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The Indian economy is booming -- but the boom will last only as long as the vagaries of Indian democratic politics allow it to. Democracy and market reform are uneasily aligned in India today, and the additional reforms necessary to raise the lot of India's poor masses -- who have enormous voting clout -- may not garner a popular mandate at the ballot box. Although a long-term asset, democracy could prove to be a short-term headache for India's reformers.
Why are some parts of India -- such as the recently riot-stricken state of Gujarat -- plagued by communal violence while other parts are not? Ashutosh Varshney's new book finds an answer in civil society.