Sunday, September 14, 2008

Upper caste-lower caste

Pratiloma unions: the woman is of a higher caste than the man
Anuloma: Upper caste men are permitted sexual access to women of their own or lower castes

I read a fascinating article by Mary E. John in a question of silence? called 'Globalisation, Sexuality and the Visual Field' in which she says that pratiloma relationships tend to "be introduced through 'eve teasing' sequences, where class and gender are played off one another". About anuloma, she says "'Happy endings' demand that the heroine has learnt to subdue her 'uppity' ways, while the hero has his family and bloodline, and therefore also, fortune and respect, restored to him. In other words, if anuloma can appear as legitimate, even progressive love, pratiloma is approached through sexual harassment. Where the latter creates a certain sexual disturbance by rendering the play of power visible, the former more easily lends itself to the kind of idealisation of conjugality that is being currently promoted on a number of fronts".