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

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The Gracious Sovereign – Queen-Anon?

History’s movements are unevenly paced, sometimes slow like a funeral march and sometimes frisky like the current rates of inflation. They are, however, always recursively ironic. It seems like a lifetime but it was only two months ago on September 8, 2022, that the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of England ended. It was of course, in the nature of things, her first and only death. Now we have another first that has taken over the news: the appointment of a ‘person of Indian origin’ as the British Prime Minister. But before it is lost to public memory, this article seeks to present a contemporaneous account of the elaborate ceremonies that marked the passing of Britain’s first postcolonial monarch - and their possible import. It analyzes the imagery of a ‘Gracious Sovereign’, as opposed to Foucault’s putative idea of a ‘Grotesque Sovereign’, that recently animated our fast-paced, visually dominated, conspiracy theory-laden world in an age of grave political turbulence and psychological ambivalence.

Retrieving the Role and Contribution of Women in State Formation

An Empire of Touch: Women’s Political Labor and the Fabrication of East Bengal by Poulomi Saha, New York: Columbia Asia Press, 2019; pp 319, `699, (paperback).

From Postcolonial Irony to Dalit Truth

The paper, in three parts, examines the question of lived experience and Dalit subjectivity in a caste society. The first part argues that the signature postcolonial concepts like “plurality” of lifeworlds as postcolonial historical “difference” fail to provide a method to read Dalit politics outside the framework of irony. The second part critically evaluates existing debates on experience/theory as a necessary precondition for Dalit subjectivity. The paper ends with a speculative reading of “Ambedkar thought” as a decision that creates an ontological separation from the Hindu social. It argues that such subjective decision is prior to experience/theory—it is only through separation that one recognises an experience.

Life to Indian Languages

This paper presents a linguist’s response to the main themes that run through Majeed’s (2019) comprehensive and thought-provoking two-volume study of the Linguistic Survey of India and its Editor, George A Grierson. It argues that an important source of the complexity of Grierson’s subject position and the intellectual ambiguities in the LSI originates from the fact that the LSI is an unprecedented exercise in modern linguistics. Proffering a reading of the LSI’s methodology, the paper explores the ways in which linguists may participate in an interdisciplinary recovery of this important historical exercise and its afterlife.

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