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  • Writer's pictureMutant: The Democracy Podcast


In 2019, in a series of dialogues to mark the publication of the Indian edition of his book Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi and the Risk of Democracy, Professor Aishwary Kumar began to articulate this risk he speaks of; a risk of and in democracy.

At the time, even as recently as 2019, it still seemed, at least to those who measure our moral success by the yardstick of civilizational self-assurance, that liberal democracy has always been the most stable — if not the most just — political form to have ever existed. Is liberal democracy not what actually makes (us) modern, human even, preventing us from lapsing into a world of infinite barbarities?

This articulation — of the risk of democracy — was particularly remarkable given that Radical Equality was originally published in North America in 2015, and had been written well before Donald Trump became President of the United States, spiraling the very edifice of global liberal and neoliberal institutions into free fall.

What, then, is really going on?

The answer lay not in our present, Professor Kumar said, but in our “interminable struggle with history.” That is the opening line of Radical Equality, and that is where we believe Mutant must begin: among the beginnings of our moral certainties about liberal democracy itself, if we are to ever twist free of the easy proclamations of its end. For after all, whose ends does liberal democracy serve? And what in it has ended?

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