Book Launch Celebration | Nazmul Sultan, Waiting for the People: The Idea of Democracy in Indian Anticolonial Thought

Wednesday February 14, 2024
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sage Bistro, University Centre

Join the Department of Political Science as we celebrate the launch of Professor Nazmul Sultan’s new book, Waiting for the People: The Idea of Democracy in Indian Anticolonial Thought.

The event will begin with a short presentation on the book, followed by a reception with drinks and appetizers.


About the book

Waiting for the People is the first account of Indian answers to the question of peoplehood in political theory. From Surendranath Banerjea and Radhakamal Mukerjee to Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian political thinkers passionately explored the fraught theoretical space between sovereignty and government.

In different ways, Indian anticolonial thinkers worked to address the developmental assumptions built into the modern problem of peoplehood, scrutinizing contemporary European definitions of “the people” and the assumption that a unified peoplehood was a prerequisite for self-government. Nazmul Sultan demonstrates how the anticolonial reckoning with the ideal of popular sovereignty fostered novel insights into the globalization of democracy and ultimately drove India’s twentieth-century political transformation.

Waiting for the People excavates, at once, the alternative forms and trajectories proposed for India’s path to popular sovereignty and the intellectual choices that laid the foundation for postcolonial democracy. In so doing, it uncovers largely unheralded Indian contributions to democratic theory at large. India’s effort to reconfigure the relationship between popular sovereignty and self-government proves a key event in the global history of political thought, one from which a great deal remains to be learned.

About the author

Nazmul Sultan is Assistant Professor of Political Theory at the University of British Columbia and was previously the George Kingsley Roth Research Fellow at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge. His writing focuses on the history of anticolonial political thought and democratic theory.