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

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Being 'Hindu' and Being 'Secular'

Tamil Secularism and Caste Politics

For over two decades there has been speculation in Tamil Nadu that the Hindu right would be taking over more and more of the state's political space. Despite a few minor developments, that has not happened. This is not so much due to the rationalism propagated by the non-brahmin Dravidar Kazhagam or parties such as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. It is due to their long-standing propaganda against the caste-based discrimination within Hinduism (which led to a positive representation of Islam and Muslims) and the specific style of ideological compromises made by the DMK on rationalism and atheism which have given rise to a form of Hindu religiosity among the non-brahmin Hindus in the state which is self-critical and tolerant.

I thank Anandhi S, Gaurav Churiwala Garg, Joshil K Abraham, Kalai Arasan, Padmanabh Samanendra, Padmini Swaminathan, Rupin Maitreyee, Sangeeta Dasgupta, and Santhosh Sadananth, for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

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