March 10, 2011: Gautam Adhikari

(Click to enlarge) Mr. Gautam Adhikari, FICCI-ECW Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, discusses his newest book, "The Intolerant Indian: Why We Must Rediscover a Liberal Space."

The Intolerant Indian: Why We Must Rediscover A Liberal Space


Related Publications:


Asia Pacific Bulletin No. 98 , by Gautam Adhikari
Asia Pacific Bulletin No. 73 , by Gautam Adhikari
Asia Pacific Bulletin No. 65 , by Gautam Adhikari
Asia Pacific Bulletin No. 57, by Gautam Adhikari


WASHINGTON, DC (March 15, 2011) -- Sixty-three years after independence, the issue of national identity remains unsettled in India. In fact, Mr. Gautam Adhikari argues that the debate has intensified within the past decade. Adhikari, the author of the newly-released book The Intolerant Indian: Why We Must Rediscover a Liberal Space , discussed how extremist religious ideologies and violent politics of forces on the right and the left have overshadowed the idea of a liberal, tolerant society that India’s founding fathers hoped to establish.


Adhikari posits that the India “has survived, not despite democracy, as some suggest, but because of it." He believes that the “intolerant Indian” does not appreciate the idea of an India which gives religion an autonomous space and allows citizens to pursue the faith of their choice. Instead, Adhikari argues that the intolerant Indian “sees India as the mirror image of what the founders of Pakistan saw as the idea of Pakistan," a country which should have been founded as a nation for Hindus.


The speaker noted three fundamental governance problems in India. Because India is governed by bureaucrats who largely do not want make drastic policy changes, no new governance model has developed to replace the weak one currently in place. And while transparency is improving, there is little accountability within the current legal system- especially in the lower courts. Finally, he argues that tolerance, particularly religious tolerance, needs to be exercised as it was intended in the Indian Constitution.


This event was co-hosted with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).


Gautam Adhikari is currently a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry-East-West Center (FICCI-EWC) Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington and is also a world renowned journalist, writer and television commentator. During his accomplished career with The Times of India newspaper in Mumbai, he has served as the executive editor, editorial page editor, foreign correspondent and editorial advisor. He was the also dean of the Times School of Journalism, and, in 2005, was the founding editor of DNA (Daily News and Analysis). Mr. Adhikari has been a resident fellow and adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University (1987-89), an AT&T Scholar (1994) and a J.B. & Maurice C. Shapiro Fellow at the George Washington University (1997-98). Additionally, he was a senior resident fellow at the International Forum for Democratic Studies in Washington and project director of the World Movement for Democracy and the Asian Center for Democratic Governance (1998-2003).