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

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Memories and Memorials of the Mizo National Front Movement

The narrative of peace in Mizoram has become a part of national memory, but it is also embedded in larger politics of erasing a violent past. This is, in part, associated with the state agenda of presenting a “successful” case of conflict management, along with its refusal to acknowledge its violent actions. Tension over the issue of memorialisation continues to resurface at the local level, across political spectrums and local organisations—a consequence of the purported exclusion of violent memories in the official narratives and the neglect of “other” voices within the narrative of the movement. In this regard, the construction and contestation of the narrative of “peace” in Mizoram and the politics associated with its commemoration, merit further examination.

De-feminisation of Agricultural Wage Labour in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal

A study of three villages in Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal, reveals that there is an alarming decline in female agricultural wage labour, resulting in de-feminisation, devastating poverty and outmigration of young boys and men in the Terai region. De-agrarianisation in combination with the revived patriarchal “good woman” ideology explains the crises of female wage labour. The Government of West Bengal’s Anandadhara programme seeks to integrate poor women into the financial flow through microcredit/self-helf groups. However, poor landless and marginal farm women are faced with various obstacles in becoming self-employed entrepreneurs.

The 2015 Gram Pradhan Elections in Uttar Pradesh

The 2015 gram pradhan elections in Uttar Pradesh present a distinct picture of local elections as compared to state-level and national elections. Three factors— money, power, and violence with localised overtones— have driven the course of elections lately. Large-scale monetary benefits accruing from the position of pradhani motivate the contestants to make substantial investment in elections. The second important element is power that is primarily based on caste status. Although caste positions have changed, the power of caste remains intact. Middle castes have gained salience but relative empowerment of certain communities within the Scheduled Castes is a notable feature in rural societies. The most visible expression of power assertion is violence which is colloquially referred to as dabangai.

Academic Freedom and Indian Universities

Academic freedom is increasingly under assault from authoritarian governments worldwide, supported by right-wing student groups who act as provocateurs within. In India, recent assaults on academic freedom have ranged from curbs on academic and extracurricular events to brutal assaults on students. However, the concept of academic freedom is complex and needs to be placed in a wider institutional context. While academic freedom was critical to earlier visions of the Indian university, as shown by various commissions on higher education, it is now increasingly devalued in favour of administrative centralisation and standardisation. Privatisation and the increase in precarious employment also contribute to the shrinking of academic freedom.

Women, Leverage and Peasant Revolutionary Organisations

Vast scholarship has found women in revolutionary organisations lacking in bargaining potential, being accorded subordinate positions, and facing sexual violence. This paper refutes such claims of homogeneity in women’s experiences, instead showing, under several structural conditions, that women’s groups exercised power, becoming central to guerrilla movement resilience. Using the case of the Maoists in two districts in Telangana, the author finds that the presence of relatively autonomous women’s groups in the villages generated a collective structural leverage—where women could steer movement actions, bargain for their demands to be met, and influence movement trajectory. Women have become essential to the guerrillas in delivering meaningful social change in the villages and creating robust support systems that can sustain an armed movement, while at the same time generating bargaining power for women.

Determinants and Efficiency of Stamp Duty Revenue Collection

The determinants of stamp duty revenue collection (income, tax rate) in West Bengal are studied using a unique panel data set of the state’s 19 districts from 2002–03 to 2010–11. The role of efficiency-improving conditions imposed on stamp duty revenue collection under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is studied. A Laffer Curve relation is found for stamp duty revenue collection. Though revenue collection fell due to the rate cut, there was an efficiency gain because avoidance in the housing market dropped, valuation software was implemented, and the circulation of fake stamp papers was prevented.

Urdu Newspapers in India

The declining fortunes of Urdu newspapers seem to be reversing as major media houses are beginning to invest in Urdu media. Largely catering to the Muslim population in the country, its impact in terms of representing Muslim interests and shaping Muslim opinion is enormous. Domestically, almost all Urdu media outlets regularly highlight the theme of Muslim victimhood at the hands of the Indian state. Internationally, these outlets are consistently critical of Israel, the United States and the West for their propaganda vis-à-vis international Islamic terrorism and adverse foreign policy towards Muslim nations.

Misuse of the Prevention of Atrocities Act

The Supreme Court in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v State of Maharashtra (2018) has toned down the effectiveness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 based on incorrect facts and faulty logic. The Court has made the filing of first information reports and arrest of the accused impossible in cases of caste atrocities while simultaneously providing no remedy to members of the SCs/STs against caste discrimination and violence. The Supreme Court judgment may unwittingly turn out to be a licence for upper-caste culprits to violate the law with impunity.

Prices of Patented Medicines in India

Medicines with valid patents generally enjoy exemption from price regulation in most countries. In India, the Drugs (Prices Control) Order lays down the rules for regulation of prices of medicines through a National List of Essential Medicines, inserted as Schedule-I of theDPCO. While any medicine that is included in Schedule-I automatically qualifies for price regulation, theDPCO exempts patented medicines that have been developed indigenously from price control for a period of five years.Can patented molecules for emerging as well as infectious diseases be brought under price regulation in India?

Cattle, Milk and Women’s Labour

A study on market-driven agriculture in the dry lands in Gujarat, especially households which embarked on dairying through the acquisition of loan-buffaloes, reveals that dairying is shot through with the politics of economic value involving dairies and milk producers. Commercial milk-production is interrupted by economic value encountering other values and affective relations of milk producers. The paper identifies limits to capitalist expansion located in people’s affective capacities and lifeworlds that emphasise becomings other than as “market producers,” in the state regarded as the most “entrepreneurial” in the country.

Spatio-temporal Variations of Crop Diversification

Crop diversification has been found to augment farmer’s income and employment, and to reduce poverty. An analysis of the nature and extent of crop diversification with spatio-temporal variations in the Damodar Valley Corporation command area in West Bengal is presented and the factors affecting crop diversification are identified. The spatial effect has been captured by segregating the DVC canal water course into three segments—head-reach, middle-reach and tail-end—according to the location of the area with respect to the water course. Uncertainty in respect of canal water availability in the tail-end area induces farmers to resort to higher crop diversification. The number of rural markets, distance of cultivated land from farmer’s home, and the number of adult family members engaged in agriculture significantly influence the nature of crop diversification.

Making Ash Disappear

The Indian government has been pushing for a target of 1.5 billion tonnes of coal production annually by 2020, most of which will be used in the electricity sector. In this context, current issues—status, policies, regulations, and bottlenecks—regarding the disposal of fly ash generated by thermal power plants are examined. Scenarios of ash generation and utilisation are presented. Blending fly ash in cement is the most environmentally sustainable and financially attractive method of its utilisation. Finally, key technical, regulatory, pricing, logistical, and behavioural issues that need to be urgently addressed to reach complete fly ash utilisation are discussed.

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