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Arvind K. Joshi

The aged in India have conventionally enjoyed privileges within the framework of a social economy where the needs of the old remained a moral responsibility of family, kith and kin. However the present changing times have forced a shift in the approach to old age care. The old person finds him- or herself in a sticky situation, in between an insensitive state and the demands of globalization. The present paper situates this problem within the framework of globalization and systematically measures the strategic response of the state to this daunting challenge, with respect to economic security and health care in particular. In the conclusion, the paper argues for a rejection of the conventional welfare approach and it advocates an integrated approach based on a coherent social development perspective within the valuation framework of social quality.

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"They have it in their stomachs but they can't vomit it up"

Dalits, reservations, and "caste feeling" in rural Andhra Pradesh

Clarinda Still

This article examines the social effects of India's affirmative action policy (“reservations“) on the relationship between dalits and the dominant castes. Drawing on fieldwork in rural southern India, this article looks at the way people use their knowledge of reservations (however imperfect) to form opinions that shape behavior in everyday life. I argue that this policy is used to vindicate upper-caste antipathy toward dalits and has become an important part of new discriminatory attitudes. While discrimination on the basis of pollution has become muted, in its place reservations (combined with ideas about habits, morality, and cleanliness) have become the principal idiom through which the dominant openly express resentment toward dalits. In this sense, the language of reservations enables and legitimates an upsurge of anti-dalit feeling. This leads us to consider whether the positive effects of the policy can effectively counteract the caste antagonism caused by it in everyday life.

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Singularity and Uncertainty

Counter-Ethics of Gender and Sexuality in an Indian Dream Analysis

Sarah Pinto

On the cusp of India’s Independence, a young woman in Punjab met with a psychiatrist for a conceptual experiment – the development of a ‘more objective’ and ‘Oriental’ theory of dream analysis. Known to us only as Mrs A., not only did she offer a ‘daydream’ to analyst Dev Satya Nand, she presented an intimate account of mid-twentieth-century upper-class Indian marriage, sexuality and womanhood. In her portrayal of the stakes of kinship, she posed an alternate vision – an ethic of singularity and uncertainty formed out of, but departing from, concepts of security and emplacement. This article explores Mrs A.’s account, using the work of twenty-first-century artist Shahzia Sikander to theorize her vision of possibility, and developing the concept of a counter-ethic – a formulation that presses against the parameters of an overarching ethic, occupying its conceptual and social infrastructure, but nurturing a new vision at the points it cannot be sustained.

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Navyug Gill

Anand Pandian, Crooked stalks: Cultivating virtue in South India. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009, pp. 325, ISBN 978-0-8223-4531-2 (paperback).

Vinay Gidwani, Capital, interrupted: Agrarian development and the politics of work in India. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008, pp. 336, ISBN 978-0-8166-4959-4 (paperback).

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Jacob Copeman

This article explores emerging ascetic orientations toward utility and death in India. It chronicles the activities of an innovative organization that campaigns for cadaver donations for the purposes of organ retrieval and dissection by trainee doctors. This would entail dispensing with cremation, a mode of cadaver disposal newly characterized as wasteful. In order to counter 'cremation-lack', the asceticism of cadaver donation is accentuated by the organization. The group thereby reinterprets classical Hinduism according to the demands of 'medical rationality'. This produces a novel 'donation theology' and additionally serves to demonstrate the 'asceticism' by which all voluntary donors of body material are obliged to abide.

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Anupama Arora

This article examines the travel narratives of three Indian visitors to the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Occupying a precarious space between spectacle and spectator at the World's Fair, these visitors returned the ethnographic gaze and instead offered cultural self-representation that co-existed with and contested the prevalent perceptions of India (and other non-Western peoples). In the process, their narratives both questioned the civilized/primitive dichotomy as well as disrupted the grand official narrative of Anglo-Saxon supremacy and progress celebrated at the exposition.

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Mobilities and the Multinatural

A Test Case in India

Thomas Birtchnell

This article examines whether the mobilities paradigm could be more sensitive to recent debates about the more-than-human (animals, plants, and insects) and indeed the inhuman (geological, planetary, and biophysical). Many possible examples spring to mind: the forced movement of people due to “natural” catastrophes, the annual migrations of birds across vast distances, the accidental and intentional spread of invasive weeds. “Multinatural mobilities” are at present both inside and outside of the paradigm’s core themes. Can mobilities go beyond transportation, migration, urban development, the hypermobility of the few, and the comparative immobility of the world’s majority of people to encompass everything that moves? Or does this risk diluting the novelty of the paradigm? By presenting a test case of a potential research theme on wild animals in India’s urban spaces, this article argues that by thinking multinaturally progress can be reached in applying the rich mobilities framework to problems in mobility systems.

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"Blood Will Have Blood"

A Study in Indian Political Ritual

Jacob Copeman

This article considers the significance of the incorporation of blood donation as a widespread feature of commemorative political rituals in India. It places the rituals in the context of the current campaign in India to replace paid with non-remunerated donation, and explains how this campaign has led to the circulation of a store of ethical capital that the ritual organizers endeavor—through these blood-shedding commemorations—to capture for political ends. It is argued that there is nothing purely political about memorial blood donation—that its performance relies upon certain established religious themes in order to achieve political efficacy, and that this works both ways. The article highlights the role of blood donation in facilitating bodily transactions across and between different temporal locations, and finishes with a case study that demonstrates the risk involved in these rituals of remembrance.

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Boys and Education in the Global South

Emerging Vulnerabilities and New Opportunities for Promoting Changes in Gender Norms

Gary Barker, Ravi Verma, John Crownover, Marcio Segundo, Vanessa Fonseca, Juan Manuel Contreras, Brian Heilman and Peter Pawlak

This article presents a review of global data on boys' education in the Global South and recent findings on the influence of boys' educational attainment on their attitudes and behaviors in terms of gender equality. The article also presents three examples—from Brazil, the Balkans, and India—on evaluated, school-based approaches for engaging boys and girls in reducing gender-based violence and promoting greater support for gender equality. Recommendations are provided for how to integrate such processes into the public education system in such a way that provides benefits for both boys and girls in a relational approach.

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Abin Chakraborty

Accounts of early European travelers show ample textual evidences of travelers oscillating between the cultural and religious biases and prejudices that obviously conditioned them and a candid sense of wonder and admiration that directly contradicted inherited stereotypes of one kind or another. In the process such travelogues, letters, and observations not only become sites of ambivalence and hybridity but also testify to processes of “cultural mobility” (Greenblatt et al. 2010) and attendant self-fashioning that did not conform to the racial and imperial con- structs generated by the “White Man’s Burden” at a later date. This article examines such issues through an analysis of the descriptions and letters of Thomas Coryat, who wandered across Mughal India between 1612 to 1617. What emerges through his accounts is an interstitial perspective that fosters a vision of cultural mobility without the teleological triumphalism often associated with empire and theology.