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

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Secularism and Religious Violence in Hinduism and Islam

This article underlines the need to move beyond the exhausted notion of all religions preaching peace to studying the specific manner in which violence is legitimised in each religion. This is the first step liberal secularists need to take if they plan to mount a successful challenge to the dominance of the Hindu right.

Democracy and Violence in India

India: Democracy and Violence edited by Samir Kumar Das; OUP, 2015; pp i-viii+258, ₹ 995.

Public University in a Democracy

The modern public university in a democracy faces the challenging task of producing and disseminating knowledge. Though the public character and universality of knowledge seem to be threatened today by both the state as well as the market forces, the university cannot afford to remain an apolitical institution in a democracy. There are lessons to be learnt in the debates surrounding the development of German universities and the idea of a university as the idealist philosophers have conceptualised.

Dreaming in English

With the resurgence of nationalism in this age of aggressive globalisation, the call to dream in English is often a demand for conformity with what are declared to be national mainstreams. The demand for unilingualism and conformity is complicated by the idea of dreaming in English as articulated by colonised and subordinated groups in other contexts. What should give us pause, however, is any easy equation of the English language, or Western democracy, with fixed notions of science, rationality, progress and modernity. How might we think through these conundrums and challenges?

IITs and the Project of Indian Democracy

Technological education in India has privileged the demands of the market and industry, while ignoring the demands of democracy to create an egalitarian society. The engineer is trained to "make" and "innovate" for a growing economy without understanding the social processes that produce certain "demands" in the first place, or considering how goods manufactured are to be distributed fairly in an unequal society. To make a successful journey from passive suppliers of technology to thought leaders on the question of India's development, the Indian Institutes of Technology must respond to the dominant discourse on development and articulate paradigmatic ideas on what development ought to be for India's democratic project.

Welding the Two Visions of Democracy

Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy by Aishwary Kumar; Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2015; pp xiv + 393, price notindicated.

Decoding Donald Trump

Donald Trump epitomises deeper fault lines and contradictions that bedevil America's image of itself. It is symptomatic of a populism that travels for the most part across party lines and political affiliations. Democratic candidates have also resorted to a softer populism on the idea of the foreigner intruding into sacred national territory.

The Categorical Revolution: Democratic Uprising in the Middle East

The protests over the past year across the "Middle East" are perhaps saying that the region first and foremost belongs to its people and that the categories of "oil-rich", "oil-less" and "main route" are at best exciting materials for a historian's archive. While unfolding this "categorical revolution", this article explodes two key myths: (1) that of the terminology of the Middle East, and (2) Islam's incompatibility with democracy.

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?

State Secrets, Profits and SARS

If SARS showed the weakness of the centralised and authoritarian Chinese political system, it also exposed the fact that in giving primacy to business profits, Toronto could let down its guard too soon. It is not only the lack of democracy, but also the enshrining of profits that is a culprit.

Calcutta Diary

The eerie early hours of May 19, 1993. Five intruders, Kalashnikovs already blazing, barge into a two-room bit in a house on the eastern fringes of Calcutta and, no questions asked, summarily shoot, several times over, a young Punjabi couple. The sequel of developments to this episode, 10 years ago, epitomises the current state of the democratic republic of India.

Migration to Democratic South Africa

Since the 19th century, South Africa's economy has been sustained by the migration of cheap labour from neighbouring countries. But the end of apartheid, the consequent search for a new national identity and the accompanying tensions of a nation in transition have also fuelled deep suspicion and hostility against such migrants, who are now viewed increasingly as 'aliens'.

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