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

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The Political Economy of Shadow Finance in West Bengal

The Saradha group's collapse has possibly bankrupted lakhs of small investors robbing them of their life savings and has rendered thousands of its agents jobless. The scam highlights the failure of the government and its regulatory agencies to reign in the mushrooming chit fund companies in West Bengal. It also brings under the scanner the Trinamool Congress' proximity with the tainted group. In the wake of the scandal, the article attempts to understand why the dubious Ponzi schemes have thrived and flourished in the state.

The Language of Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi's oratory captivates his audience. A demagogue's agenda is facilitated via language, which becomes a site of power and violence in the political public sphere. This article looks at Modi's emotionally-charged speeches which are emblematic of his larger political language.

Mainstreaming Modi

Big business and mainstream media are not just hailing Narendra Modi’s arrival on the national stage, but beautifying him and making all that he represents, acceptable to the people.

The Gender Terrorists

"Just being a woman is an act of courage", said the tagline to the 1979 film adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. One can modify that somewhat to suit the Indian situation – just being born a woman in India is an act of courage.

Viva Chávez!

Hugo Chavez came a long way from being a military officer attempting a coup to overthrow Venezuela’s corrupted politico-economic system to leading the “Bolivarian movement” which resulted in massive transformations and support from the Venezuelan people. His death means that his successor has huge shoes to fill, but all indications show that the political space is now prepared to continue Chivismo without Chávez.

Panel Discussion on 'Sexual Violence'

A report of the recent panel discussion held at the Jawaharlal Nehru University that explores the phenomenon of sexual violence in educational spaces. Sexual harrasment by the faculty, intimate partner violence, and repression of the sexuality of women on campus are some of the issues deliberated upon. The panelists call for the revival of a strong and vibrant women's movement to counter deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes on campus.

Quashing Dissent: Where National Security and Commercial Media Converge

Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and expression in India today, seem a distant, almost illusory promise when the politics of the street -- and a loud and seriously misinformed media – are final arbiters of fundamental rights and the defence of privilege is becoming the dominant motif of state policy.

All Out Crackdown on the Working Class in Noida

An activist's account of the working class anger and outrage in the NCR region during the two-day strike. It contradicts the media construction of the workers as a destructive mob. The basis for the anger of the workers lies in the blatant strangulation of industrial democracy, denial of rights to organise and unionise, and the open violation of labour laws, including minimum wage and contract work laws.

Ashis Nandy's Critics and India's Thriving Democracy

Ashis Nandy’s colleagues and well-wishers ought to have publicly questioned the caste-centered comments he made at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Instead, they have turned the issue into one of academic freedom, freedom of speech and the like. India’s self-styled progressives have to learn to treat dissenters with more respect. They may think of themselves as being champions of India’s marginalised. But if the marginalised do not agree with this assumption, they cannot be threatened that they will be “losing their friends”. This attitude that ‘the intellectual’ knows best has to be eschewed and replaced by one of greater humility. They have to stop attributing rationality and reasonableness to themselves and irrationality, emotion, passion and sentiment to the dissenting subalterns.

Pope Benedict XVI: The Final Act

After an eight-year reign overshadowed by controversies, scandals and further alienation of the Church from the modern world, Pope Benedict XVI wins plaudits with the precedent-shattering example of his resignation.

"Forty-Eight Hours": A Home Minister Murders the Constitution with Express Delivery of Death

The rush and secrecy with which Afzal Guru’s execution was carried out under the orders of Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde post the presidential rejection of his clemency petition, is an affront to civilised values enshrined in the Constitution. Considering the circumstances of Afzal Guru’s conviction and execution, could it be said that he simply was a man who had to be eliminated, since he had too much knowledge of the dimensions of India’s two-decade long dirty war in Kashmir?

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: the Verma Committee and After

The committee of inquiry headed by justice Verma is a landmark for the way in which it has inscribed into the very foundations of law, the equality and liberty of India’s women citizens. To uphold the constitutional guarantees afforded to women, it is essential that the rights given to working women in the Vishaka judgment (also delivered by justice Verma) are not elided or compromised, either by the Government’s Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012 or by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013.

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