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

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Is Feminism about 'Women'?

Feminism requires us to recognise that "women" is neither a stable nor a homogeneous category. Does intersectionality as a universal framework help us to capture this complexity? This paper argues that it does not. It addresses this question through the intricacies of the terrain that feminist politics must negotiate, using the Indian experience to set up conversations with feminist debates and experiences globally. Feminism is heterogeneous and internally differentiated. We need to pay attention to challenges to the stability of given identities-- including those of "individual" and "woman." These challenges constitute the radically subversive moments that are likely to be most productive for feminism in the 21st century.

Anti-Corruption Movement and the Left

The anti-corruption movement is by no means without conflict; there is enormous potential both for democratisation as well as for a right-ward shift. Neither trend is inevitable; which one emerges triumphant depends to a large extent on how the various sections of the broad Left respond.

The Ayodhya Judgment: What Next?

Since the Allahabad High Court judgment was delivered on 30 September 2010, historians, political commentators, legal scholars and lawyers have all produced serious and engaged critiques of the judgment pointing out flaws in reasoning and law. Based on this substantial body of reflection, this paper develops a composite picture of the problems with the judgment.

Caste on the International Stage

The official Indian position against including caste as a specific sub-set of racism is based on the assumption that race has a "physical component" which caste lacks. However a look at the history of the idea of race shows it to be a construct of a particular European anthropology and is, like caste, embodied in the very Self of the individual. While caste and race remain different forms of social oppression, viewing them as related is a creative political strategy.

Talks Only With Broader Sections

In the light of the recent demands raised by sections of the intelligentsia urging the government to heed the CPI(Maoist) “offer of talks”, we insist that “civil society” should rather put pressure on the government to initiate talks with representatives of all struggling popular and adivasi...

Radical Resistance and Political Violence Today

This article critiques the Maoist strategy of systematic armed struggle against the state with the aim of replacing it with a socialist state. The Maoists do not expand the democratic space available for mass movements but rather mirror the repressive structures of the very state they are fighting. Genuine resistance to exploitation and oppression has come from radical mass movements which have built diverse coalitions on the ground and which have experimented with alternatives to the state. Anarchist is not an abuse which can be hurled at the Maoists, rather it is a resource for people fighting power structures.

Thinking through the Postnation

A well-known opposition in globalisation debates is "the national versus the postnational" in which the static nation, defined forever by symbols of identity produced in the now-irrelevant era of nation states, is counterposed to the dynamic postnational corporation, located everywhere and nowhere, resisting the parochialism of national pride and national symbols. The term "postnational" is developed here in a sense different from that promoted by corporations and the self-defined "global civil society", which conceives of it simply as spaces above and beyond the nation state. Moreover, in a world in which dominant discourses valorise "flows", "fluidity" and "translatability", the term postnational may offer us a vantage point that insists on location in the face of translatability, while simultaneously insisting that "location" is autonomous of the nation state.

The Historian and 'His' Others: A Response to Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha's positive reading of the mid-1950s legislation that made up the Hindu Code is a simple, feel-good, nationalist telling that is trite, conventional and utterly misleading. A significant body of research has argued that the "reformed" Hindu Code was not only very far from offering equal rights to women, it in fact took away many existing, more liberal customary provisions available to women of different communities and castes. Guha also offers a stereotypical division of the social sciences into History, Sociology, Political Science, etc. A number of scholars - the feminists being the first - have breached the disciplinary boundaries in the social sciences that were established in the 19th century. This is the first of three comments on Guha's article, 'The Challenge of Contemporary History' (June 28, 2008).

Citizenship and the Passive Revolution

Modernity as has been argued, is a set of processes that can follow different sequences in different societies and at different historical conjunctures; in India unlike in the west, the two processes of modernity and democracy emerged almost simultaneously. This paper explores the dilemmas created by the 'different sequentiality' by focusing on one revealing moment - the 1951 Act that first amended the Constitution, interpreted here as a landmark in the story of modernity in India. While the amendment was seen to limit individual rights it reflected primarily the imperatives of the modernising project envisaged by India's anti-imperialist elite that included the creation of a bourgeois democracy, the capitalist transformation of the economy and the establishment of social justice.

Refusing Globalisation and the Authentic Nation

In India, the globalisation debate offers only one of two positions - an uncritical celebration of a homogenised globe or an equally celebratory reassertion of the nation as a bulwark against global capital. The challenge for feminist politics is the working out of a different space for a radical politics of culture, one that is differentiated from both right and left wing articulations of cultural and economic nationalism, as well as from the libertarian and celebratory responses to globalisation from the consuming elites.

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