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

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On the Uses of Memory

Memory is often discussed as an asset or a liability. Memory can function as "monument" in the form of commemoration and celebration of a proud collective identity, and a foundation on which individuals build their own identity. The function of memory, however, can be that of making us uneasy about ourselves and our history. This paper discusses in these terms the memory of two events that have shaped Italian national memory and identity: the Risorgimento (the war of national independence and unification) and the Resistance (the war of liberation from Fascism and Nazism). While both episodes are often celebrated in (literally) monumental terms, oral histories reveal hidden contradictions.

Re-Theorising Pakistan's Political Economy

Akbar Zaidi’s (2014: 47) article “is a critique of how the political economy has been constructed in Pakistan, especially with regard to the state and the military (perhaps for understandable reasons usually seen as one and the same), ignoring the actually existing country”. Zaidi then criticises,...

Uncontested Engagements

In the Preface to a new book (to be published next month) which examines Pakistan’s political economy afresh, having lamented the state of social science discourse in Pakistan, I write, I have more hope and expectation from a growing set of younger academics who proceed for, or have just completed...

The Everyday State in Lyari

The township of Lyari in Karachi has been proffered as a space in the heart of metropolitan Pakistan that exists outside of the de facto writ of the state. Its geographical boundaries purportedly mark the limits of law, a space where “the state does not any longer have the monopoly over violence” (...

State, Society and Power

Five scholars engage with S Akbar Zaidi's proposed agenda for research in the political economy of Pakistan, "Rethinking Pakistan's Political Economy" (1 February 2014). Majed Akhter introduces the discussion, Aasim Sajjad Akhtar discusses the hegemonic "politics of common sense", Fahd Ali draws on postcolonial theory to engage Zaidi's use of "political settlements", Umair Javed focuses on associational politics in Punjab and Adeem Suhail theorises "the negotiated state" based on his fi eldwork in Karachi. Zaidi responds to the critiques by suggesting they are not ruthless enough.

From Below

S Akbar Zaidi has to be congratulated for initiating the quite formidable task of “rethinking Pakistan’s political economy” in the face of both global stereotyping and the poor state of social sciences within the country. My PhD dissertation, with which Zaidi engages in detail, was a modest attempt...

Associational Politics in Punjab

Contemporary scholars of Pakistan are in agreement about the defining characteristics marking the changing nature of capital accumulation in the country. Notable features include the rise of the retail, wholesale and small-scale manufacturing sector; a decline in the contribution of farm activity...

Economic Challenges to the New Government

India faces two distinct uncertainties in the short run: the nature of the electoral outcome, and the reduction in the United States' bond buying programme. The potential shocks could cause short-term volatility, though the economy now seems better placed than a year ago to face the challenge. Yet, stabilisation does not ensure economic revival. Stepping up investment demand, without jeopardising the current account balance and increasing external debt would be the key to sustainable growth. As the private corporate sector is mired in debt, a pragmatic increase in public investment by revisiting fiscal rules is the only credible option. A complete pass-through of fuel prices to domestic consumers would encourage investment in the industrial and energy sectors, while an easy credit for agriculture and small-scale industry is likely to augment wage goods output to restrain the rise in consumer prices.

The Great Reversal

Adverse supply shocks in agriculture have contributed to the slowdown of the Indian economy and the inflation surge. A decline in public capital formation has also played a part in the slowdown. However, the contribution of the widening fiscal deficit is less clear-cut. A revival of growth calls for an easing of the constraints in the farm sector and larger public investment outlays, accompanied by higher public savings.

Negawatts and Green Megawatts

The next government in New Delhi will have to proactively address the energy crisis in India. The steps to be taken have to be in keeping with a long-term strategy that should aim to increase effi ciency of existing power generation capacities, thereby reducing India’s dependence on imports. The government’s emphasis should be on “negawatts” of power and “negatonnes” of coal and oil and a transition to renewables or “green megawatts” over the next 10 to 15 years. The guiding principle should be to minimise the resource intensity of the economy.

India's Current Account Deficit

India's current account deficit has widened in recent years primarily because of the steep increase in the deficit on the merchandise trade account. While imports have grown with the surge in gold imports, export performance has been indifferent despite the fact that India has formalised several free trade agreements. Policymakers will have to move away from a reliance on ad hoc solutions and find ways to address the infi rmities in the domestic economy.

Who Does the Media Serve in Odisha?

A look at the historical trajectory of the media in Odisha shows that it had little to do with business interests till the 1980s. Political interests and state power, especially state-sponsored advertising, were its main drivers. The low-key relationship between the media and business changed dramatically in the 1990s. Corporate and business interests now dominate Odisha's media, both through direct ownership and through advertisements. The mainstream media in the state primarily reflects the interests of certain sections of society, and a model of development that favours corporate dominance and accumulation through dispossession. An alternative media is gradually emerging in the vernacular and on the web, but they face significant challenges.

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