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From Democracy to Dynasties: Analyzing Political Corruption and Nepotism in 50 Years of India’s History

Project by Polygence alum Nandini

From Democracy to Dynasties: Analyzing Political Corruption and Nepotism in 50 Years of India’s History

Project's result

The research paper unveils the detrimental impact of the symbiotic relationship between Indian politicians and celebrities, emphasizing corruption's pervasive influence. It calls for a reevaluation of dynastic politics and advocates for informed and active citizenship to safeguard democratic principles. Ultimately, the paper urges a shift towards a political climate prioritizing substance over spectacle for a healthier democracy.

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The connection between celebrities and politicians is a seemingly unclear, bizarre, and global phenomenon. In India, the interconnectedness is apparent; yet perhaps precisely because of its controversial nature, it has not been written about in a scholarly manner. This article will look at the 1980s as a starting point for the nexus between celebrities and political corruption with an overview at the role of Bollywood, politics and economic policies. In particular, it will ask: How does the involvement of celebrities in political affairs contribute to or exacerbate issues of political corruption? Have celebrities exploited their fame to engage in corrupt practices (bribery, cronyism, misuse of public funds, etc.)? Have politicians leveraged the popularity and influence of celebrities for personal gain or to advance corrupt agendas? The method will be as follows. In part one, I will assess the problem of corruption and its rise. In part two, I will look at three case studies (the connection of actors and politics, the celebrification of politicians in India, and the Congress dynasty) with a look at critical debates over these issues in the past fifty years and examine their impact on democratic processes, public trust and institutional integrity.

In the last part of the paper, I will conclude with a course of action that I think is most likely to successfully address the policy problem.



Polygence mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate


History, Social Science, Arts, Languages, Literature


Journalism (reporting, multimedia, publishing, editing), French, Arabic, contemporary Arabic culture, international relations, international political economy, creative writing (novella, short story, haiku), photography, history of post-world war Europe and Middle East




Hello! My name is Nandini Agarwal. My Polygence Project is a research paper on the relationship between Politics and Celebrities and the power they have. With this paper published, I hope to answer some of the most pressing questions related to this issue.

Graduation Year


Project review

“With Polygence, I got acquainted with an amazing mentor who taught me so much about academic writing and also found a way to make the entire experience fun. Through the research paper I learnt so much and definitely feel more confident about entering a field where research is so encompassing.”

About my mentor

“AJ played a crucial role in guiding me through the research paper process by providing valuable insights, offering constructive feedback on my drafts, and helping me overcome any challenges that popped up from time to time. His expertise and encouragement significantly contributed to the clarity and depth of my work.”