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

Articles by R SrivatsanSubscribe to R Srivatsan

Engaging with Isabel Wilkerson’s Idea of Race

A meditation on Isabel Wilkerson’s critique of race that proceeds through an overview of Wilkerson’s multiple agendas, observations about her arguments, with respect to race, and an analysis of the intertwining of systematised discrimination (knowledge) and legalised violence (force of law).


Impasses around Contemporary Hinduism

Hinduism’s structural tension between monotheism and polytheism is examined. The interweaving of polytheism and monotheism could be seen to constitute the more and less oppressive phases of Hinduism’s history. Three contemporary impasses have been examined: B R Ambedkar’s proposals to modernise Hinduism in Annihilation of Caste, Hindutva’s attempts to develop an authoritarian version of Hinduism, and Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd’s Post-Hindu India. A democratic politics needs to work with the contradictory practices that constitute Hinduism.

Ambedkar’s Framing of Religious Ideas

This comment on “Ambedkar as a Political Philosopher” by Valerian Rodrigues (EPW, 15 April 2017) adds a few more thoughts to the exploration of B R Ambedkar’s framing of ideas about religion in the Annihilation of Caste.

Different Genetic Pool?

Arvind Panagariya’s special article somewhat cutely titled “Does India Really Suffer from Worse Child Malnutrition Than Sub-Saharan Africa?” (EPW, 4 May 2013) argues that there must be genetic factors that result in poorer heights and weights among Indians.

Political Challenges to Universal Access to Healthcare

While welcoming the report of the High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage for India for its comprehensive vision and many well-conceived recommendations, this article focuses on the conditions needed for its promise to bear fruit. Towards this, it explores the political dimension, which comprises the forces and interests that come into play to shape and reconfigure administrative policy and its implementation.

Aarogyasri Healthcare Model: Advantage Private Sector

Andhra Pradesh's Aarogyasri programme has placed health on the political map in the state and is popular with the masses. However, corporate hospitals handle the biggest share of the cases and there is no provision for outpatient treatment of everyday illnesses that affect the working capacity of the patient. The focus on tertiary healthcare to the exclusion of all other forms of medical assistance leads to an inefficient medical care model with a low level of real impact on meeting the needs of healthcare and the health of the population. There is need for a debate on the healthcare and techno-commercial performance of the programme, especially if it is going to be copied by other states and even by the centre in introducing some form of universal healthcare.

Writing Degree Zero

 Writing Degree Zero R Srivatsan Mostly in the genre of the short essay, these Notes on Caste, Culture and Politics spanning the period 1992-2007 are interventions in ongoing debates that bring historical and conceptual insights to illuminate the immediacy of the moment. They bear witness to the turbulence and fertility of new forms of political thought whose emergence is hopefully not yet a finished episode in the unfolding of Indian history. I, first went through them in a serial fashion (slightly stunned by the prolific tropical jungle of Tamil journals, and forums for discussion in which they first appeared), as immensely readable, sensitive, touching, angry, bitter and more often than not brilliant, accounts of struggle against caste oppression, economic injustice and cultural hegemony. As I did so, I began to perceive a deeper architecture in them, anchoring a specificity of perspective, concept and approach. In this review I would like to share my understanding of the framework of reflection and intervention that seems to inform and motivate Ravikumar

From Ambedkar to Thakkar and Beyond: Towards a Genealogy of Our Activisms

This paper draws on a letter B R Ambedkar wrote in 1932, that was addressed to A V Thakkar, secretary of the Anti-Untouchability League in order to bring out the implications for present day activism in dalit struggles. The letter itself was a discussion of alternative ideas on how to work for the welfare of the "Depressed Classes" and makes a critique of the Gandhian programme. The paper attempts an understanding at the present historical juncture of the structure of Ambedkar's political thought as it emerges in the logic of Depressed Classes activism and its structural strain against the Marxist position.

Concept of 'Seva' and the 'Sevak' in the Freedom Movement

The notion of seva may traditionally have been associated with a normally menial, demeaning or polluting act of service. This article, however, seeks to develop this concept further to describe a node of political discourse and practice in the freedom struggle. It traces the idea of service as propagated during various stages of the freedom struggle: Seva and how it was defined by the social reform movements of the 19th century; the Servants of India Society and their notion of seva; in Vivekananda's teachings; the early 20th century use of the term; as later enunciated by Gandhi in his early ideas of constructive work; the concept as it developed in interaction with Christian missionaries; the sevak's view of the tribal; Ambedkar's contestation of the term and his Constructive Programme and finally, the Nehruvian take on service. In each instance, the concept of seva was defined and sought to represent an interest group or community's position as the politics of the freedom struggle unfolded.

Inter-Cultural Dialogue on Globalisation

on Globalisation Universal Concepts in Cultural Contexts Keywords: For a Different Kind of Globalisation (Four volumes titled Truth, Experience, Identity, Gender) series editor Nadia Tazi; Vistaar Publications, New Delhi, 2004.

Welcoming Popular Critique

Welcoming 'Popular' Critique R Srivatsan LET me start off by welcoming Ravi Srinivas' critique ('Popular Culture and Pop Sociology', August 15, 1992, pp 1763-1764), and saying that at least in one way, I feel my purpose in writing the essay 'Photography and Society: Icon Building in Action' (EPW, by his response. I would, white elaborating this point, like to answer some of the main objections he has raised to my paper The aim of my writing 'Photography and Society' was not doing a 'pop' sociology, because I was more interested in developing a political analysis of mainstream images which are based on photographic technology and the media. By calling my intention political, L invoke here a theoretical recognition which has been inaugurated by feminism


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