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

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Roots of Secularism

Secularism, Communalism and the Intellectuals by Zaheer Baber; Three Essays Collective, Gurgaon, 2006;
IMTIAZ AHMAD Secularism continues to be hotly debated in India, but the terrain over which that debate takes place has become greatly circumscribed. It takes place now around two salient themes: whether secularism has a place in Indian cultural and religious ethos, and whether the adoption of secularism as a state credo has been generative of communal conflicts. This is broadly also the central concern of Zaheer Baber

Why Is the Veil Such a Contentious Issue?

Wearing of the veil among the Arabs, much after the spread of Islam, was more a matter of social status than a religious injunction. It was only later, when western colonial rhetoric began touting the veil as an expression of Muslim backwardness, that it began to be seen as a symbol of retaliation against colonial arrogance. Besides, is the opposition to it out of a concern for women's rights or is it a desire to conform to western thinking?

Court Rulings: Of Eggs and Beef

The ruling by the Chhattisgarh High Court that eggs should not be sold in public places because it hurts the sentiments of vegetarians ignores the preferences of non-vegetarians. Another judgment by the Supreme Court upholding the ban on slaughter of buffaloes along with cows also protects the interests of a particular community. Is the court propagating high caste dietary preferences? In a secular democracy, the role of the judiciary should be to promote pluralism and coexistence rather than take sides.

Changing Notions of the Indian Family

Changing Notions of the Indian Family The Family in India: Structure and Practice edited by Tulsi Patel; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2005;
IMTIAZ AHMAD The study of the family in India originated at the confluence of the two somewhat dissimilar academic disciplines of history and anthropology joined at a later stage by sociology. Early British investigations into the nature of the family in India were of a legal and practical nature aimed at establishing property rights and the responsibility for the payment of revenue. The anthropological concentration of investigations on the family permitted the view of the family as an institution among others. However, the almost exclusive concentration of anthropological investigations on structures perceived as the unchanging basis of events led to the drawing of a rather static picture. Two significant developments have in the past decades brought dynamism to the study of the family. The first is the deconstruction of historical continuity through empirical observation of behaviour. The second is the reintroduction of history aided by the historicisation of gender. This book, the outcome of the decision of the Indian Sociological Society which completes its silver jubilee this year, to publish selections of essays that appeared in the journal, Sociological Bulletin, on a variety of themes, constitutes an attempt to look at the development of the study of the family in India.

India and the Muslim World

If Muslims in India have not been radicalised, which the Wahabi leanings of Saudi Arabia and several other countries in India's neighbourhood would perhaps want to encourage, the explanation does not lie in the depth of India's ties with the Muslim world countries. It lies in the eclectic and diverse nature of Islam in this part of the world and the relative moderation of India's public policies, except for the brief interregnum when the right-wing Hindu nationalist forces were at the helm of national affairs.

Urdu and Madrasa Education

The association of Urdu with Muslims as their mother tongue, a post-independence phenomenon, had damaging consequences for Muslims. It alienated Muslims from areas other than north India from their regional languages and it weakened the case of Urdu for state patronage as facilities for its instruction as part of a secular syllabus could simply not be provided on an all-India level. As this paper points out and what has been seen in other aspects besides Urdu, it was in this aspiration to be an all-India community, they lost sight of what could be achieved regionally or even locally.

Personal Laws Promoting Reform from Within

In the face of the enormous difficulties implicit in the enactment of a uniform civil code, the appropriate course would be for the communities themselves to undertake to rationalise those aspects of their personal laws which stand in conflict with constitutional provisions or fail to pass the test of equity, justice and good conscience. Both, the initiative for reform as well as the creation of institutional structures for building consensus over such reform have to come from within the different communities.

All Academician s Mine

in states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. If the small farm system under private ownership is to sustain such a large population, it must become a highly productive enterprise. This will demand community co-operation. "Under conditions of small and fragmented holdings, it becomes essential that fanners carry out some aspects of farm operations, such as water management, plan; protection and post-harvest technology on a watershed basis.... Owing to the lack of appropriate community action, the efficiency of water use is nor as high as it could be, and also that intensity of cropping pattern is much below the desired levels. Plan: protection is poor because of the absence of an area approach in land-use planning and pest control" (p 451), As for agriculture's potential to generate employment, Swaminathan suggests two avenues: multiple cropping and improved post-harvest technology. Data derived from various centres of the All-Inia Agronomic Research Project of ICAR indicate that appropriate crop sequences can generate considerable additional employment. For example, data from Palampur centre (Hima- chal Pradesh) show that labour require- ment goes up from 181 man-days for Maize-Wheat-Fallow sequence to 450 man-days for Rice-Potato-Potato sequence. In Ludhiana, the labour requirements go up from 251 man-days for Maize-Wheat-Maize fodder sequence to 488 days for Maize-Potato-Mung Hean- Pota'o. Improved and enlarged post- harvest operations generate additional employment.

Threats and Responses-Conversions in Tamil Nadu

Threats and Responses Conversions in Tamil Nadu Imtiaz Ahmad THE question of the conversion of the Scheduled Castes to Islam has been engaging public attention for well over a year. Unfortunately, despite all the publicity that it got and all the discussion that it generated in the national press, the question has not received the kind of serious treatment that it would seem to deserve. On the contrary, the more common tendency has been to press certain popular beliefs as explanations without attempting to formulate logically consistent propositions that would account for the phenomenon. Given its rather sensitive nature in the context of the past memories of the Hindu and Muslim communities, or at least their elite sections, and the recent political history of the country, there would appear to be a strong ease for a serious treatment of the subject.

Muslim Educational Backwardness An Inferential Analysis

The central argument of this paper is that the explanations often advanced to account for the educational backwardness of Muslims in contemporary India rest upon certain questionable assumptions. These are, one, that Muslims are an aggregate community; and two, that the appeal of education is universal to all social strata. Following from this, if indeed Muslims are educationally backward, it is because of some innate religious conservatism which discourages pursuit of secular education, or because of an acute 'minority complex'.

South Asian Studies in Europe-Report of a Conference

January 27, 1979 South Asian Studies in Europe Report of a Conference Imtiaz Ahmad THE fifth European Conference on Modern "South Asian Studies was held this summer under the auspices of the Centre D'Etudes de L


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