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

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Putting Gujarat in Perspective

Overshadowed by the recent horrific events in Gujarat is a wider shift in Indian politics that is likely to reduce the country's level of communal violence: growing party competition in the states increases the incentives for politicians to offer minorities protection in return for their political support. High levels of party competition have long been effective in reducing violence for this reason in southern states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The rise elsewhere in India of parties such as the BSP and SP also creates intense competition for Muslim votes, which in turn leads to politicians promising - and delivering - greater security for minorities.

Child Labour in Tamil Nadu in the 1980s

This paper sifts certain important sources of secondary data, in its efforts to present certain broad descriptive features of the phenomenon of child labour in Tamil Nadu and its distribution across well-defined socio-economic groups classified by gender, sector-of-origin and caste, and its dispersal across space. As NSS data for 1987-88 suggest, the magnitude of child labour in Tamil Nadu appears disturbingly large, with nearly 11 children out of every 100 in the workforce. Tragically, this very large presence of orderly, systematic child labour and child illiteracy, together with their thorough dispersal across space, has rendered the phenomenon of child labour an unremarkable, everyday occurrence. The concerns of society and the state remain limited to certain specific occupations in certain specific locations, to the neglect of other occupations and locations which merit at least equal attention.

Tamil Nadu : Civic Elections: Politics from Above

While the regrouping of the DMK and the AIADMK alliances and the two incidents - the dramatic arrest of M Karunanidhi and the installation of Jayalalitha to the chief minister's post - may well have influenced voting patterns, essentially, it is the change in character of politics that has determined the outcome. A case in point is the unexpectedly good showing of the BJP at the local level.

Sensitising Officials on Dalits and Reservations

Due to a lack of political will and sensitivity, implementation of the provisions for employment reservation for dalits has been far from satisfactory. In Tamil Nadu too, dalits have suffered from the lax approach of the state towards extending reservation benefits. If this situation has to be corrected several issues need to be urgently considered, including dalits' awareness of their rights, sensitising concerned groups, and above all investing in education so that dalits can reduce their dependence on the state in the quest for social equality.

The Right to Assembly

There is much misconception on the ambit and significance of the right to assemble and its intimate relationship to the right to free speech. The Supreme Court alone can remove the misconception. One hopes that it will do so before long and in the clearest terms for all to read and understand.

Tamil Nadu : Travails of a Statue

It is no secret that there is no branch of 'futurology' from which Jayalalitha, now getting ready for the Great Return, does not seek guidance, no action, votive offering or placatory ritual she will not undertake to nullify evil influences and promote good fortune. Her latest consultants are experts in vaastu, the sastra dealing with propitious planning, positioning and structuring of buildings and the like. The result has affected a certain statue in Chennai, a 40- year old landmark in the city.

Supreme Court, Jayalalitha and Crisis Management

The Supreme Court's decision declaring Jayalalitha's appointment as chief minister of Tamil Nadu unconstitutional and void is notable, most of all, for the capacity for crisis management displayed by the court.

Tamil Nadu : Simmering Feuds, Troubled Times

The simmering feud unfolding in the state has some ugly, even dangerous portents for the future. Vengeance and vituperation are now ingrained in the political culture of the state and though the cause may be the deep political rivalry between two parties or two individuals, it is unlikely to vanish should the scenario change.

Tamil Nadu : Curtains for Farmers' Markets?

The state government has been making public noises about closing down the 'uzhavar shandhaies' (farmers' markets) set up by the DMK government, to enable farmers to get their produce to consumers directly without middlemen and commission agents siphoning off the profits. The proposal has sparked widespread concern among farmers, consumers and even some allies of the AIADMK.

Tamil Nadu - Election 2001: Changing Equations

While the AIADMK vote share has gone up significantly, corruption charges against Jayalalitha were not vote-catching slogans. After all, the AIADMK under Jayalalitha has emerged as a 'rural industry' which has become a channel for 'money circulation' that the party manages to mobilise while in power. Its return to power has much to do with ensuring a return to status quo, especially in the western industrial regions of the state. Nevertheless, the poll results are likely to bring about changes in the political landscape, because it is now clear that populist mobilisation based on the dichotomy of anti-Aryanisation versus Dravidian nativity will no longer yield results.

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