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

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Socio-economic Inequality in Longevity in India

Two new indices, the index of representation in longevity and the index of socio-economic inequality in longevity, are presented for examining socio-economic inequality in longevity in India. The India Human Development Survey data from the 2004–05 and 2011–12 rounds are used to investigate socio-economic inequality based on caste, occupation, economic classes, and geographic regions. The findings suggest that India suffers from substantial socio-economic inequality in longevity with the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Muslims being worst off. Groups such as agricultural and non-agricultural labourers, petty traders, and lower economic classes were substantially under-represented in longevity. Regionally, the south and west have over-representation, whereas the central, east, and north-east have under-representation in longevity.

Every Family Its Own Historian?

Upper-caste Syrian Christian family histories variously comprise the reconstructions of popular beliefs; family and church genealogies claiming Brahminic and apostolic origins; biographies of prominent family members; discussions on the crisis of national and global migration; purity of race and blood; descriptions of relationships with other social groups; road maps and visions for the future; endogamous family directories; popular bedtime stories, among others. These family historians select the most desirable facts, figures, myths, and legends to present a strange blend of facts and fancies. This paper explores how the Syrian Christians mobilise, conceive, and position their histories within the social matrix of Kerala and their ideological uses for identity politics.

Income and Inequality across Rural–Urban, Occupational, and Caste Divides

The evolution of income in India from 2014–19 is analysed, and it is found that the lower end of the income distribution has experienced significant losses—the bottom ventile shows not only a decline in income share of ~41% but also a negative real average income growth of -5.5% per annum. Further investigating the composition of this part of the distribution using rural and urban splits, it is found that even as income shares at the bottom of the urban distribution have increased over time, those at the bottom of the rural distribution have decreased—income share of the bottom decile of the rural income distribution declined by ~43%, and the real average income growth of this decile was -5% per annum. The bottom ventile of the consolidated Indian income distribution is composed primarily of rural incomes and therefore the decline in real incomes is essentially a rural phenomenon.

Damsels Not in Distress

Alice Ekka’s protagonists are strong Adivasi women who have agency, choices, and dreams.

Caste, Class, and Gender in Education

The Social Construction of Capabilities in a Tamil Village by L N Venkataraman, Hyderabad:Orient BlackSwan, 2021; pp 190, `595.

Exploring the Formation of Jat Masculinity in Contemporary Punjabi Music

This article draws from present-day Punjabi music to understand the overarching and recurring theme of Jat masculinity. The article begins with the non-film Punjabi music industry and the reasons for its meteoric rise in recent years. The glorification of misogyny, caste-based violence, use of arms and ammunition, which are a mainstay in popular Punjabi music today, is framed as a manifestation of a caste-based identity. The article charts the emergence of Chamar pop and the role of caste in Punjab, especially cultural assertion and its roots in the state’s Dalit politics, particularly the Ad-dharmi movement. The Dalit resistance art and music movement which began years ago, and the sudden rise of Dalit singers like Ginni Mahi and Roop Lal Dhir have taken the modern Ambedkarite assertion of equal rights one step forward is considered the beginning of the reconfiguration of Punjab's sociopolitical milieu. While the Jat singers and their music get hailed, the Dalit singers are physically attacked, hounded, and threatened to speak out against caste oppression, suggesting that caste realities in Punjab are reflected in artistic expressions.

Unravelling the ‘Black Town’

A Hygienic City-Nation: Space, Community, and Everyday Life in Colonial Calcutta by Nabaparna Ghosh, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2020; pp xvi + 224, `795.

Popular Culture and Caste: The Three Indias

Mainstream media content in India tends to reflect the dominant character of the people who own, work in and consume it, and either by default or design tend to invisiblise the sizeable number of Dalit, minority, Other backward castes and indigenous population who together make the overwhelming numerical majority in the country. These sections do figure in the media but are stereotypically depicted as poor, as victims, villains, ugly, etc. However, the marginalised sections constitute a large and diverse group which in recent years has found its voice in the aftermath of traumatic experiences like the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. The advent of social media, falling prices of smartphones and data also disrupted the gatekeeping of content by traditional media houses and enabled the Dalits and OBC young people to access technology and access audiences which consumed content – music, news, entertainment – to which mainstream media did not cater, thus democratising access to media and lowering thresholds and bringing fresh talent to create content and give voice to a large but invisiblised marginalised audience.

Telugu Cinema and the Image: Exploring the Potency of an Icon

In cinema, using an image that is not part of the story invites the audience’s minds to move and make connections that the film-maker is hinting at. This is an attempt at exploring the potency of an image and to elicit that using an iconic image to layer a story can open it up for multiple nuanced readings. Telugu films over the last three decades have added to the caste discourse very fleetingly and often halfheartedly. In a few exceptional situations, Telugu films have said something caste-conscious and it often tends to be outdated or tokenistic. When an image is placed or used correctly, the power or potency of the image can move people and their passions in ways only cinema is capable of. So juxtaposing Rudraveena (1988) which uses Gandhi’s image powerfully, with Palasa 1987 (2020) and Narappa (2021) that use Ambedkar, brings out a more complex layer to the storytelling.

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