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

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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...

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.

‘Unity in Diversity’? Tensions and Contradictions in Cultivating National Unity

Political leaders have been strategic about their use of history, religion and methods of inclusion to develop various conceptions of national unity.

How Did Ambedkar Imagine India After Independence?

A "free" India would be a model democracy that redistributed power to the marginalised, and purged society of oppressive social institutions, beliefs and practices.

Has the Radio Been a Catalyst for Social Change?

This reading list examines if the radio has been successfully democratised.

Development of a Few, Misery for the Masses

After 70 years of independence, India continues to languish at the bottom of the comity of nations on every parameter that constitutes real development. The widening economic disparities and relentless violence against Dalits, Adivasis and minorities demonstrate that B R Ambedkar’s dream of social and economic equality accompanying political equality remains elusive.

Indian Socialists and Their Legacy

The principles and programmes that the socialists formulated over 75 years ago still seem relevant in today's India. Perhaps, if they had not splintered into so many factions and so frequently, they might have succeeded in implementing some of their plans and may have had greater impact in resolving part of the inequalities and inequities in our society.

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