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

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Bodies in Search of Freedom

One of the significant transformations in the political economy of rural Nepal is the gradual weakening of traditional forms of attached and caste-based division of labour. Not only has there been a diversification of rural livelihoods from land- and agriculture-based to non-agricultural- and non-land-based sources, there is also a growing and widespread mobility of labour within and outside the country. Research findings show that mobility of labour has not necessarily meant more freedom for poorer migrants, although the idea of freedom appears to be driving much of the out-migration from rural Nepal. For marginal migrants, the circulatory nature of migration does not appear to be as transformative as might have been expected: while life in the destination may well be urban and modern, their identity remains marginal, reflecting their liminal position. Despite known risks and suffering attached to work, a large number of migrants continue to be attracted to work in exploitative working conditions within Nepal or across the border in India.

Naxalbari: Between Past and Future

There can be no doubt that Naxalbari was a watershed in the recent history of India in more than one sense. Most of the progressive trends in social activism today can be traced indirectly to the issues raised by or associated with the Naxalite movement in 1960s. But the disquieting trends in the movement today are actually manifestations of a deeper ideological crisis that has overtaken the old strategy and tactics of the leadership. What was appropriate in Maoist China in the 1930s cannot be replicated in the India of the 21st century. The crucial condition for the survival of the Naxalites is a new broadbased socialist movement with new organisational strategies, which would carry them forward into a wider political arena.

Calcutta Diary

We cannot both applaud the defence minister's wish to get friendly with the Chinese and at the same time join the Nepal government forces to suppress the Maoists there. Either the defence minister should go back on his revisionism or he must cajole his prime minister to desist from lending active support to the Nepal government for liquidating home-bred Maoists over there.

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