Programme Details


Date: Saturday, 8 July 2017

Time: 9:00 AM–5:30 PM

Venue: The Taj Mahal Hotel, Mansingh Road, New Delhi

Conclave Chair:

Ashutosh Varshney: Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Contemporary South Asia, Brown University, USA.

Conclave Co-chair:

Pradeep K. Chhibber: Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute of International Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.


Tim Barton and Ashutosh Varshney

Panel 1:

Model Minority? Indians in America

Indians are now among the most economically successful minorities in the US. What are their backgrounds–social, regional, and educational? Where are they concentrated–professionally and geographically? What are their political inclinations?

Pradeep K. Chhibber (University of California,

Devesh Kapur (University of Pennsylvania)
Shashank Bengali (Los Angeles Times)
Ellen Barry (New York Times)
Akshay Mangla (Harvard Business School)

Panel 2:

Narasimha Rao: Politics and Economics

How should one assess the political and economic significance of P.V. Narasimha Rao, India’s 9th Prime Minister (1991–96)? It was a period when market-oriented economic reforms were introduced. It was also a time when the Babri mosque came down and vicious communal rioting took place.

Barkha Dutt
(Eminent Journalist, Author)

Vinay Sitapati (Ashoka University)
Gurcharan Das (Former CEO of Procter & Gamble India, Author, Commentator)
T.N. Ninan (Business Standard, Author)
Salman Khurshid (Former Cabinet Minister, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India)

Panel 3:

Electoral Quotas: Caste Reservations

Have caste reservations achieved their objectives? In what respects have they failed or succeeded? Are there other ways of addressing centuries-long socioeconomic inequalities?

Pratap Bhanu Mehta
(Ashoka University)

Francesca R. Jensenius (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs)
Sudhir Krishnaswamy (Co-founder of Centre for Law & Policy Research, Lawyer, Author)
Simon Chauchard (Dartmouth College)
Mihir Sharma (Observer Research Foundation)

Panel 4:

Dalit Politics

Do forms of Dalit politics vary in different states? In which states have they been more politically effective? How and why? Are there cross-regional lessons?

Niraja Gopal Jayal
(Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Amit Ahuja (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Gopal Guru (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Udit Raj (Member of Parliament)
Irfan Nooruddin (Georgetown University)

Panel 5:

Debating Land: Land Acquisition and Special Economic Zones

How far has the idea of SEZs come? What political coalitions brought them about? What forces opposed? What were the costs and benefits?

Ashutosh Varshney
(Brown University)

Michael Levien (Johns Hopkins University)
Partha Mukhopadhyay (Centre of Policy Research)
Jayant Sinha (Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India)
Jairam Ramesh (Member of Parliament)

Concluding Remarks:

Ashutosh Varshney and Pradeep Chhibber.