ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Special IssuesSubscribe to Special Issues

That Fateful Day

The Babri Masjid was demolished a quarter century ago but it is evident today when we look back that much more than the demolition of a 16th century building is involved. There is a well-thought-out, fully evolved and hardly concealed plan to deprive India of the heritage that has let it survive tempestuous interventions and retain its pluralist fabric. But then the people are bigger than state power as well as any partial social base.

Post Ayodhya: Normalising the Politics of Hate and Hostility

Majoritarian notions of democracy have acquired new acceptability in recent years and notions of majority rule have been pushed to achieve a restructuring of the Indian polity and a stronger authoritarian system politically. India remains a vibrant democracy in most respects but there are strong elements of authoritarianism creeping in like narrow nationalism to deactivate opponents, and increasing measures to intimidate and control the free press and impose curbs on dissent.

Third Life of the Shiv Sena

The most crucial issue is whether, in their reincarnations, parties can substantially give up on the characteristics inherited from the time of their foundation. The example of the Shiv Sena suggests that moderation and normalisation do take place but the predominant tendency is to convert notoriety into normal.

The Shadow of Violence

The 1992–93 communal riots in Bombay scarred the cosmopolitan nature of the city, leading to greater ghettoisation, discrimination, and communal division. Yet the city bears stories of hope and sorrow, of alienation and hurt, all swallowed up in the vigour of eking out one’s daily existence.

When Even Memory of a Riot Dies

Although the 1992–93 Mumbai riots, following the demolition of the Babri Masjid, were investigated by an inquiry commission headed by Justice B N Srikrishna, there have been hardly any convictions even as some victims doggedly fight on for justice. This article traces the journey for justice of victims of the Bombay riots in the face of the indifference of successive state governments and the convoluted justice system.

Constructing Regions Inside the Nation

When the nation or the “centre” and their relations with constituent states are challenged by forces that are neither disciplined nor stabilised inside national territories, then economic regions expand and challenge the capacities of states to regulate them. This paper presents insights gained from new maps of India’s material and cultural regions, manifestations of the spatial patterns of Indian capitalism. Specifically, the focus is on regions of agrarian structure (rent, petty production, and capitalist production and exchange relations) and regions of social identity (caste, ethnicity, and gender).

Three Planes of Space

There are three ways of looking at the question of regionality in India: “generalisation,” “fragmentation” and “composition.” Generalisation means gathering primary information from a determinate region, and assuming that all parts of India possess identical or similar characteristics. Fragmentation means believing that, since the regions are so fundamentally real, nothing existing beyond the regional level has any serious, compelling historical reality. Composition asserts that regions are historical and remain bound together within one single frame of some kind: political, economic or cultural.

Delhi’s ‘Regional’ Capitalism

The regional capitalism of Delhi described in this article is not a minor energy in the world today. It has abandoned some of its more provincial ways and also realised that the particular skills it possesses—the skills of infiltrating the political machine, the skills of using licit and illicit money, or legal and extralegal techniques— open up an immense zone of economic operation that is largely closed, say, to American corporations.

The Agrarian Question amidst Populist Welfare

Tamil Nadu’s emergence as a developmental model rests on its ability to combine economic growth with poverty reduction and high levels of human development. Scholars attribute such outcomes to a set of social policies implemented in response to a long history of “democratic action.” It is, however, not clear whether such intervention through social policies can also enable a more inclusive trajectory of economic development. This paper uses the analytical lens of the “agrarian question” to examine this aspect of the state’s development. In doing so, the paper argues that while social welfare nets are crucial to negotiate the vulnerabilities of a market-driven growth process and open up new political and economic spaces, they are inadequate in a context where the secondary sector has not been able to absorb labour to the extent anticipated.

First Nature and the State

The process of policymaking in India has largely ignored the nature of the interaction between nature and institutions. One aspect of this interaction, that is, the consequences of the efforts of the state to overcome the constraints posed by nature is discussed in this essay. It does so by taking William Cronon’s concept of first nature to the southern Karnataka district of Mandya to argue that, despite the success of the Krishnaraja Sagar dam, small peasant agriculture that was the consequence, at least in part, of first nature limited the growth of agrarian capital in the district, leaving it dependent on state capital.

Regional Economies and Small Farmers in Karnataka

The divergence between economic growth and equality in the Indian context can be attributed to the disconnect between the macroeconomy and regional rural economies that host small landholdings. Comparing the agrarian peripheries of two distinct capital-accumulating urban areas in Karnataka, a decipherable pattern in distributional outcomes, food and livelihood security as well as sustainability are revealed. The portrayal of capital-centric urbanisation as an opportunity for livelihoods and poverty reduction among India’s agrarian communities is questioned.

Pages

Back to Top