This issue of the Social Scientist has eight papers which focus on a variety of themes. As always, our effort is to bring to our readers the state of on-going research and encourage debates and discussions. Aditya Nigam's, 'Marxism and Power' examines certain crucial questions centred around the experience of 'actually existing socialism1.
We also have in this issue a set of papers which explore diverse aspects of popular culture. Kum Kum Roy's, 'Justice in the Jatakas' focuses on the way the Jatakas have projected alternative possibilities by both contesting power and preventing the imposition of any single set of norms. Amrit Kaur Basra's, 'The Punjab Press and the Golden Temple Controversy: An Issue of Sikh Identity (1905)', delineates the complexities associated with the development of print-culture and identity-formation in a colonial society.
Sanjiv Kakar's, 'Medical Developments and Patient Unrest in the Leprosy Asylum, 1860 to 1940' unravels different dimensions of the social history of medicine in colonial India, including the 'subaltern' leprosy patient's interaction with the colonial health establishment and the wider political environment. The Murder of Banamali (1928): Collective Action, Popular Culture and Social History', the next paper, situates the social history of colonial Orissa, highlighting the structure of caste/power and its contestation. Jagdish Lal Dawar's, 'Representation of Popular Culture in Premchand's Works', examines the various strands of popular culture in Premchand's creative productions in order to tell us how they were both 'sites of resistance as well as social control'.
Prem Chowdhry's, 'Contours of Communalism: Religion, Caste and Identity in South-East Punjab' probes the dialectic between communal riots, caste and identity in colonial Haryana. As emphasised, the articulation of conflicts centred around social groups, which sought to challenge the traditionally dominant castes/classes, were along religious channels.
Social Scientist, Vol. 24, Nos. 4-6, April-June 1996