Uniform Civil Code & Ashrafiya obsession with Triple Talaq


Ayaz Ahmad

ayaz-ahmadIn the wake of upcoming assembly polls, the question of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is being debated with traditional appeal to religious identity of Muslims & Hindus in their respective constituencies. From the vantage point of Pasmanda, the question of UCC is raised to create the binary of Hindu versus Muslim in order to entrench both identities as a monolith whole. This entrenchment of communal identities is aimed at suppressing caste fault-lines in both communities. The suppression of caste fault-lines is necessary to hold on to the privileges accumulated under Brahmanical social order. Thus, the demand for UCC helps the Savarna to consolidate its dominance over the Bahujan under the garb of Hindu identity & opposition of UCC helps the Ashrafiya to consolidate its dominance over the Pasmanda under the garb of Muslim identity.

However, UCC is not the exclusive strategy of constructing the binary of Hindu versus Muslim. It is deployed in combination with various other cultural symbols which mark out the caste ridden diverse populace into two hostile groups. The most prominent among them are Aligarh Muslim University & Banaras Hindu University (Muslim modernity versus Hindu modernity), Muslim Madarssa Education & Hindu Sarasvati Education (Muslim culture versus Hindu culture), Muslim League & Hindu Mahasabha (Muslim Politics versus Hindu Politics), Muslim Personal Law versus Hindu Personal Law, Muslim Secularists & Hindu Secularists (Jinnah versus Gandhi), Muslim Fundamentalist & Hindu Fundamentalist (Iqbal versus Savarkar), Muslim Liberal & Hindu Liberal (Maulana Abul Kalam Azad versus Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru) so on & so forth. All these oppositional symbols can be ontologically understood by replacing the expression 'Muslim' with 'Ashrafiya' & 'Hindu' with 'Savarna'. Similarly, the question of UCC can be understood in the dialectic of religious identity formation & invisibilization of caste identity & the need for their continuous reproduction through hostile binaries.


Maratha Kranti (Muk) Morcha: When will Maratha women cross the threshold?

Sandhya Gawali

sandhya gawaliMaratha Community has been organizing massive silent rallies (muk morcha) in various districts in a strong display of restlessness. The immediate reason behind the march is the brutal rape and murder of a teenager Maratha girl in kopardi, Ahmadnagar district, Maharashtra. The three suspects in this case belong to the Dalit community.

Firstly, we need to ask what constitutes 'Maratha community? The Maratha community itself is not a homogeneous community. There is no solid or reliable information available which presents Maratha community's numbers. Maratha caste is a cluster of Marathas and 9 Kunbi castes. Prachi Deshpande stated in her paper 'Caste as Maratha' that in 17th century the Marathas came to light. Lord Harris, Governor of Bombay used the term 'Maratha' to denote all Marathi Speakers. In 1931, Narayan Lokhande appealed to people that don't mention your caste instead call yourself a Maratha. Thus, there was a very high population of Marathas.

Nine Kunbi castes were included as Maratha. In 1920, Yadav Gawali filed a petition stating that they should be included in the Maratha caste. Non-Brahmin movements point out multiple imageries of what and whom the term Maratha represented during the colonial period. There are many OBC castes who claim to be Maratha/ Kshatriya. For example, Maratha Kshatriya Parit Sangh was established as an organization in 1950s but still they use this identity. In Alandi, Pune they have organized matrimonial networks as well. Recently when I conversed with certain Maratha girls and boys they defined Marathas as people who draw their ancestry from Shivaji Maharaj. Further, they think Maratha indicates those who live in Maharashtra and speak Marathi. For them Kunbi, Kumbhar, Parit are all Marathas, only their occupation is different etc. Thus, definitions of 'Maratha' are multiple and often contested. The term has spread quite often as a consequence of caste solidarities.


Unpartitioned nostalgia


Akshay Pathak

'Aman ki Asha', one of the many trendy Indo-Pak peace initiatives, could as well have been the title of a blockbuster from the Chopra brothers. Partition and Reunion as nostalgic themes in the savarna imagination seem tied in an inseparable bond, a sacred thread, to use a metaphor closer home. The piecing together of memory, of nostalgia, around these themes is similarly tied in with processes of power as has been evident in policies of the Indian state soon after the tragedy that followed the partition of Punjab.

lahore high court pre-independence

Picture from the Lahore High Court, in pre-partition days

Of course, the mighty information machine, Google, realized the powerful potential of this nostalgia when it released an ad that became very popular a few years ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHGDN9-oFJE). The ad weaves a story of a similar partition and reunion, garnished with copious amounts of sentimentality. It builds on half-a-century long narratives fuelled by successive governments, NGOs and many individuals who became celebrities in the process, arguably with their own lived or inherited legacies that compelled this re-construction.


भारत में महिला राजनीति पर जातिवाद का कितना प्रभाव


Sweta Yadav 

sweta yadavभारत विभिन्ताओं का देश है| तरह-तरह की बोलियाँ अलग-अलग संस्कृतियाँ, जाति, धर्म सम्प्रदाय में बंटा हुआ देश | जिसके बारे में किसी ने सही ही कहा है "कोस -कोस पर बदले पानी चार कोस पर वाणी|" जाति भारत का वास्तविक सच है जिसे अनदेखा करके भारत की कल्पना बेमानी है| भारत में जाति व्यवस्था वैदिक काल से ही व्याप्त है जिसने न सिर्फ यहाँ की आर्थिक, सामाजिक और धार्मिक प्रवृतियों को प्रभावित किया अपितु भारत की राजनीति को भी जाति व्यवस्था ने अपनी जड़ में ले लिया| आज हालत यह है की भारत में न सिर्फ केंद्र बल्कि राज्य भी जातिवाद की राजनीति से प्रभावित हैं| हम चाहे जितना मर्जी वहम पाल लें कि हमारे समाज में भेदभाव कम हो गया है, लेकिन अब भी कुछ अदृश्य दीवारें हैं जो दिखाई नहीं देतीं लेकिन मौजूद हैं और इन्ही दीवारों के नीचे दब कर न जाने कितनी जिंदगियां दम तोड़ देती हैं, और ये सिलसिला अभी भी जारी है|

भारतीय राजनीति में महिलाओं के अस्तित्व पर बात करते हुए हमें यह देखना होगा कि क्या वास्तव में महिलाएं राजनीति में वो मुकाम हासिल कर चुकी हैं जो उन्हें एक मनुष्य होने के नाते करना चाहिए था न कि स्त्री होने के नाते| भारतीय समाज पितृसत्तात्मक समाज हैं जहाँ पुरुषों का वर्चस्व कल भी था और अब भी है| हाँ बदलाव हुए हैं और यह होना भी चाहिए लेकिन यह कितना और कहाँ तक हुआ है यह देखना भी जरूरी है| आज़ादी के बाद देश जबकि सोलहवें लोकसभा के चुनाव लड़ चुका है तब इस बात की चर्चा और भी जरूरी हो जाती है कि देश में हर पायदान पर महिलाओं की स्थिति क्या है? और राजनीतिक सम्बन्ध में महिला की जाति किस तरह से काम करती है?


A Thread between Dangal and the Establishment


Chandra Sen

chandra senGirls are supposed to be in the custody of their father when they are children, women under the custody of their husband when married and under the custody of her son as widows. In no circumstances is she allowed to assert herself independently. (Manusmriti)

Bollywood has projected fathers, their roles, disciplines, ideals and duties time and again. All time Bollywood fathers are Alok Nath (for instance, Suraj Barjatya's film)s, Amitabh Bachchan, Amrish Puri (Yash Raj films). The recent movie 'Dangal' adds another name to the list, Aamir Khan. Dangal is considered to be the biopic of the famous Indian wrestler, Mahavir Singh Phogat. He had wished to win a gold medal for the nation, but his wish was unfulfilled. Parents want their ambitions to be achieved by their children. But the case with Pahelwan Phogat was different. He internalized the racial theory that wrestling is in his blood. So his son, not daughter, will achieve what he could not. Like every ordinary Indian male patriarch, Pehelwan Phogat used every method to get a son but became the father of four daughters, instead. The movie has been spun around the two eldest girls, Geeta and Babita. Geeta won a gold medal in 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and Babita got Silver.

Commercially and emotionally, Dangal has achieved its agenda. The north Indian 'cow belt', particularly the fertile land of Ganga-Yamuna river region, is known for high agricultural production. The Green Revolution in Haryana and Punjab added to the agricultural abundance that led to the prosperity of the big farmers. The historical and geographical setting of this region makes the caste, class and gender relations more complicated and rigid. The historian and feminist Uma Chakravarthy analyses this relationship aptly. The huge agricultural-production led caste and gender relations were rigid as well as violent in exploitation of the cheap and free labour. This made Dalits and women more dependent on male and upper caste landlords. This dependency and vulnerability of women has been creatively shown in the movie by the Dangal team. The strong desire to have sons depicts the patriarchal and macho image of Indian society.


A short history of media as a tool of cultural hegemony


Anshul Kumar

anshul"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past" ~ George Orwell in 1984.

Ever since the inception and evolution of mankind into a 'modern human' it has ever been the curiosity of the human mind to look around the surroundings in order to comprehend the esoteric and arcane nature of of 'human existence' and make sense out of 'everything' including 'nothing'. This idea of looking towards every other phenomenon from our frame of reference stems from the idea put forward by Daniel Kahneman, "the fact that inner workings of human mind have ever been irrational and it is the undying spirit of our 'grey cells' which makes us to give meanings to our existence and the 'cradle' of our very existence itself."


Towards a Post-minority Condition



Towards a post-minority Condition1 - this is the concluding part of the three-part series 'Dialogue with BAPSA'. Read Part 1 here and Part 11 here.

Khalid Anis Ansari

khalidHistorically, while the category 'majority' has been by default occupied by the most dominant cultural collectivity within the national territory, the notion of 'minority' has carried connotations of alterity, injury, subordination or disadvantage. The culture of the majority —which often masquerades as national culture or secularism— frequently defines the centre through which other cultures are evaluated and addressed, thereby invoking fear of cultural assimilationism or economic subjugation in the officially defined minorities. In the case of India too, there has been a rich debate on minority rights along these lines in recent decades. However, while the discussion on minority rights has acquired centre stage, what is further striking is that, with the deepening of pluralism and democracy, new subterranean political subjectivities have emerged that are putting severe strains on official minority discourses. Some of these so-called 'internal minorities' or 'minorities within minorities' that are now struggling to inscribe themselves onto the registers of justice may cut through the majority-minority dichotomy and find it to be deeply inhibitive in addressing their concerns. Are we therefore reaching the limits of dominant minority discourses? Is the minority space really capable of addressing the emerging questions around difference and inequality that internal minorities bring to the table? While gender has dominated the discussions on internal minorities in India so far, I would like to flag the discursive ruptures in minority space in India instantiated by the Pasmanda movement, which is a movement of subordinated castes within the largest religious minority, the Muslims.


बुद्धा का ब्राह्मणीकरण और ओशो रजनीश


संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe)

ओशो ने अपने अंतिम वर्षों में बहुत बचकाने ढंग से बुद्ध और कृष्णमूर्ति को अपमानित करते हुए खुद का महिमामंड किया है इसे कम से कम दलितों, बहुजनों, आदिवासियों और स्त्रीयों को ध्यान से समझना चाहिए.

buddha etc

बुद्ध का ब्राह्मणीकरण भारतीय बाबाओं योगियों गुरुओं का सबसे बड़ा और सबसे प्राचीन षड्यंत्र रहा है. इस संदर्भ में आधुनिक भारत में ओशो के द्वारा चलाये गये सबसे बड़े षड्यंत्र को गहराई से देखना समझना जरुरी है. एक सनातनी बुद्धि से संचालित ओशो का पूरा जीवनवृत्त बहुत विरोधाभासों और बहुत अस्पष्टताओं से भरा हुआ गुजरा है. कोई नहीं कह सकता कि उनकी मूल देशना क्या थी या उनके प्रवचनों में या उनके कर्तृत्व में उनका अपना क्या था. खुद उन्ही के अनुसार उन्होंने लाखों किताबों का अध्ययन किया था फिर भी वे "आंखन देखि" ही कहते थे. जो लोग थोड़ा पढ़ते लिखते हैं वे एकदम पकड सकते हैं कि न सिर्फ चुटकुले और दृष्टांत बल्कि दार्शनिक मान्यताएं और तार्किक वक्तव्य भी सीधे सीधे दूसरों की किताबों से निकालकर इस्तेमाल करते थे. लाखों किताबें पढने का इतना फायदा तो उन्हें लेना ही चाहिए. इसमें किसी को कोई समस्या भी नहीं होनी चाहिए.


Caste discrimination in daily life: Is it a thing of the past?


Chanchal Kumar

chanchal kumarThis essay shows with examples that incidents of caste discrimination have only proliferated instead of stopping in any way in modern towns and even in the national capital Delhi. I have been personally affected by it in my adult life. The only people for whom caste does not exist is savarnas, who take it as a kind of joke and cannot fathom the deep hurt caste discrimination in daily life causes mulnivasis and bahujans. Here I will give instances from my life where I was made to feel physical, emotional and psychological violence and hatred meted out to my family and me because of caste.

As far back as I can remember, I was miles away from feeling any pride due to my caste and social identity. Instead it was often an inability to understand and articulate, a confusion, when it came to the issue. I couldn't understand why i would be looked down upon based on something that I had no control over. And this led to my being utterly defensive, and looking for ways to avoid any mention of my caste. I was a good student at school and my best friend was a 'singh'. I do not ever remember trying to find members from my own caste or community, neither do I think there were many mulnivasis in the Jesuit school that I went to. I specifically remember one friend who belonged to the adivasi community and we got along well, but that was it. I didn't see the need to associate with anyone just because of our caste identity.


खालिस्तान की मांग, ब्राह्मणवाद और पंजाब आजकल


(गुरिंदर आज़ाद) Gurinder Azad

gurinder titan1987 में खालिस्तान की मांग उठी। एक अलग स्टेट, सिख स्वायत्तता के साथ।

पंजाब में उस वक़्त की सामाजिक राजनितिक हलचलें आप ज़्यादातर लोग जानते हैं तो थोड़ा संक्षेप में बात रखता हूँ।

1978 की 'खूनी' बैसाखी जिसमे स्टेट स्पॉन्सर्ड 'हिंदूवादी' निरंकारियों के हाथों 13 सिख मारे गए और 1984 में घटी दो घटनाएं - गोल्डन टेम्पल पर सरकारी हमला (ऑपरेशन ब्लू स्टार) और दिल्ली में इंदिरा गाँधी के क़त्ल के बाद सिखों की नस्लकुशी, यह तीनों वाक्य नासूर बन चुके ज़ख्मों के साथ सिखों को देख रहे थे। जतन हुए मगर किसी भी केस में सिखों को न्याय नहीं मिला। अतीत में ही, सिखों के एक हिस्से को ब्राह्मणवाद की कमीनगी का अंदाज़ा हो गया था। वे जान गए ये ऐसा वायरस है जो सामने वाले को ख़त्म करके सीधा टेकओवर करता है। यह ख़ास हिस्सा इस वायरस के लचीलेपन से भी वाकिफ था। वह इससे मुकम्मल छुटकारा चाहते थे। वैसे भी, उनके पास एक तरीके से स्वयं के सिख राज्य एवं सियासत का मॉडल था ही जो बन्दा सिंह बहादुर और महाराजा रणजीत सिंह के सिख राज से वाबस्ता था।

इस मांग से स्टेट बहुत नाराज़ हो गई।


Media Mercenaries: Hindutva Trolls and Moderation Mafias


Dr Praveen

dr praveen"When reason fails, the devil helps" wrote Dostoevsky.

Whenever all the reasons to justify foolish policies fail, when reason exposes the fascistic and fanatic ideology of the Hindutva and insurmountable opposition builds, the BJP/RSS rely upon their devils in social media as trolls, goons and moderation mafias. To thwart any voice that is sane, to oppose and nullify them by means which are base and mean.

These troll goons are either employed by the BJP/RSS or volunteers, and they are prevalent in all platforms of social media. They are not just random users, they operate systematically in groups to harass and jibe the persons expressing the dissent against the Modi government or the Hindutva ideology. The targets of trolls are politicians, journalists, celebrities, social activities, anyone who express their opinions and expose the fallacies of Modi Government.


Exiling Intellectuals: From HCU to JNU

N Sukumar & Shailaja Menon

In 1962, Paulo Freire created culture circles in Northeastern Brazil to support 300 sugarcane workers to teach each other how to read the word and their world in 45 days, which enabled them to register to vote. These Culture Circles that began with Sugar Cane workers, catalyzed thousands more. Each with the purpose of not just literacy, but conscientization, or which involves people joining with their peers to name their world by reflecting on their conditions, imagining a better world, and then taking action to create it. This approach, developed as much by Freire as the workers he educated, was so galvanizing that he was jailed and exiled by the Military Government within two years. (http://www.practicingfreedom.org/pedagogy-of-the-oppressed-what-is-it-and-why-its-still-relevant/, accessed 11/1/2017 9.45 am)

rohith vemula 2

Emancipatory ideologies across the world have emphasized education as a key strategy for radical social transformations. Closer home, visionaries like Jotiba and Savitribai Phule, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Periyar to name a few accentuated education to generate a truly liberated society. The varied discourses on liberty, freedom, equality and justice provided the bedrock to construct a pluralistic India. The institutionalization of education in modern India emerged during colonial rule to serve the colonial administration. The benefit accrued to a privileged few as access to education was contoured around caste and gender norms. Post- independence, the scenario was sought to be changed through constitutionally mandated affirmative action (Reservations) to enable the underprivileged groups to access education.


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