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

Articles By Pritam Singh

Numbers as a Means to Power

Historians working on colonial India have often argued that the colonial censuses hardened caste divides in Indian society. Contrarily, this paper showcases that the history of colonial caste census is more complicated than what was assumed by historians who simplistically identify it as a divisive colonial instrument. Caste as a census category was especially crucial for the lower castes. Caste data in the census reports highlighted the marginalisation of the lower castes and was used by them to make their claims for power. These demands of the lower castes were seen by the upper-caste nationalists and reformers as divides created through the colonial censuses. Hence, due to the demands of the upper castes, caste as a census category was dropped for the 1941 Census. This was a massive setback to the lower castes who were using the census figures to legitimise their representation in the public sector.

Electoral Alliances and Majority versus Minority Communalism

The discourse and politics of equidistance from majority communalism and minority communalism is flawed because it equates two unequal concepts. The Indian nationalist perspective on this equidistant stance focuses more on attacking minority communalism because it is perceived as a potential secessionist threat to India’s territorial integrity, while majority communalism—although it could develop into fascism—does not threaten India’s territorial integrity. The secular fundamentalist perspective, through its theoretical rejection of religious groups, ends up, in practice, reinforcing the existing power of the majority communal group. The perspective of institutionalised Hindu communalism rejects the equivalence approach on the grounds that majoritarian communalism pervades multiple institutions in India and increases the vulnerability of India’s religious minorities. It can only be defeated from an egalitarian perspective by recognising the social, cultural and political power of religion.

BJP’s Farming Policies

Agricultural market reforms recently enacted by the National Democratic Alliance government reflect the Bharatiya Janata Party’s determination to introduce agrobusinesses into agriculture and push further its agenda of centralisation of economic power and decision-making. The opposition to the reforms by farmers, many state governments, and regional political formations poses the most formidable challenge, so far, to this government. The contesting claims have missed the dimension of the damaging ecological  implications of these reforms.

Confronting Gender Discrimination in Punjab

The 2011 Census revealed the welcome fact that both the child sex ratio and the overall sex ratio in Punjab had improved considerably over the previous census data. However, subsequent rounds of National Family Health Survey data show that gender bias against the girl child in terms of health coverage and nutrition is not only higher than in the developed states but also the poorer ones. The central and state governments need to take note of this aspect in policymaking.

Aam Aadmi Party as Third Player in Punjab Politics

 Despite huge organisational and political blunders, the Aam Aadmi Party is still a substantial player in Punjab's electoral politics. It does not have the organisational network that the Akali Dal has nor a popular leader such as the Congress' Amarinder Singh. However, its emergence in the state has brought to the fore the issue of regional versus Delhi-centric control of party decisions and politics