ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

PerspectivesSubscribe to Perspectives

How Hegemonic Parties Decline

This article examines the electoral disintegration of the Left Front, which governed West Bengal for a record three and a half decades. Contrary to previous research on the fate of erstwhile hegemonic parties, which has emphasised the importance of pragmatism in reviving defeated hegemonic parties, it is argued that the case of West Bengal illustrates a different dynamic. Specifically, it was too much pragmatism, not less, that led to the LF’s rapid demise. The coalition’s inability to pursue a programmatic strategy of industrialisation to tackle West Bengal’s agrarian crisis resulted in massive preference falsification among voters, and subsequently, a swift electoral decline.

Terror, Innocence, and the Wages of Official Prejudice

Public awareness of the scale of continuing state injustice in India is not very high, this article points out. It goes on to show that a telling selectivity in popular outrage and the application of the majesty of the law reveal a troubling majoritarian bias in society and the law. This does not sit well with the Constitution’s promise of equal treatment to all before the law.

Being Ladakhi, Being Indian

The nature of Ladakhi identity has been a subject of much discussion for some decades now, particularly in the context of assertions of nationalism, regional autonomy and religious identity in the region. Using ethnographic material, this article focuses on identity formation amongst migrant youth whose “Ladakhiness” is both interrogated and reinforced in large cities like Delhi. In Ladakh itself, anxieties about loss of culture and community have intensified even as the nature of Ladakhi identity is asserted in specific cultural terms.

Safai Karamcharis in a Vicious Cycle

A study of 360 safai karamcharis employed with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai suggests that policies aimed at uplifting conservancy work may actually be institutionalising caste-based occupations. This article describes the situation that keeps generations of safai karamcharis in this occupation, and recommends practical solutions to break the vicious cycle.

Beyond the Oxymoronic Idea of No-detention Policy

The periodic debates on continuous and comprehensive evaluation and no-detention policy in media are completely futile, given the current class-wise structure of schools and curricula. As a result, elementary education gets defi ned by the number of years spent in school. The examination system thwarts all attempts at bringing reforms in pedagogy, curriculum and textbooks. Therefore, discarding both examinations and detention is necessary, and an alternative imagination of schools and curriculum organisation is imperative for the success of educational reforms.

Reimagining ‘New Democracy,’ Rethinking Radical Politics

Capitalism, especially Indian capitalism with its monstrous inequalities, has proved to be totally incompatible with democracy when the latter is understood in terms of its basic principles and aspirations—liberty, equality, and comradeship (fraternity is not the appropriate word now). But in transforming Indian society to ensure a better future for the Indian people, radical politics must preserve the kernel of the liberal–political tradition in the process of transcending that heritage. While keeping in place its historic legacy, “New Democracy” needs to be reimagined as part of a longer, truly democratic, human needs-based “political transition period” on the road to socialism.

The Mirage of a Caste-less Society in India

The goal of creating a caste-less society in India, written into the Constitution, has become a mirage. And the mirage is moving further away.

Nehru against Nehruvians

Jawaharlal Nehru’s views on religion and secularism, indeed even his considered political practice, were very different from the Nehruvian secularism that emerged soon after his death, a handiwork of intellectuals close to his daughter, Indira Gandhi. It is an argument of this paper that Nehruvian views on secularism must give way to Nehru’s own views on the matter which have great relevance today.

Education in Mother Tongue

Mother tongue-based multilingual education is a well-established strategy to address the high dropout rates and poor educational performances of schoolchildren in the tribal regions of India. Odisha is one of the pioneering states to have adopted this policy to reduce the dropout rates amongst primary school students. This article reports on a study undertaken in the tribal-dominated district of Sundargarh to generate information on the issues and challenges involved in the implementation of the MTB MLE programme in the district. The study reveals that certain administrative, language and social issues exist at a latent level which the MTB MLE approach has not been able to overcome.

Understanding Ambedkar from the Cauvery Valley

Indian democracy today lacks trustworthy leadership and an inclusive politics capable of producing an atmosphere conducive to the resolution of disputes, especially water disputes. Even so, there are some important lessons from B R Ambedkar for the Cauvery dispute.

Religion, Fertility and ‘Common Sense’

The sectarian forces in India have kept politicising the population growth of Muslims not on the basis of demographic correlates but on the basis of a pernicious propaganda that stereotypes popular common sense perceptions. These ill-founded notions are so often repeated that these have become part of the popular common sense, normalising the falsification of “reality” created by sectarian forces of either religious affiliations. Why are these mythical constructions increasing despite the fact that the authentic empirical data sets—Census, National Family Health Surveys—negate the same?

Affordable Housing and Ethiopia’s War on Poverty

The Ethiopian approach to planning and development is a unique and bold departure from the cautious and incremental approach that has dominated the rhetoric and practice of development in the cities and regions of the third world since the rise and mainstreaming of participatory, small-scale and upgradation-based development. The ongoing tale of Ethiopia’s war on poverty is a fascinating one, combining elements of brutality and welfare; state control and limited privatisation; an apparent homogeneity of developmental output; and yet a vibrant variety in the details of the development process. It calls for serious exploration and documentation. One of the most revealing interventions in this regard is the Ethiopian affordable housing programme.

Pages

Back to Top