introduction
Liberalization’s Children—Nation,
Generation, and Globalization
It was a warm and humid day as Priya and I strolled through the long,
empty corridors of the college where I was conducting ethnographic
research. Located in a small town in the South Indian state of Kerala, the
college was closed, yet again, by student strikes protesting the economic
reform policies of the Indian government that were intended to open up
the Indian economy to larger global forces. Earlier that day, striking male
students had marched through the same corridors, shouting ‘‘Inquilab
Zindabad!’’ (Long Live the Revolution!), as they participated in a wider
campaign with other left-a≈liated political parties to protest what they
called ‘‘the sale’’ of India to global capitalist forces and ‘‘the spread of
consumerism.’’ Later, as part of the same campaign, one of these student
groups would stage another protest, attempting to disrupt a fashion
show that was part of a youth festival in a nearby college, claiming that
such shows were ‘‘an a√ront to the cultural ethos of Kerala.’’ Priya was
someone who opposed the presence of this type of student politics in her
college, going so far as to express her support for legal cases that sought
to ban this politics from college campuses, arguing it was an impedi-
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