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Revolt and Reform in South Asia

The Ghadar movement holds the clues to unravelling two paradoxes of modern India. First, India remains a constitutional democracy even when authoritarianism is embedded in the architecture of the state. The second paradox is that internationally India is a model for "democratic-development" even though the country has regressed into an abyss of poverty, dispossession, internal strife, ecological precariousness, rising fundamentalisms and militarism since Independence. The Ghadar centenary year is an opportune moment to reflect on the constitutive nature of the rebellion-repression-reform cycles that is formative of the Indian state and Constitution.

A Critical Look at the Expansion of Banking Services through the Business Correspondent Model

Examining the role of business correspondents in the expansion of banking services in Chittoor, Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts of Andhra Pradesh, this paper attempts to shed light on what has been accomplished through the business correspondent model. Based on observations in the field, the findings are not readily extendable to all of India, though they make it possible to point to some policy suggestions. A major proposition is that individual business correspondents can be more effective than the other types of business correspondents in expanding financial inclusion through the business correspondent model, at least in Andhra Pradesh.

New Lisbon Airport Megaproject

In several aspects, the New Lisbon Airport resembles a modern odyssey in territorial planning. One can trace its origins back to the post-Salazarian 1970s. In the new millennium, it has encountered more obstacles such as regional political movements and the post-2007 financial crisis that seriously challenged government plans. This paper seeks to analyse the project in terms of space and time while comparing it with alternatives that emerged in the process of planning and politics.

Cultural Elites and the Disciplining of Bhavai

Bhavai, an ancient form of Gujarati folk-theatre, functioned as a counter-voice in a society marked by caste and class distinctions, by subverting the social norms of the cultural elite. Gradually, the Gujarati elites began intervening to discipline and domesticate it for urban as well as non-urban audiences. Post- Independence, experimental theatre groups too attempted this reconstitution through exoticisation and production of "difference" between the folk and the elite. This paper explores and interrogates the assumption that folk-theatre like the Bhavai can be disciplined and transposed unproblematically to urban and non-urban audiences. Bhavai as folk-theatre is located in a set of temporal and spatial prerequisites. Divested of these conditions Bhavai ceases to be what it is.

Mid-Day Meal

The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is the world's biggest school lunch programme and is being implemented all over India for primary and upper primary school students. However, nutrition and hygiene are now among the main challenges it faces. Out of 876 test reports of mid-day meal samples in Delhi from 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2013, more than 90% failed to meet the standard of 12 gms of protein and 450 calories. A number of loopholes in the scheme need to be plugged if nutritious food, not just something cooked, is to reach the plates of poor students.

Behind the Post-1991 'Challenge' to the Functional Efficiency of Established Statistical Institutions

This paper provides a documented account of what drove the post-1991 statistical policy shifts which contributed so much to what the Report of the Committee on Unorganised Sector Statistics (2012) describes as the "challenges" of ensuring the quality and credibility of India's statistical database. The initial focus is on the ideology and actions which lay behind the functionally destructive institutional restructuring of two established Indian statistical organisations - the Field Operations Division of the National Sample Survey Organisation and the Economic Census. An account of the consequences follows.

How Inclusive Is India's Reform(ed) Growth?

Given the contemporary public concern about the worsening relative deprivation of the masses and the need for appropriate policies to address the social cost of the reform programme, the Government of India has declared its commitment to the aam aadmi and the poorest of the poor. This paper examines how far the government has been successful in realising its objective of inclusive growth. As evidence of outcomes, it examines the National Sample Survey data on household consumption distribution in terms of relative distributional measures across social groups at different levels of regional aggregation by rural and urban sector. The estimates from four different NSS rounds for the agricultural years 1993-94, 2004-05, 2009-10 and 2011-12 throw up a profile of exclusion of the poor involving exclusionary growth of the better-off in the economy as a whole. At the national level, disparities across social groups have increased involving a widening of the average consumption shortfall of the scheduled tribes, a decline for the scheduled castes, marginal decline for the Other Backward Classes and an increase in the excess of average consumption of Other Social Groups with respect to the overall median. Similar analyses at the level of major states, by sector, corroborate in general the findings at the national level of an era of exclusionary growth confined to the better-off sections.

Lal Singh Dil and the Poetics of Disjunction

Lal Singh Dil was a revolutionary poet born into a dalit family. He is among the most significant modern Punjabi poets for his political vision and aesthetic practice. Arguably the only contemporary Punjabi poet who deals comprehensively and fearlessly with capitalism's historical geography in this part of the world, he had a lucid grasp of the ways of the neo-liberal economic order and its investments in an unequal and oppressive social order. The article argues that Dil invented a peculiar poetics of disjunction to deal with a world that called him to battle again and again.

Re-Estimating Malnourishment and Inequality among Children in North-east India

This article re-estimates the prevalence of child malnutrition among the under-five age group in eight north-east states using the composite index of anthropometric failure method as proposed by P Svedberg, using the National Family Health Survey-3 data. These data show that in the north-east only about 35% of children under-five are underweight. However, results using the CIAF method indicate a substantially higher malnutrition level of 56%, and evidence of wide interstate differentials by socio-economic and demographic indicators.

A Measure of Truth

This investigation of the possibilities of pedagogy appropriate to and pertinent to "method" or "methodology" focuses both on those discourses that already pertain to method/methodology - whether philosophical, historical or even quite plainly "scientific" - and what it invites or evokes in terms of a discourse that approaches its own limits. Method/methodology, as a certain horizon of research possibility, appears to both disable and enable writing, a writing that would similarly test and yet be impelled by the adventure of competent thought and reflection.

Academic Performance of OBC Students in Universities

The academic performance of Other Backward Class students in professional courses in leading universities in three large states - Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh - gives a glimpse of the actual nature of their representation and marginalisation. This paper analyses university-level data on caste-based reservations in these states to show that the number of years since reservations were implemented has an effect on the representation and performance of OBC students in higher education. In addition, it uses large-scale surveys to argue that Hindu OBCs were adequately represented in higher education even before the central government's 2008 decision to implement 27% reservation for OBCs in centrally-funded universities.

Rethinking Pakistan's Political Economy

Examining the numerous and often contradictory issuesand problems that emerge in trying to look at a statist or Islamist Pakistan, this paper points out that both undermine the vast array of processes that are at work and feed into the nature of Pakistan's state and society. Scholarship on Pakistan's political economy still lacks a comprehensive theory of the Pakistani state and of its society. The attempt here is to identify and explain the issues and constraints in doing so.


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