Ideas of India

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Through conversations with top thinkers in the social sciences and beyond, economist Shruti Rajagopalan explores the ideas that will propel India forward.

All Episodes

This episode is the seventh in a miniseries of weekly short episodes featuring young scholars entering the academic job market who discuss their latest research. In this episode, Shruti speaks with Neha Gupta about her job market paper, “Homeownership, Renting and Market Failures: Evidence from Indian Slums.” They discuss government policies to increase affordable housing, how nonstate actors affect slum and nonslum housing, the Swiss housing market and much more. Gupta has a Ph.D. in economics and finance from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. Her research interests include applied economics, causal econometrics, empirical macroeconomics, and urban and development economics. Follow Neha on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dr_NehaG  Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com. 

Nov 25

28 min 34 sec

This episode is the sixth in a miniseries of weekly short episodes featuring young scholars entering the academic job market who discuss their latest research. In this episode, Shruti talks with Karmini Sharma about her job market paper, “Tackling Sexual Harassment: Experimental Evidence from India.” They discuss how training about sexual harassment affects women’s preferences and men’s behavior, how long these effects are likely to persist, and the broader implications for the #MeToo movement in India. Sharma is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of Warwick. Her research focuses on the intersection of economics of gender, development economics and experimental economics. She seeks to understand deterrence of sexual harassment, gender segregation and discrimination. Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan Follow Karmini on Twitter: https://twitter.com/karsha  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com. 

Nov 18

28 min 58 sec

This episode is the fifth in a miniseries of weekly short episodes featuring young scholars entering the academic job market who discuss their latest research. In this episode, Shruti talks with Ashish Sedai about his job market paper, “Piped Water: Welfare and Empowerment: Empirical Evidence From a Gendered Analysis in India.” They discuss the importance of indoor piped drinking water and its relevance to Indian women’s participation in the labor force. Sedai is a Ph.D. candidate the Department of Economics at Colorado State University. His research focuses on how economic opportunities are generated and distributed in society, as well as the interplay between power and institutions and between economic behavior and the performance of the economy. Follow Ashish on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AshishKumarSed1  Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com. 

Nov 11

35 min 20 sec

This episode is the fourth in a miniseries of weekly short episodes featuring young scholars entering the academic job market who discuss their latest research. In this episode, Shruti talks with Bhumi Purohit about female leaders’ access to networks, gender quotas, expanding women’s access to social and political capital, and much more. Purohit is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on comparative politics, political behavior and South Asia; in particular, she seeks to understand the behavioral and institutional barriers to women’s political representation.   Follow Bhumi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bhumipurohit  Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Nov 4

33 min 46 sec

This episode is the third in a mini-series of weekly short episodes featuring young scholars entering the academic job market who discuss their latest research. In this episode, Shruti speaks with Dr. Gaurav Mittal about illegal and informal methods of transit, the role of courts and bureaucrats in transportation policy, failed government schemes to solve the transportation crisis and much more. Mittal is an associate faculty member at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. He obtained his Ph.D. in geography from the National University of Singapore. His research interests include urban governance, public transport and political geography. Follow Gaurav on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gaurav_mtl Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com. 

Oct 28

37 min 21 sec

This episode is the second in a mini-series of weekly short episodes featuring young scholars entering the academic job market who discuss their latest research. In this episode, Shruti talks with Chhavi Tiwari about her job market paper titled “Internal Migration and Rural Inequalities in India” (with Sankalpa Bhattacherjee). They talk about the differences between seasonal and permanent migration in India, how economic factors influence migration patterns, why women with more children are less likely to work outside the home and much more. Tiwari is an assistant professor of economics at TAPMI, Manipal. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi. Follow Chhavi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tiwari_chhavi  Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com. 

Oct 21

26 min 44 sec

This episode is the first in a mini-series of weekly short episodes featuring young scholars entering the academic job market who discuss their latest research. In this episode, Shruti speaks with Arkadev Ghosh about his job market paper titled, Religious Divisions and Production Technology: Experimental Evidence from India. They discuss the effects of inter-religion work groups on team productivity, how wider political tensions can affect the workplace and much more. Ghosh is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of British Columbia. He obtained his master’s in economics at the London School of Economics and his bachelor’s degree at the University of Edinburgh. Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan Learn more about The 1991 Project: https://the1991project.com  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com 

Oct 14

28 min 31 sec

In this episode, Shruti speaks with Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta about Adam Smith’s “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” spectatorship and imagination, self-interest, federalism, the Scottish Enlightenment as applied to Indian politics and much more. Mehta is the Laurence Rockefeller Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University. He is also a contributing editor and columnist at the Indian Express and former president and chief executive of the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi. He has written extensively on intellectual history, constitutional law and theory, political theory, India’s social transformation and world affairs. He is the recipient of the Infosys Prize, the Adiseshiah Prize and the Amartya Sen Prize. Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  Follow Pratap on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbmehta  Learn more about The 1991 Project: https://the1991project.com  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Sep 30

1 hr 32 min

In this episode, Shruti talks with Alice Evans about fraternal capital, women’s limited mobility, female friendships, representations of women in art and much more. Evans is a lecturer at King’s College London and a faculty associate at the Center for International Development at Harvard’s Kennedy School. She has published on topics such as women’s labor force participation, urbanization and social change, pro-worker reforms, what drives support for gender equality and more. Her book “The Great Gender Divergence” is forthcoming from Princeton University Press. Follow Alice on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_alice_evans Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan Learn more about the 1991 Project: https://the1991project.com  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, please visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Sep 16

1 hr 5 min

In this episode, Shruti talks with Uday Bhatia about Hindi gangster films, particularly “Satya” and its legacy. They discuss vigilante cops, corrupt politicians and other movie tropes, as well as how the Indian gangster film has evolved over time. Bhatia is a film critic with Mint Lounge. He has previously worked with Time Out Delhi and The Sunday Guardian. His writing has appeared in The Caravan, GQ, The Indian Quarterly, The Indian Express and The Hindu Business Line. Bhatia is also the author of “Bullets Over Bombay,” a book about the iconic Indian film “Satya” and its legacy. Follow Uday on Twitter: https://twitter.com/yooday  Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan To learn more about The 1991 Project, visit the1991project.com. For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, please visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Sep 2

1 hr 23 min

Ideas of India is a podcast in which Mercatus Senior Research Fellow Shruti Rajagopalan examines the academic ideas that can propel India forward. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, Stitcher or the podcast app of your choice. In this episode, Shruti talks with Shreyas Narla and Prakhar Misra about India’s 1991 economic reforms. They discuss the role of Prime Minister Rao and Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, India’s transition from socialism to a market economy, the continued relevance of the 1991 reforms today and much more. Narla and Misra are research associates in the field of Indian political economy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Follow Shreyas on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shreyas_narla Follow Prakhar on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PrakharMisra Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan Learn more about the 1991 Project: https://the1991project.com  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, please visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Aug 19

1 hr 12 min

In this episode, Shruti talks with Salil Tripathi about Bangladesh’s economic prosperity, cultural similarities and differences with India, religious and linguistic identity, and about what India can learn from Bangaladesh on its 50th anniversary. Tripathi is an Indian journalist, author and editor, currently the chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. and he is the Senior Advisor on Global Issues at the Institute for Human Rights and Business. He is the author of “Offence: The Hindu Case,” “Detours: Songs of the Open Road” and “The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and Its Unquiet Legacy.” Follow Salil on Twitter: https://twitter.com/saliltripathi  Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan Learn more about the 1991 Project: https://the1991project.com  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, please visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Aug 5

1 hr 15 min

In this episode, Shruti and Amartya Lahiri discuss the Indian economy in light of the country’s socialist past, distrust of markets, current monetary policy and continuing challenges. Lahiri is a professor at the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia. He has previously held positions at the University of California Los Angeles and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. His current research interests include macro- and microeconomic developments in India over the past three decades. Follow Amartya on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmartyaLahiri Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com 

Jul 22

1 hr 34 min

In this episode, Shruti and Krish Ashok discuss different Indian cuisines, oral versus written tradition, the fusion of different musical styles, the challenges of working remotely and much more. Krish is the global head of digital workplace practice at Tata Consultancy Services in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. He is also a classical violinist, guitarist and cellist, and he has written a book, Masala Lab, on the science of Indian cooking. Follow Krish on Twitter: https://twitter.com/krishashok Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com 

Jul 8

1 hr 31 min

In this episode, Shruti and Yashica Dutt discuss India’s caste system, being Dalit and “passing” as non-Dalit, the intersection of caste and gender, reservations in the Indian educational system and much more. Dutt is an Indian writer and journalist who has written on a broad range of topics including fashion, gender, identity, culture and caste. She has worked with the Hindustan Times, LiveMint, Scroll.in, The Wire and HuffPost India. Her new book, “Coming Out as Dalit,” is a memoir of her experience as a Dalit woman and the history of the Dalit movement. Follow Yashica on Twitter: https://twitter.com/YashicaDutt Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  For a full transcript with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Jun 24

1 hr 28 min

In this episode, Shruti and Keshav Desiraju discuss Indian musical traditions, devadasi women and the music of M. S. Subbulakshmi. Desiraju is the author of “Of Gifted Voice: The Life and Art of M. S. Subbulakshmi.” He has recently retired from a career with the Indian Administrative Service and in 2013 was Secretary of Health & Family Welfare to the Government of India. He has held many positions with the Government of Uttarakhand, the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the Government of India. He continues to remain engaged with issues in public health, particularly mental illness, primary healthcare and community health, and he serves on the board of several nonprofit organizations. Follow Keshav on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DesirajuKeshav  Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  For a full transcript with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Jun 10

1 hr 31 min

In this episode, Shruti and Chinmay Tumbe discuss the history of pandemics in India and throughout the world, including cholera, influenza, plague and now COVID-19. They also discuss how issues of caste, migration and scientific progress have influenced these pandemics. Tumbe is an assistant professor of economics at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. His research interests include urban and labor economics, business and economic history, and migration studies. His most recent book is “The Age of Pandemics (1817-1920): How They Shaped India and the World.” He is also the author of “India Moving: A History of Migration.” Follow Chinmay on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChinmayTumbe  Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan For a full transcript of this conversation and helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com

May 27

1 hr 32 min

In this episode, Shruti talks with Alice Evans about issues affecting women in India, including single-gender education, son preference, social media and many others. Evans is a lecturer at King’s College London and a faculty associate at the Center for International Development at Harvard’s Kennedy School. She has published on topics such as women’s labor force participation, urbanization and social change, pro-worker reforms, what drives support for gender equality and more. Her book “The Great Gender Divergence” is forthcoming from Princeton University Press. Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  Follow Alice on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_alice_evans For a transcript of this conversation and helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

May 13

1 hr 31 min

In this episode, Shruti and Virginia Postrel discuss her latest book, “The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World.” They talk about different methods of dyeing, spinning as a feminine occupation, the textile trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, how technological changes disrupted the industry and much more. Postrel is an author, columnist and speaker whose work spans a broad range of topics from social science to fashion, concentrating on the intersection of culture, commerce and technology. Her previous books include “The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion” (2013), “The Substance of Style” (2003) and “The Future and Its Enemies” (1998). She is a regular columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and contributes columns, focusing primarily on history and material culture, to Reason. Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  Follow Virginia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vpostrel  For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Apr 15

1 hr 30 min

In this episode, Shruti talks to Himanshu Jha about his recent book, Capturing Institutional Change: The Case of the Right to Information Act in India. Himanshu is a lecturer and research fellow in the Department of Political Science at the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University in Germany. Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  Follow Himanshu on Twitter: https://twitter.com/himmijha For a transcript of this conversation and helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Apr 1

1 hr 14 min

In this episode, Shruti speaks with Milan Vaishnav about a report, How Do Indian Americans View India?, in which he and his co-authors (Sumitra Badrinathan and Devesh Kapur) conducted a survey about the political beliefs of Indian Americans. They discuss the results of the survey and talk about how the Indian American community might change in the future. Vaishnav is the director and senior fellow of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is also the author of When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (Yale University Press and HarperCollins India, 2017). His research focuses on Indian political economy, examining issues such as corruption and governance, state capacity, distributive politics and electoral behavior. Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  Follow Milan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MilanV  For a transcript of this conversation and helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com.

Mar 18

1 hr 12 min

In this episode, Shruti talks with Shoumitro Chatterjee about farms and farm policy in India, particularly in terms of government subsidies and other state intervention in agricultural markets. Chatterjee is an assistant professor of economics at Pennsylvania State University. His research interests include agriculture and international trade and development. Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links: https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan Connect with Shoumitro on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shoumitro_c 

Mar 4

1 hr 15 min

In this episode, Shruti and Chandra Bhan Prasad discuss the legacy of philosophy of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the status of Dalits in India and the importance of entrepreneurship. Prasad is an Indian journalist, political commentator and activist, an entrepreneur and founder of the ByDalits.com platform, an adviser to the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the editor of Dalit Enterprise Magazine. He is also a winner of the Emergent Ventures grant for his work on Dalit capitalism and progress. Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links: https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan Connect with Chandra Bhan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbhanp 

Feb 11

1 hr 33 min

In this episode, Shruti spoke with Arvind Panagariya about his book, Free Trade and Prosperity: How Openness Helps the Developing Countries Grow Richer and Combat Poverty. Panagariya is Professor of Economics and the Jagdish Bhagwati Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University. From January 2015 to August 2017, he served as the first Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog, Government of India in Prime Minister Modi’s Cabinet. His primary research is international trade policy, economic development, and Indian political economy.   Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links: https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Jan 28

1 hr 35 min

This episode is the sixth and final installment of a series in which Shruti speaks with doctoral candidates and postdoctoral scholars about their research as they enter the job market and the world of academia. The first episode featured Vaishnavi Surendra, the second episode featured Rohit Ticku, the third episode featured Tanu Kumar, the fourth episode featured Proma Ray Chaudhury, and the fifth episode featured Vaidehi Tandel. In this episode, Shruti talks with Kunal Mangal about his research on the pursuit of government jobs in India and why the competition for these jobs is so fierce. Mangal is a Ph.D. candidate in public policy at Harvard University. His research focuses on labor markets in developing countries, and he is currently studying India’s competitive exam system for government jobs. For Kunal’s research and for a full transcript of this conversation, visit https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Jan 14

32 min 37 sec

The fifth scholar in our young scholars series, Dr. Vaidehi Tandel. She is an economist specializing in urban political economy and policy in India. I spoke with Vaidehi about her work on urban economics in India, in particular, her paper on “What’s in a definition? A study on the suitability of the current urban definition in India through its employment guarantee programme. (with Komal Hiranandani and Mudit Kapoor) and her paper titled paper, “Too slow for the urban march: Litigations and real estate in Mumbai, (with Sahil Gandhi, Alexander Tabarrok and Shamika Ravi) and her joint work on using a system of Adaptive Controls in the battle against Covid. For Proma’s papers and for a full transcript of this conversation, visit https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Jan 7

27 min 20 sec

The fourth scholar in our young scholars series is Proma Ray Chaudhury, a PhD Candidate at the School of Law and Government in Dublin City University under the EU Marie Curie ETN Global India Project, working on gender and women’s political participation in contemporary India. I spoke with Proma about her paper titled, “The Political Asceticism of Mamata  Banerjee: Female Populist Leadership in Contemporary India,” where she studies representation of female political leaders, in particular, Mamata Bannerjee in West Bengal. For Proma’s papers and for a full transcript of this conversation, visit https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Dec 2020

31 min 46 sec

For the next few weeks I will be speaking to young doctoral and post-doctoral candidates entering the academic job market and the policy world about their newly minted research on Indian political economy. The third scholar in our young scholars series, Dr. Tanu Kumar is a postdoctoral fellow at William and Mary’s Global Research Institute. She is a political scientist studying urban politics and service delivery. I spoke with Tanu about her paper, “Home-Price Subsidies Increase Local-Level Political Participation in Urban India,” which has been conditionally accepted at the Journal of Politics. In her paper, Tanu studies the effects of a housing subsidy program in Mumbai through an original survey of winners and nonwinners of program lotteries, and its effect on local political participation. We also discussed another one of Tanu’s papers, “The Human Capital Effects of Subsidized Government-Constructed Homes in Urban India,” on how this housing subsidy affects long-term investments in human capital. Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links: https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Dec 2020

27 min 38 sec

For the next few weeks I will be speaking to young doctoral and post-doctoral candidates entering the academic job market and the policy world about their newly minted research on Indian political economy. The next scholar in our young scholar series is of Dr. Rohit Ticku. Rohit is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Society at Chapman University. He is working on religion, culture and identity from an economic point of view. I spoke with Rohit about his paper, titled Economic Shocks and Temple Desecrations in Medieval India, which is coauthored with Anand Shrivastava and Sriya Iyer, where they show that economic downturns led rules to strategically desecrate temples to quell mass uprisings. I also discussed another one of Rohit’s papers titled Same Sex Marriage Laws and Coming out in America:Theory and Evidence from Catholic Priesthood (coauthored with Avner Seror) on the effect of the same-sex marriage laws on the expression of sexual identity in the United States. Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links: https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Dec 2020

25 min 51 sec

For the next few weeks, I will be speaking to young doctoral and post-doctoral candidates entering the academic and policy works about their newly minted research on Indian political economy. The first scholar in our young scholars’ series is Dr. Vaishnavi Surendra. Vaishnavi is a post-doctoral scholar at University of California, Berkley. She is a development economist working in the area of household finance and her research is focused on studying credit markets in rural India.  Today I’ll be speaking with her on her findings on moneylenders in rural India. In her paper titled, “The Moneylender as Middleman: Formal Credit Supply and Informal Loans in Rural India” Vaishnavi demonstrates that informal moneylenders borrow from the formal banking system and lend to households acting as intermediaries to ease lending capital constraints in rural India.  Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links: https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Dec 2020

28 min 19 sec

Shruti talks with Adam Auerbach about competition, creative problem-solving, and formalizing political activity in India’s urban slums. In this episode, Shruti spoke with Adam Auerbach about his 2019 book, Demanding Development: The Politics of Public Goods Provision in India’s Urban Slums. Auerbach is an assistant professor in the School of International Service at American University. His research interests include local governance, urban politics, and the political economy of development, with a regional focus in South Asia and particularly in India. Shruti also talked with Adam about the ethnic and social diversity of Indian slums, the lack of geographic mobility between those neighborhoods, political representation at the extremely local level, and much more. Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links:  https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Nov 2020

1 hr 29 min

Today’s guest is Rohit De, who is an associate professor of history at Yale University. His recent book, A People's Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic, is an excellent look at how the constitution actually transformed the daily lives of citizens in profound and lasting ways. Rohit details how those on the margins of society, like butchers and prostitutes, or drinkers and traders, made claims using the constitution after India’s founding and shaped India’s constitutional culture. I had a chance to speak with Rohit about the four cases he makes in the book. We talked about how individuals asserted their rights against an oppressive, regulatory, and socialist state that had criminalized their daily activities and infringed on their ability to carry on their profession. We also had a chance to talk about Indian constitutionalism, economic planning and controls during the Nehruvian socialism, the meaning of constitutional franchise, constitutional symbolism during the citizenship amendment protests in India, Rohit’s intellectual journey, and much more. Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links:  https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Nov 2020

1 hr 22 min

Today my guest is Vijayendra Rao, or as he's known, Biju Rao, a lead economist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank. His recent book coauthored with professor Paromita Sanyal called Oral Democracy: Deliberation in Indian Village Assemblies, is an excellent study of citizens voice in India's Gram Sabhas, or village assemblies, which are also the largest deliberative institution in human history.  I had a chance to speak with Biju about deliberative democracy in India, federalism and local governments, conducting ethnographic research, what it means to be a development economist, the relevance of methodology and history, and much more.  Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links:  https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan Connect with Biju on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bijurao

Oct 2020

1 hr 20 min

Today’s guest is Viral Acharya, who is the C.V. Starr Professor of Economics in the Department of Finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His recent book, Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India is an excellent introduction to the problems of autonomous central banking in the face of fiscal dominance by the ever-expanding Indian state. The book contains a series of Viral’s lectures given during his tenure as Deputy Governor at the Reserve Bank of India. This conversations covers his views on fiscal dominance and its impact on central banking, the current banking crisis brewing in India, India’s informal economy, problems with fiscal federalism, the role of technocrats and the role of ideology, and the reversal of policy direction towards more statism.    Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links:  https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Oct 2020

1 hr 34 min

My guest today is Sriya Iyer, a Bibby Fellow and College Lecturer at St Catharine's College and Affiliated Lecturer and Janeway Fellow at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Cambridge.  Her recent book, The Economics of Religion in India is an excellent survey of her work on religion in India, from the economic point of view, studied using the tools of economics.  In this book Sriya analyzes provisioning of religious and non-religious services by religious organizations in India, ethnic conflict, riots, competition between religious organization, and religious education. This work is extremely insightful and sheds light to understand more recent trends of nationalism in India.   In this episode we cover her work on the economics of religion, caste, the rise of the BJP and Hindu nationalism, her intellectual influences, and much more.  Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links:  https://www.discoursemagazine.com/tag/ideas-of-india-podcast/ Connect with me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Oct 2020

1 hr 25 min

Anuj is a professor at the Jindal Global Law School. And his recent book, Courting the People: Public Interest Litigation in Post-Emergency India is an excellent account of the development and failure of the Public Interest Litigation movement. In this book Anuj details the big PIL cases in the last few decades – concerning pollution of the Taj Mahal, pollution of river Ganges, as well as cases dealing with vehicular pollution, deindustrialization and slum demolitions in Delhi. His analysis brings out two implications of the PIL movement on India – one on Indian citizens, especially the poor, because of arbitrary and draconian orders of the court. And the toll the PIL movement has taken on the Indian judiciary and its reputation. I had a chance to speak with Anuj about the relaxation of locus standi requirements and procedural constraints on the judiciary in India since the 1980s; about the current state of Supreme Court, ruled more by whim than by law, the work of a legal anthropologist, his intellectual influences, and much more.  This conversation was recorded before the Prashant Bhushan contempt of court case. But Anuj’s ideas and research also help explain these recent trends in the Indian judiciary. Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links:  https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/tags/ideasofindia Connect with me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Sep 2020

1 hr 27 min

Dinyar Patel an Assistant Professor of South Asian History at the SP Jain Institute of Management & Research and a research affiliate at the Mittal Institute at Harvard University.  His latest book, Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism, is an excellent biography of Dadabhai Naoroji, a foundational figure in the building of modern-day India. I had a chance to speak with Dinyar about the trajectory of Indian nationalism, the ideas that influenced Naoroji, the difference between Naoroji and his contemporaries like fellow parsi and British MP Mancherjee Bhownagree, Naoroji’s correspondence with radical socialist Henry Hyndman, Dinyar’s intellectual and professional journey, and much more. Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links:  https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/tags/ideasofindia Connect with me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan  

Sep 2020

1 hr 24 min

Welcome to Ideas of India, a podcast where we examine academic thinking that can propel India forward. My name is Shruti Rajagopalan. Today, my guest is Madhav Khosla, associate professor of political science at Ashoka University and the Ambedkar Visiting Associate Professor at Columbia Law School. His latest book, India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy, details the main ideas or traditions of thought that informed the Indian constitutional project and discusses how the framing of the Constitution changed India’s trajectory. In his book, Madhav talks about the decision of the framers to have a very long and codified Constitution as a pedagogical project. He argues that the framers centralized power to fight localism and parochialism. And we spoke about the framers’ idea of representation in a society fragmented by religion and caste, with the backdrop of Partition, and the relevance of those choices today. I had a chance to talk about these themes, the link between India’s founding and its constitutional troubles today, the framers of the Constitution, Madhav’s intellectual influences, and much more. This conversation was recorded in person in February, before the COVID pandemic. But Madhav’s book on the founding is unlikely to lose its relevance anytime soon. Transcript: https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/podcasts/08202020/ideas-india-constitutional-democracy If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your friends and colleagues! 

Aug 2020

1 hr 6 min

Welcome to Ideas Of India, where we examine the academic ideas that can propel India forward. My name is Shruti Rajagopalan, and I’m an economist at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. My guest today is Ajay Shah, professor of economics at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi. Over the years I’ve learned a lot from Ajay’s academic and policy-oriented research on India, which is written at the intersection of economics, law, and public administration.  His latest book, In Service of the Republic: The Art and Science of Economic Policy, co-authored with Prof. Vijay Kelkar, is an excellent overview of their interdisciplinary approach to policy in India. An important theme in the book is that market failure in itself does not justify state intervention. And between market failure and government intervention we must examine state capacity, the incentives of political actors, and the checks and balances provided by the larger institutional framework. While Ajay used to be more focused on technical aspects of economics and about where markets can fail, now his focus is on working through the rules and institutional arrangements through which we govern ourselves. In addition to the ideas in the book, Ajay and I talk about this evolution in his thinking, his first-hand experience with policy making, his journey as an economist, major influences, and much more. Transcript: https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/podcasts/08062020/ideas-india-libertarianism-necessity/?utm_source=podcast&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ideasofindia If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your friends and colleagues!

Aug 2020

1 hr 25 min