Washington: To foster greater understanding about the Indian democratic framework, a US university has decided to establish 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 this aspect of India, its history, culture, and vibrancy of its civil society.
Consequently, the university has launched a fund raising effort to raise $ 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.
Unlike other industrialising countries where capitalism was embraced first and democracy sought later, India is a rare example where democracy took residence even before modernisation and capitalism visited, 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.