Like ‘cutting chai’, ‘chawls’ is a very Bombay/Mumbai term. Not many who live outside this megapolis will understand what it means. And if they do not, it is unlikely that they ever will because chawls are an endangered species, a built form that is disappearing even as Mumbai goes through changes that are inevitable for all big cities.
I read this book from cover to cover in just three sittings. It was indeed enthralling as I have virtually been part of most of the stories it unfurls. Reading about Lucknow, culture capital of India and city of my birth, Aligarh, seat of the educational Taj Mahal where I studied and taught during 1961-66—and Ghalib’s Delhi where I have lived for forty-five years, made me nostalgic.
The book under review Public Hinduisms has a captivating title and an even more engaging set of questions that it seeks to explore: ‘How does Hinduism become public? What forms of translation or disciplinary processes inform the passage of ideas about what it means to be a Hindu as they are expressed in a range of different public environments? Who feels empowered by such transitions, and who feels dispossessed?’ With these evidently broad and complex set of questions for a single edited volume of 500 and odd pages, it gives an impression of being many books in one.
Harvesting Feminist Knowledge for Public Policy: Rebuilding Progress edited by Jain and Elson is a collection of fourteen essays by feminist thinkers across the world putting forward a critique of the current development pattern that has led to the global spate of ‘triple crisis’ of food, fuel and finance.
Social science research focused on South Asia has for a long time had a critical shortcoming: the state is almost never an object of study in its own right, but rather studied in conjunction with factors—caste and ethnicity, party competition, regionalism, social movements—in the production of social outcomes.
Why, in a period of sustained national economic growth, have Indian agriculturalists been committing suicide in such larger numbers? And what might these acts signify with respect to the challenges facing rural India at this moment? These are some of the pressing questions A.R. Vasavi’s Shadow Space seeks to answer. Through six closely related essays, each of which takes up a different aspect of this crisis, Vasavi contends that the suicides express the marginalization of vulnerable agriculturalists within a political economy that has neglected their welfare. In laying out this argument, Vasavi has produced a work that is both meticulously researched and passionately argued—one that is indispensable for understanding the momentous shifts currently underway in Indian agriculture.
Community policing has several meanings. To begin with, it refers to a process of taking policing back to citizens, for according to some scholars, that is where it began as a measure of public safety even before states and regimes appropriated this role and created a ‘police force’ for maintenance of public order and, of course, for their own protection.