In continuation of the series, “Building a Political Digital Campaign team in India“, this post will focus on the books, blogs and courses one should take to be able to perform better in the team.
If you want to understand the current political developments and understand what possibly would be the “next step” your opponent would take or your party “should take” it is important for you to be well read. While reading online helps you get a quick overview of things, I think it is important to read books. Most of them don’t, so if you read you will have an advantage over your peers in the War Room.
This post focuses on English books and blogs only. I would like to add similar resources from other Indian languages. Please do share if you are aware of the same.
Books on Indian History
History is seen as a boring subject to most of us. During “election time” one has to go all the way back to the Mughal history. In general, from British rule time, one needs to get familiar with the political developments in the country.
- History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra
- A Cultural History of India by A L Basham
- India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha
- The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of A Nation (Classic Reissue) by Granville Austin
- Working in a Democratic Constitution: A History of the Indian Experience by Granville Austin
Books on Political Ideology, Economics
Irrespective of your political leanings – Left, Right, Center, Center of Right, I believe you should understand the “other side’s” ideology.
- Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers by Himanshu Roy and M P Singh
- Politics in India by Rajni Kothari
- Does the Elephant Dance?: Contemporary Indian Foreign Policy By David M Malone (To understand India’s Foreign Policy, similarly it is important to understand other country’s India policy. Any book suggestions?)
- The Oxford Companion to Politics in India: Student Edition by Niraja Gopal Jayal, Pratap Bhanu Mehra
- The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economics, Societies, and Nations by James Surowiecki
Other Books Related to Politics, Market Survey Etc
- The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction by Nate Silver
Courses Relevant For Election Digital Campaign Members
Learning is a continuous process, irrespective of one’s age. I generally ask people in War Rooms about their background, they are very varied. Most of them are in that room because of their commitment to their political party. But I think that alone won’t cut it, one has to be better to make an impression.
There are full time, part time, online courses in policy and digital marketing, which I believe will help.
- Digital Marketing: Several courses are available on Udemy, Udacity, Simplilearn.
- Content Writing: Coursera, Digital Academy 360, Udemy
- Public Policy: Major colleges in India offer these courses in association with market research companies. For e.g. Rajneeti has a tie-up with Mount Carmel college in Bengaluru. Also, see Public Policy courses on Coursera.
- For Politicians: The Takshashila Institution in Bengaluru offers several courses in Public Policy. Their course for budding politicians is supposed to be a very good one.
- Ashoka University: The most respected university in India for economics, political science, social sciences. They offer summer courses too.
If time permits, I would encourage you to take any good course related to elections in other countries available on platforms like Coursera. There is always something to learn from others – success and failures. Do not hesitate to spend money on learning. Few online courses to consider,
- Securing Digital Democracy – The course takes a look at the past, present, and
future of election technologies and explore the various spaces intersected by voting, including
computer security, human factors, public policy, and more.
- Revolutionary Ideas: Borders, Elections, Constitutions, Prisons: Even within a political community, there may be sharp disagreements about the role
and purpose of government. Some want an active, involved government, seeing legal and
political institutions as the means to solve our most pressing problems, and to help bring about
peace, equality, justice, happiness, and to protect individual liberty.
- Public Policy Challenges of the 21st Century: This course introduces class participants to the political significance and societal consequences of challenges facing U.S. and international policymakers. It is designed to help participants develop skills to analyze policy proposals and advocate for their preferred options for issues on the public policy agenda ahead.
Election Results Sites in India
There are a few good websites that focus solely on Indian elections results. But I would like to see them adding a lot more value, we would like to get a little insight into each election.
Election Related Blogs
It is important for the entire election-related eco-system – political party’s & politician’s team, journalists to read election coverage. It is very important to be aware of what is being said and written, you can choose to ignore the noise, but don’t avoid reading good articles (definition of good differs depending upon which side of the fence you are).
I haven’t found any good election analysis only websites. Most of access news sites for election. One notable site to read, though it covers US politics is 538.
Other posts in this series are,
- Background of a Content Team Member
- How to Get Facts & Figures For An Election Digital Campaign
- Elections Market Survey & Digital Campaign Providers in India
- How to exploit the potential of Indian Languages in an Election Digital Campaign