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Rajni Kothari

Culture of Communalism in Gujarat

This article attempts to examine the larger and rapidly spreading communalisation of the Indian polity as a whole and relating it to the extent possible, to similar trends elsewhere in the world, identifying those individuals and groups responsible for spreading this culture of violence within and across regions. It attempts to develop a broader understanding of the rarity of the threat posed by what is happening in Gujarat.

Interpreting 1996 Where Do We Go from Here

Interpreting 1996: Where Do We Go from Here?
Rajni Kothari The mandate of the 1996 general elections is for scaling down the power of a centralised, arrogant, elitist bureaucratic and authoritarian state controlled by a national-global structure of corporate capitalism and replacing it by a federal, decentralised and socially inclusive political order It is only on this basis that the fractured verdict' can be turned into a vote for stability that is also a vote for change.

Elections without Party System

Elections without Party System Rajni Kothari POLITICAL debate in the country seems to have got hung on the idea of a 'hung parliament' and the coming era of coalition government at the centre that it thai will necessitate. To me this appears to be a highly oversimplified reading of the situation which does not tell us much about the real shifts, that are likely to inform the political system in the coming years, starting with the 1986 election. It overlooks the specific condition in which the Indian polity finds itself in general and the peculiarly specific situation obtaining before the 1996 election in respect of the political, socio-economic and moral dimensions of the polity which has led to a virtual collapse of both the party system and the political system of which, for close to half a century, it provided the operating dynamic. The 'collapse' that I have in mind here is not just of the Congress as the ruling party at the centre and until not long ago in a majority of the slates but rather of the entire party system that I had more than 30 years ago characterised as the 'Congress system'. The so-called 'hung parliament' is not just a matter of no single party getting a majority but rather of no party or a clear alliance of parties being in a position to govern. A system that hinged so much on a functioning and in many ways unique party system is suddenly being rendered impotent with the collapse of that party system and the considerable national consensus that it had for so long represented (certainly for the first 20 to 25 years after independence but even after that when the Congress continued, whether in government or in opposition, to be the key player and setting the tone for the overall functioning of the system).

Under Globalisation-Will Nation State Hold

There seems to be a convergence of the views of some intellectuals on the 'crisis of governability' and the concerns of foreign investors and international institutions regarding demands from the labouring classes. There is also growing agreement on the need to reduce the role of the state and hand things over to the market. The widespread feeling that the hat ion state is in trouble and will not survive the growing pressures from within and without needs to be examined.

Globalisation and Revival of Tradition-Dual Attack on Model of Democratic Nation Building

With the advent of globalisation, the changes taking place at the bottom tiers of nations have received tittle attention. Yet shifts in power relations, allegiances and consciousness at various levels of civil societies are changing the world as much, if not more, than the macro changes wrought by international capital technology and the mass media. To what extent will these new cultural assertions of identity enable the peoples of various regions to face the new capitalist order, remains to be seen.

Rise of the Dalits and the Renewed Debate on Caste

For long consciousness of caste was the preserve of the brahminic upper castes. Today something quite different is happening: the very sufferers from the system (including the caste system) are invoking caste identity and claims.

The Yawning Vacuum-A World without Alternatives

The Yawning Vacuum A World without Alternatives Rajni Kothari In assessing the current historical situation, the most fundamental change is that we may be entering, or may have already entered, a period in which there is going to be little scope for alternatives. Underlying this most unsettling discontinuity in the modern era is not just pervasive globalisation and its various concomitants, such as consumerism and commercialisation of diverse human endeavours through their marketisation, but a basic crisis of vision, a decline of engagement with Utopias, an end of 'alternatives9 in the real and comprehensive sense of the term Not just the erosion of alternative centres of power and systems of 'development' and governance (the collapse of both the socialist and the third world poles) but, though partly related to that, erosion of ideological perspectives, frameworks of knowledge and modes of consciousness.

Pluralism and Secularism Lessons of Ayodhya

Pluralism and Secularism: Lessons of Ayodhya Rajni Kothari The tragedy of the post-Indira Gandhi, post-Advani Indian is that he is so adrift, so insecure, so gullible, so uncertain about himself as well as about the future that awaits him. Lacking a leadership that can draw on his inner balance and sanity to create a balanced and sane future for him, he can be used by people who have gone mad, as did the kar sevak leaders at Ayodhya, to make him turn violent and mad too, and in a sense that sounds eminently moral and elevating.

PERSPECTIVES

Writing about Hindu-Muslim Riots in India Today Gyanendra Pandey The dominant nationalist historiography that insists on the totalising standpoint of a seamless nationalism needs to be challenged not only because of its interested use of categories such as 'national' and 'secular' but also because of its privileging of the so-called 'general' over the particular, the larger over the smaller, the 'mainstream' over the 'marginal

The New Detente-Triumph of Techno-Capitalism

Triumph of Techno-Capitalism Rajni kothari The dualist world structure has been the result of interlocking between a number of dimensions of which the crowning variable was militarisation and the global arms race. Any stepping away from the precipice to which this one factor was leading is the most important first step in the direction of global transformation and the creation of a better world. But unless it is followed by other major steps and unless it is prevented to be swallowed and co-opted by the dominant structures of the prevailing status quo, we are once again likely to misread symptomatic changes as being transformative and regenerative.