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

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Heritage Appropriation: The Patiala Festival

Heritage is a contested arena - a fact brought out during the recent Patiala heritage week celebrations in Punjab. Patiala's heritage is evident in its rich tradition in the fine arts, patronised by its erstwhile ruling family. However, another aspect of its heritage - the politically oppressive rule by its royal family - has been entirely glossed over. Sagas of exploitation, however, are still preserved in folk memories and songs of the peasantry.

Report of Constitution Review Commission

The issues dealt with by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution are of the utmost importance and it is necessary that they are seriously debated nationwide with a sense of urgency but without the trappings of political posturing and rhetoric. In the absence of such an effort the commission's report is likely to meet with the same fate as the report of the Sarkaria Commission on centre-state relations which, again despite the importance of the subject dealt with, has been lying in the record rooms of the home ministry without any worthwhile action.

Sonia Gandhi’s Nationality: Politics and Xenophobia

A constructive political criticism of Sonia Gandhi and her style of politics can only be predicated upon whether Congress, under her leadership, can emerge as the pivot of a liberal consensus in opposition to BJP's conservative consensus, not an xenophobia.

Pokhran Tests and Memories of Emergency

Just a year after Pokhran I Internal Emergency was declared in the country. Then too as now, the ruling leadership in New Delhi needed some 'shock treatment' to bring disgruntled elements in line. And again, then, as now, the business classes were talking of a 'national government' and of the need to review the Constitution.

Understanding Ambedkar's Construction of National Movement

Dalit responses to the critique of Ambedkar's role in the freedom struggle and his construction of the national movement have led to a re-examination of his ideas, and perceptions of the nationalist discourse of the time. Why he and the dalits did not participate directly in the national movement, as directed by the Congress, is a question that needs to be addressed.

After Rajiv Gandhi

The impression is unmistakable that the political establishment in the country perceives the crisis following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi to be even more serious than that caused by the death, in similar tragic circumstances, of his mother a little less than seven years ago. If reports, widely publicised in the press, are to be believed, President R Venkataraman himself has considered it necessary to broach with prominent leaders representing different shades of the political spectrum the advisability of forming a national government, putting off the general election already under way and even bringing into being a constituent assembly to rewrite the Constitution and refashion the political system. The all-too-evident signs of panic in high political and government circles have to be explained not so much by the stature of the assassinated leader even as perceived in these circless—after all Rajiv Gandhi's entire political career spanned a bare decade and he was prime minister for just one term—but by the vastly enhanced fragility of the country's political institutions, among them very prominently the Congress Party.

The Successor

By the end of next week Nehru's ashes, scattered from the air, would have mingled with the dust and soil of India, as he had wanted them to, and Lal Bahadur Shastri, unanimously chosen as his successor, would be sworn in as the Prime Minister and the composition of his Cabinet annonnced.


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