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

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