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Hostages to Democracy

Nandini Sundar

Abstract

This article explores the aporias of democracy to show how both procedural and substantive democracy, or at least certain constructions of “need,” operate to render the lives of sections of the citizenry precarious. More specifically, in the context of an ongoing civil war in central India between Maoist guerillas and the Indian state, I argue that, far from being a palliative for or alternative to insurgency, Indian democracy as practiced today—both in its procedural electoral aspects and its substantive welfare aspects—may serve as an active tool of counterinsurgency and a means of evading accountability.

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Keywords

democracy, counterinsurgency, elections, welfare, Maoists, India