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

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The Mathammas

There has been hardly any scholarly engagement with patriarchal practices that link caste, gender and land relations in the case of dalits. The ways in which consideration of caste status or honour partake in patriarchy in the context of dispossessed and socially excluded communities may not be similar to the invocation of brahmanical patriarchal values. This paper attempts to capture the complexities involved in conceptualising the caste patriarchy among the dalits through their narratives and that of the upper castes, women social activists and the state on a ritual practice prevalent among the Arunthathiyars, a dalit sub-caste in rural Tamil Nadu - the dedication of Arunthathiyar girls and women to the goddess Mathamma.

Beyond the Coherence of Identities: A Reading of Sedal

Dalit writings in Tamil while producing a new collectivity are silent about the power play within the community in terms of gender or sub-caste dynamics. Imaiyam's novel Sedal shows that neither power nor powerlessness is absolute and that there are limits to the powerlessness of the untouchables too. The dalits often oppress the sub-castes which are lower in the hierarchy and even within the dalit communities common suffering does not produce a singular dalit identity.

Rethinking Feminist Methodologies

Given the varying and diverse interpretation of what feminist research is, especially in the context of criticism against such research for its class-caste exclusions, heterosexism and ethnocentrism, it would be useful to explore whether there could be a "feminist standpoint epistemology" and whether feminist research could claim to speak for all women or represent their experiences. An introduction to the papers in this edition of the Review of Women's Studies.

Women, Work and Abortion

Most of the micro-level studies on abortion reach a misleading conclusion that abortions are exclusively a method of family limitation or family planning. A study conducted in four villages of Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu contradicts this orthodoxy and opens up spaces for looking at the question of reproductive rights anew. Women in the study villages consider abortion as a necessity to negotiate the harsh realities in their work places, and deal with domestic violence and different social conditions and beliefs.

Making It Relevant

What is women's studies? Is it a discipline? A subject? What should a women's studies programme connote and what obtains in practice? Through a survey, this paper attempts to map the different aspects of the women's studies programme in institutions of higher education of Tamil Nadu. The contention of the paper is that the forms and conditions of the institutionalisation of women's studies in places of higher education to a large extent constrained the possibilities of carrying out research in this area as an academic discipline. The paper has important implications for bodies such as the University Grants Commission that, at one level, have been in the forefront of the institutionalisation of the women's studies movement in India, particularly in the 1990s, but, at another level, have failed to achieve the kinds of intellectual and political changes promised by the founders of this discipline in India.

Caste and Gender in Colonial South India

Caste and Gender in Colonial South India Recasting the Devadasi: Patterns of Sacred Prostitution in Colonial South India by Priyadarshini Vijaisri; Kanishka Publishers, New Delhi, 2004; pp 346+xii, Rs 750.

Human Development in Tamil Nadu

In many respects, Tamil Nadu has achieved levels of human development superior to most states in India. The relatively high growth rate of the economy and above average per capita income has obviously contributed to it. This essay seeks to highlight the key findings of the Tamil Nadu Human Development Report and critically examine its various dimensions.

Tamil Nadu : New Caste Equations

The new political equation emerging in Tamil Nadu is, thus, informed by two contradictory tendencies. While the dalits' alignment with the Muslims is problematising the Hindutva's agenda of co-opting the dalits as Hindus, the anti-Muslim politics of the backward caste thevars is making available a new territory for Hindu communal mobilisation. The future course of politics in Tamil Nadu may depend critically on which of these trends will assert.

A Rebel in Saffron

capitalism. 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 Maltova Mothers and Other Stories

Of Maltova Mothers and Other Stories MSS Pandian Anandhi S A R Venkatachalapathy Another element in his [Periyar's] rationalist message was his campaign against the oppression of women. He championed the causes of widow- remarriage, of marriages based on consent, and of women's right to divorce, to property and abortion. Pointing out that there was no Tamil word for the male counterpart of an adulteress he fumed: "the word adulteress implies man's con- cept of women as a slave, a commodity to be sold and to be hired". Periyar's demand at a conference two years ago, that no odium should be attached to a woman who desired a man other than her husband (which the Press so avidly vulgarised) as well as Periyar's advocacy of the abolition of marriage as the only way of Treeing women from enslavement, were about as radical as the views of any women's liberationist.-Passing of the January 12, 1974.

PERSPECTIVES

Writing about Hindu-Muslim Riots in India Today Gyanendra Pandey The dominant nationalist historiography that insists on the totalising standpoint of a seamless nationalism needs to be challenged not only because of its interested use of categories such as 'national' and 'secular' but also because of its privileging of the so-called 'general' over the particular, the larger over the smaller, the 'mainstream' over the 'marginal
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