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Panthers in ParliamentDalits, Caste, and Political Power in South India$
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Hugo Gorringe

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199468157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199468157.001.0001

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Institutionalizing Caste Politics in Tamil Nadu

Institutionalizing Caste Politics in Tamil Nadu

(p.37) 1 Institutionalizing Caste Politics in Tamil Nadu
Panthers in Parliament

Hugo Gorringe

Oxford University Press

This chapter will introduce the regional context of the study. It will chart the rich history of anti-caste mobilization in the state from the early Dalit pioneers, through Periyar’s agitations to the Dravidian parties. It has become common to express surprise at the rise of caste-parties in Periyar’s land, but this chapter will argue that caste considerations have been institutionalized into Tamil politics from the outset. Whilst Dravidian parties are notionally universal, the rest upon caste calculations and constituencies that circumscribe their radicalism. Dalit parties, thus, are not introducing caste but highlighting the persistence of caste values and discrimination.

Keywords:   Tamil politics, Dravidian Parties, Dalit assertion, Caste, Periyar, Iyothee Dass, AIADMK, DMK, PMK

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