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

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Democracy and the Popular Discourse on History

The people of India are disillusioned. The present phase of neo-liberal capitalism, and the changes that it spells, do not take into account the vertically and horizontally disintegrated working class and the structurally remodelled castes-communities. The Jawaharlal Nehru University debate around the constitutional right to speak only re-emphasises the fact that if we wish to stall the rise of fascism, the past needs to be reconstructed as a paradigm for the future.

The debate that revolved around the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president, and other student leaders on sedition charges raised more questions than answers. Though the central theme of this debate is the constitutional right to speak, the moot question is how the future of India, rooted in the present, articulates the past. Thus, the discourse on the history of the Indian past in popular political parlance gets constantly constructed and reconstructed with a vision to the future. This is bound to happen because the history of the Indian past, like the socio-historical past of mankind, is not fixed, one-dimensional and completely knowable for all.

Meaning of the Present

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