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Ambedkar as a Political Philosopher

Existing studies on B R Ambedkar largely focus on his substantive religious, sociological, political and constitutional concerns, and not on the concepts he deployed for the purpose or modes of his argumentation. His body of work demonstrates that he formulated a number of concepts to take stock of the social reality that he confronted, and/or reformulated existing concepts by critically engaging with the body of scholarship available to him. With regard to the conception of the political, he advanced a comprehensive and consistent design of what it means to live as a public and how best to do so in a setting very different from the West.

Ethics in Ambedkar’s Critique of Gandhi

Among the political thinkers of modern India, Gandhi and Ambedkar have elicited an intellectual enthusiasm among scholars who remain arrested in debates on the pre-eminence of one thinker over the other. The Ambedkarite critique of Gandhi is centred on the latter’s fast unto death in opposition to the MacDonald Award of separate electorates for Dalits. Formalistic readings of Gandhi are not in the interest of the robust, associative and inclusive intellectual tradition at the core of Ambedkar’s emancipatory project. Ambedkar was a pathfinder who chose critique as a method of ethical persuasion to gently pull in and retain members of caste society in the interlocutory framework of conversation.

Performance of Mobile Phone Sector in India

The mobile phone sector in India was stagnant for a few years because of an uncertain policy and regulatory environment. There was a reduction in the net addition to subscribers, an increase in the urban–rural divide, hyper-competition, and inefficient use of spectrum, which meant poor services, low investment, high debt, and a fall in revenue and profit. However, the sector’s performance has been improving after the announcement of the new telecom policy in 2012 and other regulatory changes.

War, Words and Communities

World War I (1914–18) was a catalyst in changing and redefining political, cultural and national issues across the globe. This article argues that communities in India, based on caste/class structures, refashioned their social–political identities vis-à-vis the war. Never a party to the cause of the war, these communities’ redefinition of their self-identity was part of their desire to carve out a legitimate place in the modern public sphere filled with discourses of martial race, loyalty, discipline and nationalism. The focus is on the contours of the Lingayat community’s imagination and formation of its identity during the war and efforts to occupy a place in the military and political establishment.

Measurement Issues in Comparing Fiscal Performance of States

Interstate comparison of fiscal performance requires the use of appropriate concepts and proper measurement of state income, fiscal deficit and debt. GSDP at market prices and a comprehensive concept of debt consistent with the fiscal deficit of a state government are the right concepts to use for the purpose. Neither the rating agencies nor the finance commissions have used the right concepts so far. Illustrative estimates for Gujarat show that this can lead to misleading target setting and wrong perceptions about the fiscal performance of the states.

Diasporic Resources, Community Interventions and Development

Diasporic leadership was as important as diasporic resources in effecting the transformation of Chakar village in Punjab, now recognised as a model for rural development. Credibility, trust and constant mentoring by emigrants from the village inspired community participation, conflict-resolution, the creation of new institutions and the sustainability of development works.   

Land Acquisition and Beyond

Farmers have a complex relationship with their land: losing it means losing an entire way of life. A survey of the original inhabitants of Maan, a village near Pune where land was acquired for an information technology park and industrial estates, found that the process of acquisition was both attractive and scary for the farmers involved. Almost 70% of the respondents were willing to sell their land under different conditions. They were bitter about the escalation of land values after acquisition. What farmers want is a share in the future appreciation of land.

Waste-to-Energy and Recycling

Incineration-based waste-to-energy technologies have recently emerged as the preferred policy option for managing the growing problem of waste in India. These technologies require a continuous supply of waste inputs of sufficient quantity and quality—high calorific value and low moisture content—to be viable. Government and industry proponents suggest that WtE and recycling are compatible systems of managing waste while their critics disagree. This article argues two main points. First, the government’s preference for WtE contradicts the empirical evidence, which suggests that the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of Indian waste render it technically unsuitable for incineration. Second, to be viable, WtE technologies will require end-to-end control over the entire waste management chain, thus displacing those in the informal recycling sector from their means of subsistence. Far from being compatible, the two systems are in fact in competition with each other over the same set of material resources.

Was Gandhi a ‘Champion of the Caste System’?

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s views on the caste system is sought to be understood through three approaches: by exploring his personal practices with regard to caste; by studying how community life was organised in Gandhi’s ashrams, since the way of life in these ashrams reflects his philosophy of life; and by reflecting on some explanations that have been put forward to explain the inconsistencies between Gandhi’s practices and his writings, where he explicitly defends caste.

The Media, the University, and the Public Sphere

Looking at the uneven phenomenon that higher education in India is, this paper focuses on the ways in which the mainstream English-language media represents issues related to the university. In particular, it looks at press coverage of the “controversy” that surrounded the introduction of a four-year undergraduate programme in Delhi University, and the ways in which it constructed a notion of the university in the public sphere. It also considers some of the television coverage on the rollback of the programme, while pointing to the substantial issues that seem to have been overlooked by the med

Increased Derivatives Trading in India

Based on a study of the futures and options on the National Stock Exchange’s benchmark index NIFTY and 10 other randomly selected NSE stocks, it is found that the spot market has been dominating the futures and options markets. The dominance of the futures market over options has diminished after the increase in the Security Transaction Tax. It is proposed that the STT on protective put and hedged call positions should be reduced to give a boost to the options market. Whether introduction of financial derivatives led to better price discovery in India is explored. Price discovery is analysed simultaneously in the three markets for the individual stocks—options, futures, and spot.

Theatrical Counter Publics

This article is an effort to formulate a more nuanced and textured view of “publics and counter publics” in the wake of the insightful revisionist public sphere discourse through theatre. A historic play in Malayalam You Made Me a Communist by Thoppil Bhasi and its five responsive “counter plays” appearing over 50 years in the second part of the 20th century are studied. Also, it looks at how theatre interacts with the sociocultural problems of an age in its process of bringing an active public discourse in a definite place and space limit.


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