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

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Experiments in Methodology on Reproductive Technology: Feminisms, Ethnographic Trajectories and Unchartered Discourse

The conflicts within feminism have been largely dominated by issues of power and inequality between feminisms, particularly those that organise in transnational spaces. Movements such as third world feminism and "women of colour" have attempted to counter the hegemony of western feminist discourse by arguing for the recognition of "difference". In contemporary feminist perspectives on reproductive technology, it has become something of a truism to say that technologies are appropriated differently depending on the cultural context within which they are used. This paper is an attempt to understand the connections between feminisms as well as the feminist concepts that circulate in Australia and India. Through multisited feminism, it sees the differences more clearly by also understanding the threads that connect feminisms and multiple meanings that issues such as abortion and sex-selection can take on as they move through a range of political contexts.

Rethinking Feminist Methodologies

Given the varying and diverse interpretation of what feminist research is, especially in the context of criticism against such research for its class-caste exclusions, heterosexism and ethnocentrism, it would be useful to explore whether there could be a "feminist standpoint epistemology" and whether feminist research could claim to speak for all women or represent their experiences. An introduction to the papers in this edition of the Review of Women's Studies.

Feminist Contributions from the Margins:Shifting Conceptions of Work and Performance of the Bar Dancers of Mumbai

With the case against the ban on dance bars in Mumbai still pending in the Supreme Court, this paper analyses two studies - "Background and Working Conditions of Women Working in Dance Bars in Mumbai" and "After the Ban: Women Working in Dance Bars of Mumbai" - which have unearthed the hitherto unknown lives of women dancers. It highlights the shifts that feminists have made in their understanding of how women from a poor background have charted and defined their work and lives. It also reminds us that like in all workplaces which are not regulated, and as with other unorganised workers, it is important that the bar dancers be organised to fight for their rights, such as pensions, working hours, the prevention of entry of minors into the profession, maternity benefits, crèche facilities, etc.

On Remembering Lohia

During his life, Rammanohar Lohia paid the price for three "sins" that the opinion-making class could never forgive him for - he attacked Nehru repeatedly at a time when Nehru was god-like, he led a vigorous and voluble campaign against English and he publicly questioned upper caste dominance and advocated caste-based affirmative action. No wonder Lohia was persona non grata to the upper-caste, English-speaking elite, from Congress supporters to communists. The Nehru-left dominance of Indian academia and media ensured that a caricature of Lohia became his dominant image. On the occasion of his birth centenary this year, there has been fortunately a renewed political curiosity about Lohia and there is some reason to hope that serious, meticulous and critical scholarship on his politics and ideas may indeed take off. This special issue on the thought and politics of Rammanohar Lohia is offered in this hope.

Understanding Capitalism through Lohia

Extending Lohia to our times, we can infer an important truth about capitalism. Capitalist development cannot take place without colonial or neocolonial exploitation. In the absence of external colonies or neocolonies, capitalism tries to create internal colonies, but they are not enough for full-fledged modern industrial development, which requires both exploitation of labour and the plunder and destruction of natural resources on a global scale. If internal colonial exploitation is fundamental to capitalism and unequal exchange in various forms is one of its important mechanisms, the Third World can be liberated only when it breaks away from the present system of international trade, exchange and finance and looks at ways of building an alternative society in all senses.

Lohia's Socialism: An Underdog's Perspective

Seeking an India-specific solution to the country's economic problems, Rammanohar Lohia was rightfully suspicious of both exploitative capitalism and Euro-centric Marxism. To him, socialism essentially meant equality and affluence for the people, and what concerned him was bringing these twin ideals together. He also presented his own version of the "Wheel of History", which he believed came close to the reality of the world, rejecting the linear view of history, which had dominated western society so far. And the moving force of his personality was his boundless love for India. In these times when the gulf between the ideal and the real has been widening, his memory needs reawakening.

Understanding Lohia's Political Sociology: Intersectionality of Caste, Class, Gender and Language

Rammanohar Lohia contributed significantly to the formulation of an intersectionalist approach for understanding the inequalities, exclusions and exploitations in the power system of India. This was highly significant for interrogating the dynamics of power as well as the key determinants of the matrix of power - caste, class, gender and language. His perspective on the making of the Indian ruling classes and the power pyramid followed from an understanding of the linkages between these factors. Sadly, his model for building an egalitarian and prosperous social system through a set of interrelated socio-economic programmes, including preferential treatment of the backward sections, has found very few takers in its entirety.

Many Lohias? Appropriations of Lohia in Karnataka

Analysing Rammanohar Lohia's reception in the spheres of party politics, social movements and literature in Karnataka, it emerges that his impact on electoral politics in the state was not all that substantial. However, some key policy innovations such as Devaraj Urs' land reforms and pro-backward class policies in the 1970s owed a debt to Lohia. He was also a major influence on social and literary movements in the state. Besides inspiring some of the key leaders of the farmers' movement, Lohia contributed to the distinctiveness of the dalit movement in Karnataka. His ideas on caste, language and individual freedom also inspired the leading lights of Kannada literary modernism. And no historical study of the Kannada language movement can discount the attraction Lohia's strong support for regional languages had for proponents of Kannada.

What Is Living and What Is Dead in Rammanohar Lohia?

In judging Rammanohar Lohia's ideas, this essay excavates their philosophical foundations and reconstructs his political doctrine in line with these beliefs and his political programme. It examines Lohia's relationship with modernity and the role this played in his thinking, while looking at his analytical tools in terms of his distinctive theory of history and its implications for his understanding of India. It sheds light on his innovative recasting of the doctrine of socialism, the idea of equality, and the political and economic model of a socialist society. After paying close attention to his theory of political action and the contents of his political programme, as well as his limitations, it attempts to determine Lohia's place in the history of ideas in the 20th century and his relevance to our time.

Context, Discourse and Vision of Lohia's Socialism

Five aspects of Rammanohar Lohia's socialist pursuit stand out, bearing testimony to his status as a rare and original thinker. They could prove to be important to any project reconstructing the normative domain of Indian politics. Globalisation, as an imposing ideological phenomenon, may have punctured our dreams of socialism by fostering the triumph of social Darwinism. However, the normative elements that constituted Lohia's socialist vision have not disappeared. The values of socialism have resurfaced in different forms and on different occasions, expressing distrust, discontent and resentment against the all-encroaching power of globalisation. Significant protest movements in India and elsewhere against subtle or brazen forms of domination and exploitation ensure that the outlook for radical democracy remains alive.

Lohia as a Doctoral Student in Berlin

Details on Rammanohar Lohia's time in Berlin in the late 1920s and early 1930s as a doctoral student at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität are sketchy at best though it was a time of great social and political upheaval in Germany. Yet putting together the few written records available with some intelligent conjecture, it is reasonable to conclude that his three and a half years in the German capital had a decisive influence on the development of his mindset, his habits and his affinities as a grown-up man. His exposure to an education system and society that had no parallel to what he was familiar with widened his mental horizon and contributed to making him the holistic thinker he was.

Union Budget for 2010-11 and the UPA's Growth Strategy

The growth strategy underlying Budget 2010 intensifies a recent tendency wherein private consumption expenditure has increasingly substituted for public expenditure in order to induce growth. It also accepts a regressive bias in fiscal policy as part of the strategy. In the Union Budget, the government has restructured the tax system so as to curtail revenue expenditures, while maintaining past direct tax concessions and using a part of its revenues to provide new concessions that are expected to spur demand, sustain and increase corporate savings and encourage corporate investment, all with the intention of "facilitating" growth. The potentially "inequalising" fallout of such an approach is possibly seen as collateral damage in realising a high rate of market-driven (as opposed to state-driven) growth, which needs to be redressed separately - if at all it will be.


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