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Category archive for: Indian subcontinent

The Modi Enigma.

Written by Andrew Whitehead.

In his eighteen months in office, Narendra Modi  has spent a great deal of time travelling. He’s been to the United States twice, to France, Germany, China, Australia, Canada, Japan, Ireland – twenty-eight foreign visits in all. This week he’s making his first visit as prime minister to Britain, at a time when concern is rising in India about religious and political intolerance and what critics regard as a majoritarian style of governance in which minorities are at a disadvantage.

There seems to be a personal imperative behind Mr Modi’s globe-trotting. The United States and Britain both placed Mr Modi in what amounted to quarantine for several years because of concern that as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, he bore some responsibility for the communal violence there in 2002 which left hundreds dead. The US only made clear that it was lifting this diplomatic isolation early last year, weeks before Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, won an emphatic election victory. Continue reading The Modi Enigma.

Reclaiming South Asian Queer Voices: The Legacy of Section 377

Written by Ibtisam Ahmed.

In 1860, the Crown implemented Section 377 in the British Raj, outlawing sodomy and immoral sexual acts. The ruling imposed a set of foreign values on a region where gender and sexuality had been conceptualised very loosely in the past. Since then, the queer community has faced a constant struggle against being branded “undesirable”, made even more complicated by the supposed need to fulfil neoliberal Western markers of success in the modern age.

Christian Moral Utopia

One of the main driving forces of British imperialism was its ideology of being a civilising mission. Drawing on the rhetoric of early settlers, colonialists planned on using Britain’s territorial superiority to impose British values on the colonies. A notable and oft-remembered example is politician Thomas Babington Macaulay and the impact of his Minute on Education, which resulted in the ingraining of the English language in the South Asian curriculum, an impact that lasts to this day. Continue reading Reclaiming South Asian Queer Voices: The Legacy of Section 377