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

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Hazardous Journeys

Arrival in the US was never an unmixed pleasure, especially for people from the poorer countries travelling to the 'west'. Things have become worse since September 11, 2001 and the inauguration of the 'war against terror'. This is so now not only in the airports of the west.

'Who Are We?'

Is the making of a national identity a clear-cut, well-defined task that happens once and for all? In seeking to understand the complex genealogy of 'America', one has to consider how amazingly diverse the make-up of American society has come to be over time; how extraordinary the different presences, in terms of colour, religion, and ethnicity, are and have been; the incredible contributions of the marginalised - such as the gospel music, blues and jazz, developed by the African-Americans, or the Tex-Mex cuisine, the pizzas and pastas, the medical and computer wizardry, and the alternative medical and spiritual therapies offered by other 'immigrants'. But alongside the space for these unusual new cultural achievements, there has been an insistence on one way of being, one road to progress, and one manner of being 'civilised'.

Who Decides Our Elections?

The TINA - 'there is no alternative' - argument first developed by the Congress in its heyday is being used emphatically by the BJP today. A similar notion prevailed in the US over the forthcoming presidential elections until recently. There appeared to be no alternative to the popular 'war president' George W Bush. Now, however, there are emerging signs of contest, and of a choice - even in the mainstream media. There is a political debate, and that is in itself significant.

Rethinking Mughal India

Even as Mughal historians remain engaged with the political and economic bases of Mughal power, the study of gender relations at the Mughal court and the rethinking of political, social and cultural milieu in light of new questions that might arise in the domestic sphere is a task that has scarcely begun. Sources where such alternative history exists - visual materials, accounts of women and servants - have been rendered peripheral by existing historiography because they are thought to address trivial matters. But as this paper suggests, it is accounts like Gulbadan Banu Begum's Ahval-i Humayun Badshah that reveal the fluidity and contestation that accompanied the foundations of Mughal rule - its new power and grandeur as well as the hierarchies and traditions that accompanied it.

Hail the Modern Media

The American media's sudden interest in Afghanistan and then Iraq and its equally abrupt waning away is symptomatic of the wider 'anti-intellectualism' of our times, visible in every sphere of public interaction. Nowhere is this apathy and absence of a public debate more marked than on the long-festering Palestine question.

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