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A manifesto for India's middle classes and their political awakening

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I have been a student and a school teacher of social sciences for nearly three decades. Social sciences as such is a normative discipline where in studying people and cultures we seek to envision and re-imagine society more equitable, democratic and just. Marxism at first seemed to provide the best possibilities to achieve these objectives and transforming our imaginations and political aspirations into concrete realities. But then the variables constituting social change are many and not everything is explained by Marxism and socialistic vision. All state backed socialist experiments failed and indeed the Soviet Union experience and what we see in North Korea has been nothing short of disastrous with neither any semblance of democracy or humanism. China represents another socialist caricature. Indeed the possibilities of a socialist world is ironically becoming slimmer even as capitalism has become more brazen, hurting, egregious and ubiquitous. There are more millionaires and billio…

The ‘art of living’ in days of digital technologies and late capitalism: issues in identity politics in fragmented times

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(I write this piece as form of self appraisal and understanding my state of emotional stasis. While at some levels it may sound self righteous, it actually is an exegesis of self and the times I live in. I'm fully implicated here and guilty of all attitudes and practices which have been spoken in tones of reprobation. Hopefully this and more such reflexive writing will form a part of a therapy for the pathology that has gripped me in these deeply disenchanting times. I have added my own images which compliments the narration) 
Recall and consider these moments, seemingly trivial but having far reaching import - you were out holidaying and you wanted a picture of self or with friends, family, in the company you were with. You sought someone around at a Taj Mahal, Ellora or Meenakshi temple to help you take a snap. Then think of days, not too deep into your past, when the cable connection went on the blink and you along with your neighbours fired the local cable operators for poor …

Gully Boy - flawed pedagogy on talent, success and its mistaken subalternity

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Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy is probably one of those rare Bollywood offering that has had both the masses and classes cheering and rooting for it. While we can leave out the masses and the film's box office performance for the moment, does the film really add much more to scratch as it is being made out by some critics? Encomiums for the film has emerged even from more left leaning news media sites i.e. The Scroll, The Wire and Huffington Post who all had very positive reviews. I was finally nudged to view the film when the more academic EPW too carried a piece, effusive of the film's supposed less than formulaic rendering of subaltern dreams. The plot and premise of the film, I avoid going into here which one safely assumes is well known by now.

When I came out of the packed multiplex, I was quite overcome with a sense of ambiguity and confusion. While the crowd probably was not dished a Salman Khan trash or Karan Johar’s shameless celebration of affluence, but then I wondered …