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

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Defend Freedom of Expression

We, the undersigned journalists, writers, historians, and activists from south Asia, are deeply concerned about the use of “contempt of court” law to curb freedom of expression. The conviction and sentencing on 2 December 2014 of Dhaka-based journalist David Bergman by the International Crimes...

Nepal in Crisis

Towards a Democratic Nepal: Inclusive Political Institutions for a Multicultural Society by Mahendra Lawoti; Sage Publications, Delhi, 2005; HARSH SETHI It is not often that books get released at opportune times. True, Nepal

Difficult Times for NGOs

Difficult Times for NGOs Development NGOs and the Challenge of Change: New Roles and Relevance edited by David Lewis and Tina Wallace; Rawat Publications, Jaipur and New Delhi (originally published by Kumarian Press), 2003;

Doing without Aid?

Ideologically, moves to reduce dependence on external grants can only be welcomed. Not only because these amounts, as a proportion of plan allocations say, are small, but because the availability of easy aid precludes the necessity of generating own resources and improving efficiency and targeting. Yet, the finance ministry's grandiose pronouncements on this count have not led to any attempt to overhaul its financial management. Nor are NGOs affected by the coming crunch moving towards better management.

Towards a Secular Democracy

 Towards a Secular Democracy The Ideal of India: Secular Democracy with Development by Ranjit Sau; K P Bagchi and Company, Kolkata, 2001; pp 176, Rs 380

Survival Weapons

Survival Weapons Landscapes and Lives: Environmental Dispatches on Rural India by Mukul Sharma; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, HARSH SETHI Thanks to the pioneering work by the Centre for Science and Environment

Social Science Research:The Real Challenge

The sacking of the ICSSR chief, M L Sondhi, needs to be located in the wider picture of how we have so far sought to organise and manage our research enterprises. More than the idiosyncratic behaviour of those involved, or the fallouts of warring factions within the Sangh parivar, the greater danger is the continuing loss of autonomy, accountability and creativity within the wider research community. We need to realise that the ICSSR system today plays a marginal role in the world of ideas and use the opportunity of a pluralised donor market to re-invent our ways of working and organising ourselves, including forcing the government to re-examine the basic memorandum of understanding it has with the ICSSR. This, more than concern about the fate of M L Sondhi, remains the real challenge.

Close Encounters

An Anthropologist among the Marxist and Other Essays ; by Ramachandra Guha, Permanent Black, Delhi, 2001; Rs 450, pp 267.

Movements and Mediators

No struggle or social movement in these days of interconnectivity and brand imaging can hope to operate in isolation. They both attract and seek to involve specialist interlocutors. That is possibly the only, at least a prime, way by which movements seek to expand their domain of influence, carve out hearing space in a world otherwise unconcerned about or insensitive to their specific set of concerns, alter the terms of discourse, and thereby advance their cause. These relationships/engagements, at the same time, can both enlarge or constrain social spaces and have significant implications for the trajectory of the movement, if not its very nature.

Social Science Research

Some recent acts of the ICSSR cannot but intensify suspicions that the ruling party, more so the ministry of human resources development under the venerable Murli Manohar Joshi, is in the process of disregarding established 'norms' and tightening its stranglehold over institutions of knowledge production. The tragedy is that our research community has made little effort to re-invent itself, to creatively explore other ways and sources of support.

Controlling Education

While the moves at 'structural transformation' by the ministry of human resource development under the leadership of Murli Manohar Joshi through curbing/stamping out dissidence and placing favourites in key positions have come under some scrutiny, the equally dubious and possibly more important changes in the arena of school education and literacy programmes have gone relatively unnoticed.

Civil Rights and Local Sensitivities

We are familiar with the invocation of the NSA, justified or otherwise, in situations involving communal riots, terrorism or threats to the security of the state. Its use against activists of a development group accused of wounding local sensibilities is, to say the least, unusual, marking a new low in our democratic experience. Without seeking to play down the mistakes of Sahayog, it needs to be unequivocally stressed that the group's misdemeanour has invited an unwarranted reaction.

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