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

Ramachandra GuhaSubscribe to Ramachandra Guha

Hedonist of the Mind

The Small Voice of History: Collected Essays by Ranajit Guha edited by Partha Chatterjee (Ranikhet: Permanent Black), 2009; pp x+666, Rs 695.

Condemnation of Maoist Violence

As co-petitioners in a public interest litigation before the Supreme Court (WP 250/2007) urging the end of civil strife in Chhattisgarh, we write to express our shock and horror at the detonation of a bus in Dantewada district by Maoists on 17 May, killing around 50 innocent civilians. We condemn...

The Loss and Recovery of Intellectual Bilingualism

A response to the many comments on the author's article "The Rise and Fall of the Bilingual Intellectual" (EPW, 15 August 2009).

The Rise and Fall of the Bilingual Intellectual

This essay interprets the rise and fall of the bilingual intellectual in modern India. Making a distinction between functional and emotional bilingualism, it argues that Indian thinkers, writers and activists of earlier generations were often intellectually active in more than one language. Now, however, there is an increasing separation of discourses - between those who operate exclusively in English and those who operate in the language of the state alone. The decline of the bilingual intellectual is a product of many factors, among them public policy, elite preference, new patterns of marriage, and economic change.

The Challenge of Contemporary History

This essay explores and deplores a paradox - namely, that while India is the most interesting country in the world, we know so little about its history as an independent nation. The essay identifies the obstacles to the writing of contemporary history, and also outlines how they might be overcome. It suggests some important themes for research - among them, the histories of states, the histories of institutions, and the biographies of writers and activists. Finally, it suggests that since the study of colonialism is meeting with diminishing returns, contemporary history might and perhaps should become a "growth area" for the future.

Autonomy and Ideology

The nature, quality and scope of social science research in India have fallen short of expectations. How can we have free and informed discussion in social sciences and humanities?

Adivasis, Naxalites and Indian Democracy

This essay argues that adivasis as a whole have gained least and lost most from six decades of democracy and development in India. It presents evidence that they are even more deprived than the dalits. However, unlike the dalits, they have been unable to effectively articulate their grievances through the democratic and electoral process. The failures of the state and of the formal political system have provided a space for Maoist revolutionaries to move into. After analysing the reasons for the rise of "Naxalite" influence, the essay concludes that there is a double tragedy at work in tribal India. The first tragedy is that the state has treated its adivasi citizens with contempt and condescension. The second tragedy is that their presumed protectors, the Naxalites, offer no long-term solution either.

Pluralism in the Indian University

This essay argues that the university in India needs to foster five kinds of pluralism: in the student body, in the teaching faculty, of disciplines, of approaches within a discipline and of funding sources. It notes that the fostering of these varieties of pluralism has had to face formidable challenges from the countervailing forces of parochialism and populism. These forces need to be resisted, and our universities renewed, by making them plural in all senses of the term. For as we enter our seventh decade of freedom, what we make of ourselves will depend, far more than we presently seem to realise, on what we make of our colleges and universities.

Maoist Attack

Letters Maoist Attack T he Independent Citizens’ Initiative, which studied Salwa Judum in May 2006, strongly condemns the Maoist attack on Errabor camp in Dantewada district on July 17, 2006, in which more than 40 adivasis were killed or seriously injured. Even small children were not spared in...

Arguments with Sen

Arguments with Sen Arguments about India Here are two different perspectives on Amartya Sen

Verdicts on Nehru

This essay examines the posthumous reputation of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It seeks to ask, and at least partially answer, this question - why has a man who was so greatly adored in his lifetime been so comprehensively vilified since his death? After exploring how Nehru was revered while he was alive, the essay turns to the political tendencies that opposed and still oppose him. Among the critiques of Nehru it investigates are those emanating from the Marxist, Hindutva, Gandhian, Lohia-ite and free-market points of view.

Opening a Window in Kashmir

This essay focuses on a forgotten incident in the history of India-Pakistan relations, the visit of Sheikh Abdullah to Rawalpindi and Muzaffarabad in 1964. The story is of interest to the historian, and perhaps to the policy-maker as well. Forty years down the line, the contours of the Kashmir dispute have scarcely changed at all. Now, as then, its solution must satisfy the conditions laid down in 1964 by Sheikh Abdullah: namely, that it must not lead to a sense of victory for either India or Pakistan; that it must make the minorities more secure in both countries; and that it must satisfy the aspirations of the people of Kashmir themselves.

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