Historically, India and South Africa have a lot in common; the migration of indentured and passenger Indians to South Africa, the role and influence of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom movements, their shared commitment to install democracy in their respective countries, and other such issues. Post-Independence, battling enormous poverty and inequality, these countries have undergone transitions at different points in history in their endeavour to restructure the economy and polity through political projects which are largely elite-driven.
Exclusion, Social Capital and Citizenship shows how though transition always carries the promise of inclusion for social groups inhabiting the margins of society, there is nothing inherently inclusive about the elite-dominated transitions that occurred in South Africa and India. The people of these countries, therefore, have articulated alternate visions of resistance to contest these.
Divided into three sections, this volume analyses whether we can use the prism of one experience to assess another in some other country and the lessons learnt from them through such contextualised comparisons. These and other methodological issues are studied in this collection. The book also describes how diasporic Indians deal with their minority status in post-apartheid South Africa; the intellectual resources that the Muslim minority groups in India employ to articulate their identity and assert their citizenship; and redress policies for groups previously disadvantaged on the basis of race in South Africa and caste in India.
Bringing together sociologists from both South Africa and India, this volume is a must-read for students and scholars of sociology, diaspora studies and political science.
Tina Uys is Chairperson, Department of Sociology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Sujata Patel is Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad, India.