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​The Borrowed Gaze in Street Photography

As photography is increasingly democratised, how do we shake off the colonial gaze?

Directly Elected Mayors

The introduction of directly elected mayors has the potential to completely change not only the landscape of urban local body governance, but also the nature of citizens’ participation in the management of their cities. The benefits of the directly elected mayoral system and its influence on the dynamics of the existing political system are explored.

How Does the Delimitation of Constituencies Influence Elections in Manipur?

Manipur has two parliamentary seats in the Lok Sabha, out of which the Outer Manipur constituency is reserved for a tribal candidate. However, in 1954, the Delimitation Commission of India clubbed the electorates of the erstwhile Thoubal subdivision (excluding Bishenpur tehsil) with the Outer Manipur constituency to "balance" the number of voters in the two constituencies, thereby increasing the number of non-tribal voters in Outer Manipur. This arrangement denies non-tribal people the right to contest elections and makes ST candidates dependent on non-tribal votes for electoral success.

Dominant or Backward?

Using data from the India Human Development Survey, this paper examines the demands of Jats (Haryana), Patels (Gujarat), and Marathas (Maharashtra) to be classified as Other Backward Classes to access reservations. Compared to the major caste groups (Brahmins, other forward castes, existing OBCs, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) in their respective states, based on several socio-economic factors, they are closer to dominant than disadvantaged groups. Their claim to backwardness is empirically unjustified. The paper examines the material basis of their anxieties in the context of structural changes in the Indian agricultural economy. It investigates networks and political connections that explain their success in mobilising.

Ambedkar as a Political Philosopher

Existing studies on B R Ambedkar largely focus on his substantive religious, sociological, political and constitutional concerns, and not on the concepts he deployed for the purpose or modes of his argumentation. His body of work demonstrates that he formulated a number of concepts to take stock of the social reality that he confronted, and/or reformulated existing concepts by critically engaging with the body of scholarship available to him. With regard to the conception of the political, he advanced a comprehensive and consistent design of what it means to live as a public and how best to do so in a setting very different from the West.

'Representation' of OBCs in Higher Education

This article is a response to Jaya Goyal and D P Singh's "Academic Performance of OBC Students in Universities: Findings from Three States" (EPW, 1 February 2014). It challenges the claim that the Other Backward Classes are not under-represented in education and also the attempt to redefine representation as understood within the context of reservation policies. The author was also a part of the study on which Goyal and Singh based their article.

The Politics of Reservation Categories in Uttar Pradesh

Some of the Other Backward Classes in Uttar Pradesh want to be classified as scheduled castes, while some of the latter want to be reclassified as scheduled tribes. Despite the politics behind these demands, most of the castes demanding reclassification have good reason to feel that the benefits of reservation have passed them by. It is the invisibility of the numerically small castes with little education and no voice that has to be ended before the fruits of development can reach them.

Reservations within Reservations: A Solution

What is the solution to the problem of reservations for the scheduled castes where these are disproportionately cornered by a single sub-caste in every state?

Reservations for Marathas in Maharashtra

The Marathas, who have traditionally positioned themselves as a warrioragriculturist caste, have a stranglehold on Maharashtra's political leadership and have always opposed reservations. But the declining returns from agriculture, the desire to take advantage of the postglobalisation boom in the services and knowledge-based sector and apprehension at the perceived rise of the other backward castes on the political ladder have led the community to demand inclusion in the Other Backward Classes category.

Case for Caste-based Quotas in Higher Education

The roots of discrimination in India go so deep that social and economic disparities are deeply intertwined, although in increasingly complex ways. We still need reservations for different groups in higher education, not because they are the perfect instruments to rectify long-standing discrimination, but because they are the most workable method to move in this direction. The nature of Indian society ensures that without such measures, social discrimination and exclusion will only persist and be strengthened.

Obituary: K R Narayanan- Making of a President

K R Narayanan's journey of life from a 'chetta kudil' (meanest hut) to Rashtrapathi Bhavan is a saga which has no parallel in India and is certainly more remarkable than that of Abraham Lincoln from a log cabin to the White House.

Rights versus Representation

In the name of democracy, the constituent assembly of India adopted certain specific individual and collective rights to religion. Democracy, however, is not just about rights; another integral component of democracy is representation. This essay argues that the granting of a range of individual and collective religious rights to the minorities was used, in the constituent assembly, to justify the refusal of their demand for more adequate mechanisms of representation, for instance, for proportional representation or for reserved seats in the legislatures.

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