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

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Disciplining the Intimate

The Kerala Model

Disciplining the Intimate

The recent furore over the "Kiss of Love" protest march in Kerala reveals the paradoxical nature of the state's polity and the link between discourses on morality and the maintenance of regimes of power.

One of the most literate states in India, Kerala, yet remains a polity governed by groupings and political parties with historical ties to religious, caste and community associations. The paradoxical nature of Kerala’s civil order is best reflected in the rise of a right-wing politics that brings under its ambit religious, political, cultural, social service and militant associations that have media and muscle power, and whose interventions in Kerala’s public sphere, of late, expose the link between discourses on morality and the maintenance of regimes of power.

What is even more interesting is the manner in which this minoritarian politics invokes majoritarian Hindutva ideological commitments enshrining repressive and socially reactionary political forces. It is worthwhile to invoke here the Gramscian notion of hegemony, where minority religions and rights become the articulating principle whereby an entire set of social relations and practices, which by themselves do not form a fundamental class, is able to pave the way for the historical emergence of a bloc whose articulations of dominance and consent through political and civil society apparatuses help maintain the myth of democracy, secularism and common interest.

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