One of the only ethnographic studies of Dalit women, this book gives a rich account of individual Dalit women’s lives and documents a rise in patriarchy in the community. The author argues that as Dalits’ economic and political position improves, ‘honour’ becomes crucial to social status. One of the ways Dalits accrue honour is by altering patterns of women’s work, education and marriage and by adopting dominant caste gender practices. But Dalits are not simply becoming more like the upper catstes; they are simultaneously asserting a distinct, politicised Dalit identity, formed in directb opposition to the dominant castes. They are developing their own ‘politics of culture’.
Key to both, the author argues, is the ‘respectability’ of women. This has significant effects on gender equality in the Dalit community.
Very little is known about Sikkim. This book outlines its development since it became a part of the Indian Union in 1975. It covers subjects such as population, poverty and planning; health, education and the status of women; land and agriculture; forest and environment; infrastructure for development such as industry, power and state finance; and governance for sustainable human development.
The essays in New Mansions for Music: Performance, Pedagogy and Criticism look at one of the most ancient and rigorous classical musical traditions of India, the Karnatik music system, and the kind of changes it underwent once it was relocated from traditional spaces of temples and salons to the public domain. Nineteenth-century Madras led the way in the transformation that Karnatik music underwent as it encountered the forces of modernization and standardization. This study also contributes to our understanding of the experience of modernity in India through the prism of music. The role of Madras city as patron and custodian of the performing arts, especially classical music offers an invaluable perspective on the larger processes of modernization in India As the title suggests, the areas of classical music, which were most influenced by these developments were pedagogy or modes of musical transmission, performance conventions and criticism or music appreciation. Once the urban elite demanded the widening of the teaching of classical music, traditional modes of music instruction underwent a major change involving a breakdown of the gurushishya parampara or the tradition wherein the teacher imparted knowledge to a chosen few. Caste and kinship were important determining factors for the selection of these shishyas or students, but in modern institutions like the universities these boundaries had to be demolished. Simultaneously, the public staging of music brought the performer into a new relationship with his audience, especially as the art form became subject to validation and criticism by the newly emerging music critic. In an immensely readable book peppered with anecdotes and conversations with leading musicians and critics of the day, as well as humorous visual representations, part caricature, part satirical, the author describes a rapidly changing society and its new look in early twentieth century Madras.
The Enigma of the Kerala Woman: A Failed Promise of Literacy consists of multi-disciplinary research carried out on various aspects of gender relations in Kerala by scholars from a range of social science disciplines under The Gender Network, a regional network of researchers investigating the phenomenon of gender under varied social and economic settings. The introductory chapter provides an overarching framework for the individual studies. Breaking new ground in analytical and methodological dimensions of Women’s Studies, the papers collectively seek to provide an answer to the ‘enigma’ of the Kerala woman.
The book comes alive through two separate sections. The first one is devoted to case studies of women from the area of research and the second to photographs of Kerala women in various social settings with detailed anthropological captions. The two sections complement each other in supporting the main theme of the book. The book has a rich body of data which provides comparative figures relating to development indices for Kerala in relation to some other states as well as India as a whole.