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

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On the Kashmir Question

The movement for Kashmir has as one of its underlying motifs, religion. In this paper, the author seeks to historically analyse the many ways religion has been put to serve different purposes. Influenced more by the rituals and doctrines that are particular and contingent in time, the universal and eternal component of Islam seems to have been all but forgotten, more so by those fighting for 'Kashmir', subdued by what the author labels as the 'Arkoun-Kuran' effect - when the unthinkable is gradually transformed over time into the unthought. South Asia has seen the coexistence and synthesis of Hindu and Muslim cultures and traditions - only a renewed awareness of this can reverse the Arkoun-Kuran effect.

Who Is the Third that Walks Behind You?

I read Aditya Nigam’s observations on an epistemology of the dalit critique of modernity with great interest. His formulations are both fascinating and suggestive, therefore, I would like to complicate them. Firstly, while I accept that dalit politics and ideologies represent the “problematic ‘third term’ that continuously challenges the common sense of the secular modern”, I am not sure that these exist as an ‘absent presence’; or that they advance a notion of citizenship that is premised on the notion of the community as a rights-bearing subject. It seems to me that the non-brahmin, lower caste engagement with the ‘secular modern’ does two things: it contends with the contradictions of modernity, as Nigam so ably demonstrates, but it also dips beyond and across the wide arc of the secular-modern to articulate an expressive ideology and world view that is still recognisably modern. I would like to illustrate this with reference to the thought of Periyar Ramasamy.

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