The Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH) organized a Distinguished Lecture by Professor Andre Beteille, Chancellor, North-Eastern Hill University titled “Democracy in our times” on 19th August 2013 at the DST Auditorium, UoH. Prof. Andre Beteille is Professor Emeritus of Sociology in the University of Delhi. He has lectured in many universities, and his books and papers have been published both in India and abroad. He is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Democracy in India is not the same as the West Minister model in Britain, it is still evolving, said Prof. Beteille while speaking to a packed audience of students, faculty and staff at the University. He stated that democracy is going to stay in India for a very long time to come. India’s multi-party democracy cannot be compared with European multi-party democracy where as India has multitude of party’s that make it unique and different, said Prof. Beteille. He opined that Democracy means toleration of opposition, critique and dissent.
As a Comparative Sociologist, Prof. Beteille said that India has done well to provide opposition and critique adequate space with in the legislative institutional framework. He further stated that along with parties, social movements play an important role in resisting state and its policies. Opposition parties have to share space with social movements, he further added. The difference is, parties are accountable to people while social movements do not go back to the people for votes, Prof. Beteille concluded.
Prof. Sujata Patel, Department of Sociology welcomed the gathering, while Prof. Sasheej Hegde introduced the speaker. Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, UoH presided over the lecture while Dr. Purendra Prasad, faculty in the Department of Sociology proposed a vote of thanks.