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

Articles by Ghanshyam ShahSubscribe to Ghanshyam Shah

The Condition of Muslims

The Sachar Committee, from its perspective of equity, has brought out the poor economic condition of the Muslims. Addressing this is important, but without ensuring social security and citizenship, our concern for equity is more rhetorical than sincere.

Changing Realities Ignored

Kings and Untouchables: A Study of Caste System in Western India by Rosa Maria Perez; Chronicle Books, New Delhi, 2004;
GHANSHYAM SHAH On the whole anthropological village studies in India have declined since the 1970s. Among the village studies ethnographic analysis of the traditionally untouchable castes are few and far between; and none is from Gujarat. In such a scenario the book under review, an ethnographic village study, is a welcome contribution. The study focuses on caste social order and the position of untouchables therein. It explores binaries

Contestation and Negotiations

The evidence from elections studies suggests that voters are guided by their perception of the performance of the party in power and their evaluation on this count of the contender party, although organisations of political parties and their modus operandi in mobilising voters also play an important role. At this stage the BJP in Gujarat is not in a comfortable position to convince voters about its ability to provide good governance. But that is not enough. The alternative party will have to articulate and highlight vital socio-economic issues. If it fails in doing so,emotional issue will dominate and work in favour of the BJP.

Caste, Hindutva and Hideousness

The Hindutva movement has made serious attempts to forge a unity among Hindus, without disturbing the relative power relations among the castes. The Sangh parivar, for all its rhetoric on upliftment of the dalits, hardly ever raises a voice against castebased discrimination or atrocities against dalits. This ambivalent attitude has led to considerable disenchantment and confusion among the dalits which is exacerbated during times of tension.

Constructing the Past to Understand the Present

Untouchable Pasts: Religion, Identity, and Power among a Central Indian Community, 1780-1950 by Saurabh Dube; Vistaar Publications, New Delhi, 2001; pp 308, Rs 550.

Work and Life at the Bottom

at the Bottom Down and Out: Labouring under Global Capitalism text by Jan Breman and Arvind N Das, photographs by Ravi Agarwal; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2000,

Conversion, Reconversion and the State

The events in the Dangs in the last week of December last year were a continuation of the ongoing persecution of Christians in Gujarat. The dominant section of the majority community, the regional media, many non-government organisations and the state have either joined hands against the minorities and the oppressed or have preferred to remain silent.

Hate Propaganda in Gujarat Press and Bardoli Riots

provocative role in the communal riots of June 25 to 27, 1998 in Bardoli, a small fast-growing town about 30 kms from Surat. They violated all professional norms of journalism. They published fabricated biased and one-sided news reports which greatly contributed towards creating tension in the town. This was the conclusion of a 20-member fact-finding team comprising journalists, Sarvodaya workers, lawyers and professors, including this writer, which went to Bardoli in early July to investigate the truth behind these newspaper reports. The team established this after meeting members of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and police as well as the principal of the local college, social activists and non-party people from the Hindu and Muslim communities in the riot-affected town. Bardoli's population, according to the 1991 Census, is made up of 89 per cent Hindus, 9 percent Muslims and 2per cent Buddhists and others.

GUJARAT-Issueless Campaigns

Issueless Campaigns Ghanshyam Shah With hardly three weeks to go for the polls, internal squabbles, and desperate attempts to enforce party discipline appear to be of more concern to parties than the issues that are uppermost in the minds of people. Neither Ram Janmabhoomi, nor corruption nor Narmada nor even Gujarati 'asmita' figure importantly in the electoral campaigns.

Bureaucracy and Urban Improvement - Can It Made to Last-Post-Plague Scenario in Surat

The city of Surat has undergone a facelift in the post-plague period. Today it is acclaimed as the second cleanest city of the country. How has this sudden change come about? Whose and what kind of intervention made this change possible? Besides cleanliness, what other changes in the spheres of sanitation and hygiene have taken place? What are the constraint and limitations of such an intervention? Such, and other questions are explored by the article as it delineates the relationship between administration and politics, the state and the civil society.

GUJARAT-BJP s Rise to Power

BJP's Rise to Power Ghanshyam Shah The BJP's victory in the 1995 assembly elections in Gujarat was not due to a temporary wave. The party has slowly built its base among the OBCs, tribals and datits in the state. Nevertheless, for a majority of the people who voted for the BJP, its 'Hindutva' plank remained a major consideration for extending support to the party. This was particularly true of the urban middle class voters.

Economy and Civic Authority in Surat

Surat is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Its population has increased three-fold in the last two decades. The mushrooming of mainly fake small-scale industries has contributed to the unplanned growth of the city. Nouveau riche entrepreneurs, bootleggers, power brokers and other lumpens dominate the society and the administration. Water, health and sanitation, traffic and police systems are grossly inadequate and inefficient, and have failed to meet the changing needs of the city population. Absence of the state was conspicuous in the initial stages of the communal riots of 1992-93 and the current plague epidemic. Persistent anxiety, apprehension and fear haunt the common citizens, and distrust of the state boms large in their mind.


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