Cover: Waiting for the People: The Idea of Democracy in Indian Anticolonial Thought, from Harvard University PressCover: Waiting for the People in HARDCOVER

Waiting for the People

The Idea of Democracy in Indian Anticolonial Thought

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$45.00 • £39.95 • €40.95

ISBN 9780674290372

Publication Date: 01/09/2024


312 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Belknap Press


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A brilliant demonstration of anticolonialism’s critical contributions to the history of democratic political thought. Sultan’s historically nuanced and theoretically insightful account of how the leading thinkers and activists of India’s anticolonial struggle confronted the fraught colonial legacies of democratic developmentalism and the problem of peoplehood makes an essential contribution to contemporary democratic theory.—Jason Frank, author of The Democratic Sublime

A dazzling reconstruction of how the problem of peoplehood spurred conceptual innovations in Indian anticolonial thought. Sultan demonstrates, with style and rigor, that to answer the challenge of colonialism, Indian thinkers had to reinvent the very meaning of democracy.—Karuna Mantena, author of Alibis of Empire

An engaging, innovative, and wide-ranging account of the way in which anticolonial thought in India creatively reconceptualized the idea of popular sovereignty. It sheds new light on the theoretical relationship between democratic legitimation and development.—Pratap Bhanu Mehta, author of The Burden of Democracy

An indispensable intervention to the fields of postcolonial theory and democratic theory, Waiting for the People illustrates how the colonial construction of India’s backwardness gave rise to a very distinct dilemma for anticolonial thinkers and actors. Seeking to authorize their demands for independence in the name of the people, they found that the people had not yet arrived. Traversing a range of figures and periods in the history of Indian anticolonial political thought, Sultan tracks the innovative conceptual and institutional strategies advanced in response to this dilemma of colonial peoplehood.—Adom Getachew, author of Worldmaking after Empire

With dazzling insight, Waiting for the People demonstrates how Indian anticolonial thinkers reimagined democracy and popular sovereignty. A sure-footed guide through the fault lines between political thought and practical politics, this highly original work shows us the global future of democratic government.—Rohit De, author of A People’s Constitution

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