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

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How to Dismantle a Republic

The Idea of New India: Essays in Defence of Critical Thought by Pramod Kumar, Delhi: Aakar Books, 2021; pp 362, `1,495 (hardback).

Understanding the Political Shift in Bodoland

The spontaneous joy and enthusiasm among the Bodo people, notwithstanding the recent Bodo Peace Accord signed on 27 January 2020, needs to be interrogated in the context of “fractured identity” of Bodos and a perennial trend of “demographic challenge” that the history of the area is embedded in. Moreover, the changing contours of electoral politics in the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s rise in the north-east (referred here as the “rising tide of saffron”) need examination. It is pertinent to argue that the accord, under the pretext of fulfilling their demands, may herald an unprecedented shift in the electoral politics and identity assertions of the Bodos.

Anti-conversion Legislation in Karnataka

The recent Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, passed in the Karnataka legislative assembly that claims to combat conversion is a diabolical move by the government to provide legal cover to the majoritarian fundamentalist oppression against minorities.

End of the Postcolonial State

Much of the scholarship on Bangladesh’s founding places it within a narrative of repetition. It either repeats the partitions of 1905 or 1947 or the creation of India and Pakistan as postcolonial states. This paper argues instead for the novelty of Bangladesh’s creation against the postcolonial state, suggesting that it opened up a new history at the global level in which decolonisation was replaced by civil war as the founding narrative for new states.

 

Beyond the Break with the Past

In the 1940s, Bengali Muslim intellectuals sought to find a new autonomy in a comprehensive break with the texts and language of the Hindu-dominated literature of the “Bengal Renaissance.” But within a few years of Pakistan’s founding, a new generation argued that disavowing the past was not libe

Collision amid Collusion and Cooperation

This paper examines the history of largely understudied women’s rights activists in the early years of East Pakistan. While they collided with West Pakistani activists—and the central state—on matters of culture, identity, and political and economic issues, they actively cooperated with West Pakistani counterparts to fight gender discrimination and to demand reform in women’s rights from the state.

 

Dhaka 1969

A reading of 1969, the momentous year of protests against Ayub Khan’s dictatorship in East Pakistan is offered, going beyond the popular tropes of inevitability and loss. The moments when Bengali nationalism exceeded its own expectations by making michhil or procession its main focus are identified. A rumination on Dhaka, which found its present cultural and political identity through the upheaval of the 1960s is presented.

 

Independence, Freedom, Liberation

The idea of swadhinata (which translates as both freedom and independence), along with a novel conception of liberation (mukti), animated the founding discourse of Bangladesh in 1971. This paper explores how these ideas, and their longer histories, jostled together to shape the promise of Bangladesh’s founding. It also reflects on how the conflictual promise of 1971 underwrote the political history of post-independence Bangladesh.

 

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