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

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Fractured Social Sciences

When will the social sciences explain the contradictory phenomena in Indian society?

As has been widely remarked, this is the first time in more than two decades that an incumbent government has been re-elected after serving its full term in office. What is remarkable about this feat is that it has come at a time when India is experiencing the impact of the global recession with job losses, and spiralling food prices have over the past year hit both the poor and middle classes. The past two decades also saw the introduction of neoliberal economic reforms which emphasised privatisation of public assets and the retreat of the State.

There has been wide-ranging research on different aspects of these reforms, much of it carried on the pages of this journal, which has been largely critical of their social and economic impact. In short, this research claims that India’s democratic state, despite some successes, has continued after the commencement of the reform programme to largely fail to meet most of its development goals. Further, state institutions like the police, bureaucracy and judiciary remain as distant as before, and are often hostile towards democratic aspirations and demands of the p eople while being ineffectual in stemming communal, caste and gender-related violence, which have grown in this period. Despite counting many dollar billionaires among the rich and despite India being considered an “emerging superpower” in the international arena, the human development of a majority of its population is dismal, with hundreds of millions of its citizens living what can only be termed as a sub-human existence.

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