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

M S S PandianSubscribe to M S S Pandian

A Critique of Secular Nationalism

A Critique of Secular Nationalism The Insurrection of Little Selves: The Crisis of Secular Nationalism in India by Aditya Nigam; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2006;

The Brahmin and the Citizen

The film Anniyan that was a recent box-office success in the southern states, works within an ideological framework that constructs the brahmin and the non-brahmin as naturally opposed to each other. The film's narrative poses the brahmin as the citizen ideal and the non-brahmin as its lawless all-pervasive "other". However, the film is in effect a statement about actually existing democracies wherein the brahmin and the citizen can exist only as never realisable ideals. The brahmin's individuality is overridden by his caste identity, which thus contradicts his claim to being a citizen. At the same time, for very many citizens, citizenship remains an unrealisable concept, for access to power and justice in a modern state, as the film demonstrates, relies very often on extra-legal means. The film thus raises several binaries that are opposed to each other, for instance those between a citizen and a non-citizen, caste and citizenship, democracy and mass participation, etc, failing in the end to resolve the contradictions it raise

Tamil Nadu: New Times Ahead

For the first time since 1952, a minority government has assumed power in Tamil Nadu following the state assembly elections. The DMK's victory was aided by its astute coalition logic and its manifesto that reached the poor and the marginalised. But there are challenges Karunanidhi must brace himself to meet: The Congress, is hungry for power and the AIADMK, which though vanquished, is not broken yet.

Dilemmas of Public Reason

The opposition between the secular and the religious is a construct for, in reality, both often co-produce notions of culture that are intimately connected with violence. To recognise this intimacy could be the beginning of imagining a new political language which transcends the secular and religious through a process of creative contamination. The search for a new political language begins in this paper with two sets of descriptions of animal sacrifice from the past - one by the Tamil Saivites, who were at the forefront of campaigning against animal sacrifices in temples during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the other by the Madras legislative assembly in 1950, when it debated a bill to abolish animal and bird sacrifices in temple precincts.

Nation as Nostalgia

Vengal Chakkarai's efforts to Indianise Christianity in the early 20th century were preceded by numerous other efforts to 'indigenise' Christianity. However, while the earlier efforts sought to contend mainly with missionary domination within the church, Chakkarai had to address the demands of majoritarian/Hindu nationalism; Christianity was viewed as 'the last act of surrender to the foreigner'. This (im)possibility of being a Christian and an Indian Hindu at the same time appears in much of Chakkarai's writings. Much though he wished his Christianity to be recovered as Indian, majoritarian nationalism recovered him as a Christian despite his nationalist credentials. Chakkarai's failure represents an instance of nationalism asserting itself by creating external Others and also producing internal Others.

Social Sciences in South India

This survey of social science resources and status of higher learning and research undertaken to understand the current sense of crisis faced by social science institutions at the regional as well as at the all-India levels throws up several critical issues. The main concern here is how to strengthen social science higher learning and research in south India by preserving and expanding the existing resource base for social sciences, strengthening the available institutional structures, and ensuring quality of teaching and research output. A mapping of the institutional resources available for social science higher learning and research in south India is followed by two case studies of the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, and the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.

One Step Outside Modernity

The contradictory engagement with mdoernity by the lower castes has an important message: being one step outside modernity alone can guarantee them a public where the politics of difference can articulate itself, and caste can emerge as a legitimate category of democratic politics. Being one step outside modernity is indeed being one step ahead of modernity.

On Nationalism and Ethnicity

Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood by Sankaran Krishna; University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London, 1999; pp 296, $ 22.95, paperback.

Tamil-Friendly Hindutva

Sriman L Ganesan, the general secretary of the Tamil Nadu state unit of the BJP, is a man of many roles. With an unmatched skill in political masquerade, his new avatar is one of a passionate defender of Tamil and its much-celebrated classicism. It is in this new avatar that he made an appeal...

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