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

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Natwar Thakkar (1932–2018): Gandhi’s Peace Emissary in Nagaland

Natwar Thakkar was one of the last Gandhians whose constructive work has made an invaluable contribution to peace-building, reconciliation and rural development in North East India.

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?

Recalling Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh had a number of political choices before him but the fact that he consciously abjured them in favour of a fiery independence, atheism and internationalism is worthy of introspection, if not emulation.

Gandhi's Hinduism and Savarkar's Hindutva

The present national crisis of violently conflicting communal identities represents a choice between the inclusiveness of Gandhi and the exclusions of Savarkar. Gandhi did not separate religion from politics. He brought a religious ethic to politics rather than political militancy into religious communities. Meanwhile, Savarkar's Hindutva ideology was narrow and exclusivist in its conflation of janma bhoomi (motherland) and punya bhoomi (holy land). In spite of its pretensions to be nationalist and modern, its militant chauvinism and authoritarian fundamentalism make Savarkar's Hindutva the antithesis of Gandhi's Hinduism. Hindutva defines India as Hindu and wants all Indians to be Hindus. In contrast, Gandhi's Hinduism gives space to all. This paper argues that the future of our multicultural, pluri-religious people can only be even bloodier with the preclusions of Savarkar's Hindutva. Only Gandhi's sarva-dharmasamabhava can possibly be an effective basis for a tolerance on which to premise a just inter-religious peace and harmony.

Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and What the Historians Say

Ever since the death sentence for Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev in the Lahore conspiracy case-II was pronounced on 7 October 1930 by a controversial three-member special tribunal established by British colonial government, the imperative to save their lives became a national issue. The general perception was that Mahatma Gandhi, who was thought to be the tallest national leader of India at that time, could have achieved this imperative. But it was not to be.

Explaining the Japanese Enigma

Japan by Yamaguchi Hiroichi; National Book Trust, W New Delhi, 2006; pp 198, Rs 50.

Ramdev and Somatic Nationalism

Guru Ramdev's defence of his fitness/health programme on moral, anti-western and anti-capitalist grounds, while reminiscent of orientalist and Gandhian discourse, now appears in consonance with his claims to legitimacy based on the degree of penetration of such "tradition" into the global market.

India and South Africa

This essay discusses some aspects of India-South Africa relations and the role of South African Indians, who more accurately should be described as South Africans whose ancestors were of Indian origin, as well as the role of India and Indian political leaders in the liberation struggle in South Africa. It also touches on some problematic aspects of nationality formation in South Africa, the similarities and differences of this process in India and South Africa and the cautionary lessons that South Africa may usefully learn from the Indian experience.

Calcutta Diary

As long as the belief persists amongst a sizeable number of political craftsmen that the Nehru-Gandhis are indispensable for the nation, the majority of the electorate will be stubborn enough to travel perversely toward the direction of the BJP, the pull of one irrationality will subdue that of the other.

S K Rudra, C F Andrews and M K Gandhi

In the second decade of the last century, as the world limped back from a long-drawn war and India found itself on the verge of a new wave of anti-imperialist struggle, a strange friendship was forged between three unusual men. This paper looks at the friendship between Mahatma Gandhi, C F Andrews and S K Rudra against the backdrop of such tumultuous times. Through letters and records that still stand as testimony to their friendship, this paper analyses issues of freedom of choice, and implications of nationality.

Nation and Village

Scholars of modern Indian history have often pointed to the continuities in the colonial constructs of Indian society and the nationalist imaginations of India. The village was an important category where such continuity could be easily observed. However, a closer reading of some of the leading ideologues of nationalist movements also points to significant variations in their views on the substantive realities characterising rural India. Focusing primarily on writings of Gandhi, Nehru and Ambedkar, the paper attempts to show that though the village was a central category in the nationalist imaginations and there was virtual agreement that it represented the core of the traditional social order of India, the attitudes of the three leaders towards village society varied considerably. The paper tries to show that while for Gandhi the village was a site of authenticity, for Nehru it was a site of backwardness and for Ambedkar the village was the site of oppression

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