ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Neo-Brahminism An Intentional Fallacy

Neo-Brahminism: An Intentional Fallacy? V SURESH's lengthy exposition on 'causes and portents', with respect to the rout of the DMK in the 1990 assembly elections (The DMK Debacle: Causes and Portents', October 17) raises more questions than answers them: questions regarding the complex, uneven and capricious nature of caste-class relationships in Tamil Nadu and the ideological struggles and material bases of brahminism and the nature of resistance to domination and hegemony in a patriarchal caste society. Suresh's exposition may be seen to fall into three parts: in the first part he has assembled reasons and hypotheses as to the defeat of DMK. The second part focuses on the limitations supposedly evident in the broad-based non-brahmin consensus constructed by the Dravidian movement and articulated as a political strategy by DMK; here, Suresh attempts to analyse the contradictory and, often, antagonistic relationship that exists between the backward castes (BCs) and scheduled castes (SCs). The third part of the exposition is an attempt at a theoretical statement on the play of ideology and power in the caste system as it obtains in Tamil Nadu. We shall examine each of these arguments shortly. It seems to us that in every one of these instances, Suresh displays an amazing insensitivity to the interplay between material reality and consciousness; to the 'ripple' effects of ideology and to the mode of production (and legitimisation) of power in caste Hindu society.

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