Dalit Bahujan Missionary Efforts in North Karnataka


Rohan Arthur

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. - Matthew 19:24

Religion is for man and not man for religion – Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar

They say that an individual's identity is like an onion. That there are many layers, and each layer represents a discrete part of the whole. Firstly, is the individual an acceptable level of social granularity? Secondly, how well does the 'onion' metaphor apply in the context of India's caste society?

Growing up in a Methodist (Christian, Protestant mission started by American missionaries) family in semi-urban North Karnataka in the 90s is, for me, an interesting case study of myself. The journey from a semi-urban environment to the urban sprawl of Bangalore, provides some vital clues to how caste and class operate in society. The church would naturally be the first place to look, but careful historical erasure by the church bangs the door shut on any historical context that can help me to answer the questions above. It is only with some scratched shavings collected from history that I have been able to find a context to my own onion. Whether the onion really exists, or not, is not of our concern right now. For many of my Dalit brothers and sisters, this documentation is not available. I have been fortunate indeed to have access to information about these histories, albeit through the racializing gaze of the colonizer.

rohan vikarabad conf


Guru's 'Ethics in Ambedkar's Critique of Gandhi': An exercise in rhetoric


Mangesh Dahiwale

mangesh dahiwaleGopal Guru is an erudite scholar and a political scientist of high reputation. His command over political theories is a sign of his scholarship. However the above-mentioned essay lacks erudition and academic neutrality. His language is full of clichés and oftentimes meanders to become illegible and confusing. The essay in question is one such piece of his writings that has no set goal in sight. His intention is difficult to judge, but one of his sentences may give us a hint of his intention: "All three (Gandhi-Ambedkar-Guru) of our futures are linked up with the transformation of social relations in India". He wants to become part of history. By saying this, he (perhaps) intends to say that his essay is an exercise in social transformation.

 Guru undertakes to transform the attitude of the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar towards Gandhi. He criticizes the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar for inflicting cognitive injustice on Gandhi. He slams the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar for reducing his thoughts to mere formalism. He castigates them for their "selective reading" of Gandhi. He finds faults with Babasaheb Ambedkar's biographer for misinformation. During this overall cognitive castigation (or should we say violence) on Ambedkarites, he absolves himself by placing himself on the same pedestal as Gandhi and Ambedkar, as his quest for cognitive generosity. He plays a blame game, but argues that his essay is an exercise in reconciliation.


Bahubali: Celebrating the grandchildren of Nehru and Savarkar



~ Social and individual efficiency requires us to develop the capacity of an individual to the point of competency to choose and to make his own career. This principle is violated in the Caste System, in so far as it involves an attempt to appoint tasks to individuals in advance—selected not on the basis of trained original capacities, but on that of the social status of the parents. ~ Babasaheb Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste

bahubali poster

 I didn't catch the beginning of the conclusion (Bahubali 2), and dozed through most of the climax. The best of business presentations can't hold your attention for three hours, can they?

There are many Bahujans who have already pointed out how the film is casteist in nature, propagating values of varna hierarchy. But that's only half the story: all films made in India promote caste, the ideology of the ruling classes. This is inevitable because of the way they are made, and the interests they serve. How Bahubali was made tells us more about Indian society than what Bahubali says.


The Rise of the Bheem Army


Vinay Shende

Exclusive details on the recent caste incidents in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and the role of the Bheem Army. This report is based on a member speaking to Round Table India on the condition of anonymity.

the great chamar

History of Bheem Army

It started in a small village called Gagalhedi (name changed) in the district of Saharanpur. People from Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal would indulge in acts of violence, oppression on the Dalits- primarily Chamars there.

There is a junior college in the area, dominated by the Rajputs. The Bheem army chief, Chandrashekhar went to study there. There used to be separate seating places, separate place to drink water for the Dalits. That use to lead to skirmishes many times, as Chadrashekhar would not back off.


Why I Celebrate Bhim Jayanti


Vikas Bagde

vikas bagdeEvery year, on the occasion of Dr. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, Buddha Pournima, Dashehara and death anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar (and the anniversaries of many more Dalit heroes i.e., festivals of Dalits), my inbox is flooded with a variety of messages. Some of them are informative and the rest are grievances about celebration, intention and motive, and the way of celebration.


The informative ones are very useful for knowing facts that are not prevalent. Social media is playing a pivotal role in promulgating information about the ideology of philanthropist leaders and heroes. However, the same tool is used to infiltrate our spaces. It is their long proven and most used strategy: to tell the oppressed that whatever they are doing, they are doing it wrong; that this is one of the reasons they are discriminated against. To make the oppressed live in guilt so that his energy will be wasted in coming out of his guilt, he does not get time to think what the oppressor is doing, and he is therefore unable to anticipate the next move of the oppressor.  Some of the messages in circulation are grievances about the way of celebration, sometimes it feels logical for a short period of time but it cannot sustain when rationalized with context, after considering the history and politics, and current dynamics of the time. For that they will try to give illogical logic for a logic.



बुद्ध पूर्णिमा पर बुद्ध के दुश्मनों को पहचानिए


संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe)

बुद्ध पूर्णिमा के अवसर पर बुद्ध के सबसे पुराने और सबसे शातिर दुश्मनों को आप आसानी से पहचान सकते हैं. यह दिन बहुत ख़ास है इस दिन आँखें खोलकर चारों तरफ देखिये. बुद्ध की मूल शिक्षाओं को नष्ट करके उसमे आत्मा परमात्मा और पुनर्जन्म की बकवास भरने वाले बाबाओं को आप काम करता हुआ आसानी से देख सकेंगे. भारत में तो ऐसे त्यागियों, योगियों, रजिस्टर्ड भगवानों और स्वयं को बुद्ध का अवतार कहने वालों की कमी नहीं है. जैसे इन्होने बुद्ध को उनके जीते जी बर्बाद करना चाहा था वैसे ही ढंग से आज तक ये पाखंडी बाबा लोग बुद्ध के पीछे लगे हुए हैं.

buddha seated

 बुद्ध पूर्णिमा के दिन भारत के वेदांती बाबाओं सहित दलाई लामा जैसे स्वघोषित बुद्ध अवतारों को देखिये. ये विशुद्ध राजनेता हैं जो अपनी राजनीतिक रोटियाँ सेंकने के लिए बुद्ध की शिक्षाओं को उलटा सीधा तोड़ मरोड़कर उसमे आत्मा परमात्मा घुसेड देते हैं. भारत के एक फाइव स्टार रजिस्टर्ड भगवान् – भगवान् रजनीश ने तो दावा कर ही दिया था कि बुद्ध उनके शरीर में आकर रहे, इस दौरान उनके भक्तों ने प्रवचनों के दौरान उन्हें बुद्ध के नाम से ही संबोधित किया लेकिन ये "परीक्षण" काम नहीं किया और भगवान रजनीश ने खुद को बुद्ध से भी बड़ा बुद्ध घोषित करते हुए सब देख भालकर घोषणा की कि "बुद्ध मेरे शरीर में भी आकर एक ही करवट सोना चाहते हैं, आते ही अपना भिक्षा पात्र मांग रहे हैं, दिन में एक ही बार नहाने की जिद करते हैं" ओशो ने आगे कहा कि बुद्ध की इन सब बातों के कारण मेरे सर में दर्द हो गया और मैंने बुद्ध को कहा कि आप अब मेरे शरीर से निकल जाइए.


Romancing the Caste Violence


Dr. N. Sukumar

Mr. Venkaiah Naidu in the Indian Express dated 1st May 2017 (Romancing the Maoists) took umbrage at the human rights activists maintaining silence over the killing of security forces in Chhatisgarh. Violence in any form needs to be condemned. But why is the Honourable Minister so selective in condeming violence? It is equally important to comprehend the multiple forms of violence that assail our society in contemporary times.

development genocide

In the Prime Minister's Mann ki Baat broadcasts, there is a studied silence on the Dadri lynching, Una attack, Rohith's institutional murder and the list is long. Should I believe that for the Honourable Prime Minister, there exist two Indias, one is brahmanical and the other comprises the mlechhas? In the article, the minister refers to the Maoists misguiding the poor villagers. There is an element of mockery in the comment as if the villagers lack agency to decide their fate and are easily swayed by any ideology. The villages are not oases of peace and tranquility but also reflect the contradictions over caste, class and gender. One also needs to decode the nomenclature of a region/space being declared a disturbed area. When Dalits are boycotted in a village, does the state declare it as a distubed area? How does one read the 'velivada' which provided refuge to Rohith and his friends when they were kicked out by Appa Rao, who represents caste hegemony in Hyderabad University? It's not that Bastar, Kashmir or the North East are 'disturbed'. Rather it's the brahmanical mind which is unable to comprehend any discourse on rights. Unfortunately, it's not only the Maoist ideology that fosters violence, the Hindutva canonical texts ranging from the Manusmriti and Gita, to the ideologues- Savarkar, Golwalkar to name a few, believe in ethnic cleansing. Inspired by their ideology, Godse pulled the trigger on Mahatma Gandhi.


Demonetization and Adivasis


Rajunayak Vislavath

raju nayakLet me begin with a story about demonetisation that affected a tribal woman Sukli in a village called Bhatu Pally, a small adivasi hamlet in Warangal District, Telangana. It is situated nearly 100 kilometers away from the old district headquarters and nearly 25 kilometres away from the newly formed district called Jaya Shankar Zilla (Bhupal Pally). She is an agricultural labourer who goes to work early in the morning. Her work is mostly in the paddy fields and on the vegetable farm. Sometimes, she goes to the forest to collect Mova fruit, firewood, and betel leaves. She also takes care of her house and the education of her children. People in the house depend on her. Unfortunately, on November 27th, 2016, when she was in the field, she was bitten, she could not make out whether it was a snake or an insect. She took it very casually and continued her work but after some time she started feeling drowsy.

Then she realised that it was not an insect but a snake. She tried to find out what it could be and went near that place with a stick in her hand. When she removed the grass, she found a different type of snake hiding under the grass. She got scared and was unable to talk. There was nobody with her. She thought something was going to happen to her. She started walking towards her home. With great difficulty, she reached home. She was not able to talk properly. She waved her hands and tried to call her husband who was tilling the land near her house. With great difficulty, she explained to him what had happened to her. He looked at her and saw that her body was swelling. He got scared and tried to apply turmeric on the snakebite marks. Then he ran to inform the elders of the community. Some elders came running to her and told her husband that a snake had bitten her. Experienced in forest life, the adivasi villagers easily found the name of the snake. They said it was a Mannuthenmanjariguna snake. They tried to apply some forest medicine to no avail. She felt terrible and her body swelled more and more. Using forest medicine, by this time, it should have been cured. Instead, her condition worsened. Somebody suggested that she should be taken to the hospital.


मैं परस्पर सम्मान या जन सम्मान की राजनीति के पक्ष में हूँ: अशोक भारती


संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe)

अशोक भारती, संक्षिप्त परिचय: अशोक भारती नेशनल कन्फेडरेशन ऑफ़ दलित एंड आदिवासी राइट्स (NACDOR) के संस्थापक हैं और इस संस्था के माध्यम से भारत के 23 राज्यों में दलित आदिवासी अधिकार की लड़ाई लड़ते रहे हैं. श्री भारती अशोका फेलो भी हैं. एक आइईएस अधिकारी रह चुके श्री भारती ने लंबे समय तक जमीनी काम करते हुए स्वयं सेवी संस्थाओं का एक देशव्यापी गठजोड़ निर्मित किया है. देश भर में दलित आदिवासी आंदोलनों से ये जुड़े रहे हैं और दलित आदिवासी अधिकार और विकास के मुद्दों पर राईट बेस्ड अप्रोच के साथ काम करते आये हैं. श्री भारती वर्तमान में दलित बहुजन राजनीति के लिए एक नया विकल्प बनाने की दिशा में काम कर रहे हैं और हाल ही में इन्होने जन सम्मान पार्टी की स्थापना की है. अभी उत्तरप्रदेश के चुनाव परिणामों के आईने में दलित राजनीति के भविष्य के प्रश्न पर संजय जोठे ने श्री भारती से चर्चा की. इस चर्चा के मुख्य बिंदु यहाँ प्रस्तुत हैं.


 संजय जोठे: जय भीम सर, इधर उत्तर प्रदेश में दलित राजनीति की हार पर आपने अभी तक विस्तार से बात नहीं रखी, आपकी नजर में इस हार का क्या कारण है?

अशोक भारती: देखिये राजनीतिक हार या जीत के गहरे मायने होते हैं और कम से कम आज की दलित राजनीति की हार और उत्तर प्रदेश में बसपा के सफाए के बहुत गहरे मायने हैं. ये केवल एक चुनावी हार नहीं है बल्कि ये एक विचारधारा की और एक रणनीति की हार है. बाबा साहेब अंबेडकर के नाम पर खुद अम्बेडकरी मूल्यों के खिलाफ एक तरह की राजनीति बनाई गयी है, वो कुछ समय के लिए तो चल गयी लेकिन उसका फेल होना तय था. वही हुआ है.


The revolution is a tea party for the Indian left



Sitaram Yechury's concerns have been consistently strange: do the communists in India really stand for the working classes? Who do they stand for, which class do they represent exactly?

On Aadhaar, Yechury said recently: "Goalposts constantly shifted on making Aadhaar mandatory. From passing it as a money bill to violating SC's orders, this is a dangerous game."

Whose liberty is he talking about? That has to be understood clearly to understand Yechury and other communists. It reminds you more of the libertarian's idea of liberty.

Nidhin connecting thread

It also reminds you of a similar question that Babasaheb had asked long ago (in 'States and Minorities'), which challenged the libertarian understanding of liberty:

Constitutional Lawyers assume that the enactment of Fundamental Rights is enough to safeguard their liberty and that nothing more is called for. They argue that where the State refrains from intervention in private affairs—economic and social—the residue is liberty. What is necessary is to make the residue as large as possible and State intervention as small as possible. It is true that where the State refrains from intervention what remains is liberty. But this does not dispose of the matter. One more question remains to be answered. To whom and for whom is this liberty? Obviously this liberty is liberty to the landlords to increase rents, for capitalists to increase hours of work and reduce rate of wages. This must be so. It cannot be otherwise. [italics mine]


वे अपनी आंखों में समानता स्वतंत्रता का नीला सपना लिए चले थे


अनिता भारती (Anita Bharti)

ओम प्रकाश वाल्मीकि जी को याद करते हुए

anita bhartiहमने अपनी समूची घृणा को/ पारदर्शी पत्‍तों में लपेटकर/ ठूँठे वृक्ष की नंगी टहनियों पर टाँग दिया है/ताकि आने वाले समय में/ ताज़े लहू से महकती सड़कों पर/ नंगे पाँव दौड़ते सख़्त चेहरों वाले साँवले बच्‍चे/ देख सकें कर सकें प्‍यार/दुश्‍मनों के बच्‍चों में/ अतीत की गहनतम पीड़ा को भूलकर [ओमप्रकाश वाल्मीकि]

गैर दलितों द्वारा दी गई समूची हिंसा, घृणा, अपमान, प्रताड़ना के खिलाफ लेखनी से पुरजोर लड़ते हुए, दलित समाज के लिए समता समानता और स्वतंत्रता का सपना अपनी सपनीली आँखों में सजोए हिन्दी साहित्य के वरिष्ठ साहित्यकार ओमप्रकाश वाल्मीकि जी 17 दिसम्बर को इस दुनिया से विदा हो गए । हम सभी उनकी बीमारी के बारे में जानते थे। ओमप्रकाश वाल्मीकि जी पिछले एक साल से 'बड़ी आंत के कैंसर की भयंकर बीमारी से जूझ रहे थे। पिछले साल 10 अगस्त 2013 में उनकी बड़ी आंत का सफल आपरेशन हुआ था। आपरेशन सफल होने के बाबजूद वे इस भयंकर बीमारी से उभर नहीं पाएं। वह अपनी इस जानलेवा बीमारी के चलते भी यहां-वहां विभिन्न साहित्यिक कार्यक्रमों में लगातार शिरकत करते रहे और लगातार लिखते भी रहे। अपनी बीमारी की गंभीरता को जानते हुए और उससे लड़ते हुए उन्होने दो मासिक पत्रिकाओं “दलित दस्तक” और “कदम” का अतिथि संपादन भी किया।


भारतीय शास्त्रीय कलाएं और सामाजिक सरोकार


संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe)

भारतीय कलाकारों, खिलाड़ियों, गायकों नृत्यकारों के वक्तव्य बहुत निराश करते हैं। उनके वक्तव्यों में आम भारतीय मजदूर या किसान या गरीब के सामाजिक सरोकार एकदम से गायब हैं। उन्होंने कला को व्यक्तिगत मोक्ष या अलौकिक आनन्द की जिन शब्दावलियों में गूंथा है उसमें फसकर कला और कलात्मक अभव्यक्तियाँ भी इस लोक की वास्तविकताओं के लिए न सिर्फ असमर्थ हो गए हैं बल्कि उसके दुश्मन भी बन गए हैं। हालांकि अभी कुछ वर्षों से पश्चिमी प्रभाव में एक भिन्न किस्म की कला उभर रही है वह एक नई घटना है, उससे कुछ उम्मीद जाग रही है।


भारत का उदाहरण लें तो साफ नजर आता है कि कला, भाषा, संगीत काव्य आदि सृजन के वाहक होने के साथ ही शोषक परम्पराओं और धर्म के भी वाहक बन जाते हैं। खासकर भारत मे संगीत और साहित्य ने जो दिशा पकड़ी है उसका मूल्यांकन आप समाज की सेहत के संदर्भ में करेंगे तो आपको चौंकानेवाले नतीजे मिलेंगे। 1935 के पहले तक का नख शिख वर्णन और भक्ति सहित नायिका विमर्श वाले साहित्य को दखिये और आज तक के शास्त्रीय संगीत और नर्तन को दखिये - ये सब शोषक धर्म और संस्कृति के कथानकों, मिथकों, गीतों का ही मंचन, गायन और महिमामंडन करते आये हैं।


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Speech and the Speaker's Identity
Monday, 13 November 2017
  Tejas Harad In 2016, famous Indian author Chetan Bhagat published a novel called One Indian Girl. This book was criticised by some women because the book's narrator, who is also its... Read More...