India’s Development Paradox Explained

First published in Biblio: A Review of Books, Vol. XVII Nos. 9&10 Sep-Oct, 2012. (Accessed online at http://www.biblio-india.org)  Why is the India story a paradox of high growth rates on the one hand and abysmal human development indicators on the other? The Indian welfare state, with its innumerable development programs, is supposed to have wipedContinue reading “India’s Development Paradox Explained”

Between Gandhi and Hitler

The dust raised by the “Indian spring” is yet to settle and Mukul Sharma’s book ‘Green and Saffron’, recently published by Permanent Black, has arrived to raise another storm. An entire chapter in this book has been devoted to a careful exposition of the politics behind the Gandhian leading India’s much-watched anti-corruption movement – AnnaContinue reading “Between Gandhi and Hitler”

Weapons of the Weak? RTI and the story of Mangla Ram

Mangla Ram being carried on a stretcher by volunteers of the Dalit Atyachar Nivaran Samiti in Barmer, Rajasthan. (First published in Governance Now, issue dated September 1, 2011) Three magic wands–Right to Information, social audits and the Lokpal–have been offered as the means to fight corruption in the largely urban middle-class discourse. However, the questionContinue reading “Weapons of the Weak? RTI and the story of Mangla Ram”

A timely treatise

[First published in Biblio – A Review of Books, issued dated July-August 2010] This is the book that Home Secretary G.K.Pillai is said to be reading nowadays to better understand tribal alienation in mining areas. It is said that if things are not what they often seem to be, then it is the job of the anthropologist to unravel what lies beneath. Felix Padel and Samarendra DasContinue reading “A timely treatise”

Daughters in the mill

[First published in Frontline magazine in October 2007] Thousands of teenaged girls are exploited for labour in the textile mills of Tamil Nadu “Earn Rs.40,000. Work as an apprentice for three years,” said the bold print in Tamil on the colour pamphlet. This was “a unique opportunity for young women”, it said. There were otherContinue reading “Daughters in the mill”