Tag Archives: sovereignty

(How) Does the Sovereign Speak?: Akshaya Kumar

This is a guest post by Akshaya Kumar

In a recent piece, entitled The Modi Wave, I analyzed the orientations of the Modi campaign, and argued that crucial to Modi’s repackaging was his ‘sovereignty effect’. In this case, entirely a property of the media narratives that pitched Narendra Modi as someone from outside history, he was offered as an intervention into national history. I have suggested that this was a masterstroke to the extent that the subject within history has a compromised agency. The continuities – of forces, events, rationales and time as a whole – blunt the provenance of the outsider. In order for the subject to act upon history, he must stand entirely outside it. In this way, he cannot be accessed from within historical time. Modi not only offered a historical narrative of an unending Congress rule, infested with corruption, appeasement and misrule, but also that of him observing this lingering malady from outside the fence. His story of his own rise goes from being a tea-seller to the Chief Minister of Gujarat, from a not-yet to a fully sovereign. He is never a deputy, never a peg within the system; he suffers till his agency is still being shaped, and appears as already the incumbent. This fundamental separation from the substance of historical progression is needed to project oneself as unsullied, unlike those defiled by the their political existence within history.

Continue reading (How) Does the Sovereign Speak?: Akshaya Kumar

Beyond ‘Middle Class’ and ‘Corruption’: Jeebesh Bagchi

Guest post by JEEBESH BAGCHI

I have been thinking that If we drop “corruption” and “middle class”  we may find some other way to understand what we sense unfolding from Ramila grounds and television studios.

The term middle class has bloated so much that it now holds within it Narayan Murthy to Shekhar Gupta via Nandan Nilekani to a student in Sonepat to all people in this list and on facebook.  And on the other hand corruption seem to have bloated much further in which commissions from infrastructure deals (in lakhs of crores), commissions for arms deals, someone delaying papers, to admission costs, to a hawker buying some uninterrupted time in the street (20 rupees) is all melted down.

Could one start from some other point? Continue reading Beyond ‘Middle Class’ and ‘Corruption’: Jeebesh Bagchi

Closed minds

The Constituent Assembly’s ‘Committee to protect and preserve National Interests’ has suggested that a passport regime be introduced at the Nepal-India border. Committee Chair Amik Sherchan has said this is necessary to ‘protect waning Nepali nationalism’ and ‘to treat both China and India equally’. Sherchan claimed that ‘majority of the Nepali people share this view’, an assertion hard to believe.

The clamour to end the open border relationship comes from three different quarters of the Kathmandu (and yes this is confined to the capital) political spectrum. The first is the nationalists who borrow the Westphalian notion of absolutely sovereign nation states. In this version, the Nepali state has never been totally independent because it has not controlled the movement of people across its boundaries. The act of walking across unchallenged is seen as an attack on state authority. Continue reading Closed minds