How India became democratic : citizenship and the making of the universal franchise

Shani, Ornit, author

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  • Creator Ornit Shani, University of Haifa, Israel
  • Format Books
  • Publication Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 2018. ©2018
  • Physical Details
    • xiii, 284 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm
  • ISBNs 9781107673540, 1107673542, 9781107068032, 1107068037
  • OCLC ocn996407469


  • "How India Became Democratic explores the greatest experiment in democratic human history. It tells the untold story of the preparation of the electoral roll on the basis of universal adult franchise in the world's largest democracy. Ornit Shani offers a new view of the institutionalisation of democracy in India, and of the way democracy captured the political imagination of its diverse peoples. Turning all adult Indians into voters against the backdrop of the partition of India and Pakistan, and in anticipation of the drawing up of a constitution, was a staggering task. Indians became voters before they were citizens - by the time the constitution came into force in 1950, the abstract notion of universal franchise and electoral democracy were already grounded. Drawing on rich archival materials, Shani shows how the Indian people were a driving force in the making of democratic citizenship as they struggled for their voting rights"--


  • Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • Designing for democracy: rewriting the bureaucratic colonial imagination -- The pursuit of citizenship in the making of the electoral roll: registering partition refugees -- The roll as 'serialised epic' and the personalisation of the universal franchise -- Disciplining the federal structure -- Shaping the constitution from below and the role of the Secretariat -- The limits of inclusion -- Conclusion: a 17 crore and 220 yard democracy
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