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

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BJP’s Sixth Victory in Gujarat

​The 2017 Gujarat assembly election revolved around Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was the main campaigner, and almost asked for a plebiscite—as the son of the soil. The Bharatiya Janata Party has managed to retain power, but the proportion of votes has reduced. Various agitations against the government in the last three years have not converted into votes in favour of opposition parties. The BJP’s party structure with committed cadres and aggressive campaign give it an advantage over the opposition parties.

Neo-liberal Political Economy and Social Tensions

August 2017 marks a year of the Una agitations. The informal neo-liberal political economy of Gujarat has seemingly given a new lease of life to primordial identity politics by promoting social capital for social security. A revival of traditional cultural ethos legitimises and reinforces caste bonds, perpetuating social tension among the competing castes. The growth of education and urban middle class among Dalits is not tolerated by the non-Dalits who still hold them in contempt whilst struggling to seek opportunities for maintaining their status. The

Appeal from Gujarat

To The President of India We, the citizens of Gujarat, would like to share our deep concern about the series of happenings from 9 February to 18 February. While dissociating ourselves from anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, we are horrified to watch...

Dialogue Needed on Sardar Sarovar

The following is an Open Letter to Uma Bharti, Minister for Water Resources, Government of India: We the undersigned believe that the recent decision of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam by 16.76 metres (m) taking the height to the designed final...

No Gain or Relief for Informal Workers

At Work in the Informal Economy of India: Perspective from the Bottom Up by Jan Breman (Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2013; pp 457, Rs 995. The Long Road to Social Security: Assessing the Implementation of National Social Security Initiatives for the Working Poor in India edited by K P Kannan and Jan Breman (Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2013; pp 542, Rs 995.

Social Movements in India

Social Movements I: Issues of Identity edited by T K Oommen (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2010; pp 251, Rs 695 (hardcover). Social Movements II: Concerns for Equality and Security edited by T K Oommen (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2010; pp 352, Rs 795 (hardcover).

Comparative Contexts of Discrimination: Caste and Untouchability in South Asia

Based on empirical studies carried out in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during 2007-08, this paper offers a brief introduction to the prevailing dalit situation in the four countries and identifies specific problems of social inequality, discrimination and deprivation of the groups in these countries. The four studies clearly bring out the fact that even when the meaning of untouchability and its sources (religion or tradition) varies across south Asia, as also its forms (from physical touch and residential segregation to taboos and restrictions on inter-dining), physical movement and pursuing occupations of one's choice, its effects on those placed at the bottom are quite similar, i e, economic deprivation, social exclusion and a life of humiliation.

Beyond Caste Voting: Modasa, Gujarat Revisited

The intensity and nature of caste sentiments have changed in the last four decades, and they have come to have a limited influence in voting behaviour. In the course of the political process, agglomerations of different jatis, sometimes even of unequal social status, have evolved a common political identity. But perceptions of identity, common interests and political preferences among the members are not monolithic or static. In Modasa, Gujarat, primordial sentiments of oneness and honour have transformed into "secular" economic interests. In the entrenched Hindutva setting, nourished by Narendra Modi, vikas (development) and governance were the central issues that influenced voters in the 2007 assembly elections.

The Condition of Muslims

The Sachar Committee, from its perspective of equity, has brought out the poor economic condition of the Muslims. Addressing this is important, but without ensuring social security and citizenship, our concern for equity is more rhetorical than sincere.

Changing Realities Ignored

Kings and Untouchables: A Study of Caste System in Western India by Rosa Maria Perez; Chronicle Books, New Delhi, 2004; GHANSHYAM SHAH On the whole anthropological village studies in India have declined since the 1970s. Among the village studies ethnographic analysis of the traditionally untouchable castes are few and far between; and none is from Gujarat. In such a scenario the book under review, an ethnographic village study, is a welcome contribution. The study focuses on caste social order and the position of untouchables therein. It explores binaries

Contestation and Negotiations

The evidence from elections studies suggests that voters are guided by their perception of the performance of the party in power and their evaluation on this count of the contender party, although organisations of political parties and their modus operandi in mobilising voters also play an important role. At this stage the BJP in Gujarat is not in a comfortable position to convince voters about its ability to provide good governance. But that is not enough. The alternative party will have to articulate and highlight vital socio-economic issues. If it fails in doing so,emotional issue will dominate and work in favour of the BJP.

Caste, Hindutva and Hideousness

The Hindutva movement has made serious attempts to forge a unity among Hindus, without disturbing the relative power relations among the castes. The Sangh parivar, for all its rhetoric on upliftment of the dalits, hardly ever raises a voice against castebased discrimination or atrocities against dalits. This ambivalent attitude has led to considerable disenchantment and confusion among the dalits which is exacerbated during times of tension.

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