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

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When the 'Maoists' Took Over the Streets of Kolkata

Why did the Kamduni incident - the rape and murder of a young college student and the utterly insensitive handling of the issue by the West Bengal government and the ruling Trinamool Congress - spark off such a huge reaction to bring together a wide spectrum of civil society under one umbrella in Kolkata on 21 June?

Politics of Divine Edict and Reverse Secularism

Mizoram's churches promise to correct and guide the political culture of the state, a trend that challenges the universal understanding of secularism. While the church is closely aligned with the state, the concept of separation of state and religion is practised differently. In this scenario, reverse secularism dictates political idioms and social affairs in Mizoram.

Jangipur: Too Early to Read the Tea Leaves

The drastic fall in Congress votes in Jangipur parliamentary seat - vacated by Pranab Mukherjee on becoming president and contested by his son Abhijit Mukherjee - cannot be a bellwether for the larger political dynamics of West Bengal. Local factors played a role and it is too early to argue either that it indicates a communalisation of Bengal's polity or that the Congress has suffered from its break with the Trinamool Congress.

The Cynical Use of Caste

The Punjab government has fi led cases under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against publishers and editors of poetry books written by a long dead poet for including inappropriate caste names. Babu Rajab Ali's poetry has been published many times previously, often by the government itself, and his works have been read and researched for many decades as it is an important cultural resource for understanding Punjabi society. Such use of protective legislation for petty political gains needs to be strongly resisted.

The Peacocks of Kerehalli

Do we have the intellectual resources to comprehend the transformations that are upon us, especially in our villages? A snapshot of a village in Karnataka illustrates the complex and contradictory processes of resistance and engagement in the prodigious development of capitalism in India.

A New Politics of Caste

Caste has never been a relevant category in the politics of West Bengal. That has now changed with the political assertion of the Matua Mahasangha which represents the organised voice of the Namasudras.

Renuka Dam

Touted as the panacea for Delhi's drinking water problem, this dam can only be constructed by breaking a host of forest and environmental laws and riding roughshod over the livelihoods of farmers in about 30 villages of Himachal Pradesh.

Preference for Migrant Agricultural Labour in Punjab

In Punjab, during the pre-green revolution period, the relations between landowning Jats and landless dalit agricultural labourers were not as exclusionary as in other parts of north India. The commercialisation of agriculture since the late 1960s has not only squeezed labour demand but has also limited it to peak periods of short duration. With local rural labour mostly employed in the non-agricultural sector, agricultural labour in Punjab will continue to be dependent on migrants, despite all the well-known problems.

Moving towards Semi-Fascism in West Bengal

The Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee came to power in West Bengal with a massive mandate and widespread support from all sections of the people. One year on, its report card is dismal and the state's future prospects appear even more gloomy.

Kerala: A Year of Governing Precariously

It has been a year since the United Democratic Front government took offi ce in Kerala. During this period communal forces have exercised their infl uence in government formation, and caste and sectarian mobilisation has grown. One could surmise from the policy orientation of the state government over the past year that the ascending classes now have a decisive infl uence over the agenda of development projects. While taking crucial decisions on investment priorities, the government is playing to the gallery of public opinion, which, in turn, has been taken over by special interest groups.

BJP in Karnataka: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

In Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been essentially thriving by working through caste - specifi cally on the consolidated support of upper caste Lingayats - and not on the basis of a broader Hindutva ideology. The irony is that the tenets of Lingayat ideology are inspired by the liberal humanism espoused by the 12th century poet-philosopher-reformer Basavanna and his followers and this philosophical position is in direct antagonism with the Hindutva ideology. But then "Basava Dharma" as practised and preached by most of the Lingayat maths in Karnataka today is in tune with Hindutva.

Lawyers-Media-Police Clashes

When certain institutions of democracy start clashing with each other, an anti-democratic culture takes root and in the end it is the underprivileged who suffer. A recent example from Bengaluru.

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