The gendered discourse of the Tamils Reform Association (TRA)
Date of Issue2017-03-27
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper examines the gendered discourse of the Tamils Reform Association (TRA) which was overlooked by many scholarly works concerning the transnational history between South India and Singapore. Since the TRA appropriated the ideas put forth by Periyar and his Self-Respect Movement (SRM) to abolish caste and to promote the Tamil language, this paper further analyses whether the TRA adopted the gender programs of the SRM to deal with gender inequality. Even though the TRA and the SRM had overlapping concepts of anti-caste and anti- Brahmin sentiments, the TRA rather had a different approach from the SRM in tackling the issue of gender inequality. Also, this paper explains that the political context of both the SRM and the TRA were different in distinct. As such, the paper argues how the political context of the TRA played an essential role in propelling to assume authority and leadership over the Tamil community of Singapore. Hence, the paper urges that the TRA utilized the discourse of women, women’s rights and the feminized conceptualization of the Tamil language to place Tamil men in positions of power. Thus, the paper examines how the TRA involved the men to participate in the efforts to emancipate women and the language from the clutches of caste and the Brahminical language of Sanskrit.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University