The Hindu-Muslim Love Story

 

Karthick RM

Karthick RM"If you accept to play the games by the rules set up by those who own or control the board, you will always lose."
- Jean-Paul Sartre

Surprisingly, a writer for Scroll.in in a recent article asked a very pertinent question – "Why doesn't the violence against Dalits incite liberal fury, as does violence against Muslims?" (Unsurprisingly though, he fails in his analysis.) But it is worth our while to consider this question. So what is it about caste violence that makes it worthy of far lesser attention and outrage than anti-Muslim violence?

One obvious conclusion to arrive at, and which is not without truth in it, is that the lives of lower castes value less. Three main material reasons for this is that the Dalits have never been ruling classes in this country and structural violence against Dalits has been a constant for centuries; two, Dalits do not have the international networks and influence like the Muslims, and atrocities against them will not provoke adverse reactions from external actors; finally, the (forced) invisibility of Dalits in the public sphere makes the liberal mind ignorant and immune to anti-Dalit violence.

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BJP’s way is highway

 

Arvind Kumar (JNU)

Arvind PhotoAmid the numerous speculations, finally the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies have arrived on a seat sharing formula for the upcoming Bihar assembly election. The BJP has kept the lion's share by retaining 159 seats out of 243 whereas its three principal allies namely the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and the Hindustani Avam Morcha (HAM) have got 40, 23 and 21 seats respectively. In addition to this formal arrangement, 5 candidates of the HAM will also contest on the BJP's election symbol.

The announcement of this seat sharing formula has raised further questions instead of providing a 'universal solution' to the already existing 'perennial questions'. Nowadays, the job of election pundits has become more difficult because in addition to decoding the logic of the 'big brother' keeping the larger share of about 2/3rd of the seats and adjusting three junior partners within the remaining 1/3rd seats, they have to also answer questions like-is this formula just? How has the BJP managed to get its key allies to agree on this formula? Which political party is the biggest beneficiary of this arrangement? What might be the future consequences of this formula?

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Child murdering caste society

 

Anu Ramdas

The murder of children is a monstrosity. Children are the default protected community; constructs such as race, gender, ethnicity, caste, linguistic or regional identity cannot come in the way of their protected status. Children are persons who immediately command the full commitment of adults to ensure that they are at all times within boundaries of moral and material security.1 Adults and every social institution, from the nuclear family to the state, are socially, ethically and legally programmed to perform a protective role towards babies and very young children, be they blood-related or not, be they citizens or otherwise. A society that does not follow this primary role is not a human one or even an animal one.

sunpedh burnt house

A day after the news of murder of very young children in Faridabad, even before people could grasp the gruesomeness of what they were made witness to, the political response came in the form of a politician's offensive statement. His name, his caste, his party affiliation and words were designed to deflect people's shock and anger away from the crime, which was a premeditated plan to eliminate a whole family as they slept, inside their home.

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Beef bans: Unjustifiable, Ineffective, Expensive

 

Sundeep Pattem

sundeep pattemIn the public discussion over the bans on cow meat in several states of India, a fundamental question is this: Should the bans exist in the first place? The argument can be settled quite succinctly as follows:

Q. Is the cow an endangered species? Has any authority said it is in danger of becoming endangered?

A. No.

Q. Can a ban on eating cow meat (only and not extending to other meats) be justified based on logical reasoning?

A. No.

Q. Can democratic laws of a society be such that they impose the religious preferences of some on everyone?

A. No.

Q. Are any such existing laws, enacted against democratic principles, just and good for society?

A. No.

In the rest of this article, I substantiate the above by considering democratic law, economic, ethical and environmental perspectives as they relate to the bans on cow slaughter. The religious perspective, while not a conclusive factor, is a good starting point for this issue.

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Patel agitation and the rationale behind SC/ST reservations

 

Sthabir Khora

sthabir khora 1The patel agitation has reignited the anti-reservationists. The anti-reservationists thrive on popular, superfluous, ahistorical arguments about merit, justice and the state. The demand by well-off communities like Patels, Jats and others has created a sort of desert storm - that everyone deserves reservation. I will take up the following principal ahistorical arguments against SC/ST reservation and counter them. The main focus is reservation in government employment here.

1. General category students feel discriminated when SC/ST with lower marks get the seat.
2. Merit is inherently good and should be the governing principle.
3. Economic criteria is better than caste criteria.

1. When do you feel discriminated. People do not feel discriminated in a lottery when a single person gets lots of money to the exclusion of all others because everybody has a equal chance to that jackpot. That's why recruitment without reservation is considered discriminatory because everybody does not have an equal chance.

A popular argument is that an upper caste student does not get a seat in spite of securing more marks than an SC/ST student. This may be valid, but only partially even if we assume that the background of both is the same. Let's assume a hypothetical situation where all candidates have same background. The upper caste student who has not got the seat because an SC/ST with lower marks has got the seat has 3 more avenues to blame. He could have secured more marks and got the seat like the other upper caste students, with same background. Statistically speaking, he has at least 3 times chance as general quota is 50 and SC is 15. If the reserved seats were potentially his, the general seats also were. Second, he also could have got the seat if the total number of seats was more. So s/he can blame the government for this. Lastly, he can also blame his Karma and reconcile; after all, who can the SC/ST students, who do not get seats, blame! 

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Ekta Kapoor and Vishal Bharadwaj: The pimps of brahminical patriarchy

 

Arvind Shesh

arvind sheshInto the darkness of superstitions
  

• In May 2012, the government, in response to a question asked in the Lok Sabha, clarified that in the period 2008-2010, 528 women were murdered on the suspicion of being witches (daayans). Cases of beating and torture are not included in this.

• In July 2012, the National Commission for women reported that there are around 50-60 districts in different Indian states where exist, even today, such heinous practices such as branding women as daayans, insulting and humiliating them, parading them naked or killing them.

Fire of Tragic Darkness

One day, while on a visit to my village two years ago, an elderly woman aged 70-72 years from my neighborhood rushed into my house, all agitated, and hid in the corner under a bed kept in my room. Just as she entered she pressed her hands together and pleaded to me, "Son, I haven't done anything, please save me". 

Before I could understand anything, I heard loud abuses from the alley in front of the old woman's house. When I came outside, I saw a dozen people with lathis hurling abuses and demanding to kick the old woman outside the house. All of them said that they would shave the woman's head, force her to eat excreta and only then talk any further.

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TOI is as Pure Vegetarian as The Hindu: NO Meat Allowed in its Offices

 

Round Table India

It has barely been a few weeks since the horrific lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq made headlines, nearly thirteen years after the Jhajjar atrocity. Akhlaq was reportedly lynched by a mob for 'storing' beef at home. What followed was a range of protests from the savarna civil society in the same media that practises worse forms of food fascism. A year ago, The Hindu, a Brahmin owned newspaper, reinforced its ban on meat in its canteen and dining halls. 

Following in its footsteps, an email leaked on social media a couple of days ago showed how an upper caste employee wrote to the Times of India chief in Kolkata expressing 'discomfort' at a peon, belonging to a marginalized caste, bringing beef to the office and other staffers consuming it. There is also a mention of pork being eaten. The email urged the management to 'take action'. And they did.

to indu jain from thyagarajan kumar

 Today, another email from an unidentified source was leaked where the management, in sync with their Brahmin brethren at The Hindu, in almost the same words, affirmed the 'vegetarian only policy' of the Times of India and warned of 'severe consequences' if that were to be disobeyed!

shivaji sen to all bcc kolkata users

Meanwhile, the Dadri lynching has already been followed by two similar events, one in Himachal and one in Kashmir. And RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya also warns of extreme consequences for "sinners" who slaughter cows, in its latest edition.

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On intellectual arrogance and egoism

 

Kshirod Nag

kshirod nagTo engage with the 'three responses' by Nivedita Menon, Partha Chatterjee and Sudipto Kaviraj to Perry Anderson's Indian Ideology (Verso, 2013) is quite an interesting exercise. Not exactly for any rich content or explanations by these 'acclaimed' intellectuals of our times, but more for the kind of approaches they have adopted to 'attack' Anderson's writing. Their approaches would certainly make a typical Indian very happy, one who can't tolerate if the 'idea of India' is to be called a recent phenomena, if Gandhi is referred to as a misleading figure and a 'religious-politician' (my expression), and if the Nehruvian era is considered to be the founding principle for perpetuating the 'draconian democracy' in India. Even the typical Indian can't be silent, if allegations are made against its intelligentsia for foregrounding the same spirit of Gandhi and Nehru, for producing hegemonic literatures. 

The 'three responses' have accused Anderson for not being ethical in his intellectual pursuits, for not citing 'expected' references in his book and for claiming himself to be original in his propositions, or a 'plagiarist' (Menon's implicit expression). As per the 'responses', a large part of Anderson's arguments had already been made by the Indian intellectuals prior to his analysis on the subcontinent. In this regard, the 'three responses' have specifically celebrated the contributions of- a) Sub-altern studies, b) Dalit and Bahujan literatures and c) Marxist literature. Then, how can Anderson be original? Further, it is said, Anderson has made some statements out of ignorance on the issues of communalism and AFSPA. So many adjectives are added to Anderson's credit, such as, 'ignorant', 'childish', 'unethical', ethnocentric, patroniser' and even a saviour/apologist of colonialism (British imperialism).

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An open letter from a Dalit musician, to whomsoever it may concern

 

Ajith Kumar A S

The immediate provocation for writing this letter is TM Krishna's letter to Modi ("Honourable Narendra Modi-ji"). So I think this letter has to be addressed to a large group of people who 'share' TM Krishna's so-called radical mindset when muslims and dalits are attacked and murdered by caste hindus and their hindutva forces. More than the pretensions and dishonesty in his letter I wish to express my discomfort with his liberal discourses, which I think, don't actually extend any form of solidarity to the targeted communities but on the contrary worsen the situation.

mohammed akhlaaq

 The honorific suffix "ji" sends shivers up my spine. The Gujarat genocide and the history of Hindutva violence is not something everyone could forget. Krishna talks on behalf of "we citizens", "just normal people", "millions of us, Indians". Where does he get the authority to speak for the "normal people" belonging to various parts ("that make up the sum that is India"!). How easily his nationalist rhetoric erases all the differences and how easily he places himself among the millions of people from different communities who face routine violence! The privilege/power/social status of the Brahmin/caste Hindu self hides itself by claiming as "we citizens" who "have been abused, ridiculed and trivialized". This is how progressive upper castes confront the shame of the privilege they enjoy. Who among the "Indians" enjoy full citizenship? Who are denied citizenship? Why certain communities are always asked to prove their loyalty to the country or that they are "Indians"? These questions are never being addressed. By talking for the victims Krishna presents himself as a victim – the "citizen".

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A Dalit Teacher's Successful Crusade against Caste and Corruption

 

Rahul Kumar

Prem Chand "Vimal" has been fighting against autocracy and corruption in the Education Department of Delhi for nearly three decades and has won in about ten such instances. These include one case in the High Court, two in the District Court, twice in the Centre Administrative Tribunal (CAT), and five times in the Central Information Commission (CIC). These repeated victories have slapped the whole education system, which has been and still is, steeped in corruption.

prem chand vimal

He was born in a Dalit family and hails from a small village called Ahiyapur Kalan in Hathras (Mahamaya Nagar) city of Uttar Pradesh which is about 162 km away from Delhi. Being one of the seven children of a small farmer, Vimal's life was full of suffering and social exploitation. He even had no money to study. He said, "I had to do labour work in mansions, paint walls and be a band bajawala during my school vacations. I also used to work in a tailor shop. As I said, I had no money to get an education so I had to do all this work from time to time." He was also a victim of child marriage as he was forced to marry at the age of 13. In spite of all these tough conditions, he managed to get three degrees - B.Sc., M.A., and B.Ed., and later got selected to work in the education department.

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Ambedkar’s Children and Conversion In the time of Ghar Wapsi

 

B. Prabakaran

b prabakaran"A religion which does not recognize man as man is not religion but a disease" ~ Dr. Ambedkar.

Gujarat government has retracted four lakh books on Ambedkar titled, Rashtriya Mahapursh Bharat Ratna Ambedkar, the standard title used by Hindu groups for Ambedkar, which was expected to be given out to school students across the state. The reason for the decision was, as reported by the print media, because of the inclusion of (in the appendix part) the twenty two vows of Ambedkar, which he openly affirmed in front of his counterparts from different parts of India on the day of his conversion to Buddhism in 1956. In order to avoid the ire of the ruling party, no paper except Theekkathir, the communist party's paper, has published the news item in Tamil, as if it is extraneous to the public interest.

The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry of Gujarat state announced that the vows of Ambedkar, particularly the vows negating Hindu gods and condemning inequality of Hinduism, simmered with anti-Hindu content in nature, which would spoil young minds if they happen to read it. However, the incident reaffirms that Hinduism had to lay down its arms before Buddhism once more. On the one hand, the sixtieth anniversary of Ambedkar's conversion commences this October 2015; while on the other hand, the programme of Ghar Wapsi is getting more vitriolic in Hindu India. At this juncture, we can ask ourselves to what extent the unending conversions of Dalits to Buddhism or any religion are a useful idea.

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An Open Letter to the Self-Proclaimed Pandits and Descendants of Manu


Pankaj Kumar Naik

pankajDear Self-Proclaimed Pandits and Descendants of Manu,

Greetings from Trivandrum, the soul of supposedly God's Own Country, since the Asura king Mahavali is yet to resurrect from the grave to see broad daylight!

I am writing this to you both with immense pleasure and pain. Pleasure, because you proved my 'conviction' regarding you and Manuvad right, yet again. Pain, because despite reaching the zenith of civilisation you still seem to behave like a reckless asses – 'consistent' ones!

Now, I will explain to you what I mean by all this:

Let us begin from scratch. Let us talk about your take on 'reservation', let us discuss about the 'efficiency' hypothesis. What you scramble now and then to talk about reservation are not merely attempts to camouflage the inscribed greedy ethos of the Brahmin (I am sad that the word 'Brahmins' would appear often in this letter, and it must be generalized with some caution), but also an utterly orthodox casteist take on issues pertaining to the Bahujans. It has been your standard argument that Bahujans don't have 'talent' and they live on the alms of the government; that Bahujans are not 'efficient' hence would succumb to the 'market' forces once they are 'unleashed' from the benefits. This buzz is age old and not only going on among the 'mediocre' Pandits, but even among the acclaimed scholars of Manu's clan.

From this line of your arguments I derive the strength to write this letter to you. Since, some way or other it is an insult to my identity as a Bahujan. If I had not written this letter it would have proved all my years of education futile. Please, do bear a Bahujan's blasphemy! So, here it goes.

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  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...

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