Book reviews / Testing Ground for Jesuit Accommodation: Francisco Ros, S. J. in Malabar

Nongbri, B. L. Review of Testing Ground for Jesuit Accommodation in Early Modern India: Francisco Ros SJ in Malabar (16th–17th Centuries), by Antony Mecherry, S. J. Mission Studies 38, no. 1 (May 2021): 174–75.
Editor’s note: News of another review was circulated in the eGroup in March 2021. You may also be interested in the following reviews of the same book. 
Hsia, R. Po-chia. The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 71, no. 3 (2020): 651–53.
Excerpt: A dissertation submitted at the Pontifical Gregorian University, this work represents a classic missiological study: drawing from ecclesiastical archives, it focuses on the work of one Jesuit missionary, the Catalan Francisco Ros, and on one missiological theme, namely the encounter between Roman Catholic missionaries and Malabar Christians who practised Syrian rites.

Clooney, Francis X. Nidan: International Journal for Indian Studies 5, no. 1 (July 2020): 78–81.

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Book chapter / Kerala Rikshawala at the Intersection of Communism and Social Realism

Kommattam, Nisha. ‘Vehicles of Progress: The Kerala Rikshawala at the Intersection of Communism and Social Realism’. In Sound Alignments: Popular Music in Asia’s Cold Wars, edited by Michael K. Bourdaghs, Paola Iovene, and Kaley Mason, 69–92. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2021.

Summary: My chapter ‘Vehicles of Progress: The Kerala Rikshawala at the Intersection of Communism and Cosmopolitanism’ examines the iconic trope of the autorickshaw driver as represented in two popular Malayalam movies from the Cold War era, Odayil Ninnu (1965) and Aye Auto! (1990).

More precisely, I discuss three film songs that illustrate how the ‘Kerala rikshawala’ as a cultural icon is situated at an intersection of vernacular Communist ideologies on the one hand and emerging cosmopolitan aspirations on the other. A close reading of the songs’ textual, visual, and sonic structures will expose these intersections as well as lead to larger questions about the uneasy relationship between class, caste, Communism, and cosmopolitanism.

My argument here is twofold. First, I argue that the cultural icon of the Kerala rikshawala offers an identificatory trope for many consumers of the mass culture production that is Malayalam cinema. Relatability, ubiquity, and relatively low social stigma (compared to other working-class professions) aid the trope of the rikshawala in serving as an embodiment of the Malayalee audience’s aspirations for social justice and upward mobility in the relatively young state.

Second, the trope of the Kerala rikshawala can also be read as an embodiment of the postcolonial state of Kerala itself, representing its multifaceted pulls toward larger socio-economic progress, attempting to provide upward social mobility to its citizens in an increasingly globalising world.

More info: https://www.dukeupress.edu/sound-alignments

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Event / The Introspective Mode in Early Modern South India

The Eye Turned Inward: The Introspective Mode in Early Modern South India
Lecture by David Shulman
hosted by  Institute for Social Sciences, Humanities and Oceanic Research (ISHORE; Kozhikode, India)

29 June 2021 (Tuesday)
7.30 pm IST (India)
Webinar (by registration)
Language: English

About the event: This is the fourth lecture in ISHORE’s webinar series ‘Intersections & Confluences 2021’. The lecture will be delivered by David Shulman (Professor, Department of Asian Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) on the individual introspections in early modern Malayalam literature. Kesavan Veluthat (Director, Institute for Studies in the Heritage of Coastal Kerala (Pullut, Kerala, India) will be the discussant. Manu V. Devadevan (Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India) will chair and moderate the session.

How to attend: The event is open only for registered participants. For registration, please e-mail your full name, official address, and mobile number to ishorekerala@gmail.com.
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Event / Agrarian Relations and the Roots of Writing

കാർഷികബന്ധങ്ങളും വരമൊഴിയുടെ വേരുകളും (Agrarian Relations and the Roots of Writing)
Webtalk by Manu V. Devadevan

hosted by Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR; Thiruvananthapuram, India)

25 June 2021 (Friday)
3:00 p.m. IST (India)
via Zoom (event link Meeting ID: 874 2898 8159 Passcode: 506114)
Language: Malayalam

About the event: This is a part of KCHR’s web talk series on ‘Evolution of Kerala Society’ for students.

കേരള ചരിത്രത്തിൻ്റെ വികാസവും പരിണാമവുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട വിഷയങ്ങൾ, അക്കാദമിക പ്രാധാന്യത്തോടെ, വിദ്യാർത്ഥികൾക്ക് പ്രയോജനപ്രദമാകുന്ന രീതിയിൽ, ചർച്ച ചെയ്യുന്നതിന് കെ.സി.എച്ച്.ആർ ആരംഭിച്ച ‘കേരള സമൂഹത്തിന്റെ പരിണാമം’ സീരീസിലെ അടുത്ത വെബ്ടോക്കിൽ ‘കേരളത്തിലെ പ്രാചീന ലിപികൾ’ എന്ന വിഷയത്തിൽ പ്രമുഖ ചരിത്രകാരനായ പ്രൊഫസർ എം ആർ രാഘവ വാരിയർ പ്രഭാഷണം നടത്തുന്നു.

About the speaker: Manu V. Devadevan teaches at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India). He is a historian and literary scholar, poet and translator. Devadevan’s areas of interest include pre-modern South India, cultural and literary practices in South India, South Indian epigraphy, and political and economic processes in pre-modern South Asia. He is the author of The ‘Early Medieval’ Origins of India (2020) and A Prehistory of Hinduism (2016), He has also edited the volume Clio and Her Descendants: Essays for Kesavan Veluthat (2018).

More info: About the web talk series at http://kchr.ac.in/ml/pages/137 and all upcoming programmes of KCHR at http://kchr.ac.in/pages/172/Upcoming-Programs-2021.html

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Journal article / Capacity Building for Faecal Sludge Management in a Town

Chhajed-Picha, Paresh, and N. C. Narayanan. ‘Refining the Shit Flow Diagram Using the Capacity-Building Approach – Method and Demonstration in a South Indian Town’. Journal of Environmental Management 294 (15 September 2021), Article 112971. Published ahead of print, 12 June 2021.

Abstract: In cities of the Global South, faecal sludge management (FSM) has arisen as an acceptable and economical alternative for managing excreta. Shit flow diagram (SFD) has emerged as the preferred tool for the planning and advocacy of FSM services.

 

Besides context-specific challenges, FSM planning, especially the use of SFD is impeded by the lack of data related to on-site sanitation systems (OSSs) and lack of capacity at the local level.
This paper sets out to demonstrate how the capacity-building approach can be extended to overcome these two challenges in planning FSM with a substantial share of the information collected through household surveys.

We argue that even the resource-constrained towns in the Global South have access to college students, smartphones, and open source applications and demonstrate how they can be harnessed to collect the data in a cost-effective manner.

Using the data collected by 150+ university students, participants of a summer school, we prepare an SFD for Alleppey, a town in Kerala. We argue that such repeated exercises by subsequent batches of students can help understand local problems, arrive at context-specific solutions, and monitor them to instil better accountability of local governments.

We also identify two issues with the current SFD preparation process and find it is necessary to contextualise the output of the tool to use it for planning.
We suggest that the methods demonstrated here be incorporated in future refinements to the SFD tool to make it more useful for planning city-wide FSM services.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112971

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Blog post / Mr. Family Historian (or kudumba-charitrakaaran): The Syrian Christian Case

Nidhin Donald.

Ala: A Kerala Studies Blog, April 2021.

Excerpt : Accompanied by original sketches, Nidhin Donald presents a tongue-in-cheek perspective of the trend of producing written ‘family histories’ among Syrian Christians in Kerala.

More info : http://ala.keralascholars.org/issues/33/mr-family-historian/

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Blog post / A Snapshot of History: Vasco da Gama in Calicut, 1498

B. Prabu.

Ala: A Kerala Studies Blog, May 2021.

Excerpt : Drawing from the translation of an anonymous, first-hand account of Vasco da Gama’s historical visit to present-day Kerala, B. Prabu gives us a snapshot of the events that eventually determined the course of European colonialism in the Indian subcontinent.

More info : http://ala.keralascholars.org/issues/33/vasco-da-gama-in-calicut/

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Journal article / (OA) Lack of Awareness Affecting the Use of Cervical Cancer Screening Services

George T., Jisa. ‘Factors Influencing Utilization of Cervical Cancer Screening Services among Women – A Cross-Sectional Survey’. Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health 11 (July 2021), Article 100752. Published ahead of print, 30 April 2021.

Abstract: Globally, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Prevention and control of cervical cancer is a major public health concern. Pap smear screening is a proven and cost-effective preventive strategy for the early detection of cervical cancer. The current study aimed to assess various factors affecting the utilisation of cervical cancer screening services.

This cross-sectional study involved a random selection of 430 women in the age group of 30–60 years of age residing in selected tribal settlements of Marayoor Panchayat of Idukki district of Kerala. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic variables, and factors affecting the utilisation of cervical cancer screening services.

The utilisation of cervical cancer screening services was very low in the studied population, and only 5% of the studied population has undergone Pap smear screening during their lifetime.

In the current study, a lower level of knowledge regarding cervical cancer screening was significantly associated with nonparticipation in screening services. Lack of awareness (25.06%), lack of adequate health care facilities (22.67%), lack of symptoms (11.69%), not feeling at risk (11.93%) and social stigma (9.55%) were identified as important factors affecting utilisation of cervical cancer screening services.

Despite cervical cancer being preventable, various sociodemographic and cultural factors are affecting the utilisation of screening services. There is a need to strengthen existing screening programmes and implement effective campaigns to improve access to screening services.

More info and full text (OA): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cegh.2021.100752
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Blog post / The Changing Face of Family and Marital Relationships in Kerala

Anjali K. K.

Ala: A Kerala Studies Blog, May 2021.

 

Excerpt : Sensationalized reports in Kerala of women involved in family murders and extramarital affairs serve to obscure more than they reveal. Anjali K.K. draws upon her research to explore the broader contexts of marital breakdown in Kerala through the perspectives of women.

 

More info : http://ala.keralascholars.org/issues/33/changing-face-of-family-and-marital-relationships/

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Book reviews / Persisting Patriarchy in the Syrian Christian Community of Kerala

Beattie, Tina. Review of Persisting Patriarchy: Intersectionalities, Negotiations, Subversions, by Kochurani Abraham. International Journal of Asian Christianity 4, no. 1 (March 2021): 170–72.

Excerpt: Kochurani Abraham has written an impressive study of the lives of women in her home community of Catholic Syrian Christians in Kerala.

Her long experience of working with women’s groups in India inspired her to research the ‘perplexing phenomenon’ (p. vii) of why, despite Kerala being the most developed state in India in terms of economic and educational attainments for women as well as for men, conservative gender norms prevail, underwrit-ten by caste-related religious traditions.

Catholic Syrian women are ‘positioned between patriarchy and development’ (p. 33) – a ‘paradoxical positioning of being higher on the caste hierarchy and human development indices, while at the same time occupying lower positions on the gender hierarchy’ (p. 81).

More info: https://doi.org/10.1163/25424246-04010012

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