New Release – Arc Silt Dive: The Works of Sheba Chhachhi

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Arc Silt Dive front cover

Edited by Kumkum Sangari

Essays by Kumkum Sangari, Gayatri Sinha, Nancy Adajania
Design: Sherna Dastur
Published by Tulika Books in association with Volte Gallery

March 2016 • 10.5 x 13 inches • 352 pages • Full colour throughout • Hardback • ISBN 978-93-82381-76-1 • Rs 4975

Arc Silt Dive is about the work of Sheba Chhachhi; it maps her methods, the modes of address and inquiry in her photographs, animated lightboxes, videos and installations. Translating the rich immersive experience of multidimensional installations into flat images, prose text and verbal description was a challenge. Yet this change of medium need not be reductive; rather, it may be seen as a bound moment in the peripatetic trajectory of installations which are frequently reworked and retested at different sites, and face new formal and contextual dilemmas in each.
The artworks reproduced in the book are not sequenced chronologically; rather, following arcs of connectivity and unexpected conjunction, they are reclustered thematically and visually, re-installed along some of their own overlaps, intersections or displacements. The installations convey a sense of recursive reflection in the circulation of images, concepts, concerns, in which little seems to be permanently abandoned and much is reworked, often in technological mediums falling into market-induced obsolescence.

Over the last three decades, Sheba Chhachhi has developed an art practice that traverses the fields of documentary photography, installation, video and new media, creating immersive environments and bringing the contemplative into the political, in both site-specific public art and independent works. She has created a number of large photo-based installations incorporating light, sound and the moving image, and pursued long-term photography projects such as on women-ascetics and the female body. Chhachhi experiments across the spectrum of durational mediums from pre-cinematic animated lightboxes to virtual reality interactivity, as well as in diverse sites: community centres, galleries, shopping malls, public institutions. These experiments are marked by a special interest in exploring relationships with viewers/participants. Since 1999, public art interventions have been a significant aspect of her work.

Kumkum Sangari worked as a UGC Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, and is the William F. Vilas Research Professor of English and the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She has published extensively in journals and anthologies on British, American and Indian literatures, literary and critical theory, religious conversion, South Asian medieval oral devotional traditions, nationalist figures such as M.K. Gandhi and Annie Besant, Bombay cinema and the partition of 1947, televisual memory, contemporary feminist art practice, as well as on personal law, domestic labour, the beauty industry, sex selection, dowry, domestic violence, widow immolation and communal violence She is the author of Solid:Liquid: a (trans)national reproductive formation (2015) and Politics of the Possible: Essays on gender, history, narratives, colonial English(1999); editor of Trace Retrace: Paintings, Nilima Sheikh (2012); and co-editor of Women and Culture (1985),Recasting Women: Essays in colonial history (1989), and From Myths to Markets: Essays on gender (1999).

New Release – A New Statistical Domain in India: An Enquiry into Village Panchayat Databases

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A New Statistical Domain in India -- front cover


Jun-ichi Okabe
Aparajita Bakshi

February 2016
9.5 x 6.25 inches
xviii+382 pages
ISBN 978-93-82381-78-5
Rs 850

A new statistical domain has emerged in rural India as a consequence of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992, a domain based on the needs and constitutional functions of the gram panchayat (village panchayat). This creation of a new structure of local government, the contemporary village panchayat, requires statistical databases for the development functions that have been allocated to it. In the formulation of the Expert Committee on Basic Statistics for Local Level Development (BSLLD), “the Gram Panchayat should consolidate, maintain and own village level data.”

The objective of this book is to study panchayat-level databases and their potential use in local-level administration, planning, and policy implementation. The authors study the overall status of local-level data available in two contrasting village panchayats: Raina gram panchayat, Barddhaman district, West Bengal; and Warwat Khanderao gram panchayat, Buldhana district, Maharashtra. As part of the study, the authors examined all records maintained by the gram panchayats, and by other important panchayat-level departments and institutions, such as Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) centres, primary schools, health centres, revenue offices, agricultural offices, and Block development offices. They conducted interviews on the process of record-keeping and use of accumulated data with officials from panchayats, officers of other departments, Block Development Officers, ICDS officials, and land revenue and agricultural officials. The study attempts to understand the current and potential use of such records in decentralised development planning, the periodicity at which the records are updated, and the reliability and accuracy of such records.

A specific and unique aspect of the book is its attempt to evaluate the accuracy of certain panchayat-level databases. In order to assess the reliability of important household-level databases available with the panchayat, such as ICDS registers, Civil Registration System birth registers, and BPL (below poverty line) survey data, the authors conducted a micro-discrepancy analysis that compared the panchayat data with data collected by the Foundation for Agrarian Studies in the two villages.

Jun-ichi Okabe is Professor, Graduate School of International Social Sciences, Yokohama National University and Professor, Faculty of Economics, Yokohama National University.
Aparajita Bakshi is Assistant Professor, School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

New Release – The Vernacularization of Labour Politics

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Edited by
Sabyasachi Bhattacharya & Rana P. Behal

March 2016
9.5 x 6.25 inches
viii + 348 pages
ISBN 978-93-82381-82-2
Rs 950

In recent times the decline of trade unionism and the absence of labour unions in the public sphere have generated much discussion. In India as well as at the global level, trade unions are generally perceived today as marginalized and ineffective in terms of political and economic intervention. It has been observed that in the era of neo-liberalism, the strength of trade unions has been steadily depleted, and they are being replaced by other institutions and alternative forms of labour organization. Surrogate labour unionism is now seen in the activities of various voluntary associations. The chief questions addressed in this volume are as follows. In labour politics today, is there a perceptible shift away from the classical paradigm of labour politics – which was derived from the European historical experience – to a vernacular discourse, in the surrogate organizations, social and cultural associations, non-governmental organizations, activities nucleating around primordial identities including ethnicity, and a great many organizations which are not explicitly trade unions of workers? In a shift from the language of class to the language of community, is the agency taken away from trade unions by a plurality of organizations which are purportedly not for employees’ negotiation with the employer, but for serving a whole range of objectives ranging from environmental concerns and women’s liberation from social oppression to celebration of festivals or welfare of residents of workers’ settlements? Is this vernacular mode totally new or were there anticipations of it in the past?

In the Tenth International Conference on Labour History, organized by the Association of Indian Labour Historians and the V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, contributions by a number of scholars
have added significantly to the literature on labour politics which no longer postulates the primacy of categories derived from the discourse of the European and international labour movement since the late nineteenth century. This volume brings together, on the basis of thematic unity, some of those papers. A good number of papers in this collection address aspects of history long before the current trend of vernacularization manifested itself. It seems, however, that there is a widely shared opinion that in the late twentieth century and the twenty-first century, vernacularity has asserted itself forcefully.

Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, formerly Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) of the Government of India, is the founding president of the Association of Indian Labour Historians (AILH). His recent publications include: The Colonial State: Theory and Practice (2016), The Defining Moments in Bengal, 1920–1947 (2014) and Talking Back: The Idea of Civilization in the Indian Nationalist Discourse (2011).

Rana P. Behal taught history at Deshbandhu College, University of Delhi, Delhi. He is the author of One Hundred Years of Servitude: Political Economy of Tea Plantations in Colonial Assam (2014).

The Great Climate Robbery: how the food system drives climate change and what we can do about it

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Front cover

Published by Tulika Books jointly with
GRAIN • Daraja Press • Spinifex Press
January 2016 • 9.5 x 6.25 inches • viii+232 pages
Paperback • ISBN 978-93-82381-68-6 • Rs 600

For sale in India and South Asia only

The Great Climate Robbery explains how the industrial food system is a major driver of climate change and how food sovereignty is critical to any lasting and just solution. With governments, particularly those from the main polluting countries, abdicating their responsibility to deal with the problem, it has become critical for people to take action into their own hands. Changing the food system is perhaps the most important and effective place to start. This book shows you how.

Over twenty-five years, GRAIN has worked with social movements and organisations around the world to defend local food systems and cultures from the advance of industrial agriculture. Their work has also involved connecting this analysis to larger issues affecting the planet, linking peoples’ struggles situated within the food system to those happening in other areas. Climate change is one important example of this.

“Food, land and seeds: protecting them is as essential to climate justice as rooftop solar, wind co-ops, or democratic public transit. This book lifts up the voices of indigenous and peasant farmers around the world, comprehensively explaining why their fight to stop the industrial food juggernaut is the same as the fight for a habitable, just planet.” – Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

“GRAIN takes on the key challenge of our time and lays the scaffoldings for the construction of a livable future. Climate crisis, toxic industrial agriculture and dirty energy: this publication shows the linkages as not being incidental but orchestrated by a warped system that must be straightened out.”
– Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation

“We welcome the efforts of our colleagues at GRAIN to put Via Campesina’s proposals to cool the planet and fight false solutions at the centre of the debate. The time has come to change the system, not the climate. Our farmers and indigenous peoples can cool the planet!”
– Edgardo García, International Coordinating Committee, Via Campesina


A People’s History of India 7: Society and Culture in Post-Mauryan India C. 200 BC – AD 300

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PHI 7 front cover

Bhairabi Prasad Sahu

with a chapter on Languages and Literature by Kesavan Veluthat

December 2015 • 9.5 x 6.25 inches • xii + 82 pages
Hardback • ISBN: 978-93-82381-75-4 • Rs 200

This book is the companion volume to People’s History of India, No. 6, which gave an account of the political and economic history of the post-Mauryan period from c. 200 bc to ad 300. The present volume deals with the important aspects of the society and culture of the same period. It traces the diffusion of the caste system and describes its detailed codification. The major changes in religion, notably the emergence of Mahayana Buddhism and Bhakti in Brahmanism, are surveyed in depth. The reader will also find much that is fresh and enlightening in the accounts of sculpture,
languages and literature, in all of which fields the period saw much innovation and change.

Bhairabi Prasad Sahu is Professor of History at the University of Delhi. His recent publications include The Changing Gaze: Regions and the Construction of Early India (2013) and Interrogating Political Systems: Integrative Processes and States in Pre-Modern India (2015; edited, with Hermann Kulke).

The contributor of Chapter 4 in this volume, Kesavan Veluthat, is Professor of History at the University of Delhi. His more important publications include The Political Structure of Early Medieval South India (1993), The Early Medieval in South India (2009) and Brahman Settlements in Kerala (2013; second edition).

New Release – Socio-Economic Surveys of Two Villages in Rajasthan: A Study of Agrarian Relations

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Rajasthan cover

Edited by
Madhura Swaminathan and Vikas Rawal

November 2015

9 x 7 inches • xvi+164 pages
Paperback • ISBN: 978-93-82381-67-9 • Rs 295

This is the second in a series of field reports on village surveys conducted by the Foundation for Agrarian Studies. This report deals with agrarian relations in two villages of Rajasthan: Rewasi in Sikar district and 25 F Gulabewala in Sri Ganganagar district. It presents an analysis of statistical data collected through census-type surveys conducted in both villages. The focus of the study is on differences across socio-economic classes and social groups in respect of a range of variables, including land, assets, incomes, crop production, employment, indebtedness, schooling and housing.

The report attempts to contribute to the discussion on agrarian relations and economic distress in contemporary rural Rajasthan and India.

The Foundation for Agrarian Studies is a charitable trust based in India and established in 2003. Its major objectives are to facilitate and sponsor multi-disciplinary theoretical and empirical enquiry in the field of agrarian studies in India and elsewhere in less-developed countries. It does so in association with a wide section of people interested in the agrarian question, including persons associated with academic institutions, social and political activists, members of mass organisations working in the countryside, and other professionals and scholars.

Since 2005, a major activity of the Foundation has been an India-wide programme of village studies, titled the Project on Agrarian Relations in India (PARI). The Project has covered 22 villages
across 10 States. It involves description and analysis, and the creation of a detailed database on village India in diverse agro-ecological and socio-economic regions of the country.


New Release – Bread Beauty Revolution: Khwaja Ahmad Abbas 1914–1987

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BBR Front Cover

edited by
Iffat Fatima & Syeda Saiyidain Hameed

Published in association with Khwaja Ahmad Abbas Memorial Trust

November 2015 • 10.5 x 8 inches • 212 pages (Paperback with gatefolds) • ISBN 978-93-82381-42-6 • Rs 1500

Khwaja Ahmad Abbas distinguished himself by his ceaseless passion for revolutionary politics, which he expressed through his writings and films. He was a visionary who strongly believed that creative and artistic interventions are indispensable to nation-building. Bread Beauty Revolution, spanning the years 1914 to 1987, encapsulates Abbas’s work, ideas and ideals. It also provides an insight into the beginnings of modern India. The volume encapsulates 74 books, 40 films, 89 short stories and 3,000 pieces of journalistic writing by Abbas. His work flows in three languages – Urdu, Hindi and English – and he translated his own writings freely from one language to another. The volume is sectioned in ten parts: (i) ‘Abraham and Son’, about Abbas’s birth and upbringing; (ii) ‘I Write as I Feel’, which includes Abbas’s first and best known short story ‘Ababeel’ (Sparrows), the story of Abbas’s struggle after the publication of his short story ‘Meri Maut’ (also called ‘Sardarji’), and Mulk Raj Anand’s letter celebrating his literary genius; (iii) ‘My First Love Affair’, on his lifelong relationship with and unabashed admiration for Jawaharlal Nehru; (iv) ‘Naya Sansar’, the witnessing of the birth of an independent India; (v) ‘Dharti ke Lal’, recounting Abbas’s love–hate relationship with the Left movement of which he was an outspoken advocate as well as fearless critic, his account of the birth of IPTA, writing the play Zubaidah and being invited to make the film Dharti ke Lal; (vi) ‘Bambai Raat ki Bahon Mein’, about another love that gripped his mind and soul, the Indian film industry; (vii) ‘Reminiscences’, containing personal accounts by people whose lives Abbas influenced, as well as a short story by him, ‘Achchan ka Aashiq’ (Achchan’s Lover); (viii) ‘Jagte Raho’, an account of Abbas’s fight against the censorship imposed on his film Char Shehar Ek Kahani (Four Cities, One Story), 1968, which led to the famous case, K.A. Abbas versus the Union of India, and the landmark judgment in his favour holding that pre-censorship of cinema was a violation of freedom of expression; (ix) ‘Ek Aadmi’, Abbas’s ‘beginning’ as well as his ‘end’: his review of Shantaram’s film Aadmi which brought him to the film world, and Ek Aadmi, his last film, which had a posthumous birth; and finally, (x) ‘Rahi’, named after the eponymous movie Abbas made in 1953 about tea garden workers.

Iffat Fatima is an independent filmmaker from Kashmir, based in Delhi. Her films include Lanka: the other side of war and peace, The Kesar Saga, In the Realm of the Visual and Boojh Sakey to Boojh. Her video installation, Ethnography of a European City: Conversations in Salzburg, questions some of the assumptions in the east vs. west polarity/dichotomy/disparity. Her recent film, Khoon Diy Baarav (Blood Leaves Its Trail), explores issues of violence and memory in Kashmir.

Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed is a former Member of the Planning Commission of India. She is a feminist and a writer who is widely recognized for her passionate engagement in public affairs and social issues, especially for women, minorities and peace. She is the Founder Member of the Muslim Women’s Forum and a Founder Trustee of the Women’s Initiative for Peace in South Asia. An author of books on Islam, Sufism, gender and development, and modern Indian history, Dr Hameed was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007.