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On the Question of Capital Punishment

This paper examines the two basic types of ethical justification usually advanced in favour of capital punishment--those of deterrence and retribution. It contends that deterrence-oriented arguments, which fall under the rubric of utilitarianism, are questionable both on the grounds of their own consequentialist criterion--their supposed "utility" in producing a deterrent effect--as well as in terms of standard non-consequentialist (deontological) ethical theories. Through an analysis of retributivistic justifications of capital punishment, grounded in Kantian deontological ethics, the paper then points to a tension internal to the retributivistic conception of punishment. This te nsion brings to light a deeper moral sense inherent in retributivism, which provides normative grounds for opposing the death penalty.

Why Women Teachers Matter in Secondary Education

There have been plenty of policy recommendations and interventions to increase the pool of women teachers in India, especially at the school level. Despite this, research in three districts of Rajasthan shows that any such attempt would need an integrated and organic approach that builds bridges across the secondary, collegiate, and teacher-training levels. The paper points out that what is needed is a definite break from past practice to creatively re-conceptualise the education continuum, while putting forward some recommendations to lower barriers in the way of secondary education for girls in the state.

Growth and Inequality in the Distribution of India's Consumption Expenditure: 1983 to 2009-10

This paper undertakes an assessment of the evolution of inequality in the distribution of consumption expenditure in India over the last quarter-century, from 1983 to 2009-10, employing data available in the quinquennial "thick" surveys of the National Sample Survey Office. We find that plausible adjustments to the data, along with an emphasis on "centrist" rather than "rightist" or "leftist" inequality measures, lead to a picture of widening over-time inequality in the distribution of consumption expenditure, which is at odds with the impression of more or less unchanging inequality conveyed in some of the literature available on the subject in India.

Tristão Bragança Cunha and Nationalism in Colonial Goa

Unlike other Indian nationalists, the Goan nationalist Tristão Bragança Cunha did not attempt to create a monolithic nationalist formation, he celebrated hybridisation instead. Bragança was involved in detaching the idea of the Indian nation from Indological traits, but was also caught up in stressing Goa’s cultural affinity with India and went on to impose India on Goa. The strategy may seem contradictory when viewed through the prism of a standard view of nationalism, it does, however, constitute a crucial position through which the Catholic nationalists in Goa were coming to terms with self-representation. Brought up as a Catholic and entangled in an identity crisis, Bragança Cunha was a precursor of the postcolonial theorists who later developed the sophisticated arguments of the “mimic man.” By examining the life and work of Bragança Cunha, this article analyses a type of nationalism that emerged against the background of Portuguese colonialism, a nationalism that challenges the singularity of nationalist imaginations.

What Does an MA Know?

The annual Pratham surveys point to deficits of learning endemic to Indian schools. But what if these deficits are being carried forward and sustained in higher education? This paper shows that the results of a survey conducted among postgraduate students of economics in an Indian university were very Pratham-like. The objective was to assess their understanding of basic arithmetic operations and some primary economic principles/indicators. Is it the case, particularly in the social sciences, that we are receiving and, in turn, churning out generations of students who lack an understanding of basic principles? If so, what are the institutional mechanisms in place to sustain this long continuum of ignorance?

Agrarian Performance and Food Price Inflation in India

Examining long-term trends in food inflation in India in relation to the performance of the Indian agricultural sector under various agrarian policy regimes, this paper shows that despite the slowdown in the agricultural sector and higher increases in the cost of food production during the post-economic reforms period (1992-2013), food prices were relatively low compared to the initial (1967-80) and the maturing (1980-92) stages of the Green Revolution. This, it is argued, is possibly due to more stable agricultural growth post 1991-92, higher buffer food stocks, greater coverage of the public distribution system, and better responses to food price fluctuations due to import/trade liberalisation and a more comfortable foreign exchange reserves position.

Urban Water Systems in India

Urban water and waste water management have not been relatively well understood in India. The Indian urban space has been considered in an undifferentiated manner, which ignores the specificities deriving from different stages of urban development, the sources of water, as also the diverse nature of aquifers catering for urban settlements in different parts of the country. This paper advances a series of hypotheses that can serve as an initial analytical framework and outlines a way forward for urban water systems, which could provide rich terrain for further research.

Confronting the State

The relationship between land and identity in the hills of Manipur encompasses both "geographical territory" and "cultural territory." The colonial and postcolonial states are external actors that have restructured the society. They have reconstituted it ideologically, culturally as well as geographically. The three are interdependent: a geographical upheaval is always followed by ideological and cultural changes. Changes in land relations lead to a redefinition of identity. This is not necessarily due to physical changes in the landscape but a result of the ideological upheaval accompanying such change. This article will examine such changes while exploring the issue of land rights of the Kukis and their contentious negotiations with the colonial and postcolonial states.

Appraising the Debate on Biodiversity Conservation in the Western Ghats

This critical review and comparison of the Gadgil and Kasturirangan panel reports on the Western Ghats highlights various concerns related to their methodology, recommendations, and the manner in which they resolve the contradictions between the imperatives of environmental protection and economic development. It also focuses on basic demographic data on the affected areas in the Western Ghats, statistics on agricultural land use, and occupation data of the affected population in the ecologically sensitive zones, none of which has been considered in the two reports. The paper argues that the constitution of expert panels for the Western Ghats is an attempt to appeal to the principles of scientific certainty for addressing the dual concerns of environment and development. The two reports have an unwitting common ground: while they are alive to environmental concerns, they ignore insights from development theory and practice. The recommendations of both the reports presume that environmental and developmental imperatives can be combined without a political debate.

Murky Waters of Medical Practice in India

Pervasive greed in contemporary medical practice does not spare even the poorest of the patients. Medical expenses are now considered one of the major triggers of impoverishment in the country. A rapid influx of advanced technologies in areas ranging from drug discovery to diagnostics has generated a greater reliance on assistive technology by the practitioners of modern, Western medicine transforming patients into cases and physicians into technocrats. This paper is a contribution to the ongoing debate on the quality and standards of medical practice in India. It challenges the argument that markets can bring out the optimum in healthcare and shows how market forces have, in fact, militated against patient interests.

India and the Neglected Development Dimensions of Bretton Woods

This paper helps correct two common misconceptions about the origins of the Bretton Woods institutions. The first is that the negotiations were primarily an Anglo-American affair in which developing countries had little input. The second is that international development issues were largely ignored during the negotiations. This examination of India's role in the origins of Bretton Woods shows that both assumptions are flawed. Understanding the history of the birth of the Bretton Woods institutions in a more accurate way provides a useful perspective for contemporary debates about their future.

Urdu and Urdu Medium Schools in Maharashtra

The State continues to support Urdu medium schools under the constitutional obligation to provide primary education in the child's mother tongue. However, those educated in Urdu find their employment prospects rather bleak. They are also unable to do well at the higher levels of education where the medium of instruction is often English. Since nearly 95% of the students in Urdu schools in Maharashtra belong to a deprived religious minority, it also adversely affects the community's overall representation in the public and private sectors.


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