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

Articles by M Madhava PrasadSubscribe to M Madhava Prasad

What Makes a Party a National Party?

To be deemed national, a party has to demonstrate an ability to transcend regional particularities. In introducing the transcendence requirement, the Election Commission appears to propose implicitly, that though in theory all inhabitants of the territory of India are citizens, in practice, their natural-born citizenship is only confirmed by a rite of transcendence.

Fan Bhakti and Subaltern Sovereignty: Enthusiasm as a Political Factor

The problem of popular sovereignty has to be investigated beyond the confines of the republican institutions themselves, in fields where supplementary, virtual formations of sovereignty create community effects that compensate for their lack in the political structure proper. In this essay, the emergence of sovereignty formations around film stars is discussed with particular reference to Rajnikanth, in the context of the challenge posed to such formations by a newly triumphant commodity logic. Far from solving the problem of sovereignty, however, the corrosive power of the economic logic may be expected to create new political crises. An

Reservations and the Return to Politics

The history of reservations in India shows it to have been an instrument of governance, a mechanism for social and political representation, rather than a way of achieving social justice. A return to the foundational moment of the modern Indian nation state to examine the conditions of possibility of political self-constitution that prevailed then will set us on the right track to an understanding of the political role that reservations have played and continue to play in a polity that is divided.

Where Does the Forest Begin?

The abduction of Kannada film hero Rajkumar by the forest brigand Veerappan has far exceeded the bounds of a familiar hostage crisis, instead revealing, clarifying and reconstituting the political sphere on both sides of Karnataka-Tamil border. Today more than three months after the abduction and with no clear end to the crisis, it is critical to take stock of this bizarre event, and its meanings within contemporary Indian political discourse. In the essays that follow, written before Rajkumar's release from captivity, three scholars from Karnataka, Madhava Prasad, Janaki Nair and Tejaswini Niranjana, offer their reflections on the event, on the history of Kannada nationalism and on the cultural productions that construct new meanings of the event, in an attempt to chart the emerging field of forces and its consequences for the shape of not just regional but national political life. In spite of its bizarre and irrational appearance, Rajkumar's abduction is a flash of lightning that reveals, momentarily, the makeshift hinges of the Indian political structure.

Public Modernity Some Issues

M Madhava Prasad Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in Contemporary India edited by Carol A Breckenridge, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1996; pp 261+9, Rs 450.

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