ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Left Secularists and Communalism

Dharma Kumar The left secularists' version of Indian history is not only seriously flawed, it is also bad politics as it alienates many Hindus who may otherwise support a secular policy. Obliterating the vast differences between Islam and Hinduism by a stress on syncretism and 'composite culture', as they do, drains Indian history of much of its meaning. Their view that communalism took its modern form during the colonial period is tenable but requires more complex analysis than is provided in their writings.

States and Civil Societies in Modern Asia

A look at the change in state forms and governmental functions brought about by the impact of the West on Asia. THE colonial state in India is at the centre of this paper, hut I have looked at it in contrast to other countries in Asia, particulary China. My choice of topic was influenced by my growing dissatisfaction with the treatment in the literature of the colonial slate in India. The discussion of the colonial state in India has been at once too lofty and tot) narrow. The state is thought of in capital letters, as the dominant actor in the colonial period. It is assumed that it is omnipotent, so that its actions can be explained solely by its will and its motives. Analysis of its capabilities is hence deemed unnecessary. But in fact the colonial state was constrained by history, and by its own ideology, and these constraints have been inherited by its successors. Colonialism was India's vehicle to the modern world, and the vehicle partly determined the nature of the journey and of the final destination.

Autonomy for University Departments

The greatest threat to university autonomy is the University Grants Commission. Its plan is to tighten its own control over university departments by dealing directly with them rather than through the central university body The correct balance of power between the universities and the UGC, as a representative of the government and a major source of funds, has been difficult to achieve even in advanced liberal societies. In India the battle between the universities and the UGC is a very uneven one THE subject of university autonomy evokes strong feelings in anyone involved with universities, from the chairman of the University Grants Commission to members of the university karamcharis unions. Before making some points on autonomy, I wish to describe the functioning of a committee set up by the University Grants Commission to consider the question of autonomy for university departments. If we paid more attention to what actually goes on, perhaps we could prescribe more sensible reforms.

Amniocentesis Again

Amniocentesis Again Dharma Kumar I HOPE I will be given space to revert to the ethics of amniocentesis for two reasons. First, my original comments (EFW, January 15) have been misunderstood by many, especially by feminists. My careless writing has been partly to blame, and I would like to modify some of my statements in the light of spoken and written criticism. On the other hand, recent reports on female infanticide in China seem to support some of the points I made.

Male Utopias or Nightmares

Male Utopias or Nightmares? Dharma Kumar REPORTS of the spread of clinics specialising in amniocentesis i e, tests to predict the sex of an unborn child, have aroused widespread disquiet in India. People fear that, given the strong Indian preference for sons Aver daughters, if parents can prediet correctly the sex of a foetus, female foetuses will be aborted. Two very different writers in EPW, Pranab Bar- dhan and Vimal Balasubrahmanyan,1 have recently expressed their fears that scientific advances will lead to even more unbalanced sex ratios in India. This is a worry which nearly all readers of EPW will share. So it is worth sorting out some of the moral and policy implications of these scientific advances, especially since some of the moral issues are not as straightforward as one may imagine.
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