Let my people go!

The South Asia Study Center is based in Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu. They have the admirable objective of "executing research programmes focusing on national, ethnic, religious and minority questions in South Asia. Related issues of caste and gender, and the rights of the indigenous peoples are also taken up for analysis. "

A tangible result of their several activities is a set of books that address different aspects of the politics of the region. Exploration of the roots of ethnic and caste based conflicts and violence, the role of religion in nation formation and assertion, and understanding the issues of caste-based and women’s oppression are essential for the development of a democratic polity. The driving principle of the South Asia Study Centre is to throw light on this complex web of socio-political and economic factors that are presently determining the course of events in South Asia.

Their most recent books are

  1. The Tibetan Saga for National Liberation by Pranjali Bandhu The book presents a historical and interdisciplinary view of Tibetan society and Tibet’s status as a dismembered internal colony of China. Economic, political and cultural aspects; environmental issues; healthcare and educational provisions–are all comprehensively dealt with to elucidate this reality. Delving into the historical evolution of the Tibetan nation the point is made that a once independent Tibet needs freedom and democracy to recuperate from its brutal mauling by Chinese claws and maws. The Tibetan resistance movement is very much alive and autonomy status within the present-day Chinese state is not likely to resolve the issue of Tibet’s occupation and exploitation.
  2. Eastern Marxism and Other Essays: S.N. Nagarajan, a veteran Marxist scholar and activist, has evolved his own ideas of Marxism as applicable to the Indian conditions. He bases his version of Marxism on progressive and democratic trends within Indian socio-religious philosophy, specifically the social philosophy of Tamil Vaishnavism. On this basis he formulates a critique of Marxist theory and points out lacunae, which according to him are directly responsible for the debacles faced in the construction of socialism in the West as well as in the East. By incorporating traditional ‘Eastern’ wisdom including some of the ideas of Gandhi and Mao into Marxist theory he thinks we have a weapon, an ideological tool, which would help mankind forge a path towards an egalitarian social order that is non-exploitative vis-à-vis nature as well. Hence the term ‘Eastern Marxism’.
  3. CHIAPAS: Resistance and Rebellion:Selected Writings of subcomandante insurgente Marcos. "This is our simple word which seeks to touch the hearts of humble and simple people like ourselves, but people who are also, like us, dignified and rebel. Comrades, brothers and sisters: In the world, we are going to join together more with the resistance struggles against capitalism and neo-liberalism and for humanity. And we are going to support, even if it’s but little, those struggles. And we are going to exchange, with mutual respect, experiences, histories, ideas and dreams. We are going to seek, and to find, those who love these lands and these skies even as much as we do. We are going for democracy, liberty and justice for those of us who have been denied it. We are going with another politics, for a program of the left and for a new constitution. (From Sixth declaration of The Lacandon Jungle; From the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast. EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Front), July 1, 2005)."
A fuller description of the titles appears on their website, here.

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