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

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RSS, BJP and Communal Polarisation in Uttar Pradesh Polls

Ahead of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its allied organisations are making concerted efforts to achieve better coordination on the ground to consolidate the Hindu votes and crack the complex caste arithmetic of the state. With the Hindutva card unlikely to cut much ice with the backward castes and Dalits, it is crucial for the BJP, to calibrate its campaign strategy to offer these less empowered communities more political representation to reap electoral dividends in the impending polls.

Voices of Dissent

Words Matter: Writings against Silence edited and introduced by K Satchidanandan, Gurgaon: Penguin Books India, 2016; pp 260, ₹399.

Striking for Their Right

General strikes are important political interventions allowing for workers' voices to be heard.

Bridging the Dalit-Left-Liberal Divide

Dalit and Adivasi politics, long enslaved by liberal civil society, has found a new voice in the aftermath of Rohith Vemula's suicide and subsequent student protests. The left-liberal establishments will benefit from standing together with this subaltern democracy in resisting the Hindu right-wing forces.

Sinners of the Partition

Muslims against Partition: Revisiting the Legacy of Allah Bakhsh and Other Patriotic Muslims by Shamsul Islam; Pharos Media, 2015; pp 216, ₹250.

Modi’s Faux Pas on Ambedkar

Narendra Modi recently described himself as an Ambedkar bhakt and also assured Dalits that he would never dilute reservations even if B R Ambedkar himself were to come back to life and demand their revocation. The faux pas reveals the desperation of the Hindutva forces to woo Dalits by misrepresenting Ambedkar and the critical role reservation plays in the political schema of the ruling classes. Reservations, which are assumed to be a boon for Dalits, have actually been the tool of their enslavement.

Dhar on Tenterhooks

A communal flare up may have been avoided in the Bhojshala complex at Dhar in Madhya Pradesh, but majoritarian Hindu groups continue to stoke popular communal passions unabated.

Undone by Its Own Mistakes

In the 2015 Bihar elections, Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies led at the outset but lost badly to the Grand Alliance when votes were counted. The familiar themes of caste and development--along with governance, class alignments, the reservations issue, and communal polarisation--were all important, but the mishandling of them by BJP leaders turned them to their rivals' advantage. The BJP campaign suffered from the over-centralisation of power in the hands of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. A detailed account, based on fieldwork and interviews with those on the ground, explains how BJP lost in Bihar.

The Khasis as Hindus

Hindu religious practices may have influenced present day monotheistic Christinatity prevalent among the Khasis. However the cultural and religious linkages between Hinduism and Christianity in Khasi Hills need to be investigated keeping in mind that there was no defined centre for the Hindu faith and the influence may have been more syncretistic than partisan.

Atoning for the Past

Responding to Abhijit Sarkar’s “Rhodes Will Not Fall Alone” the authors argue that the aim of their campaign has been the opposite of “sanitising history.” The campaign wants to begin and sustain a long overdue conversation in Britain about its colonial past.

Mapping the Enemy

The images of Islam which inform the RSS and its carefully nurtured and directed hatred are not limited to the Hindu right alone but are found in popular and academic discourses both in India and the west. They bear little relation to the reality of Islam as lived by Muslims in India and around the world where faithful adherence to the tradition coexists with tolerance of other faiths. But this reality exists outside the Orientalist grids which inform our understanding of Islam.

The Missed Centenary of Balaji Huddar

Maharashtra evidently does not need its heroes. The birth centenary of Gopal Mukund Huddar has come and gone with scarcely anyone remembering him. From being a 'sarkaryawaha' of the RSS, Huddar went on to fight in the Spanish civil war and join the Communist Party of India. He ended up being not entirely acceptable to both the worlds he traversed. But that does not matter in the final analysis. In our dismal and post-ideological times the memory of somebody like Huddar can keep the principle of hope alive.

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