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Mujibur Rehman

This chapter explores the consequences of the 2019 parliamentary elections on Muslim politics in India in the wake of the remarkable victory by the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The chapter predicts a gloomy future for the secular polity in general, but affirms Muslim voters’ secular choices in their voting behaviour. Indian Muslims, it argues, are feeling more despondent and marginalised owing to the aggressive pursuit of the BJP’s majoritarian Hindutva agenda. While Muslim parties such as the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) are seeking to present themselves as alternatives, Muslim voters have remained loyal to secular alternatives by voting mostly for various regional secular parties. The chapter discusses the BJP’s strategy of exclusion of Muslim candidates, its polarisation politics and the choices before Indian Muslim voters. It concludes that the pursuit of the majoritarian agenda is going to increase further violence against and exclusion of Muslims – and recognises that the general commitment of Muslims to remain integral to inclusive mainstream politics is still very high, which is why Muslim parties would have no future in Indian democracy.

in Passionate politics
Nitya Rao

Despite a declining share in GDP, agriculture still constitutes the mainstay for close to half of India’s population. Yet, with little investment in agricultural research and extension over the past two decades, lack of procurement at announced minimum support prices, and in the face of growing climatic variability, the farming community continues to experience massive distress. This has resulted in a large number of protests by farmers over the past few years, escalating since 2017, a direct response to the unmet promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 2014 election campaign, to implement the recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers. The current protests have also seen an articulation by women farmers, seeking recognition and support for their contributions to the economy as farmers, not just as home-makers and ‘unpaid household helpers’.

in Passionate politics
Maria Christina Crouch
and
Jordan P. Lewis

Alaska Native (AN) peoples have resided in rural, collectivist systems for time immemorial. However, AN history has been punctuated by manifold and often generational changes to these systems. Family structures, expressions of culture, land-based identities, and AN cosmology and ontology have been directly impinged upon by colonisation. Evidence of this exists in outward migration, climate change, health disparities and Western systems of health, learning and knowledge. Resilience, successful ageing, and quality of life are evident in community resources, inward migration, and the cultural and contextual factors that compose tribal group identity. All are firmly grounded within place, community strengths, and cultural revitalisation, and are embedded in land and nature. A sample of adults within rural Alaska were recruited to share their collective and lived realities related to their quality of life. Focus groups consisted of interactive tasks and thematic analyses. Nine salient themes were revealed: family; subsistence; access to resources; health and happiness; traditional knowledge and values; acts of self; providing; sobriety; and healing. All emphasised the cyclical and grounded nature of collective resilience and reclamation of Indigenous ways. Further, research demonstrates how AN Elder knowledge, intergenerational connection and generativity, and indigenised tenets of successful ageing are how rural AN communities become well, stay well, and pass on healing and wellness to future generations. Indigenous ageing provides a lens to understand AN quality of life and the symbiosis of rurality. An analysis of the historical changes to the AN cultural system, successful ageing, and an Indigenous, holistic framework of AN quality of life will be provided.

in Rural quality of life
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James Crossland

As anarchism turned away from ‘hot-head’ violence towards collective political action, terrorism continued to flourish across the world. In Russia, the nihilist tactics of old were studied by the Socialist Revolutionaries, who unleashed a bloody campaign in the early 1900s. They were joined by anarchists, far-right anti-Semites and practitioners of ‘motiveless terrorism’, who adhered to no ideology or political goal, but simply wanted to inflict death and chaos on Russia. As this wave of terrorism reached its apogee in the land of the tsars, insurgents in India and China took instruction from French anarchists and Russian nihilists, from whom they acquired knowledge in explosives manufacture and conspiratorial planning. This diffusion of terrorist knowledge led to bombing campaigns by Anushilan Samiti in India, and the attempted assassination of the Qing regent by Wang Jingwei in Beijing. These and other acts of terrorism perpetrated across the world were not the products of a global conspiracy nor a transnationally shared belief in anarchist ideals. Rather, these attacks were the products of the decades of terrorist knowledge, myths and histories that had developed since Orsini’s bombing of 1858, the sum of which was a terrorist milieu from which any violent radical could borrow for whatever purpose – personal, political or otherwise. By the early 1900s, therefore, terrorism was normalised across the globe.

in The rise of devils
Open Access (free)
Heritage, tourism and the revitalisation of Longtan village
Meiqin Wang

This chapter investigates the potential of art in rural placemaking through a close study of ‘Everyone is an Artist’, an ongoing art education-led rural revitalisation project in Longtan village, a poor rural village in a remote mountainous region of Fujian province, China. Launched by art educator Lin Zhenglu in 2017 with the support of local government, the project aims to enhance the living environment and the overall life quality of local residents. The chapter discusses the physical, spatial and cultural transformation of Longtan since it kicked off the project by engaging residents in painting, reviving vernacular architecture, and participating in various cultural and leisure activities. Methodologically, it combines art historical research, media research, fieldwork, semi-structured interviews, participatory observations, digital ethnography, and a study of a variety of documents and reports as well as insights from critical heritage studies in order to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the physical and cultural interventions that are being implemented in the village to advance a desirable individual and collective rural living. Its working hypothesis is that a meaningful placemaking effort cannot be separated from the remaking of people (residents of a given neighbourhood, village or town) and their private and public living environment; and artistic activities can lend their force for personal development and thus aid in the remaking of people for empowering them to assume an active role in the remaking of their hometown. It also sheds light on how experts can exert significant influence in heritage-inspired placemaking projects in China.

in Rural quality of life
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Cecilia Brioni

Chapter 2 examines how the emergence of the beat trend in 1965 problematised the image of ‘youth-as-fun’ which circulated in the early 1960s. The term ‘beat’ was used in popular media to describe both a British-inspired style – made up of trends such as the miniskirt and long hair for men – and political movements that were inspired by the American beatniks. Magazines like Big and Giovani culturally translated the beat trend for Italian youth, by either ‘mirroring’ or ‘othering’ language and practices from other countries. The media’s emphasis on leisure activities in the Italian beat culture encouraged young people’s consumption of commercial goods, and implicitly suggested the youth’s political and social disengagement. The defusion of the beat trend’s subversive potential is underscored by its recurrent representation as a disguise in Musicarelli films. The chapter also examines how style elements like long hair for young men and an androgynous appearance for young women threatened established gender norms in Italian society. Popular media stripped these elements of their subversive connotations, namely gender bending and sexual emancipation. For example, the androgynous appearance of young pop icons Rita Pavone and Caterina Caselli was balanced in popular media with a normative representation of their private lives.

in Fashioning Italian youth
Shalini Sharma

Narendra Modi led his party to an emphatic victory in the 2019 Indian elections. While there are many factors that contributed to this electoral success, the popularity of Hindutva history, its adoption by many as Indian history, and the emotional fervour with which that history has been weaponised within and outside the academy, carries some explanatory weight. This chapter will look at the ways the Bharatiya Janata Party and its fellow travellers have perpetuated convincing historical narratives that have undermined the secularism written into the Indian constitution. While this historical perspective has deep roots, its prominent place in the 2019 election campaign vividly showcases the emotive and destructive power of history.

in Passionate politics
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James Crossland

This chapter explores the short history of Hell’s successor organisation, Narodnaya Rasprava (People’s Revenge), and the partnership formed between its leader, Sergei Nechaev, and the foremost anarchist of the 1860s, Mikhail Bakunin. A psychopathic narcissist who inveigled university students into his schemes, Nechaev was doted on by Bakunin, who saw the younger man as key to the success of his ‘International Brotherhood’ – a semi-mythical alliance of radicals from across Europe. Together, the two unleashed a propaganda campaign in Russia designed to bring recruits into People’s Revenge. This was complemented by Nechaev publishing the Catechism of a Revolutionary, a terrorist manual that went on to influence violent radicals from Russia’s Socialist Revolutionaries to Al Qaeda. Central to the Catechism was the idea that revolutionaries should be unfeeling, merciless and ‘doomed’ to death in the name of their cause. This idea disturbed one of Nechaev’s followers, whom the People’s Revenge leader murdered, souring his relations with Bakunin and undoing their plot to assault tsardom. Still, the fear of the Bakunin–Nechaev alliance and the so-called International Brotherhood continued to plague police thoughts across Europe.

in The rise of devils
Mechtild Widrich

The conclusion returns to contemporary monument debates from a pronounced standpoint of care, whether for those commemorated or doing the commemorating—like Doris Salcedo’s Fragmentos, for the female victims of civil war violence in Colombia, the comfort women memorials in Korea—but also for the aesthetic object itself, which in the clatter case of the Korean Girl Statue has received offerings of warm clothing. An ethic of care also motivates us to consider the material of commemoration, its human and environmental impact, as Salcedo does in building an art space from surrendered, melted-down weapons. The chapter, and the book, ends with a consideration of what care might mean in the negative sense—allowing certain unwanted monuments to decay naturally rather than investing resources in them, as Achille Mbembe has suggested for the disinvested Cecil Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town.

in Monumental cares
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The new reasoning of majoritarian politics
Gurpreet Mahajan

Whether it is the frustration and anger expressed by the protesting farmers and other marginalised groups or the righteous indignation that was expressed when forty CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide-bomber attack in Pulwama, emotional politics seems to be the order of the day. After India executed an air strike against ‘terrorist camps’ across the border, passions ruled the public arena without restraint. Even though people stood solidly behind the government’s decision, many sections of the media (print, electronic and social media) whipped up popular sentiment in a way that condemned anyone who questioned the official narrative. As emotional politics took over, the space for debate and discussion shrank. In this environment, the irresistible urge is to explain the current phase of Indian politics and the electoral victory of the BJP through the lens of emotions. However, all such accounts, invoking a simple and rather indefensible binary between emotions and reason, remain myopic. They fail to recognise the deeper shifts that are occurring in the political discourse – changes that often lie hidden under the effervescence of emotions. In particular, the manner in which the BJP is challenging the preceding consensus around the politics of difference remains unnoticed. While we confront the present nature of emotional politics, it is equally important to reflect on the new reasoning that majoritarian politics is employing in India and many other parts of the world.

in Passionate politics