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

Surinder S JodhkaSubscribe to Surinder S Jodhka

Indian History and Sikh Studies

and Sikh Studies The Khalsa and the Punjab: Studies in Sikh History, to the Nineteenth Century edited by Himadri Banerjee; Indian History Congress and Tulika Books, New Delhi, 2002; pp xxxiii + 192, Rs 375.

Caste Tensions in Punjab

The recent incidence of conflict involving members of the landowning caste of jats and the scheduled caste of â??ad-dharmis' in the Talhan village of Punjab is far from a typical case of caste violence or 'dalit oppression' frequently reported from other parts of India. Instead, it ought to be viewed as a case of 'dalit assertion' for equal rights and a share in the resources that belong commonly to the village and had so far been in the exclusive control of the locally dominant caste, the jats. Further, notwithstanding the rather peculiar and complex nature of the Talhan case, this could mark the beginning of a new phase in the history of caste relations in Punjab. Though the issues are varied, there seems to be an underlying pattern in several other cases of conflict being currently reported in the state.

Revisiting Agrarian Bihar

Social Power and Everyday Class Relations: Agrarian Transformation in North Bihar by Anand Chakravarti; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2001; pp 311, Rs 525.

Cow, Caste and Communal Politics

While the killing of five dalit men near Jhajjar town in Haryana in October last year appears on the face of it as another case of atrocity against dalits by upper caste Hindus, it points to many emerging or possible political alignments in the state and reflects the simmering tensions in Haryana society.

Nation and Village

Scholars of modern Indian history have often pointed to the continuities in the colonial constructs of Indian society and the nationalist imaginations of India. The village was an important category where such continuity could be easily observed. However, a closer reading of some of the leading ideologues of nationalist movements also points to significant variations in their views on the substantive realities characterising rural India. Focusing primarily on writings of Gandhi, Nehru and Ambedkar, the paper attempts to show that though the village was a central category in the nationalist imaginations and there was virtual agreement that it represented the core of the traditional social order of India, the attitudes of the three leaders towards village society varied considerably. The paper tries to show that while for Gandhi the village was a site of authenticity, for Nehru it was a site of backwardness and for Ambedkar the village was the site of oppression

Caste and Untouchability in Rural Punjab

Despite having the largest proportion of scheduled caste population in India, Punjab has rarely been seen as a relevant case for conceptualisation of the caste system and the changes taking place therein. Though some aspects of caste in Punjab have been studied, there has virtually been no detailed empirical documentation of the practice of untouchability in rural Punjab. Based on an extensive field-study, this paper provides a broad mapping of the prevailing caste relations and the practice of untouchability in rural Punjab. The study focuses specifically on the process of change, particularly in the context of agrarian transformations that the Punjab countryside has experienced in the wake of the success of green revolution technology. The paper also argues that the processes of change could be meaningfully captured through the categories of 'dissociation', 'distancing' and 'autonomy'.

Meanings of Dalit Identity

Meanings of Dalit Identity Dalit Identity and Politics edited by Ghanshyam Shah; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2001; pp 263, Rs 295 (paperback).

Revisiting Agrarian Issues

Land Reform and Peasant Livelihoods: The Social Dynamics of Rural Poverty and Agrarian Reform in Developing Countries edited by Krishna B Ghimire; ITDG Publishing, London, 2001; pp xvii+253, price not mentioned. Green Revolution Reconsidered: The Rural World of Contemporary Punjab by Himmat Singh; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2001; pp xii+302, Rs 595.

Minority Status for Sikhs in Punjab

As Punjab enters another election year, the Akali Dal seems to be shifting to the community/religion axis of its politics in the hope of consolidating its electoral base. The state government's recent decision to classify three professional colleges run by the SGPC as 'minority institutions' is apparently a part of this effort.

Looking Back at the Khalistan Movement

Sikh Ethnonationalism and the Political Economy of Punjab by Shinder Purewal; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2000; pp ix+215, Rs 545. Terrorism in Punjab: Understanding Grassroots Reality by H K Puri, P S Judge and J S Shekhon; Har-Anand Publications, New Delhi, 1999; pp 200, Rs 395. Ethnic Conflict in India: A Case-Study of Punjab by Gurharpal Singh; Macmillan Press, London, 2000; pp xv+231, price not mentioned. Punjabi Identity in a Global Context , (ed) Pritam Singh and Shinder Singh Thandi; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1999; pp xiv+416, Rs 495.

Society, State and Power

Society, State and Power Institutions and Inequalities: Essays in Honour of Andre Beteille edited by Ramachandra Guha and Jonathan P Parry; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp ix+302, Rs 595 (hardbound).

Punjab : Decline of Identity Politics

The Akalis lost the 1999 parliamentary elections but won the battle of moving politics in the state away from communalism. This is why their performance was judged on secular criteria such as governance and economic policies.

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