This book analyses those contentious issues currently confronting India's society and polity and which are threatening to assume crisis proportions if not tackled properly. Its central thrust is to problematize the societal dimensions that shape these issues and cause crises, and suggests solutions to these difficult problems.
The author identifies seven 'internal threats' which are in opposition to the democratic ethos.
" Secessionist movements that question the legitimacy of the Indian state;
" Irredentist movements that do not accept the artificial vivisection of tribal or linguistic communities across different states;
" Inadequate autonomy conceded to the states by the central government;
" Threats faced by inhabitants in certain regions where a disproportionate number of immigrants tend to dominate them;
" Threats posed by Hindu fundamentalists to minority religious communities labelled as cultural aliens;
" Discrimination against traditionally oppressed castes;
" Elite hegemony and patriarchal hegemony which between them subordinate women and the less well off.
The author maintains that these threats can be contained by providing appropriate political and cultural autonomy within the federal framework. He advocates the endorsement of a set of democratic values that incorporates a shared vision of the nation and its polity and society.