Upcoming Events

[VIRTUAL] Arvind Narrain | India's Undeclared Emergency

  8:30 - 10 a.m.
   Zoom Event (Off Campus)

Arvind Narrain
Sharad Chari
Aarti Sethi
Gautam Bhan
Leti Volpp

The Institute for South Asia Studies invites you to a panel discussion with Arvind Narrain on his book, India's Undeclared Emergency: Constitutionalism and the Politics of Resistance.

The panelists include Prof. Aarti Sethi, Dr. Gautam Bhan, and Prof. Leti Volpp, and the discussion will be chaired by Prof. Sharad Chari.

DATE: Monday, April 11, 2022
TIME: 8am Berkeley | 4pm London | 8pm Lahore | 8:30pm New Delhi | Calculate Your Local Time


This event will also be live streamed on the Institute's FB page: ISASatUCBerkeley

Abstract: In 1975, the Indira Gandhi government declared Emergency in India, unveiling an era of State excesses, human rights violations, the centralisation of power and the dismantling of democracy. Nearly half a century later, the phrase ‘undeclared emergency’ gathers currency as citizens and analysts struggle to define the nature of India’s present crisis.

In Undeclared Emergency, Arvind Narrain presents a devastatingly thorough examination of the nature of this emergency—a systematic attack on the rule of law that hits at the foundation of a democracy, its Constitution. This clear-eyed legal analysis of its implications also documents an ongoing history of constitutional subversion, one that predates the Narendra Modi-led NDA government—a lineage of curtailed freedoms, censorship, preventive detention laws and diluted executive accountability.

Is history repeating itself then? Not quite. This book is an account of an inaugural era in Indian history. Narrain shows that the Modi government, unlike the Congress government of 1975, draws on popular support and this raises the dangerous possibility that today’s authoritarian regime could become tomorrow’s totalitarian state.

A lament, the Undeclared Emergency is also a war cry. It charts an alternative inheritance of resistance, acts big and small from the Emergency of 1975, the current day and times long gone. Dissent, he says, is an Indian tradition.

The Second Coming is at hand, and Narrain reckons that we have a responsibility to determine what it will look like.

Speaker Bio: Arvind Narrain is a lawyer and writer based in Bangalore. He works on advocacy for LGBTI rights at the international level. He is visiting faculty at the School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University. As a lawyer he has been involved with litigation and advocacy around the anti sodomy law in India. He is the co-editor of Law Like Love: Queer Perspectives on Law and co-author of Breathing Life into the Constitution: Human Rights Lawyering in India and The Preamble: A Brief Introduction. He is also currently pursuing a PhD at the National Law School of India University, in which he is looking at the legal and political thought of Babasaheb Ambedkar. He was part of the team of lawyers that challenged Section 377 of the IPC right from the High Court in 2009 to the Supreme Court in 2018.

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The event is FREE and OPEN to the public.