Research Themes

Not since the early days of independence has the study of India been so exciting or the potential for research to contribute to political and economic transformation been greater. Brown University established the Brown-India Initiative to promote cutting-edge research that, in turn, could make a difference to public debates and policy solutions.

India is in the throes of profound change. Over the last two decades, its economic growth rate has been the second highest among the larger countries of the world by size and population.  Only China has grown faster. India's democracy has deepened, as groups placed at the lower end of the traditional social hierarchy have not only participated vigorously in elections, but also put politicians from relatively underprivileged social backgrounds in power. As a downward shift in political power has taken place, a substantial new middle class has also emerged, spurring changes in cultural and economic habits, with the possibility that it might also force changes in politics before long.

Erosion of traditional caste hierarchies in many parts of India has led to an overall decline in social inequalities. However, with rising affluence, economic inequalities have grown. New security challenges have emerged both externally, with the emergence of cross-border terrorism, and internally, with the rise of Maoism in central India. The overall pace of change has quickened, and issues of governance have acquired new intensity.

The Initiative currently conducts research on the following topics:

•          Urban India: Governance, Politics and Political Economy

•          Economic Inequalities

•          Pluralism and Diversities

•          Democracy