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Planning Democracy

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Nikhil Menon is assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. He grew up in Che... Read More

Product Description

Nikhil Menon is assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. He grew up in Chennai and studied at Delhi University as well as Jawaharlal Nehru University. His PhD in history is from Princeton University. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.

India's Five-Year Plans were one of the developing world's most ambitious experiments. After nearly two centuries of colonial rule, planning the economy was meant to be independent India's route from poverty to prosperity. Planning Democracy explores how India married liberal democracy to a socialist economy. Planning not only built India's data systems, it even shaped the nature of its democracy. The Five-Year Plans loomed so large that they linked surprisingly far-flung contexts-from computers to Bollywood to Hindutva.

In this compelling history, Nikhil Menon brings the world of planning to life through the intriguing story of a gifted scientist known as the Professor, a trail-blazing research institute in Calcutta, and the alluring idea of 'democratic planning'. Set amidst global conflicts and international debates, Menon reveals how India walked a tightrope between capitalism and communism. Planning Democracy recasts our understanding of the Indian republic, uncovering how planning came to define the nation and revealing the ways in which it continues to shape our world today

This book will help rethink how planning for development took hold in India's democratic imagination. Its fresh research delves into two neglected aspects of the planning process in India in the fifties. The first is the creation of a world-class institutional base for statistics by the formidable figure of Mahalanobis. It also looks at ingenious attempts at enlisting everything from Sadhus to Bollywood in publicizing Five-Year Plans. It is a refreshing look at how the discourse of development was constituted.Planning Democracy is an important contribution to the growing literature on the history of India since Independence. The book elegantly blends biography and history, exploring how a group of politicians and scholars once made the idea of 'planning' central to the Indian republic. The author has skilfully mined a wide array of primary sources, and his pen portraits are particularly well done.An engaging account of independent India's intertwined experiments with planning and democracy. If the setting up of India's data infrastructure forms the kernel of the early history of planning, the story of how popular culture was mobilized to propagate the plan illuminates the early tensions in building a secular democracy.Written with wit and energy, impeccably well-researched, Planning Democracy makes a bold new contribution to our understanding of the Indian state after 1947. Menon's is the best history we have of India's great experiment with statistics-a data-driven attack on social and economic inequality that aimed, not always successfully, to be compatible with participatory democracy. Menon combines intellectual and institutional history to make a compelling case that we should focus less on whether planning "succeeded" or "failed", in any narrow sense, and more on the profound ways it shaped India's political imagination. This excellent book is sure to find a wide and appreciative audience across disciplines.This book written in engaging prose and a humour that is rare among Indian academicians lays bare the "dissonance" between planning in its "technocratic and democratic realms" and the contradictions of "planned modernity in a democracy". This is indeed a valuable book for both lay readers and students of Indian planning and modern history.It is an extraordinary story of democratic leaders, technocratic planners, and even Hindu holy men, during the high noon of Nehruvian planning, with its dream of rapid industrialisation led by the state. The scope of the book is far wider than the technical tangles of planning models.A magnificent panorama of India's engagement with development planning and the lessons learnt therefromNikhil Menon's book tells the story of two main characters who came from two different places: Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Professor P.C. MahalanobisA magnificent panorama of India's engagement with development planning and the lessons learnt therefromIn Planning Democracy: How a Professor, an Institute and An Idea Shaped India, Nikhil Menon profiles the early years of that planning and growth, which were inexorably tied to the legacy of Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), established and nourished by Mahalanobis.Nikhil Menon's Planning Democracy - How a Professor, an Institute, and an Idea Shaped India, is an absorbing account of how independent India, under the rubric of a democracy based on universal franchise, chose an ostensibly socialist project like centralised planning for economic advancement.

Product Details

Title: Planning Democracy
SKU: BK0457206
EAN: 9780670095926
Language: English
Binding: Hardcover

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