Swatantra Conference: Principles, People, Politics

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New Delhi: Centre for Civil Society (CCS), India’s leading think-tank advocating social change through public policy, in partnership with Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), New Delhi will conduct a conference on the theme ‘Swatantra: Principles, People, Politics’ bringing together intellectuals, historians, and political experts such as Gurpreet Mahajan, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Ashok Acharya, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi; Vinay Sitapati,
Professor, Political Science, Ashoka University; Vikramjit Banerjee, Advocate General, State of Nagaland; M N Panini, Professor, Institute of Development Studies, University of Mysore; Vidhu Verma, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Parth J Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society; Malvika Maheshwari, Professor, Political Science, Ashoka University; Gurcharan Das, Public Intellectual, Author & Commentator; Tathagata Satpathy, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha; Vasanthi Srinivasan, Professor, Political
Science, University of Hyderabad; Seetha, Senior Journalist and R Jagannathan, Editorial Director, Swarajya; to reflect upon the legacy of the erstwhile Swatantra party.

The conference will be held on Saturday, 3 February 2018 at the Auditorium at NMML, and has been jointly organised by CCS, NMML and Friedrich Naumann Foundation
(FNF).
The day-long conference marks the launch of an exhibition of 27,000 papers from the defunct Swatantra Party offices in Mumbai. These papers have been procured by Centre for Civil Society as part of their Indian Liberals project, which is an effort to procure and digitize rare historic texts that highlight the rich Indian liberal tradition.
These papers are being archived and hosted at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. The conference presents a unique opportunity to explore the idea of liberty in politics, as well as examine the relevance of a truly liberal political party in today’s India. The first panel on The Role of ‘Swatantra’ in Indian Politics, aims to foreground the singular contribution of Swatantra Party to Indian Politics by exploring the relationship between the founding principles of the Party, its proponents, such as C. Rajagopalachari, Minoo
Masani, N. G. Ranga, and their relationship with seminal Indian thinkers such as Gandhi and Nehru. Highlighting the critique of the welfare state by Swatantra Party, the second panel: Envisioning State: An Alternative Vision will grapple with larger debates about the limits to state intervention and the totalitarian impulses inherent in a centralised polity. The third panel on Building a Liberal Political Party: Challenges and Opportunities aims to
further the contribution of Swatantra Party by addressing the challenges faced in building a liberal political party founded on first principles in modern Indian politics.
Bringing together intellectuals, historians, and political experts, the conference will discuss how to revive a principles-based political praxis in an era of excitable speech, divisive campaigns, and sensationalism. About Centre for Civil Society: Centre for Civil Society advances social change through public policy. Our work in education, livelihood, and policy training promotes choice and accountability across private and public sectors. To
translate policy into practice, we engage with policy and opinion leaders through research, pilot projects and advocacy. We are India’s leading liberal think tank, ranked 80 worldwide by the annual study conducted by the Think Tanks and Civil Society Program at the University of Pennsylvania