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Ganatantra Profile


English, Political, 2 seasons, 59 episodes, 1 day, 12 hours, 36 minutes
The Ganatantra podcast is about politics in India, but steering clear of intrigue and personalities, and the everyday news cycle. Join political science thinker Dr Sarayu Natarajan, the founder of Aapti Institute, a think tank which looks at issues of technology and policy; and policy lawyer Alok Prasanna Kumar, Senior Resident Fellow at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy in Bengaluru, as we bring data, academic works and nuanced perspectives into understanding how politics in India works, apart from identifying and making sense of the broader trends taking place.
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S02 E30: Season Finale and Wrap Up

This week on Ganatantra Sarayu Natarajan and Alok Prasanna Kumar discuss the second season of Ganatantra and how Covid19 has impacted the subjects they spoke about.
4/8/202029 minutes, 52 seconds
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S02 E29: Policy in the shadow of Covid 19

This week on Ganatantra Sarayu Natarajan and Alok Prasanna Kumar discuss the impact of the Covid19 pandemic on public policy.
4/1/202031 minutes, 31 seconds
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S02 E28: Politics in West Bengal (feat. Shaoib Daniyal)

This week on Ganatantra Sarayu Natarajan and Alok Prasanna Kumar welcome back Shoaib Daniyal to talk about the politics of West Bengal.If you would like to hear Shoaibs previous appearance you can find that here:
3/25/202056 minutes, 38 seconds
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S02 E27: Federalism in India (feat. K K KAILASH)

This week on Ganatantra Sarayu Natarajan and Alok Prasanna Kumar talk to Dr. Kailash in their continuing series on Federalism in India.
3/18/202024 minutes, 25 seconds
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S02 E26: Delhi Politics and the rise of the AAP (feat Dr Manisha Priyam)

In this week's episode, Dr. Manisha Priyam joins us to discuss Delhi politics. She walks us through her fieldwork and her prediction of the rise of the AAP, the new politics of Delhi post the violence at JNU and the deeply communal campaign, and the importance of urban services in thinking about political change in India.
3/11/202043 minutes, 40 seconds
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S02 E25: India's new party system (feat Rahul Verma)

As a recent set of results shows, India's voters choose very differently in state and national elections. What explains this pattern across the country and what implications does it have for federal politics?In this episode, hosts Alok and Sarayu are joined by Rahul Verma of CPR, co-author of "Ideology and Identity: The Changing Party Systems of India"  to talk about India's party systems.
3/4/202039 minutes, 41 seconds
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S02 E24: Caste, language and politics in Karnataka (feat. Chandan Gowda)

As a state with came into existence on the basis of a demand for linguistic reorganization, it's somewhat of a mystery that Karnataka has not yet seen a mass movement or major political party based on linguistic identity.We're joined by Dr Chandan Gowda of the Azim Premji University to unpack this mystery and understand the cultural and caste politics of Karnataka.
2/26/202044 minutes, 10 seconds
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S02 E23: Fiscal Federalism- 2.5 lakh governments and how to fund them (feat. Pranay Kotasthane)

All governments need to raise and spend money but in India's complex three tier government, the process by which this money is raised and spent is a subject with serious political and constitutional implications.We are joined by Pranay Kotasthane of the Takshashila Institution to talk about the how money flows between various governments in India and what this means for governance.In this episode we also refer to YV Reddy and GR Reddy's "Indian Fiscal Federalism"
2/19/202043 minutes, 56 seconds
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S02 E22: Social Welfare and Political Violence in Kerala (feat. Prem Panicker)

The image of Kerala politics contains two dissonant and contrary images - that of a state with some of the best human development indicators in the world but also high numbers of targeted killings.In this week's episode, we're joined by journalist and editor, Prem Panicker, to understand these two phenomena in the context of Kerala's politics.
2/12/202051 minutes, 32 seconds
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S02 E21: Federalism and State Politics

In the third series of episodes of Season 2, we'll be discussing federalism and State politics in India going in-depth into the politics of certain states and some larger themes to understand politics at the state level. In this episode, Sarayu and Alok introduce the topic and outline what's in store for the rest of the season.
2/5/202029 minutes, 59 seconds
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S02 E20: The Politics of Police Reforms

In this episode celebrating one year of the Ganatantra, Sarayu and Alok talk about the problems with police in India - why there's low trust in then, why they're failing at law and order and investigation functions and why there have been almost no serious attempts at reform.
1/29/202027 minutes, 28 seconds
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S02 E19: The Public University as a Political Space (feat Jean Thomas Martelli)

As Indian public universities become both spaces for and subjects of political disputes (often breaking out into violence) it's worth examining what it means for such universities to be "political" especially in the face of increasing privatization of higher education.In this episode, we are joined by Jean Tomas Martelli who has studied the processes by which students cut their political teeth in Jawaharlal Nehru University, to explore this subject and understand how students in the public universities become "political".
1/22/202037 minutes, 15 seconds
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S02 E18: Politics and Cinema (feat MK Raghavendra)

Indian cinema has had a complex relationship with politics, reflecting prevailing political trends and having provided the base for the launch of many a political career.This week we're joined by MK Raghavendra, award winning film Critic and author of several books on Indian cinema to talk about how cinema and politics are intertwined.
1/15/202047 minutes, 19 seconds
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S02 E17: The Future of News Media in a Democracy (feat. Dr Aasim Khan)

The news media is sometimes called the "fourth pillar of democracy" but at a time when its business model is under attack thanks to large internet companies, and its credibility at risk in the age of "#fakenews", existential questions about its role in a modern democracy are bound to rise. In this episode, we speak to Dr Aasim Khan of IIIT - Delhi about the past, present and future of the news media in a Democracy.
1/8/202036 minutes, 36 seconds
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S02 E16: Ganatantra Year End Special Part 2 - Elections

As we head towards the end of 2019, Sarayu and Alok discuss the General elections and State Assembly elections of the year and what they told us about the state of politics in India. We use the various insights given to us by the experts who joined us over this year. Think of this as an analysis episode that builds on what we have learnt over the year in speaking to our guests and researching for this episode.
12/25/201936 minutes, 40 seconds
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S02 E15: The CAA, NRC and Censoring Protest

We're releasing this special episode of Ganatantra today to talk about the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act, fears over a proposed all India National Register of Citizens and the government's response to it through internet shutdowns and imposition of Section 144. In this episode we try to explain why the CAA is problematic whether or not it's linked to NRC, why the NRC will be an all round disaster however it's implemented and how our colonial laws allow govts to gag peaceful protests.
12/20/201923 minutes, 45 seconds
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S02 E14: Ganatantra Year End Special Part 1 - Events

Alok and Sarayu discuss the big political events of 2019 - Article 370 in Kashmir, the Supreme court judgment on Ayodhya and the CAA/NRC - and examine their political implications. References are made to relevant episodes and material from previous episodes.
12/18/201949 minutes, 56 seconds
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S02 E13: State Governors - Colonial relics or Constitutional symbols?

The political and constitutional crisis in Maharashtra, which unfolded after the 2019 Assembly elections once brought to the public glare the potential for misuse of the office of the Governor. It has prompted calls to abolish the office or reform it in some fundamental ways. In this episode Sarayu and Alok discuss this constitutional position and unpack the source of the recent political controversies that have taken place as a result of the Governor's actions.
12/11/201940 minutes, 58 seconds
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S02 E12: Elections, Citizenship and Democracy (feat Dr Ornit Shani)

The Indian Constitution guaranteed universal adult franchise from the moment it came into force. In a country with inequalities and divisions based on caste, gender, language, and ethnicity, this was a radical move that speaks of the vision of the founders. Yet, the process by which universal suffrage became a reality remained shrouded in obscurity until recently. The credit for bringing to light the fascinating process of the preparation of the first electoral rolls in independent India goes to Dr. Ornit Shani who, on the basis of her painstaking original research, wrote the award-winning book, How India Became Democratic. In this episode, we're joined by Ornit Shani to speak about her book, The insights and revelations about Indian democracy we get from the process by which electoral rolls were first prepared and why, perhaps, there's more reasons to be optimistic about India's democracy than we think.
12/4/201946 minutes, 26 seconds
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S02 E11: The Indian Armed Forces and Civilian oversight (feat Srinath Raghavan)

Unlike India's neighbouring countries, the Indian Armed Forces have never intervened in any manner in the affairs of civilian government. The reasons for this have been explored by scholars and has been attributed to a range of factors from the sociological to the historical to the institutional. However, that does not mean that Armed Forces are entirely apolitical. Not least when they are invoked repeatedly by civilian rulers to justify political actions. In this episode, we speak to Srinath Raghavan, Senior Fellow at Carnegie India to talk about the complex relationship between the Armed Forces and the civilian government. Book mentioned in this episode : Army and Nation by Steven I. Wilkinson
11/27/201948 minutes, 20 seconds
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S02 E10: Politics and the Indian Judiciary (feat Aparna Chandra)

In the last decade or so, the Indian higher judiciary and its functioning have come under the scanner like never before. The Supreme Court's proceedings are covered daily, often minute by minute in important cases and its judgements dissected minutely. Although it is supposed to be a judicial body, the political role of courts cannot be denied. Whether in its judgements or even choosing to hear certain cases and not others, the higher judiciary has an impact on the political landscape in various ways. Part of this has to do with the changing role of the court, and the ways in which judges are appointed to the bench. In this episode we are joined by Dr Aparna Chandra of the National Law University, Delhi to dissect the recent functioning of the courts, the process of appointment, and the political role of the court.
11/20/201944 minutes, 7 seconds
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S02 E09: Migration and Marginalization (feat. Chinmay Tumbe)

Large scale migration has been a feature of life in the Indian subcontinent in the last two centuries, both within and out of the region. In his book, "India Moving" Chinmay Tumbe calls it the 'Great Indian Migration Wave' - an ongoing process that is probably the largest and longest migration stream in history. This is a process that both contributes to and is a consequence of marginalization. In this episode, we speak to Dr. Tumbe to unpack some of the themes in his book and see how migration and marginalization intersect and impact.
11/13/201939 minutes, 9 seconds
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S02 E08: Maoists and Adivasis (feat Alpa Shah)

Popular discourse about Maoists in India veers from the extremes of heroism to demonization with little attempt to address the nuances of the situation. Given that the movement draws its support from some of the most Marginalised communities in India, there's a need to unpack its appeal and its limitations. In this episode, we speak to Alpa Shah of the London School of Economics and Political Science about her recent book, "Nightmarch". On the shortlist for the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay New India Foundation Book Prize, 2019 it is a deep examination of the contradictions of the Maoist movement in 21st century India, told in an accessible and engaging manner.
11/6/201941 minutes, 6 seconds
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S02 E07: The struggle for Adivasi Rights (feat. Rajni Soren)

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of India ordered state governments to begin eviction of Adivasis and Forest dwellers whose claims for forest rights under the Forest Rights Act had been dismissed. Following a backlash against the move from Adivasi communities, the Supreme Court put this order on hold. In this episode, we're joined by Rajni Soren an advocate-activist who works in issues related to forest rights and practices in the Chhattisgarh HC to talk about how the Adivasi movement have used the law and political institutions to protect their rights.
10/30/201927 minutes, 25 seconds
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S02 E06: Dalit Political Representation

Across India, radical Dalit movements have dipped their toes into electoral politics as they have tried to represent their communities in institutions of governance. What challenges do they face? Why has the BSP been more successful at electoral politics in Uttar Pradesh and not say, the VCK in Tamil Nadu? How does the current system of reserved seats affect the electoral prospects of Dalit parties across India? Would the scenario have been different if the Poona Pact was never entered into? We are joined by Hugo Gorringe, author of "Panthers in Parliament", as we try to answer these questions and understand how India's Westminster style of Parliamentary democracy affects the electoral aspirations of Dalit parties.
10/23/201935 minutes, 10 seconds
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S02 E05: At the margins of work: Understanding the platform gig economy

The platform gig economy has brought several changes in the way work is performed and organised. Some kinds of work challenge the very underpinnings of labor and industrial laws - such as the need for a place of work and the space for collective bargaining. Tech mediated platform gig work while offering flexibility to those who seek it and low entry barriers, may also in its own way be expanding the margins of society leaving those who are doing such work with little recourse in the law or little opportunity to negotiate futures. In this context, Alok and Sarayu discuss futures of workers and discuss the ways in which politics and law needs to be imagined.
10/16/201934 minutes, 2 seconds
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S02 E04: The Transgender movement: Understanding marginalisation (feat: Nadika Nadja)

The historic NALSA judgment (National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India, 2014) was historic in that it read in major rights to be applicable to the transgender community, including specific directives to the government around social and economic welfare. The implications of this judgment were diluted with the Transgender Persons Bill 2018. The legislation has faced significant resistance and criticism within the community. To discuss the voices within the movement, claims for social welfare, the particular challenges faced by trans-men, and multiple marginalities - and the ways these play into shaping the transgender movement and the broader societal implications - we are joined by Nadika Nadja, who is a trans-lesbian feminist and a writer and researcher with interests in History and Archaeology, Entertainment, Gender and Internet.
10/9/201938 minutes, 5 seconds
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S02 E03: Combating marginalization: Reservation of seats and jobs

Few issues in post independence India have caused as much heated debate as the issue of reservation in government jobs and college seats. The purpose of this move as the SC famously put it, was parity and not charity. However, with the 103rd Constitutional amendment allowing reservations on purely economic criteria, that too beyond the 50% limit the SC had enforced in the past, does this goal of reservation policy still hold true? To talk about this, we're joined by Dr Gopal Guru, editor at the Economic and Political Weekly and former professor at JNU. In this episode we go into history of reservations in India, the evolution of the term "Dalit" and the future path of social justice movements in the country.
10/2/201950 minutes, 25 seconds
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S02 E02: Migration, Marginalization and Citizenship: The NRC in Assam

The preparation of the final list of the National Register of Citizens has stirred up more than its share of controversy with two million or so people in Assam suddenly facing the prospect of being rendered stateless. The anti-migrant (read anti-Bengali) rhetoric which informed the legal structure for the NRC has had many unintended victims - women, transgender persons, scheduled tribes and even native Assamese who couldn't "prove" citizenship. In this episode, we're joined by Smitana Saikia of FLAME University, Pune to talk about the history and impact of this exercise and how it has caused and has the potential to cause further marginalization. You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the IVM Podcasts app on Android: or iOS:, or any other podcast app.
9/25/201947 minutes, 25 seconds
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S02 E01: Introduction to Season 2

Ganatantra Season 2: We're back from hiatus and we have an exciting new lineup of episodes for you! In this intro episode, Sarayu and Alok outline what you can look forward to, the three themes around which episodes will be structured and why we've chosen the topics we have.
9/18/201925 minutes, 25 seconds