On the Anxieties surrounding Dalit Muslim Unity

 

Ambedkar Reading Group Delhi University 

argduRecently we saw the coming together of Dalits and Muslims at the ground level, against a common enemy - the Hindu, Brahminical State and Culture - in many instances. It was a unification of lower caste groups and Muslims that we witnessed in the struggles of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) in University of Hyderabad (UoH) too. Such a combination was what irked the authorities in UoH, which led to the persecution and eventual suicide/institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. However, in spite of this, the intellectual discussions that are happening today seem to be writing off any Dalit-Muslim unity as an impossible and even undesirable political formation by pointing to the existence of caste among Muslims.[i]

Caste is integral to the formation of almost all identity groups in India as it is foundational to the social and cultural fabric of India. Moreover, if we look at all marginalized and oppressed groups, it was the dominant caste/community among them that was involved in organizing the community.[ii] So, social stratification (on the basis of various factors including caste) is a reality for all minority groups including Muslims. Even Babasaheb Ambedkar wrote about this in his seminal work, Annihilation of Caste.[iii] However, all of the above articles, and much of the present day discussions use the category of caste to abandon the Muslim question and see it anew from within the ambit of a larger anti-caste location. We feel that there are serious problems with this political and theoretical move and this is what we want to problematize in this piece.

Even though caste exists among women, among Dalits, among many social groups in India, it does not lead to the dismantling of the politics of any of these groups. The woman question continues to remain as a powerful field employed in almost all spheres of life and culture, in spite of the assertive attack on it by many Bahujan women who feel excluded from the homogenizing category of 'woman.' In fact, these attacks are also often made from a renewed understanding of women and gender. Similarly, even if there are divisions among Dalits, and 'Maha Dalit' has already become an established category like the 'Pasmanda Muslim' and Maha Dalits have started asserting themselves, one does not sees the presence of this issue in any intellectual discourse. The national acceptance of the caste question is itself today mediated by the large-scale employment of the category of the Dalit, which is often posited as a very homogenous and easily recognizable category.

However, when it comes to the Muslim question, the existence of caste among Muslims is employed not towards a reassertion of a new and renewed Muslim politics that would be informed by an understanding of the reality of caste, but the well-established concept of caste is used to bombard the very category of the Muslim and to replace it with the notion of a collective wherein the Muslim is added in with the category of Dalits, Adivasis and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) as a caste category, and the issue of religion is discarded as needless and useless for any kind of contemporary analysis. This can be very clearly seen in these words of Khalid Anis Ansari:

"Since the express object of the pasmanda movement has been to raise the issue of caste-based exclusion of subordinate caste Muslims, it has stressed on caste-based solidarity across religions. As Ali Anwar, the founder of Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz, says: "There is a bond of pain between pasmanda Muslims and the pasmanda sections of other religions. This bond of pain is the supreme bond ... That is why we have to shake hands with the pasmanda sections of other religions."

In this article, after agreeing that "pasmanda Muslims share a widespread feeling of 'Muslimness' with the upper-caste Muslims," the reality of caste within this shared Muslimness makes Ansari move towards a position where he would rather focus on the Pasmanda Muslims' shared "experience of caste-based humiliation and disrespect with subordinated caste Hindus," even though he is well aware that this solidarity "is equally interrupted by the discourse around religious difference." So when face to face with an identity, which is complex in nature, whose religion based solidarity is broken by caste and caste based solidarity is broken by religion, Ansari chooses to focus on caste-based solidarity and discard the solidarity that is based on religion.[iv]

The best illustration of the political consequence of such a perspective is the Pasmanda Muslim position on the reservation for Muslims. Sub-group reservation is a demand by most identity groups today. OBC women, Maha Dalits and the Most Backward Classes are all demanding sub-quotas within the larger category as a way of better belonging to the very category that excludes them. However, in the case of Muslims, Pasmanda Muslims, in their own words "have consistently objected to the demand of reservation for the entire Muslim community dubbing it as a ploy by the hegemonic high caste Muslims to corner all the benefits."[v] Instead they seek reservations only within the established category of SC and OBC. In other words, Pasmanda politics, aims at preventing all new attempts by Muslim organizations to get reservations as a group.

Now we need to understand here that the draft Constitution of India did provide reservations for Muslims.[vi] It is through a very secular, savarna, liberal, nationalist politics that Muslims were cleverly pushed out of the ambit of reservations in India. It is the same nationalist process that put Dalits in the category of Hindus in the constitution. [vii] So now, if a politics is created in the name of caste, which will oppose any kind of assertion of Muslim politics/reservation, it is not difficult to see that this politics is framed within the same secular, savarna liberal process that pushed Muslims out of the ambit of reservation and made Dalits constitutionally Hindu.[viii] [ix] [x]

However, as it must be obvious, one can see that it is very difficult for a group, which is already feeling oppressed within a totality to first demand reservations for the totality of Muslims and then demand for sub-reservation within it. In fact, this is an impossibility in the present scenario. In other words, the demands of Pasmanda Muslims are created from a certain impossibility regarding the Muslim question in Caste Hindu India. However, and this is what we want to argue here, if we are to push towards a radical transformative politics, we need to understand how the 'caste among Muslim' discourse is actually reasserting this impossibility of the Muslim identity in a Caste Hindu India and thereby reasserting the ideology of the caste Hindu Nation.

Such an impossibility is automatically reproduced when most present day "caste among Muslims" discourses fail to distinguish between Hindu and Muslim social groups. In his Annihilation of Caste, Babasaheb Ambedkar reveals a greater insight about the same, which is very useful for thinking through these issues today. In this seminal work Ambedkar makes two major definitions about Hindu and Muslim social groups. About the Hindu society he says:

"Hindu Society as such does not exist. It is only a collection of castes. Each caste is conscious of its existence. Its survival is the be-all and end-all of its existence. Castes do not even form a federation. A caste has no feeling that it is affiliated to other castes, except when there is a Hindu-Muslim riot. On all other occasions each caste endeavors to segregate itself and to distinguish itself from other castes. (Annihilation of Caste, Dr B R Ambedkar)."

Here the argument is that Hindu society as such doesn't exist as it is just a group of castes and that this collection of castes can probably come together only in the face of the Muslim 'other.' That is, the presence of the Muslim can create an affiliation of castes, which is otherwise not there. Thinking along these lines, we can then argue that it is this affiliation in the face of the Muslim that creates Hindu unity or Hindu identity or Hinduism itself. This is the same reason why riots are needed whenever there is a need to manufacture such a Hindu Unity.

Now look at what Ambedkar has to say about Muslim and other minority groups in the same essay:

"If we apply these considerations to castes among Mohammedans, Sikhs, and Christians on the one hand, and to castes among Hindus on the other, you will find that caste among Non-Hindus is fundamentally different from caste among Hindus. First, the ties which consciously make the Hindus hold together are non-existent, while among Non- Hindus there are many that hold them together. The strength of a society depends upon the presence of points of contact, possibilities of interaction, between different groups which exist in it. These are what Carlyle calls "organic filaments"— i.e., the elastic threads which help to bring the disintegrating elements together and to reunite them. There is no integrating force among the Hindus to counteract the disintegration caused by caste. While among the Non-Hindus there are plenty of these organic filaments which bind them together."

The major argument put forward here is that in contrast to Hindu society, which does not have a binding factor due to the presence of caste, and which can come together only in the face of the 'other' of the threatening Muslim, in spite of the presence of caste, Muslim society is bound by "organic filaments" which "reunites" them even in the face of the disintegrating elements of caste.

Two important points can be deduced from Ambedkar's initial arguments about caste in Hindus and Non-Hindus. One is that there is something in non-Hindu community formations, which offers the possibility of transcending caste. Secondly, Hinduism in India is made possible when castes come together (even if momentarily) in the face of the Muslim 'other.' In fact, from the cow protection riots of the 1920s to the present day tensions between Hindus and Muslims there are deliberate attempts to make this coming together happen not only through the imposition of an hegemonic Brahminical culture on lower castes, but also through an attempt to bring all warring caste factions together as Hindu in the face of the threatening 'other' of the Muslim.

Hinduism in the Dalit Bahujan discourse is thought of as just another name for Brahminism, which is then imposed on different lower caste communities, who are forced, coerced, persuaded or seduced to adopt Brahminical culture so as to situate themselves as Hindu. Expanding on Ambedkar's argument and in the light of numerous historical incidents, we can make a different argument: Hinduism is not ONLY a category imposed on any single caste group (as is argued in Kancha Ilaiah's Why I am not a Hindu) through Brahminism, it is also a relational category that comes to different caste groups when they are organized to forget their caste nature temporarily in the face of the Muslim 'other'.

Without this expanded understanding of Hinduism, which not only talks of caste but also looks at its close connection to the reality of religion and the positioning of the Muslim as the 'other,' we cannot fully chart the realities of India in any of our analysis. For instance, if we do not do this, we cannot understand why the demolition of Babri Masjid was a fall out of the Mandal debate.[xi] We cannot also explain why in Gujarat, the riots for and against caste-based reservations in 1981 was transformed "very quickly into a gratuitous attack on the Muslim community, which had nothing to do with the reservation policy of the government."[xii] We will also not be able to make much of the fact that it was Narendra Modi, who was then in his capacity as a senior functionary of the RSS who engineered this attack on Muslims, when the issue was about caste-based reservations.[xiii]

So to repeat, it is not enough to say that there are different castes and that we are all forced/persuaded to identify as Hindus within the hegemonic category of Hindu, we also need to state that this category of the Hindu is created when lower castes are mobilized against the external threat of the Muslim. The constitutional definition of the Dalit as Hindu, exacerbates this process and gives constitutional weight to the inclusion of a major and resisting part of the lower castes – the Dalits - within the Hindu fold, thereby strengthening this otherwise lifeless category. It is this process of organizing different castes as Hindu within various national secular liberal discourses against the Muslim 'other' that we must term as Indian Ideology and we must point to this as that which sustains caste in India today, giving importance to both caste and religion in its making. Manusmriti or pre-independence anti-caste literature, which talks only about the different categories of caste, will not help us face this complex, modern, Hindu reality of caste in India.

However, it is not the same process that binds Muslim society in India. It is through the use of non-Hindu symbols, tropes, rituals, eating habits and knowledge production that Muslims have constituted themselves as a society in India. Taking forward Ambedkar's argument we can say that the religion of Islam provides "organic filaments" which guides the process of unification in Muslims, whether this be marred by caste or not. Thus in many ways, in spite of the presence of caste in this non-Hindu society, it still offers a possibility of resistance to the unification process that is happening under the ambit of Hinduism. In other words, Muslim unification is not only different from Hindu unification but it is also a unification that resists the cultural power of Hindu hegemony in India.

In the light of the above arguments a few things are clear. If the evidence of caste is being used to get to a situation where the 'Muslim community must be broken by caste" and a "supreme bond" will be created between lower caste Hindus and Muslims, we will still not find a way out of the impasse we are all in. In this kind of a scenario, the newly added Muslim will only aid the caste category, which i) any day can become affiliated to one another and turn against the Muslim as the 'other' and ii) which without unpacking its own location in the Hindu religion cannot really be fully annihilated. [xiv]

So the present trend of trying to delegitimize all Muslim politics in the name of caste should be more thoroughly interrogated. We should clearly identify that any debate that calls for an abandonment of Muslim politics is not only a way of managing Muslim politics in India, but also a way to maintain the status quo regarding caste Hindu Indian ideology. Moreover, in this time of extreme Islamophobia and the ascendancy of the Hindu right wing in India, one cannot but see the connection between this theoretical annihilation employing caste and the literal annihilation of Muslims that is being sought on the ground.

In fact, in the light of the above arguments, we have to seriously think about the denial of religion in our present day anti-caste discourses. Given the complex way in which caste and religion come together to create modern caste Hindu realities, we need to see that a denial of religion is a sure way of leaving Hinduism and thereby caste itself unquestioned. In fact, we need to think more about why it is easy for us to discard religion and create a politics based solely on the caste question. We feel this is because of the secular legitimacy that caste has gained today. This legitimacy is mainly gained by discarding the category of religion and focusing only on the hierarchies of caste, which does not actually interrogate the Caste Hindu Indian ideology discussed above. This is very similar to the legitimacy that gender has gained. Gender, even feminists agree, has taken over all fields.[xv] This is because though not similar to contemporary anti-caste politics and much more hegemonic and even more acceptable to the mainstream, the gender debate has also left the modern, Caste Hindu Indian edifice unquestioned.

However, Muslim politics as Faisal Devji himself says, has never been able to gain any legitimacy in India. The Left always claimed to be supportive to Muslim politics, but they also talk from within the binary of communalism/secularism and in the long run they include most Muslim groups within the 'communal' category.

More importantly, we must also note that many of the organizations today accused of having upper caste leadership have been banned numerous times, many others have been broken up and their members send to years of prison. Many important Muslim leaders have also spent decades in prison for daring to talk about Indian social issues from within the ambit of Islam. This clearly shows how persecuted and marginalized Muslim political organizations have been in India. Yet, a religiously oriented, non-secular, illiberal Muslim politics has existed and thrived (even as it has been oppressed and persecuted) in India and it has remained marginalized and this can be seen as having a potential to question every hegemonic category in India, including that of Hinduism, secularism and nationalism.

In other words, if Indian modernity, which became unofficially Hindu by including lower castes too within its fold, sees the Muslim as the 'other,' we should at least allow this "other" to be recognized and granted the right to political mobilization and assertion. Even if we are not ready to say that it is this 'other' which has the potential to break apart the hegemony of Caste Indian modernity, at least we should grant this much to this 'other.' If we are denying even this to the "other" we are doing nothing but asserting the "Self" of the Caste Hindu Nation against this "other."

In many ways, we also need to see that Islam has taken an oppositional position to modernity all over the world, and that is why it is seen as such a threat both inside and outside. We cannot refuse to see all this and talk as if the so-called Savarna Muslims are sharing monopoly of land and other material and cultural resources like the Savarna Hindus. In fact, as Shan Muhammed argued in an article on Round Table India, there is a theo-political potentiality of Islam and Muslim organizations, which cannot be dismissed by saying that all of them are being headed by upper caste Muslims.[xvi]

Most Islamic organizations and politics, embrace religion and often politics for them is subsumed within the ethical practices that religion demands from them. For them there is no sociality where they have no religion. In great contrast, contemporary anti-caste politics, in spite of its great impact and subversive potential, is very much part of a modern life-world. It has today become an extremely secular category, where moving far away from Ambedkarite thought, religion itself is dismissed as not important for annihilating caste. That too at a time when many subaltern groups are increasingly using conversion as a tool to move out of the caste system, just as Ambedkar had propagated. Given this, when there is a talk of Dalit-Muslim unity, the demand made on Muslim groups is to discard the issue of religion and subsume themselves within the secular, liberal caste category.

A note by Waseem RS, (published in Round Table India) which looks into the question of Muslim student politics within an anti-caste milieu, is a good illustration of this. Written from the vantage point of a Muslim student working alongside anti-caste politics, it clearly allows the question of religion to be subsumed within the larger cause. We can see this happening when we see that as part of trying to stand within a "politics of social justice"(in the face of assault from the Left) Waseem produces a profuse apology for the many shortcomings of Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO), the Muslim Student organization he belongs to, and is ready to debunk both its "founding narratives" and the founder Abul A'la Maududi himself ! In fact, the ideas in the note is shared by a good number of Muslim students working with new political formations in today's campuses and reflects the crisis of Muslim students' articulation of their politics and religion from the modern, secular vocabulary of anti-caste politics. [xvii]

We want to conclude by saying that we are highly critical of this apologetic and dismissive tone of the Muslim question, which is increasingly framing the debate about Dalit-Muslim unity. As we have already said, the location of Muslim movements and politics in India as the 'other' of Indian modernity has the potential to enrich and envision an anti-caste politics that could escape or offer an alternative to the powers of modernity, which in India is nothing other than caste. The coming together of Dalits, with a new understanding of the attempt to appropriate them into the Hindu religion, and Muslims, with a renewed understanding of caste/social stratification among them, in common platforms of struggles will alone lead to such an endeavor.

~

Notes


[i] At the end of 2016 we saw three different articles, one in 'The Hindu' and two in Round Table India, which addressed this issue. Two of these articles (Faizal Devji's 'Is a Dalit Muslim Unity' possible and 'Khalid Ansari: A Bahujan 'Third Space' Beyond Left and Right: Really?) vehemently opposed the very possibility of forming a Dalit Muslim unity. Both of these articles point to the evidence of caste among Muslims so as to demolish the very category of the Muslim and to subsume this religious identity within an identity of caste, in the name of anti-caste politics. In contrast, the third article by Waseem RS, which was written to ward off the leftist stereotyping of SIO as a Muslim right-wing organization, clearly stands for a Dalit Muslim politics. However, here too (as we shall see more clearly at the end of the essay) we can see the very same pressure to denounce various core aspects of Waseem's own Muslim student politics so as to make it worthy of belonging to a larger narrative of social justice or anti-caste politics in JNU. ("On the Orientalist Savarna Perception of equating SIO with ABVP," Round Table India)

[ii] In fact, one of the comments on Khalid Anis Ansari's article "Why BAPSA'S support to Muslim Right is problematic," where he talks of Savarna Muslims as being at the forefront of all Muslim movements, immediately points to the existence of a similar structure even among Dalits:

Honest Indian: "Basically the creamy layer in every community/ Castes automatically start behaving like advantageous class .... Look at the creamy layer of Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes who are not ready to leave their advantageous position after enjoying the facilities of quota for last 70 years in favour of their disadvantaged folks. Now, no Government, irrespective of any party, can dare to change this equation. The creamy layer of SC/ ST will never allow any Govt. to make any legislation to disband the creamy layer from taking advantages of reservation in order to give a passage to the disadvantaged SC/ ST who are left behind."

This argument is then extended to cover Ansari's own social location:

"I presume even Mr. Khalid Anis Ansari falls in the "savarna" group among all backward class of Muslims, being his advantaged status. Among all backward Muslims like, Ansari, Lohaar, Mochi, Mallah. Barhai, Nut,Mehtar, Raeen, Qassab, Bakkho, Shahjee, Faqeer and Khanabadosh etc, Ansaris are much more economically and socially developed. According to Mr. Khalid's parameter Ansaris as a caste may fall under "Savarna" category among the whole backward Muslim Castes whereas Mr. Khalid Anis Ansari himself appears certainly as " savarna" from among many disadvantaged Ansaris."

[iii] "Of these, there is one set which finds nothing peculiar nor odious in the Caste System of the Hindus. Such Hindus cite the case of Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians, and find comfort in the fact that they too have castes amongst them." Annihilation of Caste

[iv] Writing in The Hindu, Faisal Devji has a somewhat similar argument for Muslims:
"But to make a Muslim politics possible, the "Muslim community" has to be destroyed...the Muslim community must be broken by caste just as its Hindu version has been." ("Is a Dalit Muslim Unity Possible," Aug 31, 2016)

[v] Khalid Anis Ansari: Why BAPSA's support to Muslim Right is problematic, September 16, 2016, Two Circles, http://twocircles.net/2016sep16/1474041718.html

[vi] According to the decision of the Minorities Sub-Committee, the draft Constitution of February 1948 reserved seats for Muslims in Parliament and State legislatures; however, this reservation was taken away by the Constituent Assembly in May 1949.
This was how Nehru responded to this:
"I think that doing away with this reservation business is not only a good thing in in itself, good for all concerned more especially or the minorities, but psychologically too it is a very good move for the nation and the world. It shows that we are really sincere about this business of having a secular democracy.

Patel also wrote about the same:
"Although the abolition of separate electorates had removed much of the poison from the body politic, the reservation of seats for religious communities, it was felt, did lead to a certain degree of separatism and was to that extent contrary to the conception of a secular democratic state.

Later he remarks that everyone should
"forget that there is anything like majority or minority in this country and that in India there is only one community."

(quoted in Shefali Jha, Secularism in the Constituent Assembly Debates, 1946-50)

[vii] See for a detailed treatment:
Shabnam Tejani, Indian Secularism: Social and Intellectual History; Rochana Bajpai , Debating Differences, and Marc Gallanter, Competing Inequalities; etc. for a critical assessment of the Muslim reservation issue.

[viii] THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA - VOLUME V, Wednesday, the 27th August 1947
Shri K. M. Munshi: The object of this amendment is to clarify the position of the so-called ,Scheduled Castes. The word 'minorities' so far as international treaties and international law is concerned, is only restricted to racial, linguistic and religious minorities. The Harijans, generally known as Scheduled Castes, are neither a racial minority nor a linguistic minority, not certainly a religious minority. Therefore in the interest of exact phraseology this amendment was found necessary. It was only, as members of the House will remember, when the Government of India Act was moved that the definition of 'minorities' was so extended by Sir Samuel Hoare as to include every minority which the Governor thought fit to consider as minority. This is a very very mischievous extension of the term and my amendment seeks to clarify the position that so far as the Scheduled Castes are concerned, they are not minorities in the strict meaning of the term; that the Harijans are part and parcel of Hindu community, and the safeguards are given to them to protect their rights only till they are completely absorbed in the Hindu Community.
Another reason is this. and I might mention that that reason is based on the decisions which have already been taken by this House. The distinction between Hindu Community other than Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Castes is the barrier of untouchability. Now, by the Fundamental. Rights which we have accepted, untouchability is prohibited by law and its practice is made a criminal offence under the law of the Federation. We have also accepted in the Fundamental Rights that no public place should be prohibited to anyone by reason of his birth. So far as the Federation is concerned, we have removed the artificial barrier between one section of the Hindu Community and the other.

In view of those facts, any safeguard as a minority, so far as the Scheduled Castes are Concerned, is illogical and will possibly prevent their complete absorption in the Hindu fold. I therefore submit that the amendment which I am moving clearly defines the position.

http://parliamentofindia.nic.in/ls/debates/vol5p8a.htm (part 1)

[ix] Another example from the debate on the same day as above footnote:

"Mr. H. J. Khandekar: I am aware that every member of this House has great sympathy for Scheduled castes. I have heard many speeches. Many leaders sympathise with us, but that is of no use, if it is merely verbal. People say and I also affirm that we are a part and parcel of the Hindu community. If you oppose this amendment of mine, it will only mean that you are not prepared to give us anything more than what we are getting according to the 1941 census...Therefore, I request the Honourable Mover that he may accept my amendment and give to the Scheduled Castes rights according to 1931 census."

[x] This is how the THE CONSTITUTION (SCHEDULED CASTES) ORDER, 1950]1 (C.O.19) puts it :

" 4[3. Notwithstanding anything contained in paragraph 2, no person who professes a religion different from the Hindu [the Sikh or the Buddhist] religion shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste.]"

Please note that here the Sikh and Buddhist religion has also been subsumed under the category of Hindu.

[xi] See: "Babri Mosque Demolition: 
Why On December 6 ?" By Ashok Yadav, 21 February, 2009, http://www.countercurrents.org/yadav210209.htm

[xii] See: "The Social Engineering of Gujarat," Hemant Babu in Himal Mag, Vol 15, No: 5, May 2002

[xiii] "The Social Engineering of Gujarat," Hemant Babu in Himal Mag, Vol 15, No: 5, May 2002

[xiv] This is the most important message of Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste, which many of us are not even ready to discuss today:
"Caste may be bad. Caste may lead to conduct so gross as to be called man's inhumanity to man. All the same, it must be recognized that the Hindus observe Caste not because they are inhuman or wrong-headed. They observe Caste because they are deeply religious. People are not wrong in observing Caste. In my view, what is wrong is their religion, which has inculcated this notion of Caste. If this is correct, then obviously the enemy you must grapple with is not the people who observe Caste, but the Shastras which teach them this religion of Caste. Criticising and ridiculing people for not inter- dining or inter-marrying, or occasionally holding inter-caste dinners and celebrating inter-caste marriages, is a futile method of achieving the desired end. The real remedy is to destroy the belief in the sanctity of the Shastras. (the emphasis is ours)

[xv] "Suddenly 'women' are everywhere. Development experts name 'gender bias as the cause of poverty in the third world'; population planners declare their commitment to the empowerment of Indian women; economists speak of the feminisation of the Indian labour force."("Problems for a contemporary theory of gender", Susie Tharu, Tejaswini Niranjana)

[xvi] "Caste and Maududian antagonism: Thinking Muslim theo-politics", Shan Muhammed Shah, Round Table India, 19 September, 2016
http://roundtableindia.co.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8785:muhammed-shah-shan&catid=119:feature&Itemid=132

[xvii] Another problem in Waseem's note is the way in which he is further compelled to present himself as a supporter of all contemporary struggles for social justice, including, gender and sexuality from an 'intersectional and entangled perspective.' What is erased here are two things: One, the very framework of certain contemporary movements for 'social justice' have developed themselves with Islam as their prime 'other' and have been used by others to demonize Muslim community – for instance Gender. Secondly, another thing that is forgotten here is that many Islam based readings in the recent years have provided a strong critique of these struggles for social justice and has refused to be pulled into the hegemony of the modern Hindu hegemony.

~~~

Ambedkar Reading Group Delhi University is a group of Dalit Adivasi Bahujan and Minority scholars located in Delhi University who have been reading anti-caste literature along with other seminal texts for the last 5 years. 

 

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