Publications | Humanities & Social Sciences


Discipline wise list of recent selected publications

Market Liberalism, Marginalised Citizens and Countermovements in India

How has neo-liberalism transformed the economic structure and policies of India? And what are the politico-economic implications of such policies for marginalised populations? Following Karl Polanyi’s theory of “double movement”, this paper argues that while market liberalism has helped India overcome the slow so-called “Hindu rate of growth”, it has adversely affected the economic interests of the poor. It further argues that the expansion of the market (first movement) has led to various social dislocations in the lives of the poor.

Amma canteens, baby care kits most significant additions to Tamil Nadu welfare schemes: Reetika Khera

Tamil Nadu is mourning the death of J Jayalalithaa who passed away on 5 December. The people called her as "Amma" (mother) because she took care of them - taking forward and expanding the state's long tradition of welfare policies and schemes. In 1956, the erstwhile Madras State became the first Indian state to introduce free and universal mid-day meal system for children in government primary schools under the then CM K Kamaraj of the Congress, decades before the Centre followed suit in 1995.

The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Modi's "Surgical Strike" On Black Money

Black money, by its very nature, is hard to estimate accurately; therefore the gains from demonetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes are also difficult to quantify. Thinking about the following ten questions will enable us to have a clearer account of what this will (or not) achieve.

India has more cash (12% of money supply) than other countries (3% in UK and 10% in the US), but it remains a small part of the total.

A Phased Approach Will Make a ‘Basic Income’ Affordable for India

Years ago, in 1991, Philippe Van Parijs made a strong case for universal basic income (UBI) in an article titled ‘Why surfers should be fed‘. More recently, the idea of a UBI has gained currency in India as well. Why the idea is appealing is easy to see: universality does away with the messy job of identifying the poor and when the UBI is in cash (rather than kind), it reduces the administrative burden in an already over-stretched government bureaucracy.

Could the virtual world of Pokémon Go be used to help rich Indians see real struggles of the poor?

I spent the period between January and March reading about the rise of the welfare state in many parts of the world, especially in England, where it was cemented in the 1940s and ’50s. An important thread in my reading was around the evolution of a consensus – fragile and difficult, though it may have been – across conflicting sections of society.

Understanding Juvenile Crime

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.

Book Review: Why you must read Gautam Bhatia’s ‘Offend, Shock, and Disturb’ to debate Free Speech in India

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.

Was Godse more patriotic than Gandhi?

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.