Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Politics of ‘sedition’: middle-class youth and colonial repression in Kolkata during First World War

Suchetana Chattopadhyay

During the years of First World War, as they experienced economic desperation and racism, middle-class young men in the urban public sphere of Kolkata, posed a problem to the colonial government and to their guardians. Most students were migrants to the city and studied in institutions without any government support. During the war, escalating prices of food and the diminished income of middle-class families directly affected them. Over-crowding in the colleges, dearth of student accommodation, high prices of paper and infectious diseases, such as the small-pox epidemic of 1916, obstructed study.  Emerging as a political constituency during this period, a fact picked up by nationalist and pan-Islamist newspapers that campaigned for student welfare, they could not be expected to offer ‘unflinching’ loyalty to the Empire. Students and youth were officially viewed as potentially seditious and criminalized.

Friday, March 18, 2016

“National”, “Anti-national” and the Sangh Parivar: A critical note

Saqib Khan


Various strands of nationalism emerged in the colonial period; some of the important ones being bourgeois nationalism, anti-imperialism, working class movement, etc. While I acknowledge these strands, in this Note I limit myself to discuss the idea of nation espoused by the Sangh Parivar.[1] Based on some of the works of the founding-fathers of the Sangh Parivar, this Note attempts to critique and reject the idea of nation espoused by the Parivar since the colonial period. The Parivar’s idea of nation has always stood as “Hindu majoritarian”. Any attempt to point out the contradictions in Indian society, like the oppression based on caste, gender, extreme poverty and inequality, religious identity, etc and questioning this idea has been seen as deviation and considered a hindrance in the path of achieving a Hindu Rashtra. The nation was seen in terms of a Hindu majoritarian identity and there was an attempt to build a unified and common Hindu identity. It was here that categories of “national” and “anti-national” were constructed by the Sangh. Any talk of caste and its problem was seen as a ploy of the British and later on other forces to divide Hindu society. This idea of nation was also linked to militarization of Hindu society and admiration for European fascists. My note argues that this idea of the nation goes back to the founders of the Sangh Parivar and remains largely intact even today.  Recent developments in Hyderabad Central University (HCU), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) should be seen in this light. The note argues that in the wake of recent developments across the country it becomes important to reject the Parivar’s idea of ‘nation’, which has always defined “nation”, “national” and “anti-national” in its own terms.  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Critique on the Process of Identification of Poor Under the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011

Shantanu De Roy


The data of Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC 2011) was partially published by the Union Rural Development Ministry on July 3, 2015. The Ministry of Rural Development of the Government of India had initiated the Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 in June 2011 for both rural and urban areas. Information on large number of social and economic indicators was collected from households across the country. The three stated objectives of SECC 2011 were following: