बाबासाहिब की विरासत

 

ललित कुमार (Lalit Kumar)

lalit kumarभारत रत्न डा. भीमराव अम्बेडकर का एक प्रसिद्ध कथन है जिस तरह मनुष्य नश्वर हैं. उसी तरह विचार भी नश्वर हैं. एक विचार को प्रचार-प्रसार की ज़रुरत होती है, जैसे कि एक पौधे को पानी की. नहीं तो दोनों मुरझा कर मर जाते हैं.ये इस देश की और खास कर उस दबे कुचले अश्प्रिश्य समाज की विडम्बना हि कही जायेगी कि जिन डा. अम्बेडकर को अमेरिका के पूर्व राष्ट्रपति श्रीमान ओबामा ये कह कर याद करते हैं कि अगर डा. अम्बेडकर हमारे यहां जन्मे होते तो हम उन्हें सूर्य कह कर पुकारते, जिन्हें विश्व प्रसिद्ध कोलम्बिया विश्व विध्यालय के अब तक के 100 शीर्ष विध्यर्थियो में स्थान प्राप्त है, उनके विचारों की बहुमूल्य विरासत को भारत में उसी तरह मर जाने के लिये छोड़ दिया गया जैसे एक पौधे को बिना पानी के अपनी ही मौत मरने के लिये छोड़ दिया जाता है. ये इस देश की उस एक चौथाई आबादी का कैसा दुर्भाग्य है जो डा. भीमराव अम्बेडकर को श्रद्धा से बाबासाहिब कहती है, अपना मसीहा, अपना भगवान मानकर पूजती तो है लेकिन मानसिक दासता, सामाजिक और आर्थिक असमानता, शोषण और अत्यचार को धूल चटा कर रख देने उनके विचारों की शक्ति से बहुदा अनभिज्ञ है.

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Understanding the Intersections of Gender and Caste Discrimination in India

 

Kamna Sagar

kamna sagar 1The caste framework in India has stood out as the biggest element of social stratifications. Caste, class and gender are indistinguishably associated, they speak with and overlap each other. Numerous parts of the human condition are profoundly influenced by the stratified examples of rank framework. Alongside Gender stratifications that characterize numerous social relations, caste based position framework is profoundly established in numerous parts of our life.

The Caste development is a part of the social structure that goes before Independence. It is an express arrangement of separation in the administration of the mastery of financial assets, social power etc. Caste capacities as standard law combined with a socially overwhelming confidence in its 'truth'. Extensively talking there are three frameworks having an effect on everything in my mapping: Caste development, class structure and the state. I have portrayed each of them as indicated by their belongings as far as social inclination, personal involvement and working of the state.

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Caste, Shambuka and Marginalized Reinterpretations of The Ramayana

 

Emma Leiken

 Emma Leiken profile.jpgA tapasvi is to be venerated, whoever it may be. ~ Kuvempu, (Shudra Tapasvi)

For many staunch devotees of Rama within the Hindu tradition, the Shambuka incident within The Ramayana is an illegitimate part of the canon. This is the case, because for many, the Uttarakanda of Valmiki's standard Ramayana telling (which contains this episode) is an interpolation – a non-sacred addition to the text added by a subsequent author. Attributing the writing of the Uttarakanda to a later and unknown author allows many to circumvent issues of caste in readings of The Ramayana.

Likewise, those devotees who go off of Tulsidas's Hindi re-telling, The Ramcaritmanas: Ocean of the Deeds of Rama, do not address the Shambuka incident at all, as it is only present in Valmiki. Despite these loopholes, if we are to acknowledge the legitimate place of the Shambuka episode in the ever-evolving Ramayana tradition, we find ourselves having to grapple with caste and its implications as they relate to the epic. In the traditional Shambuka incident, a Brahmin comes to King Rama, weeping over the unprompted death of his son. The Brahmin then declares that his son would not have died prematurely had King Rama been ensuring that each subject was performing his or her proper varnasrama-dharma (caste-specific duty or ritual profession). Ultimately, a sage named Narada explains to Rama that indeed, a deviation from dharma has taken place. A Shudra is transgressing his varnasrama-dharma by practicing tapas[1] deep in the forest. When Rama finds Shambuka in the forest practicing asceticism and learns that he is infact, a Shudra, Rama beheads him. In this telling, the moment Rama beheads Shambuka, the Brahmin's child is restored to life. This is the original telling of the Shambuka incident in Valmiki's Uttarakanda.[2]

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The Piano Man outrage: Calling out casteist mentality in elite circles

 

Jyotsna Siddharth

jyotsna 3Them and Us

I, me, mine, we, us, ours
You, them, they, theirs, those people.

"It's just a band name" is what the tombstone should read when the Calgary post-punk band, Viet Cong, finally decides to put the offensive and self-confessed dumb band name to rest. It was those exact words from lead singer and bassist Matt Flegel that revealed their flippant attitude towards the Vietnamese community and their complaints that detail how the name is a reminder of the atrocities committed by the real VC. It also convinced a concert promoter to cancel their show at Oberlin College earlier this year."1

This piece is centred around an event at The Piano Man, a popular jazz club in Delhi. For those who are unaware, the club hosted a music band's event called Bhangijumping. Bhangi is a lower caste engaged in manual scavenging practice in India. When brought to the notice, the owner of the club shushed it as unintentional and covered it as "art and supporters of artistic expression." The issue escalated into a series of exchanges via social media arguing that this was a casteist slur with serious connotations, causing humiliation to the dalit community.2

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'Perspectives’: Social Experiment or Caste Conservation?

 

Kanika Sori 

In February this year, a young Savarna woman from Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Bangalore, created a photo-project that went viral. It was hosted by fifty different kinds of media portals. Recently it was recycled by an e-zine called Storypick for public consumption. Its creator called the album ‘Perspectives,’ and it was meant to be an assignment submission for a course she was taking. Her college happens to attract the most elite of the Brahmin-savarnas from all over the country as both teachers and students. So, these expressed ‘perspectives’ of fear and safety in the public spaces come from the Savarna women's gaze, with the vast majority of working castes being used both as the canvas and the drawn monster. 

syam DV

In the photo-project, the female protagonist seems to have left the ‘safety’ of her modern house in one of the exclusively upper-caste colonies to step into an ‘unsafe’ open neighborhood with differently dressed unsuspecting Bahujans going about their daily business. Her friend clicks her photographs as she poses deceptively with them in the frame. An outlandish activity for these other people in an otherwise uneventful day of usual, ungrateful labour for a meagre living. This was a local street bazaar that can be seen hosting very small shops and stalls, the kind which are not frequented by Savarna women unlike, say, Khan Market or Brigade Road. Her bizarre placement in their everyday work scenes evoked expressions of shock and curiosity, as it would have in any Savarna ‘middle-class’ person who might have been there, simply because these aren’t the caste locations for Savarna socializing. These expressions are then captured on camera and published without consent. This exercise is projected as the ‘difficulties of being a girl’ in the streets.

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Trucked: A Comic

 

Favita Dias and Anjora Noronha

TRUCKED e-version F.Dias and A.Noronha-01

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Ravidas, Thakur arrogance, and the Double Game

 

Mangesh Dahiwale

Judging by the influence and popularity of Ravidas, he was perhaps India's most influential saint-revolutionary. He stood for the annihilation of caste and his impact reached all over the Hindi belt. The geography he impacted was vast and the society he influenced was diverse and huge. He was the king among the saints. If history is to be believed, he defeated the Great Kabir in debate. Though Ravidas came from the so called Chamar caste, his disciples included Meera, the poet from Rajastan. He envisioned "Begumpura": the land of no sorrow, the vision of an exploitation-free world. Bur Ravidas was the career of the great message of the Buddha. Both Ravidas and Kabir had roots in Buddha's teachings and vision. A lot is written on this aspect. Also Ravidas has emerged as the symbol of pride, particularly among the Chamars of Punjab, and they pride themselves in being called Ravidassia. It is natural to feel pride in one's ancestors.

ravidas

One of the reasons that instigated the Saharanpur riot was the arrogance of Thakurs to play their loudspeakers loudly near the Ravidas temple during a procession to celebrate Rana Pratap, the local warlord, whose contribution to community's welfare is unknown. However, the thakurs are looking for symbols to assert their pride. This is true all over India, the dominant caste try to assert through their ancestors' work. Sometimes, such an assertion leads to violence. The perpetrators of the crime were the Thakurs, the caste that Adityanath represents and mobilised militantly through Hindu Yuva Vahini. In the aftermath of the violence, over 400 members of the Bhim Army have been held in policy custody by the whimsical Thakur Adityanath. They are looking out for Chandrashekhar, the founder of Bhim Army.

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क्या भारत सभ्य है?

 

संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe)

सोशल साइंस की एक कांफ्रेंस के बाद एक स्विट्जरलैंड के प्रोफेसर मित्र से बात करने का मौका मिला। बैठक के दौरान हमारी बात हो रही थी अलग अलग देशों की समाज व्यवस्था पर, वे मध्यकालीन यूरोप के सामाजिक ताने बाने की बात बता रहे थे। सामाजिक मानवशास्त्र के विशेषज्ञ के रूप में उनका यूरोप, साउथ एशिया, अफ्रीका और मिडिल ईस्ट का गहरा अध्ययन रहा है।

nature caste hindus

उनकी बातों में जनसामान्य और 'नोबेल्स' (श्रेष्ठीजन) की दो श्रेणियों का जिक्र निकला। असल में बात यूँ निकली कि क्या यूरोप में वर्ण व्यवस्था या जाति व्यवस्था जैसा कुछ रहा है? चर्चा में उन्होंने बताया कि अमीर गरीब और सामान्य, नोबेल का अंतर जरूर रहा है लेकिन कोई भी सामान्य व्यक्ति या गरीब कारीगर किसान मजदूर या कोई अन्य पिछड़ा आदमी या स्त्री अपनी योग्यता के बल पर ऊपर की नोबेल श्रेणियों में प्रवेश कर सकता/ सकती था/थी। इन श्रेणियों के विभाजन पत्थर की लकीर की तरह कभी नहीं रहे जैसा कि भारत मे होता है।

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The difference in being a Babasaheb and a Pandit

 

Tejaswini Tabhane

The following tweet has made all my nerves rebel. I am restless. I am constantly wondering what my identity is. I am not able to digest this hatred. I am surprised how anyone can carry so much hatred in their belly. Many Twitter users, just like me, saw that meme. They moved on, but I am not able to. You may say I am overreacting. But I can't help it. My mind isn't allowing me to stay calm!

babasaheb pandit

We encounter many casteist abuses everyday on social media. The Twitter user who shared this meme is just another Twitter troll who calls himself 'Anpadh (illiterate) Hindu'.

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God qua Impotent Witness: Geoffrey Hill’s “Ovid in the Third Reich”

Anilkumar PV

 

non peccat, quaecumque potest peccasse negare,
solaque famosam culpa professa facit.
(Amores, III, xiv)

I love my work and my children. God
Is distant, difficult. Things happen.
Too near the ancient troughs of blood
Innocence is no earthly weapon.

I have learned one thing: not to look down
So much on the damned. They, in their sphere,
Harmonize strangely with the divine
Love. I, in mine, celebrate the love-choir.

 Despite or because of the worked out sexism of the first line with the erasure of the woman who is the mother of “my children,” which is unavoidable the why of which will be evident from the following exposition. The first line relates to man’s spiritual existence. This sexism is valid insofar as we believe that the speaker here is Ovid – the canonical figure of Latin poetry – and the place he describes is the Third Reich, Hitler’s Germany. Let us avoid other possibilities and the ensuing complications and stick to the spirituality embodied in first line: one has to accept that a male human’s love of one’s children is an intense spiritual/moral act because, unlike the mother-child relationship whose spiritual/moral bond can be traced back to their natural umbilical connection in the womb, fatherhood has no such support in nature. Father is purely a cultural construct, whose truth can only be established through a cultural process like marriage or DNA test. ovid cupid

Frontispiece with the Bust of Ovid

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Atrocities on Dalits and Rights to Self Defence

 

Deepak Kumar

deepak kumar

The Indian Constitution envisaged the words of Buddha, "war is not the solution", in its text and other legislative provisions. The Indian Constitution in Part IV makes the provision to maintain international peace and security[1]. The individual is a subject in national as well as international law and the individuals enjoy rights and duties for and against each other as well as the State. Law is the gift of civilisation and it makes a fundamental difference between a human being and an animal to govern the society in an organised and civilised manner. Discord is in the nature of the human being and therefore, he needs to be regulated either by society or by the State. In other words, the State makes laws to protect the citizen not only against the individual but also against the State.

There are laws that protect individual freedom from infringement by individuals as well as the State. It is the duty of the State to protect the body and the property of the individual within and beyond its territory. But there are certain conditions where the State is not ready to provide its assistance immediately, so it provides some power to its citizens that can be used as a right to protect themselves, even up to the extent of causing the death of someone who is threatening their lives. It is the unique feature of the Indian Penal Code, that allows you to protect yourself or others when you have reasonable apprehension that someone is threatening your or others' life.

In India, for 2,500 years, a certain community has faced humiliation, discrimination and has been forced to live in inhuman conditions due to a casteist and religious order. Everyday, one gets to read 3 to 4 news stories in every newspaper regarding atrocities against SC/ ST and minorities by certain sections of the so-called upper caste people. These people are citizens of India and also have the right to self-defence. The State made laws to protect these communities but after the experiences of 70 years of free India, we can say laws are good but the implementation is bad. The State machinery has failed to protect the rights, liberty and freedom of deprived sections of society.

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"भीम आर्मी" का प्रदर्शन: मीडिया का मुंडन

 

सुरेश जोगेश (Suresh Jogesh)

सुबह से भीड़ जमा होनी शुरू हो गयी थी जंतर-मंतर पर. देखते ही देखते आसमान का रंग जमीन ओढ़ने लगी थी. वही आलम सोशल मीडिया का भी था. हर ओर नीला ही नीला. मुख्यधारा मीडिया का काम इस बार सोशल मीडिया बखूबी निभा रहा था. जो तस्वीरें आती रही उनमें फ्रांस, अमेरिकन और जर्मनी के कुछ पत्रकार कैमरा और माइक के साथ थे पर दिलचस्प बात यह रही कि भारतीय मीडिया घरानों के दिल्ली के दफ्तरों में बैठे संवाददाताओं और एंकरों ने बाहर निकलने की जहमत नही उठायी. एक-दो नही, लगभग सभी. हालांकि इस बात की पहले से ही प्रबल उम्मीद थी. भारतीय मीडिया के 180 देशों के मीडिया में 136 वें नंबर होने के प्रमुख कारण को यहां साफ देखा जा सकता था. जो मीडिया दबे-कुचलों, शोषितों की आवाज नही बन सकती, शोषक जाति से सवाल नही कर सकती. जिस पर सिर्फ अप्पर कास्ट का एकाधिकार है. जो निष्पक्षता और न्याय की जगह राष्ट्रवाद और धार्मिकता को पैमाना मानता है उसके 180 वें नंबर होने पर भी भला कोई सवाल हो सकता है क्या?

Talk on Bheem army on NDTV

पेश है जंतर-मंतर पर भीम आर्मी के प्रदर्शन की कवरेज पर खाश रिपोर्ट:

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