ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Is an Atheistic Defence of God Possible?

This article argues that both the arguments--that "God exists" and that "God does not exist"--fall within the realm of belief, and hence, religion; for the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved. It stresses that atheism is not a belief in the non-existence of God but an inability to believe in the existence of God. Finally, the essay sets out to examine if there can be an atheistic defence of the concept (not existence, which cannot be proved) of God, and concludes by arguing that it is the only kind of defence of God that is rationally possible.

On Democracy, Corporations and Inequality

Infusing the institution of democracy with the ideology of higher growth without considering the fate of the majority results in a dangerous mutualism between private corporations and the government. The inclusive democracy of "one adult, one vote" is reconciled with the economic power of corporations by price rationing out the poor from any possibility of direct representation. Choice is closed through the institution of democracy and an ideology which equates higher growth with development.

The Republic of Reasons

Discourse within a constitutional framework alone can be the foundation for a possible solidarity in societies which are vibrant with real diversities and differences.

Housing for All by 2022

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, a central government scheme of subsidies for low-income housing, is singularly unimaginative and poorly thought-through. It is unlikely to deliver worthwhile results. The promised funds could be far more effectively deployed if used differently. This article examines the scheme's deficiencies and suggests options that should be explored. It also considers the Model Tenancy Act of April 2015 and the National Urban Rental Housing Policy (Draft) released in October 2015. The article argues that these policy statements are unlikely to lead anywhere, at least in regard to increasing the supply of rental housing to low-income groups.

Looking Back at the South Commission

A member of the erstwhile South Commission (1987-90) describes its genesis and journey while critically examining, in retrospect, not only its composition and its political economy framework but also the very notion of the South as a political economy configuration. It is contended that the concept of South does not exist today in the sense as it did in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s.

Does the Left Need to Introspect?

Even in states like West Bengal, which have a long heritage of left politics, the new generation has become apathetic to such politics. Left activists of all shades, from mainstream to radical, need to introspect on the ways in which the left approaches state power. It tends to conform to the capitalist world order instead of using power to provide or seek alternatives. Is the old-generation left prepared for such an introspection?

Reality of US Farm Subsidies

With the formation of the World Trade Organization in 1995, the United States farm subsidies had moved towards income support, reducing spending on price support measures. The explicit reason was that the WTO had held that the latter forms were more market distorting and had thus put limits on their spending. The new Farm Act 2014 has changed the orientation of farm spending in the opposite direction. Pricebased measures are back in focus, and the US seems less concerned about breaching its WTO limits.

Antinomies of Nationalism and Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore's best known work, Nationalism (1917), is often mistaken for the sum and substance of his thoughts on nationalism. However, a look at the evolution of his idea over different stages suggests that his thoughts on nationalism cannot be accommodated within the stereotypes of "internationalism" or "anti-nationalism" in which commentators cast him. To focus only on that is a reductionist over-simplification of Tagore's evolving approach to the antinomies of nationalism as he perceived them.

Paltry Vanities of Intolerance

The terms "tolerance" and "intolerance" that dominate our public discourse today are bandied about as if they were self-explanatory. Matters have come to such a pass that intellectuals are accused of subjecting the Prime Minister to a barrage of intolerance since 2002. At this precise moment of our political history it might be worthwhile to revisit the debate on toleration in political theory, and raise once again a core question: why is toleration a political virtue; indeed, why is it an essential asset of a good society?

Social Science and Democracy

Social sciences need democracy, not wealth, to prosper. It is only in those societies that centralise citizenship have disciplines such as economics, sociology, political science, as well as the humanities, made significant advances. This is because democracies alone robustly satisfy the foundational principles of social sciences, namely, allowing for human errors and the recognition of others in making choices for oneself.

The Last Polymath

Benedict Anderson was among the most influential intellectuals of our times. His seminal book Imagined Communities has changed the way the world understands nationalism and the nation state. Its influence permeates across disciplines and beyond the academia. Yet, Imagined Communities was only one part, even if the most visible, of Anderson's intellectual travels and engagements. A personal account of Anderson--the scholar, the traveller and the raconteur.

A Brief History of Panchsheel

Contrary to popular belief, Panchsheel did not draw its inspiration from Indian philosophy, nor did it reflect lack of political realism on the part of Jawaharlal Nehru. Panchsheel was promoted by China and India as an instrument for advancing their respective national interests in the mid-1950s. China, the originator of the five principles, sought to reassure neighbours who had developed misgivings about it during the Korean War, and to wean them away from the United States. India viewed Panchsheel as providing some degree of reassurance in the context of the border dispute with China, as well as a means of countering US moves to create new military alliances in Asia. In a final twist of irony, the five principles found a place in the Shanghai Communique (1972), normalising Sino-US relations.

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