ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Rita KothariSubscribe to Rita Kothari

The Making of ‘Sisoti’

Caste has remained implicit in Bollywood, appearing as class or as an unmarked subjecthood located in generalised north Indian identity. Through our article, we seek to understand what might be the grammar of caste representation in the film Manthan, which, in fact, is remembered more as a film about the “Amul experiment,” than about caste. How the word “society” transforms into “sisoti” in the film and how this process of translation leaves the villagers with a residual meaning are analysed in this article. This spillover of meaning eventually helps the characters deconstruct and recalibrate caste relations in the film. Chahat

Past Continuous

In the early 20th century, when K M Munshi was making a name for himself in the literary and cultural sphere of Gujarat, he was both intervening in and departing from the past. Curating elements of the past that suited his equally curated modernity, Munshi exemplifies many connections that become evident of Gujarat in the subsequent years. In this paper, we ask: “What was Munshi’s past?” In other words, whom was he responding to from the 19th century? The period of our inquiry in Munshi’s life is the one that witnessed the famous Patan trilogy. The questions are situated in both cultural history and literature.


Secular, Secularism and Non-translations

This paper traces the conceptual-linguistic journey of the term “secular” in India and shows how its entry into any discussion was accompanied by questions of ambivalence about equivalence. An anxiety around its foreignness; or its inefficacy by being both excessive and inadequate as a word can be traced through multiple sites. It proliferates, meaning many things and nothing at all. What makes it so unsettled, so polyphonic, and therefore ready to be seized? Does that have to do with being neither fully embraced nor ignored, on the threshold of language, as it were?

Farewell, Neeravbhai

The writer recalls her long association with her friend, companion, and interlocutor, the Gujarati poet and intellectual, Neerav Patel.

Scholarship on Banni

I am writing with respect to the review of my book Memories and Movements: Borders and Communities in Banni, Kutch, Gujarat by Aparna Kapadia inEPW (“Sindhiness beyond Sindh”, 26 April 2014).

Caste in a Casteless Language?

This paper focuses on a new archive of dalit writing in English translation. The "archive" has a forced homogeneity imposed by the term "dalit", which embraces an urban middle-class dalit and a member of a scavenger caste; the homogeneity is consolidated by the fact that the translated texts are in an international language. The questions asked concern the relationship between caste and the English language, two phenomena that represent considerably antithetical signs. Dalit writers accept English as a target language, despite the fact that local realities and registers of caste are difficult to couch in a language that has no memory of caste. The discussion shows how English promises to dalit writers (as both individuals and representatives of communities) agency, articulation, recognition and justice. The paper draws attention to the multiplicity of contexts that make writing by dalits part of a literary public sphere in India, and contribute to our thinking about caste issues in the context of human rights.

Interrogating Management Studies: Legacies and Preoccupations

Institutes of management in India need to produce grounded and contextualised research and pedagogy that enable both scholars and students to arrive at a more nuanced, variegated and non-elitist understanding of business practices in the Indian context. This article comments on certain absences and epistemological blocks in management studies in India. This issue is particularly crucial now, given the speed and hardnosed motivation with which management schools are proliferating.

RSS and Sindhi Hindus

RSS and Sindhi Hindus RITA KOTHARI This is in response to Anand Chandavarkar

RSS in Sindh: 1942-48

In colonial Sindh, unequal economic opportunities and widening class cleavages created ruptures in self-perception. The Sindhi-speaking Hindus and Muslims, who hitherto drew their sense of identity from territory, language and sufi masters (worshipped commonly by both communities) began to move towards polarised religious identities. The success of the Muslim League and RSS from 1941 onwards concretised the polarisation (which was neither complete nor uniform). This article builds upon the memories of some Sindhi Hindus who attended RSS shakhas in their teens and early youth and brought with them distinct memories to divided India, a phenomenon undocumented but with considerable implications for the contemporary politics of India.

Sindhis: Hardening of Identities after Partition

Over two million Hindu Sindhis (who formed a religious minority in Sindh, now in Pakistan) migrated to India during partition. Their psychic wounds and ruptures remain unknown to most. Of these ruptures, the most serious one has been the community's move towards hardened identities. Yet less than a hundred years ago, the Sindhis practised a very non-textualised form of Hinduism.

A Germ of an Idea

Early Novels in India edited by Meenakshi Mukherjee; Sahitya Akademi, 2002; pp XX+278, Rs 140 (hardcover).

Short Story in Gujarati Dalit Literature

This essay outlines the historical circumstances that produced Gujarati dalit literature and locates the short story within that tradition. A 'content analysis' of select dalit short stories is provided to acquaint the reader with some of the dominant and not-so-dominant themes recurring in them. Drawing on dalit sociology, the author highlights inequalities and anomalies of representation as they criss-cross with literary narratives and also demonstrates how dealing with them will require a readjustment of the dalit aesthetic.


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