Haunted by Fire

Essays on Caste, Class, Exploitation and Emancipation

Mythily Sivaraman


LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2013

457 pages

5.5 x 8.5

Price INR 550.00
Book Club Price INR 346.00
INR 550.00
In stock

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.


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

Mythily Sivaraman

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 a must-read for all students of caste, class and politics and Tamil Nadu and could pave the way for more such works from the women ideologues and workers of the Left movement in Tamil Nadu who are behind many a struggle in the state."

D. Karthikeyan, Economic and Political Weekly

"Mythili Sivaraman’s unconventional genre of writing operates at two levels. One of these offers vivid personal accounts of socio-political issues she has been involved with; the other offers an intellectual approach to established socio-political norms. Thus, on both counts the book seeks to fill a void in the written history of the Tamil Nadu."

Kavitha Muralidharan, The Hindu