Tulika Delhi

Marx, Gandhi and Modernity – Essays Presented to Javeed Alam

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Marx Gandhi and Modernity - cover

Edited by Akeel Bilgrami

July 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xiv + 314 pages
Hardback
ISBN: 978-93-82381-39-6
Rs 750

As a tribute to Javeed Alam and his exemplary life, some of his close friends and admirers have come together in this volume with reflections on the range of themes that he pursued in his work with such intelligence and relish for some four decades: the nature of capitalism and the various angles of a Marxist response to it, the nature of secularism and liberalism and the forms of modernity which they usher in, and Gandhi’s political ideas in the context of Indian society and India’s own unfolding modernity.

Akeel Bilgrami, the editor of the volume, is the Sidney Morgenbesser Chair of Philosophy and the Director of the South Asian Institute at Columbia University. The contributors to the volume include Irfan Habib, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Utsa Patnaik, Charles Taylor, Prabhat Patnaik, Aijaz Ahmad and Partha Chatterjee, among others.

Javeed Alam was born on 12 August 1943 to Khadija and Alam Khundmiri in what was then the State of Hyderabad, ruled by the Nizam. His first memories are of independence and the struggle of the Telangana peasantry in which his family was involved. His early thinking and his commitments were much influenced by his father who was a philosopher of high distinction, and his mother who along with her husband was a keen activist in Left politics in Hyderabad. He studied in Hyderabad’s Alia School and then completed his BA and MA degrees at Osmania University, getting a gold medal for standing first in the MA. He went to Delhi to do his PhD at the Indian School of International Studies, eventually getting his doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University with which the ISIS was merged. He started his career teaching at Delhi University’s Salwan College, where his stand against the administration, which had terminated his services for marrying a Hindu, led to a larger agitation that successfully defended the secular character of the University. From 1973 to 1999 he taught at Himachal Pradesh University. A popular teacher who inspired generations of students, he also played a vital role in building Left politics in that state. His writings on Indian politics, political theory, federalism, democracy, modernity and Left politics have helped to shape many of the academic and political debates of the past three decades. He returned to Hyderabad in the late 1990s and taught at the English and Foreign Languages University from which he retired in 2005. He was Chairman of the Indian Council for Social Science Research from 2008 to 2011. In his retirement, he lives in Hyderabad with his wife Jayanti.

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Planter Raj to Swaraj – Freedom Struggle and Electoral Politics in Assam

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Amalendu Guha

June 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xxviii + 366 pages
Paperback
ISBN: 978-93-82381-34-1
Rs 550

This is a re-issue of Amalendu Guha’s influential work on Assam and the North-East more than thirty years after its original publication, with a new Introduction by the author. Guha’s analysis extends from Assam in 1826, the year of the British annexation, to the post-independence conditions in 1950.

The peculiar features of the region’s plantation economy; the imperialism of opium cultivation; the problems of a steady influx of immigrants and the backlash of a local linguistic chauvinism; peasants’ and workers’ struggles; the evolution of the ryot sabhas, the Congress, trade unions and, later, the Communist Party – such are the themes that receive attention in this book, alongside an analysis of legislative and administrative processes.

The narrative is structured chronologically within an integrated Marxist framework of historical perspective, and is based on a wide range of primary sources.

Amalendu Guha is an eminent historian whose work covers twentieth century Afghanistan, medieval Assam, and from the saga of the early Parsi capitalists to tribal unrest in post-colonial North-East India. Trained as an economist, Guha has taught at Darrang College, Tezpur, the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, and the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. He has been Professor of History at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata, and a member of both the Indian Council of Social Science Research and the Indian Council of Historical Research.

Cover design: Ram Rahman

Terror and Performance

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Rustom Bharucha

June 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xvi+252 pages
Hardback
ISBN: 978-93-82381-37-2
Rs 695

Focusing on four primary motifs – ‘September 11’, Islamophobia, Truth and Reconciliation, and non-violence – this book offers a non-Eurocentric perspective on the dangerous liaisons between terror and performance. Instead of equating ‘terror’ with ‘terrorism’, it offers alternative epistemologies and narratives of terror by drawing on a vast spectrum of human cruelties relating to war, genocide, apartheid, communal and ethnic violence, in India, Rwanda, South Africa and Palestine, among other parts of the global South.

From exposing the liberal biases of ‘September 11’ as the paradigmatic event of terror in our times, the book reflects on how the ‘war on terror’ has catalysed an upsurge of Islamophobia in the performances of everyday life. Against the fictions of ‘passing’, ‘covering’ and ‘queering’ Muslim identities, the book juxtaposes the very real terror of genocide and communal violence in which Muslims have been marked and killed.

Extending the concept of ‘performance’ beyond theatre practice, the book also interrogates the performativity of political discourse with particular reference to state-sponsored processes of Truth and Reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda and post-apartheid South Africa. By contrasting the conflicting modalities of Truth and Reconciliation, it questions how the performances of guilt, confession and forgiveness can be valorized at the expense of securing justice for the victims.

To what extent can non-violence serve as an instrument of justice in the age of terror? Is it possible to envision justice outside the strictures of the law? The concluding chapter of this book probes these questions through the activist performances of Mahatma Gandhi in a larger context of critically re-examining his role as a one-man Truth Commission. Affirming the need for non-violent political resistance, Terror and Performance envisions how a turbulent peace may be realized through the uncertainties of the here and now.

Rustom Bharucha is Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies in the School of Arts and Aesthetics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the author of several books, including Theatre and the World, The Politics of Cultural Practice, The Question of Faith, In the Name of the Secular, Rajasthan: An Oral History and Another Asia: Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshin.

People’s ‘Warrior’ – Words and Worlds of P.C. Joshi

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Edited by Gargi Chakravartty

March 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xxii + 474 pages
Hardback
ISBN: 978-93-82381-36-5
Rs 995

Faced with many disappointments within the Communist Party to which he had dedicated his life and in the realm of politics beyond, P.C. Joshi turned to a deep and life-long engagement with the history of the Party. It was an engagement that led to the creation of a rich archive on the complex history of the Indian Left. On 1 December 1970, this collection was formally acquired by Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Joshi himself was the Director of this archive for the first five years, ably assisted by K. Damodaran. In 1974, the archive was set up as an adjunct to the School of Social Sciences, JNU, with its own advisory body.

The materials in the ‘P.C. Joshi Archives on Contemporary History’ consist primarily of documents and papers from the personal collection of P.C. Joshi. The cataloguing style that he developed, along with K. Damodaran, has been retained to the present. As such, it is divided between materials classified by year and those classified by themes. The materials include rare magazines and journals, publications of communist parties and various other Left groups from several parts of the globe; and books, pamphlets, photographs, and copies of important files and letters relating to the Communist Party of India.

P.C. Joshi himself had long been writing on a wide range of issues, commenting on contemporary political developments, on Party positions and strategies, on historical events and processes, and on debates and concerns among workers and peasants, artists and writers, students and the youth. Many of these were published in the journals with which he was associated, though some important reflections remained unpublished. This volume contains a selection from P.C. Joshi’s large body of writing, which will serve as an introduction to the man, his writings and his times. The articles are presented here in a chronological framework, starting with excerpts from P.C. Joshi’s memorable deposition in the Meerut Conspiracy Case and continuing to his last writings before he fell critically ill. The first chapter, titled ‘In His Own Words’, is an autobiographical note that he wrote on 7 November 1970. In addition to a selection of Joshi’s writings, the volume contains invited articles by scholars/writers which evaluate and contextualize P.C. Joshi and his times.

Gargi Chakravartty, formerly a faculty member of Maitreyi College, University of Delhi, is also a social activist. She is the author of Gandhi’s Challenge to Communalism (1987), Coming Out of Partition: Refugee Women of Bengal (2005) and P.C. Joshi: A Biography (2007).

Towards a New History of Work

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Towards a New History of Work cover 

Edited by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya

March 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
x+ 286 pages
Hardback
ISBN: 978-93-82381-35-8
Rs 575

This collection of essays is the outcome of a conference, organized by the Association of Indian Labour Historians in collaboration with the V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, on the histories of work, from the long-term and comparative perspective. Why did the conference organizers and participants propose to look beyond ‘labour history’ to look at ‘the history of work’? Perhaps because at this moment of history we are in the midst of a huge change which compels our attention to turn to the notion of ‘work’ as distinct from that of ‘labour’. This change appears to us in the form of a technological transformation that affects not just our view of history, but our life itself. Every time we use the computer or the internet or the cyber networks we experience this transformation – which brings home to us the fragility of the conventional boundary between ‘labour’ and ‘work’. The information technology revolution has created a new space for some workers as a result of the relocation and dispersal of work, often to the home of the workers. In fact, this situates such information technology workers in a position analogous to that of the late medieval or early modern European artisans – an interesting recursive pattern in labour history. Moreover, in the less developed countries where capitalist relations do not exhaustively define all production relations, we have a large proportion of the economically active population without being in someone’s employment, and thus it seems that the term ‘worker’ possibly accommodates them better than the term ‘labourer’. Further, when we consider the long run of history, the same proposition holds for the workers of the pre-capitalist era in many countries – i.e. the artisans and others who remained self-employed even if they were tied to a dependency network. The term ‘labourer’ appears to be inappropriate, as some authors in the present volume have argued, to people of that class in the pre-modern period in India or elsewhere. There are many other issues which need rigorous re-thinking in the agenda of constructing a ‘history of work’. In considering how the nature of ‘work’ is being transformed, the term ‘work’ needs to be defined because in common parlance it means many things. If value addition to a marketed product or service is the criterion, a pro tem working definition accepted since Adam Smith, there are problems to sort out. For instance, there may be work which is socially useful but not marketed, e.g. the home-maker’s or house-wife’s work, a vital question from the gender history point of view. These and many other questions surface in the segment of the current discourse of ‘the history of work’ represented in this volume.

The papers collected in the present volume (to be followed by another volume of selected papers presented at the conference) have been arranged thematically into four sections in order to highlight some issues in focus at the conference and also to allow a cross-national perspective to develop. The first group of papers addresses the long run of history, extending to the late medieval and early modern period. The second section comprises papers on work communities and the development of their identity. The third group of papers looks at two of the oldest occupations in history, that of soldiers and sailors. We have here the scope to look at history of the longer range. Finally, we turn to the question: how was ‘work’ or ‘labour’ perceived by those who actually performed it? In the fourth section of the book we have essays which elaborate on that perception of work, the complexities of self-perception and the socially ascribed status of workers in different domains.

Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, the editor of this volume, was formerly Professor of Economic History, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Vice-Chancellor, Visva Bharati University, West Bengal; and Chairman, Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. He is the founder president of the Association of Indian Labour Historians. His work ranges from economic history to cultural and intellectual history of modern India. Amongst his many books are Financial Foundations of the British Raj: Ideas and Interests in the Reconstruction of Indian Public Finance, 1858–1872 (2005), Talking Back: Idea of Civilization in the Indian Nationalist Discourse (2010) and Rabindranath Tagore: An Interpretation (2011).

Cover image: Ramkinkar Baij, The Call of the Mill.
Ramkinkar Baij (1906–1983), eminent sculptor and painter, was a student and a teacher at the school of fine arts, Kala Bhavana, 1925–71, in the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore in Santiniketan, West Bengal; born in a ‘low caste’, he was close to the tribal Santhals whose migration to industrial employment is depicted in this sculpture entitled The Call of the Mill.

Cover design: Parthiv Shah, cmacindia@gmail.com

UNMEDIATED – Essays on Media, Culture, Cinema

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Sashi Kumar Cover

Sashi Kumar

March 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
448 pages
Hardback
ISBN: 978-93-82381-32-7
Rs 895

This collection of Sashi Kumar’s contributions to various journals and magazines for over three decades – from the late 1970s to the present – is informed by his exposure to, quest and passion for, practice in, and contemplation on the media as a broad category of culture and the ecology, and including film, print, television, radio and the net. It is informed too by the author’s brief engagement, in between, with advertising across different media, and an entrepreneurial phase of establishing and running a satellite and cable television enterprise at the cusp of the transition from the analogue to the digital.

This is broadly a reflective collection of essays on the media, mediated culture and film/cinema that is Indian and international in its scope. It is not, or about, daily retail journalism. It provides perspective to the agency of the media; aspects of freedom of expression and creativity; coercive and persuasive forces at work in the media and in culture; filmic genres and the oeuvre of distinctive filmmakers; the art, craft and aura of cinema; the emerging media ecology; cognitive shifts triggered by technology; the push and pull of convergence and digitization; the rampantly unequal media order and the rise of digital capitalism; and the new mutuality of the writerly, readerly, aural and oral.

Sashi Kumar is a journalist, broadcaster, documentary and feature filmmaker, media thinker and initiator. He launched the Asianet satellite television channel and cable network in the early 1990s. Towards the end of that decade he founded, and continues to chair, the Media Development Foundation, which runs the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.

Gauging and Engaging Deviance – 1600–2000

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Gauging and Engaging Deviance

Ari Sitas | Wiebke Keim | Sumangala Damodaran | Nicos Trimikliniotis | Faisal Garba

January 2014

9.5 x 6.25 inches
viii + 256 pages
Hardback
ISBN 978-93-82381-31-0
Rs 600

Gauging and Engaging Deviance is at once a creative and challenging work. It is not just a critique of the sociological canon, but an imaginative reconstruction that is generous to all nooks and crannies of the planet. It is also a memorial to modernity’s victims, whether they were perceived to be deviant or not. Its broad historical range, its geographical spread, and its attention to race and power create a conceptual grammar through which we can speak of the key challenges, traumas and violence of the contemporary period. Through its pages the Maroon and the Pirate meet Don Quixote, the Thug and the Apostate in a journey that takes the reader through slave factories, plantations, prisons and extermination camps, gauging the price of what it has meant to struggle to be contrary or free.

Ari Sitas, a South African writer and a sociologist, works at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has been a leading scholar among the development alternative sociological voices in southern Africa and, more broadly, in the global South.

Wiebke Keim is a German sociologist at CRNS in Strasbourg, France, and coordinates, through the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany, a major research programme on circulating knowledge between the North and the South.

Sumangala Damodaran is an Indian economist who also works on music, culture and social movements. She is with the School of Development Studies and Culture and Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University Delhi.

Nicos Trimikliniotis is a Cypriot sociologist and lawyer, associated with the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, and co-leads a programme on Reconciliation on the island of Cyprus.

Faisal Garba is a Ghanaian Research Associate in the Third African Diaspora project of the University of Cape Town, South Africa.