Affirmative action in workspaces – the tick box phenomenon


Dr. Sylvia Karpagam

Sylvia pixLarge organizations working on human rights and development programs have a massive amount of resources and the luxury of separate departments for each aspect of administration and program implementation. These organisations are often proverbial 'ivory towers' that maintain strict overt and covert codes of gate-keeping that either allow a warm and welcoming access or a rigid and immovable barrier to entry.The traditional inmates of these ivory towers often possess a strong sense of entitlement– a hardened belief that they 'deserve' not just to be in their current locations, but at much senior positions and deserving of much more personal glory. These inmates share a jolly camaraderie and mutual self-love that comes from occupying equivalent social locations.

Of late, however, there is a growing justifiable demand from communities, not to mention overt pressure from international donors, partners and sister organisations, for affirmative action in these organisations – a pressure which cannot be as easily ignored as it has successfully been for the last several years.

Since the curious business of affirmative action cannot now be entirely kept at bay, the creative, nuanced and perplexing process of devious avoidance begins. What role does devious avoidance play in the implementation of affirmative action? It unravels in manifold ways.


Ambedkarism Is the Path of a New Liberated Democratic World

 Chalo Thiruvananthapuram Article Series – Part 1

Sathy Angamali

sathyDemocracy is a total world view that human kind could attain through ideological discourses. But the root cause to the problems that we are entangled in lies in the fact that in contemporary India, not only the fundamental values of democracy are rejected, but the majority is holding firmly the invisible world of Caste-Varna laws where there is no place for human prestige, fraternity, imagination of equality. 2500 years before when Greeks have given form to different Political theories, in India Buddha had already propagated similar philosophies which were of utmost significance. The humane culture with philosophical basis which he had raised by urging equality between Man and Man was written along with the praxis of political ideology. His powerful reasoning, accurate and in depth logic and above all his fervent love towards humans were capable of constructing a democratic society. But when we say that democracy was born in Greek Civilization States, Greek philosopher Aristotle was a person who accepted Slavery. When history convinces us of the fact that women and slaves didn't have freedom in Greece, we become cognizant that Buddha is a great personality given by India to the world.


On the Anxieties surrounding Dalit Muslim Unity


Ambedkar Reading Group Delhi University 

argduRecently we saw the coming together of Dalits and Muslims at the ground level, against a common enemy - the Hindu, Brahminical State and Culture - in many instances. It was a unification of lower caste groups and Muslims that we witnessed in the struggles of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) in University of Hyderabad (UoH) too. Such a combination was what irked the authorities in UoH, which led to the persecution and eventual suicide/institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. However, in spite of this, the intellectual discussions that are happening today seem to be writing off any Dalit-Muslim unity as an impossible and even undesirable political formation by pointing to the existence of caste among Muslims.[i]

Caste is integral to the formation of almost all identity groups in India as it is foundational to the social and cultural fabric of India. Moreover, if we look at all marginalized and oppressed groups, it was the dominant caste/community among them that was involved in organizing the community.[ii] So, social stratification (on the basis of various factors including caste) is a reality for all minority groups including Muslims. Even Babasaheb Ambedkar wrote about this in his seminal work, Annihilation of Caste.[iii] However, all of the above articles, and much of the present day discussions use the category of caste to abandon the Muslim question and see it anew from within the ambit of a larger anti-caste location. We feel that there are serious problems with this political and theoretical move and this is what we want to problematize in this piece.


Love and Marriage: Caste and Social Spaces



~ An ideal society should be mobile, should be full of channels for conveying a change taking place in one part to other parts. In an ideal society there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared. There should be varied and free points of contact with other modes of association. In other words there should be social endosmosis. This is fraternity, which is only another name for democracy. Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men.1 ~ Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar

kotesu sunita ilavarasan

Social spaces2 are political. Who we meet, dine, date, socialize in a geographical set is largely governed by the politics of who gets to be where, which in a caste-society discerns from who is born –where. A social space could be a theatre, workplace, school or college, a housing community etc. and the construction of social spaces in a caste-society is a product of the machinations of the governing class. Agraharam, Ooru, and Colony-Cheri as social spaces are products of caste system, a marker of an array of castes. As such as being the products of the caste-system, these spaces are inherently anti-social or what is indicated by Dr. Ambedkar as the absence of social-endosmosis. Corporate Board rooms, staff rooms in central universities, cafes - restaurants, malls/multiplexes correspond to the same significance of the Agraharam in reserving spaces predominantly for dominant castes. The duality of these spaces in being modern in appeal and feudal in character, democratic in letter and brahmanical in their constitution - underlies the headways Brahmanism has made during what is often dubbed as development course by the Indian state.


Book Excerpts: 'Ambedkarite Movement after Ambedkar'


J.V. Pawar 

The creation and the production of the literature has always been at the heart of the larger Dalit movement. Dalit Literature has its origin in the anti-caste movement started by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar; hence it is often called the Ambedkarite Movement. J. V. Pawar, being one of the founding members of the revolutionary anti-caste movement, Dalit Panthers, in Maharashtra, is a well known literary figure in Maharashtra. However, more than a writer or a literary person, J.V. Pawar prefers to call himself an activist of the movement, an activist who has always been ready to take to the streets if necessary and fight for the rights of the people, fight against injustice imposed upon masses in this caste-society. His own identification of himself as an activist more than a literary figure or a writer or a poet, has over the period shaped his interpretations, his outlook about narrating the story of the Ambedkarite Movement, the movement with which he has been associated since he was just adolescence. He is around 73 years old now.

jv pawar

Being the writer of more than 40 books about Ambedkarite/Dalit Movement, his unique contribution in the world of literature is his five volumes project of 'Ambedkarite Movement after Ambedkar' in which he depicted events, conflicts, triumphs of the Ambedkarite world in Maharashtra which are otherwise not known to many people. His writing is in Marathi. His narration about small events took place within the anti-caste movement in Maharashtra is something which is very unique in his books. This is his first volume which is translated by Yogesh Maitreya in English and published by Panther's Paw Publication. The publisher's objective behind translating and publishing such narrative is to inform and tell the people the story of Ambedkarites, Dalits, and Buddhists , their movement and their struggle written by no one but themselves.


आम आदमी पार्टी का क्षणिक चमत्कार और अंबेडकरवाद को मिलती धीमी बढ़त


Sanjay Jothe

अभी भारत की राजनीति में जितने प्रयोग हो रहे हैं वे सब एक बड़े विस्तार में बहुत सारी संभवनाओं को खोल रहे हैं। कांग्रेस और बीजेपी की राजनीति से मोहभंग हो रहा है और नए मोह निर्मित हो रहे हैं। सबसे महत्वपूर्ण है AAP की सफलता जो एक शिक्षित और शहरी मध्यम वर्ग को अचानक सम्मोहित करके उभरी है। AAP असल में एक ऐसे शून्य को भरना चाहती है जिसकी निर्मिती के पूरे समाजशास्त्र और राजनीति से उसको खुद ही कोई गंभीर सरोकार नहीं है.

fight corruption

भ्रष्टाचार और स्वराज आदि इतने कामन और वेग से मुद्दे हैं कि इनको लेकर खडा हो जाना और वादे या दावे करना सबको पसंद आएगा. लेकिन असल मुद्दा ये है कि भ्रष्टाचार या स्वराज कि हीनता का वृहद् समाजशात्र और राजनीति क्या है? और इन्हें कैसे एड्रेस किया जाए. AAP के पास दूर दूर तक इसको लेकर कोई प्रपोजल नहीं है.


Are Muslims of Uttar Pradesh Bonded Laborers of Samajwadi Party?


Mohammad Asif & Mohd. Amir Khan

Election fever is gripping the most populous state of the country, Uttar Pradesh, and every party - be it BSP, SP-Congress alliance and newcomers like Owaisi's AIMIM are wooing Muslims with their sop-operas. But the curious case to examine is of the Samajwadi Party which came to power for the fourth time in the state assembly elections of 2012, riding on the popular Muslim-Yadav combination. This combination was also the main factor in the past in making the Samajwadi party a major player in the politics of the state, which most political scholars say is the key to the centre. And as we have already seen in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it was UP which gave keys of power to BJP to run the country (BJP won 71 seats out of 80 in UP).


For more than two decades, Samajwadi Party is considered to be the party of Muslims and they made a very crucial contribution in bringing the party to power for four times in UP. But many incidents which happened in the current SP regime are forcing Muslims to rethink on who to vote for in the assembly elections of 2017. Some of these incidents are very severe, and we will analyse them one by one.


रोमांच, मनोरंजन और ब्राह्मणवादी प्रतीक


Sanjay Jothe

रहस्य रोमांच के बहाने मनोरंजन की तलाश करते समाजों या लोगों पर कभी गौर कीजिये गजब के परिणाम हाथ लगेंगे। रहस्य और चमत्कार तो खैर अतिरंजित बाते हैं, सामान्य मनोरंजन के चुनाव की प्रवृत्ति भी पूरे समाज के मनोविज्ञान को नंगा करने के लिए काफी है।

naagin tv

किस तरह के टीवी सीरियल्स और फ़िल्में मकबूल हो रही हैं, उससे आप जान सकते हैं कि पूरा समाज किस दिशा में जा रहा है।

टीवी सीरियल्स और फिल्मों के बीच हालाँकि एक स्पष्ट और जाहिर सा जेंडर का भेद होता है। अधिकांश फ़िल्में पुरुष वर्ग के लिए और टीवी सीरियल्स स्त्री वर्ग के लिए होते हैं। हालांकि ये सामान्यीकरण पूरी तरह ठीक नहीं है फिर भी कुछ दूर तक ठीक है।

इन दोनों में रहस्य या थ्रिल की बात आती है तो देखिये कि कहानी किस दिशा में रची जाती है? भारत में बड़े और भव्य सीरियल जो कल्पनाशीलता से भरे फिक्शन परोस रहे हैं वे मिथकों में घुसे जा रहे हैं। अब संतोषी माँ भी मैदान सम्भाल चुकी हैं जिनका किसी पुराने हिन्दू शास्त्र में कोई उल्लेख नहीं, ये साईं बाबा की तरह अवैदिक और आधुनिक एंट्री है। लेकिन आधुनिक होने के बावजूद इनके चमत्कार सनातन श्रेणी और स्तर के ही हैं, मजा ये भी है कि कालक्रम में मिथक फिक्शन जितना पीछे जाता है उतना चमत्कारी होता जाता है।


Padmavati's Kin: A Conflict without Contradictions


Pushpendra Johar

Cinema, sexuality and conflict seem closely linked given the kind of commodification the former enables for the latter two. Though, what is almost never discussed is the over-determining factor that guides all these three - caste. As events have unravelled in the past few days with news of a regressive1 and celebrated bollywood filmmaker getting roughed up at the hands of the members of a retrograde caste-based organisation, there has been some conversation around the mythical queen of Chittor, Rani Padmavati's  (aka Padmini) story, and the facts of falsity therein. The arguments by social media users, researchers, and media persons - all reacting from their caste locations - inform us that Padmavati has graduated from myth to legend to history - the process of actualization of the idea of Padmavati.

padmavati comic

Why is someone making a film on a mythological character and why a caste based group is contesting the sexuality of such a figure? Both these questions need to be explored in the context of the two stakeholders in focus.

It's a fight for 'honour', the Rajput Karni Sena and its supporters have been saying2. But before we go ahead it is important to distinguish between honour and caste-pride. Both of these are being used interchangeably in such contexts where communities invoke their pasts and use them to impose their caste supremacy on the marginalised castes. The upholders of Padmavati's on-screen chastity are actually upholding their own patriarchal positions and caste-pride.


Brahmin Feminism sans Brahmin Patriarch


Kanika S

It has almost become common sense that feminism has been shaped exclusively by a class of women that came from Brahmin-Savarna castes in India, to the extent that even trashy Brahminical platforms like The Quint have also had to recently float articles admitting the same when it was no longer possible to be seen as "progressive" without acknowledging this. Anyhow the proposition was easily verifiable by the social locations of the authors who wrote books after books on gender justice, the professors that taught gender studies, the journalists that wrote articles in media on related subjects, the activists that gained stardom fighting on behalf of victims of gendered violence from various backgrounds etc. Caste was an unspeakable ghost that sat neatly with the Bahujans, spoken of only while discussing constitutional reservations and electoral politics.

syam feminism


Reception Histories of Bahujan Narrative Identity: The Many Forms of Non-Brahmanism


Saket Moon

saket moon


The trope of the unity of the Non-upper caste, Non-Brahman as the vanguard of the socio-political revolution has one that has, at least since Phule, been an important part of the Maharashtrian discourse. So much so that on the eve of the formation of Maharashtra as a state of independent India, the then future chief minister Y.B. Chavan announced that the formation of Maharashtra would mean the rule of the Bahujan Samaj, the oppressed non-Brahmin majority. The rhetoric paid rich dividends as Chavan became the first chief minister of Maharashtra in 1960. Ironically, the movement for the creation of the state was led by an almost complete Brahman leadership1. However, this was not the first time that this trope appeared. If we are to trace the history of the Bahujan, as an identity, a trope and an idiom, we can start at Phule's conception of the non-Aryan masses. However, it has been argued by Dorothy Figueira, that this was an Anti-Myth to the Aryan Shared Myth propagated by the upper castes. This shall be looked into in greater detail further on in this paper. The case study of this paper shall be conducted upon the many interpretations of this idiom in the texts of the socio-political and literary spheres of Maharashtra, from Phule up to theorists of the present.

The theoretical basis of this paper shall be based upon interpreting the bahujan narrative identity as a social text, trying to trace the reception histories of the identity as well as attempting a socio-rhetorical analysis of these histories. The paper shall also attempt to understand the relation between these receptions and their contexts, and how receptions influenced further interpretations. At the same time the changes in the narrative that occur with its reinterpretations shall be looked at.


भारतीय साहित्य, सिनेमा और खेल की सामाजिक नैतिकता का प्रश्न


Sanjay Jothe 

कला और सृजन के आयामों में एक जैसा भाईचारा होना चाहिए जो कि भारत में नहीं है। ऐसा क्यों है? ऐसा होना नहीं चाहिए, लेकिन है। इनके बीच इस तरह मेलजोल और एकता क्यों नहीं है? एकता एक नैतिक प्रश्न है अगर आपकी नैतिकता विखण्डन और विभाजन के चारे से बनी है तो सृजनात्मक आयामों में भी एकता नहीं बन पाएगी।

इतिहास में देखें समाज के सबसे शक्तिशाली आयाम - राजनीति के प्रति भी हमारी जनता में एक उपेक्षा फैलाई गई थी जो अभी भी बनी हुई है- "कोउ नृप होय हमे का हानि", ये वक्तव्य सभ्यता और एकता वाले समाज में असंभव है हाँ विभाजन वाले और असभ्य समाज में ये न केवल संभव है बल्कि यही उसके सार्वजनिक और सामाजिक जीवन का एकमात्र नियम भी है। कोई भी राजा हो हमें क्या मतलब - इसका अर्थ है कि आपके राजा और राजगुरु, राजसत्ता आपके हितैषी नहीं हैं और आपको उनसे कोई लगाव नहीं है। मतलब कि देश, इतिहास, भूगोल सहित धर्म और समाज की धारणा ही यातो अभी यहां जन्म नही ले पायी है या मिटा दी गयी है

syam flipcart

(an aesthetic distance by Syam Cartoonist) 


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