Indian judges continue to believe that normative changes in law on their own can bring about social reform. In an unprecedented move a two judge bench of Justice Dave and Justice Goel in Prakash v. Phulwati (2015) suo moto ordered registration of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to examine the constitutionality of discriminatory provisions of Muslim Personal Law (MPL).
This is a book by a professional as opposed to an armchair planner. The title of the book is suggestive, as is the beginning. ‘Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less travelled by’, (Frost), raising expectations that fresh insights would be provided regarding the future course of regional as also urban planning in India.
The book’s contemporariness is obvious in the context of the resurgence of autonomist politics accompanied by street violence/strike in the Darjeeling hills after a brief lull. For any observer of hill politics, it is obvious that the ground reality in the insurgent region has remained largely the same even after the change in the political regime, local organizational leadership and a new player BJP gaining traction in the region.
While Indian society has been secular for centuries, the Indian state has adopted secular and democratic ideas only in the post-Independence phase—that is, since the 1950s. Sadly, both secularism and democracy have come under attack in India in recent times, according to one of the foremost historians of our age, Romila Thapar.
The book under review is another addition to the People’s History of India
Series; concise and lucidly written, this series is marked by the principled allegiance to historical evidence and a secular, scientific approach to Indian history. Written for scholars and students, they provide a succinct survey of the latest historical trends, and provide directions for further research in Indian history.
‘The emphasis in choosing the readings in this volume has been on articles using the tools of analytical economics to deal with problems which have policy implications and articles which deal directly with the appraisal of economic policies adopted by the Government of India during the years of planned economic development.