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

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Cultivating Communal Hatred in Bengal

Blasts in Khagragarh in Bardhaman district in West Bengal on 2 October 2014 have led to growing anti-Muslim propaganda in the state. Such incidents related to political violence have their roots in the political-economic structure of central Bengal where rural surplus has led to uneven economic growth, paving the way to political domination of one class over another. This can be seen from the class structure of the rice belt of Bardhaman, Hooghly and part of Birbhum districts, where the proportion of agricultural labour is still very high, between 40% and 50%. There is an urgent need to separate such instances of criminal activities, related to the political economy, from those of the purported Islamic jihad.

Lady Tata Memorial Trust and Leukaemia Research in Europe, 1932-53

The Lady Tata Memorial Trust, established in 1932 in Bombay, was among the earliest philanthropic foundations created to support leukaemia research globally. Very little was known about leukaemia, a major mystery in medical science, at the time. The trust provided fellowships and grants to some of the leading international researchers and contributed signifi cantly to the advancement of knowledge about leukaemia. This article presents an account of its work during the first two decades and throws light on a little known aspect in the history of international and Indian medical philanthropy as also leukaemia and cancer research.

Nationalism, Ideology and Consensual Democracy

Since its inception, the Kuki National Organization's objective was the creation of a state, Zale'n-gam, in India and Myanmar. The KNO advocated a liberal democratic political system. However, in the course of the movement, the KNO evidently departs from this ideology. From 2013 it advocates what it calls "consensual democracy" as a new political ideology. These contours of Kuki nationalism, the KNO's political ideology and the changing political landscape post-2013 are analysed here.

Reorganisation of States

State reorganisation as an exercise needs to be pursued from a scientific perspective that looks at physiographic regions, natural resource distribution, agroclimate and river basins in addition to population distribution and cultural characteristics of the proposed new states. A new analytical framework suggests a limit on population size of a state, resulting in the creation of up to 50 states for better governance.

Silence of the Bengali Dalits of Barak Valley

This article explores the nature and attributes of caste in the Barak Valley, situated in south Assam. It draws upon the Gramscian concept of hegemony and ideological domination to illustrate the silence of the Bengali dalits there. While caste as an institution of domination shows a direct pattern in other parts of India, in the Barak Valley it shows varied patterns - domination that is well accepted by the dalits.

Trade Facilitation and 'Hollowing-out' of Indian Manufacturing

Since the early 2000s, India's manufacturing sector has been showing signs of "hollowing-out" - domestic value addition in total output has been steadily declining, both in the aggregate manufacturing as well as disaggregated manufacturing industries. This has also been accompanied by falling domestic value addition in exports, even in traditional export-oriented industries. In this context, the article discusses the likely implications of the new WTO (World Trade Organization) Trade Facilitation Agreement on India's manufacturing sector.

Reading between the Poverty Lines

The proposed Rangarajan method on measurement of poverty in India borrows elements from three earlier methods - those of Alagh, Lakdawala and Tendulkar. An important departure in the Rangarajan method is to compute the poverty line commodity basket by combining items from two fractile groups to address the relatively higher expenses for some essential non-food items. This, while being statistically plausible, poses a behavioural dilemma, as there will be no fractile group that will satisfy both. As an alternative, we suggest dual poverty lines where the fi rst is computed on the basis of average calorie, protein and fat requirements which are region- and state-specifi c and the second uses the combined median fractile group after adjusting the distribution with price differentials.

Multitude, Living Labour and Dead Labour

The Aam Aadmi Party's recent fight with the media has inaugurated and deepened the idea of the mediatised labour as expounded by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt in their manifesto Declaration written in the aftermath of the Occupy Wall Street movement and Arab Spring, events that used the media and yet did not collude with the logic of global capital. AAP has not just opened a new space and vocabulary in Indian politics but its tirades against local exploitation and global capital have changed the grammar of political and social ideology in spite of its recent defeats.

Lessons from Science: Need for a Rethink of Concepts in Economics

The recognition of two important concepts in science, namely, the assimilative capacity of nature (resilience) and the entropy law of thermodynamics enables the formulation of an alternative framework for factor utilisation in economics. This framework, which explicitly includes environmental capital as a factor, enables the llustration of the entropy law being the driver of diminishing marginal returns and the limited ranges of substitutability between factors. Such revisions have profound implications for policy formulation. Stabilising environmental capital becomes an important instrument of policy at all levels.

Legalising Defamation of Delinquent Borrowers

In their attempt to ensure speedy recovery of loans, banks in India have begun publishing photographs and details of defaulting borrowers. It has proven to be an effective method of putting social pressure on defaulting borrowers. However, it is argued that the act of publishing details and photographs of borrowers in public fora is not only extrajudicial, but that it fundamentally violates the rights of borrowers.

International Comparison Program of the World Bank

Are the purchasing power parities estimated by the International Comparison Program all that meaningful for large countries such as India and China? The article provides empirical evidence from India that suggests that the ICP practice of providing economy-wide PPPs that treat all countries (large and small) as single entities severely limits its usefulness. It also provides evidence that questions the usefulness of multilaterally determined PPPs in the context of bilateral comparisons between countries far removed from the numeraire country, namely, the United States. This note also argues that the lack of price information that is relevant for the poor severely limits the usefulness of the ICP PPPs in the poverty comparisons. Some suggestions are provided for improving the relevance and usefulness of the ICP.

An Identity Card on the Wall

This article raises and deals with a set of questions and reflections on identity construction, projection and interpretation of a particular context in rural India. It revolves around the story of V Venkataswamy, a cotton handloom weaver in Adilabad in Telangana. It is also based on a particular narrative about this individual and a photograph of an identity he projected of himself. The article pleads for an engagement with the ethics involved in technology change and the impact it is having on millions of people across the length and breadth of the country.

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