Shiv Visvanathan

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Shiv Visvanathan

Text & context

A political party which seeks a text book start often remains superficial, pretending that the preamble or the introduction remains the real thing. For a party that created a great propaganda machine to devastate the Congress during the election, the Bharatiya Janata Party regime has little to say.

Reinventing the Left

Rudolf Heredia, a Jesuit sociologist and theologian, once asked me whether I could think of a way of escaping ideology and social science terms like poverty and exploitation — which have almost become

A case for dying

One of the most fascinating things about the 21st century is what I call the return of the body to the centrality of things. The body has become the site for all the major dramas — philosophical, political and ethical.

Science and responsibility

One of the most fascinating things about science is that it can no longer be seen as the thing under a lens. Science has become kaleidoscopic meaning many different things to many people.

Why we need AAP

One of the most difficult things to write about after the current elections is the fate of the Aam Aadmi Party. The AAP was many things to many people and yet to all of them it represented a sense of hope, the optimism of a new politics.

The politics of the inauguration

Inaugural rituals like swearing-in ceremonies have a power of their own. They create spaces, hierarchies, transitions, new pecking orders. They erase history to create history. One witnessed all this in the oath taking ceremony of Narendra Modi and his Cabinet.

In exile, programme a sleek Congress 2.0

I often think of political parties as a different species, as forms of life which add to the diversity of the cultural landscape. In fact, I feel diversity in politics is as important as diversity in language or nature. To watch the decline of a party can be a tragic experience.

Gandhi, between hate & cliché

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

The joys of being ‘third class’

Modern theories of efficiency and equality are such that one loses a celebration of the marginal. Ever since socialism, we have removed the category called “third class” from our trains and our lives. As an upwardly mobile nation, we want to travel first class and as a truly global country we want our institutions to be world class. Our presidents and vice-chancellors were upset when they realised that our IITs and IIMs are not world class.

The Babri memory

Babri Masjid is today a photo-montage of images, with each image capturing one angle of a strange and kaleidoscopic event. Babri is also a failure of storytelling because each separate story demands a different sense of ending, and a different idea of consequences.

On July 22, 2014, an international partnership across India, Africa and the US launched the “One Agriculture-One Science: A Global Education Consortium” initiative aimed at revitalising global agricultural education, capacity building and technology transfer.

A few weeks ago a public school in the National Capital Region organised an Id Milan during school hours for students. Not all students were invited to it. During the mid-morning recess, teachers instructed Muslim students to line up and go to the place for the function.