Ms. Representation: Danger in disguise

In his paper, ‘Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development’, BR Ambedkar says that subjugation of women is inherent in the process of caste formation. “Man—as a maker of injunctions—is most often above them all,” says Ambedkar, as he formulates the genesis of caste. Endogamy is the essence of the caste system, and so, women who marry and reproduce become important for the caste system to flourish. Intercaste marriages are ‘allowed’ as ‘natural order’, when a man from a higher caste marries a woman from a lower caste (described in Manusmriti as anuloma).

However, an upper-caste woman marrying a man from the lower castes (called pratiloma) is banned. It’s thought ‘unnatural’ and worthy of ‘punishment’. That’s why we see devastating crimes occur around such developments. Furthermore, women are to be ‘taken by her father, then her husband, and later her son’. Woman, as an unwitting instrument in caste politics, is controlled, often by the violent suppression of sexual liberties. In speaking of caste, we must notice intersectionality and acknowledge the deep gender factor.

Continue reading “Ms. Representation: Danger in disguise”

To Let review: An astute portrayal of house-hunting and houses

In a recent interview, director-cinematographer Chezhian says that every film can be brought down to a word, or a sentence. For example, he said Paradesi’s word was ‘Idapeyarpu’. As I walked out of Chezhian’s To Let, I was wondering what this film’s word would be. Globalisation is one word — the film does begin with a card that places it in the immediate aftermath of globalisation. Is it ‘search’? To Let, as the name suggests, is about a family’s search for a house. But none of these words throws its arms around in its entirety. I did find a word that almost serves the purpose — realism. Well, almost. Continue reading “To Let review: An astute portrayal of house-hunting and houses”

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