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

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Shaping Indian Polity

The Hunger of the Republic: Our Present in Retrospect edited by Ashish Rajadhyaksha, New Delhi: Tulika Booksand West Heavens, Shanghai, 2021; pp 405, `200.

The Hunger of the Republic: Our Present in Retrospect, part of the six-volume series titled India since the 1990s, aims at providing a historical frame to the present in a comprehensive manner. The state of the Indian polity lies at the core as the most recurrent theme throughout the volume, while it addresses a wider and sweeping historical perception that the 1990s saw a seminal and ongoing shift in our daily lives, shaping our present predicament in ways that seem too glaring to overlook. This assumption is itself open arguably to an endless debate, although it may be more fruitful to take it as it is and move ahead to tackle matters discussed in some depth in a collection of articles, extracts from books as well as visuals culled from exhibitions.

In this sense, the volume has been “curated” to table a specific agenda for discussion which carries sufficient variety and latitude of opinions, concerns, and analyses. The compilation is divided into three sections, “Narratives of State,” “Disappearances,” and “Surface/Depth: Meanings of the Heroic and the Ordinary,” focusing on first, the Indian state, second, the Indian media, and finally, on more intangible but vital matters related to violence, suffering, and healing. The pages of the volume are interspersed with vivid visuals that provide both an illustrative reiteration and some relief from the depressingly grave themes prevailing over the entire volume. To some, these visual interventions may of course seem no more than a recurrent distraction!

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Updated On : 6th Feb, 2024
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