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

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Civilisation Mongering and Right-wing Culturalism

Hindu–Muslim Relations: What Europe Might Learn from India by Jörg Friedrichs, Routledge India, 2018; pp 152, ₹ 695 (hardcover).

Interrogating the Nation

What is a 'nation'? What does the word 'nation state' connote? Beginning from early debates on nationalism and the nation state, the word 'nation' has shifted, coming to acquire at one and the same time, an expanding meaning and an ambivalence. Literature and the different social sciences, on the other hand, have exposed the nature of evil, depicting the nation as a genre of violence. A study of European and African works shows how the creation of nation has been fraught with a marginalisation of other groups and voices, with pain and suffering. Literature and language, this article suggests, must once again become tools to plumb the banality of evil that is inherent in the nation state. New 'thought experiments' must seek to challenge the politics of the nation, leading to a reinvention and a new beginning.

VAT in an Impasse

By taking the position that a patchwork VAT will not serve the purpose and threatening even to go back on its commitment to compensate the states for possible loss of revenue, the centre has created an impasse over the introduction of VAT. This may be the right time to reflect on VAT once again and consider seriously whether it will be at all worthwhile having the tax in the form it is being sought to be introduced.

Lifeworld of Refugees

International Refugee Law: A Reader edited by B S Chimni; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2000; pp 613, Rs.695.

Empowering Local Government

This paper examines the literature on the evolution of local government in eight western European countries in an attempt to find clues to what makes for successful devolution of power to local governments. It appears likely that rising incomes led to a greater demand for local public goods and also helped the citizenry to articulate this demand in a politically effective way. History may have played an important role by delaying, though not halting, the devolution of power to the local level in states which inherited centralised bureaucracies. While some of the pattern of evolution seems explicable, much remains to be understood, in particular why centralised absolutist states evolved so differently in Scandinavia as compared to France, Spain, and Italy.

Contemporary Europe:Complex Themes

Divided Europe: Society and Territory by Ray Hudson and Allan M Williams (eds); Sage, London, California, Delhi, 1999; pp xii + 313, price £ 16.99.
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