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Democracy and the Limits of Minority Rights

Nalini Rajan (Author)
Synopsis At the start of the twenty-first century, we are still debating various fundamental issues pertaining to core human values, popularly known as ‘human rights’. Constituting an important contribution to the debate, the central purpose of this book is to demonstrate the essential link between human rights and democracy. Nalini Rajan maintains that human rights can flourish only in a state which promotes the democratic value of equal consideration of individual autonomy—i.e., each person’s capacity to act independently. Developing this core theme, with particular reference to various provisions of the Indian Constitution, the author maintains that human rights within a democratic structure tend to become the rights of the majority, particularly when it comes to culture and religion. The right to religious freedom, she believes, should pertain to individuals rather than to groups, since the special privileges often accorded to the latter actually conflict with the rights of those belonging to oppressed groups like women and backward castes. Taking up various important issues and concepts like multi-culturalism, citizenship, economic rights, and the right to a certain quality of life, Nalini Rajan argues that minority rights are not the only way to counter majoritarianism. She also advocates structural and constitutional changes to render the Indian polity more federal, particularly through devolution and local self-governance. Arguing in favour of justice rather than peaceful co-existence and of the need for minority rights to counter majoritarian democracy, this powerful commentary on topical issues dominating present-day political discourse in India will attract a broad readership across the social sciences. It will be of particular interest to political scientists, sociologists and human rights activists.
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About the author

Nalini Rajan

Nalini Rajan is presently Associated Professor at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai.

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Bibliographic information

Title Democracy and the Limits of Minority Rights
Author Nalini Rajan
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8178291398
length 237p.