Vedic Chants for the 21st Century

 

Round Table India

"I had none of the conditioning that a normal, middle class Indian girl would have. I had no father, no presence of this man telling us that he would look after us and beat us occasionally in exchange. I didn't have a caste, and I didn't have a class, and I had no religion, no traditional blinkers, no traditional lenses on my spectacles, which are very hard to shrug off...So don't mess with me." ~ Arundhati Roy, Writer and Distinguished Introducer to Dr Ambedkar's AoC, in a 2009 interview.

As Karthik Navayan, human rights activist, says, 'we are not going to demand a ban on the book' nor 'burn the book'. The objectives, broadly, of the protests against the new 'annotated critical edition' of Babasaheb Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste, introduced by Arundhati Roy, have been to question the efforts at appropriation of this inestimable resource of anti-caste knowledge and its commercialization through deploying a writer who doesn't have any record of engaging with caste, especially its structural aspects, in her over two decade long writing career. As is evident from earlier articles on this very portal, no demands for imposition of any kind of curbs on the book were ever made – so where do these 'protests' against the protests stem from? Please read a few of them below.

~

"Controversy is brewing over author and social activist Arundhati Roy's visit to Hyderabad on Sunday to mark the launch of an annotated edition of B.R. Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste. A section of Dalit activists from the city are demanding a ban on the book and are planning protests at the launch venues." ~ The Hindu.

gita bodh

"Of course I've several issues. Also with how the entire 'debate' is being conducted online—where AR and I are being held responsible for all rapes, murders of dalits". ~ S. Anand, Publisher, Navayana. 

"I was in Hyderabad recently and was seriously appalled to hear that Arundhati's piece is apparently being construed by some as being demeaning of Ambedkar and 'devoting more space to Gandhi'. If this is indeed the nature of the criticism that is being made the pretext for the denial of permission, it is a travesty of reason and a deliberate, mischievous misreading of her article, not much unlike the Hindutvavadi's misreading of Doniger." ~ Kavita Krishnan, Member, Central Committee, CPI (ML) - Liberation.

"Dalit intellectuals think it is their right, by virtue of their caste, to decide whether a Maoist sympathiser can write on Ambedkar; whether one can write on the Ambedkar debate with Gandhi; or whether one is allowed to write more words in criticism of Gandhi than in praise of Ambedkar. The (sic) Annihilation of Caste was written for the upper castes, meant to be addressed to them." ~ Shivam Vij, Associate Editor at Scroll.in

"No matter how far one tries to hide beneath progressive labels, the deep-seated misogyny against Roy is palpable. Why should she speak? What are her credentials? How can she enter our space? How dare she? Who does she think she is?"

I at least am glad she's around to ruffle many different feathers and puncture several male egos."

"Any thoughts over the current silence on Devyani Khobragade now that her husband has been accommodated in JNU and her children have been discovered to be citizens of two countries? What next? Bharat Ratna?" ~ Uday Chandra, Researcher, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Gottingen, Germany.

"Identity politics of any kind, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, Dalit, Caste based or Ethnicity based or Nationalist (of any variety), can never be good news for the freedom of expression or enquiry. The politics that glamourizes victimehood, injured honour and sentiment is antithetical to a politics fashioned out of intelligence, sanity, liberty and ethics". ~ Shuddhabrata Sengupta, media pactitioner.

"Those hoping to hear acclaimed author Arundhati Roy speak, were in for a big disappointment. Fearing "backlash from right wing activists and caste-based groups," the organisers decided to call off the event featuring the controversial author at the nth hour on Sunday". ~ Times of India

"Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time everywhere" ~ George W. Bush, Statesman.

~

Disclaimer: Most of these quotes are either by Brahmin or Savarna intellectuals, writers etc.. Most contain grave factual errors. The last quote is by the former President of the United States of America.

Copyright: respective authors. Since all quotes were in public domain they have been republished here. If any author has any objections please write to the editor at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

~

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

 Without Arundhati Roy and Gandhi, the book had its own value: Bojja Tharakam

 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

 Arundhati Roy replies to Dalit Camera

An Open Letter to Ms. Arundhati Roy: by Dalit Camera

Arundhati Roy's 'Introduction' to Ambedkar: Inside one Misogynistic & Xenophobic Dalit's mind: by Anoop Kumar

The Judge, the Jury and the Goddess: by Akshay Pathak

Resisting a messiah: by Anoop Kumar

An Introduction to Anoop Kumar's "Misogynistic and Xenophobic Rants": by Vinay Bhat

~~~

 

Cartoon by Unnamati Syama Sundar.

Other Related Articles

Dalit children barred from entering govt school in UP
Sunday, 31 August 2014
Piyush Srivastava Following a diktat of the upper caste people, at least 60 primary level Dalit students of Nuttuwa hamlet of Dadraul village in Shahjehanpur district have stopped going school. Nutt... Read More...
Masked Messiahs: The Politics of Comparison
Thursday, 28 August 2014
  Joby Mathew [Today marks the 150th birth anniversary of Ayyankali. On 18th June this year, which marks his 73rd death anniversary, Kerala University instituted a chair in his name and invited... Read More...
Increasing atrocities against Scheduled Castes
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
  Meena Menon There is a 17 per cent increase in registered cases of atrocities against members of the Scheduled Castes in 2013 as compared to the figures in 2012 and the conviction rate is... Read More...
Indian lower caste still removing human waste
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
  Betwa Sharma India's lower castes suffer as tradition of clearing human waste continues despite parliament passing a law against it. New Delhi, India - Rajni was only 10 when her mother told... Read More...
Guja-raatri, the unending night of terror
Monday, 25 August 2014
  Kuffir GujaratIs an experimentTo see if a state would growWhen you sow blood  ~ Netala Pratap Kumar Not just Gujarat, but the whole of India has been an experiment, in essence, since its... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Arundhati Roy replies to Dalit Camera
Saturday, 15 March 2014
  Arundhati Roy [This is her response to Dalit Camera's 'An Open Letter to Ms. Arundhati Roy' published yesterday. We wish Ms. Roy could similarly address the issues raised in other articles in... Read More...
An Open Letter to Ms. Arundhati Roy
Saturday, 15 March 2014
  Dalit Camera: Through Un-Touchable Eyes Dear Ms. Arundhati Roy, We are writing this letter to clarify our position on the rumors spreading in New Delhi about the cancellation of the launch of... Read More...
Arundhati Roy’s ‘Introduction’ to Ambedkar: Inside one Misogynistic & Xenophobic Dalit's mind
Sunday, 09 March 2014
  Anoop Kumar I, Ravidas, proclaim all Vedas are worthless. ~ Sant Ravidas. Nishan Singh was a freedom fighter, a martyr who fought against the British to gain freedom for the country. A Rajput... Read More...
A Glass Menagerie for the Bahujans—Annihilation of Caste and Gandhi’s Wards
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
  James Michael and Akshay Pathak "His statues—dressed in garish blue, holding a copy of the Constitution—have been put up in city after city" ~ Arun Shourie, Worshipping False Gods "All the... Read More...
The Judge, the Jury and the Goddess
Friday, 07 March 2014
  Akshay Pathak बड़ा हुआ तो क्या हुआ जैसे पेड़ खजूरपंथी को छाया नहीं फल लागे अति दूर ~... Read More...