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

Articles by J DevikaSubscribe to J Devika

Health, Democracy and Sickle-cell Anaemia in Kerala

A study conducted of the sickle-cell anaemia patients among the Chettys in Wayanad district of Kerala exposes the failure of public action in healthcare. It emphasises the need for sustainable care of these patients, which can be made available only if panchayats take an active interest. But the sick get less support from the panchayats and mainstream political parties. This is also a reflection of the present crisis in the public healthcare system of Kerala, which is characterised by poor quality and falling utilisation rates.

Memory's Fatal Lure: The Left, the Congress and 'Jeevan' in Kerala

The raging controversy in Kerala over the "secularism" content in one chapter of a school textbook brings back memories of similar controversies from the 1950s. Caste groups are protesting in defence of upper caste interests and religious organisations are angry at what they see as the state government crossing the limits in a discussion of secularism. On the other side, the spirit of rationalism which was earlier espoused by the radical anti-caste reformers is missing; now even the left has had to accommodate the demands of the powerful community organisations.

Post-Demographic Transition Research on Childcare in Kerala

An innovative interdisciplinary methodological approach to demography will do full justice to research on "second generation" issues of child and teenage care in Kerala, a state marked by high family incomes and female literacy alongside low employment and rising aspirations.

Fears of Contagion?

This paper suggests that the recent and ongoing debate within the left in Kerala between the proponents of decentralisation and the critics reflects the widened political space achieved by oppositional civil social movements and has made it difficult to view the broader context of the decline of politics itself. It also argues that the threat of depoliticisation and the attendant growth of public cynicism about all forms of politics are the more ominous phenomena we need to combat in a highly literate, steadily urbanising and media-saturated society like Kerala.

Making Space for Feminist Social Critique in Contemporary Kerala

Women's literary writing in Kerala has gained a fairly wide market. Even as younger women authors have succeeded in breaking earlier stereotypes and frameworks of depiction, the category of 'pennezhuthu' has come to be questioned as a defining term that limits, instead of enabling. Incisive feminist critiques of contemporary patriarchy now draw upon a variety of disciplines, with the result that long held notions defining Malayalee womanhood are being questioned with increasing regularity. Concomitantly, stereotyped frameworks and the pulls of the market continue to exercise a powerful influence. It makes it all the more necessary to foster independent initiatives in feminist knowledge generation in Kerala. "Women's Imprint", a women's publishing venture in Malayalam is involved in such efforts to help create new networks of resistance and towards ensuring that gender remains a contested category in public debate.

Housewife, Sex Worker and Reformer

Autobiography, as a genre of writing, has formed an important site of feminist engagement with dominant theories of the self. Awareness that the subject of autobiography, politicised as it is, also remains fully mediated by discourse has alerted feminists to ways in which discursive position and material or historical location are mutually implicated in autobiography. This essay focuses on the reception of autobiography and its politics by examining two autobiographies by Malayalee women and the controversies around them. The aim is to (i) understand these within the history of the discursive shaping of gender in Malayalee modernity, (ii) investigate the specific contexts of discussion that shaped reception of these texts, and (iii) examine political stakes in life-writing for female authors of autobiographies differently located.

Sexual Violence and Predicament of Feminist Politics in Kerala

In the run up to the assembly elections in Kerala, the Left government made pointed effort to focus on the women's issues especially in terms of their gains through such new initiatives as its decentralised development programme. On the other hand, it dithered in taking action on issues that were agitating women across the state as for instance on the several incidents of sexual violence all of which involved directly or indirectly the use of political clout against women. This essay is a beginning towards understanding the 'possibilities' of autonomous feminist politics in the state and emerging Left perspectives on women's issues, specifically in the context of the issue of the agitation around the cases of sexual harassment.


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