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Article by Prof. Rahul Mukherji, Dr. Himanshu Jha and Dr. M. N. Roy in Indian Politics & Policy

The latest issue of Indian Politics & Policy Journal published an co-authored article by Prof. Rahul Mukherji, Dr. Himanshu Jha and Dr. M.N.Roy on “Ideas and Policy Paradigms: Explaining the Fall of Welfare Politics in West Bengal”. In this issue, Dr. Himanshu Jha has published a review article as well on “Explaining Institutional Change in India’s Welfare Regime”. The articles can be accessed here

New Publication "Including the Excluded in South Asia" with Chapter by Dr. Himanshu Jha

Springer (Singapore) recently published an edited book on "Including the Excluded in South Asia" by Madhushree Sekher and Radu Carciumaru. Dr. Himanshu Jha (Department of Political Science, SAI) has published a chapter titled "Emerging Politics of Accountability: Sub-national Reflections from Bihar", The chapter is available here.


Since 2004 state has reaffirmed its commitment towards ‘rights-based development’ that granted legal rights to the citizens by enacting laws, such as Right to Information (transparency and accountability), National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (right to food and work), Right to Education and Forest Rights Act (for the tribal citizens living in the forest areas). It can be argued that there is fundamental change in the welfare regime in India in terms of redefining the citizenship-state linkages on at least four counts. First, the Supreme Court rulings and interpretation of constitution in new ways have resulted in crossovers between directive principles and fundamental rights, the former non-justiciable had now become justiciable. Secondly, the legality of the rights has changed the concept of welfare from an ‘end user’ or ‘beneficiary perspective’ to citizens with legal rights. Thirdly, welfare is now legally enforceable and demandable with a well worked out legal system (targeted goals versus due focus on elaborately worked out means and processes), focusing on equity, non-discrimination, transparency, accountability and participation (core of rights-based development). Hence, the citizens can now demand rights and accountability from the state. Fourthly, the programmatic framework of ‘welfare’ can be withdrawn but the legally supported welfare regime cannot be withdrawn. On these accounts, the changed welfare regime is expected to have a direct impact on the inclusion of the excluded. Relevant questions need to be raised, such as: who uses these rights, how do they use it and what form do these legislations take when they hit the ground-level implementation? In this context, this chapter studies the implementation of Right to Information Act (RTIA) in Bihar, a state in eastern India, to examine the progression and deepening of institutional change.


New article on "Cryosphere-Fed Irrigation Networks in the Northwestern Himalaya" by Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser et al.

The journal Mountain Research and Development (Vol. 39, no. 2) recently published the article „Cryosphere-Fed Irrigation Networks in the Northwestern Himalaya: Precarious Livelihoods and Adaptation Strategies Under the Impact of Climate Change“ jointly edited by Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser (Head of Department of Geography, SAI), Dr. Juliane Dame, Dr. Ravi Baghel, Dr. Susanne Schmidt (Department of Geography, SAI), Dr. Sitara Parveen and Benjamin Kraus. The article is available here (Open Access).


Irrigated agriculture is crucial for the livelihood security of mountain communities in the northwestern part of the Himalayan arc and adjoining regions of the Karakoram Hindu Kush and Trans-Himalaya. Using meltwater from glaciers, snow, and permafrost, mountain dwellers have developed sophisticated techniques to cope with recurrent water scarcity caused by glacier retreat, glacier thinning, and seasonal snow-cover dynamics. Based on case studies from the Nanga Parbat region, Hunza-Karakoram, and Ladakh, this paper seeks to identify general patterns and site-specific characteristics of agrarian practices and adaptation strategies in the face of climate change. The comparative case study approach reveals differing responses to water scarcity, which depend on local conditions and include the construction of new irrigation channels, installation of pipes, and building of artificial ice reservoirs. The biophysical investigation is supplemented by an exploration of socioeconomic factors and is based on long-term research in the 3 study areas. The methods used include multitemporal remote sensing analysis, mapping of natural water storage components and irrigation infrastructure, and interviews. Taking into consideration social factors such as the expansion of off-farm income opportunities and market integration, we identify key variables that affect the sustainability and resilience of land use systems. Outcomes are diverse, ranging from the intensification and extension of irrigated mountain agriculture to the abandonment of irrigated areas, depending on local sociohydrological settings.

New Publication by Christoph Bergmann and Jürgen Schaflechner

Routledge recently published the new book “Ritual Journeys in South Asia - Constellations and Contestations of Mobility and Space” as part of the “Routledge South Asian Religion Series” co-edited by Christoph Bergmann (Department of Geography, SAI) and Jürgen Schaflechner (formerly Department of Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures, SAI, now Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin). This book focuses on the ritualized forms of mobility that constitute phenomena of pilgrimage in South Asia and establishes a new analytical framework for the study of ritual journeys.

Full abstract:

The book advances the conceptual scope of ‘classical’ Pilgrimage Studies and provides empirical depth through individual case studies. A key concern is the strategies of ritualization through which actors create, assemble and (re-)articulate certain modes of displacement to differentiate them from everyday forms of locomotion. Ritual journeys are understood as being both productive of and produced by South Asia’s socio-economically uneven, politically charged and culturally variegated landscapes. From various disciplinary angles, each chapter explores how spaces and movements in space are continually created, contested and transformed through ritual journeys. By focusing on this co-production of space and mobility, the book delivers a conceptually driven and empirically grounded engagement with the diverse and changing traditions of ritual journeying in South Asia. Interdisciplinary in its approach, the book is a must-have reference work for academics interested in South Asian Studies, Religious Studies, Anthropology, and Human Geography with a focus on pilgrimage and the socio-spatial ideas and practices of ritualized movements in South Asia.

Further information is available here.

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