Brahmin and Non-Brahmin Genealogies of the Tamil Political Present

Brahmin and Non-Brahmin Genealogies of the Tamil Political Present

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Item Code: IDH479
Author: M.S.S. Pandian
Publisher: Permanent black
Edition: 2007
ISBN: 9788178242217
Pages: 284
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.6" X 5.6
Weight 290 gm
From the Jacket

In South India, the categories 'Brahmin' and 'non-Brahmin' are frequently treated as self-evident, both within Tamil politics and mainstream academic discourses. Departing from this 'common sense', the present book historicizes the complex processes by which these categories came into being and acquired political power over the past century. Using archival, regional-language, and unconventional sources, M. S. S. Pandian unsettles the self-evident quality of these categories and opens up a rich theoretical-critical space to rethink them.

In the process, this book also offers a new perspective on colonialism nationalist accounts, it shows the ways in which colonialism was, for Tamil society, a moment of crisis as well as possibilities. This ambiguous quality of colonial rule facilitated new ways of looking at the figure of the Brahmin, even as it enabled the making of a non-Brahmin identity.

The importance of this book for understanding politics and society in Tamil South India can scarcely be exaggerated. The Non-Brahmin Writings and discursive strategies of E. V. Ramasamy 'Periyar', Maraimalai Adigal, and lyothee Thoss, alongside those of an array of Brahminic thinkers and propagandists, are presented here with a degree of sophistication and analytic skill not available in other works of political, social, and intellectual history on the Indian South.

This book will interest every historian, sociologist, and political analyst of India, as well as all who wish to understand anti-Brahmin and anti-upper-caste social movements.

1Introduction: The Politics Of The Emergent1
Genealogies of Brahmin and Non-Brahmin6
Lives and Time during Colonialism10
2Becoming Brahmin In Colonial Tamil Nadu17
Mission Unaccomplished: Missionaries in Colonial Tamil Nadu19
Replication as Response: Hindus Counter Missionaries in Tamil Nadu26
The Tamil Brahmin in Search of Authenticity31
Be Traditional, Be Modern: Practising Brahminism in the Tamil Country37
Reforming to be Authentic: Liberal Brahmins and 'Birth' Brahmins40
The Authentic Brahmin as the Authentic Hindu45
Brahminical Hindu Becomes Authentic Indian52
3Brahmin Hybridity60
The Tamil Brahmin as Colonial Hybrid63
Brahmin Power in the Material Domain67
Two Domains or One? The Cultural, the Material, and Tamil Modernity72
Brahmin Bilingualism and Power77
Being Brahmin, being National84
Organizations of Associational Life in the Madras Presidency 85
Travels in Hyper-anxiety: Tamil Brahmins and the Indian National Congress89
Deferring Difference: Brahmins, Non-Brahmins, and Communal Representation94
The Agraharam as a Metonym100
4Speaking The Other/Making The Self: The New Voice Of The Non-Brahmin102
Pundit Iyothee Thoss (1845-1914) 103
The Past According to the Sage Aswakosa105
A Comparison: G. Subramania Iyer and Iyothee Thoss on Dravidian Subjugation110
Brahminhood, Caste, and the Hierarchy of Values111
Brahminhood, Moral Conduct, Power, and the Public115
Maraimalai Adigal (1876-1950)120
Adigal's Saivite Dravidianism125
Adigal's Comparison of 'Castes'130
Adigal and His Several Publics136
Contesting Authority, Contesting Power141
5From Culture To Politics: The Justice Party144
A Short History of the Justice Party146
Conventions of Politics and the Justice Party152
Historicizing Brahmin Power157
The Non-Brahmin Argument on Disinterested Rule 166
A New Common Sense among Non-Brahmins169
The Justice Party and its Several Publics174
The Case of Raghava Reddi178
6The Brahmin As A Trope: The Self-Respect Movement187
E. V. Ramasamy (1879-1973)188
The Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), the Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam (DMK), and Brahminic Hinduism193
Two Hinduisms196
Inferiorized identities: Subalternity and Self-Respect205
Forming a New Subaltern Non-Brahmin Public210
Forging Subaltern Alliances: Ideologies of Language-Use and Idiom220
The Vocabulary of Contemporary Elections in Tamil Nadu233
True 'Dravidians' Today236
A Dalit Critique of Power240
The Unknown Futures of Brahmin and Non-Brahmin 244
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