Haunted by Fire
Essays on Caste, Class, Exploitation and Emancipation
By: Mythily Sivaraman
978-93-80118-18-5, LeftWord, 2013, pp. 457
Categories: History/Caste/Women/Politics.
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List price: Rs 550.00 / $ 20.00
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About The Book:
Mythily Sivaraman’s essays range from agrarian unrest, caste oppression, land, labour and wages, the centrality of class struggle, the early promise of change, the radical course of left struggles, the coercive apparatus of the state, issues of impunity, and the way the Emergency worked out on the ground.

Mythily Sivaraman is an activist and a scholar. She was the national Vice President of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA). She has been involved in village mobilization and social activism, particularly with factory workers, women and dalits. Her essays have been published in several leading journals. She was the editor of The Radical Review (1969–73), and is the author of Fragments of a Life: A Family Archive (New Delhi 2006).
“This book is an amazing archive of people’s struggles and a rich documenting of public debates during a critical moment in our recent and lived history. It brings the 1960s and 70s in Tamil Nadu back to us in ways that we have almost lost today. Ever responsive to the questions being raised from the ground, Mythily’s own position was shaped by her understanding of protesting peasants, dalits and the most marginalized in society. We know so little of how women ideologues of the left movement shaped the analysis and interventions of their organizations, so this book serves to remind us about that too. A remarkable collection.” — Uma Chakravarti author of Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai.


Introduction: The Life and Times of Mythily Sivaraman by V. Geetha and Kalpana Karunakaran
Reading Mythily Sivaraman by V. Geetha

I. Dalits
1. Children of Darkness
2. Harijans: Forbidden Territories, Feckless Reforms

II. Understanding the Dravidian Movement
3. The Relevance of Periyar: Caste or Class Struggle
4. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam: The Content of its Ideology
5. Straining Hard for Ideas

III. Land and labour
6. Venmani and the Free Press
7. DMK: Kisan’s Friend or Foe?
8. Thanjavur: Rumblings of Class
Struggle in Tamil Nadu
9. Gentlemen Killers of Kilvenmani

IV. Workers and unions
10. The Industrial Policy of the DMK
11. A Report on MRF: A Monopoly, its Workers and the State
12. Plantations: The Green Industry and its Wage Slaves
13. The Politics of Repression
14. All-Out Attack on the Working Class

V. Repression and resistance
15. Who is the Aggressor?
16. Murder of Seeralan
17. Police on the Rampage
18. Story of Nagammal

VI. Electoral Politics
19. A Report on the Tamil Nadu Elections
20. Election Parole
21. Different Alignment for Assembly Election?
22. Glamour Politics in Command
23. Moment of Truth for MGR
24. Odd Man Out

VII. Exploring Socialism
25. Gandhian Thought in Cuba
26. Communists Must Ponder: Extremism and the Left
27. Education in Cuba
28. The Relevance of Truth and Non-Violence to Indian Politics Today
29. Towards Emancipation
30. People’s Republic in China
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