ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Who Is the Third that Walks Behind You?

I read Aditya Nigam’s observations on an epistemology of the dalit critique of modernity with great interest. His formulations are both fascinating and suggestive, therefore, I would like to complicate them. Firstly, while I accept that dalit politics and ideologies represent the “problematic ‘third term’ that continuously challenges the common sense of the secular modern”, I am not sure that these exist as an ‘absent presence’; or that they advance a notion of citizenship that is premised on the notion of the community as a rights-bearing subject. It seems to me that the non-brahmin, lower caste engagement with the ‘secular modern’ does two things: it contends with the contradictions of modernity, as Nigam so ably demonstrates, but it also dips beyond and across the wide arc of the secular-modern to articulate an expressive ideology and world view that is still recognisably modern. I would like to illustrate this with reference to the thought of Periyar Ramasamy.

New Phase of Dalit-Bahujan Intellectual Activity

The Dalit Intellectuals' Collective has provided a forum for debates in which statements on issues of relevance to dalit life and culture are interrogated constructively by non-dalit scholars. It hopes to lead dalit culture from the realm of empiricism to that of theory, particularly a distinctive theory of knowledge.

Three Tales of Ageing

This paper tries to unravel the relationship between ageing and sensuality. It discusses the nature of the experience of female ageing sketched out in three books: one, a feminist text that sees menopause as autobiographical, not clinical or pathological; the second, a novel about the agony of an ageing woman who is not sure if she ought to really fall in love; and the third, a study of structures and forms of domination in relation to physical torture.

Periyar, Women and an Ethic of Citizenship

Given the near-visionary resonance of Periyar's life work, it becomes somewhat difficult to separate his political and social legacy. But though his vision has been politicised, made to bear witness to a non-brahmin and, in some instances, a Tamil will to power, it, yet, resists a complete coaptation into politics. It intimates to the interlocutor of today an abiding ethic which is not at all explicable in terms of quotidian politics. It is this ethic which is the subject of this paper and an attempt is made to explore it for the lessons it may hold out for contemporary feminist debate and practice.

One Hundred Years of Brahminitude-Arrival of Annie Besant

Arrival of Annie Besant V Geetha S V Rajadurai Annie Besant's arrival in 1893 lent prestige to a brahminical version of nationalism based on caste-exclusivity and aryan superiority. The Justice Party and the Self-Respect League countered this political brahminism through a cultural resistance centred around Tamil-Dravidian fraternity.

Eighth World Tamil Conference-Of Cardboard History and Discursive Space

With the divine blessings of Jayalalitha, the Eighth World Tamil Conference in Thanjavur concluded successfully, showering praise on its patroness. The distinguished participants demonstrated their scholarly disengagement from the world of realpolitik by maintaining a cautious silence about the deportation of their colleagues:

Two Swords in a Scabbard Crisis in DMK

Two Swords in a Scabbard: Crisis in DMK V Geetha S V Rajadural While no substantial ideological issues have yet been articulated in the present conflict in the DMK, the traditional filial politics of the party has to come to terms with the fact that there are.emerging new political formations in Tamil Nadu today which are seeking to recover salient features of Periyar's rich ideological heritage.

Dalits and Non-Brahmin Consciousness in Colonial Tamil Nadu

in Colonial Tamil Nadu V Geetha S V Rajadtirai The emergence of dalit political voice in the Tamil region in the 19th century predates the political expression of non- brahminism and was influenced by the transformations inaugurated by colonialism.

Neo-Brahminism An Intentional Fallacy

Neo-Brahminism: An Intentional Fallacy?
V SURESH's lengthy exposition on 'causes and portents', with respect to the rout of the DMK in the 1990 assembly elections (The DMK Debacle: Causes and Portents', October 17) raises more questions than answers them: questions regarding the complex, uneven and capricious nature of caste-class relationships in Tamil Nadu and the ideological struggles and material bases of brahminism and the nature of resistance to domination and hegemony in a patriarchal caste society. Suresh's exposition may be seen to fall into three parts: in the first part he has assembled reasons and hypotheses as to the defeat of DMK. The second part focuses on the limitations supposedly evident in the broad-based non-brahmin consensus constructed by the Dravidian movement and articulated as a political strategy by DMK; here, Suresh attempts to analyse the contradictory and, often, antagonistic relationship that exists between the backward castes (BCs) and scheduled castes (SCs). The third part of the exposition is an attempt at a theoretical statement on the play of ideology and power in the caste system as it obtains in Tamil Nadu. We shall examine each of these arguments shortly. It seems to us that in every one of these instances, Suresh displays an amazing insensitivity to the interplay between material reality and consciousness; to the 'ripple' effects of ideology and to the mode of production (and legitimisation) of power in caste Hindu society.

Off with Their Heads-Suppression of Dissent in Tamil Nadu

criticism or permit an objective discussion of events and issues. Meetings organised by opposition left parties and groups to protest price rise, bus fare hike, meetings organised by Tamil cultural groups on the Tamil crisis in Sri Lanka, rallies that seek to explain to the masses the meaning and necessity of federalism have all been banned over the past few months and in some instances speakers at these meetings have been told what they may and may not speak. Members of a radical left group who had put up posters that referred to Jayalalitha as 'brahminicar in her politics have been arrested under TADA on the grounds that they are attempting to fan communal hatred. The PUCL report on the Mahamakam tragedy was routinely ignored by the government but soon after the report was released, Jayalalitha quickly sought to absolve herself of any blame that might attach itself to her. In a statement reeking of moral ire she warned that those who accuse her of having caused those deaths at the Mahamakam festival would be duty punished by almighty god.

Dravidian Politics End of an Era

V Geetha S V Rajadurai Its many political compromises notwithstanding, the DMK had served as the focus in Tamil public life for a range of subaltern interests to come together and articulate their concerns and anxieties. Even those who had all along been critical of the DMK, therefore, feel dejected by the bitter end to an era of Dravidian politics.


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