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

Articles by C S LakshmiSubscribe to C S Lakshmi

A Concert for the Ages

Tamil: A Biography by David Shulman, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2016; pp xii + 402, $35.

Bodies Called Women-Some Thoughts On Gender, Ethnicity and Nation

A notion of a defined, unalterable, definite essence operates strongly in constructing women's lives and in women constructing themselves. Attempts are made to write this notion of unbroken tradition on the body of the woman so as to perceive women as carriers of authentic cultural or national identity and guarantors of its purity. This article, with particular reference to participation of women in the national politics and the Self-Respect Movement in Tamil Nadu, elaborates on how women's functioning in the outside world of politics is justified as a continuation of her historical and cultural role at home.

Seduction, Speeches and Lullaby-Gender and Cultural Identity in a Tamil Film

Seduction, Speeches and Lullaby Gender and Cultural Identity in a Tamil Film After its formation as a separate party in 1949 the DMK in Tamil Nadu used the cinema effectively to project its identity, political claims and elaboration of Tamil culture. The film Parasakthi is a landmark in this context and it is useful to examine the construction of cultural identity in the film and its references to gender in the process of this construction.

Seeing in Gestalt

C S Lakshmi THIS is in response to the comments on my article 'Mother, Mother-Community and Mother-Politics in Tamil Nadu' (EPW, October 20-27, 1990). I have read the comments of V Geetha (EPW, February 16) and Pandian and others (EPW, April 20) with interest and care because the critiques have come from a quarter whose opinions I value personally. My paper has been suffering from a severe bias against the Dravi- dian Movement in general and with a most pronounced bias against the Self Respect Movement. My political project has been seen as one intent on deliberately suppressing information and distorting history in the name of women's studies. These are very serious allegations because the purpose of women's studies is to add new perspectives to history, not to distort it.

Mother, Mother-Community and Mother-Politics in Tamil Nadu

Mother-Politics in Tamil Nadu C S Lakshmi This paper examines not only the concept of the mother but the context of the mother. It attempts to locate the mother in the functional context of Tamil culture and politics and to understand the multiple ways in which meanings have been haded on the term mother literally splitting mothers into mothers and non-mothers, pure mother's and whore mothers, mothers of sons and mothers of daughters. The effort is to problematise the term mother by contextualising it and revealing its multiple and constantly altering meanings and the kind of politics that accompanies essentialisation.

Family as an Area of Power Struggle

Family as an Area of Power Struggle C S Lakshmi THIS is in continuation of the debate on dowry (C S Lakshmi, January 28; J P Jain, February 18; Madhu Kishwar, March 18). No person concerned about issues relating to women, not even one supposedly given to "confused diatribes" like me, would dispute the fact that the idyllic family does not exist just as the idyllic village and the idyllic state of existence do not. What the present society has brought about is not a transformation from simple to complex but a transformation of the nature of already existing complexities. That the family continues to be the major area of power struggle is a fact all those involved in women's issues are agreed upon. The disagreement arises mainly from different approaches suggested in tackling and confronting this power struggle to seek a better status for the woman in the family. One way of approaching the issue can be to function within the existing parameters of the power struggle and to reverse the parameters in favour of the woman. Another is to question the parameters themselves, seek their roots, subject them to scrutiny and discard them in favour of another, again for the benefit of the woman.

On Kidneys and Dowry

On Kidneys and Dowry C S Lakshmi The viewpoint which talks of women wanting dowry to be given as a share in parental property and of dowry giving women a certain status confuses several separate issues like marriage, status, property and dowry as being a single issue.

Novel as a Genre

the extent of irrigation and area under H YV goes up with an improvement in the class position of the households. The break-up of farm expenditure shows that middle and rich peasants spend a high proportion on the maintenance of owned equipment, whereas the poorer classes spend a substantial proportion on hiring of equipment and draught power. Classification by size-class does not show any systematic pattern as regards area under irrigation. This is highest for the 10 to 15 acre group which also has the highest concentration of rich peasant holdings. As regards total inputs, inputs per acre are inversely related to farm size (-class)

The Parenthetical Woman

may discover new talent among those who have always been living under the umbrella of another's making. We may find that those who had previously taken upon themselves the burden of both action and definition may now THIS book deals with visibility and invisibility of women in anthropological studies, in social and economic structure and in private and public spheres and its relation to the understanding of the power women possess. The book is a collection of papers which at various levels have taken the task of critically evaluating accepted methodologies and presenting various ways of understanding the lives and experiences of women. The book is divided into three parts. The first pan deals with 'Visibility and Invisibility of Women'; the second part is on 'Women, Power and Authority'; and the third part deals with 'Women and Development'.

Feminism and the Cinema of Realism

Feminism and the Cinema of Realism C S Lakshmi VIMOCHANA, a social action group in Bangalore organised a symposium preceded by a six-day show of films from November 4-10 on the theme "Films: Cashing In On the Women's Issues". The reason for holding the symposium was, according to their written statement, to understand the process of exploitation of women's issues. The blatant use of women in popular cinema is easy enough to identify and protest about. But what about cinema that is not as garish as the popular cinema in which also women have figured as central characters? "Do we not see here", the statement asks, "a using and selling not merely of content (in terms of the issues being raised) but also the commercialisation of certain cinematic forms when innovative and radical packaging is used to sell played out content? ... Can the camera eye itself therefore be sexist? ..." The Vimochana group felt that "while it is important to question the validity of the so-called women's film it is equally important to identify the new process of mythification that is setting in .. " ft looked at the outset that the symposium was all set to raise very relevant and valid questions. It was a pity that there was a little bit of "cashing in" on the inaugural day itself

Symbols, Women and Tamil Nadu Politics

Symbols, Women and Tamil Nadu Politics C S Lakshmi WITH December the Bharti Centenary year comes to an end. Every small women's association in Tamil Nadu has this year bought the photograph of handsome Bharti with his huge mous- tache and turban and held a function to celebrate his ideas. Every little school, college, women's organisation and literary group has spent the whole year either holding debates or talks on Bharti and performing his famous 'Pan- chali Sabadam. Tamil magazines have ferretted out every remote relative el his and quoted as many incidents as possible from his life.


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