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

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Ambedkar as a Political Philosopher

Existing studies on B R Ambedkar largely focus on his substantive religious, sociological, political and constitutional concerns, and not on the concepts he deployed for the purpose or modes of his argumentation. His body of work demonstrates that he formulated a number of concepts to take stock of the social reality that he confronted, and/or reformulated existing concepts by critically engaging with the body of scholarship available to him. With regard to the conception of the political, he advanced a comprehensive and consistent design of what it means to live as a public and how best to do so in a setting very different from the West.

Populism, Democracy and Development

By way of analysing and interpreting the outcome of the West Bengal assembly elections 2016, the article “West Bengal Elections: The Verdict of Politics” (EPW, 11 June 2016) has raised some vital questions of immense theoretical importance which deserve serious deliberation. With this object in view, some issues of general interest have been picked up.

Brexit Offers No Particular Spoils for India

Abhijit Sarkar makes two claims in "Spoils of Brexit for India" (EPW, 13 August 2016): British voters ignored the interests of non-British Commonwealth residents in the European Union referendum, and that the outcome of the referendum will benefit India. The second claim is questionable, and is based on little evidence. The first, meanwhile, relies upon unsubstantiated assertions and unscientific experimentation, but nevertheless raises interesting questions about legitimate democratic participation.

Political Economy of US-Pakistan Relations

Hamza Alavi, in this journal, offered the most pronounced presentation of US-Pakistan relations in terms of a patron-client model. In an attempt to further the understanding, it is noted that Alavi discounted the role of the internal political economy of Pakistan. The canonical patron-client formulation is scrutinised to reformulate the role of Pakistan as an "estranged client." The attempt is to internalise the interplay of the geostrategic and political-economy interests of the Pakistani military in US-Pakistan relations.

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.

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