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).


Dignity of the Dead and Living Bahujan cannot be Separate


Pinak Banik

                        Continued from Part 1

The purpose of the "Story of Nangeli" appearing on Facebook in Orijit Sen's own words is:
"This comics story is dedicated to Rohith Vemula (1989-2016), who, like Nangeli, chose death over a life of indignity."

Tribute to one dead Dalit by presenting another animated Bahujan death!

Neither Rohith nor Nangeli killed himself or herself out of choice but of absence of choice to have a life, in other words they were victims of structural murder. Brahminical oppression is reduced to lack of freedom of choice and individualist romantic zeal of choosing death.

Dead Dalits, as mentioned earlier, are "excellent sites where revolutionary fantasies blossom"! In Sen's artwork, and in the entire Brahmin historiography and aesthetics, the complete focus is through the microscopic lens placed over victimized bodies, wounds, names and numbers.

Pinak tank of tears

Parallels across the Globe

Since I wrote the Part 1 of this essay, another similar act of appropriation of suffering as art, in another part of the world, has unfolded an analogous debate. An American white woman artist, Dana Schutz's painting "Open Casket," displayed in the ongoing 2017 Whitney Biennial, has sparked protest from Black artist community for 'a perceived exploitation of a still-traumatic incident in American history'. The painting is derived from a 1955 press image depicting the body of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old African-American boy who was abducted and brutally murdered by white men under a false allegation of whistling at a white woman. An all white jury later acquitted both accused with the false testimony given by Carolyn Bryant, the white woman at the center of the trial. Emmett Till's mother Mamie Till Mobley had organized his public funeral service with an open casket to show the black community the brutality of her son's killing, saying, "Let the people see what I've seen". Later she got the photographs of the brutalized body in open casket published in the Jet magazine, a black publication, to 'speak to and to move a Black audience', insisting "that the violence that he has been subject to be seen, unobscured".


UP में गाय माता तो सुरक्षित है लेकिन दलित माताओं का क्या...?


शोभना स्मृति एवं कुलदीप कुमार बौद्ध 

shobanaभारत को आजाद हुए 70 साल बीत गए लेकिन हमारी दलित बहनों kuldeep 1को आजादी कब मिलेगी आखिर कब तब तक हमारी दलित महिलाये, जाति उत्पीडन की शिकार होती रहेंगी, आज हमारी बहाने अपने गावं गावं में प्रताड़ना को झेलते हुए जिस प्रकार से संघर्ष कर रही है किसी ने अपनी पति को खोया है किसी ने बहन ने दरिंदो की दरिंदगी को झेला है फिर भी बो आज न्याय की उम्मीद में संघर्ष कर रही है... ये सभी दलित पीड़ित महिलाओं का संघर्ष ही इस दलितं आन्दोलन के रीड की हड्डी है, जो की बाबा साहब के इस कारवां को आगे ले जाएगी l

 देश में दलित महिलाओं के स्वाभिमान के लिए संघर्षरत आल इण्डिया दलित महिला अधिकार मंच ने UP में अभी हाल ही चुनाव के बाद से लगातार जिस प्रकार से दलित महिला उत्पीडन की घटनाएँ हुईं है उन पर फेक्ट फाइंडिंग व अध्धयन के बाद उ.प्र. के अलग अलग जिलों में लगातार हो रही दलित महिला उत्पीड़न की घटनाओं को लेकर दलित महिला पीड़ितों के साथ तीन दिवसीय कार्यक्रम की जिसमे प्रथम दिन दलित महिला पीड़ितों के साथ खासकर लैंगिग्क शोषण की शिकार व मानसिक प्रताड़ना को कम कर अपने स्वयं के आत्मविश्वास को मजबूत कर पुन: एक नई जिन्दगी जीने की प्रकिया हुई| बॉडी मेपिंग सत्र किया गया जिसमे सबसे ज्यादा लैंगिक शोषण की बात सामने आई l राष्ट्रीय अपराध ब्यूरो के आंकड़े भी बताते है की लगातार दलित महिला उत्पीडन की घटनाये बढ़ रही है हर दिन 6 दलित महिलाओं के साथ बलात्कार की घटनाये बताई जाति है लेकिन हकीकत कुछ और है, इससे भी कही ज्यादा घटनाये हो रही है, ये जो भी आंकड़े प्रस्तुत किये जाते है वो वही आंकड़े है जो की रजिस्टर्ड होते बहुत सी घटनाये तो रजिस्टर्ड ही नहीं होती है l


Affirmative Action & The Concept of Merit: An Indian Experience


Raju Chalwadi 

raju chaluwadiAffirmative action and Merit are two concepts on which every Indian has an opinion, especially, the former. Affirmative action policy is always seen in a negative light because of the ambiguity regarding the rationale for such a policy and its effect on social relations. And the term merit in the Indian context should be judged as to how one achieves success given the role of rigid social institutions like caste and religion.

 Affirmative action

 Affirmative action policy is an umbrella term loosely defined to include all the policies targeted towards the discriminated groups for uplifting them socially, educationally and economically. The aim of Affirmative Action (AA) is mainly to provide preferential treatment to the groups which have been subjected to discrimination in the past due to the social norms which prevailed in the society. In India, Affirmative Action (AA) has been enshrined in the Constitution; it has mainly and solely taken the form of fixed quotas known as 'Reservation policy' (RP). But around the world for instance, Brazil, China, South Africa, Malaysia and USA which are commonly referred to in literature, have gone much beyond quotas where the Affirmative Action policy is very diverse in nature. For instance, target groups were given preferential access to loans, stocks in public companies, preference in government contracts, setting up a police station specialising in crimes related to racism, free distribution of land, among others. Hence, in India, it would be wrong to use the term Affirmative action policy because only an aspect of it has been introduced, which is "quota".


ध्यान में सबसे बड़ी बाधा: आत्मा का सिद्धांत


Sanjay Jothe

ध्यान एक ऐसा विषय है जिसके बारे में सबसे ज्यादा धुंध बनाकर रखी जाती है और पूरा प्रयास किया जाता है कि इस सरल सी चीज को न समझते हुए लोग भ्रमित रहें. इस भ्रम का जान बूझकर निर्माण किया जाता है ताकि कुछ लोगों संस्थाओं और वर्गों की संगठित दुकानदारी और सामाजिक नियंत्रण बेरोकटोक बना रहे.

open eyed buddha

Open eyed Buddha: Painting by Babasaheb Ambedkar

ध्यान को चेतना या होश के एक विषय की भाँती समझना एक आयाम है और ध्यान सहित अध्यात्म को एक मनोवैज्ञानिक षड्यंत्र के उपकरण की तरह देखना दूसरा आयाम है. अक्सर एक आयाम में बात करने वाले दूसरे आयाम की बात नहीं करते लेकिन मैं दोनों की बातें करूंगा ताकि बात पूरी तरह साफ़ हो जाए.


राजस्थान में दलित महिला आंदोलन के नेतत्व व् न्याय प्रणाली की हकीकत पर एक नजर

सुमन देवाठीया

suman devathiyaमै किसी समुदाय की प्रगति हासिल की है, उससे मापता हु l
~ डा0 भीमराव अम्बेडकर (बाबा साहब )

जैसा की भारत देश में व्याप्त वर्ण व् जाति व्यवस्था की वजह से दलित आये दिन अत्याचारों व् हिंसाओं का सामना कर रहे है l इसी के साथ जंहा कही भी इसी व्यवस्था के खिलाफ आवाज उठाई जाति है तो हमारें कार्यकर्त्ताओ की हत्या तक कर डी जाति हैl अनेक प्रकारेन आंदोलनों को दबाया जाता है , पीडितो को न्याय से वछित किया जा रहा है l

अगर हम दलितों में भी दलित महिलाओ की बात करे तो पायगे, की आये दिन इस जाति व्यवस्था व् पितृसत्ता की प्रताड़नाए इन्हें रोज़मरा की जिन्दगी में अपना शिकार बनाकर गंभीर व् जघन्य अपराधो को जन्म दे रही है l जिसकी वजह से बहुत सारी महिलाए अपने अधिकारों से वंछित है, और स्वंतंत्र भारत की नागरिक हिने पर भी समाजिक समानता, आर्थिक उत्थान, राजनितिक सशकितकरण, शैक्षणिक अधिकार जागरूक, विकास, मुलभुत सुविधाओ और नेतत्व से वंछित रखा हैl


Indian Jews, Israeli Jews, and Hindu Nationalism


Mangesh Dahiwale

mangesh dahiwaleModi is set to address an event managed by India Foundation in Israel, just like he did in Madison Avenue. Around 45,000 Jews of Indian origin who migrated to Israel in 1950s and 1960s are likely to attend this show to showcase the manufactured popularity of Modi. India's Hindu Nationalists are trying harder to ally with Israel including working with the Israeli secret services. It may be geopolitics of the Arab world where Israel is fighting to maintain its newly found existence.

The Muslim world is surrounding Israel and India has been neutral during the Israel-Palestine conflict. India on the other hand missed an opportunity to join Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and it is likely to emerge as the largest concentration of Muslims in the world. This means that the Muslims will be the part and parcel of India's nation state. The politics of Hindu nationalism that Modi represents is based on hatred of Muslims. India's Muslim is not fundamentalist Muslim and has not become a partner in the Global terror network of fundamentalists and it is less likely if they are brought into national stream of Governance. So the coalition between India's Brahman nationalists and Israeli Jew, or jews of any hue, is a strange alliance. This is for a number of reasons.


Moving beyond Manusplaining Pasmanda Movement


Shafiullah Anis


shafiullah anisIn the waiting room of a hospital in Jamia Nagar, Delhi, I came across The Companion magazine featuring Malcolm X and Rohith Vemula on the cover. This was March 2017 edition and had covered opinion pieces and articles on a range of issues such as disappearance of Najeeb from JNU, Education, Hijab and Muslim women etc. Before I could read the article on Malcolm X, who was featured on the cover and for whom I picked the magazine to read, I came across an interview of SIO president, Nahas Mala, by Kashif Mansoor entitled 'It is all about justice and dignity'.

In the interview, Mala talks about various issues such as alliance with Ambedkarite organizations, focus on education and entrepreneurship, SIO as a Daawah organization etc. He also talks in detail about caste in Indian society and the logic behind a separate organization for women, GIO. However, when it came to the question of caste system among Muslims in India, Mala falters. In response to Kashif Mansoor's question, "As you have told caste is a problem and SIO is struggling for eradication of caste by joining #JusticeForRohith movement, there are many castes among Muslims. Does SIO address the caste question among Muslims? Does it ever want to address the issue? What is SIO's take on Pasmanda Muslim movement?" Mala states the religio-normative view of Islam on equality of all human beings and claims that "Being a Muslim and claiming to be adherent to Islamic ideology, nobody can say that Islam gives any such social status to anybody and classifies people on such social strata except fear of Allah". However, he continues saying "If there exists such stratification you have to struggle for its eradication."


Utkal Divas or Celebration of Brahmin Hegemony


Jitendra Suna

jitendra sunaOrissa as a separate state was established in 1 April 1936. There is widespread celebration of Utkal Divas among the Oriyas1 in Orissa and as well as outside Orissa. The academic spaces are not free from this. Oriya students from various campuses such as JNU, Hyderabad, Pondicherry and other universities also celebrate this day as Independence Day. When I said Oriya I am not saying that all people who are staying in Orissa are Oriya. By saying Oriya, I am basically referring to the people who live in coastal Orissa.

At this juncture it is necessary to ask some basic questions, such as: is it really an independence day, and if so, for whom? Are Bahujans (SC, ST, OBC and minorities) free from the slavery of caste and Brahminism in Orissa? Are women free from the shackles of Brahminism which is the worst form of patriarchy in the world? Since Dalits and Adivasis form a major section of Orissa population, where are the heroes of Adivasis like Laxman Naik, Rendo Majhi, Birsa Munda and many others? What are the conditions of Dalit-Adivasis in Orissa?


Being Queer in Casteist India


Manish Gautam

Manish GautamQueer "signifies lives which challenge the heterosexual norm", and the heterosexual norm means "the only valid way of sexually/romantically relating to one another is within the framework of either marriage or heterosexual relationship" [1]. Here queer is posed in opposition to heterosexuality or heteronormativity, and it has been attempted to present a brief definition of what heteronormativity might mean. There are, however, following questions in my mind that I want to explore to understand the Queer in India: what does it mean to be heterosexual, and what are the historical-sociological meanings ascribed to heteronormativity in India?

Homosexuality (and Bisexuality) are considered transgressions from the norm of heterosexuality, and therefore are punished using various means by society and State alike. Although the degree, forms and characteristics of these punishments may vary in both the institutions. For example, the society 'invisibilizes' the non-heterosexual behaviours by trying to suppress it (usually by coercive means) using marriage as tool. Sometimes these punishments can be banishments (which are rare though) from the family and inheritance [2]. While the state punishes certain sexual acts under the pretence of punishing 'unnatural sexual acts'.


Caste in the Urban: Bangalore as case study


Pranav Kuttiah

PranavKuttaiahIn the aftermath of the horrific mass molestation that took place in Bangalore on New Year's Day, I put up a small status on Facebook. As a Bangalorean, I found that the event was deplorable, but certainly not shocking. Bangalore, in my experience, has always been a space of entrenched casteism and patriarchy that its upper-caste residents like to shrug off so as to compare themselves favourably to northern parts of India. The exact words I used were:

"I've lived in Bangalore pretty much most of my life, and with a fair idea of the city I think it's pretty safe to say that what happened on New Year's was utterly deplorable but certainly not shocking.

As south Indians, we are experts in the art of sweeping our sexism, casteism etc under the carpet and attempting to push the entirety of the blame of the "Indian image" on people from UP, Bihar, Delhi etc (and let's not pretend there isn't a caste context to these generalizations, because when it's convenient we all migrate across the country for opportunities).

Whenever we discuss something like sexism or casteism we get stuck on overt, in-your-face instances of discrimination. The truth is that these issues are systemic, they are insidious, they are a part of the very fabric of the way our societies function - they exist and are reinforced in every structure from the home to the school to the workplace.


A regressive campus feeling the Ambedkarite heat


Sumit Turuk

sumit turukJai Bhim was never a slogan among the "progressives", who are in fact regressive, of JNU until around mid 2015. It grew louder among them post Rohith Vemula's institutional murder, considering the imminent threat of Dalit Bahujan Student assertion which started gaining a much powerful form across campuses in India. The anti-caste discourse in JNU actually manifested only through Dalit Bahujan student forums and the slogans of Jai Bhim, Jai Birsa, Jai Savitri and Jai Phule were earlier limited to these circles. These forums organized talks, conferences and various programmes that strongly reflect the anti-caste assertion and also challenged the narratives of Brahmanical supremacy. For example, organizing Mahisasur Diwas in campus, proposals for Beef festival inside campus etc. A major chunk of the Savarna hegemonized left academia (their excellencies) within the campus would sit silent and be a mute spectator to the narratives and spectacles that glorify the barbarity of Brahmanical supremacy over the Dalit Bahujans and there are also many renowned voices among them who have been strongly opposing provisions of reservations for SC, ST, OBC students as well as in faculty recruitment of these categories.

Many Dalit Bahujan students are still unaware of these narratives due to the historical hegemony of savarnas (both belonging to the so-called left and right wing) over knowledge production and distribution. And most "left regressive" savarnas, while being the beneficiaries and contributors to this knowledge production, never tried to question the sanctity of these Brahminical narratives and processes of historical writings that are very much a part of the academia. These developments further the challenge for Dalit Bahujan organizations and activists to facilitate mechanisms to disseminate the production of Dalit Bahujan writtings that is in sharp contrast to the brahminical narratives sheltered by "Left regressives" in academia.


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