EVOKE 2015: Democracy

Evoke 2015 will shine the light on Democracy, examining how successful this form of governance has been in India, the problem of corruption, the economic reforms required, India’s “ban” culture and the state of freedom of expression, and the factors that most influence citizen participation in electoral process, among other important topics under this theme.

October 10, 2015
Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Convocation Hall
University of Mumbai
South Mumbai Campus
Fort, Mumbai
Seating begins at 5:00pm
  • Varun

  • Mr. Varun Gandhi is a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), representing the Sultanpur constituency. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party National Executive and the youngest National Secretary in the history of the party. Inducted into Rajnath Singh’s team in March 2013, he was appointed General Secretary, becoming the youngest General Secretary in the history of the party. The son of Sanjay Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi, he is the grandson of former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi and the great-grandson of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. A widely read columnist on political, social, and cultural issues across leading dailies, he is also the author of The Otherness of Self”, a book of poems published by Rupa Publications in 2000. He is a graduate the London School of Economics.

  • Pratap Bhanu

  • Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta is president and chief executive of the Center for Policy Research (CPR), the leading Indian think tank focused on public policy. A political scientist who has taught at Harvard University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the New York University School of Law, his areas of research include political theory, constitutional law, society and politics in India, governance and political economy, and international affairs. Dr Mehta has served on many central government committees, including India’s National Security Advisory Board, the Prime Minister of India’s National Knowledge Commission, and a Supreme Court-appointed committee on elections in Indian universities. Mehta is a prolific writer; he is an editorial consultant to the Indian Express, and his columns have appeared in dailies internationally. He is also on the editorial boards of many academic journals, including the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Democracy, and India and Global Affairs. Dr Mehta holds a BA (first class) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford and a PhD in politics from Princeton.

  • Jayaprakash

  • Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan is the Founder and President of the Lok Satta Party and the founder and General Secretary of Foundation for Democratic Reforms, an independent public-policy think-tank and research-resource centre. A former Indian public administrator, he is well known for his role in electoral reforms and the Right to Information (RTI) act. He is also a political commentator and has even hosted television shows covering elections and politics such as “Pratidhwani”. A physician by training, he entered the Indian Administrative Service in the aftermath of the Emergency and failure of the Janata Experiment. Over his almost two decade long tenure in public service, he acquired a formidable reputation as a political reformer in the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh.

  • James Crabtree

  • James Crabtree currently heads the Financial Times’ Mumbai Bureau.

    He was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. At the New Democrat Network, a Washington think tank, he dealt with issues related to the fallout of globalisation, before returning to the UK to join the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit as a policy advisor. He headed the iSociety research program at the British think tank The Work Foundation, where he spent three years examining the social impact of the internet. He then co-founded mySociety.org, the leading creator of civic engagement and political transparency websites, of which he remains a trustee. He left the government and joined Prospect – a monthly magazine that celebrates ideas in politics, economics and current affairs – as deputy editor, having also written for the Economist, Wired and other publications. He then joined the Financial Times, the world’s leading business newspaper as Comment Editor, where he worked initially on FT’s widely respected comment page, before becoming the paper’s Mumbai bureau chief.

  • Rohan

  • Rohan Joshi is a member of India’s most popular comedy group All India Bakchod (AIB). AIB has become a socio-cultural phenomenon in India with its ingenious use of humour and technology. Their content truly captures the pulse of the Indian identity, particularly that of the nation’s youth. Harnessing the potential of the internet, their reach extends to millions of viewers. Rohan and AIB have very successfully channeled advocacy for important political issues, from gender equality to net neutrality to freedom of speech, via their sure-to-go-viral youtube videos, proving comedy’s (and the internet’s) immense power, not only as a medium for the most incisive social and political commentary, but also as an agent of change.