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Contradictions and Unanswered Questions

In reading and understanding the Supreme Court’s judgment in K Puttaswamy v Union of India, the Supreme Court’s articulation of the right to privacy carries within it certain contradictions in thought and approach. Given that this judgment was delivered in the absence of a specific fact situation, its true meaning may only become evident as the Court proceeds to apply it in specific cases. On this front, as we may find out in the future, there is a gap between what the judges are “saying” in this judgment and what they may end up “doing” in the future.

Is ‘Islamic Finance’ Islamic?

Riba could mean usury, interest, economic rent and even surplus value (in the Marxian sense). Riba is “un-Islamic.” Without riba, capital accumulation, and capitalism itself will not be possible. However, those who own capital in the Muslim world have taken charge of defining what is Islamic and what is not. The result? They find ways to multiply it in modes that benefit only themselves, just as their non-Islamic counterparts.

Whiteness and Its Dominion

The happenings in Charlottesville expose America’s “unshakable grounding in a virulent and diseased whiteness” and white America’s incapacity to confront the naked truth.

Dilating on a ‘Half-front War’

The reference to a “two and a half front war” by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat is critically dissected. The “half front” apparently covers large tracts of India and a significant number of its marginalised people. The thought of a war on the half front, as conjured by this term, needs to be controverted outright. The army’s imagining of such a war and preparation for it is questioned.

Rethinking the Surrogacy Bill

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, introduced ostensibly to provide a legal framework for surrogacy in India, is a regressive legislation that seeks to control women’s bodies and reinforces heteronormative notions of what a family is. By limiting surrogacy to “altruistic surrogacy” only, it creates space for women being pressured to bear children for family members. The Rajya Sabha standing committee’s report, having heard a wide cross section of society on this matter, has rightly criticised this bill and called for its redrafting.

Modi’s Chale Jao vs Non-politics of the Opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent appeal invoking the spirit of “quit India” is characteristic of his larger politics beyond merely electoral successes. The opposition, in contrast, is clueless about both electoral strategy and the politics to counter the new regime. Given the adverse effects the Modi regime is likely to have on democracy, the opposition’s lack of political instinct is all the more saddening.

Azadi Kooch: Towards a New Grammar of the Dalit Struggle

Non-Dalits in India would have considered July 2017 to be a month of glory for Dalits in general. A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-zealot and Dalit by caste, Ram Nath Kovind became the 14th President of India. As such, it should have been a non-event, given that the President of the Indian...

Rethinking India’s Federalism

Addressing the problems in local body governance requires a reimagining of federalism in India and moving away from the centre–state framework. Beholden to partisan politics and the state’s unwillingness to part with powers, local bodies have not been able to fulfil the potential envisaged for them in the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution. The answer lies in locating their powers and functions in the Constitution itself.

Debts That Cannot Be Paid Will Not Be

Total global debt has increased, growth has been slowing down since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007 and has been rapidly decelerating after 2012. This may be a sign that the world has arrived at its debt carrying capacity or has even crossed it, meaning that capitalism is probably already insolvent.

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