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

Articles by Valerian RodriguesSubscribe to Valerian Rodrigues

Being Dalit

Caste Matters by Suraj Yengde, Gurugram: Penguin Random House India, 2019; pp 325, ₹ 599.


Politics of Defections and BJP Strategy in Karnataka

Defection and re-election of the members of the legislative assembly in Karnataka is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s larger strategy in the state. This strategy aims to broad-base the party across castes and communities and ensure its autonomy from being dependent on any of them. In the face of this strategy, the Congress has the challenge of defining its social identity.

The Call for a National Code of Conduct

What are the resources and concerns that can contribute to a substantive ethical code for the political class from the experience of the working of parliamentary democracy in India? Such a code need not put a damp squib on the ideological fervour of political parties but set them an anchor. A vibrant democratic culture is a better ground for the cultivation of social values than much preaching, be it in the classroom or in other public fora.

Changing Contours of the Political Regions of Karnataka

Media reports of the recent Karnataka assembly elections tended to see the state as made up of distinct regions and marked their boundaries to accord with the political–administrative territories prior to their unification in 1956. While a residual presence of regional identity still persists overdetermining class, caste and community relations, linguistic and speech practices, religious and cultural sensibilities, politically, the region has come to mean very different things in the electoral battlegrounds of the state. In recent years, equations across castes and communities have been recast precipitating intense social churning and political realignments within and across regions of yore.

Ambedkar as a Political Philosopher

Existing studies on B R Ambedkar largely focus on his substantive religious, sociological, political and constitutional concerns, and not on the concepts he deployed for the purpose or modes of his argumentation. His body of work demonstrates that he formulated a number of concepts to take stock of the social reality that he confronted, and/or reformulated existing concepts by critically engaging with the body of scholarship available to him. With regard to the conception of the political, he advanced a comprehensive and consistent design of what it means to live as a public and how best to do so in a setting very different from the West.

Statement of Social Scientists

We, as social scientists, scholars, teachers and concerned citizens, feel extremely concerned about the lynching at Dadri, and the murders of scholars and thinkers like M M Kalaburgi, Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and others, and wish to register our strong protest.

Political Power and Democratic Enablement

Lower-caste mobilisation and organisation continues to inspire much of political imagination in India as being integral to processes of enablement and democratic inclusion. But there can be inclusion without enablement and, at times, attempts at enablement without inclusion. This paper is a critical exploration of one of the important experiments led by Congress leader Devaraj Urs in the 1970s in Karnataka that sought both inclusion and enablement of lower castes by deploying the resources of political power.

Analytical Rigour and the Big Bazaar of Scholarship on Indian Politics

Routledge Handbook of Indian Politics edited by Atul Kohli and Prerna Singh (London and New York: Routledge), 2013; pp XV + 393, £140 (hardback)

Konkani: The Script Controversy

Written in multiple scripts ‒Roman, Nagari, Kannada, Persian-Arabic and Malayalam‒ the Kokani language today finds itself at the centre of a debate where arguments are being proposed to establish the primacy of one script over the others. The script controversy in Konkani is deeply enmeshed with issues of belonging, dignity, access to resources and the idea of nation that one wishes to cherish.

Politics and Pedagogy

School texts that teach young minds that politics is a contentious and critical but reasonable activity, that it is not merely a set of demands and commands, and that politicians have to be responsive and accountable are naturally disliked by the political class. This is the tone of all the Political Science textbooks of Standards IX-XI brought out after 2006. The nurturing of a culture of critical public opinion seems threatening to the wielders of authority. Hence, the call to sanitise the entire range of texts.

In Search of an Anchor: Muslim Thought in Modern India

Muslim intellectuals in India share a set of specific concerns that set them apart from their counterparts in other religions. These concerns are the relationship between faith and modernity and that between revelation, plurality of beliefs and culture which have led to a number of political positions. This paper highlights the features of six influential positions through the writings of one significant thinker from each tradition. Every one of these thinkers responded differently to two overarching concerns. They either engaged with the philosophical principles of modernity, or thought that modernity as a set of skills could be grafted onto the foundational principles of Islam or that a different world could be created by picking out the principles ingrained in the Islamic tradition.

Reading Texts and Traditions: The Ambedkar-Gandhi Debate

Gandhi and Ambedkar differed in their understanding of modernity, in assessing traditions and in proposing options for India and the world. However, across their disagreements there was much that united them, not merely on issues and concerns, but on substantive positions as well. Their hermeneutic engagement provides a privileged site to highlight the reasons that kept them apart and the concerns that brought them together. A perusal of their writings that offer their conceptual frameworks and paradigms demonstrates why they have had a differing but lasting impact on the constituencies and issues they addressed.


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