Tags: Essay On The Scarlet Ibis ThemesComplete Business Plan PdfRole Of Tv In Education EssayMarketing Strategy Dissertation ProposalThesis Research OutlineToni Morrison EssayAn Essay About Advantages And Disadvantages Of Television
On the contrary, a common complaint of Dalit leaders like Thirumavalavan and Ravikumar is that where they themselves have remained consistently opposed to Brahminical institutions, the heads of both Dravidian parties have long since come to embrace Brahminical Hinduism both in public and private (: 5, Rajendran 2001).
When activists attempted to publicly screen a documentary film in Chennai containing footage that disproved the official version of events, the DMK government swiftly suppressed the screening.11 Thus one of the key questions that is posed, both explicitly or implicitly, in all four volumes under review concerns the nature of the state itself and its relation to society.
As a secular, constitutional democracy, the state is formally distinct from the society it governs and the various particular identities of its citizens; police and administrative bureaucracies are putatively governed by a form of rationality that renders the ‘private’ social characteristics of its offices holders—their caste status for instance—irrelevant.
This includes, for example, the pervasive failure by police and other responsible bodies to collect vital information about reservations, attacks on Dalits, non-enforcement of Constitutional mandates concerning access to public spaces and other resources including temples.
Thus, for example, while it is well-known that a huge backlog of positions reserved for SC/STs in government employment are simply never filled, it is impossible to determine the precise magnitude of the problem.
When the scale of caste violence is such as to force itself upon public attention, it has become commonplace in Tamil Nadu for the state government to appoint a special judicial commission to investigate.
By appointing such commissions, the ruling party is able to circumvent the State Human Rights Commission, which is thereby prevented from conducting its own investigation (Human Rights Watch 1999: 124–126).
This uncertainty is deepened when we expand our optic to include, not just acts of violence in the sense of bodily harm and attacks on property, but also the various forms of structural violence Viswanathan documents, including what we might call ‘epistemic violence’ (Spivak 1999).
Structural violence includes the social practices outlawed under India’s constitutional set up, but which nevertheless persist in Tamil Nadu with full knowledge of the state, such as Dalits being coerced into various forms of ‘traditional’ unpaid labor, or denied access to ostensibly ‘public’ resources like water, roads, and temples;3 elected offices being ‘auctioned’ by caste councils;4 Dalits being physically prevented from voting as they choose, being forbidden to run for elected office, or being prevented from actually assuming office when elected.5 While the continuation of the foregoing practices involves the state only negatively—viz., by its failure to stop them from occurring—in other instances the state has been more directly responsible for structural violence against Dalits, for instance by suppressing non-violent Dalit political expression; by refusing to implement reservations policies to the extent that a large portion of positions set aside for Dalits remain permanently vacant (while apparently never failing to fill the much larger number of positions reserved in the state of Tamil Nadu for the members of various politically powerful BC caste groups); by conniving in the subversion of land reform and indeed by practicing what Viswanathan terms ‘land reforms in reverse.’But for the purposes of this review perhaps the most important form of structural violence against Dalits is epistemic—pertaining, that is, to the production of knowledge (or its absence) on the condition of Dalits in Tamil Nadu.
The themes of translation and the confrontation between local and universal political moralities introduce this review because one of the most frequent charges against the Tamil Dalit movement in recent years has been that it has increasingly retreated from Ambedkarian universalism into a parochial Tamil-centric linguistic cultural nationalism.
In making these charges, critics refer in particular to the (‘Liberation Panthers,’ henceforth VCK) under Thol. Yet although Thirumavalan does indeed affirm ‘Tamil,’ a careful reading of his speeches and writings—along with the political and intellectual context Viswanathan’s and Ravikumar’s contributions provide—reveals a complex negotiation between local and universal languages, and a transformation of terms that does not at all support these accusations.