The proposed panel would bring together Ravish Kumar, award-winning Indian author and Poynter Fellow in Journalism; Raza Rumi Ahmad, Director of Journalism at Ithaca College; and Dina Siddiqi, Professor of Anthropology at BRAC University. Professor Rohit De (Yale History) would serve as Moderator. The panelists will discuss recent developments in contemporary politics and media through their unique perspectives: journalists with influence in English speaking and vernacular public spheres; and keen ethnographic, political and historical analysis focusing on violence, gender, and political competition in each of these societies.
The panel discussion will leverage the unique perspectives these speakers bring from the world of media and journalism to discuss a problem central to South Asian democracies: what is a majority, what ought it to be, and how can the domination of minorities be limited. Majorities are ubiquitous and necessary to democracy: the idea of a majority of individual wills affords individuals with equal autonomy and remains the best decision-rule available to contemporary political societies. In each of these South Asian states, as in others around the world, sedimented majorities – of religion, race, or language – bring with them the prospect of persistent, arbitrary and avoidable interference in the basic interests of minorities. These panelists, with decades of experience in journalism, and archival and ethnographic research, will help clarify how we might find democratic solutions to this uniquely democratic problem.