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

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Region without Regionalism

Three decades have passed since the inception of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It still is virtually a non-starter and has not addressed any substantive issue. Intra-regional trade is minuscule. India and Pakistan show little interest in the organisation. Without judging their respective foreign policies, it is argued that South Asian regionalism is not on their agenda. Three questions arise: Is South Asia at all a region? How much does the strategic divide between India and Pakistan, with China factored in, come in the way of South Asian regionalism? Why should India bother about regionalism when its policy of bilateralism serves it fine? To probe these, the region's history, global perceptions of the region, India's foreign and educational practices, and interstate relationships are discussed.

Social Science: Dialogue for Revival

This paper takes an overview of a recently organised seminar at MIDS on the state of social science research in India. Besides focusing on the ills that beset social science research at present, more important was the realisation that social science had to be 're-rooted' in the light of everyday experience and the need for researchers to reach beyond the boundaries of their own discipline and arrive at a meaningful dialogue with other disciplines.

Social Science Research:The Real Challenge

The sacking of the ICSSR chief, M L Sondhi, needs to be located in the wider picture of how we have so far sought to organise and manage our research enterprises. More than the idiosyncratic behaviour of those involved, or the fallouts of warring factions within the Sangh parivar, the greater danger is the continuing loss of autonomy, accountability and creativity within the wider research community. We need to realise that the ICSSR system today plays a marginal role in the world of ideas and use the opportunity of a pluralised donor market to re-invent our ways of working and organising ourselves, including forcing the government to re-examine the basic memorandum of understanding it has with the ICSSR. This, more than concern about the fate of M L Sondhi, remains the real challenge.

ICSSR and Social Science Research

Some of the problems bedevilling the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) in the context of the ongoing debate on the state of social science research in the country.

Is Social Science Research Dying?

Harsh Sethi (EPW, September 30- October 6, 2000) raises several valid issues related to the ICSSR system, which, most social scientists would agree, should have been raised long back. Though belated, Sethi’s observations, especially as from a scholar having substantial firsthand information on the working of the ICSSR, need to be taken seriously and discussed. While Sethi raises the whole issue in the context of the recent policy shifts of the council, and of the ministry of human resource development, this could have been foreseen by anybody having some sense of history. Yes, a new type of social science culture has emerged during the 1980s and 1990s, and it has been devaluing the painstaking efforts of pioneers and visionaries like J P Nayak, V K R V Rao and D T Lakdawala
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