Ananya Vajpeyi

Ananya Vajpeyi
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi · CSDS

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35
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Publications (35)
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This chapter considers the nature and effectiveness of Indian right-wing leader Narendra Modi’s populism. Paradoxically, India, the world’s largest democracy, was ahead of the curve, electing the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power with an overwhelming majority in the general elections of April–May 2014, thereby installing stron...
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Despite the very different and to some extent opposite historical and political trajectories, there is today a convergence on nationalist affirmation and on majoritarian politics between South Asia and Europe. In India, the Hindu majority rebels against wide-ranging minority rights anchored in the Constitution. In Europe, the refugee crisis and Isl...
Book
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This volume assembles renowned scholars to address, for the first time, the relationship between minorities and populism in South Asia and Europe from a critical perspective. Despite the very different and to some extent opposite historical and political trajectories, there is today a convergence on nationalist affirmation and on majoritarian polit...
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One has to earn the right to inherit one’s tradition; one must prepare oneself to recontextualize one’s tradition. Where are such efforts today in the institutionalized pursuits of knowledge production? Intellectual inquiries in India are yet to evince serious engagement with reflective creative traditions of Indian past to reinvigorate and contemp...
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Indian scholar Ananya Vajpeyi examines the way the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is using Sanskrit to advance a Hindu supremacist agenda. She argues that academics need to step out of the ivory tower and resist the government?s manipulation of this ancient language.
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The article highlights Dr B. R. Ambedkar’s battle for equality and sketches out his political campaigns which were designed to boycott caste rules and allow ‘untouchables’ access to temples, wells and other civic resources—all with the intention to raise public consciousness against the practice of untouchability. And, importantly, the article talk...
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Śūdradharma, literally, dharma for the Sudra, is an old topic in the Dharmaśāstra, part of the standard list of topics in dharma texts from the earliest period. From 1350 to 1700 ce we find a number of texts in the genre of the dharma-nibandha (digest on dharma), devoted wholly and solely to the topic of Śūdradharma. We are able to locate several o...
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To Uphold the World carries a Foreword by Amartya Sen, and also engages seriously with his writing, together with Martha Nussbaum, on human capabilities. Rich is similarly engaged with the progressive ideas of Karl Polanyi, Manuel Castells, Vaclav Havel, Joseph Stiglitz and a number of other contemporary thinkers and theorists, including Hardt and...
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Ananya Vajpeyi reads Wendy Doniger's capacious study of the diversity of Hindu tales and traditions, which serves as a riposte to the self-appointed guardians of Indian culture by celebrating the multiple varieties of Hindu religious experience.
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The Modernity of Sanskrit by Simona Sawhney ably makes the argument for an ethically vigilant, politically active, and intellectually timely criticism. Sawhney describes the crisis as she sees it, proposes a counter-challenge, and then proceeds to demonstrate how this post-Babri Masjid critical practice (to use her own point of departure) could be...
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The Difficulty of Being Good could have been written by my uncle, or your grandmother, or indeed you or me, as we think about and try to make sense of the many risks, the shearing dilemmas, the awful humiliations, the terrible defeats, the ethical conundrums and the complex machinations that always have and always will characterise politics – both...
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The larger project of which this review is a part seeks to develop a fresh theory of knowledge in contemporary Indian society. A full or even partial theoretical articulation of such a theory will not be attempted here. My point of entry into the discourse on knowledge, to the extent that it has been articulated at all in India today, is Sunil Saha...
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Subordinate and Marginal Groups in Early India. Edited by Parasher-SenAloka. New Delhi, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. 448 pp. Rs 1125 $45.00 (cloth). - Volume 63 Issue 4 - Ananya Vajpeyi
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Let it be said at the very outset that it is a difficult task, in the first half of 2004, to critically evaluate James Laine's recent book, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India (OUP 2003). When I originally decided to write about it several months ago, the book had not become the subject of so much controversy, and it would not have been a particul...
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A critical question that needs to be posed in the current context of intolerance is: are we prepared to defend acts of violence perpetrated in the name of our identity, our beliefs and finally, our sentiments?
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Communalism has so far been an ideology that anti-communal forces have tried to address in the informal sectors of pedagogy. What are the issues involved in building a formal syllabus for university students that systematically deals with communalism with a view to encouraging a principled rejection of its ideas and practices?
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Why are we – people who feel that there ought to be some space for disagreement in a democratic society, and more so in a dialogue between the world's two largest democracies -- so completely, unequivocally, undeniably, helpless? Why was there an utter absence of radical energy in the anti-Bush protests in Delhi?
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Shivaji has always been seen as an extraordinarily clever, intelligent and wise ruler. Why are the most utterly foolish positions being assumed and actions taken, supposedly in his name, to defend his reputation? The article is available online through OutlookIndia.com
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Every Indian schoolchild knows - or ought to know that Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), India’s “national poet”, wrote our national anthem Jana gana mana. The song, 52 seconds long in the singing, was first presented by Tagore to a session of the Indian National Congress in Calcutta in 1911; in 1919 it was taken up by Principal James Cousins of the...
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Marginality and subordination have been important themes in India's human and social sciences for almost a hundred years. Aloka Parasher-Sen's edited volume is a useful intervention in the literature on caste in the "intermediate and immediate past" (p. 3). This is the long stretch of South Asian premodernity frequently ignored by historians, thank...
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However significant DR Nagaraj's role role in the Dalit Movement in Karnataka and outside, his most lasting legacy will prove to be his utterly original reading of Gandhi, Ambedkar and the complex relationship between these two founders of modern India in the early part of the 20th century, especially as regards their—apparently— conflicting views...
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Censorship would like to shut down not mouths, but minds. Censorship would like to contain not just the production of works of art and works of knowledge, but the very emotional and intellectual impulses that go into such production. This is cause for even more worry. The article is available online through OutlookIndia.com.
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In recent years, Sheldon Pollock, Professor of Sanskrit at Columbia University, has pointed out that there is a crisis in the study of not only Sanskrit, but all the classical languages of India. After rich histories spanning many centuries, these languages have arrived at a point from which it may no longer be possible to ensure their preservation...
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What we need to understand urgently is that if Geelani is grievously wounded (no matter who aimed the barrel of a gun at him), it is our freedom that lies bleeding at the door. The article is available online through OutlookIndia.com
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By the logic of the Indian state, India is free and Kashmir is a part of India, ergo, Kashmir too, must be free. But Sanjay Kak’s documentary provides visual attestation for something diametrically opposed to this logic: the reality of occupation. The article is available online through OutlookIndia.com
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A history of India under British rule highlights the significance of Mahatma Gandhi's radical new politics, which transformed the struggle against empire.

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