Past Imperfect Episode 11: Toward a free economy with Aditya Balasubramanian

SPJIMR Prof. Dinyar Patel is in conversation with Aditya Balasubramanian, Senior Lecturer in History at Australian National University

The Swatantra Party, established in 1959, briefly became India’s chief opposition party before disintegrating in the early 1970s. What explains its rise and fall? Aditya Balasubramanian’s Toward a Free Economy charts one of democratic India’s earliest experiments in viable opposition politics: how a diverse cast of political leaders articulated the need for an alternative to a dominant political party. Swatantra’s clarion call was for a “free economy,” one unshackled from the license-and-permit raj. But the party was equally concerned with unchecked political power, rising corruption, and the long-term health of India’s democracy.

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