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

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Sexual Harassment and Elusive Justice

In the light of the recent sharing of lists of alleged sexual harassers in Indian academia, the aim and direction of the feminist movement is being debated anew. Questions of exercise of power, justice, and faith in due process have been asked. The author looks back at the case of Bhanwari Devi and the grain of past feminist struggles to chart ways ahead.

Some Thoughts on Extreme Violence and the Imagination

This paper explores the relationship between torture and sexual violence. As I understand it, sexual shaming, humiliation and hurt are inalienable aspects of torture inflicted on men, women and transpersons. In this sense, torture is nothing but the utter and violent perversion of the sense of touch, of that recognition of bodily being occasioned by physical intimacy. While easy correspondences between torture and sexual violence cannot be established they are related. To this end, this paper addresses the following questions: How do victims of torture survive that experience? What affords succour to those who have endured unspeakable pain? How is one to understand the manic intensity with which the torturer inflicts violence? It draws upon a range of texts to do with torture and sexual violence--fiction, affidavits, court judgments and descriptions of legal trails.

Notes on a Literary Death

The vicious campaign by local Hindu and caste groups in Tamil Nadu against the prolific Tamil writer Perumal Murugan's book Mathorupagan is rooted in the perverse politics of caste honour. Also, this strategy of bullying him into silence affords the Hindu Right an opportunity to secure a foothold amongst the intermediate castes in the state.

Notes on a Literary Death

The vicious campaign by local Hindu and caste groups in Tamil Nadu against the prolific Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s book Mathorupagan is rooted in the perverse politics of caste honour. Also, this strategy of bullying him into silence affords the Hindu right an opportunity to secure a foothold amongst the intermediate castes in the state.

Cancellation of Lecture

We are deeply shocked and anguished at the cancellation of Amina Wadud’s special lecture organised by the JBAS Centre for Islamic Studies at the University of Madras on 29 July 2013 on the topic “Islam, Gender and Reform”. University of Madras officials claim that local police had been in touch...

On Impunity

Impunity is what keeps unequal class and gender arrangements in place. It is constitutive of power in all its forms and the relishing of impunity marks the exercise of power, rendering it desirable and attractive. Whether the rapist is a citizen or a custodian of the state, the relish that makes for a particular exercise of power has to do with sexuality, and it is this peculiar interplay of sexuality and power that needs to be understood for the evil that it is.

Being 'Tamil'

A recent conference on Tamil studies provided a context to relook issues of history, culture, identity and nation. For Sri Lankan Tamils engaging with history or even with immediate anxieties, more often than not, it is the political context that overwhelms all else and constitutes the very horizons of thought and action. But the conference demonstrated that matters of past and present, of identity and culture and freedom could be debated freely and argumentatively.

Who Is the Third that Walks Behind You?

I read Aditya Nigam’s observations on an epistemology of the dalit critique of modernity with great interest. His formulations are both fascinating and suggestive, therefore, I would like to complicate them. Firstly, while I accept that dalit politics and ideologies represent the “problematic ‘third term’ that continuously challenges the common sense of the secular modern”, I am not sure that these exist as an ‘absent presence’; or that they advance a notion of citizenship that is premised on the notion of the community as a rights-bearing subject. It seems to me that the non-brahmin, lower caste engagement with the ‘secular modern’ does two things: it contends with the contradictions of modernity, as Nigam so ably demonstrates, but it also dips beyond and across the wide arc of the secular-modern to articulate an expressive ideology and world view that is still recognisably modern. I would like to illustrate this with reference to the thought of Periyar Ramasamy.

New Phase of Dalit-Bahujan Intellectual Activity

The Dalit Intellectuals' Collective has provided a forum for debates in which statements on issues of relevance to dalit life and culture are interrogated constructively by non-dalit scholars. It hopes to lead dalit culture from the realm of empiricism to that of theory, particularly a distinctive theory of knowledge.

Three Tales of Ageing

This paper tries to unravel the relationship between ageing and sensuality. It discusses the nature of the experience of female ageing sketched out in three books: one, a feminist text that sees menopause as autobiographical, not clinical or pathological; the second, a novel about the agony of an ageing woman who is not sure if she ought to really fall in love; and the third, a study of structures and forms of domination in relation to physical torture.

Periyar, Women and an Ethic of Citizenship

Given the near-visionary resonance of Periyar's life work, it becomes somewhat difficult to separate his political and social legacy. But though his vision has been politicised, made to bear witness to a non-brahmin and, in some instances, a Tamil will to power, it, yet, resists a complete coaptation into politics. It intimates to the interlocutor of today an abiding ethic which is not at all explicable in terms of quotidian politics. It is this ethic which is the subject of this paper and an attempt is made to explore it for the lessons it may hold out for contemporary feminist debate and practice.

One Hundred Years of Brahminitude-Arrival of Annie Besant

Arrival of Annie Besant V Geetha S V Rajadurai Annie Besant's arrival in 1893 lent prestige to a brahminical version of nationalism based on caste-exclusivity and aryan superiority. The Justice Party and the Self-Respect League countered this political brahminism through a cultural resistance centred around Tamil-Dravidian fraternity.

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