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

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Shalishi in West Bengal

Traditional community/village level dispute resolution systems still coexist with formal processes of justice and administration. The `shalishi' is one such method of arbitration in West Bengal that has been used by NGOs to intervene effectively in settling domestic violence cases. Shalishi scores over the more formal legal avenues of dispute resolution because of its informal set up. But deriving its legitimacy as it does from the conventional norms and values of the community it works in favour of keeping the family intact, often compromising feminist notions of empowerment.

In Defence of Pluralism

Pluralism, Equality and Identity: Comparative Studies by T K Oommen; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2002; pp 189, Rs 475.

Rights versus Representation

In the name of democracy, the constituent assembly of India adopted certain specific individual and collective rights to religion. Democracy, however, is not just about rights; another integral component of democracy is representation. This essay argues that the granting of a range of individual and collective religious rights to the minorities was used, in the constituent assembly, to justify the refusal of their demand for more adequate mechanisms of representation, for instance, for proportional representation or for reserved seats in the legislatures.

Mutilated Liberty and the Constitution

Without liberty there cannot be democracy and Article 19 of the Indian Constitution guarantees that right to all citizens. In order that the state can regulate the individual's freedom in the greater interest of society a number of restrictions have been placed on these rights. However the restrictions have become so numerous today that the balance has tilted towards social control rather than liberty.

CPC's Fourth Generation Ideology

Hu Jintao, the new general secretary of the Communist Party of China, and his colleagues, who constitute the party's fourth generation leadership, have been armed by Jiang Zemin with a new ideological tool called Sange Daibiao (the Three Represents) which, like Deng Xiaoping�s Gaige Kaifang (Reform and Open Door), seems to be slowly capturing the imagination of the Chinese people. This formulation is seen by the left as an outrageous departure from Marxism. The right is equally disappointed by the refusal to grant full freedom to the propertied classes. Yet the Three Represents are carefully crafted guidelines for the party to face the challenges of the emerging world and to take the country forward in the new century.

Fifty Five Years of a Feudal Democracy

The 55th anniversary of independence day should be an occasion to rejoice and celebrate. But is it? A brief perspective on where we stand in the comity of nations; what is happening in the country in terms of our governance, our mental attitude and stances.

National Security and the People

National security is generally regarded as being in the domain of the national government and armed forces. It is often not realised that the people of the nation constitute the foundation of national security. If the people are empowered to take care of their basic needs and are not exploited by...

Liberal Democracy and Its Slippages

In some important ways, human history has been a site for repeated assertion of egalitarian urges, manifest in religious, as well as secular ideologies. On the other hand, individual acquisitiveness in the context of socialised production has resulted in encompassing inequalities, yet this has been the driving force for change. Karl Marx envisaged an alternative in the abolition of private property and complete socialisation of production and distribution of wealth, he also visualised technology increasingly displacing human labour in the process of economic production. While his latter vision is coming true in some measure, the substitution of the denial of the self for society as motor for production has proved a disaster. Does the experience, however, terminate the search for an alternative to personal acquisition as the guide for economic and social development?

Reconstruction of Afghanistan into a Modern Nation

Afghanistan today presents a unique case of reconstruction; its significance for world peace is enormous. This note maps the vital issues in the economy, polity, and society of Afghanistan. The Bonn agreement seems to have certain internal contradictions; an attempt has been made here to resolve them.

Not Just America's War

The war against terrorism is not merely America's war but that of the world order against disorder.

Electoral Reforms: Need for Citizens' Involvement

There is no escape for concerned citizens and civil society groups from getting involved in politics without being politicians. They have to use all available means to change and continuously monitor the functioning of the political system. These means include using the judicial system through public interest litigation, the media for information dissemination and statutory organs such as the Election Commission and the Law Commission which have both proposed major initiatives for reforming the electoral system.

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