September 3, 2021

September 3, 2021

Issue Articles

The Cycles of History

The US departure from Kabul has drawn inevitable comparisons with the exit from Saigon in 1975, but ‘history’s eternal shadow, namely, the future, will always throw up surprises no matter how carefully we curate the past to tell us what we want to believe’.

Front-loading Criminal Justice

Bail hearings and the presumption of innocence
‘To try and satiate society’s lust for punishing and othering a criminal, bail hearings emerge as an alternate site of justice with courts engaging in pseudo-condemnation to justify imposition of lengthy jail terms before a conviction.’

The Making of India’s Linguistic Landscape

India's linguistic landscape is much too vast and diverse to neatly contain within one clean narrative. Various forces — not just linguistic — have shaped individual languages, leading up to the modern forms we use today.

Another Chapter in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is not the exhausted, impoverished, war-weary country the Taliban took over in 1996. Nor are the Taliban the same cohesive force. New aspirations, and pressures from the ground and foreign backers will shape the new regime's governance style.

The Deadly Fever

A people’s history of the influenza epidemic in India
"The history of influenza serves as a reminder of how Indians & individuals across the Global South have long experienced the ravages of epidemics, and how marginalised peoples across the globe made meaning from the devastation as they struggled for survival."

Twenty Years of the ‘Global War on Terror’

Matters have come full circle in Afghanistan, the main theatre of the ‘war on terror’. Chaos is festering in Syria, Libya, Yemen & Iraq. The failure of U.S. justice presages an unravelling of the international order. An alternative could emerge in war or peace

Seven Medallists at Tokyo, Seven Hundred Crowd the Podium

The Indian athletes at Tokyo gave it all they could but a familiar ugliness has surfaced after the event. Officials, politicians, and sponsors are jumping on to the bandwagon of the medallists, while some who failed face the wrath of officials.

CMIE’s Consumer Pyramids Household Surveys: An Assessment

In the absence of timely data from the national official surveys, the large-scale private CPHS have become popular sources of data on current conditions. But problems in the survey design & methodology of the CPHS need to be fixed for more reliable estimates.

India: From the World’s Largest Democracy to an Ethnocracy

The principle that Hindus can rule and marginalise others has firmly established itself beyond the BJP and the RSS. This emerging ethnocracy in India draws on electoral victories and legislative majorities, making formal suspension of democracy unnecessary.

Artificial Intelligence and its Discontents-I

Artificial Intelligence has exploded onto the world in recent years. Part-I of this review essay examines the nature and implications of contemporary AI. Next week, Part-II will address the multiple crises engendered by AI's rapid and widespread deployment.

Artificial Intelligence and its Discontents-II

'Apart from enhancing the powers of surveillance & control by the state, AI is being deployed by powerful corporations in an era of unprecedented influence of capital & stratospheric levels of economic inequality.' The concluding part of a review essay on AI.

Epidemiology of 'Waves' in a Pandemic and What We Could do to Dampen Them

The 'waves' of Covid-19 have become a part of everyday concern. How are these waves created? An epidemiologist discusses the public health social social measures that must be taken to prevent another build-up and the warning signs that we should monitor.

Systemic Gaps in India’s Social Protection Delivery Architecture

The pandemic could have been an opportunity for India's welfare measures to shine. But poorly designed interfaces, centralisation, and lack of accountability have made access difficult, necessitating civil society organisations to step in.

Forum/Letters

“Artificial Intelligence and its Discontents": A Comment and Rejoinder

On Artficial Intelligence
K. Vela Velupillai writes: ‘It was typical for [Alan Turing] … to seek to outdo Bell Telephone Laboratories with his single...

Consumer Pyramids Household Survey: A response and a rejoinder

A Response to Pais and Rawal Mahesh Vyas writes: This is a response to CMIE’s Consumer Pyramids Household Survey:An Assessment by Jesim...

Letters 30 August 2021

More problems in CMIE's Consumer Pyramids Household Survey
Jesim Pais and Vikas Rawal have indeed done a commendable job in assessing the various phases of the Consumer Pyramids...

Letters 23 August 2021

Ethnocracy: A darker state
Ethnodemocracy is an interesting concept, and its application to describe India's evolving polity raises some interesting issues (India: From the...

Are We Ready for the Next Pandemic?

Just before the Christmas break of 2032, there was a surge in the number of people dying after getting sick...

Rebuilding the Left in West Bengal

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) bid to conquer West Bengal in 2021 failed, but the party consolidated its position as...

Letters 9 August 2021

On healthcare in India: A comment, and a rejoinder
The article "Healthcare in India: Towards an Agenda for Change" (August 6, 2021) describes well the Indian health care system in India. However, I...
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