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C Parvathamma

We mourn the passing away of C Parvathamma (1927-2006), the first dalit woman sociologist of India. She passed away on August 1, 2006 at the age of 79 in Mysore. She was former head of the department of sociology, University of Mysore, and a recipient of the Rajyothsava Award (1990), Gargi Award (1999), Nadoja Award (2005). A widely admired sociologist, prolific writer and respected teacher, Parvathamma was along with M N Srinivas, possibly the best sociologist Mysore ever produced.

Parvathamma obtained her PhD at Victoria University, Manchester, under the supervision of Max Gluckman and contributed immensely to our understanding of south Indian village society and dalits in India. In her pioneering ethnographic work and volumes on northern Karnataka villages, Parvathamma brought out with great sensitivity the power relations in village society and the oppression by landowning communities. Her writings, especially on lingayats and their beliefs, are very impressive. Her discussions and research on Virasaivism as an anti-brahmanical movement in south India is a much acclaimed contribution in the subject of sociology.

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