To Work! Tozhilkendrathilekku!

[Of the many groups who were subjected to the torture of the Janma-bhedam order (the order of difference-by- birth – caste) in pre-modern Kerala, the women of the Malayala brahmin community figured quite high. If people condemned to live outside the varna order were structurally and physically coerced to produce the material means to reproduce the order of caste on an everyday basis, women of the Malayala brahmin community were structurally and physically coerced to reproduce the community and its core culture on a generational basis. For this reason, I think that the the struggle of the Malayala brahmin women to escape the ‘great hells’ – the mahanarakams – have to be reexamined carefully when we rethink the history of women as an intersectional one in which the historical shaping of caste and gender are closely intertwined. Too often, this struggle has been reduced to or recounted in, terms set up the Reformist-Man, as an alibi for the power of the new modernised masculinity.

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