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

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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.

A Question of Forgiveness

There are, in politics, middle-level dramas that leave a certain grayness, an ambivalence, a collage of mixed feelings, a sense of unaesthetic unravelling. Middle range morality plays neither smack of Brothers Karamazov nor are they as easily forgettable as B-grade movies. They require a different kind of handling. The conviction and possible arrest of Narasimha Rao is one such middle range melodrama.

Democracy, Plurality and Indian University

The politics of knowledge and the discourse of culture as politics today is enclosed in a hypertextual circle that lacks the suppleness of the embedded quarrels of the university of the 1960s. This prompts the location of debates on diversity, plurality and the university in a longer 'duree' ranging across the colonial and post-colonial era and framing a wide range of issues. This paper first deals with the concept of the university and its relationship to the liberal imagination and then explores the nationalist debate on how the modern university was conceived. A third section deals with the issue of language and educational policy focusing on the battles triggered by the Mandal Report. The concluding section examines the immediate question of nuclearisation of India and Pakistan and the possible role of the university in this context, outlining a critical role for it.

The Crorepati Narratives

The democratisation of the quiz and the transformation of Amitabh Bachchan constitute two parts of the analytical triangle. The third sociological strut is the recent crisis of cricket. And beyond the structure of 'Crorepati' is a fourth term - the middle class.

A Letter to the 21st Century

How does one look at the 20th century? It is not a tragedy or a comedy. It is not an epic. No political manifesto captures it. Only a bureaucratic document can mimic its impersonality, its reality. The 20th century was the century of utopia, the utopia of plan, market and revolution. It was a century of nightmares.

The Great Indian Novel

More than the novel or the pamphlet, it is the bureaucratic document, as expert's report or as a commission of enquiry, that has captured many of the great dramas of the 20th century. It is these reports that will survive as the archives of democracy in India. The Lentin Report on the deaths due to contaminated glycerine at the state run J J Hospital in Mumbai is such a document, a contender for the Great Indian Novel. The report examines four institutions, the hospital, the industry, the Food and Drug Administration and the politician, in painstaking detail showing how individual acts of corruption, each insulated in itself, together led to the tragedy. And, typically, its findings lie unattended till today.

Dateless Diary of an Anti-Nuclear Academic

Academic Shiv Visvanathan ALISDAIR Mcintyre in his After Virtue notes that much of political theory restricts itself to the formulation of rules that hopefully operate in the moral and political sphere. But such a didactic set of formulations contracts the horizon of our world. One longs for the story and thickness of storytelling.

Welcome to the Patriot Games

Shiv Visvanathan ANTONIN ARTAUD could not have done better. The timing was so immaculate and surreal.
Celebrating the 50th year of our independence, Atal Behari Vajpayee erased in one .stroke the legacy of the national movement and its modernist aftermath: Ranch Shila. non-alignment, non-violence and the dream of a world of alternatives. It was a killing of the fathers that Freud would have been intrigued about.


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