Scholar Brings Insights on Indian and South Asian Politics

The India Center welcomed G. Gopa Kumar, Ph.D., to UCF last week. Kumar is vice chancellor of the Central University of Kerala, India. Kumar met with students and faculty to discuss issues in Indian and South Asian politics.

During his presentation, Kumar highlighted that current political economy approaches to studying politics might not provide the most useful lens through which to understand the politics of South Asian countries, including India. These countries are notable because of their significant role of ethno-religious factors, human rights activism and struggles, and the increasing space gained by civil society in a formerly conventional society. Rights-based activism in support of environment, human rights issues, gender equality, land reform, advancement of education and social mobility are strengthening in South Asian countries. New social movements are crafting unique episodes of public action, bearing impact on policy matters and pressing necessary changes in the Constitution and drafting new legislations. In addition, media expansion and transparency have become more prominent in recent years. Kumar argued that these and other trends call for new approaches to understand politics in India and South Asia more broadly.

Kumar served formerly as UGC Emeritus Fellow, ICSSR Senior Fellow, Dean of Social Sciences, and Professor and Head, Department of Political Science and Director, V.K. Krishna Menon Centre for International Relations of the University of Kerala. He was also the Director General of the Institute of Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Kerala. An internationally renowned and prolific scholar in Political Science, he specialized in Comparative Politics, International Relations and Kerala Politics, besides being a noted psephologist.

“Dr. Kumar’s presentation offered a new perspective of understanding politics in India and South Asia,” said Kerstin Hamann, Ph.D., Pegasus Professor and Chair of the Political Science department, where the India Center is housed. “We hope that Dr. Kumar’s visit was the first step in building a strong partnership with the India Center to facilitate collaboration with Central Kerala University.”

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