Performing Democracy in Nagaland

Past Polities and Present Politics

Drawing on the February 2013 assembly elections in Nagaland, this article explores the continuities and connections between past Naga polities and modern electoral politics. It departs from conventional assessments of Nagaland elections, both scholarly and commentarial, which tend to emphasise its "electoralills", and subsequently, condemn it as a mockery, if not a slur on democracy. This article argues towards a more contextualised, culturally-embedded understanding of Nagaland's electoral processes, which renders bare the incongruence between modern democracy and different traditional Naga polities, and bestows agency to them. It shows how different Naga tribes, instead of adjusting themselves to modern democratic ideals, adjusted democracy to themselves.

Mor on Financial Inclusion

A Few Baby Steps, Not a Great Leap Forward

Despite decades of effort, India’s record in the area of financial inclusion remains unsatisfactory. Nearly 60% of India’s population does not have a bank account; 90% of small businesses have no link with the formal financial sector.

Commentary

For an act of representation by savarnas to seem fair and unremarkable to dalits, we need to have achieved a society in which to be a dalit is not a stigma, and to be a savarna is not a marker of superior status. Until that day arrives in India,...

Book Reviews

Gandhi Before India by Ramachandra Guha (London and New Delhi: Allen Lane), 2013; pp xiv + 673, Rs 899.

Perspectives

This article attempts to analyse the rise of fascism in Indian politics and explains the growing popularity of a "messiah" who promises to solve all problems in the "closure" of politics under neo-liberalism. It sheds light on...

Notes

The Tribal Advisory Council constituted under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, aimed to protect the land rights of tribals residing in the scheduled areas. The law clearly says that the governor of a state may make regulations to...

Insight

This article challenges the prevailing view that the diminished electoral prospects of the United Progressive Alliance government is the result of neglecting growth to launch populist welfare schemes. It looks at a wide range of economic...

Commentary

The lower courts of Gujarat are rife with narratives of people being denied justice in Gujarat 2002 riot cases. In such an environment only the naïve or self-blinded will equate the failure of "prosecutable evidence" as the last...

Editorials

The sentencing in the Mumbai Shakti Mills rape cases throws up many questions.

Editorials

The central bank has, with good reason, taken the safe path on the issue of new bank licences.

Editorials

The services sewerage workers provide are essential but they are treated with cruel neglect.

Commentary

Following its surprise victory in the Rajasthan assembly elections, the National Unionist Zamindara Party is betting big on its prospects in the Lok Sabha elections by eating into left votes. Money power coupled with the broad basing of backward...

Commentary

The Biological Diversity Act was passed in 2002 and the rules to implement it came out in 2004. The main focus of implementation in the past decade has been to persuade local governments to set up biodiversity management committees, which are to...

Commentary

The term common man has swiftly shifted from having one connotation to another. The common man has become the conservative brigade that makes up the nation's moral police, and seems to be taking up the sovereign's role and vice versa, and...

Commentary

For departed Labour Party leader Tony Benn, a liveable society could only be one which transcends capitalism and institutionalises a much more radical popular democracy in all aspects of life. He charted his own path based on this belief but was...

Book Reviews

The Bangladesh Reader: History, Culture, Politics, edited by Meghna Guhathakurta and Willem van Schendel (Durham, London: Duke University Press), 2013; pp xv + 550, Rs 1,412.

Book Reviews

The Case of Sindh by G M Syed (Fiction House: Lahore), 2012; pp 301, Pakistan Rs 400

Special Articles

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 promises free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6-14 years. But the way this critical entitlement is being implemented leaves much to be desired. Apart...

Special Articles

The emergence of broadband networks - both wireline and wireless - has assisted in fostering the applications and content development, and provided content and application providers with a huge and growing addressable market with very low...

Postscript

Nirbhaya is a play that allows women to overcome, in a raw and untamed manner, a history of silent suffering at the hands of depraved men.

 
Postscript

Escape from civilisation may be an option for characters in films like Highway but lesser mortals will have to confront their own demons right here and now.

Postscript

For a writer in Kuwait to produce creative works in English is a political act that enhances, not impairs, the Arab identity.

 
Postscript

What was once the Ottoman empire, later made modern by Ataturk, founder and first president of the republic of Turkey, is a traveller’s find.

 
Postscript

The unexpected entry of a parakeet into the apartment and the lives of a family in Mumbai shows that humans and animals can live and let live.