Gallo, Ester. ‘Kinship as a ‘Public Fiction’: Substance and Emptiness in South Indian Inter-Caste and Inter-Religious Families’. Contemporary South Asia. Published ahead of print, 9 February 2021.
Abstract: This article explores inter-caste/religious (ICR) marriages in Kerala and focuses on the meanings and experiences of kinship when the latter is devoid of its expected emotional and relational substance, to become a ‘public fiction’. With this expression, I refer to kinship relations accepted in the public sphere, but which denied affective and material foundations in the everyday life.
ICR marriages hold an important socio-political role in Kerala as symbols of the State’s development, and family ostracism is scrutinised as a form of backward communalism. However, relatives are not always willing to build relations with ICR kin. This leads to ICR families managing situations where public kinship tolerance co-exists with the negation of its real emotional and intimate possibilities.
The article maps how the reality of ICR marriages is turned into a fiction by persisting unspoken norms. It suggests the importance of linked discussions on fiction/ reality in the domestic sphere to the public/political role that kinship and families hold in modern postcolonial Kerala.
A new Malayalam quarterly journal called അന്യോന്യം (Anyonyam) has been launched under the editorship of E.V. Ramakrishnan. The first issue has already appeared. It is published by Pranatha Books, Ernakulam. You may contact <email@example.com> or call at (+91) 9349494919 for a subscription.
The editorial board is made up of K.G. Sankara Pillai, J. Devika, P.P. Raveendran, and G. Madhusoodanan. K. Satchidanandan, Nizar Ahmad, Sanal Mohan, K.T. Rammohan, and Sarah Joseph are on the advisory board.
The journal will publish serious articles on any aspect of society, politics, and culture. Those contributions which have a bearing on Kerala are particularly welcome. Research scholars who have completed their doctorate on a subject related to Kerala may consider submitting a longish article of about 7,000 to 8,000 words, with an abstract, for the consideration of the editor and members of the editorial board. If you have a proposal for an article, please get in touch with us. Review articles, discussions on theory, and conversations with eminent scholars/authors are also welcome.
Haneefa, Muhammed. ‘Muslim Barbers of South Malabar and Covid‐19: Homogamy, Caste Occupation and Economic Hardship’. Anthropology Today 37, no. 1 (2021): 9–12.
Abstract: Systemic caste discrimination is palpable in various parts of India, even during the COVID‐19 pandemic. This article explores how having a particular caste occupation is devastating for a community who live in the South Malabar region of Kerala.
Decades of occupational homogamy and caste discrimination among Muslims in this region have inevitably pushed Muslim Barbers into extreme financial difficulty during this pandemic. A specific caste occupation and engagement of household members in a similar profession strengthen the ‘strong kinship ties’ within the community, and they miss out on the benefits of ‘weak ties’.
This article draws from a follow‐up visit during the COVID‐19 pandemic after three years of ethnographic research in the South Malabar region as part of PhD research between 2014 and 2017.
During this pandemic, the system of traditional caste occupation based on homogamous marriage and validated by religious scriptures has compounded severe economic hardship for the Barbers. Everyone is suffering, but the Barbers are among the hardest hit.
Goren-Arzony, Sivan. ‘Sweet, Sweet Language: Prakrit and Maṇipravāḷam in Premodern Kerala‘. The Indian Economic & Social History Review. Published ahead of print, 17 January 2021.
Abstract: This paper studies the connections between Prakrit and early Maṇipravāḷam literature from premodern Kerala. Maṇipravāḷam (literally, ‘gems and corals’) is the emic term for a dominant part of Kerala’s premodern vernacular literature, binding together Kerala’s local language and Sanskrit.
As a highly Sanskritised register of a Dravidian language, Maṇipravāḷam has generally been viewed as having been inspired and influenced by either Sanskrit or Tamil literature, grammar, and poetics. This paper, however, highlights a rarely discussed aspect: the role of Prakrit in shaping both Maṇipravāḷam literature and theory.
I discuss the relation between Prakrit and Maṇipravāḷam in two connected ways: first, by considering the similarities between the practices themselves, especially in terms of their themes and aesthetics; and second, by examining the implicit ways in which Maṇipravāḷam theory, as it is presented in the Līlātilakam, Kerala’s first grammar and work on poetics, is structured on Prakrit materials or on Sanskrit materials dealing with Prakrit.
More info: https://doi.org/10.1177/0019464620980905
Categorical Oppression and Migrant Labour in India
18 February 2021 (Thursday)
11:00 a.m. EST (New York, US)
via Zoom (registration link)
About the event: What does ‘identity’ really mean for the migrant workforce beyond its function in production relations? How are forms of identity evoked within broader social relations in a migrant context? This talk explores these questions by looking at how the Tamil Dalit tea workers in Kerala experience the stigmatisation of their identity categories in the context of two significant events that occurred in the tea belt—an economic crisis and a conflict between two states over managing a dam.
The way ‘migrant’ workers are categorised in their ‘host’ society is discussed here as fundamental to how they experience life both in and out of their workplaces. Extending Philippe Bourgois’s notion of conjugated oppression, Raj argues that when dominant groups stigmatise, evoke and employ certain aspects of the workers’ identities to their disadvantage, they are engaging in a phenomenon that he calls ‘categorical oppression’.
About the speaker: Jayaseelan Raj is Assistant Professor, Centre for Development Studies (CDS; Thiruvananthapuram) and Research Associate in the Egalitarianism project in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Bergen, where he received his PhD in Anthropology in 2014. Before joining CDS, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science and is a co-author of Ground Down by Growth (Pluto Press 2017 and Oxford University Press 2018).
The Cinema of Govindan Aravindan: An Introduction with Amarnath Praful
19 February 2021 (Friday)
10:00 am CST (Chicago, US)
About the event: Introduction by Constantine V. Nakassis, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago and moderated by Eléonore Rimbault, doctoral student in Anthropology, University of Chicago
In this lecture presentation, Amarnath Praful will introduce the cinematic oeuvre of the Malayali filmmaker Govindan Aravindan (1935–1991) who lived and worked in Kerala. G. Aravindan was considered one of the most influential filmmakers in India and was a unique figure in the Parallel cinema movement in Kerala and India. His meditative and eclectic vision became an important marker of Kerala modernity in the 1970s and 1980s. The presentation will trace the film maker’s practice, from his days as a reputed cartoonist and dramaturge, to subsequently becoming a filmmaker who collaborated with a range of cultural practitioners and traditional artists across Kerala.
Using certain instances and threads from his early films, Praful will try to locate the unique position Aravindan’s cinema had within a triad of contexts: folk traditions and mythology of Kerala—its appropriations and adaptations in performative and literary arts; the sociopolitical and cultural history of Kerala (especially in the 1970s and 1980s) and the history of cinema and cinephilia in the region.
About the speaker: Amarnath Praful is a visual artist and faculty member at the National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar.
More info: https://southasia.uchicago.edu/node/344303
Mubashir, Musthafa, M. Haneef, and M. Shuaib Mohamed. ‘Dress and Gulf Imagery in Two Malayalam Films: Pathemari and Marubhoomiyile Aana’. Film, Fashion & Consumption 9, no. 2 (October 2020): 177–92.
Abstract: Malayalam films since the 1970s have captured the history of Gulf migration from Kerala, which occurs primarily due to the desperate need of its people for jobs and for money.
Predominantly, the discourses of migrants in the films are embedded in various things, including dress from the Gulf, the insignia of opulence that depicts the status of the migrants in the public sphere.
Using thematic analysis of two Malayalam films, Pathemari and Marubhoomiyile Aana, this study argues that the motif of the Gulf is associated with power and control in the cultural discourse of Kerala.
Drawing on the semiotic analysis of Barthes, we contend that the replacement of mundu, a traditional attire of Kerala men, by trousers, is one among several mythical markers of modernity, including perfumes and watches brought from the Gulf.
The performativity and materiality of dress in these two films produce imageries of the Gulf by which the wearers, mostly male, accumulate social and symbolic capital and assert dominance in the film’s narration.
More info: https://doi.org/10.1386/ffc_00018_1
- For God or Empire: Sayyid Fadl and the Indian Ocean World. By Wilson Chacko Jacob. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2019.
- Abraham’s Luggage: A Social Life of Things in the Medieval Indian Ocean World. By Elizabeth A. Lambourn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- Monsoon Islam: Trade and Faith on the Medieval Malabar Coast. By Sebastian R. Prange. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- India and the Islamic Heartlands: An Eighteenth-Century World of Circulation and Exchange. By Gagan D. S. Sood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
The four books under review, by contrast, not only rely on sources in non-European languages such as Judeo-Arabic, Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Malayalam, but also make imaginative use of them, offering fresh and original insights….
Among the four books, Elizabeth A. Lambourn’s Abraham’s Luggage: A Social Life of Things in the Medieval Indian Ocean World treats the earliest period of the Indian Ocean world… The study is based on a single scrap of paper on which the Jewish merchant Abraham Ben Yiju jotted down a list of items needed for his 1149 homebound voyage from the Malabar Coast to Arabia, after having spent seventeen years in India involved in transoceanic trade…
In Lambourn’s skilled hands, it fills an enormous void in our understanding of the material culture of Indian Ocean commerce, owing to the lack of archaeological evidence from shipwrecks along the Indian seaboard, unlike the wealth of such evidence from recovered wrecks in the South China or Mediterranean Sea….
[By] proposing the category of ‘monsoon Islam’, Prange offers a novel way of thinking about Malabari Muslims as an amphibious society that, profoundly oriented toward the sea, integrated Malabar’s economy with societies scattered across the ocean’s rim from East Africa to South China.
Jacob’s For God or Empire explores precisely this tension, as its title suggests, and it does so through a remarkable sort of biographical writing…
In 1766, a shaikh of the Alawi Sufi order, Sayyid Alawi, migrated from his native Arabia to Malabar just before the East India Company rose to power in coastal India. Jacob’s primary focus, however, is the life and career of his son, Sayyid Fadl (d. 1900). … Central to Fadl’s career was the British drive to suppress periodic disturbances involving Malabar’s dominant Muslim community, the Mappilas, whose claims to land rights were regularly dismissed by colonial officials….
All four books reviewed here will be of interest to students of Indian Ocean studies and of both modern and premodern South Asian and Middle Eastern history.
Research reports in the Kerala Journal of Psychiatry 33, no. 2 (2020), published 31 December 2020.
– preparedness of healthcare workers to attend to Covid-19 patients,
– internet use behaviour among undergrad medical students,
– association between postpartum depression and social support, and
– a mindfulness-based intervention to reduce stress among police personnel
KSM Editor’s note: Abstracts have been edited for brevity.
Valsan, Neethi, Ronnie Thomas, Praveenlal Kuttichira, Chithra Valsan, and Anita James. ‘Willingness and Psychological Preparedness to Attend to COVID-19 Patients Among Healthcare Workers in a Tertiary Care Private Hospital in Kerala: A Mixed-Method Study’. pp. 96–104.
Abstract: This was a mixed-method study combining a web-based cross-sectional survey, focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews. The cross-sectional survey covered 202 healthcare workers, and the qualitative assessment was done on 16 frontline healthcare workers.
The willingness to respond to the pandemic was found to be significantly higher among doctors and nurses compared to medical interns. Among demographic factors, increasing age and female gender were the key factors in determining willingness and positive emotional response. While anxiety was the most common emotional response, the fear of infecting family members was found to be the most common risk perceived in qualitative analysis. The study highlights the altruistic attitude of frontline health workers to be the most important contributing factor for psychological preparedness.
Considering the risks, workload, and socioeconomic stressors, proactive psychosocial support should be given to frontline healthcare workers by the institutions, governments, and society.
Parvathy, R. S., and C. A. Smitha. ‘Emotional Intelligence, Perceived Stress, and Internet Use Behaviour Among Undergraduate Medical Students: A Cross-Sectional Study’. pp. 105–13.
Abstract: In this cross-sectional study, using convenience sampling, 368 study participants were selected from the undergraduate medical students of a medical college in North Kerala. After getting written informed consent, socio-demographic data sheet, Internet Addiction Test (IAT), Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test (SSEIT) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) were filled up by the participants. Completed responses were scored and analyzed using SPSS 18.0.
In the sample, 42.9% had mild internet addiction, and 22.8% had moderate internet addiction. There was a positive correlation between scores of IAT and PSS and a negative correlation between scores of IAT and SSEIT. A pattern of increased levels of perceived stress and decreased levels of emotional intelligence was noticed with increasing levels of internet addiction scores.
Santhosh, Kuriakose, S. Vinaychandran, K. T. P. Dayal Narayan, and C. H. Mini. ‘Postpartum Depression and Its Association with Social Support: A Cross-Sectional Study at a Maternity Hospital in Kerala’. pp. 114–20.
Abstract: Cross-sectional assessment of mothers (n=250) during postnatal visits to the family planning clinics between four weeks and one year of delivery, using Edinburg Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS), Social Support Questionnaire and a structured questionnaire for the assessment of psychosocial risk factors was carried out in a tertiary care postgraduate teaching hospital of north Kerala. Multivariate Regression Analysis was used to identify the risk factors for postpartum depression (PPD).
27.6% had postpartum depression, and 18.4% had suicidal ideation. Factors associated with the presence of PPD included alcohol use of husband, marital discord, lack of family support and lack of physical help during the postnatal period. Difficulties during labour, the gender of the baby or postnatal complications did not have a significant association with PPD.
Modifiable psychosocial factors have a close association with PPD, and these are opportunities for intervention as well. Considering the morbidity and mortality linked to untreated PPD, screening of postnatal women and routine provision of therapeutic services to them is suggested.
Krishnan, Sivasubramoney, Kothandaraman Lekshmy, Prabhakaran Anil, Bharathadas Sandhya, and Kumari Jayageetha. ‘Self-Reported Emotional Experience Among Police Personnel Before and After Attending a Mindfulness-Based Intervention (Mindful Life Management-MLM): An Observational Study’. pp. 125–30.
Abstract: Police officers have elevated rates of cardiovascular diseases, sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Kerala Police has implemented several programmes for the management of stress among its members. Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) have been shown to enhance emotional intelligence, reduce negative emotions and health outcomes in police officers.
The objective was to study the effectiveness of an MBI in reducing the negative emotions among police officers. The observational study attempts to assess and compare the subjectively reported emotion and Mindfulness level among police personnel before and six weeks after attending the Mindful Life Management (MLM) workshop.
Results of the present study suggest a statistically significant association between subjective emotional experience and the MBIs. Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) scores also were found to be significant statistically. MLM can be thought of as a method of intervention to manage emotional turmoil among police personnel of our state. The relationship between the change in emotion and change in FFMQ score has to be further explored with adequate sample size.
Sukesh, G., and V. Indu Nair. ‘Pathways to Care and Duration of Untreated Illness in Patients Attending a State Psychiatric Hospital’. pp. 137–46.
Abstract: In India, due to various factors, mentally ill often turn to a variety of carers for treatment. It results in a longer duration of untreated illness (DUI) with poor long term prognosis. Studies on pathways to care, seek to find out predictors of mentally ill person’s help-seeking behaviour. There is a dearth of literature in this subject in Kerala setting.
A cross-sectional study was conducted on 250 consecutive first-time outpatients. The diagnosis was made according to DSM 5. A pilot-tested, semi-structured proforma was used for socio-demographic details and Encounter form by WHO for pathways to care. The analysis was done using Epi Info software.
Four gateways to care identified: Psychiatrist- 71.2%, faith healers – 14.8%, non-psychiatrist modern medicine doctors- 9.2%, alternate systems of medicine- 4.8%. Median DUI was seven months. Faith healers as first carers were more in below-poverty-line (BPL) compared to APL families.
Other articles on Kerala
Radhakrishnan, Parvathy, Praveen Arathil, and Dinesh Narayanan. ‘Association of Tobacco Smoking with Bipolar Affective Disorder: A Comparative Cross-Sectional Study at a Tertiary Care Centre in South India’. pp. 131–36.
Cherian, Vinu, Joel Philip, and Alexander John. ‘Prevalence and Factors Associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Among Flood-Affected Adults in a Panchayat in Ernakulam District in Kerala’. pp. 147–52.
Vinuprasad, V. G., N. R. Sharadha, and Mehmet Eskin. ‘Change in Attitude towards Suicide with Current Undergraduate Training in Psychiatry: A Cross-Sectional Study’. pp. 153–57.
Sam, Sivin P., Joice Geo, G. I. Lekshmi, and Roy Abraham Kallivayalil. ‘Post-Stroke Depression and Lesion Location: A Hospital-Based Cross-Sectional Study’. pp. 158–61.
More info and full text (OA): https://kjponline.com/index.php/kjp/issue/view/22