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

Articles by Peter Ronald deSouzaSubscribe to Peter Ronald deSouza

The Infosys Prize

The current state of knowledge emerging from a variety of public institutions is assessed through the application of a proxy indicator: the Infosys Prize. The prize, which seeks to reward “world-class research” by Indian scientists and scholars, is assessed by reviewing the different laureates...

Harvard’s Trolley Problem

The most troublesome of questions, the relationship between intellectuals, truth and truthfulness is discussed. The site for the investigation is Harvard University, whose motto is Veritas (truth), and the case discussed is Harvard’s long association with the disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, convicted for paedophilia but whose relationship with Harvard continued long after the conviction. Using the details described in the report of the internal committee, it is argued that a huge gulf exists between the intellectual’s ideal of “speaking truth to power,” the illusion, and the practice of complicity, falsehood and co-option by power, the reality. The analytical method advocated is the “trolley problem,” which is used to highlight the difficulty of moral choices.

Dharma and Adharma

The point of departure of this article is B R Ambedkar’s observation, when presenting the draft Constitution, that India was entering a “life of contradictions.” One such contradiction, between the noble pronouncements of the Supreme Court, especially in the last four years, and the lived reality of vulnerable groups, as illustrated by the four cases discussed, is considered. The coexistence of these two worlds of light and darkness is questioned.

Politics of the Uniform Civil Code in India

The debate on the Uniform Civil Code in India has passed through three phases which have been grounded in different normative concerns, that is, national consolidation, equality of laws, and now gender justice. Since the normative goals of a polity and political contingency are in a perpetual struggle in India, the time is appropriate for us to visit the UCC debate with a view to strengthening our constitutional democracy. This article after presenting an overview of the debate suggests that there are mainly two paths to follow to meet this aspiration: (i) changing the ecology of laws relating to women, and (ii) adopting the common civil code that is prevalent in Goa.

Through the Lens of a Constitutional Republic

The textbook controversy is an opportunity for us to explore some of our core constitutional principles, especially the relationship between Parliament and freedom of expression. Parliament is certainly the space to discuss complaints of "offensive material" but should exercise its option of withdrawal of the textbooks in the "last instance" not in the "fi rst instance" as has been done in this case.

Dynamics of a Working Democracy

Examining the micro politics of a single constituency, this study tries to explore the relationship between the empirical and the theoretical in a working democracy. By detailing the dynamics of electoral and party politics in the context of a constituency which suffers from a "development deficit", the study examines the place of political leaders, party strategy, political ideology, political rhetoric, youth participation, voter loyalty, identity mobilisation, etc, in the democratic process. To engage with these issues of democracy-in-practice the study has chosen to look in detail at the case of political nomadism (defections) in the constituency and to see how both, the political institutions set up to regulate it and the political calculus of parties, have responded to such behaviour. By using an ethnographic approach and an attitudinal survey, the study raises questions related to representation, institutional regulation, and the tension between act and rule utilitarianism in a working democracy for the public discourse in India.

GOA-A Democratic Verdict

A Democratic Verdict? Peter Ronald deSouza Goan society is undergoing a subtle process of alignments and realignments which is reflected in its politics. Analysing the 1994 assembly elections in Goa in terms of democratic theory, this paper underlines certain important factors which characterise and shape current Goan politics: an intense competition between communities for spoils of politics, dissidence among party leaders, and a calculating voter.
Back to Top