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

Articles by Vinay LalSubscribe to Vinay Lal

Americana and the March against Gun Culture

The recent incident in a school in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old school dropout randomly gunned down several innocents, raises pressing questions about a “gun culture” that has become an intrinsic part of Americana. While this is, by no means, the first incident of its kind, its significance lies in the large-scale mobilisation of students who have emphatically come out demanding gun control and questioning deep-rooted institutional support within the American establishment for a mindless culture of violence.

North Korea and the Threat of Nuclear Annihilation

What is transparently clear is that political discussions in the United States around North Korea remain oblivious of the psychological effects of the war that persists into the seventh decade after its end. The advantage in political, social, cultural, and educational terms that the North Korean regime continues to derive from its masterful deployment of history and propaganda to keep in power and run the state itself as something of a concentration camp, is also not realised.

Whiteness and Its Dominion

The happenings in Charlottesville expose America’s “unshakable grounding in a virulent and diseased whiteness” and white America’s incapacity to confront the naked truth.

Whiteness and Its Dominion

The happenings in Charlottesville expose America’s “unshakable grounding in a virulent and diseased whiteness” and white America’s incapacity to confront the naked truth.

Implications of American Islamophobia

The remarks of the United States presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, on Muslims in America have caused outrage all over the world and have led many to say that Trump is going against what the country stands for. The present rash of Islamophobia is, however, only the latest example of a deep vein of racism and xenophobia that runs through mainstream American society.

Bernie Sanders and the Noose of American Elections

Bernie Sanders, who aims at being the Democratic Party's nominee for the President of the US, has earned an unexpected following with his staunch critique of the super-rich and his promise to reduce glaring class inequalities. But his foreign policy offers no fundamental departures from the received view. Moreover, his ascendancy signifies yet again the impossibility of a third space in American politics which has forever oscillated between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Günter Grass and the Anti-Semitism Canard

It is Israel, rather than Günter Grass, that has come across poorly in the recent exchange following the publication of the Grass poem warning about the dangers of Israel's nuclear weapon power. Such responses have happened all too often in the past, and Israel will have to do more than hide behind those gigantic scarlet letters that spell "anti-Semitism" if it is to confront the reality of its own demons. It is a form of totalitarianism to insist that all criticism of Israel is itself a form of anti-Semitism. And it is not anti-Semitism but rather a visceral hatred and fear of Islam which is today by far the greater problem in the west.

Iran's Revolution and the Global Politics of Resistance

The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future edited by Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel (Brooklyn, New York: Melville House), 2010; pp 439, $18.95.

World History and Its Polit

World history as we have it now is the pertinent form of knowledge for our times, taking its place besides other dubious labels such as multiculturalism, globalisation, multilateralism, and the new world order. This paper points out that it is in various ways one of the 21st century's pre-eminent forms of colonising knowledge - and all the more insidious in that it appears to be as benign and ecumenical an enterprise as one can imagine. An integrated history of one world sounds appealing, but we need to have a conception of many worlds, not just one world from the viewpoint of western exceptionalism.

Framing a Discourse: China and India in the Modern World

One of the greatest tragedies of our times is that even as we speak of "a shrinking world" the languages available to us to characterise the relations between states have dangerously narrowed. In the hegemonic discourse, India and China are supposed to be "rivals" for economic power and stature and sections in the two countries view each other with suspicion. But we need to frame a counter discourse by turning to the experiences of individuals like Dwarkanath Kotnis, a doctor without borders, who was inspired to give expression to the ancient friendship between the two countries. We need similar acts of transgression on the part of many more people if the present sterile discourse about India and China is not to monopolise our imagination.

The Technician in the Establishment: Obama's America and the World

On November 4, Barack Obama will in all likelihood be elected the 44th president of the United States. As against the euphoria in the rest of the world about such a presidency, this article reads into his 2006 book (The Audacity of Hope) and his campaign speeches, a different kind of Obama. He emerges as a technician who is best equipped to fix broken policies and get America working once again. One can only hope that a US that is once again working does not mean a US that is more efficient in its exercise of military domination and even more successful in projecting its own vision of human affairs as the only road to the good life. To believe in Obama, one needs to hope against hope.

The Gandhi Everyone Loves to Hate

Gandhi has legions of admirers, but he has also been the target of severe, even virulent, criticism from numerous perspectives. Though Gandhi still commands veneration from many, he is also someone everyone loves to hate. Some critics fault him for particular positions, such as his support of the Khilafat movement, his inexplicable views on the Bihar earthquake, his deployment of Hindu imagery or idioms of speech such as 'Ram Rajya', and so on. Other critics, arguing from specific ideological positions, are inclined to find systemic shortcomings in Gandhi's views. This paper, focusing in the latter half to a greater extent on modernist and especially feminist readings of Gandhi, suggests that the feminist reading is fraught with more ambivalence than is commonly recognised, and in somewhat unexpected ways. It is argued that though Gandhi may not have been his own best critic, his critics have also not done him the justice of attempting to understand how he negotiated the various critical worldviews that he encountered.


Back to Top