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

Articles by Arup MaharatnaSubscribe to Arup Maharatna

Invasion of Educational Universe by Neo-liberal Economic Thinking

The early 1960s witnessed attempts at constrictive reinterpretation of the role and purpose of education in terms of ideological premises, concepts and methodology of neoclassical economics, with "economics of education" being founded. In this newly-founded economic discourse, education is seen as a vehicle for "human capital formation", a key both to avowed growth of aggregate economy and to upward economic mobility of individuals/households. An increasing dominance of this narrow neo-liberal view of education has undermined the long-standing hold of the pre-existing vision and liberal view of education wherein it is a means not only to material progress but also to higher level of civilisational ethos, enlightenment and democratic citizenship.

A Revolution of Mobility in Asia

Migration and Diaspora in Modern Asia by Sunil S Amrith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 2011; pp xvii+217, Rs 4,786.

Development of What? On the Politics of Development Economics

It could possibly be sheer historical coincidence that development economics as a distinct branch of economics was born at a time when the cold war was blossoming. But the question as to what has subsequently happened to the fate of the sub-field along with the trajectory of the cold war - the great "intangible" battle fought mainly in the spheres of ideology, economics, politics and propaganda between the capitalist and socialist blocs - cannot be similarly left as a historic fluke. A detailed substantive academic attempt at examining/establishing the latter apprehension has so far remained suspended or sometimes just taken for granted in most retrospective accounts of development economics. This paper makes a systematic study of the issue and argues that the evolution of development economics has been heavily mediated by international politics and that development economics, as it exists in the post-cold war era, entails a great delusion in relation to its original purpose, promise and priorities.

How Can 'Beautiful' Be 'Backward'? Tribes of India in a Long-term Demographic Perspective

Although the demography of tribal people cannot loom large in India's overall demographic scene, demographic features in tribal societies have often been distinct and distinguished both in historical and comparative perspectives. This evaluation of the overall demographic features and their common sociocultural underpinnings in the tribal population focuses on the nature and strength of the well-known connection between sociocultural milieus and demographic behaviour. It highlights the Indian notion of "tribe" and its comparative position vis-à-vis the mainstream since the late last century, especially in the contemporary context of development and globalisation.

Demography of Tribal Population in Jharkhand 1951-1991

Jharkhand's tribal population has, since post-independence, persistently experienced a slower population growth than the non-tribal groups. The low natural rate of increase of the tribal population does not suffice to explain this slow growth. In the recent past, substantial tribal outmigration to other states over a long period appears to have been a major cause of this trend. However, as this paper proposes, the gradual drying up of demand for migrant labour, displacement and subsequent disruption of livelihood patterns, inaccessibility to healthcare and other services have placed the tribals at a disadvantage. This is manifest clearly in slower declines (or even increases) in mortality levels among Jharkhand's tribals.

Bengal Dreaming

A philosophy of 'dreaming' occupies a central place in the Bengali mindset. However, the trouble arises when action does not transcend the act of dreaming. The substantial joy out of sheer 'wishing' the fulfilment of one's remote desires could obstruct development of an attitudinal climate where one's role and value in society is measured mostly in terms of actual performance and achievements rather than potentialities and promises.

'Brighter Side' of Seasonal Migration

The paper is based on field surveys of two locations of rural West Bengal during the1990s. It presents contrasting scenarios of fertility behaviour and its transition for a tribe, namely Santals, between two locations as well as between Santals and lower caste people in the same village. The Santals of Chitrihutu, who migrate seasonally, evince not only low fertility, but they indeed appear far ahead of non-migrating Santals of Thupsara in terms of contraceptive practices and fertility control. The positive role of seasonal migration in hastening fertility transition has been the central message of the present study.

Migration, Mediocrity and `Misery'

While there is considerable literature on international migration of professionals from developing countries and its implications, that is �brain drain', such migration among states within India has not been well studied. An examination of census data provides evidence of large outmigration of qualified and skilled human power from states like West Bengal to relatively faster growing areas in the country affecting the efficiency and economy of the home state.

India's Family Planning Programme: An Unpleasant Essay

This paper takes a fresh critical look at the evolution of India's family planning programme (FPP) and at its performance and failings. It addresses India's apparently contradictory position of having a pioneering role in the global population control movement and also being branded as a country of 'demographic inertia'. This puzzle is in large part due to a deep contradiction and confusion that has continued from the very beginning to inflict the policy-makers and political leadership, especially about the potential of FPP per se in reducing fertility. A tension between the felt urgency of population control and a stubborn scepticism about the effectiveness of a voluntary FPP in the context of a slow socio-economic transformation, has fed into further confusions and chaos relating to the choice of policy instruments and programme strategy. This is brought into sharper focus by the success story of Bangladesh's family planning programme. The most prominent deficiencies and mistakes of India's family planning programme are, it is argued, related largely to a typical bureaucratic (and perhaps political too) predilections, hazy perceptions about effective strategy, and relatedly a chronic mismatch between expressions of priority and actual fund allocation to FPP, which were confounded by a distinct lack of openness (until very recently) towards the experience and expertise of the international community.

'Work Culture': Myth and Reality

Is poor work 'culture' culturally rooted at all? If this were so,then sloth and poor work discipline would be evident across all sectors. As it is, it affects only or primarily the state sector and may well be rooted in the cumbersome administrative practices that are in place.

Tribal Fertility in India

While there is a massive ethnographical and anthropological literature on Indian tribes, relatively little attention has been paid to tribal patterns of demographic behaviour, especially in a historical perspective. Systematic studies of tribal demographic behaviour can, however, provide important insights into how different patterns of demographic behaviour can be attributed to socio-cultural differences. Evaluating fertility differences between tribal and nontribal groups in the past may prove useful for a better understanding of contemporary differences in fertility and their determinants. This paper analyses tribal fertility in comparative perspective, in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Children s Work Activities, Surplus Labour and Fertility-Case Study of Six Villages in Birbhum

Real gains from a large number of children depend crucially on the amount of land owned by the family and off-farm job opportunities. Since both are available in negligible amount, children's participation in productive work not only disguises surplus labour but also substitutes adult work-hours, thus in no way alleviating household poverty. In fact, on the basis of a survey, the article notices a concealed need for fertility regulation among poor couples, and suggests dissemination of knowledge and delivery of family control methods at affordable price.


Back to Top