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

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Thinking Kashmir

Waiting is so much a part of everydayness, including waiting for peace, waiting for your loved ones to come home, waiting for curfew to end, waiting for the army to go home. Between silence and waiting one can create a narrative of the Kashmir conflict. Unlike the Holocaust or partition, which have the gigantism of epic memories, the sadness of Kashmir is forged, crafted out of thousands of little memories, unwritten diaries merging quietly together. It is this alchemy of memories that is struggling against government policy, which sanitises violence and erases memory to create this strange machine that moves from violence to violence in facile amnesia.

Narendra Modi's Symbolic War

One has to ask, what was the logic called Narendra Modi and what was the nature of the campaign? Modi was a semiotic construct who went on to fight a symbolic war. The Nehruvian nation, Delhi, Development were all semiotically reconstructed in a brilliantly executed campaign. This article is a preliminary attempt at an ethnography of a brilliantly executed campaign.

The Dreams of Reason

This paper looks at Rabindranath Tagore's relationship and interaction with two scientific legends, Patrick Geddes, the Scottish biologist, and Jagdish Chandra Bose, and also between him and Gandhi. Each is an event on its own, but each telescopes into the other to give an intriguing picture of a multifaceted man. The letters that Tagore wrote and received from the two scientist-intellectuals are also analysed. Tagore was no ordinary nationalist and went beyond the tired categories of the modern nation state. He wanted India to smell the West, taste it and understand the differences within it. He realised that imperialism is only one phase of the West, that there were other Wests that one could talk to and conspire with.

Once There Was a CSDS

The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies completed 50 years recently. Here one former member of the faculty recounts what made the CSDS special and why it changed later.

Hazare vs Hazare: A Scenario as a Warning

As the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement moves to the legislative phase it has to rid itself of the panacea model. The Hazare group has to realise that it has no monopoly on diagnosis or the cure for corruption. The Lokpal is no magic bullet which will solve the problem of corruption. Corruption needs a more cautious and nuanced problematic and a wider set of solutions. To put it facetiously, Hazare's group should not look like an A grade version of the Munna Bhai effect. Life is like a duller form of documentary. One needs to summon history for a more fruitful understanding of this situation.

Interrogating the Nation

What is a 'nation'? What does the word 'nation state' connote? Beginning from early debates on nationalism and the nation state, the word 'nation' has shifted, coming to acquire at one and the same time, an expanding meaning and an ambivalence. Literature and the different social sciences, on the other hand, have exposed the nature of evil, depicting the nation as a genre of violence. A study of European and African works shows how the creation of nation has been fraught with a marginalisation of other groups and voices, with pain and suffering. Literature and language, this article suggests, must once again become tools to plumb the banality of evil that is inherent in the nation state. New 'thought experiments' must seek to challenge the politics of the nation, leading to a reinvention and a new beginning.

A Biotechnology Story

Biotechnology was created within a politics of anxiety and desire in India. The paper attempts to understand the social construction of biotechnology. It locates biotechnology within the wider debates on development and describes an orchestra of positions each of which captures one part of the debate.

'The Laboratory and the World'

This essay then is a tribute to a classicist scientist, a crank who wanted to reinvent democracy, a crank who saw autobiography, the laboratory and the constitution as thought experiments, a visionary who felt India could transform the current idiocies of globalisation into something life giving

Democracy, Governance and Science

STS studies in India have found their impetus and site in social movements rather than in the academe and science policy centres. Our official scientists were eloquent about our nuclear power and our need for greater investment in science. But it is the movements that have provided the great critiques of science. STS in an academic sense has been the case of a missing discipline that democracy in India urgently needs but cannot access.

Durban and Dalit Discourse

Just as the Mandal report challenged the amiable sociology of the day, and the middle class dreams of mobility, the prospect of the Durban conference on race is doing something similar to the discipline of sociology by juxtaposing and even assimilating the categories of caste and race. There is a danger that social scientists, so involved with pursuing their particular point in the debate, are in fact condemning themselves to their own ghettos of illiteracy. What is needed is a different point of entry that sees dalit sociology not through the eyes of the academe but in terms of its own emic categories.

The Race for Caste

Until now, in international conferences on apartheid and racism India saw itself as a fighter of freedom and was the official advocate condemning racism, colonialism, apartheid. Suddenly this great role is being threatened, and from within. India is being condemned in the name of universal freedoms as a violator and for what we all along glibly thought was 'an internal affair', caste. Why is caste like race? What are the claims for entry and the objections? What is the method and manner of the argument? And will the move to get caste discrimination to be read as racial discrimination succeed as politics?

Supreme Court Constructs a Dam

Present behind the Supreme Court judgment on the Narmada dam is not only a Nehruvian imagination, but a public administration view of the world. The court seeks to construct a rational, statist discourse which has little place for other voices of protest. In the judgment's final pages dams, democracy and development come together in a new trimurti.

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