Let me begin this essay on juvenile crime with a personal experience with juveniles, potentially delinquents. Recently, I was walking in a relatively secluded area of Delhi in broad daylight, when I heard a sound from a fast approaching motorbike from behind. Within a fraction of a second, I felt an inappropriate physical gesture. And within a fraction of the next second, I realised that this was by one of the three fancily dressed slum kids who zoomed past me. I felt anger and helplessness and reported the motorbike number, or whatever I could remember of it, to a nearby police chowki.
The title of this fine book does its contents a disservice, for it is about much more than speech which offends, shocks, or disturbs. Its aims are two-fold: first, to provide a doctrinal analysis of Indian free speech jurisprudence; and second, to critically examine it from a philosophical point of view.
Bhatia notes ruefully that the pathologies of the Indian legal system may limit the impact of these theoretical explorations in practice. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to ask whether Indian free speech jurisprudence is internally coherent and compatible with democratic ideals.
A few days ago, Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Tarun Vijay tweeted an appreciation of Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary, calling her a “symbol of strength”. The appreciation of this kind of “strength” was puzzling because it seemed incompatible with Vijay's praise in the past for Mahatma Gandhi, and for his criticism of the Emergency.
Much of the work by Angus Deaton, the winner of this year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, has been focussed on measurement issues. He has questioned the quality of data collected in large surveys and suggested ways of improving the surveys. He has also thought very hard about how these data could or could not be used, how to reduce measurement errors, and what inferences one can, or cannot, draw from data that might suffer from measurement errors.
Both China and India have recently been in the global eye for their adverse sex ratios. China’s one-child policy has landed it in dire straits with almost 19 extra boys for every girl with the future implication that there would be close to 30 million excess males by 2020. India is in somewhat better shape with around 13 extra boys per girl. While India’s overall figure of excess males in the marriage market would not be quite as worrisome as China’s, the concentration of these males in the North and northwestern regions of India raises similar concerns.
An interview about cross-regional marriage migration with Ravinder Kaur.
As marriage remains a social obligation in Indian society, desperation has led to an increasing number of cross-regional and cross- cultural marriages which challenge the rigid marriage systems and the notion of caste. States like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are particularly affected by a lack of women, and in the last decades informal networks have facilitated the migration of brides from eastern and southern parts of the country to these northern states.
Interviewed by Dr. Sarbeswar Sahoo
Hans Joas, a German sociologist and social theorist, is Permanent Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany and a Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, where he also belongs to the influential interdisciplinary Committee on Social Thought. In conversation with Dr. Sarbeswar Sahoo, Joas explains how he got into the discipline of Sociology and what has motivated him all these years.