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

Articles by Gyanendra PandeySubscribe to Gyanendra Pandey

Dreaming in English

With the resurgence of nationalism in this age of aggressive globalisation, the call to dream in English is often a demand for conformity with what are declared to be national mainstreams. The demand for unilingualism and conformity is complicated by the idea of dreaming in English as articulated by colonised and subordinated groups in other contexts. What should give us pause, however, is any easy equation of the English language, or Western democracy, with fixed notions of science, rationality, progress and modernity. How might we think through these conundrums and challenges?

Politics and Democracy in Our Time

A shift from policies to that of the politics of the distribution of power and privilege in societies may bring with it recognition of the entirely new ethos of nationalism and democracy in our times. This article begins with this changed ethos by invoking that politics, and especially, a politics of indifference. It deals with two dimensions of the rule of indifference, beginning with the matter of difference as pluralism, and then turning to the issue of lack of sympathy with the here and now, the present generation, those living through the uprooting and displacement of diverse projects of "development." It should become clear from what follows that these two senses of the term, and the practices flowing from them, feed on each other, even if they appear in rather different guises and seem to be directed at very different kinds of objects.

Tapan Raychaudhuri (1926-2014)

Tapan Raychaudhuri was a scholar of deep erudition and a pioneer in exploring new paths and perspectives. A builder of institutions, he will be remembered by generations of students as an accessible teacher and supportive mentor.

Remembering Pandian

M S S Pandian, who passed away in New Delhi after a cardiac arrest on 10 November 2014, at the age of 57, was among the younger members who joined the editorial collective of the Subaltern Studies in 1990.

Un-archived Histories: The 'Mad' and the 'Trifling'

Traditional historians hold that there can be no history without an archive. But how is one to write a history of prejudice where the evidence that identifies or signifies its everyday forms and discriminatory behaviour is scrappy and ambiguous? The common sense of polarised race, caste, class or gender relations is articulated in rarely archived, historically unpretty and unacknowledged actions. Out of what archive is the history of these practices, which are not events, not datable or even nameable, to be written?

Politics of Difference: Reflections on Dalit and African American Struggles

This paper tries to prize away the notion of difference from the rather impoverished sense of diversity and explores how this concept is used by subaltern groups struggling against the hierarchical ordering of social, political and economic power. It argues that the subaltern foregrounding of difference is not a politics that flows from cultural essentialism, but rather a culture that emerges from attempts to work out an alternative political future. The article, with cross-continental comparisons, attempts to extend and deepen our investigations of subalternity, and to return more sharply to the question that feminist and other oppositional movements have raised - how can modern societies and states take account of, and live with, difference?

Appeal for Justice

The following is an edited version of the text of an open letter to Nitish K umar, chief minister of Bihar:

The Subaltern as Subaltern Citizen

The "re-presentation" of the subaltern (a relational position in the way power is conceptualised) as subaltern citizen is not about the technical question of citizenship; rather the claim is about historical agency, and about belonging - in a society and in its self-construction. For 200 years and more, the struggles waged by the oppressed and subordinated, i e, the subalterns, were seen as struggles for recognition as equals. The history of these efforts appeared as a history of sameness. However, in the later decades of the 20th century, this struggle was extended to encompass another demand - the demand for a recognition of difference - the existence of a variety of differences that explained the diversity, density and richness of human experience. It is this paradox that needs to be answered, while debating the construction of a subaltern citizen: how is the long-standing struggle for equality supposed to be folded into this newly asserted right to the recognition of difference?

The Time of the Dalit Conversion

More than a reference to the mass conversion of dalits to Buddhism in 1956 and to other religions in subsequent years, "dalit conversion", in this article, also denotes their conversion to full citizenship that followed with the abolition of untouchability, institution of universal adult franchise, extension of legal and political rights to all sections of the population, with special safeguards for disadvantaged groups. It could also denote a conversion to the "modern" - signified by a certain sensibility, particular kinds of dress and comportment and particular rules of social and political engagement. The time of the dalit conversion is also then the time of Indian democracy â?? a time of definition, anticipation and struggle, as seen in the call to educate, organise and agitate.

India and Pakistan,1947-2002

The self-conception of India and Pakistan in 1947, when they gained independence, and a half century later. What are the terms of the discourse on 'religious conflict' and violence in the subcontinent and what are our criteria for classifying particular events as 'historical' and consequential?

Partition and Independence in Delhi 1947-48

This is a Partition-Independence that we have not always faced up to in our history-writing and our public presentations of that moment of 'liberation'. A focus on the Muslims of a disturbed and high-profile place such as Delhi in 1947-48 allows us to recover something of the suppressed memories of Partition and Independence, at the same time as we ask something about the way in which the history of these events has been written up.  

Community and Violence-Recalling Partition

Community and Violence Recalling Partition Gyanendra Pandey The narratives of the survivors of partition subtly construct in retrospect domains of 'inside' and 'outside' for defining violence of those traumatic days. A desperate act of self-immolation gets transformed into a heroic sacrifice sanctifying the inner domain of the community, while violence in form of revenge gets displaced onto the evilness of the other inhabiting the outside. Neither self-immolation nor revenge are acts of violence in the victims' account; they are acts done as a duty, as a response to the call of the times, securing the life of the community or nation.


Back to Top