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

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Bulldozing the Idea of Democracy

The state apparatus’ inaction in dealing with communal violence will have dire consequences.

Language, Purity, and the Logic of Democracy

It is argued here that the 1648 “Peace of Westphalia,” inaugurating the “secular state,” substituted language for religion as the basis for the state’s project of affectively unifying the nation. Working to build a truly neutral state, equally available to all its citizens, involves ensuring the freedom of critical discourse to question the proto-hegemonic narrative associated with every primordial (religious or linguistic) affi liation. The Westphalian-style sanctifi cation of these affi liations becomes pathological in a society that worships purity and hierarchy. Peggy Mohan, it is argued, provides a cogent characterisation of language on the basis of which one can overcome such pathologies and work towards a chauvinism-free model of democracy.

Remembering D L Sheth: Indian Politics in Theory and Action

In this reading list, we present a theorisation of political development in India, with the writings of academic and activist D L Sheth.

Has the Dial Moved on the Indian Sex Work Debate?

The politics of sex work has exercised civil society, feminists, governments and, of course, sex workers and the latter’s organisations. This trajectory is examined in the context of the last two decades in India and taking into consideration the relevant laws.

Civil Society and State in Armed Conflict

Civil society plays a significant role in challenging, limiting or contesting state power. In a conflict zone like Kashmir, where the state in the guise of counter-insurgency operations violates the human rights of civilians with impunity, civil society is in direct confrontation with the state. This article discusses the evolution of civil society organisations in Kashmir, their role in the history of resistance, and their struggle to defend human rights in a repressive environment, where legal and extralegal methods are employed to co-opt them or intimidate them into silence.

Homeless Migrants in Mumbai

Based on empirical work in Mumbai, this article enquires into experiences of homelessness of migrants to the city. It tries to locate these experiences within the larger processes of the neo-liberal envisioning of Mumbai as a global city, the ever-growing informalisation of labour, and displacement and inadequate resettlement of people, resulting in restricted access to affordable housing, services, workspaces and social welfare. The analyses expose how the homeless migrants perpetually suffer from the condition of suspended citizenship, lead their everyday domestic life under public gaze, face violence and also confront civil society's increasing assertion for rights over public spaces.

WikiLeaks, the New Information Cultures and Digital Parrhesia

How does one understand WikiLeaks, which has not only redefined media ethics but has also redefined what we understand as media cultures?

Defamation and Public Advocacy

A recent judgment of the City Civil Court, Mumbai, raises hopes of a meaningful contribution by the district judiciary to protection of the right to criticism of illegal acts of the state and hegemonic civil society bodies.

Delivering Development

 Nongovernments. NGOs and the Political Development of the Third World by Julie Fisher; first published by Kumarian Press, US, Indian reprint, Rawat, Jaipur, 2003; pp XII+234, Rs 575

Understanding Communal Violence

Understanding Communal Violence Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India by Ashutosh Varshney; Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2002; pp ix+382, 35 pounds (Indian edition: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp ix+382, Rs 495).

Romanticised Models and Reality

Civil Society edited by Sunil Khilnani and Sudipta Kaviraj; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001; pp x+330, £ 45 (hardback), £ 15.95 (paperback).

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