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

Articles By Shiv Visvanathan

Reading Ecology, Reinventing Democracy

The Gadgil report on the Western Ghats is a major ecological tract and a significant reflection on the politics of ecology. It illustrates how a theory of nature, lives, livelihood combined with local knowledge, decentralisation, and diversity add to the dynamism of democracy. In contrast, the Kasturirangan report is an antidote to such therapeutic ecology and shows how development creates the asymmetries of injustice and representation. The article explores the implications of these two different ways of reading ecology.

Reinventing the Commons

The article makes a case for the reinvention of the commons in the social sciences. The individual treatment of rights reduces the collective to a mass of persons. Instead the commons acknowledges the inviolate place of humans as part of the cosmos. The marginal and dissenting imagination must invoke the poetry of nature as it engages the current politics and economics. The commons, in its diversity, seeks wisdom through a dialogue of knowledges, moving beyond traditional “publics,” and “time.”

 

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.

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.