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UK varsities hooked on to Lok Sabha polls

india Updated: May 15, 2014 01:20 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar

Aided by technology and a growing number of Indian and Indian-origin academics here, the world’s largest electoral exercise has evinced much interest in British universities, with scholars and students travelling to India for research and organising a series of events here.

Live streaming of Indian television channels has been organised at the University of Cambridge and other universities on Friday, the day election results will be declared. Blogs set up by academics and students will be announcing and commenting on results live.

Besides running an election-related blog, experts at the London School of Economics have organised a special session in association with the Indian Journalists Association on Friday, titled ‘Elections 2014: The Biggest Event in the World’.

Seventy-five academics (most of them of Indian-origin) based at British universities publicly intervened in the election discourse in April by writing to The Independent that the prospect of Narendra Modi coming to power “fills us with dread”.

Events include seminars to discuss the ‘election experience’ of students and scholars who travelled to India during the various phases. Organisers include the ‘India centres’ which have been set up in universities in recent years.

A blog titled ‘Ballots and Bullets’ curated by Katherine Adeney, professor at the University of Nottingham, includes contributions from experts from various countries.

“We will also hold an event funded by the Politics of South Asia group of the Political Studies Association in Nottingham on the 3 July, assessing the campaign and the results”, Adeney said.

Bournemouth University launched ‘Project India’, an initiative involving staff and students producing news coverage and research on the elections, with tie-ups with journalism departments of the University of Madras, Chennai; Jai Hind College, Mumbai; and Amity University, Delhi.

Several edited collections have been planned with contributions from British academics focusing on different states and aspects of the elections.