Rustom Bharucha reviewed by Upendra Baxi in Frontline

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The Frontline review of Prof. Rustom Bharucha’s Terror and Performance by Prof. Upendra Baxi:

New Release — Solid : Liquid: a (trans)national reproductive formation

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Solid Liquid cover


February 2015
9.5 x 6.25 inches
xii + 264 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-51-8
Rs 695

Beyond Doubt: A Dossier on Gandhi’s Assassination

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compiled and introduced by TEESTA SETALVAD

January 2015
9.5 x 6.25 inches
x + 278 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-50-1
Rs 450

Rustom Bharucha reviewed by Upendra Baxi

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The Frontline review of Prof. Rustom Bharucha’s Terror and Performance by Prof. Upendra Baxi:

People’s History of India 23: The Establishment of British Rule: 1757–1813

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Amar Farooqui

December 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xii + 96 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-49-5
Rs 220

This book deals with the establishment and expansion of British rule from the Carnatic Wars and the Battle of Plassey to the enactment of the Charter Act of 1813, which divested the East India Company of its monopoly over the commerce with England, and this opened the chapter of India’s ‘de-industrialization’ through free trade. The monograph examines the military and other causes of British success and the cost of that success that the Indian people had to bear. A long chapter is devoted to the construction of British colonial administration, from which all Indian elements were, by stages, weeded out. Extracts from sources enliven the narrative; and there are important notes on military technology, the ‘subsidiary alliance’ system, organization of the Company’s ‘civil service’ and the construction of ‘colonial knowledge’ about India. Readers will find it a refreshingly lucid and critical account of a crucial phase of India’s political history.

The author, Amar Farooqui, is Professor of History, University of Delhi. He taught history for many years at Hans Raj College, Delhi; and has been Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. His publications include Early Social Formations (2002); Smuggling as Subversion: Colonialism, Indian Merchants and the Politics of Opium, 1790–1843 (revised edition, 2005); Opium City: The Making of Early Victorian Bombay (2006); Sindias and the Raj: Princely Gwalior, c.1800–1850 (2011), and Zafar and the Raj: Anglo–Mughal Delhi, c. 1800–1850 (2013).

Destruction of the Babri Masjid: A National Dishonour

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Destruction of the Babri Masjid jacket

A.G. Noorani

December 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xiv + 506 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-47-1
Rs. 995

Destruction of the Babri Masjid: A National Dishonour is a sequel to The Babri Masjid Question 1528–2003: ‘A Matter of National Honour’, published in 2003 in two volumes – a compilation by A.G. Noorani of documents and primary source material on various aspects of the Ram Janmabhoomi–Babri Masjid dispute, covering the demolition of the Masjid on 6 December 1992, and the legal proceedings in the civil suits and criminal cases up to mid-2003. The present volume brings the narrative up to date. It covers the three Allahabad High Court judgments, the Liberhan Commission Report, the tortuous course of the criminal cases, and disclosures and developments in the last decade – from 2003 till the end of 2013. An Introduction surveys the events before and after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and analyses the judgments delivered by the three judges of the Allahabad High Court in 2010.

‘In the courts of law and justice, the civil and criminal cases concerning the title to the Babri Masjid and accountability for its destruction, on 6 December 1992, have all but run their course. Neither legality nor justice has been conspicuous in the proceedings or in the many judgments delivered. On past form, there is little hope for redress in legal proceedings after that grave and utterly wasteful crime. . . . The forces of India’s secularism can ignore the challenges ahead only at the nation’s peril. At stake is the survival of India’s democracy and its corollary, secularism.’ (From the author’s preface)

A.G. Noorani is an Advocate, Supreme Court of India, and a leading constitutional expert and political commentator. He is a regular columnist for Frontline and the author of numerous books, including The Destruction of Hyderabad (2013), The Kashmir Dispute 1947–2012, in two volumes (2013), Islam, South Asia and the Cold War (2012), Article 370: A Constitutional History of Jammu and Kashmir (2011), Jinnah and Tilak: Comrades in the Freedom Struggle (2010), India–China Boundary Problem 1846–1947: History and Diplomacy (2010), Indian Political Trials 1775–1947 (2006), Constitutional Questions and Citizens’ Rights (2006), The Muslims of India: A Documentary Record(editor, 2003), and Islam and Jihad: Prejudice versus Reality (2003).

One Hundred Years of Servitude: Political Economy of Tea Plantations in Colonial Assam

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Jacket (5)

Rana P. Behal

November 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xiv + 390 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-43-3
Rs 900

This book presents a hundred-year history of tea plantations in the Assam (Brahmaputra) Valley during British colonial rule in India. It explores a world where more than two million migrant labourers worked under conditions of indentured servitude in these tea plantations, producing tea for an increasingly profitable global market.

The book is divided into six chapters. The first chapter traces the genesis and early development of the tea industry, from 1840 to the early 1860s. It examines the links between the colonial state and private British capital in fostering plantations in Assam. It also discusses the nature of the ‘tea mania’ and its consequences, which led to the emergence of the indenture labour system in Assam’s tea gardens.
In the second chapter, the focus is on the process of labour mobilization and the nature of labour relations in the tea plantations. It deals with the operational aspects of labour recruitment for the plantations, which involved the transportation and employment of migrant labourers, from the 1860s right up to
1926 – when the indenture system was formally dismantled.
The third chapter examines the power structure that ruled over the organization of production and labour relations within the plantations. This power structure operated at two levels: around the Indian Tea Association, the apex body of the tea industry, and the coercive authority exercised by planters.
The fifth chapter offers a critical analysis of the quantities of production, market prices, volume of exports and profitability, acreage expansion, labour employment and wage payments in the Assam Valley tea plantations from the 1870s to 1947.
The final chapter tells the story of everyday labour life in the tea gardens, and of the resistance to the oppressive regime by ‘coolie’ labourers who had been coerced into generational servitude. It analyses the forms of their protests, and raises the question whether the transformation of these migrant agrarian communities working in conditions of unfree labour was proletarian in nature.

Rana P. Behal taught history at Deshbandhu College, University of Delhi. He has also held teaching assignments at Cornell University, Syracuse University and Oberlin College. He was a fellow at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi; South Asia Centre, Cambridge University; Re:Work, Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History, Humboldt University, Berlin; and Centre for Development Studies, Geographic Sciences, Free University, Berlin.
Cover photograph: Women plucking tea (Samuel Cleland Davidson, personal collection)