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

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Globalisation as a Messy Whole

Spectacular Cities: Religion, Landscape and the Dialectics of Globalisation by Ipsita Chatterjee; New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016; pp xvi +194, ₹ 795.

Religion, Fertility and ‘Common Sense’

The sectarian forces in India have kept politicising the population growth of Muslims not on the basis of demographic correlates but on the basis of a pernicious propaganda that stereotypes popular common sense perceptions. These ill-founded notions are so often repeated that these have become part of the popular common sense, normalising the falsification of “reality” created by sectarian forces of either religious affiliations. Why are these mythical constructions increasing despite the fact that the authentic empirical data sets—Census, National Family Health Surveys—negate the same?

A Voice to the Dalit Cause

Readings on Dalit Identity: History, Literature and Religion edited by Swaraj Basu; Hyderabad: Orient Black Swan, 2016; pp 403, ₹ 895.

The Time of Youth

Drawing on long-term multisite ethnographic fieldwork in Allahabad and Meerut, this article examines how educated unemployed young men, from different socio-economic backgrounds, struggle for employment and engage with politics and religion in the age of neo-liberalism.

Personal Names in Pakistan

The choice of personal names of Pakistani Muslims is discussed along three parameters--beliefs about names, naming practices, and the influence of Islam on both--while the religious orientation of society is manifested by the people's desire to choose names from Arabic and Persian. These names do not necessarily conform to strict Islamic norms. Such names, as well as names based on natural objects and phenomena, still remain in vogue, especially in the rural areas. The most widely held belief is that names have an effect upon personality or that they can be inauspicious.

Dirty Flows the Ganga

One of the first announcements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi pertained to cleaning the Ganga. But this is not the first time an attempt has been made to clean the river. River cleaning schemes initiated in 1974, 1985, 1993, 1996 and 2008-09 have been monumental failures. While the Prime Minister's announcement was followed by a lot of rhetoric and initial moves towards the goal were frantic, two years later, there has been little improvement in the state-of-affairs. This article looks at some of the problems that have dogged programmes designed to clean the river and suggests measures to address the pitfalls.

Is an Atheistic Defence of God Possible?

This article argues that both the arguments--that "God exists" and that "God does not exist"--fall within the realm of belief, and hence, religion; for the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved. It stresses that atheism is not a belief in the non-existence of God but an inability to believe in the existence of God. Finally, the essay sets out to examine if there can be an atheistic defence of the concept (not existence, which cannot be proved) of God, and concludes by arguing that it is the only kind of defence of God that is rationally possible.

The Republic of Reasons

Discourse within a constitutional framework alone can be the foundation for a possible solidarity in societies which are vibrant with real diversities and differences.

Menstruation, Purity and Right to Worship

The growing protest against temples that deny access to menstruating women should also challenge the institutionalisation of faith and the mediating power of the priest.

Institutional Communalism in India

The fight against institutional communalism in India alerts us to a challenge bigger than merely inflicting electoral defeats on Hindu communal parties and organisations. Even if such parties are defeated electorally, institutional Hindu communalism remains pervasive in varying degrees in India's Constitution, judiciary, civil services, electoral and parliamentary institutions, security forces, prisons, academia, media, corporate business, and even non-governmental organisations, it will continue as a social, cultural and politico-economic force to disadvantage the lives of minority communities in India.

The Jain Endangerment Discourse

Is Jainism an endangered religion? This article considers the various ways in which Jainism has been projected to be in decline, under threat, and/or in need of protection; and it assesses the steps taken as a result of such perceptions. Examining Jainism's position as a minority religion in India and abroad, this asks why authors and pundits have often expressed concern for the survival of the Jain community, and if such fears are at all founded. It will also look at some recent attempts at preservation.

Growing Up Hindu and Muslim: How Early Does It Happen?

This study, based on interactions with children in a school in Daryaganj, Delhi, reveals that children very early on show explicit identification and communicated prejudices towards the "other" religion practised in their neighbourhood. This has important implications for educational policy, curricular choices, pedagogy and teacher training. While the present curricular material does not acknowledge cultural identity in childhood, the new National Curriculum Framework suggests that schools engage with children's socialisation at home and in the neighbourhood.

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