History

History

The india forum

Counts and Consequences

Citizenship and Language Identity

Issue Articles

Manufacturing Epidemics

Pathogens, Poverty, and Public Health Crises in India
India's Covid-19 crisis is one effect of a decades-long process that has produced impoverishment, hunger, and ill-health, all at once. Its history of epidemics can offer insights into understanding the structural roots of its poor public health infrastructure.

‘The Government Will Come To Its Senses’

Calcutta’s Workers and the Plague of 1898
The plague of 1898 brought Calcutta's workers out into the streets to strike against low pay & forced inoculation. The disorders during the epidemic gave the working class their first opportunity to organise themselves & to build up the city’s labour movement.

Past and Present

Can India Beat Corona the Way It Beat Smallpox?
The eradication of smallpox in India in the 1970s may throw light on the evolving corona strategies. The attempts, then & now, operate against the backdrop of a destitute landscape, & increasingly a bigoted one, where some lives are more expendable than others

The Rise of the Populist State

A populist idea has developed that an entrenched elite is exploiting deprived people. This then drives populist anger that certain types of leaders take advantage of and exploit through rhetoric and a clever manipulation of facts.

Revisiting Partition Debates

The Global Connections
Partition debates in India drew on the League of Nations’ discussions on minorities in the nation-states created after World War I. The League’s legacy persisted beyond Partition, even making a ghost appearance in the controversy over Assam's NRC.

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 Ayodhya Verdict Dissected

A close analysis of the Supreme Court's final judgement on the Ayodhya dispute that has been criticised as much as it has been praised for how it has brought about closure

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?

When the Past Melts

Bhagat Singh as a Reader
Bhagat Singh always surrounded himself with a library. His eclectic reading tastes ranged from the classical tradition to high modernity. Decoding his reading habits reveals a futuristic paradigm for the Idea of India.

India 2019

A curated set of 25 articles published in "The India Forum" during the past year that described, discussed and critiqued the many important events that took place in India in 2019, a momentous year when a project to reshape the country was begun.

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".

Life with the Mahatma

The first volume of the translation of the diaries of Manu Gandhi, niece of Mohandas Gandhi, give a detailed account of life at the Aga Khan Palace jail in Pune where the Mahatma was interned during the Quit India movement, and where Kasturba Gandhi died.

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 Republic and the Kashmir Valley

From Federalism to “Internal Colonisation”
India’s political experiment over seven decades had shown that federalism can accommodate diverse policies for diverse identities and thus strengthen democracy in a plural society. That has now been set aside by the Government of India’s actions in Kashmir.

What Made the East India Company So Successful?

Analysis Goes Missing in Dalrymple
William Dalrymple's book on the East India Company is written very well and has a great deal of detail. But the writing of good History needs more. It calls for a consideration of all relevant facts and a comprehensive analysis. This is unfortunately missing.

Gandhi: A Player of Infinite Games

Even radical dissenters have experimented within some boundaries. Gandhi played with boundaries themselves in nearly every domain of life — politics, sexuality, culture, knowledge. He was uniquely a player of infinite games with a vision of life as play.

Article 370, Federalism and the Basic Structure of the Constitution

Article 370 is a permanent and not temporary provision of the Constitution that assures Jammu and Kashmir autonomy. Its content may have been hollowed out but it remains important for the people of Kashmir. Calls to scrap it are based on a misinterpretation.

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.

What Happens when Capital Evades the Nation

The new politics in Europe and the United States of whipping up hate of the outsider in the name of nationalism has its roots in the tensions between global and local capitalism.

The Crisis of Citizenship in Assam

Autonomy and social justice are often in a tense relationship in Assam. While the demands for autonomy reflect the desire for territorial control over land, demands for social justice reflect an insistence on citizenship and equality under constitutional law.

The Historian and Chauvinism

Historians, when practising their craft, must not be vulnerable to the chauvinism of their discipline, or of method, identity and ideology.

Understanding the Life and Philosophy of Gandhi

Was Gandhi a Mahatma or a mass leader who was political strategist par excellence? Or is it wrong to even think in terms of such a dichotomy? Reflections on understanding a remarkable personality.
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