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

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The Second Gujarat Catastrophe

The second act of the catastrophe in Gujarat was carried out within parliamentary portals, in the course of the debate on the Gujarat violence which exposed the hypocrisy that while political discourse might concern itself with people's anguish, it is in reality driven by aspects of competitive politics. Even as extraordinary violence was perpetrated on Indian women, it was women's bodies that provided the necessary domain for the assertion of competitive party politics - a fact reflected in the arguments and counter-arguments offered during the debate. As this essay suggests, the ominous final message that seeps through is that constitutional governance can achieve little except normalise violence, almost as a social cost of democratic politics, in which even structured practices of governance are established that deny as well silence women's sufferings. The task for the 'active citizen' thus is to frame imaginative patterns of social action that would not merely empower victims but also adequately present the voices of suffering, giving voice to the anguish - a task that could effectively challenge the newly instituted narratives of 'pride' and 'honour'.

Fifty Five Years of a Feudal Democracy

The 55th anniversary of independence day should be an occasion to rejoice and celebrate. But is it? A brief perspective on where we stand in the comity of nations; what is happening in the country in terms of our governance, our mental attitude and stances.

Electoral Identity Politics in Uttar Pradesh

Three developments, namely, the decline of parties, poor governance and a growing financial crisis with negative economic growth are collectively responsible for the political instability Uttar Pradesh has experienced. Due to ethnic mobilisation, parties confined to their narrow sectarian bases have been unable to aggregate public opinion, obtain majority support and form stable governments. This has led to short-lived coalitions, which have not been able to formulate long-term policies that can address the felt needs of the people contributing in turn to the breakdown of governance and instability. Fiscal indiscipline by governments has also pushed the state into a debt trap and serious economic decline, which is responsible for the disillusionment among the electorate witnessed in the recent elections. These negative features have developed since the late 1980s. The paper concludes that reform of parties is an urgent necessity without which the prospects of a functioning party system, effective governance and political stability remain dim.

Corruption under the Scanner

Global Corruption Report 2001
edited by Robin Hodess et al;
Transparency International, Berlin,
2001;
pp 314, price not stated.

Democracy and Hunger

The Politics of Hunger in India: A Study of Democracy, Governance and Kalahandi’s Poverty by Bob Currie; Macmillan India, Chennai, 2000; (cloth) Rs 350.

Making the Gram Sabha Work

Non-participation of the rural people has hobbled the development of the gram sabha, denying the true benefits of this institution to the people. The concept of gram sabha has also not been grasped clearly, right from the policy-makers to the villagers. A gram sabha needs to generate a feeling of belonging. The real challenge now is to 'reconnect' the sabha, by communicating clearly its function and purpose both at the individual and public levels

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