a full-time worker there since 1990. He has been involved in the struggles of the poor for justice and in the organization's larger campaigns, most notably for the Right to Information and the Right to Work (MGNREGA).
Aruna Roy is a sociopolitical activist and a founder member of the MKSS, the National Campaign for People's Right to Information, and the School for Democracy. She is president of the National Federation of Indian Women. Her list of honours includes the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Nani Palkhivala Award and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award.
Rakshita Swamy is with the Social Accountability Forum for Action and Research. She has worked with civil society organizations, peoples' campaigns, movements and government departments to learn, embrace and advocate for improved transparency, accountability and citizen participation. She has been associated with the National Campaign for People's Right to Information and the Right to Work Campaign since 2010.

Aruna Roy

Aruna Roy is a sociopolitical activist and the founder member of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghathan (MKSS), National Campaign to People’s Right to Information, and the School for Democracy (SFD). She was with the IAS from 1968-75. She was a member of the National Advisory Council from 2004-06 and 2010-13. She is president of the National Federation of Indian Women. Her list of honours include the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Nani Palkiwala Award and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award. She was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine for 2011.

Rakshita Swamy

Rakshita Swamy is with the Social Accountability Forum for Action and Research. She has worked with civil society organizations, peoples’ campaigns, movements and government departments to learn, embrace and advocate for improved transparency, accountability and citizen participation in different intersections of state and society. She is associated with the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information and the Right to Work Campaign since 2010. She has a master’s in social policy and development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In Conversation with the Nation: We The People

Over the last decade, conversations around constitutional rights and state directives have taken precedence. Facts and opinions ebb and flow into each other, and in some instances, it becomes difficult to separate their boundaries and compartmentalise. Public perception and our understanding of our own locations within structures of the state and state power have shifted […]