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

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Demand for Scheduled Tribe Status by Koch-Rajbongshis

In the pre-independence period, the detribalisation process seemed to be a means for tribes to get rid of social exclusion. But, in post-independence India, there have been continuous demands by various communities for retribalisation. In the politics of Assam, the Koch-Rajbongshi community along with five other communities, namely Tai-Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutia, and Adivasi (Tea-Tribe) is demanding the Scheduled Tribe status. The authenticity of the Koch-Rajbongshi community’s demand is analysed.

Ethnicity, Religion, and Identity Politics among Tribes in Jharkhand

The underlying causes for the ethnic, religious, and political divides among the tribals of Jharkhand have been examined. Tribal leaders have failed in uniting the tribal society of Jharkhand, leading to divisive and fragmented politics among them. The tribal leaders of today need to realise and understand that any further divide will weaken their collective voice and identity.

The 1872 Census

Often cited as an exemplary form of the epistemological violence wrought by the British colonial rule in much postcolonial inquiry, the 1872 Census merits closer analysis in the context of wider 19th-century conversations about the so-called science of statistics. An in-depth study of the processes and reports reveals that the village munduls were in fact indispensable to the actual work of enumeration and the singular figure of “indigenous agency.” The role they played constituted an important condition of the possibility of implementing the census in late 19th-century Bengal.

War, Words and Communities

World War I (1914–18) was a catalyst in changing and redefining political, cultural and national issues across the globe. This article argues that communities in India, based on caste/class structures, refashioned their social–political identities vis-à-vis the war. Never a party to the cause of the war, these communities’ redefinition of their self-identity was part of their desire to carve out a legitimate place in the modern public sphere filled with discourses of martial race, loyalty, discipline and nationalism. The focus is on the contours of the Lingayat community’s imagination and formation of its identity during the war and efforts to occupy a place in the military and political establishment.

Being Ladakhi, Being Indian

The nature of Ladakhi identity has been a subject of much discussion for some decades now, particularly in the context of assertions of nationalism, regional autonomy and religious identity in the region. Using ethnographic material, this article focuses on identity formation amongst migrant youth whose “Ladakhiness” is both interrogated and reinforced in large cities like Delhi. In Ladakh itself, anxieties about loss of culture and community have intensified even as the nature of Ladakhi identity is asserted in specific cultural terms.

A Voice to the Dalit Cause

Readings on Dalit Identity: History, Literature and Religion edited by Swaraj Basu; Hyderabad: Orient Black Swan, 2016; pp 403, ₹ 895.

Framework for Issuing, Using, and Validating Identification Documents

Identity frauds and organised crimes are facilitated when identification documents are not based on a compelling logical framework. Unfortunately, most identification documents are issued ad hoc and through a confusion of approaches, technologies and intentions. A logically compelling framework for the issue of identity or address documents is discussed along with the consequences for the individuals, organisation, nation and the world at large when identity documents are not issued on any such framework.

Migration, Bachelorhood and Discontent among the Patidars

Juxtaposing data collected in the 1950s with data from 2013, this paper describes some of the consequences of a crisis of agriculture in India as a crisis of values and aspirations. Among a relatively prosperous Patidar community in western India, agriculture continues to be economically remunerative while farmers are considered poor. Instead, the ability to secure a job away from land, to move out of the village and possibly overseas have come to constitute new markers of status in a traditionally competitive society. The paper departs from common representations of the caste as an upwardly mobile and successful group, and focuses instead on the discontent and on those who try to achieve the new values of the caste, but fail. As a consequence of failure it shows how Patidars recur to what, from an outsider's point of view, may seem paradoxical: in order to "move up" and participate in the culture and economy of the caste, they have to "move down." In this respect, the paper also contributes to understanding the unevenness of India's growth and the contrary trends that work both to strengthen and weaken caste identity.

How Meos Shape Their Identity

The Meos, a Muslim-Rajput tribe staying around Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, have a rich oral tradition and have several popular tales sung to this day. This article explores how these stories contribute to the formation of the Meo identity through the prevalent folklore within this community.

A Dalit's Caste

If the law does not just mean fixity of rules but also capacity to dispense justice, can patrilineality be a fair and sufficient ground for pronouncing judgment on a caste identity?

Interrogating the Nation

What is a 'nation'? What does the word 'nation state' connote? Beginning from early debates on nationalism and the nation state, the word 'nation' has shifted, coming to acquire at one and the same time, an expanding meaning and an ambivalence. Literature and the different social sciences, on the other hand, have exposed the nature of evil, depicting the nation as a genre of violence. A study of European and African works shows how the creation of nation has been fraught with a marginalisation of other groups and voices, with pain and suffering. Literature and language, this article suggests, must once again become tools to plumb the banality of evil that is inherent in the nation state. New 'thought experiments' must seek to challenge the politics of the nation, leading to a reinvention and a new beginning.

From Violence to Supportive Practice

The politics of gender and feminist research have outlined the deprivations and unequal entitlements in the lives of women. This frame has also produced the view that understanding women's lives is incomplete without looking at their everyday locations within families that must include relations with men. This research has tried to bring into focus the way that men's support can be outlined and reflected upon in the context of gender equality and domestic democracy. Supportive practices are more than an `alternative' frame within which to place men. They enable us to hear an aspect of men's lives and expressions of their subjective positions in ways that have not so far been addressed.

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