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

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Reproduction of Informal Enterprises in India

Informality and diversity of institutional forms have been marked as distinct features of India’s postcolonial capitalist development. The present paper considers the conditions of reproduction of informal enterprises, specifically focusing on the living and working conditions of artisan labour in the silk-weaving cluster of Sualkuchi in Assam. The study indicates that kinship, gender, and caste act as regulative forces, influencing the form and scale of production, ownership, contract, and exchange relations. The results point to the significance of non-capitalist institutional arrangement in the reproduction of the handloom sector under contemporary capitalism.

The ‘Bourgeois View’

A critical understanding of space requires an engagement with the material processes that constitute it, as well as the way it is represented in works of art and literature. Moreover, understanding spatiality is also crucial for comprehending how class is constituted. In this regard, this paper explores how, between the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the bourgeoisie in Assam conceived and represented space. The discussion is based on Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s play Jaymati (1915) and Rasna (Birinchi) Barua’s (1959) novel Seuji Patar Kahini (The Story of the Green Leaves).

Assam Elections 2021

Hyper-populism riding on welfare schemes along with a polarised campaign on religious lines paved the way for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance’s return to power in Assam. As the new government resumes office, it remains to be seen if it will continue its emphasis on polarising issues such as reverification of National Register of Citizens and ban or focus on larger issues like the Covid-19 pandemic, flood and erosion that continue to hamper the state’s development.

Political Significance of Assembly Election Results

The recent election results negate the politics of dominance cherished at the centre.

The Many Dimensions of Evaluating ‘Quality’ Education

Following the “Gunotsav–A Quality Initiative” exercise undertaken by the Government of Assam in 2017 and 2018 to assess the quality of its government schools in the state, the views of the external examiners involved in the assessment of various schools are presented. While quality cannot be quantified, reflections of examiners from exercises such as Gunotsav help in situating the education offered by government schools in the particular socio-economic contexts of Assam, apart from underscoring the range of challenges faced by such schools.

Carbon Fantasies

Living with Oil & Coal: Resource Politics & Militarization in Northeast India by Dolly Kikon, Seattle: University of Washington Press , 2019; pp xiii + 189, price not indicated .

After Gogoi

With the passing away of Tarun Gogoi and assembly elections due in April 2021, the Congress party faces three formidable challenges: resolving leadership crisis and organisational revamping, forging a social coalition and ensuring a consensus over a new ideological middle ground among diverse political parties and factions in the state to challenge the dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party. These three challenges are deeply intertwined and primarily owe to religion overpowering the ethnic and linguistic barriers of political mobilisation in the state.

Assam and the NRC

Deepankar Basu and Debarshi Das, in their article “Assam’s Politics and the NRC” (EPW, 1 February 2020), have raised a few critical issues regarding the fundamental flaws in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) updating process in Assam and emphasised building an alternative narrative. Their...

Handloom Weavers and Lockdown in Sualkuchi Cluster of Assam

After demonetisation in 2016, followed by imposition of the goods and services tax in the subsequent year, the COVID-19 lockdown has turned out to be a final nail in the coffin for the handloom sector in Assam. It has special importance in the informal economy of Assam since it is next to agriculture in creating employment opportunities. An examination of the Sualkuchi weaving cluster in Assam shows the many challenges the weavers, most of them women, face.

Infrastructuring Floods in the Brahmaputra River Basin

The effects of infrastructural projects in Assam that lead to floods in the Brahmaputra river are discussed. These projects play a prominent role in “engineering” floods, thereby creating hazardscapes and precarious conditions for the riverine communities. A people-centric approach involving these communities in the decision-making process is needed to curb the recurrent floods and their aftermath.

Recurring Flood Disasters

Integrated and long-term solutions are needed to mitigate the adverse impacts of floods.

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