The Idea of an Indian: Lecture by Kishalay Bhattacharjee

Kishalay Bhattacharjee delivered a lecture on ‘The Idea of an Indian’. It was chaired by Prathama Banerjee. The lecture was a part of CSDS Dialogue on Democracy.


CSDS Dialogue on Democracy

‘Democracy’ gets defined almost on daily basis by various actors and at multiple levels. The advent of new technologies, phenomenal expansion of mass media, especially digital media, proliferation of non-party political formations, influence of transnational forces on the working of national/local governments, restructuration  of economic, educational and other public spaces, environmental transformations and emerging risk scenario etc., are not only transforming the political landscape but also the ecosystem of democracy. Together, these transformations pose new questions and demand greater conceptual and practical clarity.

In this lecture series, we invite the theorists of democracy-academics, public intellectuals, journalists and researchers as well as the practitioners of democracy-activists, parliamentarians and policy makers to an open-ended dialogue on emerging challenges and prospects of democracy in our times. 


The idea of citizenship today conveys a static dullness, a clerical certification and a fixed sense of identity. By re-examining the relationship between citizenship and nationality, this lecture will redefine the multiple sources of identity of ordinary people to create new imaginaries of citizenship and democracy. Citizenship becomes a critical theatre where diverse identities crisscross to construct new forms of meaning and interaction. It will foreground the perspectives of marginalised Indians and their everyday negotiations to carve out a place in their own country. Built on multiple personal accounts, it shall persuade to rethink the dominant imaginations of ‘Indianness’ and bring back a sense of plurality to the idea of an Indian. 


Kishalay Bhattacharjee is Dean and Professor, Jindal School of Journalism and Communication, O. P. Jindal Global University and author most recently of Where the Madness Lies: Citizen Accounts of Identity and Nationalism (Orient BlackSwan). Formerly with NDTV, his research is multidisciplinary covering conflict and post conflict situations.    

Prathama Banerjee is Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Friday, 11 August 2023, 4.30 pm, Seminar Room and Zoom