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

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Kumbakonam Encounters Subaltern Studies

healing shows yet another dimension of the scenario. For her, it was an alternative to get back to her economic activities in order to fulfil her responsibilities as the head of the household. The gender restrictive social norms thus act as critical factors in determining women's health at family level. Its importance to social ethics is often overlooked in the discourses of socioeconomic development. In the case of Thanda's death, the local media failed to reach beyond the issues of poverty and family feuds. For this a gender sensitive inquiry, in addition to the analysis of hierarchical and exploitative society, is needed.

Towards National-Popular-Notes on Self-Respecters Tamil

Notes on Self-Respecters' Tamil M S S Pandian This article intends to free the language question in Tamil Nadu from the stigma of being dubbed ' anti-national' in the nationalist narrative, and make available alternative ways of imagining politics based on the national- popular will The article cites the anti-Hindi agitation launched by the SelfRespect Movement in 1937 as a movement where national-popular will found its articulation in mobilising a spectrum of subalternities in support of Tamil The vernaculars are written down when the people regain importance. [Gramsci

Tyranny of Theory

case), Varshney not merely confounds his analysis of the constituents of the rural economic interest itself but also posits conflicts between economic interests and non-economic identities. Since the author takes these identities to exist apart from or uncorrected with class positions, it is far from evident that these constitute limits on the exercise of rural power. After all, people who have identical economic interests vis-a-vis other classes in society may unite to press their joint economic claims notwithstanding their separate non-economic identities. At any rate, the author provides little argument and no evidence for the assertion that the identity constraint runs ''deeper than the economic constraint" (p 5), the latter being the aforementioned technological and fiscal limits on producer subsidies. In fact, at this level of generality, there remain no THE book under review, which is the third one on colonial south India by Eugene Irschick, attempts anew generalisation about colonialism. His thesis in this book is rather straightforward. According to him, colonial institutions and discursive formations around them were not coercive impositions from above by the colonisers, but were products of heteroglot and dialogic interactions between the colonisers and the colonised. As he puts it, "British and local interpreters participated equally in constructing new institutions with a new way of thinking to produce a new kind of knowledge". The book arrives at this generalisation through an analysis of the East India Company's experiments with land revenue settlement in the Chingleput region of Tamil Nadu during the 19th century.

Tamil Cultural Elites and Cinema-Outline of an Argument

Tamil Cultural Elites and Cinema Outline of an Argument M S S Pandian The arrival of the talkies in Tamil in the 1930s confronted the Tamil elite with a challenge in that while they were implicated in the cinematic medium in more than one way, they, in retaining their exclusive claim to high culture, had to differentiate their engagement withcinema from that of the subalterns. This essay discusses how the Tamil elite negotiated this challenge by deploying notions of realism, ideology of uplift and a series of binaries which restored the dichotomy of high culture and low culture within the cinematic medium itself THE arrival of talkies in Tamil during the 1930s was received with much enthusiasm by the lower class film audience. However, such subaltern enthusiasm for this new form of leisure was simultaneously accompanied by enormous anxiety among the upper caste/ class elites.' Though this anxiety was initially framed in terms of low cultural tastes of the subalterns and resolved within the binary of high culture vs low culture, the elites were soon confronted with newer problems. Quickly they realised that cinema as a medium carried the unwelcome possibility of upsetting and recasting the already existing and carefully patrolled boundaries between high culture and low culture.

A Rebel in Saffron

In his other avatar as a revolutionary leader and theorist affiliated to the Fourth International and foremost defender (after the death of Trotsky and Isaac Deutscher) of the Trotskyist-Leninist tradition in the spectrum of Marxist or Marxist-inspired currents, the quality and range of his output was no less remarkable but had a less wide appeal. Here his major works include From Stalinism to Eurocommunism, Revolutionary Marxism Today, Trotsky: A Study in the Dynamics of His Thought, Power and Money (a major analysis of class and bureaucracy), as well as Marxist primers like Class Society to Communism, and innumerable pamphlets, essays and articles on an immense range of classical Marxist and contemporary social, political and economic problems in all parts of the world. His was an encyclopaedic mind. (He even penned a book called Delightful Murder that is perhaps the best social history ever of the genre of Crime and thriller novels.) Such writings necessarily had a more limited appeal even on the left because they were more directly politically challenging constituting as they did, a defence of the Trotskyist tradition as the representative of classical Marxism and demanding in the name of political coherence and integrity some considerable degree of affiliation with that tradition as embodied in the Fourth International. For many among the admirers of Mandel this was obviously much more difficult to swallow. In this respect there was a striking parallel found in the reception accorded to Gramsci and Trotsky, respectively by the new and old left after the post- 1960s discovery of Gramsci's intellectual and political importance.

Of Nations and Violence

M S S Pandian Kachchativu and the Problems of Indian Fishermen in the Palk Bay Region by V Suryanarayan; T R Publications, Madras, 1994; pp 74, Rs 100.

Crisis in DMK

Crisis in DMK V Gopalsamy, the expelled DMK leader, stands firmly on the side of the non-Brahmin elite formation which is incapable of responding to the current needs of Tamil society.

Denationalising the Past-Nation in E V Ramasamys Political Discourse

'Nation' in E V Ramasamy's Political Discourse M S S Pandian Departing from the conception which claims the 'nationalisation of the past as a universal given of nations, this article argues that it has been possible at least in certain cases to imagine nations as disengaged from the past. To illustrate such a possibility the concept of 'nation' as propagated by E V Ramasamy, who denied its origin in classical Indian/Tamil past and envisaged it fully in the future, is analysed.

A Matter of Fact

M S S Pandian The Legal Profession In Colonial South India by John J Paul, Oxford University Press, Bombay, 1991; pp xii+265, Rs 250.
TRUE to its blurb, John Paul's book on the legal profession in colonial south India attempts to trace "the development of Indian lawyers, otherwise known as pleaders or vakils, since the beginning of British rule in the Madras Presidency". The book tells its story in four parts, eight chapters and three appendices.

The Defilers

Last year a similar incident at Ramkola (EPW, October 3, 1992) had triggered off political unrest This time the peasants were organising a peaceful 'rasta roko' to protest against the high-handedness of the Luck now Development Authority (LDA). The LDA is buying land from the peasants at 24-30 paise per square feet and selling it at Rs 95. This is being done with the active connivance of the state government and has been accompanied by a severe clamp-down on any protest. The Janata Dal and the IPF have picked up the issue and Mahendra Singh Tikait is contemplating his own action. The IPF, through its student wing, AISA, is also currently preparing for the proposed autumn march of students on the issue of 'right to work' in Lucknow, which will precede the November 25 parliament gherao on the same issue.

Death in a City of Fools

M S S Pandian When the final balance sheet of death was drawn up, after first the Vinayaga bash and then the Mitad-un-Nabi procession, the toll was three men

Chicken Biryani and the Inconsequential Brahmin

Inconsequential Brahmin M S S Pandian The Brahmin community constituting 'barely three per cent' of the population in Tamil Nadu but wielding as it does a near monopolistic control over the press, played a major role during the Lok Sabha elections in dismantling the anti-Brahminism of the Dravidian movement.


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