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

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Religions, Democracy and Governance

This paper examines the dynamics of religion and democratic politics by looking at political mobilisations of marginalised groups in Punjab and Maharashtra. It argues that even when religious identity remains the bedrock of social life and individual experience, democratic politics brings out new configurations and alignments, in which neat boundaries of religious difference are occasionally blurred or overwritten by other identities. The Indian experience also reveals that religious groups are not homogeneous. While political mobilisation tends to unite them as communities with common interests, development policies have invariably disaggregated them, reinforcing the internal divisions and diversities within religious communities.

A Gendered Diary: Subject, Dharma Kumar

On merit, competence or commitment to work, Dharma Kumar needs no defence. But we must take cognisance of and fight the patriarchic attack on a woman which ignores her academic persona and re-presents her as a social butterfly.

Civil Society and Its Avtars

Analysing the debate around state-civil society relationship in modern western and Indian political discourse, the paper points out the hiatus between the 18th and 19th century political thinking and later 20th century political thought. The second half of the 20th century is characterised by a loss of faith in the institutions of the state and looks towards civil society to preserve essential human and democratic rights. As against this, the paper advocates a return to an earlier rights-based conception of civility by enforcing universal laws through the instrument of the state. Since the state alone can create conditions necessary to protect the institutions of civil society from internal disruptions, the paper argues against detachment of civil society from the state. Instead, the institutions of civil society are very much part of democratic constitutional state, which alone will ensure social equality and non-discrimination along with individual liberty.

After an Elusive Quarry

State and Nation in the Context of Social Change, Vol 1 edited by T V Sathyamurthy; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1994. WHEN an edited volume is a collection of papers it is best to concentrate on individual essays because the introduction only expresses exaggerated claims about the unity, originality and distinctiveness of the volume. On most occasions, contributors speak different languages and exercise considerable freedom while interpreting the intended theme of the volume. The present volume is no exception. It is the first of a four- volume series on the Indian political process. Ostensibly it seeks to explore the "political dynamic of State structures of contemporary India" (p 2). But given the difficulties of conceptualising the State, individual essays address a wide range of subjects: some analyse the changes in particular institutions and policies of the State, others address the challenges facing the Indian polity, and a few study the nationalist discourse.

Reconsidering Postmodernism-What Is New in the Old Lamp

What Is New in the Old Lamp Gurpreet Mahajan This paper argues that the value of postmodernism derives from its power of negation. Its critique of objectivism and the 'metaphysics of presence' offers a new philosophical framework within which elements of the early critiques of enlightenment/modernity can be incorporated and given a more comprehensive form and analytic depth. However, when the concepts employed in the critique are transformed into affirmative norms, they yield an attitude of scepticism and nihilism within which every kind of 'coherent' and 'meaningful' enquiry becomes suspect. Consequently, to retain at least some of the philosophical insights of postmodernism, we need to make a distinction between its potentialities of negation and its norms of affirmation. We need also to rethink the concepts through which anti-foundationalism is given a positive content.

Ambedkar in Retrospect

volumed work was conspicuously on display, and selling. The authors, as teachers and scientists, are not hide-bound traditionalists, but that they firmly insist on is that classical medicine is a heritage that must be subject to critical study, and drawn on where necessary. Hence it is not a thing of fixity and permanence; rather it continues to grow asymptotically with modem medicine.

State and New Liberal Agenda in India

the left. The rally declared Laloo Yadav as the illegitimate' product of the 70s movement and projected the CPI(ML) struggle and the social forces unleashed by it as its true legatee. According to this logic the JP impulse failed because it could not link itself to the most oppressed sections of the populace which constitute the radical base for a genuine programme of social change.

Elections and Democratic Process in India

Elections and Democratic Process in India Sarah Joseph Gurpreet Mahajan The notion of vote banks is crucial to the strategy of most parties as also of election analyses but it is difficult to gauge how successful it has actually been. The recent election, for instance, challenged such assumptions.

Rethinking Political Options

Rethinking Political Options Gurpreet Mahajan Sarah Joseph The issue of forging areas of agreement is a pressing one in our fragmented society. But any new consensus would have to consider the demands of groups and interests which are being marginalised by the process of development. A centrist ideological consensus along the Nehruvian lines is not an option available to us any longer. Nor can it offer a possible solution to the problems facing the country GIVEN the prominent role which the Congress Party has played in Indian politics, as well as the special charisma attached to the Nehru/Gandhi family, the death of a Congress leader belonging to that family has always raised complex fears and hopes in the minds of people in India. Fears regarding the possible break-up of the Congress Party, about the possible disintegration of the country, the possibility of economic collapse and political disorder were voiced when Nehru died as much as when Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi died. Nehru's death was seen as a cataclysmic event for the country by both Indian and foreign commentators. Indira Gandhi's death also aroused fears about the future of the country and simitar fears are being expressed today. The death of major leaders has also, however, raised hopes that the shock would force the Congress to put its house in order, restore a more democratic style of functioning, rebuild a national consensus around progressive policies and programmes and guide the country out of its problems.

Habermas and Historical Materialism

This is a central problem for Marxist theory in general. Manufacturing employment in the 'first world' centres of world capitalism appears to be shrinking as a portion of the total labour force; large-scale manufacturing in the third world is at best stagnant

Understanding Social Reality

Understanding Social Reality Gurpreet Mahajan Philosophical Theory and Social Reality edited by Ravinder Kumar; Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 1984; pages 201, Rs 70.
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