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From Morality to Psychology

Emotion Concepts in Urdu, 1870–1920

Margrit Pernau

This article looks at the changes in the concepts used to write about emotions in Urdu between 1870 and 1920. It argues that while emotions at the beginning of the period were still thought of as premised upon notions of equilibrium and balance, which accorded a crucial role to the will and to rationality, fifty years later concepts celebrated the elementary power of emotions and their capacity to overwhelm the individual. This can be read as an indicator and factor of a profound emotionalization of private as well as public life. The first section looks at ethical and pedagogical texts, the second at articles published in journals linked to the reformist Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, and the final section at the reconfiguration of emotion knowledge through the translation and adaptation of psychological treatises.

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Samir Dasgupta

Jalais, Annu. 2010. Forest of Tigers: People, Politics, and Environment in the Sundarbans. New York: Routledge.

Pandian, Anand. 2009. Crooked Stalks: Cultivating Virtue in South India. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Subramanian, Ajantha. 2009. Shorelines: Space and Rights in South India. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.

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Itay Noy

Levien, Michael. 2018. Dispossession without development: Land grabs in neoliberal India. New York: Oxford University Press.

Li, Tania Murray. 2014. Land’s end: Capitalist relations on an indigenous frontier. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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Malini Sur

Life Cycle ethnographically and visually documents the everyday use of bicycles among Kolkata’s city dwellers. Winding through the city’s congested thoroughfares and narrow by-lanes, we follow daily wageworkers, including migrants from eastern India, environmentalists, teachers, and activists, who cycle for a living. In this documentary (forty-two minutes) and the broader ethnographic project within which it is situated, I investigate how cycling mediates people’s changing relationships to cities in South Asia. Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the largest city in eastern India, is the primary focus of Life Cycle. This city has 1.68 million cyclists, records 2.5 million cycle trips a day, has the least amount of road space (6 percent) in metropolitan India, and has the second highest air pollution level. By 2017, traffic regulations prohibited cycling on seventy city roads.

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Manvi Seth

The international seminar on Museums and the Changing Cultural Landscape, coordinated by Dr. Manvi Seth, was organized by the department of museology in the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology in collaboration with the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) from 2–4 September 2012 at the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS), Leh, Ladakh, India.

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Malini Sur

In this review article, Sur reads across disciplines to join studies of partitions, borders, and mobility. Sur shows how two important partitions of the twentieth century that historically shaped South Asia's modern cartography continue to exert a shadow on everyday life and state violence at its longest boundary, the India-Bangladesh border.

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Invisible Cyclists and Disappearing Cycles

The Challenges of Cycling Policies in Indian Cities

Rutul Joshi and Yogi Joseph

Cycles are fast disappearing from the urban landscape, popular culture, and everyday life in India. The marginalization of cycling is seen in the backdrop of an emerging automobile culture linked with rising incomes, post-liberalization and skewed notions of modernity. The continued dominance of motorized modes seeks to claim a larger share of road space mirroring the social power structure. The majority of urban cyclists in India are low-income workers or school-going children. Despite the emergence of a subculture of recreational cycling among higher-income groups, everyday cycling confronts social bias and neglect in urban policies and public projects. The rhetoric of sustainability and equity in the National Urban Transport Policy 2006 and pro-cycling initiatives in “best practice” transit projects are subverted by not building adequate enabling infrastructure. This article presents an overview of contentious issues related to cycling in Indian cities by examining the politics of inclusion and exclusion in urban policies.

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Iain Sinclair

Warfare was widespread in classical India. Although the Buddhists of India abhorred killing, they could not evade or ignore war altogether. From the seventh century to the thirteenth century, various types of war magic, together with justifications for their use, developed in tantric Buddhist communities. Defensive types of war magic adhered to pacifist ethics and aimed to avoid, halt, or disperse armies. Harmful war magic was applied in the context of the transcendent ethics of enlightenment. Even when warfare was fully incorporated into Buddhist soteriology, non-violence remained a paramount virtue, and the scope of a just war was very limited. The present survey of tantric sources shows that tantric Buddhist war magic emerged as a reaction to the inevitability of war and was applied in the hope of mitigating warfare's excesses.

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"Who wants to marry a farmer?"

Neoliberal industrialization and the politics of land and work in rural West Bengal

Sarasij Majumder

This article seeks to understand why both anti-land acquisition protests and proindustrial rhetoric of provincial governments in India are fodder for populist politics. To understand this, the article explores the meanings that land and development have for the rural communities in West Bengal, India, who are trying to straddle the multiple worlds of farm ownership and nonfarm employment. Based on five years of ethnographic fieldwork in various parts of rural West Bengal, this article argues that resistances to corporate globalization, taken to be unambiguously anti-industrial or anticapitalist, reflect complex intentions. Protesting villagers are ambivalent toward corporate capital, but their support for industries and protests against corporations are grounded in local moral worlds that see both nonfarm work and landownership as markers of critical social distinction.

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“I Am Trying” to Perform Like an Ideal Boy

The Construction of Boyhood through Corporal Punishment and Educational Discipline in Taare Zameen Par

Natasha Anand

In this article I examine boyhood as presented through the figure of an eight year- old boy, Ishaan, in the Hindi film Taare Zameen Par (2007). In the current era of India’s globalization, how does the particular politics of hegemonic masculinity inform the very foundations underlying the family and school as punitive structures? By positing the analytical perspectives of childhood studies and the performativity of identity against Foucauldian inflected terminology, I argue that Ishaan enacts the dual role of both victim and agent in a film that mediates between two forms of harsh regulatory practices—corporal punishment and educational discipline. The climactic reorientation of an ideal boyhood gradually unfolds against the backdrop of the performances of other contrasting masculinities installed through the figures of the boy’s father, brother, fellow-students, and school-teachers. By drawing such interconnections, I see the film as contesting the ways in which domestic and academic institutions affect contemporary masculine subject formation.