Showing posts with the label Perspectives/Essays

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

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

( 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)  Blurring life and visions 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

Tying up in knots...

... Struggles to redeem social sciences Can one ‘train’ ‘trainers’ and render them as experts to help teachers teach social sciences better? In effect can it be taught in ways to help students find meaning and relevance in the world they socialize in? Can the elusive quality of citizenship informed by public reason be provided - social sciences’ raison d'etre, something which it is currently failing to do? We all believe it is feasible and an intense teacher training program will deliver the needful. But in my view and experience the teacher training program today by government, NGOs and other for profits have been able to crack no more than a fissure on this hardened nut of social science education and there are barely any possibilities of criticality germinating. Meaningful learning in social sciences and their morphing into critical citizens still remains elusive. Indeed the focus as such has always been on what will work for students learning and understanding of so