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.


How egalitarian is EPW?


Dilip Mandal

dilip mandal india today 1"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." – Barack Hussain Obama, quoting Atticus Finch, in his farewell speech on 10th January, 2017.1

It all started with a paper in EPW. Professor Vivek Kumar, who teaches sociology in JNU, asked some pertinent questions regarding the structure and processes of Indian sociology and posed a question – How egalitarian is Indian Sociology2? The questions he asked were related to the upper caste domination in the production of knowledge in the domain of Indian sociology. He used four different parameters and with empirical data he tried to prove his point. How successful he was in his endeavour is altogether another debate and is not within the scope of this article.

It's not that such issues were not raised before. Standpoint theory is all about asking such questions. We have a series of scholars in the west, prominent among them Dorothy E. Smith3, doing the same. In India, Carol Upadhya asked question on the sociological practice of Ghurye and termed it as Hindu Nationalist4. It is strange that Upadhya criticising Ghurye's sociology as "Hindu/Brahminical" is normal academic exercise for the scholars of sociology, whereas Kumar's criticism of caste hegemony of Indian Sociology becomes deterministic, biased and prejudiced.


Brand Modi: The Sense of an Ending?


Shafiullah Anis

shafiullah anisDouglas Holt, former Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School, says cultural brands are "built according to principles entirely different from those of conventional marketing. Cultural brands win competitive battles not because they deliver distinctive benefits, trustworthy service, or innovative technologies (though they may provide all of these). Rather, they succeed because they forge a deep connection with the culture. In essence, they compete for culture share."

Cultural branding is branding of symbolism and powerful myths. There are rituals involved in consumption of such brands that make them truly iconic. When individuals achieve the iconic status, such as Ronald Reagan, Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, people feel compelled to make these icons part of their lives because, through icons, they're able to experience powerful myths continually. Cultural brands can be rebellious, creative or libertine, depending upon the socio-political environment and society's prevailing ideologies and institutions.


Caste of a Mirror: Caste in Hindi Cinema


Manish Gautam

Manish GautamAs the old adage goes, cinema is the mirror of society, but one can delve much deeper into this question: does cinema merely reflect what is visible (or not visible) in society or does it extend far and wide and deeper into that parallel world consisting of the people who are writing scripts and plots, penning songs, conjuring dialogues between the actors, giving the words a visual, and the visuals, words? The people who are creating this cinema are not from some Martian civilisation who are just observers of earthlings, but actually do come from and are tightly tied up with the society that they are showing on the silver screen. Therefore, there is a fair chance that as the outer society (the audience) has hierarchies, divisions, biases and prejudices, the people of the mirror-world, i.e. Cinema, have the same biases, prejudices and hierarchies that they hold dear to their existence and want to perpetuate further owing to their allegiance to the social group they are born into. Bollywood is such an example of this mirror-world: the society that it consists of is prominently upper caste and it perpetuates casteism in myriad ways, within their own world and through projecting outward to society, the consumers of this cinema.


Cast(e) in Paris: Some Anecdotes and Observations


Pranav Kuttaiah

PranavKuttaiah"[Caste] is a local problem, but one capable of much wider mischief, for as long as caste in India does exist, Hindus will hardly intermarry or have any social intercourse with outsiders; and if Hindus migrate to other regions on earth, Indian caste would become a world problem."1 ~Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

"Since when do Indians eat meat?" asked a Mexican student slightly incredulously, eyeing the excessive amount of beef I had helped myself to at the University cafeteria. It came as a slight surprise to me – my own family seldom had a meal that didn't include pork or beef at the table. "Aren't most Indians vegetarians?" she continued.
I could've instinctively thrown the statistics I've been hardwired to remember to correct the casteist presumptions one faces in debating most Indians who speak English: Only about 31% of Indians are vegetarians, a figure that falls to 21% for families with all vegetarian members. Most southern states have a sub-10% number of vegetarians, and perhaps more notably the number of vegetarians is 55% among Brahmins and only about 12% among Adivasis.


Other Related Articles

Interview with Prof Khalid Anis Ansari on the Pasmanda Movement
Monday, 27 February 2017
  Round Table India In this episode of the Ambedkar Age series, Round Table India talks to Prof. Khalid Anis Ansari, Director, Dr. Ambedkar Centre for Exclusion Studies & Transformative... Read More...
Critical Analysis of Indian Historians' Writings on Buddhism - Part 2
Sunday, 26 February 2017
  Ratnesh Katulkar Continued from here. It was during the Mauryan period, particularly at the time of Asoka, that India reached its zenith. There was an advanced stage of development in the... Read More...
हिन्दू भगवानो को परेशान मत कीजिये, रविदास बुद्ध कबीर से मार्गदर्शन लीजिये
Friday, 24 February 2017
  Sanjay Jothe परम संत रविदास का नाम ही एक अमृत की बूँद के जैसा है. जैसे भेदभाव,... Read More...
Spinning Wheel: From Gandhi to Modi
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
  Naveen (Nijam) Gara Prime Minister Narendra Modi's picture replacing that of M K Gandhi at the charkha in an official annual calendar has kicked up a storm. Modi baiters have pounced upon this... Read More...
On the Anxieties surrounding Dalit Muslim Unity
Friday, 17 February 2017
  Ambedkar Reading Group Delhi University  Recently we saw the coming together of Dalits and Muslims at the ground level, against a common enemy - the Hindu, Brahminical State and Culture -... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Dr. Ambedkar's Invaluable Advice on the Sikh Right to Self-rule
Thursday, 22 September 2016
  Sardar Ajmer Singh This article is an excerpt from S. Ajmer Singh's book "Biswi Sadi Ki Sikh Rajneeti: Ek Ghulami Se Dusri Ghulami Tak" (The Sikh Politics of the 20th Century: From One Slavery... Read More...
जाति पाति: आदर्श और हक़ीकत (पंजाब के सन्दर्भ में)
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
  Sardar Ajmer Singh (सरदार अजमेर सिंह) (यह आलेख आज़ाद भारत के पंजाब प्रांत में दलित/पछड़ा... 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