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

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To Eat or Not To Eat Beef

Politics around food has been drawing scholarly attention, especially after state governments run by the political right-wing banned food items. This article draws upon local culinary practices in Bengal and its cultures of food. It shows how food and eating habits are not just important in creating a politics of solidarity among Muslims and Dalits, but they are also important in the creation of a predominantly caste-Hindu Bhadralok "habitus." The article also draws attention to limitations of such political liaison between Dalits and Muslims on the basis of shared food habits. Drawing upon Pierre Bourdieu's idea of "cultural capital," this article shows how dominant communities construct their unmarked claims on being progressive and modern by consuming and avoiding the same food item, depending on social, political and historical contingencies.

Subaltern Historiography to Dalit Historiography

Existing academic scholarship on Dalit writings and politics seems to be heavily marked by a common perception that such politics almost always focuses on claiming the state corridors of power. This article contests that view and seeks to trace the genealogy of such common academic perceptions by invoking the Subaltern Studies discourse on caste and subalternity. It argues that the relationship of Dalits vis-à-vis the state and statist ideology is heavily ambivalent, and any attempt to construct a Dalit historiography cannot proceed without recognising that ambivalence, even while it must accept and use some of the methodological insights developed by the Subaltern Studies scholars.

Labour Crisis in Assam Tea

Unfolding Crisis in Assam's Tea Plantations: Employment and Occupational Mobility by Deepak K Mishra, Vandana Upadhyay and Atul Sarma (New Delhi: Routledge), 2012; pp 246, Rs 695.

Tea Smallholdings in Assam

With the declining competitiveness of tea estates, smallholdings have emerged as a major producer of tea in Assam. Yet despite higher productivity and lower outsourced labour costs, and regardless of market conditions, tea smallholdings remain at the mercy of estate processing factories in price determination. The Sri Lankan model of price fi xation and regulatory support can prove useful in this sector, but the current acreage defi nition for smallholdings needs to be lowered.
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