2017_1back to the list of books

Eric Olin Wright
Emancipatory Social Science

Emancipatory social science seeks to generate scientific knowledge relevant to the collective project of challenging various forms of human oppression…

To fulfill this mission, any emancipatory social science faces three basic tasks: elaborating a systematic diagnosis and critique of the world as it exists; envisioning viable alternatives; and understanding the obstacles, possibilities, and dilemmas of transformation. In different times and places one or another of these may be more pressing than others, but all are necessary for a comprehensive emancipatory theory…..

Crucially, to develop and exercise these potentials requires material resources and appropriate social conditions. The importance of material resources for human flourishing is obvious. Certainly without things like adequate nutrition, housing, clothing, and personal security it is difficult for most people to flourish in either the restrictive or expansive sense.

2017_2back to the list of books

Sukhadeo Thorat
Why Prejudice against the Reservation Policy?

The Directive Principles of State Policy under the Constitution also put an obligation on the State to “promote educational and economic interests of SC and ST and other weaker sections, and protect them from social injustices and all forms of exploitation” by enacting appropriate laws and policies….

The miniscule share of permanent employees under reservation in the total workforce among the SCs would not matter, if the rest of the persons were to own income-earning capital assets…..

The most common criticism of the RP is that those who are economically better off among the SCs have benefited more than the weak, and consequently, the critics claim that caste should be replaced by the economic criterion for the enforcement of reservation.

2017_3back to the list of books

M N Roy
Materialism in Indian Philosophy

All the existing schools of philosophy mention earlier thinkers as “heretics” or “nihilists”. The former had denied the authority of the Vedas; the latter doubted if anything existed at all…..

The Upanishads record not only strands of rationalist, naturalist and agnostic thought, but also out-and-out atheism and materialism…..

Nihilism was the ideology of the dissolution of antique society in India. It was revolutionary in the sense that it was a mighty revolt against Vedic priest-craft; but as a school of philosophical thought, it was sterile.

2017_4back to the list of books

Robert A Harris
A Summary Critique of the Fact/Value Dichotomy

One of the most significant struggles in the marketplace of ideas takes place over the control of the terms of discourse. Those who can frame a controversial issue in terms they prefer, have a great advantage in shaping public opinion. “Are you pro-choice or anti-choice?” is a typical example of this kind of framing….

The positivists declared that only facts, derived from experiment and observation, could be called truth, and they rejected all talk about values (ethics, morals, religion, philosophy) not only as “preferences without foundation”(5) but as meaningless or “non-cognitive” babble…..

Values also come into play in the choice of theories.

2017_5back to the list of books

K M Balasubramaniam
Periyar E V Ramasami: A Profile

With the Besantian growth of hair on his head, short, soft and of shining silvery hue, with his snow-white patriarchal beard sanctifying his cherubic countenance, with the Shavian growth of longish eye-brows, white, thick and wiry, with his black-rimmed spectacles with a pair of bright eyes flaming through, with a broad and expansive forehead adding to the beauty of the face and his ornamental nose that adorns with its aesthetic shape, Periyar Ramasami looks the leader of the manor-born…..

The most embarrassing moment in his otherwise happy life is when strangers to his habits innocently inform him in the early hours of the morning that arrangements for his bath are complete…..

The Periyar is the anti-thesis of Gandhi. He is a living libel on Gandhi’s politics, a peregrinating challenge to his pretension to greatness.

2017_6back to the list of books

Vladimir I Lenin

In developing their materialist philosophy, Marx and Engels had at first thoroughly to analyze the ideas which came from the religious world of thought…..

It is necessary therefore to re-state the attitude of the Communists towards religion. This attitude is well explained in the collection of articles by Lenin on this subject contained in this booklet. From these the reader will also obtain Lenin’s view on how to counteract the religious doping of the workers…..

The two letters from Lenin to Maxim Gorky, written in 1913, are a valuable part of this collection. The letters are directed against the revival of an emotional variety of Socialism, with a religious tendency, as preached at that time, after the defeat of the 1905 revolution, by the group of “God-seekers” which had gathered around Lunacharsky and Gorky.

2017_7back to the list of books

Frederic Engels
Revolutionary Christianity

In 1850, Engels wrote The Peasant war in Germany. While the study was within the larger framework of historical materialism, that is highlighting the economic and material forces and down-playing the political and religious, Engels found scope in it to highlight the differential role that Christianity played in the course of the scattered battles of the peasants….

Engels approvingly refers to Renan who says that, how in order to get a glimpse of the collective life of the early Christians, one should not go to day’s parishes but go to the modern, Socialist workers’ councils!....

However, Engels himself may not endorse all these academic and activist extensions of his insights, for the larger framework within was historical materialist, whose stance towards religion ultimately was always and unambiguously critical.

2017_8back to the list of books

Karl Marx & Frederic Engels
A Critique of Religion

India today could legitimately be described as a ‘religious country’….. The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man…..

If correctly understood, interest is the principle of all morality, man’s private interest must be made to coincide with the interest of humanity. If man is unfree in the materialistic sense, i.e., is free not through the negative power to avoid this or that, but through the positive power to assert his true individuality, crime must not be punished in the individual, but the anti-social sources of crime must be destroyed, and each man must be given social scope for the vital manifestation of his being.

2017_9back to the list of books

Pritam Singh
Hindu Bias in Indian Constitution

This paper demonstrates that the secularism of India’s Constituton is Hindu-tainted…..

I start below by briefly providing the politico historic context of my argument….

This paper has attempted to demonstrate that the constitution of India is not a document which the secular and progressive forces in India can use unproblematically against their Hindutva opponents. This Constitution has several elements of Hindu bias in it….
Recognizing the Hindu bias in Indian Constitution helps to show that Hindutva in India is widespread and deeply rooted and goes beyond what is represented by the Hindutva group of organizations known as the Sangh Parivar.

2016_1back to the list of books

John Dewy
Social Inquiry

“The idea that ‘the end justifies the means’ is in as bad repute in moral theory as its adoption is a commonplace of political practice…

Evaluative judgments, judgments of better and worse about the means to be employed, material and procedural, are required….

In fine, fact-finding procedures are necessary for (1) determination of problems and for (2) provision of data that indicate and test hypotheses; while formulation of conceptual structures and frames of reference is necessary to guide observation in discriminating and ordering data….”

2016_2back to the list of books

Hilary Silver
The Contexts of Social Inclusion

“In Europe, welfare regime types include the Anglo-American liberal, Continental conservative or corporatist, Nordic social democratic, and Mediterranean or Southern traditional regime….

As for intergenerational mobility, recent work demonstrates that the liberal, individualistic US in fact has less upward mobility in earnings than Old world, supposedly class-bound Britain, which in turn has less mobility than the social democratic Nordic countries (Jantii et al., 2006)…….

Neighborhood ecological studies predicting social cohesion or its social effects have rarely been tested outside the context of the United States and Western Europe. A few quantitative studies of crime in poor neighborhoods in developing countries do exist….”

2016_3back to the list of books

Harriet T Mill
The Enfranchisement of Women

“That the promoters of this new agitation take their stand on principles, and do not fear to declare these in their widest extent, without time-serving or compromise, will be seen from the resolutions adopted by the convention, part of which we transcribe……

The first, the maternity argument, is usually laid most stress upon, although (it needs hardly be said) this reason, if it be one, can apply only to mothers…..

In what we have said on the effect of the inferior position of women, combined with the present constitution of married life, we have thus far had in view only the most favourable cases, those in which there is some real approach to that union and blending of characters and lives, which the theory of the relation contemplates s its ideal standard….”

2016_4back to the list of books

Marcus Green
Gramsci Cannot Speak

“On the first page of his notebooks, Gramsci listed sixteen main topics that he planned to address in his notebooks. The first topic he listed was a “Theory of history and historiography”(Notebook 1)…….

Following Gramsci’s analysis, several conclusions can be drawn regarding his interpretation of subaltern groups and their activity…..

Gramsci viewed socio-historical-cultural analysis as partial ends in themselves (for instance, with the purpose of writing books), but ultimately Gramsci utilized his analysis for the purpose of informing practical political activity, to justify particular actions, initiatives, and tactics (Notebook 13, ⸹17; 1971, 185)……”

2016_5back to the list of books

G Aloysius
Contextualizing Backward Classes Discourse

“Ratna G Revankar (1971) studied the Indian Constitution from the point of view of the Backward Classes…..

In point of fact, during the entire nationalist phase, the contestation between the dominant middle class and he caste-religion fragmented masses, subsequently to be categorized as the SCs, STs, OBCs and also the minorities, was more pervasive, complex, intractable and acrimonious than the much-vaunted political antagonism between the middle classes and the colonial State…..

Contextualized this way, in history and theory, the scheme of protective discrimination for the Backward Classes offered by the Independent India and the discourses surrounding it may appear neither, proactive, generous, extensive nor emancipator, as claimed either implicitly by many of the mainstream writers…..”

2016_6back to the list of books

G Aloysius
Periyar on Category-wise Rights

Periyar’s conception of this scheme of category-wise rights directly and headlong addressed the persistent refusal of the dominant Brahminical-turned-nationalist to countenance any form of group-based rights for the emerging India; and this was done, curiously, in the name of nationalism…..

The Brahminical, with its structural association with the British, first of all, had transformed the newly-unified India as a monolithically caste-organised and a Hindu country……

Through this imposition of the backward classes discourse, the Brahminical elite of the country has managed to make permanent the social degradation into which the mass of people or country as a whole have been pushed….”

2016_7back to the list of books

M Kiran
Gandhi's Varnavyavastha

The transition from pre-modernity to modernity was a multifarious and complex transformation. At this point two important changes a society generally undergoes are to be highlighted….

Caste does not connote superiority or inferiority…..

Touch, drink, food and marriage are progressively private affairs…..”