In their final round of “head-and-tail”—very matter-of-factly—children sing a strange limerick— Shahron mein ik shahar mila Ik shahar mila Kulkutta Kulkutte mein mila aulia Khoob mila albatta. I too must have been a part of the chorus at some point of time but today this ‘albatta’ reminds me of the “albatta” (accidentally achieved ultra-unique) flavour (a) of Indian democracy in the congress of emergent nations and (b) of the dalit question in Indian democracy. On my table lie two well-researched, well-documented, neat collections of articles on the intertwined problems and the twin concerns revolving round the praxis of identity politics in the multicornered, multipronged, multifaceted, multitudinous Indian democracy. Abhay Kumar Dubey of Naxalwad: Kranti ka Atmasangharsha repute is the insightful editor of both the volumes. For the first time in the history of Indian democracy have the Indian scholars of world-wide acclaim decided to put their heads together to problematize ‘democracy’, ‘dalit ontology’ and other auxiliary concepts. And more important than this is their decision to put across their thoughts in Hindi, the actual language of the multitude.
March 2004, volume 28, No 3