ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670999008
Tamil Nadu is a state very different from the rest of India, both culturally and historically. It has retained a fundamentally separate identity for itself in language and caste structure, and this is most evident in its politics.
Cut-outs, Caste and Cine Stars: The Word of Tamil Politics tells a political story that has all the elements of a blockbuster film, where ironies and larger-than-life characters abound: Periyar, a Kannada-speaker, who introduced the notions of Tamil self-respect and regional pride, yet dismissed Tamil as a barbaric language; the matinee idol MGR, a Malayalee born in Sri Lanka, who became Tamil Nadu’s most popular mass leader; the Dravidian movement which, by its own ideology, should have helped the Dalits but has instead supported only the upwardly mobile middle groups; and parties that rose to power by propagating anti-Hindi and anti-Brahmin sentiments but have now allied themselves with the BJP.
It is fitting that this reel-like scenario is presently dominated by the electoral politics of Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, one a scriptwriter and the other a former actress. Through all this, the author discusses the successes and pitfalls of politics in the state, from the free-meal scheme for students and the elevation of leaders to a divine status to the anti-conversion law and the rising importance of the Dravidian parties in national politics.
Well-known writer and journalist Vaasanthi has observed the dramatis personae in this epic drama at close quarters for a decade, and Cut-outs, Caste and Cine Stars offers an objective and insightful view of a political world that is both fascinating and perplexing.
A must for any outsider who wants to understands Tamil Nadu politics.
-New Indian Express
A thoughtful and eminently readable account.
Prophet of the New Age
The anti-Hindi Agitation
The medium is the Message
The Coming of Age and the Dramatic Ascent
Karunanidhi’s Ascendance and The Big Split
MGR: The Myth and The Mystique
Death and resurrection
The fury of Panchali
Kannaki and Tamil Honour
The Tiger Man
Eighth World Tamil conference
G K Moopanar’s Tamil Nadu Congress Rebels
Intolerance of dissent
Mother of all weddings
The Iron butterfly behind iron bars
The Damning of Karunanidhi
Ideology Takes a Back Seat
Caste Politics in Periyar’s Tamil country
Puthiya Thamizhagam Krishnaswamy
All in the Name of Caste Election Melodrama
The Predawn Knock
Karunanidhi: Forever the Scriptwriter Kalaignar