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

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From Jobless to Job-loss Growth

The unprecedented decline in the absolute number of workers in the Indian economy in recent times has been a subject of debate and a matter of public concern. A closer look at the data for the period 2011–12 and 2017–18 shows that it is the net result of a dynamic process of job creation and destruction. Those who have lost jobs are all with low education, that is, less than secondary level of education. From a gender perspective, rural women workers are the net losers. From a social point of view, the net losers belong to two groups: Muslims and Hindu Other Backward Classes. These are clear signs of rural India in distress with strong gender and social dimensions.

Muslims, Affirmative Action and Secularism

Religion-based preferential treatment in the services of the state is generally argued to be in contradiction with secularism. As a result, the Indian state has relied on a non-preference, non-discrimination framework to address the issues of backwardness and under-representation of Muslims. This article attempts to partially reconcile the contradiction between religion-based preferential treatment and secularism, and it is argued that the determination of welfare policies for religious minorities, particularly Muslims within the non-preference, non-determination framework, either has to be justified in the public philosophy of the state or social justice has to be given a relative preference to secularism, especially when the policies formulated within the non-preference, non-discrimination framework have not proven to be effective in targeting the relative backwardness of Muslims.

Negotiating Street Space Differently

An ethnographic study of Muslims in Hyderabad builds on two strands of research findings: the relative backwardness of Muslims on various social indices; and the confinement of Muslim communities into secluded, insular enclaves/neighbourhoods with minimal civic amenities. The multitude of ways in which young Muslim men in a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood, with little to no formal secular schooling, and hailing from the lower/working class, navigate the street space is examined, to reveal how street space is used as an avenue for informal alternative learning by participating in communities of practice.

Evaluating Post-Sachar Interventions and the Status of Muslims in India

Institutionalizing Constitutional Rights: Post-Sachar Committee Scenario by Abusaleh Shariff, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016; pp xxix + 485, ₹ 1,195.

Ghettoisation of Economic Choices in a Global City

The “rise” of India on the global economic landscape has been accompanied by the revival of debates regarding the role played by social institutions such as caste, religion and gender in shaping an individual’s life chances. This paper engages with this debate by looking at a micro-level case study of the occupational choices of Muslim ex-millworkers in Mumbai city. Religion as a social institution combined with negative emotions and a lack of political patronage creates barriers for Muslims in the labour market, compelling them to seek livelihood opportunities in a ghettoised economy.

Urdu Newspapers in India

The declining fortunes of Urdu newspapers seem to be reversing as major media houses are beginning to invest in Urdu media. Largely catering to the Muslim population in the country, its impact in terms of representing Muslim interests and shaping Muslim opinion is enormous. Domestically, almost all Urdu media outlets regularly highlight the theme of Muslim victimhood at the hands of the Indian state. Internationally, these outlets are consistently critical of Israel, the United States and the West for their propaganda vis-à-vis international Islamic terrorism and adverse foreign policy towards Muslim nations.

Electoral Exclusion of Muslims Continues to Plague Indian Democracy

This analysis of electoral data from the Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer’s website and the single-person household estimates from the Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy, New Delhi shows that nearly one quarter of Muslim adults in Karnataka were out of the electoral rolls. Overall, about 15% of all adults were not listed in the voter lists in Karnataka. Evidence of non-listing of Muslim electorate in large proportions is found in other states as well. The lack of consistent efforts to enroll all eligible adults by the electoral institutional structures enables political parties to achieve undemocratic and unethical goals.

Justice Rajindar Sachar (1923–2018)

Justice Rajindar Sachar was a man of unshakeable integrity. His erudition, humility, and warmth captivated everyone who came into contact with him. The report of the high level committee he chaired, which popularly came to be called the Sachar Committee, made him a household name throughout India. Till the very end of his life, he was deeply concerned about public matters, especially those that affected Muslim minorities.

Terror, Innocence, and the Wages of Official Prejudice

Public awareness of the scale of continuing state injustice in India is not very high, this article points out. It goes on to show that a telling selectivity in popular outrage and the application of the majesty of the law reveal a troubling majoritarian bias in society and the law. This does not sit well with the Constitution’s promise of equal treatment to all before the law.

Third Democratic Upsurge in Uttar Pradesh

The upcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh point to an electoral battle between the incumbent Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which swept the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. With a decline of identity politics in the state, the major political parties are trying to outdo each other in engineering alliances, reaching out to hitherto neglected, marginalised groups, under the garb of inclusive politics. Sensing an opportunity, these backward groups are turning away from their identity-based political anchors and being drawn towards parties that promise political and economic empowerment, signalling the beginning of the “third democratic upsurge” in UP.

Colonial Knowledge in Precolonial History

State Formation and the Establishment of Non-Muslim Hegemony: Post-Mughal 19th-century Punjab by Rishi Singh, New Delhi: Sage, 2015; pp ix+232, ₹895.

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