October 2010

SUCH A LONG DOUBLE-SPEAK

Talking about the wrong turn on Rohinton Mistry’s book this week, India’s most irreverent sociologist had this gem to offer: “The quality of Vice-Chancellors in this country can be written on the back of a postage stamp, with space to spare,” snorts Ashis Nandy. This paper has spearheaded the pushback against the Mumbai Vice Chancellor’s […..]

GAMES OVER, LET THE PROBE BEGIN

The Games are over, they have been declared a success, our athletes have done us proud and all is well. If you were only reading the Indian press this week then you could be pardoned for thinking that India has just delivered the greatest event in the world. The despair and hand-wringing that we saw […..]

Gujarat beyond Gandhi: notes on identity, conflict and society

The bureaucrat in Ahmedabad was sitting across the table, discussing relief camps, rehabilitation and the elections. It was mid-2002, the drumbeats of Narendra Modi’s election campaign were just becoming audible and the talk was about the discourse of action and reaction, violence and identity, rhetoric and reality. Personally appalled by the violence, she was musing […..]

Ashis Nandy vs. the state of Gujarat: authoritarian developmentalism, democracy and the politics of Narendra Modi

ABSTRACT: This article aims to unravel the rise of Gujarat’s current Chief Minister Narendra Modi . and his brand of personality politics that has dominated Gujarati politics in the past decade. It uses the legal battle between the eminent sociologist Ashis Nandy and the Government of Gujarat, that unfolded in 2008, as a case study […..]

LIP-READING A GENERAL

Ever wondered why Pakistani politicians always seem to launch or run political parties from plush foreign locations? Pervez Musharraf has just launched his All Pakistan Muslim League at a gentleman’s club in Whitehall, Benazir Bhutto ran the PPP for years from Dubai and London, Nawaz Sharif ran his PML (N) from a luxurious palace in […..]

SANCTIONING BELIEF IN LAW

When the Ayodhya dispute first came up before a modern court in 1886, FEA Charmier, the district judge of Faizabad, disposed it off with a sagacious observation. “It is most unfortunate that a masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus,” he argued, “but as that event occurred 356 years […..]