Showing posts with the label Perspectives/Essays

JNU - from possibilities to a pathology, its hollowing by left

The furore that a left saturated Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has generated in the last few years is a matter that disconcerts many. It invited my wrath too, against an authoritarian and intrusive vice chancellor on the one hand and on the other and more, against the left academia and politics that too had violated the sanctity and possibilities, the university promised. In JNU, particularly its social science and humanities centres, we hoped for an alternative student culture and scholarship of a kind unique in a country where majority universities have ceased to be anything beyond degree awarding institutions. Even today JNU is known and to a considerable extent justifies itself by its rigorous research, exceptional faculty ushering in new models of understanding and also providing a learning environment where not just a few but a sizeable majority acquire 'skills', confidence and disposition to morph into citizens in a truer political sense. This is all the more r

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