This chapter opens a study on the coastal politics of rights, which is discussed throughout this book. It begins with a case in June 1997 that involved the Catholic fisherwomen and fishermen from a coastal village in the Kanyakumari District of India, and their decision to bring their bishop to court. It then shifts to the main topic of the book, which is an analysis of the histories of space and rights in India, specifically in the south western area. It next studies the previous struggles over territory, caste, and religious authority in the western coast and describes the citizenship within a postcolony. It also addresses subalternity and citizenship and studies the key question as to who inhabits the subaltern slot and what this may mean politically and epistemologically. The chapter ends with an outline of the next chapters.
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