Culture

Culture

Issue Articles

Desi or Not?

Kamala Harris, Race, and the Indian Diaspora
The Indian-American community’s mixed feelings about Kamala Harris’ candidacy for US vice president spotlight its problem of racism and social conservatism.

Hindustani Music, Patronage Problems and Patreon

Can the subscription-based web platform Patreon help musicians break free of the arbitrary patronage networks that operate in Hindustani classical music ?

In the Name of the Nation

Nietzsche’s Abyss Staring Back?
Sanjib Baruah's new book is 'a prescient ledger' of what Northeast India has become and at the same time 'a cautionary tale' of where muscular policy may take us in the rest of India.

A Novel Virus, A New Racial Slur

In the wake of Covid-19, racial discrimination towards people from the North East has acquired a new edge. The lack of cultural understanding in mainland Indian communities has always manifested itself in slurs and attacks that have increased and not reduced.

A Black Spring

Deepening racial inequality in the US is the fundamental reason for the recent widespread protests. African American economic progress has been worse than that of Dalits in India. Any optimism about the outcome has to confront these features of US society.

Margins and Marginality

The Pathalgadi Movement and Jharkhand Elections 2019
The Pathalgadi movement of Jharkhand drew on Munda traditions to fashion the 2019 electoral defeat of the incumbent party. A unique interplay of an assertion of constitutional rights, local sovereignty and social practices made this a special moment.

Counts and Consequences

Citizenship and Language Identity
Language diversity has always been a given for Indians. The Constitution endorses this diversity as ‘a noble intention’. But as in 2011, the 2021 Census too may see hundreds of languages removed from official records in the service of Hindi-Hindu nationalism.

Naming and Belonging

A Personal History of a North Indian Muslim Clan
Did my Shamsi clan “come” or “convert”? What qana’at made my family remain in India after Partition? Our lives are a confection of history and happenstance. As belonging is questioned and citizenship interrogated, perhaps these personal histories will suffice.

The Revolt of the Upper Castes

The surge of Hindu nationalism in India can be seen as a revolt of the upper castes against the egalitarian demands of democracy. The Hindutva project is a lifeboat for the upper castes in so far as it promises to restore the Brahminical social order.

Desacralising the City of Gods

The Politics of History in Banaras
A personal history of Banaras, the city of many cultures.

Celebrating the Precious Mettle of Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar

During the bicentennial year of the birth of Vidyasagar, what does it mean to celebrate the man and honour his legacy?

Transformative Power of Cricket in India:

Its Potential and its Limits
The first All-India cricket team to tour England opened a small window for the game to be a site for social justice. But a century later that promise in a cricket-mad country remains unfulfilled. A review article around Prashant Kidambi's "Cricket Country".

For A Bahujan Economics

A Personal Statement
Bahujan students face hostility in universities but they cannot give up. They must fight to assert their identity, reject being called “non-meritorious” and master their subjects. One scholar recounts her struggle and demands a more compassionate Economics.

Skilling the Last First

"Our skill ecosystem has to be flexible and inclusive as this can be crucial to overturn the social constructions of worth in a society that is ridden with inequalities."

Tamil Rationalism and Hindu Temples

The Tamils' Self-Respect Movement of Malaysia that successfully preached rationalism and at the same time fought for temple entry for Dalits is a historical example of how contesting beliefs can peacefully co-exist, offering a valuable lesson for India today.

The Story of My English

Can an autobiographically-inclined social history reveal the role of English in shaping caste privilege, regulating class mobility and enabling individual agency? This essay risks an answer.

An Essay for Our Times

Diversity & nationalism are complementary and not antagonistic to each other. The Constitution is built around the principle that Indians can love their country without surrendering any other equally legitimate identity. Ideas to think about on 15 August.

‘Transgression’: Explaining contemporary India

Complex societal transformations can be assessed through their changing normative structures. One can analyse the different social domains in India by focussing on the key concept of ‘transgression’ through an innovative analytical framework for India.

The Cultural Politics of Proxy-Voting in Nagaland

Nagaland’s voter turnouts are often the highest in the country, and it may be so this time around as well. But why was the citizenry of Nagaland so keen to vote for their lone, largely ineffectual representative in the Lok Sabha?
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