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The Making and Unmaking of Kerala’s Strongman

Pinarayi Vijayan took charge as the chief minister of Kerala with a “strongman image” after leading the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the state with a firm hand for a record 17 years. As his government celebrates its first anniversary, this article examines the criticism his government is facing.

What Urbanisation Reforms Owe K C Sivaramakrishnan

K C Sivaramakrishnan’s key contribution on metropolitan governance is the articulation of specific recommendations for reforming the current system. He stressed taking a holistic view and having systemic change with democratic decentralisation at the core. He recommended building the governance system anew by creating a metropolitan council at the regional level.

Where to be Left Is No Longer Dissidence

What does it mean to be left in Tripura today? In retrospect, the success of the left in Tripura depended on the recognition of the contrarian geographical impulses of ethno-nationalism. It is argued that efforts by the left to eradicate these geographies of ethno-nationalism not only implied an abandonment of this mode of dissidence, but also that these efforts ensnared the left into gratuitous, quiet militarisation of the state underthe garb of peace and development.

Mayawati’s Financial Tangles and the Cost to Dalit Politics

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati seems to be focused on settling scores with her former confidantes-turned-foes. Meanwhile, attacks on Dalits are intensifying and the newly-formed Bhim Sena seems to be a greater attraction for Dalit youth in the state.

Caste in a Tamil Family

Written using the voice of Zehra Hashmi, an ethnographic narrative examines caste in transition in Jaffna, centred around a Vel.l.āl.ar family that lived in the peninsula throughout the duration of the Sri Lankan Civil War, which came to an end in May 2009. Based on field research and interviews conducted between 2011 and 2013, the authors find that interlocutors struggle to make meaning of post-war changes.

Everyday Politics and Corruption in West Bengal

Trinamool Congress’s decisive second term in West Bengal in 2016, even after serious corruption charges were levied on the party, makes it clear that corruption is not as important as was thought by the opposition. It is argued that corruption is conceived as a “necessary evil,” linked with quick and tangible delivery of public services. The recent rise of Bharatiya Janata Party, parallel to religious polarisation in the state, indicates a shrinking political space for non-BJP opposition in West Bengal.

Doing Nothing and Being Nothing

The lack of opportunities for training and quality education hinders the development of entrepreneurial talent among India and South Asia’s youth. In this way, they are demoralised and disillusioned with the system and more often than not, with themselves. Some of them believe they are useless, while others do “nothing” and therefore amount to “nothing.” Hope and agency can provide an out for these young people all across India and South Asia.

Swachh Bharat Mission

The Swachh Bharat Mission promises to address issues of sanitation and water in rapidly urbanising areas. However, without an adequate understanding of all potential sources of contamination, the mission may, at best, only achieve the goal of universal sanitation but may not meet the goal of safe drinking water.

Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)

The progress of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) has been impeded by bottlenecks, such as inadequate water supply, defunct toilets, and difficulties in availing microloans for constructing individual household latrines. These need to be addressed if the government wants to achieve the lofty target of making India open defecation free by 2019.

Tech in Work

The “platform economies” of today can provide traditional informal sector workers the opportunity to formalise and organise their work. In the case of Uber and Ola, the mobile-based taxi service companies have been able to provide their drivers with technological solutions to conventional problems like personal finance and wealth creation, job security, flexibility in timings, and regularisation of income payments.

How France Chose Macron

Although Emmanuel Macron’s win is historic and unprecedented, a closer look at the results shows that a significant segment of the electorate was not entirely convinced either by his youth or by his image of a middle of the road, liberal moderniser. This section voted not for him but in order to block the National Front.

Farewell, Uncle Kathy!

Visionaries like Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, South Africa’s anti-apartheid crusader who died in March, are a fast disappearing breed. For Kathrada, the principled fight for a non-racial, non-sexist, just South Africa trumped all personal perils.

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