To empower dalits, do away with India's antiquated retail trading system

 

Chandra Bhan Prasad & Milind Kamble

A couple of months ago, the UPA government cleared Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail. It is a politically risky step. But for once, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh showed both spine and spunk biting the bullet. Since then, both Left parties and the BJP have expressed serious reservations over the decision. The general view is that it will affect the lakhs of small, indigenous kirana stores spread across the country. Interestingly, nobody has spoken about the FDI effect on the fledgling class of dalit entrepreneurs in India.

Read more...

Dharmapuri 2012: Worse than Kilvenmani

 

Anand Teltumbde

My friend Prof C Lakshmanan called me today from the ground zero in Dharmapuri narrating in his choked voice the horrific state of things in three villages - Natham, Anna Nagar and Kondampatti, where nearly 500 houses of Dalits were looted and burnt by the Vanniyar (an OBC caste) mob on 7 November. Lakshmanan was part of a fact finding team that had just reached the site of devastation. I had known of it from a sms I received from an activist on 8 November and subsequently from the scanty reports from newspapers. And still I felt shaken to the bones.

The immediate cause for the caste violence was the love marriage between a Parayar boy, Ilavarasan, 23 and a Vanniyar girl, Divya, 20 that took place a month ago. The girl's family approached the police, and the police counseled both parties that the marriage was valid. Meanwhile the Vanniyars from 30 villages had a meeting and discussed the matter. They held a 'kangaroo' court at Nayakkankottai village the previous week and directed the Dalit family to return the woman on Wednesday but Divya refused to obey and made it clear that she would live with Ilavarasan. Dharmapuri SP Asra Garg knew about this all and said that the police were searching for those who took part in it. On 6 November 2012, the girl's father G Nagarajan (48) suddenly died at his residence in Sellankottai, not far from the Natham Dalit colony. The Vanniyars claimed that he died because he could not digest that his daughter married a Parayar guy. But Dalits felt that he was murdered by Vanniyars to have an alibi for action against them. The memory of the recent shock at the statement of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) MLA J Guru, who heads the Vanniyar Sangam, the first avatar of the PMK, at a community meeting forbidding the inter-caste marriages, had not yet faded. This public meeting inspired the OBCs across Tamil Nadu to decide against the OBC girls marring Dalit boys, whatever the consequences. Also, the Kongu Vellala Goundergal Peravai, which claims to represent the community, issued advertisements in newspapers calling a meeting of community members to oppose inter-caste marriages and launched a campaign against it. All this is well known to the state. Therefore the incident should be seen in the context of such a casteist build up in the recent past.

Read more...

Caste And Hinduism

Gail Omvedt

(Written in November 2003)

M V Nadkarni's recent article "Is Caste System Intrinsic to Hinduism?: Demolishing a Myth", (EPW, November 8, 2003) comes as a follow-up to his earlier article "Ethics and Relevance of Conversions: A Critical Assessment of Religious and Social Dimensions in a Gandhian Perspective" (Januay 18). Both articles show the fundamental stamp of Hindutva ideology, primary of which is shoddy methodology, selective quotation (for example, his references to my work are to a 10-year old book and selectively at that), and illogic.

The illogic in the 'Caste System' article begins with a basic, unexamined premise: that there is some entity called 'Hinduism', a religion which has lasted 4,000 years and which comprehends 'classical' as well as 'medieval' and 'modern' forms. This is the most historically unjustified premise, since the term 'Hindu' to refer to a religious belief was never used until the establishment of Muslim regimes (and then only in some parts of India; for instance, Tukaram - who Nadkarni takes as one of the 'Hindu' bhakti sants, never in all his 4,700 abhangs used this word) and it never came into generalised use throughout India until the 19th century. This has been documented by numerous scholars and I will not cite them here. The illogic is that Nadkarni assumes, and documents, changes in the caste as a socio-historical structure (which I think is correct) but does not question the supposedly unchanging character of an essential 'Hinduism'. (Incidentally, Nadkarni is silent on whether Buddhism, Jainism and the shramanic traditions should be considered as part of 'Hinduism').

Read more...

Dalit Blood Taints Modi’s Claims

Anand Teltumbde

(From 'Dalit Rights' blog)

During the state sponsored carnage of Muslims in 2002, Dalits in Gujarat were unduly defamed having performed the role of foot soldiers of the Hindutva forces. These were stray incidents in Ahmedabad wherein Dalits were spotted in the crowds that attacked Muslims but there were several other instances that surfaced later all over the state in which Dalits had sheltered Muslim families daring the Hindutva marauders. But media in its characteristic way sensationalized the former and completely ignored the latter. Dalits who are always seen with jaundiced eye, became more despicable because of this canard. Intellectuals and commentators waxed eloquent for years thereafter in their stereotypical analyses of what appeared as sinister development without caring for the facts. These highbrow analyses feigning empathy and concern for Dalits only served to deepen hatred for them. In this negativity lay a positive implication that the upper castes and Dalits might henceforth have amicable relations in Gujarat eliminating the possibility of any caste conflict in the future. Mere glance at the facts would show how removed these commonplace notions and intellectual commentaries were from the ground reality in Gujarat.

Read more...

'Brahmins do not have the right to call themselves Indians!'

(This interview was published in January, 2001, in Rediff.com)

brahmins_ilaiah_copyDr Kancha Ilaiah, associate professor of political science at Hyderabad's Osmania University, is known for his fierce attacks on Hindu religious and political leaders.

In 1996, his first book Why I am not a Hindu was accused of inflaming communal passions. Last month, he published another controversial tract, God as a Political Philosopher: Buddha's Challenge to Brahminism.

Dr Ilaiah, 48, says his tirade against Hinduism stems from the inhuman and humiliating caste-ridden conditions in which he was born and brought up. Born in a backward caste family in Andhra Pradesh's Warangal district, he was lucky to get a university education because of the reservation system.

Read more...

A black stone among white marbles

Kancha Ilaiah

kancha_ilaiah_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copyI am among the millions who live a life without a birthday. October 5, 1952 is what my school recorded as my birthday; beyond this, I am as yet unclear of it all. As I retire this month from Osmania University, where I studied, researched and taught over a period of 38 years, it may be of some value to now tell the story of Osmania and of mine.

Osmania is an old village-like university established by Osman Ali Khan in 1918. He did that at a time when millions of Telanganites didn't know who their ruler was and what a university would be. The first and deepest impression of the imposing Arts College building that was built with marble brought here from abroad is still fresh in my memory. I first saw it, and also the imposing portrait of Osman Ali Khan in the library building, as I came to take the entrance test for MA. It was in 1974.

Read more...

Other Related Articles

Vayalar Rebellion: A Rethought
Thursday, 23 March 2017
  Anilkumar PV There is no other grand claim about history as that of Hegel's inimitable remark: "God is God only in so far as he knows himself." It was Marx who liberated thought from the... Read More...
"I don't have much belief in the system": Actor Vinayakan talks to the Media
Thursday, 23 March 2017
  Rakesh Ram S Vinayakan, a Dalit actor from Kerala, began his career as a dancer and has been an actor for more than 20 years now in Malayalam and other south Indian movies. Initially he played... Read More...
Institutional Discrimination in Academic Agrahara
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
  Bansidhar Deep "When equality is denied everything is denied. There is no equality in M.Phil/Ph.D admission, there is no equality in viva-voce, there is only denial of equality, denying prof.... Read More...
The Death of a Historian in Centre for Historical Studies, JNU
Sunday, 19 March 2017
  Jitendra Suna Speech made at the protest by BAPSA on 16th March, 2017 against the Institutional Murder of Muthukrishnan (Rajini Krish) I am Jitendra Suna, and I am from a remote village named... Read More...
I am someone who thinks in an Ayyankali thought: Vinayakan, best actor
Sunday, 19 March 2017
  Dwija Aami and Sreerag Poickadan Malayalam actor Vinayakan has received the Kerala State government's Best Actor Award 2016 for the Malayalee film Kammatpadam, recently. His interview by... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Parched and Feminism: Are All Women's Stories the Same?
Wednesday, 19 October 2016
  Asha Singh In the past few days, I have noticed that a few of my Dalit-Bahujan friends are engaged in an uncritical celebration of Leena Yadav's feature film titled 'Parched'. I would like to... Read More...
Who’s your Perfect Dalit Woman?
Tuesday, 04 October 2016
  Christina Thomas Dhanaraj "The oppressor is solidary with the oppressed only when he stops regarding the oppressed as an abstract category and sees them as persons who have been unjustly dealt... Read More...
Presenting Angela Davis, the Savarna Style
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
  Sukanya Shantha On Friday, a friend and I walked into a movie hall to watch an American romantic musical, La La Land. Enticed by the cinematic beauty and the dreamy two hours spent in the... Read More...
In the name of the Nation: Historicizing Caste in Indian Universities
Thursday, 01 December 2016
  Nidhin Shobhana In the name of the Nation: Historicizing Caste in Indian Universities (with special reference to Jawaharlal Nehru University) Setting up the Stage The 'idea' of a... Read More...
Babasaheb for Me Is Like an Inner Voice
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
  Essay series on 'What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means to me' Madhura Raut It was neither my family nor my school that introduced Ambedkar to me. It was because of my friends, either classmates... Read More...

Recent Articles in Hindi

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

  संजय जोठे  इस देश में भेदभाव और शोषण से भरी परम्पराओं का विरोध करने वाले अनेक विचारक और क्रांतिकारी हुए हैं जिनके बारे में हमें बार-बार पढ़ना और समझना चाहिए. दुर्भाग्य से इस देश के शोषक वर्गों के षड्यंत्र के कारण इन क्रांतिकारियों का जीवन परिचय और समग्र कर्तृत्व छुपाकर रखा जाता है. हमारी अनेकों पीढियां इसी षड्यंत्र में जीती आयीं हैं. किसी देश के उद्भट विचारकों और क्रान्तिकारियों को इस...

Read more

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

(कृष्ण की लोक लुभावन छवि का पुनर्पाठ!)मानुषी आखिर ये मिथकीय कहानियां किस तरह की परवरिश और शिक्षा देती हैं, जहां पुरुषों को सारे अधिकार हैं, चाहे वह स्त्री को अपमानित करे या दंडित, उसे स्त्री पलट कर कुछ नहीं कहती। फिर आज हम रोना रोते हैं कि हमारे बच्चे इतने हिंसक और कुंठित क्यों हो रहे हैं। सारा दोष हम इंटरनेट और टेलीविजन को देकर मुक्त होना चाहते हैं। जबकि स्त्री...

Read more

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

संजय जोठे धर्म जो काम शास्त्र लिखकर करता है वही काम राष्ट्र अब फ़िल्में और विडिओ गेम्स बनाकर बनाकर करते हैं. इसी के साथ सुविधाभोगी पीढ़ी को मौत से बचाने के लिए टेक्नालाजी पर भयानक खर्च भी करना पड़ता है ताकि दूर बैठकर ही देशों का सफाया किया जा सके, और यही असल में उस तथाकथित “स्पेस रिसर्च” और “अक्षय ऊर्जा की खोज” की मूल प्रेरणा है, यूं तो सबको...

Read more