Washington: In order to cultivate wider understanding about the Indian democratic framework, the Virginia Commonwealth University in US has decided to set up India Chair, which is said to be the first endowed Chair in North America devoted to study this aspect of the country.
The India Chair in Democracy and Civil Society at the L Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will be devoted to studying Indian democracy, the nation’s history, culture, and vibrancy of its civil society.
The university has launched a fund raising effort to raise USD 1 million Campaign for the India Chair in Democracy and Civil Society. The inaugural dinner for this was held in Richmond recently which among others was attended by the Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao.
India stands out among the other industrialising countries where capitalism was embraced first and democracy later as democracy was established in the country much before modernisation and capitalism, the university said.
In the past decade, several Chairs of Indian studies have emerged at premier universities in North America and Europe. While the work of these Chairs is helpful in understanding contemporary Indian democracy, it does not address why Indian democracy has withstood the test of time and why its place is so different than in other developing and newly industrialising countries, it said.
While drawing on the work of these Chairs and on the scholarship of India, the India Chair in Democracy and Civil Society at VCU will focus on the kind of integrative understanding of ancient and modern India that is essential to understanding the Indian democratic ethos, it said.
According to the university, the India Chair in Democracy and Civil Society will attract a distinguished set of visitors to VCU, coming from leading Indian organisations and universities, North-American and European think-tanks and universities, leading luminaries from India's growing corporate sector, the Indian civil service, and leaders from the Indian Diaspora.