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

Articles by Rajan GurukkalSubscribe to Rajan Gurukkal

Theorising Capitalist Transformations through Culture

Another Economy Is Possible: Culture and Economy in a Time of Crisis edited by Manuel Castells, Sarah Banet-Weiser, Sviatlana Hlebik, Giorgos Kallis, Sarah Pink, Kirsten Seale, Lisa J Servon, Lana Swartz, Angelos Varvarousis, Cambridge and Malden: Polity Press, 2017; pp xii +226, £17 (paperback).

Death of Democracy

What happens to democracy when capitalism becomes global? Capitalist expansion and democratisation are popularly represented by the magical term “development.” However, the unbridled development
of capitalism is invariably based on the over-exploitation of natural resources, and the consequent impoverishment of tribal people, expansion of the middle class and transformation of the nation into a crony capitalist state. The latest phase of capitalism, namely techno-capitalism—with its corporate system of organisation and highly centralised top-heavy administration, or “corporatocracy”—signifies the measured death of democracy.

Foundation of a Nation

India and the Unthinkable: Backwaters Collective on Metaphysics and Politics edited by Vinay Lal and Roby Rajan, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016; pp xlvii+228,₹850.

Piecing Together Forgotten Thoughts

Philosophy in Colonial India edited by Sharad Deshpande, Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, New Delhi: Springer, 2015; pp 272, price not mentioned.

Ignorant Criticisms of Historians

A statement in November by a group of academics, tacitly over-defensive of the ruling power, rails against historians for adopting a blinkered and reductionist view and looking at Indian society through the prism of caste. The accusations betray a familiar ignorance of a certain category of academics about the diversity in Indian historiography.

Statement of Historians

Concerned at the highly vitiated atmosphere prevailing in the country, characterised by various forms of intolerance, we, as academic historians and as responsible citizens of a democracy that has greatly valued its inherited traditions of tolerance, wish to express our anguish and protest about

Scrapping the UGC

This article argues that none of the reasons and objectives stated by way of justification for the replacement of the University Grants Commission by the National Higher Education Authority are genuine. There is no compatibility between the nature of problems identified and the functional capability of the institutional solution proposed. This proposal exhibits a lack of comprehension and analysis of the fundamental problems of higher education. It is a poorly disguised cover to turn this sector into a handmaiden of the corporate sector.

A Blindness about India

The attack on history and Indian historians by votaries of Hindu historiography has only sharpened in recent times. There is an attempt to use S N Balagangadhara's critique of history writing as an expression of the "colonial consciousness" to delegitimise the study of the past. This article explores Balagangadhara's own theories to show how this sentimental valorisation of a Hindu past is itself an uncritical acceptance of western categories and is based on a profound ignorance of India's own past.

Will History Repeat Itself at the ICHR?

The Indian Council of Historical Research has played a crucial role in the development of history over the past four decades. A member of the Council recounts the importance of the institution and takes issue with those who have criticised its "Marxist" tilt. These critics' claims even fall well short of the academic standards of ancient Indian philosophy, which were rigorous by contemporary standards.

Who Will Listen?

Reading Gandhi in the Twenty-First Century by Niranjan Ramakrishnan (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), 2013; pp 138, price not indicated.

Classical Indo-Roman Trade

An independent evaluation of the latest archaeological data unearthed at ancient port-sites of the Egyptian desert and Indian west coast confirms that the classical overseas trade, celebrated in ancient Indian historiography as the "Indo-Roman trade", was an exchange of serious imbalance, because of its being between an empire and a region of uneven chiefdoms. The Tamil south was a region characterised by the interactive coexistence of several unevenly evolved and kinship-based redistributive economies structured by the dominance of agro-pastoral means of subsistence and predatory politics. It was distinct for its semi-tribal political economy that precluded any demand for Mediterranean luxury goods. Even the presumption that the chieftain had shipped his goods only up to the Red Sea coast, and had depended on intermediaries for the remaining jobs, is difficult to accept.

On Mirroring the Social

The Cracked Mirror: An Indian Debate on Experience and Theory by Gopal Guru and Sundar Sarukkai (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2012; pp 248, Rs 625.


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