Anoop Kumar's "misogynistic and xenophobic rants" are nearly five years old and archived on Facebook (as long as it remains in business). I came to know him and his rants during the debate about Binayak Sen accepting an international award on the behalf of the Tribals of India.
I started reading him. His seminal words shook my entire living. When I first read it I felt as though someone walked in and told me to stop pretending to be blind, and to stop pretending like the room is dark. Anoop Kumar's writing bridges the gap between the caste Hindu's stupidity and his arrogance.
Anoop Kumar has been prolific on Facebook and even more prolific in real life (although many of my caste Hindu brethren would refuse to acknowledge the latter. We require formal essays to prove merit). Unlike the daily self-righteous jingoisms of numerous caste Hindu academics and self-declared intellectuals, his experiential observations receive barbs of being "rants", while theirs gets dubbed as "theory". Of his numerous thoughts and words, I cannot declare what is his "most radical text". All I can say is that he has been a humble student of Ambedkar and has been teaching several ignoramuses such as my Brahmin self in the process.
The only justice I can do right now is to present his "misogynistic and xenophobic rants" (FB updates and comments), as has been called in several upper caste circles on Facebook, in its original glory to all upper castes and white scholars who do not have the access to his "dalit ghetto", which I have. I take this privilege and have compiled whatever he has written in reaction to upper caste arrogance when Arundhati Roy was commissioned to write an introduction for Ambedkar's radical Annihilation of Caste. She was commissioned by no less than an 'anti-caste' publishing house that makes money on Ambedkar bashing and Dalit assertion. However, if criticizing Ms Roy or calling out her privilege's complicity in silencing voices from years of the movement, or both is considered misogyny and xenophobia by anyone – I say may you forever live in your sacred cave. I for one feel that 'his anger gives us all a little shelter, a little dignity'.
*End of the Introduction*
One more non-dalit messiah of dalits has finally arrived.
To 'rescue' Dr Ambedkar from fanatic, identarian dalits who refuse to see the larger picture, global conspiracies, ambani's ugly antilla and the power of neruda's poems..
Wonder what took her so long. Was expecting (this) since quite some time. Welcome!
If you want to sell books, please do so. But do not mess with the politics of the movement, do not thrust people on us.. do not make messiahs out of people who have absolutely no clue about dalits and have nothing but contempt for their struggle.
I know nothing I will write will make sense to you...you and your gang are way too powerful for all the dalits in this country.
But then I have a lot of patience. Will wait.
Just wait and watch your timeline. You will be soon flooded with links, reviews, the amount of space which even Dr. Ambedkar after writing one seminal text after another had never got in his whole life.. which this 'introduction' to his one text will get now..
Raju H: Well it has started already. woke up to these only today.
Anoop Kumar: That's the POWER of the brahminical class that Dr Ambedkar kept referring to..That's the POWER he fought his whole life against..not just against some manu smriti spouting brahmin dickheads..
Do not tell me that you chose Arundhati Roy because she is the voice of the voiceless, because she is so fucking pro-dalit, because she is an amazing intellect who would do justice to Ambedkar..
We both are way too smart, for you to tell such crap and me to accept.. and you know her politics as much as I do.
And unfortunately I am not even amongst your over-fawning uppercaste acads, media persons and foreign scholars who go gaga over your attempts to bring Ambedkar into their wretched lives which they could never (do on their own) before you arrived..
You chose her ONLY because her name will sell your books well, quite well actually and to sell yourself too. Nothing more.
And in turn robbed off all the dalits, their movement's capital so cruelly, so mercilessly!
So the moral of the story is there is not a single dalit in the entire world fit to write a foreword for Dr Ambedkar's 'seminal text' that is to be 'introduced to upper caste world', to be able to 'force them to read..'
...dalits who carried his texts literally on their shoulders, their whole lives, around every nook and corner of the world..
If any commercial publisher had done it, I could have still understood, (but) not someone who calls himself 'Ambedkar zealot', someone who never lets go of a single opportunity to remind us his impeccable credentials, someone who is so forceful in the arguments around representation...
Still remember how I was being told 4 years before, in Shahpur Jat, at a tea stall, very disdainfully on how Arundhati Roy knows nothing about Dr Ambedkar and how you are forcing her to read 'Annihilation of Caste'.
I was witness to the deep contempt you showed towards her then for never engaging with Dr Ambedkar.
I then only knew what was coming. I knew exactly what you were up to.
But I was amazed at your contempt towards her for I never held her guilty for not reading Ambedkar. Never had any contempt because of it.
It was her choice. I am perfectly ok with it. So will most of the Dalits be, I guess.
My only problem with her (is) when she calls the dalit movement names without ever engaging with it.
And my contempt is only reserved for all those who because of their network power, resources and brahminical privileges rob dalits of something they hold too dear..
I have always avoided confrontations, always was being accused of running away, being diplomatic, not because I could not fight but because I knew it's all meaningless in the long run. Not today. Not against this blatant usurpation, appropriation of dalit toil...
If I remain silent today, I would never be able to face myself ever..
I know my words have absolutely no power and will not even make a slight dent on this vicious brahminical uppercaste publishers, Indian and foreign academicians, media nexus but I will be happy if a few of my friends are able to understand what I am trying to say..
It is not about Ms Roy per se, this much I can assure you..
I have more upper caste friends than the number of dalits you would ever shake hands with in your entire life. So please do not talk crap..
I am seriously thinking of a 10k words long article 'introducing' Arundhati Roy to the 'dalit world' to return the favour we have been bestowed with by 'Ambedkar zealots' from across the world.
Actually I started writing it long back when her article talking about all kinds of ghosts appeared in Outlook. But was mired in self doubts on whether this effort was worth it..
But always had a hunch that in her we have a new mahatma ready to be packaged and thrust on us anytime..
History tells us that messiahs and messiah producers are a bit touchy and a lot messy. Preparing myself for a long haul and much mess.
Thanks for all the messages of concerns and support. Needed them badly. And apology for not able to reply to them individually. Am using mobile. And it's not that 'smart'. bit difficult to type. Am glad I could draw the courage to take a stand against too powerful people. Would not have been possible without knowing that I have friends like you. Jai Bhim!
Learnt new thing tonight. You actually need Arundhati Roy to make north American white scholars to start 'reading Ambedkar' and 'give up Gandhi'. As if they (north American white scholars) fucking matter in our struggle and we must be obliged and shut the fuck up.
I told you na we have a messiah among us .. A messiah along with her worldwide patrons who will deliver our unknown, unheard, unsung leader's message across the seven seas.. To bring their benevolent gaze towards our wretched existence..
[Time to revisit what Phule wrote on receiving an invitation from 'social reform zealot' M.G. Ranade and 300 others like him to attend their Marathi writers' conference at Poona, May 24, 1885. Do read]
I acknowledge the receipt of your letter regarding the proposed conference of the (Marathi) authors and I was delighted to receive your request that I should participate in this conference.
But then esteemed sir, the conferences and the books of those who refuse to think of human rights generally, who do not concede them to others and going by their behavior are unlikely to concede them in future, cannot make sense to us, they cannot concur with what we are trying to say in our books...
These upper-caste authors who are forever miles away from reality and who can only make ceremonial and meaningless speeches in big meetings can never understand what we the shudras and atishudras have to suffer and what calamities we have to undergo.
All this is not entirely unknown to the high-caste founders of various conferences and organizations. They pretend to be modernists as long as they are in the service of the British government. The moment they retire and claim their pensions, they get into their brahmanical touch-me-not attire, become caste chauvinists, incorrigible idol worshippers and, what is worse, treat the shudras and atishudras as lowly and contemptible. How can these Arya brahmans improve the lot of this unfortunate land?
Be that as it may. We shudras do not any longer wish to trust these people and their specious and dishonest stories, for they cheat us and eat off our labor. In a word, we shudras have nothing to gain by mixing with such people. We must think about our situation and how we should relate to these upper-caste people...
Of course, they are free to do what they like. I would nevertheless be thankful if my short letter is placed before your conference for consideration. In any case accept the salute of this old man.
Jotirao. G. Phule.
~The 'Dnyanodaya' (a newspaper) noted that the brahmin authors, editors in Maharashtra violently attacked this letter of Jotirao. Why did Jotirao not co-operate with the Marathi writers? Their ambitions, their world of imagination, novels, dramas and poetry hardly reflected the problems of the vast mass of people and their abject poverty. The Marathi plays mostly dealt with puranic themes and whatever social plays did was to reflect the problem of the higher classes. The writers boasted of their culture of which nine-tenths of their countrymen possessed not a whit! ~
[Dhananjay Keer in Mahatma Jotirao Phooley: Father of Indian Revolution]
*Mind you 'puranic' is very funny word here. Kindly do take note. Its meaning changes with time but the sum total of their being mere brahminical "ghost stories" remains the same. Always.
I have always been abusive. And always will be. Never sugar coated it. Never felt the need to be polite about it. Have 'abused' Nandy, Guha, Binayak Sen, Nigam, Suddhabrata and many many more on my wall, very publicly, since the day one.
Roy is no different for me. If you arer hurt over her but 'liked' my abusing others. Deal with it yourself. Not my bloody problem. Never invited anyone to read what I write.
I still have to say much much more. A lot to say actually. And am not going to hold myself back. Come what may. Am just waiting to see which way this 'debate' flows.
And this is nothing new. This has been our battle always.
If one follows the struggles of Babasaheb and Savitri mai-Jotiba Phule even a bit, one will understand their main struggle was always against the 'liberals' of their times whether they be Ranade or Gandhi - caste chauvinists who masqueraded always as liberals but remained the most potent bulwark, protecting brahminism, maintaining status-quo - spouting forth all the right things but always instrumental in thwarting whatever efforts our leaders made towards our empowerment.
Today I do not accuse them of merely distorting Ambedkar or appropriating him for their gains. i accuse them of being guilty of every rape, every murder, every atrocity, every indignity my community has suffered. While being busy in deciding (whether) to read Ambedkar or not. Even forcing each other on how to 'interpret' Ambedkar..
I accuse them of being directly responsible for every time I have suffered.
You need Omprakash Balmiki's Jhootan's English version to know the caste horror. Need Fandry to get shocked. You required 60-70 years to discover Ambedkar..You also require your own high priestess to now interpret Ambedkar for you. To tell you what was right and wrong with Ambedkar. To force you to even start reading him..
How long this will go on man, just how long!
People are dying here, women are getting raped, children's dreams crushed in schools, our brilliant students committing suicides..
How long it will take you to understand caste problem fully?
How long it will take u to realise that you are no solution but part of the problem, every bit of your existence?
You are being cruel. just too cruel merely using our pain for your PhDs, for your academic careers, for commercial gains, to establish your maha revolutionary credentials and you want us to cheer for you, clap for you .? Wait for you to join us some day from your high pulpits, from your ivory towers..??
You will get nothing from me ever except contempt .. Pure contempt.. I spit on you, on everything you stand on and for..
Our people have been fighting inch by inch in every village, every wada. And some of us are fortunate enough to reach upto your little cocoons that you have built in all high places, distancing yourself very coolly from the mess you and your forefathers created.... will now extend that fight inch by inch towards your doorsteps, on your face...in the language you understand..
Please also read other articles on the same issue:
Introducing Arundhati Roy and Friends: Karthik Navayan
A tale of two prefaces: by Karthick RM
Between Savior and Seller: Critiquing Preface Politics: by Praveena Thaali
A Glass Menagerie for the Bahujans—Annihilation of Caste and Gandhi's Wards: by James Michael and Akshay Pathak
Stigmatizing Dalits, From the Wadas to the Web: by Nilesh Kumar
Caste in the Name of Christ: An angry note on the Syrian Christian Caste: by Nidhin Shobhana
The Not-So-Intimate Enemy: The Loss and Erasure of the Self Under Casteism: by Gee Imaan Semmalar
Flaunting noble intentions, nurturing caste privileges: by Asha Kowtal
The Question of Free Speech: by Vaibhav Wasnik
An Open Letter to Ms. Arundhati Roy: by Dalit Camera
The Judge, the Jury and the Goddess: by Akshay Pathak
Resisting a messiah: by Anoop Kumar
Vinay Bhat works as a management consultant and lives in the Bay Area of the US.
Cartoon by Unnamati Syama Sundar.