Society

Society

Issue Articles

Bearing Witness to the Covid-19 Lockdown

Migrant Workers in Proof Regimes
During the lockdown, migrant workers have produced ‘proofs’ to lay claim to promised aid, display grief and gratitude, and to archive violence they faced. These fragments from the worker-as-witness throw up critical questions on practices of welfare and aid.

Jammu and Kashmir’s New Domicile Law

Justice for some, repression for many
Jammu and Kashmir’s new domicile law recognizes the rights of marginalized Hindu communities that had earlier been locked in social exclusion. But giving rights to one set of groups while simultaneously taking away the rights of Kashmiris is not justice.

A Moment for Civilizational Introspection

The devastating effects of the pandemic upon the working poor should be a recognition of the collapse of our moral centre as a nation and as a people. The elite have exiled the poor from their conscience and consciousness.

Ambivalences of 'Creep'

Citizenship, Personhood and the Second Digital Turn
As autonomous ‘citizens’ capable of acting on the responsibilities that go with Constitutional rights have been technologically replaced by populations to be ‘managed’, what we see is the populist abstraction of the ‘people’ being used against actual people.

The Three Farm Bills

Is This the Market Reform Indian Agriculture Needs?
The rules of the game in markets have changed dramatically. But there are problems with the fundamental premise of the approach, there are doubts about the future of state intervention & there are major lacunae in the bills, all making the outcome uncertain.

Idea of Social Stock Exchanges for India

Social enterprises have the potential to make a significant impact on India's society and economy, but they struggle to find sustained funding. Social stock exchanges can help bridge the funding gap and create an investment ecosystem for such enterprises.

How can more women take up paid employment?

The abysmally low participation of women in paid work in India even today is very worrying. Policy interventions should look at how to encourage higher work participation, through offers of higher wages and better social security.

Academic Freedom In India

A Status Report, 2020
Academic freedom is about the right to study, teach and research a diversity of viewpoints. Yet, this right that is so crucial for the pursuit of knowledge has seen widespread attacks in colleges and universities across India.

The Architecture of Democracy

Central Vista and a Tale of Three Axes
The imperial Central Vista in Delhi has been transformed since 1947 into a symbol of democratic India. But the proposed redevelopment will reduce public space, highlight the spectacle of government and seems to reflect the authoritarian turn in our democracy.

Fraternity: The Missing Link of India’s Democracy

Fraternity—bandhuta—is the most radical and important idea of our times, the necessary foundation to fight all the world’s injustices, hate and inequalities.

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 ?

Covid-19 and the Spectres of Colonialism

India’s lockdowns and questionable experimentation with vaccines and drugs to fight Covid-19 eerily mimic its colonial past.

The Pedagogical Problems of the Census

The policy in the census of ‘rationalising’ languages has a debilitating impact on the speakers of unrecognised languages; they are condemned not to access education in their own languages.

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.

Towards Universal Health Coverage?

Taking stock of two decades of health reforms in India
A survey of reforms in health policies in India over the past two decades – actually a string of privatisation policies – indicates that we have moved away from and not towards Universal Health Coverage. What then needs to be done?

Exodus Constitutionalism

Mass Migration in Covid Lockdown Times
Multiple disasters and mass catastrophes have been on display in the migrant crises following the Covid-19 lockdown. In its light, India’s constitutionalism might be called ‘Exodus Constitutionalism’, a development that threatens to devalue citizenship.

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.

Situating the Biology of Covid-19

A Conversation on Disease and Democracy
‘Struggles for a more just, fair, inclusive, or caring politics in the time of Covid-19, need to be grounded in the everyday work of building institutions, supporting the vulnerable amongst us, and cultivating a deeper ethic of mutuality.’

Making Indian Cities Habitable

The Legacy of Patrick Geddes
The social & environmental problems of a rapidly urbanising India were anticipated a century ago by the Scottish town planner Patrick Geddes. It may be time to redeem & rehabilitate Geddes’ themes of respect for nature, democracy & architectural traditions.

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.

States’ Loss of Fiscal Autonomy in a Centralised Federal System

The states bear the larger responsibility in dealing with Covid-19 but they have few resources to do so. The ongoing process of centralisation has weakened the states. We need an institutional mechanism to oversee bargaining between the centre and the states.

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.

Hunger Grows as India’s Lockdown Kills Jobs

Results of a Survey from 12 States
The lockdown has devastated livelihoods at unprecedented levels, causing widespread job losses and hunger. The measures so far will not solve the crisis. India should universalise the PDS, expand cash transfers, and create a national job guarantee scheme.
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