Tag Archives: Kerala Law Academy

CPM in Kerala = Caste-Gender Elitism Minus Cow

This is my Malayalam opinion piece for iemalayalam, on something despite the outcry against the CPM in the mess around Kerala Law Academy.  The public discussion has been, not unexpectedly, on the line of Kerala’s well-entrenched scandal journalism, which has a history of a hundred years, at least. This is a form of journalism that highlights the sexual lives – proper or improper – of powerful male politicians which accompanies the attack on their public failings directly or indirectly- a very highly successful tactic, hitherto, to undermine even the seemingly unassailable. When women began to figure in this kind of journalism as something more than just passive sexual objects, as active agents of corruption and manipulation – most markedly, in the controversy over the businesswoman Sarita Nair – scandal journalism worked by highlighting the huge contrast between their ‘feminine-respectable’ names, sartorial styles, behaviour, and so on, and the despicable manipulations they indulged in. This is the case also with much media discussion of the principal of the Kerala Law Academy, Lekshmi Nair.

However, this tactic is not only misogynist, it also lets the elite-femininity that she represents escape critique. This is a very contemporary form of respectable femininity that presents itself as essentially domestic, but wields delegated masculine power to vicious ends, and it is almost all-pervasive in disciplinary institutions in Kerala now. Not surprisingly perhaps, the CPM’s mishandling of the issue has not just shown how poorly committed the party is to women’s rights, but also how soft it is on this elite-feminine power.

The full essay, in Malayalam:

https://www.iemalayalam.com/opinion/cpm-j-devika-law-academy-lekshmi-nair-gender-caste-women/

 

Taming the Brat? Thoughts on the Kerala Law Academy Imbroglio

 

Reports of exploitation, humiliation, violence, and rampant nepotism are still flowing out of the private-sector law college popularly known as the Law Academy, in Thiruvananthapuram twenty whole days after the commencement of the students’ struggle there. At the centre of the controversy is the principal, Lekshmi Nair, who seems to have ‘inherited’ that position in the institution owned by her family: clearly, the students are determined to teach her a good lesson. Rarely have we seen all student organizations, from the far-right to the far-left, rally against one person with equal determination; but from the complaints of students – subsequently confirmed by the University of Kerala to which this college is affiliated – it appears that there is no reason to be surprised.

But the irony of  utter lawlessness and blatantly feudal despotism perpetuated in an institution devoted to legal education  in a democratic nation itself seems lost, for the authorities’ commonsense about liberal education in Kerala has been that it should be neither liberal nor education nor anything to do even remotely with the practice of democracy. I have been saying this over and over again, and really, feel utterly breathless at this. Continue reading Taming the Brat? Thoughts on the Kerala Law Academy Imbroglio