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Category: SOCIOLOGY

SOCIOLOGY

Showing 1–20 of 93 results

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    [A] delightful book’ NAMITA GOKHALE

    ‘A must-read’ KIRAN MANRAL

    ‘Deeply researched’ PAVAN K. VARMA

    What makes the Big Fat Indian Wedding so central to our lives?

    The wedding is the most celebrated event in Indian society. It forms the heart of a multi-billion-dollar industry driving fashion, food, music, entertainment and our desire for companionship.

    In The Shaadi Story, social entrepreneur Amita Sahaya takes a fascinating look
    at the history, religious traditions, societal attitudes, industry and modern adaptations of the North Indian Hindu wedding and beyond. Across seven chapters structured like the traditional ritual of the saptapadi, this book illuminates the seven different aspects of the quintessential Indian wedding. Drawing on ancient Sanskrit scriptures, western philosophies, Bollywood movies and the voices of young Indians, this book is an in-depth examination of our evolving ideas of love and relationships through the prism of our society’s most elaborate celebration.

    Enlightening and entertaining, The Shaadi Story is a remarkable exploration of Indian weddings and marriages and what makes them tick.

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    In 1996, why were two young Kolkata women in love compelled to run away from home to Delhi? What role did queer support groups play in their escape and survival in the capital? In 1998, a college student from Shillong wrote to a Calcutta-based queer support group seeking help for a ‘sex change’ because they wanted to be ‘a boy’. Was the support group able to help? In 2000, a banker in his mid-30s began a queer support group in a western Odisha town, far away from any metropolis. Why did it not last beyond a couple of years? In 2007, a transgender woman from Kolkata decided to join the Hijra community. What was her journey of self-discovery like, leading up to this momentous decision? The 1990s and early 2000s were heady days for Indian queer people and their networks as they emerged from the shadows. They grouped together to deal with covert and overt forms of stigma, discrimination, and violence in different spheres of life. Tracing the life stories of around a dozen queer individuals and their allies from eastern India, Out of Line and Offline dwells on the many ways in which queer communities were mobilized in the first decade of the movement in India, and how such mobilization affected the lives of queer people in the long run. Pawan Dhall draws on in-depth interviews, which generate compelling stories of individual lives and experiences amid a society that was slowly being pressured to change. Dhall also delves into the archives of some of the earliest queer support forums in eastern India to reveal the ways in which the movement developed and grew. A thoroughly researched and poignantly human document, this volume will find an important place in the canon of literature on queer movements across the world.

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  • The Parlour and the Street

    In this book, Sumanta Banerjee analyzes the development of the folk culture of Calcutta’s urban poor following the establishment of the British colonial system in Bengal. Consisting primarily of traditional artisans who migrated from neighboring villages, Calcutta’s working-class forged a new urban folk culture from their rural inheritance. Through rich examples of folk performances, Banerjee shows a clash between the culture of the new urban poor and the elite of Calcutta, caught between their aspiration to British social norms and their roots in Bengali society.

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  • Living the Life Unexpected

    A practical 12-week guide offering help and hope.

    Across the globe, millions of women are reaching their mid-forties without having had a child. Although some are child-free by choice, many others are childless by circumstance and are struggling in a life they didn’t foresee. Most people think that women without children either ‘couldn’t’ or ‘didn’t want to’ be mothers. The truth is much more complex.

    Jody Day would have liked to have had children, but it didn’t work out that way. At the age of forty-four she realized that her quest to be a mother was at an end. She presumed that she was through the toughest part, but over the next couple of years she was hit by waves of grief, despair and isolation. Eventually she found her way and created the Gateway Women Network, helping many thousands of women worldwide. In Living the Life Unexpected, Jody Day addresses the taboo of childlessness and provides a powerful, practical 12-week guide to help women come to terms with their grief, and to move on to live creative, happy, meaningful, and fulfilling lives without children.

    Previously titled Rocking the Life Unexpected, this inspiring and practical guide to a life without children has been extensively revised and updated, and includes significant additional content including extracts from the stories of 24 women and 2 men from around the world.

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  • SWACHH BHARAT REVOLUTION

    On 15 August 2014, in his maiden Independence Day address to the country, Narendra Modi became the first Prime Minister of India to take on the national shame of open defecation. Launched a few weeks later, on Gandhi Jayanti, the Swachh Bharat Mission has come a long way over the past five years. India is now close to declaring itself an Open Defecation Free nation on 2 October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation. The Swachh Bharat Revolution looks at all that went into making this remarkable transformation happen, and how a nation of over a billion people led the largest people’s movement in the world to make the impossible possible. This is a compendium of essays – with names such as Arun Jaitley, Amitabh Kant, Ratan Tata, Sadhguru, Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Tavleen Singh, Bill Gates and many more, along with a message from Prime Minister Modi himself – that celebrates a historic national achievement.

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  • SIKHS

    In this classic, Khushwant Singh presents a concise history of the followers of one of the world’s youngest religions. Beginning with the life and times of the founder, Guru Nanak (1469-1539), he moves on to describe the vital contribution made by the following nine gurus in shaping and developing the Sikh religion; and the significance of the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, and its centrality to the religion. He examines the setting up of the Singh Sabha and the accompanying social reform, the impact of the Ghadr rebellion and the Akali agitation for control of various Sikh shrines. The new Afterword by his son, journalist Rahul Singh, brings the story of the Sikhs up to date. Authoritative yet accessible, this is one of the most concise and readable accounts of the Sikhs and their faith.

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  • SHIVA TO SHANKARA

    We live in times where people have extreme views. On the one hand, there are scholars who describe Shiva’s linga literally as a phallus, and see all metaphoric meaning as embarrassed apology of the uneducated. On the other hand, we have puritanical Hindus who want to strip the Shiva linga of all sexual meaning and sanitize Shiva’s lore. In both cases, a symbol is being reduced to a sign. In Shiva to Shankara, Devdutt Pattanaik, India’s leading mythologist, seeks to bridge the gap. As he explores the layers of meanings embedded in Shiva’s linga, we discover why and how the Goddess transforms Shiva, the hermit, into Shankara, the householder.

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  • NEW ARTHASHASTRA

    For a country that has fought five wars and is hemmed in by nuclear-armed states, India surprisingly does not have a formally declared national security strategy. All the major powers of the world publish documents that spell out their national interests, identify their threats – political, economic, diplomatic or with regard to security – and draw up policies to deal with them. The absence of a similar doctrine makes India’s defence policy look ad hoc and creates the impression that the country is unprepared to realize its global ambitions. The New Arthashastra is a path-breaking attempt to recommend a national security strategy for India. It does the difficult groundwork for India’s political leaders and policymakers by bringing the best names – from within the community as well as from the armed forces and academia – to the ideating table. This collection of twenty essays covers a wide range of topics: nuclear deterrence, defence spending, the domestic production of weapons, and bracing for the wars of the future that will be fought in space and cyberspace. Most important, it presents a roadmap to address India’s chief concerns: Chinese assertiveness and Pakistan’s unrelenting proxy war. Informed by the expertise of analysts with inside-out knowledge of their domains, The New Arthashastra offers enduring and practical insights to strategists and lay readers alike.

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  • SPY CHRONICLES

    Pointing to the horizon where the sea and sky are joined, he says, ‘It is only an illusion because they can’t really meet, but isn’t it beautiful, this union which isn’t really there.’ – SAADAT HASAN MANTO Sometime in 2016, a series of dialogues took place which set out to find a meeting ground, even if only an illusion, between A.S. Dulat and Asad Durrani. One was a former chief of RAW, India’s external intelligence agency, the other of ISI, its Pakistani counterpart. As they could not meet in their home countries, the conversations, guided by journalist Aditya Sinha, took place in cities like Istanbul, Bangkok and Kathmandu. On the table were subjects that have long haunted South Asia, flashpoints that take lives regularly. It was in all ways a deep dive into the politics of the subcontinent, as seen through the eyes of two spymasters. Among the subjects: Kashmir, and a missed opportunity for peace; Hafiz Saeed and 26/11; Kulbhushan Jadhav; surgical strikes; the deal for Osama bin Laden; how the US and Russia feature in the India-Pakistan relationship; and how terror undermines the two countries’ attempts at talks. When the project was first mooted, General Durrani laughed and said nobody would believe it even if it was written as fiction. At a time of fraught relations, this unlikely dialogue between two former spy chiefs from opposite sides-a project that is the first of its kind-may well provide some answers.

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  • BUT YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE A MUSLIM

    What does it mean to be Muslim in India? What does it mean to look like one’s religion? Does one’s faith determine how one is perceived? Is there a secular ideal one is supposed to live up to? Can people of different faiths have a shared culture, a shared identity? India has, since time immemorial, been plural, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, where various streams have fed into and strengthened each other, and where dissimilarities have always been a cause for rejoicing rather than strife. These writings, on and about being Muslim in India, by Rakhshanda Jalil – one of the country’s foremost literary historians and cultural commentators – excavate memories, interrogate dilemmas, and rediscover and celebrate a nation and its syncretic culture. But You Don’t Look Like a Muslim is a book that every thinking Indian must read.

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  • SUPERIOR

    When you see how power has shaped the idea of race, then you can start to understand its meaning. For millennia, dominant societies have had the habit of believing their own people to be the best, deep down: the more powerful they become, the more power begins to be framed as natural, as well as cultural. In the twenty-first century, we like to believe that we have moved beyond scientific racism, that most people accept race as a social construct, not a biological one. But race science is experiencing a revival, fuelled by the misuse of science by certain political groups. Even well-intentioned scientists, through their use of racial categories in genetics and medicine, betray their suspicion that race has some basis in biology. In truth, it is no more real than it was hundreds of years ago, when our racial hierarchies were devised by those in power. In Superior, award-winning author Angela Saini explores the concept of race, from its origins to the present day. Engaging with geneticists, anthropologists, historians and social scientists from across the globe, Superior is a rigorous, much-needed examination of the insidious and destructive nature of race science.

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  • MISSING IN ACTION

    The story of India’s soldiers missing in action is one that remains unfinished, a spillover of the wars with Pakistan. These are men who went missing in enemy territory while on daring missions during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. The nation has forgotten them, though successive governments continue to make token acknowledgements about their missing status. Over the last five decades, there have been scattered reports offering information piecemeal, but this is the first time the saga has been fully told. The result of years of research, the book unearths startling revelations that shed new light on the subject. Amid much hearsay and dismissive commentary, this book is an attempt to find answers to the question, ‘What happened to these men?’ It also hopes to open up a debate on how soldiers are often used as pawns by governments, even as they pay lip-service to their cause.

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  • BUREAUCRAT FIGHTS BACK

    The 2G spectrum allocation scam struck a blow to the UPA-II government, and was perhaps India’s biggest political scandal. The notional loss to the exchequer was a whopping Rs 1.76 trillion. Yet, it was no aberration. The 2G story is rooted in the very fabric of economic reforms in India-reforms that are essential for the growing economy. When Pradip Baijal took over as the third chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in 2003, the telecom sector was in serious crisis. But there was also resistance to the reforms he sought to implement. They were seen as both anti-establishment and pro-private business. Baijal fought for the reforms at great personal cost and, years later, the accused in the 2G scam blamed him for creating conditions conducive to malpractices. A Bureaucrat Fights Back: The Complete Story of Indian Reforms uses the 2G story-Indian telecom’s rise from 3.1 million mobile users in 2000 to a billion in 2015-to analyse the roadblocks to change in India. It also captures the dilemma of India’s civil servants, an especially pressing concern given the necessity of reforms. You are not doing your job if you shy away from reforms, and if you pursue them, you are likely to get mired in inquiries. How does a bureaucrat walk that tightrope? And at what cost? Intensely personal and deeply political, A Bureaucrat Fights Back is an examination of the best and worst of India’s economic coming of age.

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  • AYODHYA: THE DARK NIGHT

    22 December 1949: A conspiracy that began with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi culminated in the execution of the Ayodhya strategy. Late that night, a little-known sadhu, Abhiram Das, and his followers entered the Babri Masjid and planted an idol of Rama inside it. While it is known that the Hindu Mahasabha had a role in placing the idol in the mosque, the larger plot and the chain of events that led to that act have never been subject to rigorous scrutiny. Krishna Jha and Dhirendra K. Jha bring together the disparate threads of the buried narrative for the first time. Ayodhya: The Dark Night uncovers, in vivid detail, what really transpired on the fateful night that was to leave a permanent scar on the Indian polity.

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  • BILLIONAIRE RAJ

    Over the past two decades India has grown at an unprecedented rate. Yet while the ‘Bollygarchs’ revel in new riches, millions still languish in their shadows, trapped in the teeming slums of the country’s megacities. From the sky terrace of the world’s most expensive home to mass political rallies in the streets, James Crabtree documents the struggle between equality and privilege playing out at the heart of this emerging superpower. Against a combustible backdrop of aspiration, class and caste, reformers fight for change while fugitive tycoons and shadowy political power brokers struggle to remain hidden and out of reach. The Billionaire Raj is a vivid portrait of a divided democracy whose future will shape the world.

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  • FAITH,UNITY,DISCIPLINE:ISI of Pakistan

    Established in the wake of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-48 by British officer Major General Robert Cawthorne, the then deputy chief of staff in the Pakistan Army, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for years remained an under-developed and obscure agency. In 1979, the organization’s growing importance was felt during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, as it worked hand in glove with the CIA to support the mujahideen resistance, but its activities received little coverage in the media. Offering fresh insights into the ISI based on intimate knowledge of its inner workings and key individuals, this startlingly original and provocative book uncovers the hitherto shady world of Pakistan’s secret service.

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  • WHEN CRIME PAYS

    In India, the world’s largest democracy, the symbiotic relationship between crime and politics raises complex questions. For instance, how can free and fair democratic elections exist alongside rampant criminality? Why do political parties actively recruit candidates with reputations for wrongdoing? Why do voters elect (and even re-elect) them – to the point that a third of state and national legislators assume office with pending criminal charges? In this eye-opening book, political scientist Milan Vaishnav takes readers deep into the marketplace for criminal politicians by drawing on fieldwork on the campaign trail, large surveys, and an original database on politicians’ backgrounds.

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  • FEAST OF VULTURES

    ‘Every day, millions of people – the rich, the poor and the many foreign visitors – are hunting for ways to get their business done in modern India. If they search in the right places and offer the appropriate price, there is always a facilitator who can get the job done. This book is a sneak preview of those searches, the middlemen who do those jobs, and the many opportunities that the fast-growing economy offers.’ Josy Joseph draws upon two decades as an investigative journalist to expose a problem so pervasive that we do not have the words to speak of it. The story is big: that of treacherous business rivalries, of how some industrial houses practically own the country, of the shadowy men who run the nation’s politics. The story is small: a village needs a road and a hospital, a graveyard needs a wall, people need toilets. A Feast of Vultures is an unprecedented, multiple-level inquiry into modern India, and the picture it reveals is both explosive and frightening. Within these covers is unimpeachable evidence against some of the country’s biggest business houses and political figures, and the reopening of major scandals that have shaped its political narratives. Through hard-nosed investigations and the meticulous gathering of documentary evidence, Joseph clinically examines and irrefutably documents the non-reportable. It is a troubling narrative, but also a call to action and a cry for change. A tour de force through the wildly beating heart of post-socialist India, the book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the large, unwieldy truth about this nation.

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  • MODI AND GODHRA

    No instance of communal violence has provoked as much controversy as the Gujarat 2002 carnage, in which over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. And none has been subjected to as much fact-finding. Yet, as this book demonstrates, the fact-finding – riddled with ambiguities and deceptions, gaps and contradictions – glossed over crucial pieces of evidence. While the Nanavati Commission shirked from examining Modi, the special investigation team (SIT) left unasked a range of questions on the anti-Muslim violence that followed the burning of a train in Godhra carrying Hindutva activists. How could Modi, for instance, claim to have been unaware, for nearly five hours, of the first post-Godhra massacre that took place at Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society? How does this claim square with his admission that he was tracking the violence as it unfolded? Scrupulously researched and now updated to factor in the national elections of 2014, The Fiction of Fact-finding draws telling parallels between Gujarat 2002 and the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in Delhi to underline an insidious pattern in Indian democracy: the subversion of the criminal justice system under a shroud of legal platitudes.

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  • BEING PAKISTANI

    How different is Pakistan’s culture from that of India? Exploring various aspects of the arts, literature and heritage of Pakistan, Raza Rumi argues that culture in Pakistan is not particularly unique to the nation, but rather a part of the cultural identities shared by South Asians. From the songs of Kabir and the ballads of Bulleh Shah to the cult of the feminine in the Sindh region, Rumi takes a kaleidoscopic view of the deep-set cultural mores that tie India and Pakistan together. Going further, he examines aspects of the visual arts, poetry, music and literature of Pakistan that impact global cultural narratives. Finally, he introduces readers to contemporary Pakistani writers and artists and the milieu in which they express their creativity, giving us a fascinating glimpse into cultural productions in Pakistan today. Being Pakistani is a riveting account of artistic traditions and their significance in present-day Pakistan, presenting an alternative view of the country, beyond the usual headlines that focus on political instability and terrorism.

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