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Tamil Nadu

Part 02: The Bitterness Of Patriarchy

If the most oppressed of the Dalit sub-castes have it bad, the women amongst them have it infinitely worse “Chakkiliyar na chakkara madhiri” - Arunthathiyar women are like sugar (sweet and easy to find). This has been the overwhelming refrain of men, ‘upper’ caste and ‘lower’, about women in the community. Arunthathiyars, the most oppressed of the Dalit sub-castes in Tamil Nadu, predominantly live in the western belt of the state and work as cobblers, manual scavengers, agricultural labourers and construction workers. In the past, Arunthathiyar women were not allowed to cover their bosoms or wear blouses with their sarees.…

A Funny Prescription

Chennai’s very own Patch Adams-es use make-believe and magic tricks to help in the healing of sick children at The Government Hospital for Children The atmosphere in a placid hospital ward, housing sick children and anxious parents, betrayed the restlessness of its inhabitants longing to leave.…

Part 01: Politically Powerless

From panchayat to Assembly, the journey of would-be politicians from the Arunthathiyar community is fraught with strife “I deem the acts of the DMK MLAs a drama enacted by them to insult the Arunthathiyar community, the most suppressed section of society, to which I belong.” On 19 February 2017, Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker and leader of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) P Dhanapal minced no words when he declared that he was being discriminated against for belonging to the most oppressed community of the Dalits, the Arunthathiyars. This came after he disallowed the demand for a secret ballot by the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in the Assembly, during the vote of confidence for Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy. Dhanapal had been forced to leave the House after violence in the Assembly between the DMK and AIADMK members.…