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

CommentarySubscribe to Commentary

Writing History with Light

A tribute to the Iranian photographer Abbas Attar who used his camera to show events and people embedded with multiple meanings. Apart from other historic events, he chronicled the Iranian Revolution in all its complex colours.

Changing Contours of the Political Regions of Karnataka

Media reports of the recent Karnataka assembly elections tended to see the state as made up of distinct regions and marked their boundaries to accord with the political–administrative territories prior to their unification in 1956. While a residual presence of regional identity still persists overdetermining class, caste and community relations, linguistic and speech practices, religious and cultural sensibilities, politically, the region has come to mean very different things in the electoral battlegrounds of the state. In recent years, equations across castes and communities have been recast precipitating intense social churning and political realignments within and across regions of yore.

Ashok Mitra (1928–2018)

Ashok Mitra remained arekrakam (of another kind), insisting that the left could only survive and thrive if it does not abandon its ideology and principled politics. This Arekrakam legacy he leaves behind—als0 in the form of the journal he established by the same name—will remain a powerful inspiration for all efforts to resuscitate and rejuvenate the left movement in Bengal and elsewhere.

Criminality and Passport Issuance

In recent times, the passport has become an identity proof for most Indian citizens apart from being a travel document. In this regard, the insistence on “clean/no criminal record” as a qualifying criterion to obtain a passport must be questioned. Further, the lack of uniformity in the requirement of a clean record for renewal or disqualification of passports and the lack of cogency in the police verification exercise need to be reviewed and remedied.

Revisiting the Nationality Question in Assam

A series of articles published in the Economic & Political Weekly during the 1980s’ Assam Movement—when the nationality debate was at its zenith—offer a context against which the issue can be revisited.

‘It Has to Be Done Only at Night’

India’s National Urban Sanitation Policy and its flagship programme, the Swachh Bharat Mission, strongly recommend mechanical technologies for safe faecal sludge management. But, how do septic tank cleaners live and work, and why are their practices not “safe”? An evening spent in observation of their work and in conversation with cleaners and truck drivers in Bengaluru is recounted.

Reviewing the Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015

The National Democratic Alliance government released an early draft of a bill attempting to codify the statutes dealing with industrial relations, that is, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and Industrial Employment (Standing Orders)Act, 1946. The Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, is one of the three labour codes the government is working on to consolidate all the important labour legislation. It is important to analyse the text of the 2015 bill when the ruling party’s own affiliate, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, protests against the proposed bill.

Reflections on Kalyan Sanyal’s Rethinking Capitalist Development

This article is based on a lecture delivered by the author to celebrate Kalyan Sanyal’s memory. It draws upon an email exchange between them on Sanyal’s book Rethinking Capitalist Development. It also dwells on the important issues that Sanyal raised with particular reference to India.

Speaking Truth to Power

A fellow economist reminisces about the personality traits and contributions of Ashok Mitra, a towering intellectual of his time, thereby revealing his powerful and multifaceted persona.

Cambridge Analytica and the Political Economy of Persuasion

Where do the financial interests of social media platforms and advertising firms align with the interests of political actors? Where might these interests conflict with constitutional values? What technologies aid such interests and why might these justify being thought of differently from similar conflicts offline? Part of this debate tends to overstate the impact of technological architecture on public opinion. As we approach the 2019 general elections in India, a framework to regulate political advertising and data privacy has become most urgent.

Is the Special Category Status Really Dead?

Though the Fourteenth Finance Commission report gives an impression that the special category status given to some states has de facto been abolished, the reality is that the benefi ts enjoyed by these states remain well protected. The biggest flaw of the special category mechanism is that the benefits flow in perpetuity without any accountability or performance monitoring of the states. This has made them overwhelmingly dependent on central funding. It is therefore imperative to bring in more accountability into the mechanism of such liberal transfer of funds and their end use.

Justice Rajindar Sachar (1923–2018)

Justice Rajindar Sachar was a man of unshakeable integrity. His erudition, humility, and warmth captivated everyone who came into contact with him. The report of the high level committee he chaired, which popularly came to be called the Sachar Committee, made him a household name throughout India. Till the very end of his life, he was deeply concerned about public matters, especially those that affected Muslim minorities.

Pages

Back to Top