Three Essays Collective

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Indian Society and the Secular

Romila Thapar‘s new book of essays, Indian Society and the Secular, arrives at a time when India is facing its greatest challenges since Independence in 1947. With ultra right in power and forces of Hindu nationalism out to revise the very idea of a pluralistic, democratic and secular republic and recast it into a Hindu rashtra. She argues that secularism is not alien to Indian society and its intellectual traditions.

romila

 

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Reality that stinks

“Dalits and Adivasis in India’s Business Economy: Three Essays and an Atlas” captures the experience of doing business in a caste-conscious social environment

KULDEEP KUMAR writes in The Hindu, 5 March 2016:

The suicide of Dalit researcher Rohith Vemula, termed “institutionalised murder” by many a commentator, has focused the nation’s attention on the status of the Dalits and other disadvantaged sections of our society as we approach the 70th anniversary of the country’s Independence next year.

Despite the “Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan” (“Clean India Campaign”) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not much has changed on the ground and there are an estimated 1.3 million manual scavengers in the country. Manual scavenging is a euphemism for removing faeces from dry toilets and open drains by hand and carrying them to the place of disposal. For centuries, this task has been forcibly thrust upon the members of the untouchable communities – a recent report informs us that of the 1.3 million manual scavengers, nearly 90 per cent are women. Thus, besides being an issue of caste-based discrimination, manual scavenging also involves gender-based discrimination.

Despite this shameful reality, it is also a fact that many Dalits like Rohith Vemula have tried to improve their lot by getting education and gainful employment. However, whenever we discuss the condition of the two most disadvantaged communities – Dalits and tribals – we seldom look at their role in the country’s economy in general and corporate world in particular. The same holds true for the other disadvantaged community – that of the Muslims who constitute the largest minority group in the Indian society.

Three Essays Collective, a one-man publishing house started by well-known Hindi poet Asad Zaidi to make a meaningful intervention, has brought out an excellent book titled “Dalits and Adivasis in India’s Business Economy: Three Essays and an Atlas”. It has been written by Barbara Harriss-White, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies at the Oxford University, in collaboration with Elisabetta Basile, Anita Dixit, Pinaki Joddar, Aseem Prakash and Kaushal Vidyarthee.

Ten years ago, Three Essays Collective had also published a pioneering study “Muslims in Indian Economy” written by Omar Khalidi. Reading both these books together, one gets an idea of how dismal the situation really is and, in the absence of corrective measures, how this can lead to fault lines one day erupting with serious consequences for the nation and its polity.

To read rest of the review, please go here

Following DD Kosambi

Ram Ramaswamy

Some years ago, a friend of mine at JNU proudly told me about a book that he had picked up from the library “sale”, a book that had once belonged to D D Kosambi (DDK). Apparently it had not been checked out for years, and was therefore deemed unworthy of staying on in the library, as if finding a place on the library shelf was just some sort of evolutionary game, a survival of the fittest and no more…

The JNU had, at some point in time, acquired Kosambi’s personal collection of books, that was, according to Mr R P Nene (DDK’s friend and assistant, in an interview in June 1985) “sold by his family after his death to the JNU at the cost of Rs. 75,000.” Details of how this happened are not too clear- Kosambi died in 1966, the JNU was founded in 1969, and the initial seed of the JNU library was that of the “prestigious Indian School of International Studies which was later merged with Jawaharlal Nehru University.” Our website goes on to say that the “JNU Library is a depository of all Govt. publications and publications of some important International Organisations like WHO, European Union, United Nations and its allied agencies etc. The Central Library is knowledge hub of Jawaharlal Nehru University, It provides comprehensive access to books, journals, theses and dissertations, reports, surveys covering diverse disciplines.”

The full text is here

DDK pic

“A lingering pain that seeps slowly and eternally through the flooded scars of Kashmir”

Hufaiza Pandit reviews Of Gardens and Graves

To read Of Gardens and of Graves is to witness the coming to life of Yeats’ famous line: “A terrible beauty is born”. It is to be reminded, if ever a reminder was needed, of the lingering pain that seeps slowly and eternally through the flooded scars of Kashmir, the scowl of the last half a century that darkens the fate of every subject, born under the auspices of its melancholic sky. It is hard to classify the book into a genre as it repudiates traditional hierarchies by refusing to be neatly categorized into one – it is simultaneously a memoir, a critical commentary, an anthology, collaboration, and a history all rolled into one, held together by a single source- Kashmir.  An arbitrary classification of the book structure could be that the book comprises of three basic divisions: Essays, translations and photographs. On a reading, though, the narratives under each rubric just blend with each other, without any manifest hierarchy.

To read the full review click here http://theluxembourgreview.org/2015/08/08/of-gardens-and-graves-by-suvir-kaul-a-review/

javed dar 5 aug

Perry Anderson remembers Praful Bidwai

Praful Bidwai
On publication of The Indian Ideology, I was asked by Praful Bidwai if he could interview me about it for Outlook. I was then in France, and our exchange was conducted by email. … [Before this] I had met Praful just once, at a conference in Delhi in 2010, at which I remember him gently reproaching me for being uncritical of India’s intervention in East Bengal in 1971. After the interview, however, he would unfailingly send me his articles on political and social developments in the Subcontinent. From these I formed a great admiration for him as a writer and an activist. To my knowledge, few journalists anywhere in the world possessed the combination of human and intellectual qualities that was his: clarity of expression, independence of mind, balance of judgment, warmth of feeling, in the service of solidarity with the poor and the oppressed, not only in India, but anywhere in the world. He was extraordinarily productive, and completely unsectarian, in both sympathy and outlook. His sudden death in July of this year has deprived India of one of its finest spirits of the contemporary period.

perry anderson(Excerpted from The Indian Ideology. Note to the Second Edition.)
Link to the Outlook interview:
http://www.outlookindia.com/…/respect-gandhi-if-you-…/282832

Of Gardens and Graves: Review by Gowhar Fazili in Biblio

To Speak of Kashmir

Of Gardens and Graves

Picture (88)

 

“In our world, official stories are repeated ad nauseam by every form of government or corporate media, and most often these stories have more to do with administrative convenience than with people’s lives. One of the most important tasks of writers is to produce accounts of experiences and events that contest official myopia and lies. Now, as you say, there are a number of writers who are doing just that, and doing so convincingly. I also believe that academics have a special responsibility to pay critical attention to such cultural productivity, and thus to make it part of larger conversations across the globe.”

Suvir Kaul in conversation with Majid Maqbool

Full text: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2015/Apr/27/-we-have-to-repair-trust-and-rebuild-homes–18.asp

 

Keeper of Memory

On Eduardo Galeano

… Galeano’s death on April 13 is like the death of Gabriel García Márquez last year. The departure of both is a huge loss for the continent. Both knew how to tell a tale: one could bring his literary talent into play in histories of imperialism, of everyday life, of football; the other his historical sense and chronicler’s skill into fiction. Both started as journalists and remained rooted in the tradition of radical reporting. Their approach to writing has sometimes been described, quite carelessly, as “idiosyncratic” and “magical”; something to be clubbed with gonzo journalism. That is nowhere near a fair description of the style, let alone the substance, of their work and lives….

For the full story go to: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/radical-storyteller/

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