Amit Ahuja’s new book, Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties Without Ethnic Movements published by Oxford University Press in 2019, has been awarded the New India Foundation book prize for 2020, India’s most prestigious nonfiction book award. He is sharing the award with Jairam Ramesh, a public intellectual, former cabinet member in the Indian government, and a current parliamentarian. The two winners were selected from a diverse shortlist of six books covering a century of modern Indian history and encompassing several genres. The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize recognizes and celebrates excellence in non-fiction writings on modern/contemporary India by writers from all nationalities.
The Jury citation for the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2020 reads:
”Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements (Oxford University Press) by Amit Ahuja is an outstanding first book by a young scholar. Through extensive field research in four states, Ahuja unravels an intriguing puzzle: why is it that Dalit ethnic parties perform poorly in states where their social mobilization has historically been strong, yet perform well in states where such mobilization has historically been weak? He also shows how the social mobilization of Dalits, dividing their support across parties, results in superior welfare outcomes than when they vote as a bloc for one ethnic party. This is an elegantly written and accessible work of scholarship that richly illuminates the relationship between social movements and political parties in redeeming the promise of Indian democracy for marginalized groups.”