When the Eye of Justice Is Jaundiced

 

Gauri Lankesh

gauri lankeshKarnataka High Court Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee is a man who proudly wears his belief on his forehead. While that might be his personal choice, what is problematic is that he expresses his religious affinity with as much pride without bothering about his esteemed position as a dispenser of justice according to a secular constitution.

In July this year, Mr. Mukherjee visited Udupi on the invite of Pejavara Swamy who is one of the founding members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishat. That day Mr. Mukherjee did all the things that a Brahmin devotee of the Krishna Temple does: took off his shirt before visiting the temple, with the rudhrakshi mala dangling around his neck he peeped piously through the Kanakana Kindi at the idol inside, did namaskara to Krishna with precious gems adorning eight of his ten fingers.

Later that day, after receiving an award titled 'Shri Rama Krishna Vittala Anugraha Prashasti' from Pejavara swamy, Mr. Mukherjee said ''we are proud to say we are all Hindus. But our points of view are not the same. Since all of us desire 'Moksha' why should there be infighting amongst us? Though majority of us are Hindus, it has not been possible for us to build a temple and install the idol of Rama inside it. That is why I pray that all Hindu saints should come together to build the Rama temple at Ayodhya. All Hindu saints should come together to protect Hindu dharma.'' Had the likes of Yogi Adithyanath, Sakshi Maharaj, Sadhvi Prachi or even Praveen Togadia uttered such words no one would have been surprised. But the fact that the Chief Justice of Karnataka should utter such words shocked many. Unfortunately, this incident was reported only in a couple of Kannada dailies and that too in local editions.

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When Rohith Vemula Meets Jignesh Mevani: Towards a Radical Democratic Imaginary

 

K K Baburaj

'Live dangerously', told Nietzsche, one of the great counter-thinkers in the history of modern philosophy. KK Kochu, a well known Dalit writer and political activist from Kerala, in his collection of articles titled 'Revolution and Culture' published in the eighties, attempted to rewrite the slogan of Nietzsche as 'act dangerously'. Such rewritings and reconstructions were not the only activities that happened during that period. It has witnessed various movements of Adivasis, Dalits and backward communities and women, farmers of small land holdings, unorganized labourers; who came forward and fought to claim their identities. This can be considered as a part of an advancement of the formation of a new political community in India by bringing the marginalised people together.

jignesh mevani

These facts points to an important incident in the history of the nation, a phenomenon of historical cessation, a detachment from the existing praxis and thoughts to propel a new political advancement. The subaltern intellectuals like WEB Dubois, B R Ambedkar, Sreenarayana Guru, Iyothi Das, James Baldwin, and Alice Walker worked and thought only for their own communities is a distorted reading of their legacy. Along with their thoughts on reformation of their communities, they also brought a new discourse of modernity and civilization to the world and people . It was this double responsibility that makes their struggles and contributions remarkable and it made them detached from what we call the 'common'. "I am not part of the whole, I am a part apart" was what Ambedkar described about himself to the leaders of national movement, in disagreement with the so called common propositions.

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The Circle That Is Losing Its Centre : Ambedkarite Poetry of Our Time

 

Yogesh Maitreya

suni book coverDalit poetry in Maharashtra has been recently going through a transition. However, there are only a few poets who have managed to catch this transition in their poems. Some of them turned inward and explored the subject matter of their personal conflicts with the world. Others have managed to make the dialectical combination of their self/subjectivity and the objects which were imposed upon them by the outer world. Sunil Abhiman Awachar is one of the poets in Maharashtra who has been carrying the legacy of Dalit/Ambedkarite poetry to the new level of expression in which global objectivity and local subjectivity are found to transform themselves into a newer poetic expression. He has recently published his poetry anthology; Kendra Harawat Chalalelya Vartulacha Parigh (roughly translates as 'The Circle that is losing its Centre').

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Tribute to Tipu Mahathma

 

Prof B.P Mahesh Guru

TipuSultanByMauzaisseHaider Ali and Tipu Sultan were indeed the great rulers of Southern India. They performed their best efforts for the expansion, consolidation and development of the state of Mysore. Haider Ali played a pivotal role in the expansion of the Mysore State while Tipu Sultan thoroughly modernized the state. Haider Ali was a great warrior, while Tipu Sultan was a great visionary. They vehemently fought against the British imperialism and upheld the sovereignty of Mysore State. In the history of India, Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan remain as towering personalities who cherished self-rule, self-esteem and self-progress.

Tipu was born on November 20, 1750 at Devanahalli, North-West of Kolar in Karnataka State. Haider Ali married Fatima Begum, also called Fakhr-un-Nissa, the daughter of Mir Muin-ud-din Khan, the Governor of the Fort of Cuddapah on the insistence of his first wife. Haider Ali offered prayers at the dargah of the famous saint Tipu Mastan Aulia of Arcot along with his wife and prayed His Almighty for a smooth delivery by his second wife. Hence, Haider Ali named his son Tipu after the great saint. The word Sultan was added only after he assumed power in the State of Mysore. Haider Ali rose to greater heights after the birth of Tipu, becoming the Governor of Dindigul.

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विदेशों में बुद्ध और कबीर क्यों, राम और तुलसी क्यों नहीं?

 

संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe) 

सनातनी षड्यंत्रकार जब अध्यात्म और धर्म की व्याख्या करते हैं तब वे चर्चा और प्रचार के लिए अपने पवित्र पुरुषों को नहीं चुनते। वे उन्हें तहखानों में सुरक्षित रखते हैं। धर्म प्रचार शास्त्रार्थ आदि के लिए वे आदि शंकर या तुलसीदास को नहीं चुनते बल्कि वे बुद्ध, गोरख, रविदास और कबीर को चुनते हैं। मैं यहां आदि शंकर या तुलसी का अपमान नहीं कर रहा हूँ, जिन लोगों को उनकी शिक्षा और उनका अनुशासन अच्छा लगता है वे बेशक उसमे प्रसन्न रहें। उन्हें शुभकामनायें।

Tulsidas-JAyanti

लेकिन मजा ये है कि आधुनिक विज्ञान, विज्ञानवाद, आधुनिकता और पश्चिमी सभ्यता के सामने स्वयं को पिछड़ा और अन्धविश्वासी अनुभव करते हुए और उनका सामना करते हुए ये भारतीय पंडित और बाबा लोग शंकर या तुलसी को सामने नहीं करेंगे, वे बुद्ध और कबीर को सामने करेंगे, उनपर अपना दावा करेंगे। वही बुद्ध और कबीर - जिन्हें इन महानुभावों ने खुद ही मिटा डालना चाहा था अपनी जमीन पर।

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Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: His Economic Philosophy and State Socialism

 

Adv. Mahendra Jadhav

Abstract

adv mahendra jadhav1Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is undisputedly one of the greatest economists of all time. But unfortunately, his economic thoughts have not been read, followed or propagated. Today in the epoch of Privatization, Globalization and Liberalization, it has become important to understand the economic thoughts of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, who is considered the father of 'State Socialism'. He was of the opinion that the State should control all the resources of the nation, such as land, agriculture and industries through constitutional methods and work towards the overall development of the citizens. He robustly believed that the State can be instrumental in developing the common man's life, if all the resources mentioned above are in its hands. This paper shall covenant with understanding his thoughts on State Socialism and constitutional provisions, which reflect Dr. Ambedkar's idea of social, economic and political development of people.

Key Words: State Socialism, Fundamental Rights, Land Reforms,Insurance, Agriculture, Industries

Introduction

India attained freedom on 15th August 1947 from the British, after more than 150 years of struggle and countless sacrifices by freedom fighters, and gained the status of a sovereign state. We adopted the Constitution on November 26th, 1949 which later came into force on January 26th, 1950. The Constitution of India is unquestionably the greatest constitution of the world and the same has been acknowledged by all nations. The biggest surprise to the world was that the greatest parliamentary democracy was given to those people who were enslaved for thousands of years in the name of caste, class, religion, race and gender - they were not even considered as humans and had not been treated as equal by the so-called upper castes since ages. Most of the people were illiterate. Despite thousands of castes, many religions, traditions, and linguistic differences in India, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar dared to give India a parliamentary form of government. The inception of the Indian Constitution in 1950 was a significant event, not only in the political history of India but also in the history of social justice and human rights.

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Dalit Upsurge and the Politics of Land – Chalo Thiruvananthapuram!

 

S. Mrudaladevi

mrudula sasidharanThe invader-friend can write or say anything about despotism, authoritarianism or anarchy experienced by the oppressed. It is part of his cunning effort to mask the exploitation of the subjugated class. When this masked friend warns us of being oppressed by the exploiters, he becomes dearer to the oppressor. In this process, unknowingly, the issues and the language of the oppressed are carried over to the invader-friend. At the same time, the subjugated beings get a certain satisfaction by transferring the power of control over their thoughts and actions to the invader-friend, who becomes the new hero of the oppressed.

The story of the Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday is the best example of this. It is a global phenomenon. In the critical view of the colonization of India in our history books, we see that the British considered the same thing as a 'civilizing' movement carried out by them.

Sitting in a casteless society, Karl Marx wrote in the 'Das Capital' about the inequality of haves and have-nots. Probably because of the experience of living in a casteless society, he had forgotten to write about the caste hierarchy found in caste societies. When the Marxist Doctrine anchored itself in the shores of Kerala, it materialized as land reformation, which aimed to put the Dalits in the so-called "mainstream". The literature as well as films and dramas created after the so- called land reformation portrayed the mild upheaval of the upper class as a catastrophe that had to be avoided, and pointed the accusing finger at Dalits.

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My Name is Biryani and I am Not a Terrorist

 

Shafiullah Anis

shafiullah anisMy favourite Biryani meme on social media says 'I can't make everyone happy, I am not Biryani!!" Biryani has always been associated with happiness and bliss in pop culture, but when Biryani gets associated with terrorism, I have all the reasons to get upset and invoke that cliché Bollywood tag-line in Biryani's defence. Yes, the ubiquitous Biryani needs a defence from the symbolic violence.

It all started during the post 26/11 Mumbai terror-attack judicial proceedings when the public prosecutor, Ujjwal Nikam, claimed that the Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was fed Chicken Biryani and this was injustice not only to the martyrs but also to tax-paying Indian citizens. Later on, once the case was complete and justice was served, he retracted his statement saying "Kasab never demanded Biryani and was never served by the government. I concocted it just to break an emotional atmosphere which was taking shape in favour of Kasab during the trial of the case (emphasis mine)". By that time, the damage was already done to Biryani's image with its association with terrorism.

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Decoding the Spirit of Castes: A review of Pokala Lakshmi Narasu’s ‘A Study of Caste’

 

Nidhin Shobhana

This book review can be divided into three sections. The first part would briefly try to situate the book and the author in the social and political contexts of Colonial South India (esp. Madras Presidency) in early twentieth century. The second part would discuss the major arguments in the book1. The final section would underline the continuing scope and relevance of Lakshmi Narasu's work in the study of caste and religion.

lakshmi narasu study of caste1

Setting up the Stage: Contextualizing P. Lakshmi Narasu

Pokala Lakshmi Narasu was a pioneer in the Modern Buddhist Movement of Colonial South India. G. Aloysius in the introduction of this book places P. Lakshmi Narasu within the rationalist-Buddhist traditions of Tamil Nadu, along with Iyothee Thasar and M. Sringaravelu. G. Aloysius in another essay2 contextualizes the historical re-working of Buddhism by subaltern intellectuals in Colonial India. He argues that the 'discovery' of Buddhism by British archaeologists and Orientalists in nineteenth century, encouraged subaltern groups to invest in the question of emancipation through modern and rational interpretations of Buddhism. He further points out that Buddhism had a resonance with the 'popular religio-cultural perceptions and practices' of subaltern groups. P. Lakshmi Narasu's life and work should be contextualised within these critical and creative engagements with the question of religion during the colonial period. However, one needs to be mindful that these engagements were not 'homogeneous' or 'monolithic'. For example, Aloysius notes that Lakshmi Narasu attempted to put forth, what he calls – a 'humanist-rational perspective' on Buddhism. On the other hand, Iyothee Thasar contextualised Buddhism in the Tamil-Dravidian traditions in clear opposition to Vedic traditions. While M. Sringaravelu influenced by the communist movements in the West was inclined to receive Buddha as an atheist. Similarly, one finds different approaches to Buddha in the works of Sahodaran Ayyapan, Periyar and Ambedkar.

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Soni Sori: 'The State is Lawless'

 

Soni Sori, a human rights defender and an Adivasi school teacher from Chhattisgarh, was in Mumbai recently to talk at an event organized to commemorate Justice (retired) Suresh Hosbet's 25 years of contribution to human rights struggle in India post his retirement. This event was orgainsed by Majlis, a women's rights organization in collaboration with Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) and People's Watch. Sori, who has endured serious custodial torture for nearly two years, spoke at length about her experience working for her community in Bastar.

soni sori

Following is the translated transcript of her speech delivered on October 1 in Mumbai:

My warm regards to everyone gathered here. I am extremely happy to be present before you all for such an important event commemorating Justice Suresh's 25 years in activism. His contribution is commendable, both as a judge and as an activist. Justice Suresh had recently travelled to Chhattisgarh. I was informed by one of the fellow activists about his visit. I did not know about Justice Suresh then. Even when I was told he is a senior person, I thought of him as several other activists and human rights lawyers who travel from cities to support our cause. But when I saw him in Bastar, I was completely astounded that a man at such a ripe age wants to still travel to remote corners of the country to defend their rights. Although, he had managed to reach Bastar, I was not sure if he could take the travel ahead to those inaccessible villages in the region. When I suggested he should take it easy and not venture to far off villages, he promptly replied, "I have travelled all the way to just examine the condition of Adivasi communities in this region, I will travel ahead." I in fact even tried to warn him of the possibility of long walks that he would have to undertake to reach some villages. He was very willing and asked me to not sweat over his travel. We went to one of the remotest villages which involved both travelling in a vehicle on the rickety road and then covering a long stretch on foot. But, no where did he appear tired. He was zealous and wanted to meet as many villagers as he could. When people got to know a retired judge had travelled from Mumbai to hear them out, they got hopeful. Villagers gathered in large numbers to talk to him and put forth their grievances. Justice Suresh patiently listened to each and every person gathered. He took note of every complaint made and patiently tried to address them one by one. His visit not only inspired people in general, but also helped some of them to take immediate steps.

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B R Bhaskar on Chalo Udupi: My Food, My Land

 

B. R. Bhaskar Prasad was interviewed by Palani Samy and Nidhin Sowjanya for Dalit Camera before the Chalo Udupi rally. The text was translated from Kannada by Savitha Rajamani, Vinod Pushparaj, Chinnamma and Anusha Suresh. The interview was videographed by Karthik Ranganathan

B. R. Bhaskar Prasad is a Dalit writer and activist from Nelamangala taluk, Bengaluru, and one of the main organizers behind the "Chalo Udupi" campaign.

~

Background 

bhaskarInspired by the Una movement, more than 160 organizations came together for the "Chalo Udupi – Food, My Choice; Land, My Right" campaign on Oct 9th. Dalit Camera (DC) spoke to B. R. Bhaskar Prasad, a Dalit writer and activist from Nelamangala taluk, Bengaluru, and one of the main organizers behind the "Chalo Udupi" campaign.


In the first part of the three-part interview, Bhaskar Prasad talks about the Una movement, the continuing atrocities on Dalits in Karnataka, the politics of beef in India and also in detail about the Chalo Udupi campaign.

Part 1

Introduction about yourself

I am B. R. Bhaskar Prasad. I live in Bangalore's rural district, Nelamangala Taluk, Karnataka. In the past I served as state president of "Karnataka Dalita Sanghatanegala Okkuta" (Karnataka Dalit Organisations Association) forum. I currently work with "Babasaheb Service Force" youth cadre.

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Savarna Christian contributions to 'Hindu' Nationalism: The example of Srambickal Kuruvilla George

 

Nidhin Shobhana

n shobhana(Paper presented at the India International Islamic Academic Conference held on 8-9 October, 2016, at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, New Delhi.) 

Abstract: By late 19th century and early 20th century, one finds the emergence of an 'upper-caste' Christian public sphere comprised of theologians who identified themselves with the values of 'Hindu' and 'Hindu Nationalism'. For example, Brahmabandhav Upadhyaya from Bengal formulated a 'Hindu-Catholic faith' based on 'Advaitic philosophical theology and an idealized version of caste system'. One finds similar attempts in Colonial South India. The works of Gandhian Srambickal Kuruvilla George, a CMS theologian is one such example.

In this paper, I would present a sociological analysis of S.K. George's book 'Gandhi's Challenge to Christianity' published in late 1940s. In this book, George not only captures the essence of Gandhi's critique but also presents a blueprint of how religious minorities (Christians) should discipline their aspirations and faith, almost fanatically in accordance with Brahmanic Hinduism. Such a sociological exercise is relevant for two reasons. Firstly, it would help us discern the fault lines in Savarna Christian analysis of Indian society. Secondly, it would contribute to the body of literature which exposes the camaraderie between Savarnas across religion, essentially united in the task of preserving their privileges.

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