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Heidemann, Frank (2014): Objectification and Social Aesthetics Memoranda and the Celebration of "Badaga Day". In: Asian Ethnology, Vol. 73, No. 1-2: pp. 91-109

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On 15 May 1989, the Badaga, the dominant peasant community in the Nilgiri Hills, organized a huge rally and handed over a memorandum to the government. On the basis of their culture they demanded tribal status, a guaranteed price for their agricultural products, and other privileges. I shall argue that the medium of a memorandum with its textual and material form requires and fosters the process of cultural objectification. "Culture" is turned into an object and becomes a form of currency in the political process. Later, 15 May was named "Badaga Day," an annual context for self-representation. Performative acts like hoisting the Badaga flag, singing the Badaga hymn, and worshipping the bust of H. B. Ari Gowder contribute to an overall social aesthetics. Sounds, colors, proximity, and other "culturally patterned sensory experienc[s]w" (MACDOUGALL 2006, 98) contribute to the feeling of "one-ness" and underline the demand for cultural autonomy.

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