In Conversation with an Ordinary Indian: Kaliyuga, War, End of the World and Hindutva

This conversation between a private security guard, Dharmendra Panchal, and Irfan Ahmad serves as a window to understand contemporary India from the perspective of an “ordinary” or “common” man, an ardent and articulate supporter of the current ruling party and its worldview. At the centre of this conversation is the salience of Hinduism in politics, not only at the national level but also internationally. Addressing such issues as the visibility and assertion of Dalits (ex-untouchables) in the public realms, inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, prostitution, development, technology, corruption, terrorism, the notions and practices of war, the United Nations and the current world order, in this conversation Panchal describes his worldview according to which the current dark time of Kaliyuga marked as it is by untruth (adharma) is about to end. The advent of Kalkī, future avatar of god Vishnu, will end the present Kaliyuga and herald the age of truth (Satya Yuga) which Panchal saw actualized well in his own lifetime. The new age of truth led by Hindus will establish a righteous and prosperous order at domestic as well as at the world level. Panchal skilfully connects the Hindu metaphysical postulates to the empirical world of politics to present a description and narrative that invite analytical attention.

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Kaliyuga, War, End of the World and Hindutva

This conversation between a private security guard, Dharmendra Panchal, and Irfan Ahmad serves as a window to understand contemporary India from the perspective of an “ordinary” or “common” man, an ardent and articulate supporter of the current ruling party and its worldview. At the centre of this conversation is the salience of Hinduism in politics,…

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Injustice and the New World Order: An Anthropological Perspective on ‘Terrorism’ in India

This article presents biographies of three activists of the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Following 9/11, the Indian state banned SIMI for fomenting “terrorism”, “sedition” and “destroying Indian nationalism”. Of the three SIMI activists, Qasim Omar had spent 30 months in prison and Samin Patel, a US citizen of Indian origin, 27 months.

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Gods, Power, Democracy: In Conversation With John Keane

Ahmad, Irfan. 2015. “In Conversation With John Keane:Gods, Power, Democracy”. Journal of Religious and Political Practice. 1(1): 73-91. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20566093.2015.1047688#abstract In a wide-ranging conversation with Irfan Ahmad, John Keane, renowned political scientist and author of The Life and Death of Democracy discusses many key issues at the heart of contemporary reflections and concerns about democracy. Keane,…

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“Talal Asad Interviewed by Irfan Ahmad”. Public Culture. 27(2): 259 – 279.

Ahmad, Irfan. 2015. “Talal Asad Interviewed by Irfan Ahmad”. Public Culture. 27(2): 259 – 279. Anthropologist Talal Asad, interviewed by Irfan Ahmad, talks about his conceptual engagement with the outcomes of religion, politics, and the past and his work to problematize a “seamless web” view of history’s unfolding. This interview consists of two parts. Part…

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Democracy as Permanent Advertising: Indian Media and Elections

Based on the analyses of select elections coverage by five television channels – India TV, NDTV, Aaj Tak, ANI, and IBN– I argue that: The way journalists pose questions to their favorite politicians are often already answers; In pursuing a storyline, journalists subordinate, even sacrifice, actual responses or events/facts to bolster their pre-determined narrative; and…

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Manifestos and Indian Elections

This article analyses the manifestos of the parties which matter in India’s elections. It is my contention that there are more similarities than differences in various manifestos. Minor differences that exist hardly make a substantial difference thereby eliminating politics by installing nude policy.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/04/manifestos-indian-elections-201441434237199300.html