Caste Away – Na Vanamamalai

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Description

A pithy and momentous collection of essays on caste–equality struggles in Tamil Nadu by scholar and social activist Na. Vanamamalai

Offering a meticulous exploration of Tamil Nadu’s intricate caste dynamics, Na. Vanamamalai’s pivotal work unveils the endeavours of lower–caste communities in challenging established hierarchies. It spans the Chola dynasty to the early part of the twentieth century. Through extensive research and insightful analysis, the renowned scholar elucidates how certain communities strategically appropriated the varna system, elevating their social status. Drawing on various source texts – historical documents, verses by socially committed ascetics, court judgments – the work demonstrates how the Chola kings tactically offered concessions to different caste clusters, thereby navigating a delicate balance between benefits and exploitation.

Caste Away compellingly argues that caste–based conflicts were fundamentally manifestations of class antagonisms and challenges conventional interpretations, showing how the pursuit of caste equality was aimed not at creating an egalitarian society but at elevating the social standing of specific castes.

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