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

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A Partial Reckoning

Tamil Female Civil Space: Its Evolution and Decline in Tamil Eelam by N Malathy, Delhi: Aakar Books, 2019; pp 144, ₹ 395.

Politics and Culture in Tamil Nadu

The Strangeness of Tamil Nadu: Contemporary History and Political Culture in South India by M S S Pandian (David Ludden and Anandhi S [eds]), Ranikhet: Permanent Black , 2019; pp xiv + 250, ₹ 795.

Justice, Care, and Feminist Spaces

Hard-won feminist victories of the last few decades, especially pertaining to the crime of sexual assault, are at the risk of being forgotten in both civic and judicial memory. It is important, therefore, to restate the political and social premises that shaped feminist interventions in the past, and which continue to be important for all those who seek to intervene in matters relating to sexuality, violence, family and community.

Of Whales and Wheels

There is a genre of tales in Buddhist narrative traditions that relates the ordeals of bodhisattvas who gave of themselves freely, to feed the hungry and bring succour to those in pain. Such giving was not merely metaphorical; often the bodhisattva consents to a dismembering of their body, or body...

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.

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