What Identity Politics Means to Me!

 

Anshul Kumar

anshulIf one were to attempt to comprehend Plato and Descartes' philosophical thoughts one thing that is worth acknowledging is that religions of the world associate people with either immaterial souls or pure egos. From this perspective, people have bodies only contingently, not necessarily, so they can live after bodily death.

 Etymologically identity comes from latin 'identitas' meaning 'sameness'.

Who is doing identity politics? What if I say that this form of doing politics is proving to be dangerous for the humankind? Is it making evil even more banal?(Arendt). Can't we refrain from doing such a politics which is creating divisions? (See links below)

Religion, Politics and one's Social Identity are extremely intertwined. However hard you try to remain apolitical, agnostic, atheist or liberal in your approach towards life, you will always be judged by the aforementioned trio which defines human existence. The only respite from not getting trapped in such identities is if you are born a white male or a brahmin or into a family of dominant caste or race or ethnicity. Then if you are liberal in your leanings, you will be hailed as a champion of human rights and values. A vanguard sent from heaven to unite human race as a whole by setting aside all the differences based upon racial, ethnic, gender or caste based identities. It is like closing your eyes and expecting the world to turn completely dark. Sadly, this is not the way the cosmos functions. This utopian lollipop of syncretism is first of all not as sweet as it is professed to be. Even if it comes out sweet, it will be too diabetic for humankind and then the only 'insulin' will be the politics of the oppressed, marginalised and the persecuted. Unlike the earth as it is perceived by humans there are no dichotomies or binaries defining the naturality of our entire cosmos.

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Post-Truth Politics and Dalit Question

 

Vinod Kumar

vinodThe world is moving in a new direction in its political spectrum. Most of the old, developed democracies have come under the influence of the right wing forces with populist images where people are drawn towards personalities and emotions rather than facts and good policies. Recently, this changing political dimension has been termed as "post-truth politics". Although, this tendency has long been part of political life, it has had very less discussion on it before the advent of the Internet. The politics of Russia, China, America, India, Australia, UK, Turkey and Japan inspired the political scientists to analyse the changing political behaviour. The word "post-truth politics" became more prevalent during the two major political events of this year; first, Brexit referendum in which Britain has withdrawn itself from EU, and second, US presidential election where Donald Trump with right wing supported populist image came to power. This term (post-truth politics) has been chosen as the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year (2016). In post-truth politics, campaigners consistently repeat their talking point even if they are found to be untrue by other sources. Here, false rumours become major news topic. In this era of post-truth politics, it is easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire (oxford dictionary).

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Presenting Angela Davis, the Savarna Style

 

Sukanya Shantha

sukanyaOn Friday, a friend and I walked into a movie hall to watch an American romantic musical, La La Land. Enticed by the cinematic beauty and the dreamy two hours spent in the cinema hall, I walked out feeling empathetic towards actor Ryan Gosling's character Sebastian, a white American, who among several things is also a savior of Jazz, a music genre birthed by the descendents of the enslaved African people and informed by their lived experiences. 

Nearby, at the KC College auditorium, similar tempo was set where hundreds of students, activists and academicians gathered to hear Dr. Angela Davis, a scholar, author, feminist, abolitionist and an activist who works on liberating political prisoners and those in exile. Dr. Davis was in the city to speak at the 8th Anuradha Ghandy Memorial lecture on the topic "Black Lives, Dalit Lives, histories and solidarities". Two days earlier, Dr. Davis and Dr. Gina Dent, an associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California had made a deeply insightful presentation on "abolition feminism" at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. They presented an extremely nuanced understanding of prisons through a feminist perspective. Their decades of engagement was evident in every word they spoke. Somewhere in her talk, Dr. Davis modestly clarified that she has a limited understanding of the caste struggles in India and sees one very crucial commonality between the black and Dalit struggles- a fight for dignity.

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What’s in a surname? Reflections on Adivasis’ history of Northern Chhattisgarh

 

Akash Poyam

 

akashWhen I was first enrolled in school my parents named me ‘Akash Kumar’, this remained until middle school when it was changed to ‘Akash Kumar Prasad’ and it had since then continued. After using ‘Poyam’ for almost a year on social media, I finally decided to officially change it. I belong to the 'Poyam' clan - one among the 750 clans of ‘Koitur/Gond’ tribe. Poya in Gondi translates to (dhuan) ‘smoke’ in English and one of the stories behind its origin goes as follows. A long time ago, an epidemic had spread across Koiturs’ territory. Its wrath had taken many lives and no one was able to stop it or find  any cure for it. At that point, it was the people from Poya clan who discovered that smoke (from burning leaves of a forest plant) could cure that disease. They travelled across villages and helped end the epidemic disease. Their relation with medicinal ‘smoke’ got them the name ‘poya’. (As narrated by elders to me in Kondagaon-Bastar during Bade Dongar Jatra.) In this article, I’d like to share the history of my region and community that alienated us from our clan name and instead made us adopt surname/s (Prasad/Singh etc) that in no way represented our Adivasi ancestry and identity.

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ना जाती साठी ना मातीसाठी....आमचा लढा संविधानाच्या सन्मानासाठी....

 

Bhagyesha Kurane

bhagyeshaलाखोंच्या संख्येने येथे उपस्थित असणाऱ्या सर्व भगिनी व बंधूंना या भीमाच्या लेखणीचा सप्रेम जयभीम

मी भाग्येशा कुरणे संविधान सन्मान मोर्च्याच्या निमित्ताने आपणा सर्वांना सम्बोधीत करत आहे.बहीनीनो आणि भावानो काल दिनांक 26 रोजी संविधान दिन सम्पूर्ण देशभरात मोठ्या आनंदाने साजरा झाला व आज दिनांक 27 रोजी संविधानाच्या सन्मानासाठी आपण सर्वजण लाखोंच्या संख्येने रस्त्यावर उतरलो आहोत.ही वेळ आज आपल्यावर का आली ?याचे मुख्य कारण म्हणजे गेल्या दहा वर्षात देशात वाढत चाललेले जातीय अत्याचार ,वाढती असहिष्णुता ,स्त्रीयांवरील अत्याचाराचे वाढते प्रमाण होय.जवखेडा,खैरलांजि,सोनई,कोपर्डि ही याची काही प्रतिनिधीक उदाहरणे.स्वातंत्र्याच्या 70 व्या वर्षात पदार्पण करून देखील अशा विषम व्यवस्थेत आपल्याला जगावे लागते ही अतिशय निंदनीय व खेदकारी बाब आहे.

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एक भीमपुत्री की इंसाफ की लड़ाई

 

भंवर मेघवंशी

bhanwar meghwanshiएक दलित शिक्षिका का सुलगता सवाल: क्या हम अपनी बेटियों के साथ बलात्कार होने का इन्तजार करें ? 

यह जलता हुआ सवाल राजस्थान के पाली जिले की एक दलित शिक्षिका का है, जो कस्तूरबा गाँधी आवासीय विद्यालय सोजत सिटी की संस्था प्रधान है | शोभा चौहान नामकी यह सरकारी अध्यापिका एक बहादुर सैनिक की बेटी है और बाबासाहब से प्रेरणा लेकर न्याय के लिए अनवरत लड़ने वाली भीमपुत्री है | उनके विद्यालय में पढने वाली चार दलित नाबालिग लड़कियों ने उन्हें 15 मार्च की शाम 8 बजे बताया कि उनके साथ परीक्षा के दौरान 12 और 14 मार्च 2016 को परीक्षक छैलसिंह चारण ने परीक्षा देते वक़्त अश्लील हरकतें की |

 छात्राओं के मुताबिक – शिक्षक छैलसिंह ने उनमें से प्रत्येक के साथ पेपर देने के बहाने या हस्ताक्षर करने के नाम पर अश्लील और यौन उत्पीड़न करने वाली घटनाएँ की | आरोपी अध्यापक ने उनके हाथ पकड़े, उन्हें मरोड़ा, लड़कियों की जंघाओं पर चिकुटी काटी और अपना प्राइवेट पार्ट को बार बार लड़कियों के शरीर से स्पर्श कर रगड़ा | इतना ही नहीं बल्कि चार में से एक लड़की को अपना मोबाईल नम्बर दे कर कहा कि छुट्टियों में इस नम्बर पर बात कर लेना | में तुम्हें पास कर दूंगा |ऐसा कह कर उसने उक्त लड़की को वहीँ रोक लिया, लड़की बुरी तरह से सहम गई | बाद में दूसरी छात्राओं के आ जाने से उसका बचाव हो सका |

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The cashlessness of the Bahujan

 

Kuffir

How are you going to break up Caste, if people are not free to consider whether it accords with morality? ~ Babasaheb Ambedkar

The saddest joke is Modi's promotion of a cash-less economy among the 'poor'. To add insult to injury, the Congressis and the left have again been strengthening the tired narrative of a homogenous, caste-less community of 'poor and middle class' Indians as though they are all uniformly affected by the currency drought reigning across the country. Here's an attempt to explain how both are lying: the 'poor' in India already live in a cash-less economy or a less cash economy, and they're overwhelmingly Bahujan.

This financial year, 2016-17, it is estimated that all Indian households would spend around 89 lakh crore rupees on consumption (or Rs 24,400 crores approx, per day). How much of this would be the Bahujan share? To arrive at that figure, we need to calculate how much does the Bahujan spend, which is a very difficult task but we do have the means to arrive at a reasonable estimate now, thanks to the truncated but nevertheless somewhat useful caste census.

nidhin secc

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Dr Ambedkar and Women's Suffrage

 

A power struggle had ensued between British women suffragettes and the elite Indian women leaders on who should lead the initiative for women's franchise and political representation of Indian women. A pitched back and forth set of protests and political manoeuvres took place between prominent leaders of Indian women's organizations and British women suffragettes, Eleanor Rathbone in particular. The question of universal franchise hinged on the qualification of having property. In the excerpt below, we get a glimpse of Dr Ambedkar examining the arguments being presented with his characteristic clarity of vision ensuring that there is no scope at all for denying voting rights to any section of Indian women. 

A part of the 'Evidence before the Joint Committee on Indian Constitutional Reform' is reproduced here. The witnesses examined were Lady Layton, Mrs. O. Stracey and Sir Philip Hartog, on behalf of the British Committee for Indian Women's Franchise.

~~

babasaheb meenambalDr. B. R. Ambedkar: I would like to ask one question. I do not know whether you agree with me, but I suppose when you press for votes for women, I think you also desire that the franchise should be so devised that the women who will be brought upon the register will be drawn from all strata of Indian society, and not necessarily drawn, either from the upper strata or the middle strata or the lower strata exclusively; that there ought to be some proportion of the women on the electoral roll to the communities from which they are drawn?

Lady Layton: As far as is practically possible, certainly.

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I mean, it is not your case that you want this mathematical ratio of 1 to 4 or 1 to 5, but apart from that ratio, you would also desire that all women from all sections should be on the register?

Lady Layton: Certainly, as far as possible, we do want to feel that the urban and rural voters and the different sections will be adequately represented.

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December 6th: Ambedkar - Babri Masjid Demolition and Dalit

 

Praveen Tulasi

Praveen tulasi

This write up is in response to a facebook debate which popped up after Manikanta a BAPSA activist posted the below picture.

Image: Debate, Depiction and Disturbance  

Excerpts from the Debate:

While Zeeshan Hussain commented that ‘good no. Dalits and Muslims are getting united slowly. lets keep the memory alive. lets keep recalling that our enemy is same’For a moment let us understand what Zeeshan comments, he uses words like – good, unity of Dalit and Muslim, slowly, memory, and enemy is the same. What is wrong in the above formulation? Immediately, Majid Hassan commented that ‘Are we sure of the identity of those on top of dome? I fear the foot soldiers have something in common with this great leader's followers.  Gujrat 2002 witnessed the riot where a dalit face (Ashok Mochi) became a poster for it. One needs to get records about their identity if they were dalits, then before standing together there is a need of apology at least’.  After this, the debate became personal between individuals and they deviated from the exact topic. 

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Trojan Horse Book Written for 'Others'

 

Amarjit Singh

 [Excerpt from the talk given at SOAS event of the launch of Hatred in the belly: Politics behind the appropriation of Dr Ambedkar's writings] 

amarjit singh    1. Thank you for coming. Since I am not a scholar, but an activist, I am going to be direct.

    2. First couple of points of information: Columbia University had a pop up annotated version of Annihilation of Caste on the website for nearly a decade. These popups explain Indian terms in their historical settings.

    3. Arundhati Roy claims that some Dalit leaders actually support her in what she says.

    4. Udit Raj, a Dalit politician felt that Gandhi wanted to remove untouchability but retain caste. How can untouchability be removed without annihilating caste was not explained by Udit Raj. Was Ambedkar wrong in this instance? Udit Raj should have been clear in this.

5.  Kancha Illiah a Bahujan intellectual also felt that The Doctor and the Saint was good in part, as it linked current Dalit issues with Ambedkar’s historical speech. But these added issues were rather selective, missing the main question raised in the original AOC thus forming a false impression. I will return to this point later at the end of my speech.  

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ನಾಲ್ವಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರ ಕಾಲದ ಮೈಸೂರು ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನಕ್ಕೆ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಅವರ ಪ್ರವೇಶವಾಗದ ಕುರಿತು ಕಾಡುವ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳು

 

 ಡಾ.ಎನ್. ಚಿನ್ನಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಸೋಸಲೆ (Chinnaswamy Sosale)

ಮೈಸೂರು ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನದ ಇಂದಿನ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಭಾಗಕ್ಕೆ ಬಾಬಾ ಸಾಹೇಬ್ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಅವರ ತತ್ವಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತಗಳು ಪ್ರವೇಶವಾಗುವುದು 1970ರಿಂದೀಚೆಗೆ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಶಿಕ್ಷಣ ಪಡೆದ ಮೊದಲ ತಲೆಮಾರಿನ ದಲಿತ ಶಿಕ್ಷಣವಂತರು ಹಾಗೂ ಸಾಹಿತಿಗಳು ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಅವರ ಜಾಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಗಾಂಧಿಯನ್ನು ಕಾಣುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅಥವಾ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅವರನ್ನು ಕಾಣುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡಲಾಯಿತು ಎಂದರೆ ನನ್ನ ವಿಷಯ ಮಂಡನೆಗೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಸತ್ವ ದೊರಕಬಹುದಾಗಿದೆ. ಮೊದಲ ತಲೆಮಾರಿನ ದಲಿತರು ಶಿಕ್ಷಣವಂತರಾಗಲು ಪ್ರಮುಖ ಕಾರಣಕರ್ತರು ಮೈಸೂರು ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನದ ಸಮಯ ಸಾಧಕತನದ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣರು.

sosale book launch

ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ ಸಮಾಜ ಸೇವಕರು ಹಾಗೂ ಸ್ವಂಘೋಷಿತ ಹಿಂದೂಧರ್ಮ ರಕ್ಷಕರು. ಅಪ್ಪಿ-ತಪ್ಪಿಯೂ ಇವರು ತಾವು ವಿಶೇಷ ಸೌಲಭ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ರಾಜರಿಂದ ಪಡೆಯುವ ಸಲುವಾಗಿ ಶಿಕ್ಷಣ ನೀಡಲು ಮುಂದಾದ ದಲಿತರಿಗೆ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಅವರನ್ನು ಪರಿಚಯಿಸಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ, ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಅವರು ಅಂದು ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರದಾದ್ಯಂತ ಕೈಗೊಂಡಿದ್ದ ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯತೆಯ ವಿರುದ್ಧದ ಹೋರಾಟ ಇವರಿಗೆ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರ ವಿರೋಧಿ ಕೆಲಸವಾಗಿ ಕಂಡಿತು. ಆದರೆ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಅವರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿ ಅವರು ಪುನಾ ಒಪ್ಪಂದಲ್ಲಿ ಸೋತು-ಗೆದ್ದಂತೆ ಫೋಜು ನೀಡಿ ಅದರನ್ವಯದ ನಂತರ ಅವರು ಅಸ್ಪೃಶ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಹರಿಜನರು ಎಂದು ಹೊಸ ಹೆಸರನ್ನಿಟ್ಟು ದಲಿತರ ಉದ್ಧಾರಕ್ಕೆ ನಾನು ಕಂಕಣಕಟ್ಟಿ ನಿಂತಿರುವೆ ಎಂದು ಗಂಟಲ ಮೇಲಿಂದಲೇ ಕರೆಕೊಟ್ಟ ತಕ್ಷಣ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ ಹಾಗೂ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣೇತರ ಪ್ರಬಲ ಕೋಮಿನ ಕೆಲ ಜನರು ದಲಿತರ ಉದ್ಧಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಸ್ವಂಘೋಷಿತ ನಾಯಕರಾಗಿ ಹೊರಹೊಮ್ಮಿದರು. ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿ ಅವರನ್ನು ತಮ್ಮ ನಾಯಕರನ್ನಾಗಿ ಆಯ್ಕೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡು ದಲಿತರಿಗೆ ಶಿಕ್ಷಣ ನೀಡುವ ನೆಪದಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಪಾರಂಪರಿಕ ಸನಾತನೀಯ ಧರ್ಮ ರಕ್ಷಣೆಗೆ ಮುಂದಾದರು.

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Hatred in the belly: Interrogating Internalised Prejudices and Supremacy

 

Kavita Bhanot

[Excerpts from the talks given at SOAS and Manchester launch of Hatred in the belly: The politics behind the appropriation of Dr Ambedkar's writings]

kavitaFor some years now, I've been thinking, talking about white supremacy, the ways in which it is present and normalised in every aspect of our lives in the UK, how as people of colour we can internalise it, reproduce it. It can be easy here in Britain to hide behind this struggle, to present yourself only as oppressed. It can be convenient not to think or talk about the ways in which you might be an oppressor as well, particularly if you are an upper caste South Asian - the active and subtle ways in which you're complicit in the violence of caste, including through silence or ignorance. Often this ignorance is wilful because it is too difficult to look at ourselves with honesty, to question our own privilege and participation in a violent structure, we become defensive or fragile – this can be a form of silencing of those we oppress. I'm speaking today as someone who is on a journey of self-interrogation - I'm likely to reveal my own complicity again and again.

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पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

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