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

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The Transition to Big Data in India

Lives of Data: Essays on Computational Cultures from India edited by Sandeep Mertia and foreword by Ravi Sundaram, Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2020; pp 160, price not indicated.

Professionalising Election Campaigns

The 2014 and 2019 general elections in India were referred to as “WhatsApp elections,” which had IT cells, bots, and political consultants strategically using data mining tools to build resonant narratives to tell voters what they wanted to hear. By the 2014 national election, the industry was reported to be worth $40–$47 million. Between 2014 and 2018, industry specialists approximated that the number of firms in this market had at least doubled. These unprecedented tools of technological campaigning come with new forms of identifying, targeting, and defining issues of political importance. This article suggests that such developments are turning electoral politics into a thriving business being data-driven, technologically oriented, and having far-reaching implications for democratic processes.

AAP has Decimated a Historic Mandate for Alternative Politics

The AAP stung by its recent series of electoral losses is politically pulverised and in a state of total denial that it decimated a historical mandate for alternative politics and lost a golden opportunity to position itself as the principal opposition to the BJP. AAP’s confrontational encounters and politics of antithesis have eroded their electoral base.

Shudra Identity and Struggle

The Shudras: Vision for a New Path edited by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd and Karthik Raja Karuppusamy, New Delhi: Vintage (Penguin Random House), 2021; pp 272, ₹ 699 .

Assam Evictions: A Travesty of Justice and Human Rights

Systemic discrimination and prejudice against a community has led to dehumanising violence.

The Making of Punjab’s Dalit Chief Minister

To dismiss the elevation of Charanjit Singh Channi as a mere political gimmick would be wrong.

Engineering Flexibility without Accountability

Changing chief ministers reflects a deep damage to substantive accountability in a democracy.

Problematic Amendments to the Central Civil Services Pension Rules

Revisiting the 2008 and 2021 orders by the respective union governments amending the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 is imperative in terms of its legality and practicality and to remove the impression that India is a “surveillance state.”

Underscoring the Perils of Majoritarianism

Our Hindu Rashtra: What It Is. How We Got Here by Aakar Patel, Westland Books, 2020; pp 368, ₹ 799.

A Tax Reform Gone Awry

The continuous cuts in the goods and services tax rates will derail state finances.

Charisma Through Communication: Comparing Modi's Media Strategy to Nehru and Indira

This paper looks at how Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi used traditional media–radio and print–and their communication styles. It then goes on to examine Narendra Modi’s use of media and his ways of communication, drawing comparisons with the Congress when it was dominant. The paper concludes by arguing that though there are certain continuities in the use of mass media in the two eras, the changes are equally significant.

Politics of Law against Inter-religious Marriages

Legal intervention in a democratic society should promote freedom of choosing a life partner.

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