Behind the walls of our Sabhas, hidden somewhere between the shushes of our technocrats, a major turn of world history may be engaged. 2015 may be the first marks, almost imperceptible, of a new era, less than seven decades before the proclamation of the Indian Union. Long after its first mentions in 2000, the GST or Goods & Services Tax was finally introduced last month, and its specific elaboration is under discussion. GST, or the regime reform towards a sort of Value Added Tax applicable to all across the Union, aims at systematising fiscal matters by centralising deductions so far legislated by each State. But, if taxes, too, are of, by,
and especially, for the people
, what meaning shift would this reform imply? That the direct financial collective to which an individual owes her dues is her country, and not her state, region or tehsil? Today’s ideological battle seems to be between the expansion of homogenising and structurally stable centres on the one hand, and the weakening dreams of multiform yet thus adaptable peoples’ governance across pluralistic spaces. Right at the dawn of India’s entry on the podium of world geopolitics, we face the temptations of championing either of these two taxonomies, two routes more determinant than ever before. This week on LILA Inter-actions, Vinod Vyasulu
finds in progressive taxation the actual regime reform urgently needed in India, along with a larger, in-depth rethinking of the meanings of the Federal. K Swaminathan
examines the ethos and tenets of the GST bill, and rediscovers how the Government has been a reliable force to subtly bridge economy and culture.
What means, today, a home? No one, anymore, is really safe from the experience of the departure, of expatriation or of the diaspora, out of necessity, or, if the distinction is not yet fully blurred, out of one’s will. Where else to say this than in India, home or origin for one of the world’s widest and most successful diaspora? Translocality has been realised and kept alive by the multiplicity of cultures in India for centuries, where the movement of an individual, of a family, of a community, can be wisely understood as a wager on the future – diaspora, or when space can open to time. 9 January 2015 is the centenary of a return, that of Gandhi from South Africa, yet the Indian Government has made of this ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Divas’ a day of recognition for all those who left their motherland. The inclusive symbol is strong: Indian origins would still be Indianness, even when distance, in the miles and the years, looks like it could possibly mean only oblivion and separation. Or is it yet another story, inventing this sense of an extraordinary cultural faithfulness to dissimulate the economic and financial dependency on this diaspora, which had not found the necessary opportunities at home? For this dialogue on the translocal, T.P. Sreenivasan
connects the numerous dots of cultural and inter-cultural victories, to discover the positive role of the Indian diaspora in the strengthening of diplomacy and geopolitics. Meena Alexander
engages the introspective journey to visualise the many moving landscapes and translations that have come to make of her a migrant writer.