Grand Tamasha

Grand Tamasha


Each week, Milan Vaishnav and his guests from around the world break down the latest developments in Indian politics, economics, foreign policy, society, and culture for a global audience. Grand Tamasha is a co-production of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Hindustan Times.

Most people who work on India regularly refer to India as the world’s largest democracy and the most enduring democracy in the developing world. However, they often have to footnote such statements with the caveat that India experienced a twenty-one-month period of Emergency Rule in the late 1970s during which democracy was placed in cold storage.

A new book, India’s First Dictatorship–The Emergency 1975-1977, by Christophe Jaffrelot and Pratinav Anil breaks new ground in providing us with a comprehensive history and political analysis of this exceptional period. Christophe joins Milan on the show this week to discuss why the Emergency was imposed, how it was imposed, and why—in the end—it was undone. Plus, the two talk about talk about parallels between the political power structure in India circa the late 1970s and today.

Episode notes:

– Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, “Interview: Christophe Jaffrelot on understanding the Emergency and its relevance to Modi’s India,”
– Pratinav Anil, “The Myth of Congress Socialism,” Himal Southasian

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