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Curry Bashing: Racism, Violence and Alien Space Invaders

The fact that the majority of Indian students in Australia live in cheaper, more dangerous suburbs, often travel late at night, and so on, all complicate the question of whether racism has been at play in the recent attacks. Yet, this does not mean that the question of whether Australians are (still) racists is an invalid one. It is clear that this is still an issue that Australia has not yet completely dealt with. This essay also argues that the Australian identity has become partly construed in terms of the question of whether Australians are racists or not, something that builds on a past of Anglo-Saxon "white" nation building and a future which is strongly multicultural and Asia-oriented.

The Rise and Fall of the Bilingual Intellectual

This essay interprets the rise and fall of the bilingual intellectual in modern India. Making a distinction between functional and emotional bilingualism, it argues that Indian thinkers, writers and activists of earlier generations were often intellectually active in more than one language. Now, however, there is an increasing separation of discourses - between those who operate exclusively in English and those who operate in the language of the state alone. The decline of the bilingual intellectual is a product of many factors, among them public policy, elite preference, new patterns of marriage, and economic change.

Khairlanji: Insensitivity of Mahar Officers

The Khairlanji incident of 29 September 2006 in which a mob of caste Hindus lynched the entire family of Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange shamed humanity, but justice has remained elusive. A majority of the police and medical officers, across ranks, handling the case, were dalits. But they showed a negligent attitude towards their official duties and social indifference to the plight of the Bhotmange family. The Nodal Officers, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, recorded the attitude, particularly of the civil surgeon and the district superintendent of police to be "aloof and indifferent to allowing the crime and subsequent manipulation of evidence".

Where Is the Geography? World Bank's WDR 2009

The World Development Report, a flagship report of the World Bank, is a document written by economists who treat politics as an inconvenient reality, though it is a thoroughly political document. The 2009 edition of the WDR, Reshaping Economic Geography, is critically discussed here, first, from a geographical disciplinary perspective. This article then demonstrates how the report erases politics by drawing on two national experiences, India and China, highlighted in the document as global hotspots of growth. The Report effectively promotes a checkbox style to development, exhorting policymakers to see themselves as managers of "portfolios of places".

Kashmir after Shopian

New Delhi's triumphalism over last year's assembly elections in Kashmir and subsequent inaction run the risk of damaging the triumph of democracy in Kashmir. The large-scale protests over the recent incidents in Shopian and Baramullah should serve as a wake-up call for the political establishment to creatively and imaginatively build on proposals for autonomy, as well as political and administrative reforms which were incubated by this very dispensation during its previous term in office. These proposals, enjoying a fair degree of consensus, will address the more pressing demands of peace, dignity and security while also providing a model of federalisation for the Indian union. Will the government of India show some initiative at last, or will it allow conditions to drift as usual?

Financial Sector: National Priorities Amidst an International Crisis

This essay focuses on five pending reform items in the financial sector, namely, moving monetary policy to inflation targeting; modernising the delivery of financial services to the priority sectors and vulnerable and weaker sections; introducing capital account convertibility; moving to a streamlined financial regulatory architecture; and restructuring the banking industry.

Feasibility of Implementation of Right to Education Act

This article argues that even an allocation of 6% of the gross domestic product to the education budget would not be sufficient to fund universal school education until the very distant future if the government school system is used as the only instrument. The only way to meet the Right to Education obligation is to rely on low cost private schools as a significant instrument of the government education policy. On the contrary, the proposed rte bill introduces provisions that would oppose low cost private schools. Therefore, the legislation for rte needs to be modified and framed with specific provisions for private-public partnerships.

Sri Lanka's Post-War Political Economy and the Question of Minorities

The decimation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam marks the end of Tamil nationalism of the variety that the authoritarian organisation espoused. But the "national question" in Sri Lanka and the legitimate aspirations of various minorities within the state, remain unanswered. These questions, along with the contradictions in the nation's political economy should determine the emergence of a new polity which should work towards reconciliation among various sections and for a lasting peace.

The Secular State and the Geography of Radicalism

The burgeoning scholarship on Islamist radicalisation or terrorism - both popular as well as academic - is mostly alarmist. Too often Islamist radicalisation is understood as an offshoot of some deeply entrenched values or that the culture of Islam is incompatible with modernity. This article argues that Islamist radicalisation should be seen as a political phenomenon and that it cannot be divorced from the practices and the role of the State. It focuses on the Students Islamic Movement of India and argues that its radicalisation, manifest in its call for jihad, is largely a consequence of the failure of the Indian secular State to stop the recurring violence against Muslim minority. This article also examines the premises that underpin the media's portrayal of Islam and Muslims and concludes by raising the issue of vulnerability in writing about Islam and radicalisation.

Trust and Watchdogs' Dilemmas

The failure of the regulatory regime as evidenced in the ongoing crisis has its origins in many fields. Two factors that have abetted this failure relate, one, to the conventional emphasis on macro-management and an arm's length relationship with the regulatees, and, two, to the belief that the market is endowed with the capacity to periodically readjust itself to changing requirements. This article first considers the evolutionary aspects of corporate and regulatory management. It is recognised that regulatory failure extends to many other areas. Four cases are cited to illustrate this aspect. The modus operandi of those engaged in fraudulent behaviour and how the regulatory agencies have a handicap in addressing systemic failure are discussed. While emphasising the need for a road map, the article outlines a few directions in which the first steps have to be taken.

The Political Context of Religious Conversion in Orissa

The apathy of dalit intellectuals and politicians over the communal incidents in Orissa reflects their prejudice and lack of confidence as regards the issue of conversion. The absence of a social movement in Orissa based on the praxis worked upon by B R Ambedkar has allowed fundamentalist and right-wing forces to take advantage of the deprived and the marginalised.

Misplaced Priorities and Class Bias of the Judiciary

It is clear from the recent record of the higher judiciary that the imperative of upholding civil liberties, socio-economic rights, and environmental protection has been subordinated to agendas such as the "war on terror", "development" and satisfying corporate interests. Far from remaining faithful to the motives that resulted in the institution of public interest litigation, the Supreme Court has tended to act against the interests of the socio-economically backward.

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