ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Nehru's Legacy

Nehru may not have succeeded in achieving all that he set out to do, but his contributions have been foundational in building India as a secular, democratic republic which would have a socialistic "common sense." Today the Nehruvian ideals and institutions are under threat. A survey of Nehru's life and work argues for the centrality of his contribution to making India the only postcolonial state which experienced democratic development.

Ambedkar and Gandhi

B R Ambedkar and M K Gandhi thought through different paradigms and spoke in different frameworks. As the study of ideas and political thinking in India departs from a simplistic straitjacketing based on literal accounts, we do not have to fall into the trap of sitting in judgment on key figures. This article points out that it might be much more rewarding if ideas and thinkers are studied through interpretative lenses. Such exercises will allow us to make a choice between a conversation and a closure of ideas.

Independence and Social Justice

Taking exception to Arundhati Roy's "The Doctor and the Saint," this article seeks to add to our understanding of the B R Ambedkar-M K Gandhi debate. It does not attempt to analyse or assess the debate as such, disavowing any desire to confront either Gandhi or Ambedkar. But it makes no secret of the fact that it disagrees with Roy, going so far as to insinuate that the chief purpose of "The Doctor and the Saint" was to demolish Gandhi.

Reading Fürer-Haimendorf in North-East India

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf's works on North-East India grew out of an interest in the so-called remote pre-contact primitive societies. To him and his contemporaries in the West it was self-evident that the "primitive" or the "savage" are located outside modernity. No one today would use those categories. But this does not mean that we have broken away from intellectual habits which privilege the social imaginary of the modern. In certain parts of the world the politics of indigeneity is associated with powerful critiques of capitalist modernity. But that is not the case in North-East India. Whether or not such a critical sensibility becomes part of the political imagination will depend partly on the epistemological standpoint of those who study the region today.

Trading Places

Media professionals have an important responsibility to society since they are in a position to mould public opinion. But the recent exposures of journalists taking favours from corporate groups have only highlighted once again an old phenomenon in India--codes of conduct are observed in their breach and Chinese walls are usually non-existent in media organisations. Since the 1980s, groups of journalists have tried to straddle the worlds of the media, business and politics, and in the process have damaged the functioning of democracy in the country.

Branding Bill

Situating William Shakespeare within the study of brands, this article examines the process and results of Shakespeare-as-brand, which mediates the supply and demand of Shakespearean products whether about his life, his loves, his texts, his editors, and his readers or consumers. Shakespeare as a commons continues to gather cultural capital because of the iterability of the brand in mass/popular forms and media that now possess the maximum cultural legibility (like the graphic novel or Hollywood romance). This is possible even more in the digital age because the Shakespearean page, stage, and image are all available simultaneously on a screen, making Shakespeare an interactive, global archive.

Quantitative Easing and the Helicopter Drop

Over the last few decades economists and policymakers came to regard macroeconomic policies as the holy grail that could smoothen business cycles. This confidence has been badly shaken in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Aggressive and unconventional monetary policies have been unable to put Humpty Dumpty back on the wall again. This article examines the working and possible implications of quantitative easing and the helicopter drop, the two unconventional monetary policies beyond the prevailing zero bound policy rates in advanced economies.

Fiscal Federalism

What lessons can economic and political theories and contemporary experiences offer to Nepal in designing a federal system? While political aspects are very important, the focus in this article is on fiscal federalism or efficient organisation of the multilevel system.

A Decade of Disaster Risk Management in India

Natural Disasters are set to increase in the coming years. Climate change, coupled with a growth in population and insufficient enforcement of building codes in high-risk zones, has not only heightened India's vulnerability to the impact of disasters but also created new challenges to risk management. Approaching a decade after the implementation of the Disaster Management Act of 2005, how far have we been able to manage risk; how far are we resilient as a country? As the Disaster Management Act goes under review, this article suggests recommendations based on the experiences in Uttarakhand and Odisha.

A Tale of Two Commissions and the Missing Links

There have been several missing links in the recent debate on the future of the Planning and Finance Commissions. First, it is not clear whether the debate was more about the future of planning or about the future of the Planning Commission. How do the proposals for institutional reform fix the problems relating to the process of planning and implementation? Second, there are emerging new realities of economic management that the new institution has to grasp and address, requiring new skills and, perhaps, a new set of instruments. Third, both the commissions operate in a multilevel context, namely, union, states and local bodies. Institutional reform has to be contextualised to multilevel processes.

Rethinking Assessments in Schools

This article examines the nature of two varied forms of assessments like the continuous comprehensive evaluation and end-of-the-year exams, studies the variations in the principles underlying them and presents a case for an assessment that is more suited to the varied contexts, needs and educational levels of a large majority of Indian children.

Kerala and the Rest of India

Kerala has shown that it is possible to improve the quality of life of a people even at low levels of per capita income through efficient provisioning of public services in health and education. At the national level there has been a dramatic alteration of production possibilities achieved by intelligent public policy intervention supported by determined resource mobilisation. We now see that what is needed across India's states is a greater synergy between these two approaches.

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