Munnar: To the Destroyers and Hijackers of the Protest, and the Media - Gomathi speaks


Gomathi G

"Why are you so scared of this protest by us three women?"

The unpleasant incidents of yesterday (Thursday), that happened around midnight in the temporary protest tent of Pomplai Orumai near the Gandhi square in the Munnar market road, reveal certain things. It includes the plan of certain political parties to completely destroy Pomplai Orumai and hijack their movement. Pomplai Orumai was not a movement that died out or became inactive after their protest in 2015. Even though it was subjected to several kinds of hijacking attempts, the existence of the worker's issues compel it to persist actively. The protest was born out of a need to increase their wages and bonus, and bring about a change in their living conditions.

gomathi g

But, Pomplai Orumai has once again become the topic of discussion in Kerala since last Sunday. The incidents of yesterday night are what that followed afterwards. What is happening in Munnar? This is what Gomathi, Kousalya and Rajeshwari have said:

The CPIM Who Wants to Kill the Movement

CPIM is the one who mocks us by saying -what sort of a protest is this, with only three women in it. The same CPIM is the one who fears us the most. That was what we saw yesterday night.


Upper Caste Hegemony Through Linguistic Chauvinism: Some Glimpses from Odisha


Sumit Turuk

sumit turuk

“Language enforced by the upper castes of this country on the marginalized communities is just like the Vasuki snake from the Samudra manthan (churning of the ocean episode in Bhagvata Purana) where the Devas (the upper caste linguistic chauvinists) get all control over the wealth and riches (knowledge production, hegemony, perpetuation of their cultures, festivals, narratives, history writing, control over institutions), generated by the churning whereas the Asuras (in this context the Dalits and Adivasis) are conscientized and finally get deceived where the amrit (drink of immortality) is taken away by the Devas (Upper caste deceivers)."


Last December I was at home in Koraput, Odisha and I realized I don't have an AADHAAR card. So, during my stay one fine day I decided to go to a nearby shop where they get you through all the required procedures to get your AADHAAR card made. As I was standing there in the line waiting for my turn, I realized there were some Dom women on one side who had been sitting there for more than an hour since I came in the queue. Suddenly one of the AATAS came up and in DOM language asked the guy inside as to how long they have to wait since all the required procedure had been completed. The guy inside with the so called "Pure Odiya Language" (Khanti Odiya as most of the upper caste folks refer it as) responded with a very disinterested and rude tone not clearly mentioning anything. This got on my nerves and as I went and spoke to the AATAS I came to know all their procedural requirements have been completed more than 2 hours ago and the guy despite asking time and again had not responded them as to what next rather told them to wait. As I spoke to others in the queue I realized once all your procedures are done you are supposed to come and get your AADHAAR CARD after around 15 to 20 days. But here these DALIT AATAS were made to sit there for hours for nothing just because they could not interact with the guy inside in "PURE Odiya".



The Homicidal Republic - India i.e. भारत


Anshul Kumar 

anshulVictor Hugo once said, "There is in every village, a torch-the teacher, an extinguisher-the priest." Village becomes homicidal if teachers are priests in disguise and vice versa and India is no less than such a Village Republic. Laws of Manu still prevail in this republic and very often override the constitutionalist morals and even ethical civil standards.

 Why is it that non-brahmin students are committing suicides in university spaces? Are they protesting against the unjust academic spaces? Is it that in their death also they are screaming out loud? Can we hear that loud scream? Why is Indian Media making victims out of such students? Why is the liberal discourse centered around bringing the issues of "Dalit" Students in the mainstream discourse? Why the liberal discourse never takes into account the problems faced by "Dalit" students and the necessary arrangements that need to be made in order to prevent the "loss of intellectual capital"?

If I were to find out, why students are committing suicides, I would intertwine societal structure of 21st century India with the impact this structure has on any individual. Intellect is a luxury, leisure seeking classes can never afford. Considering the preceding statement as a theoretical assumption, one can argue that anywhere and in any epoch in this world, intellectual capacities are inherently astounding among the masses than the elite and the ruling classes. This assumption of mine corroborates to be a veracious claim if one looks at the cultures of the masses which are directly related to their lived realities. Be it the first woman who planted rice saplings in a row1, or be the indigenous people who were adept in metallurgy, problem solving, reasoning and active cognition has always been an innate motivation for the masses.


Hindu nationalism and Muslim nationalism co-produce each other: Khalid Anis Ansari


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 Action (ACESTA), Glocal University, Uttar Pradesh.


The interview focuses on the Pasmanda movement, on the issues of secularism/communalism and on the upper caste hegemony in all political, cultural and social fields in India. The interview was conducted by Kuffir, Contributing Editor, Round Table India, and produced by Gurinder Azad.

You can watch the full video here:

Continued from here


Yes, definitely a time to re-think, but there is also the question of a larger Muslim victimhood not being a totally invented narrative. It is also a reality and Dalit victimhood is also a reality. And there have been lots of riots in the thousands, which have been almost genocidal in nature.


UP: Sangh Parivar's Caste Engineering & the disappearance of liberal Hindutva block

KK Baburaj

baburaj"Democracy is a process of becoming. It's a promise. It's in the name of that promise that we are able to question and criticize the existing form of democracy."
~ Derrida

"Dalit-backward-minority unity" and "Political Power to Bahujan Samaj" were some of the slogans raised by Ambedkarite organisations during the Mandal-Masjid period. There were strong discourses in the air as to the formation of another National movement or the necessity of a second freedom struggle.

Social and Political oppressions on Dalit Bahujans or religious minorities did not come down during the secular rule of the Congress which came to power after independence. It rather increased and the domination of the upper castes crept into every walk of social life. The economic policies of the Congress were designed to protect the interests of the imperialists. Naturally, the socialist organisations which were supposed to be opposing these injustices never had any constructive programmes that could address the sect of people, who were facing caste, religious and gender discriminations and exclusions. In fact, ideologically and practically the socialists were trying to revive the old nationalist movement. It was in this context that the concepts like 'second freedom struggle' and 'political power to Bahujan Samaj' reverberated across the nation.


Somnath Waghamare’s ‘Battle of Bhima Koregaon: An Unending Journey’


Rohan Arthur

rohan arthurLast week, I went to watch Somnath Waghamare's film, 'The Battle of Bhima Koregaon: An Unending Journey' at Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore. This was the second screening of the film, after the first being screened at FTII, Pune. The 50 minute documentary is only one part of the viewing experience. The post-film discussion with Somnath completes the overall viewing experience, and I came away feeling like I just had my batteries charged. I first met Somnath a few months ago, and have been following his work and drawing valuable inspiration ever since. He is a courageous young man who is committed to the cause of the Ambedkarite movement.

 This film is not about dead Dalits. This is not a documentary film about the horrible atrocities that Dalits face, as part of their daily lives. This is not a film about a forward caste superhero coming to save the Dalits from their plight. Battle of Bhima Koregaon: an unending journey is an assertion about assertion. Somnath Waghamare's film is a documentary capturing the annual commemoration of Bhima Koregaon, that happens on Dec 31-Jan 1st every year. The annual event sees lakhs of visitors, many of whom are often repeat visitors. Why do so many people go to this place? What is the attraction that is drawing these huge multitudes of people from all over India, and even from foreign countries, to an out-of-the-way village near Pune?

bhima koregaon somnath

Somnath Waghamare, who holds a Master's degree in Media Studies from Pune University, grew up with the story of Bhima Koregaon as part of his personal history. But this heroic history is not visible anywhere in public discourse: no newspaper, magazine, TV serial, movie.... Nothing in the 'mainstream' even mentions this place. In fact, all of these media valourize and glorify the Peshwa rule, as if it was a glorious time of untold harmony and riches. Somnath and many of us know that this is all a big lie. The Peshwa rule in the 19th century is one of the most heinous and criminal periods in world history. The Peshwas were guilty of enslaving their own subjects, the ones they considered as lower-caste and out-caste, in the most brutal and humiliating ways. The media also shows Anna Hazare's village, Ralegan Siddhi, as a model village, but inexplicably skips Bhima Koregaon's story. The site is literally a stone's throw away!


Saffronisation of Ambedkar and the need for resistance


Tejaswini Tabhane

tejaswini tabhaneWhen Ambedkar asked us to 'fight against Hindu Raj' he was not aware that one day the same propagandists of Hindu Raj will start (mis)appropriating his ideals. The fashion of saffronising Ambedkar has gained a new pace ever since the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in 2014. Their recent effort in this direction is the visit of Modi to Deeksha Bhoomi, Nagpur, on April 14 — Ambedkar's 126th birth anniversary. This visit has various political and ideological aspects which need to be discussed.

Deeksha Bhoomi is the place where Babasaheb embraced Buddhism and kept his words, "even though I was born in the Hindu religion, I will not die in the Hindu religion." It has a special place in the heart of every Ambedkarite and gives us an inspiration to fight Brahmin hegemony. Lakhs of people from all over India come here to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti. Many among them are not financially capable to pay for their accommodation so they stay within the Deeksha Bhoomi and Dr. Ambedkar College campus. But this year, due to our prime minister's high profile visit to this place, no one was allowed to stay inside the monument. The main gate was closed till 12:30 pm, and the path in front of Deeksha Bhoomi was completely blocked. People were allowed entry inside the stupa through the south entrance gate and were made to leave through west gateway. The distance between the two is roughly 800 metres. So we had to walk this long distance just to visit our own Deeksha Bhoomi, not to mention, in the killing heat of Nagpur where temperature had nearly touched the 40 degree mark.


Our New Title: What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means to Me


The Shared Mirror Publishing House

Jai Bhim! As we enter the 126th birth year of Babasaheb Ambedkar, The Shared Mirror is honoured to publish a compilation of essays on the theme 'What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means To Me' as a freely downloadable e-book, to be made available very soon! 

For updates please follow our Facebook page!

bookcover red

Celebrating Babasaheb's life and achievements needs no particular occasion, he has emerged as a consciousness, a moral anchor for the masses. A musical tradition of rendering his life events from birth onwards, winding through Mahad, Poona Pact, Kalaram Mandir, Round Table conferences, the constitution itself, the conversion and his death was the foremost in the archiving of Babasaheb's memory and multiple legacies. This people's music in turn inspired artists, painters, writers and sculptors resulting in a vibrant visual rendering by people historians--men, women, young and old, who weave a tapestry of universal values of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity.

In a society that excludes at every turn, the excluded have claimed the public sphere with the physical shape of a bust or statue of Babasaheb. Can we even begin to fathom the processes that lead to seeing this physical manifestation of Babasaheb's consciousness at narrow street corners and busy marketplaces?


The Betrayal of Ambedkar and Dalits


Raju Chalwadi

raju chaluwadiThere has been a race among the ruling class and especially among the ruling political class to project itself as true Ambedkarites or Ambedkar Bhakts, but will it dare to follow a single path shown by him..... Because, then there will not be a change in society but a change of society.

The April 14th of every year in India is a special day for the so-called "Untouchables of India". It was on this day in 1891, that an intellectual, namely, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, was born in Mhow, in central India. This year will mark the 126th Birth Anniversary of this intellectual. Ambedkar was a trained economist, but in a real sense, he was a sociologist par excellence who had a deep understanding regarding the social structure of the Indian society. From 1920s onwards until his death, he made every attempt for the untouchables to get their socio-political rights. Finally, in order get a new socio-cultural identity he found solace in Buddhism along with millions of his followers.

Ambedkar would have been quite shocked, had he been alive today, on seeing the position of Dalits in contemporary Indian society. His people are being beaten up and killed for the same holy cow which for Ambedkar is no more than an animal. In his book "Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Ancient India", he gave detailed accounts of how it was the battle for supremacy between Brahmanism and Buddhism which resulted in the cow being made a holy animal. Further, the current regime's project of glorifying the past would have made him very nervous because it will further degrade the position of Dalits in society, because all the past myths and religious texts repeat the same dogma of purity of upper castes and defend the inhuman Varna system in the name of karma and dharma. Ultimately, if this is not stopped quickly, it will lead to the acceptance of Dalits themselves as being impure. Internalization of notions of impurity is bound to happen if the past myths and religious texts are given importance.


Taking Babasaheb to Class


Sanam Roohi

sanam roohiBetween 2014 and 2016, I spent long hours of my days sitting on the first floor lounge of the IISc library, either working on my thesis, or publications, or reading something. The relaxed seating arrangements, beautiful trees that peer at you from three sides of the lounge, and, above all, the portrait of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar made me give up the serious and staid ground floor reading room for this first floor lounge. While I am hugely privileged to have access to the library, my thoughts do go to the blood and sweat of dalit bahujans spent on building that humongous library.

For many first generation university graduates like me, the journey towards a PhD studentship and the journey during the PhD to get that coveted degree, require more than hard work and enthusiasm for the subject to keep us going. The doctoral journey often kills creativity, crushes the initial enthusiasm, make students brutally aware of structures of privilege and oppression, and in some cases, defeat the student thoroughly. What many of us then need is tremendous amount of courage and inspiration to not give up and reach the finishing line. The last two years of my PhD were the toughest for me, and I drew my inspiration from three or four sources. One of which was definitely Babasaheb - as if his portrait in the library lounge was silently cheering me on, and firmly asking me to push myself a little bit more.


हम बाबासाहब को तो मानते है पर बाबासाहब की नहीं मानते


डाॅ मनीषा बांगर
डॉ. जे डी चन्द्रपाल 

जब तक साँस चलती रहती है तब तक जीवन चलता रहता है; मगर जब साँस रूक जाती है तो जीवन समाप्त हो जाता है |

मगर क्या किसी महान व्यक्ति का जीवन उनकी साँस रूकने पर थम जाता है ?

babasaheb-ambedkar speaking

 ऐसा कहा जाता है की किसी व्यकित की महानता वे भौतिक एवं शारीरिक रूप से कितने साल जिए उस पर निर्भर नहीं करती बल्कि वे अवाम के दिलो दिमाग में एक भावात्मक रूप से एवं वैचारिक रूप से कितने साल जिन्दा रहते है उस पर निर्भर करती है | 

यह भी तथ्य पूर्ण है की जब तक उस महान व्यक्ति के विचार जिन्दा रहते है तब तक वह महान व्यक्ति मर नहीं सकते |

महान व्यक्ति के जीवन काल में उनके जीवन से ज्यादा महत्वपूर्ण होते है उनके कवन जो आने वाली कई पीढियो को एक बेहतरीन जीवन की शिक्षा देता रहता है और मानवता के श्रेष्ठ मुकाम तक ले जाता है | और इसी संदर्भ में महान व्यक्ति को याद किया जाता है या सदैव स्मरणीय रखा जाता है |


Kishori Amonkar: Assertion, Erasure, Reclamation


Rohan Arthur

rohan arthurHindustani vocalist Kishori Amonkar passed away on 3rd April, 2017.

Kishori Amonkar is remembered for her contribution to Hindustani classical music, and her passing was mourned in popular news media as a great loss to the music community. This article is not about the musicality and vocal abilities of Kishori: there are plenty of other articles for this. There are also other articles and books about 'women', 'migration', 'glory days of Hindustani Music', etc. What they all mention, but also inexplicably missed to examine, was the context and circumstances that her career was inevitably ensconced in, and her valiant battles against the social order of caste hierarchy.

At this juncture (if not earlier), we should pause to ask ourselves these questions:
1. Who was Kishori Amonkar?
2. What is the role of Hindustani Classical Music in her life? Or, what was her influence on

Hindustani music (while still leaving the technicalities of music aside, because those matters, as mentioned earlier, have already been discussed in other writings)?
Kishori was the daughter of another noted vocalist, Mogubai Kurdikar. Mogu is considered a giant in the Hindustani Music tradition. She was born in the kalavant caste of Goa, which is today listed among the Other Backward Class (OBC).


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