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

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Noir Urbanisms in Post-globalisation Hindi Cinema

Dark Fear, Eerie Cities: New Hindi Cinema in Neoliberal India by Sarunas Paunksnis, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2019; pp xx + 172, ₹ 895.

India’s Far from Neo-liberal Economic Order in the Modi Era

India’s economic order is far from neo-liberal. The state, and thus politicians, have retained very substantial powers over market forces. Expectations that the Modi government would liberalise audaciously have been disappointed. Especially since mid-2019, it has used its remaining powers to intimidate corporate interests, in pursuit of its main objective: top-down control over all power centres. Thus, in crucial ways, the economic order has become less liberal (or neo-liberal) than before.

Unpacking the Motives of Neo-liberal Regimes

Labour Law Reforms in India: All in the Name of Jobs by Anamitra Roychowdhury, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2018, pp xxii + 313, ₹ 1,095 (hardcover) .

Is the Aspirational Districts Programme Merely A Political Device?

As the 2019 Lok Sabha elections approach, the Modi government’s failure to fulfil the promise of development is gaining more attention. The Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme, launched in early 2018, is now being promoted in order to salvage the government’s reputation on this account. An ambitious programme, launched after the dissolution of the Planning Commission and in the age of the NITI Aayog, it is not merely a political device. The programme also reflects what has become of the development project in India under neoliberalism, especially after the end of planning. This article comments on some of the programmatic strengths and weaknesses of the Aspirational Districts programme alongside its approach to and discourse of development.

How Can We Understand India’s Agrarian Struggle Beyond ‘Modi Sarkar Murdabad’?

India is witnessing a new wave of agrarian protest. Grounded in a deep crisis in the country's agricultural sector, these protests express a deep sense of disappointment in the economic policies of the Modi regime. This article discusses how the new agrarian struggle should be understood as a symptom of the disintegration of the Modi regime's project of authoritarian populism. However, the author proposes that addressing India's agrarian crisis will require far more than simply ousting the Modi government. He argues that today's crisis is grounded in the neo-liberal reforms that have shaped India's political economy since the early 1990s, and it is therefore necessary to counter the crisis with a definite break with neo-liberalisation.

Waste Pickers and the ‘Right to Waste’ in an Indian City

Waste belongs to households and then to the municipality once it enters the public collection/disposal system. What does this mean for informal waste pickers? Despite their numbers and importance, they lack a “right to waste” and are vulnerable to processes of accumulation. This paper presents the counter-narrative of Solid Waste Collection and Handling, India’s first wholly self-owned cooperative of waste pickers, which has been contracted by the Pune Municipal Corporation for door-to-door waste collection. The initiative legitimises a “right to waste” for waste pickers by allowing them direct access to waste from households, and has reconceptualised waste and work for waste pickers, while altering their engagement with other stakeholders.

Daring to Imagine Caste’s Antithesis

Republic of Caste: Thinking Equality in the Time of Neoliberal Hindutva by Anand Teltumbde, Delhi: Navayana, 2018; pp 432, ₹ 600.

How is Multilingual Freelance Journalism Transforming the Media Landscape in India?

Changes in the technological landscape and the political economy of news media have opened up new spaces for freelance journalism, particularly in multilingual spaces. Freelance journalists occupy a precarious position due to their place within neo-liberal logics, but at the same time, are less beholden to many of the political, social, and commercial pressures constraining reporting and editing in big media houses. Biographical sketches of three Chennai-based freelancers demonstrate different possibilities of engaging as a freelancer across languages.

What Next for Globalisation?

Globalisation has lost legitimacy in its homelands. The emerging economies of Asia need to carry extra weight in favour of global prosperity and away from xenophobia and autarky.

Homeless Migrants in Mumbai

Based on empirical work in Mumbai, this article enquires into experiences of homelessness of migrants to the city. It tries to locate these experiences within the larger processes of the neo-liberal envisioning of Mumbai as a global city, the ever-growing informalisation of labour, and displacement and inadequate resettlement of people, resulting in restricted access to affordable housing, services, workspaces and social welfare. The analyses expose how the homeless migrants perpetually suffer from the condition of suspended citizenship, lead their everyday domestic life under public gaze, face violence and also confront civil society's increasing assertion for rights over public spaces.

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