BOOK: Cut-outs, Caste and Cine Stars: The World of Tamil Politics

I hadn’t heard of this book but it sounds fascinating — Qalandar

Penguin India’s blurb: “A must for [anyone] who wants to understand Tamil Nadu politics’ “New Indian Express 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. Well-known writer and journalist Vaasanthi has observed the dramatis personae in this epic drama at close quarters for a decade. Now updated with an additional chapter on the war of succession Cut-outs, Caste and Cine Stars offers an objective and insightful view of a political world that is both fascinating and perplexing.”



2 Responses to “BOOK: Cut-outs, Caste and Cine Stars: The World of Tamil Politics”

  1. Awareness happened but for a limited period only. Every politician uses the people for their own benefits. Instead of egalitarian society, it is a deeply divided society now. Filmstars and politicans both rule the people. They have guarded themselves from being influenced by outside forces. They removed congress and are not ready to give place to BJP. After Jayalalitha, what will happen?


  2. The film world and political world have combined over the years to create an unholy mess in Tamil Nadu. There was a time when Kamaraj and Bhaktavatdalam ruled, unhindered by too much of film influence. Still, Jayalalitha has been a better and more responsible CM, compared to that other man and his family. But I do wish we had a alternative to these two, sans filmwaley. And yet the new alternative being provided is none other than Vijaykant. Well, whatever happens, the politicking continues; a few people get benefited; the persecuted Jews of TN ( Brahmins) will continue to be pushed to a corner, impoverished, learn to survive outside the state….

    Need to get my hands on this book; need to know why things happen here, the way they do. Thanks for this post.


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