Monday, December 4, 2017

Padmavati: Myth, Hindutva, and Modern India

Dr. Nilanjana Paul

The release of the movie Padmavati, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is the center of current debate between the Mumbai film fraternity and Karni Sena of Rajasthan. Lokendra Singh Kalvi, founder of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena called for Bharat Bandh (All India Shutdown) if the movie is released on December 1. In the wake of the threats, the release of the film has been postponed indefinitely by the producers. Karni Sena,is a caste based Hindu organization, that claims to defend the rights of Rajputs (patrilineal clans associated with warriorhood). Karni Sena has a long history of opposing movies such as the Jodha Akbar and destroying the sets of Padmavati. They claimed that the intimate scene between Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji went against the values and sentiments of the Rajput community. Since then a lot has been written on Padmavati and how it should be open to historical interpretation.This article aims to problematize how both the movie and the opposition faced by it are part of the larger Hindutva project to divide the country based on religion in an already polarized situation.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bolshevik Revolution and Socialism of the Future

Satyaki Roy

People having faith on eternity of capitalism consider seven decades of the grand experiment of human civilization of building socialism in Russia to be a dark tunnel  that ends  in the late 80's with fresh air of liberal democracy and hence revolution deserves a collective forgetting. Even if some bother to look back they seem to be busy in discovering demons and episodes of tyranny somehow nervous in facing the social process that created sparkles of alternative that caught the imagination of the working class and dispossessed people of the world. Non-existence of Soviet Union and the end of Cold War era makes its absence even more pronounced in the context of the current ascendancy of global capital.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pursuit of Rankings: Decoding the Mirage

Rahul Sapkal and Swati Shanker

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception. This very idea of perception i.e., ‘perception of improved economy and ease of doing business’ is implicit in World Bank Group’s Doing Business Report 2018 (“Report”) and India’s significant jump from 130th (in 2016) to 100th (in 2017).  As per the Report India has introduced substantive reforms on 8 out of 10 parameters namely, starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. While the government is busy patting its own back and scoring brownie points for the same, the ground realties present a different narrative. The Report cannot be a true indicator of India’s positive performance as the methodology adopted therein is flawed on majorly two counts. Firstly, it considers only Delhi and Mumbai as the benchmark of developments and secondly, it does not take into account effects of some of the recent major economic reforms viz demonetization and GST reforms.

The Dengue Epidemic in West Bengal

Ushashi Paul 

Charles Frazier, an American novelist had once observed, "disease is nature's revenge for our destructiveness." 

Dengue, according to a standard dictionary is an acute febrile disease of the (sub)tropics caused by the Dengue virus, a flavivirus, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, and characterized by high fever, rash, headache, and severe muscle and joint pain. It is a global hazard since 100 countries have come under its impact so far - worst in Asia. In West Bengal this is being escalated by West Bengal Government's lack of fighting spirits. Calcutta witnessed unplanned growth of urbanization without any drainage and road and a steady decline of civic service. The culture of cleanliness is being mocked by the state agencies. In the cesspool of political authoritarianism, meaningless bureaucracy and endless corruption, the disease has spiraled out of control.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Issues of Land under the Special Economic Zones in India

Santosh Verma

The rising demand for land with the purposes other than agricultural activity including the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), infrastructure development and urbanization, etc. are restructuring the rural transformation and its political economy. To fulfill these demands, land is being acquired from the farmers/individuals which have put the agrarian question (vis-à-vis land question) at the forefront in country’s political spectrum and as well as in the academia. The process, under which land is acquired for these various purposes, historically, goes with the Colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894.  Though, the Act went through several amendments at different times, but its original nature remained intact (Verma, 2015). The original nature is sensed in such a way that the successive Central and State governments under the clause “eminent domain” acquired land and transferred them to fulfill demands from the public sector as well as the demands from private land seeking capitalist agent/agency/firm etc.