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

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Waqf Laws in India

Over the last few years, waqf and its associated laws have been the centre of attention in political and legal circles. While these laws are scrutinised on the principles of religious equality and secularism, the very process of secularisation and economisation present in the genesis of these laws is neglected. This article attempts to lay bare the undercurrents in these laws, bringing forth theological, historical, and legal perspectives of these laws.

Pahela Baishakh

The celebration of Pahela Baishakh in Bangladesh and the debates surrounding it serve to reinforce a new discourse of Bengali culture and identity that works in favour of those in power.

Reconstructing the Secular Imagination of Gandhi and Nehru

The Secular Imaginary: Gandhi, Nehru and the Idea(s) of India by Sushmita Nath, London: Cambridge University Press, 2022; pp 300, $99.99 (hardback).

Inner Contradictions of a Hindu Nationalist

Competing Nationalisms: The Sacred and Political Life of Jagat Narain Lal by Rajshree Chandra, New Delhi: Penguin, 2021; pp xxv + 211, `599.

Voices and Choices of Muslim Women

Scholars of Faith: South Asian Muslim Women and the Embodiment of Religious Knowledge by Usha Sanyal, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2020; pp xvi + 394, `1,496 (hardcover).

CAA–NRC and the Struggles to Save India’s Secular Polity

This Land Is Mine, I Am Not of This Land: CAA–NRC and the Manufacture of Statelessness edited by Harsh Mander and Navsharan Singh, New Delhi: Speaking Tiger, 2021; pp 421, `499.

Bulldozing the Idea of Democracy

The state apparatus’ inaction in dealing with communal violence will have dire consequences.

 

Language, Purity, and the Logic of Democracy

It is argued here that the 1648 “Peace of Westphalia,” inaugurating the “secular state,” substituted language for religion as the basis for the state’s project of affectively unifying the nation. Working to build a truly neutral state, equally available to all its citizens, involves ensuring the freedom of critical discourse to question the proto-hegemonic narrative associated with every primordial (religious or linguistic) affi liation. The Westphalian-style sanctifi cation of these affi liations becomes pathological in a society that worships purity and hierarchy. Peggy Mohan, it is argued, provides a cogent characterisation of language on the basis of which one can overcome such pathologies and work towards a chauvinism-free model of democracy.

Sonal Shukla (1941–2021)

The contributions of Sonal Shukla to the social and feminist movements in India are detailed upon. Her literary stints interwoven with an indefatigable, courageous spirit serve as an inspiration for all the socially conscious citizens of the country.

 

Vernacular Communism

Satyabhakta’s engagements with communist politics, the Hindi print public sphere, and workers’ movements in the Gangetic heartland often intermeshed caste, gender, and nationalism, with an indigenous communism. Signifying a strand of the Hindi literary project, he represents some of the suppressed traditions of left dissent, and takes us back to debates between internationalism and nationalism, materialism and spiritualism, class and caste. Even if his ideas were, at times, amateur, they provide us with the everyday lived realities of communist lives, and utopian dreams of equality, which need to be taken into account and historicised seriously.

 

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