Society

Society

Issue Articles

Brand India and the Making of a New Citizenry

Branding projects to make India appear open for global business has entailed the production of an exclusionary image of the nation and a rewriting of the contract between citizens and state.

Planning the Family, Planning the Nation

India’s family planning programme advertised the small middle-class family as a means to develop the nation. But its top-down approach meant that sterilisations became the default contraceptive option for poor and working class women. This legacy persists.

Jat Power and the Spread of the Farm Protests in Northern India

The combination of caste & farmer identity amongst the Jats in western UP uniquely strengthens the resistance to the farm laws, but also creates barriers to creating lasting solidarities with marginalised groups that the farm movement is trying to incorporate.

Casting Away Misogyny

An important memoir discusses how patriarchy and misogyny in Hindu society are sustained by caste.

The Right to Rest: Women at Leisure

The idea of women at leisure is redolent with derogatory connotations. Yet, snatched between mundane responsibilities, leisure is a space for women to express themselves in personal ways. A photo essay.

The Life and Art of M.S. Subbulakshmi

A new biography gives us a sense of the many personalities that made up “MS”, the extraordinary exponent of Carnatic music, during her life-journey.

India and the Pandemic

The First Year
A collection of 24 essays on how India dealt with Covid-19 in 2020, published by Orient BlackSwan. The essays, with a detailed Introduction, cover the history of pandemics, the early stages, the lockdown, the law, impact on economy & society, and the future.

The Other Indians of the First World War

The Allied victory in the First World War was won on the back of the labour of non-combatant ‘coolies’, whose deployment allowed for swift mobilisation across fronts. A new book narrates the story of their struggles on the battlefields and of their neglect.

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.

‘One Nation’, New India and the Hollowing Out of the Federal Idea

Since 2014, the BJP government has been steadily delegitimising federalism. It has been using soft & hard measures to realise its political & cultural vision of ‘One Nation, One India’, where diversity is discounted & the states’ interests are seen as hurdles.

Ruptured Reality

Fact-checks and counter-checks in the truth trade
In the Indian mediascape, every mechanism through which fact is sifted from falsehood has become questionable. If news organisations do not have an ethical commitment towards factual reporting, fact-checking risks turning into mere performance.

Dharma and Caste in the Mahabharata

Some episodic suggestions
The Mahabharata is peopled by the ‘higher’ castes but there are important personages from the ‘lower’ castes whose presence gives a radical salience to ‘dharma’ as set out in the epic, to the point of even suggesting a subversion of the dominant ideology.

A Sense of a Community

A Journey of Shared Mourning during Moharram
'The shared expression among women majlis during Moharram of an iconic grief that is both personal and communal seems to create a community of women who mourn, who share a sense of the lives of women in the past, and of their lives now.’

The Promise of India: Recalling Dadabhai Naoroji

A new biography brings to the fore Dadabhai Naoroji’s activities in India and England for self-rule and his early socialist and anti-racist thought. It places the ‘Father of Indian Nationalism’ among the leading non-European thinkers and reformers of the time.

Elections, Populism and the ‘Supreme Leader’

The Rise of Authoritarian Democracies
The structure of a democracy has elements that can enable the rise of a strong political executive. We are now witnessing many elected leaders across the world draw upon ‘people’s will’ & aspirations to transform their states into authoritarian democracies.

Covid-19 Accelerates the Transformation of India's Newspaper Industry

India’s newspapers grew by relying on advertising, a dependence that began to unravel before the pandemic struck. Dailies have shut down and journalists have lost jobs. To revive their fortunes, they are now—belatedly—trying to build incomes from digital.

Love Taboos: Controlling Hindu-Muslim Romances

The myth of ‘love jihad’ is sustained through widely circulated illustrations of ‘lustful’ Muslim men and ‘victimised’ Hindu women. These images recirculate decades-old calumnies and make invisible Hindu men’s regulation of Hindu women.

Reading the Local Elections in Kashmir

The J&K polls have not gone according to plan. Politics has been re-energised, the BJP had a mixed outcome in Jammu & the voters of Kashmir have shown their anger. But will the DDC model now be extended to all of India in order to undermine state governments?

India 2020

A collection
A curated set of 35+ articles published in ‘The India Forum’ during a year which began with the demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, ended with the farmer protests against the new farm laws, but was the year of Covid-19.

Has the US Dodged the Rise of Far-Right Politics?

Lessons from the 2020 Presidential Elections
Despite Donald Trump’s defeat, the politics of the far-right maintains its presence in the US polity; but the results of the 2020 election also underscore the potential power of a multiracial working class politics to counter the rise of such politics.

Why I’m Losing Hope in India

A socialist, secular, democratic reflection
It is not the economy that makes one worried for India. It is the flattening of diversity, the undermining of education that gave mobility to so many, and the entire 'banality of evil' around us that makes me lose hope. A young Indian responds to another.

The Power and Contexts of Cartooning

There is a centuries-long tradition in France of poking fun at the state and even the Catholic Church, but it is one thing to critique the rich and the powerful and another to satirise marginal immigrant communities.

What Did You Do in the Last 24 Hours?

Some reflections on India’s first Time Use Survey in historical perspective
The first nation-wide survey of the time spent by men and women on various activities during all 24 hours of the day brings out the gender inequalities in the work that each of them do.
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