ഫാത്തിമയുടെ ആത്മഹത്യയും ഐ.ഐ.ടി സമീപനങ്ങളും

വിജു വി.വി

(ഈ എഴുത്ത് സമഗ്രമോ നിഷ്പക്ഷമോ ആണെന്ന് അവകാശപ്പെടുന്നില്ല.. വ്യക്തിപരമായ നിലപാടുകളോ പ്രത്യയശാസ്ത്രസ്വാധീനമോ ഒക്കെ കടന്നുവന്നിട്ടുണ്ടാകാം. എങ്കിലും എന്താണ് ഇവിടെ സംഭവിച്ചത് എന്നതിനെകുറിച്ച് ധാരണയുണ്ടാക്കാന്‍ ഈ കുറിപ്പ് സഹായിച്ചേക്കും)

iit madras

ഒന്ന്

ശനിയാഴ്ച ഉച്ചയ്ക്ക് ഭക്ഷണം കഴിച്ചുകൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നതിനിടയിലാണ് ഐ.ഐ.ടിയില്‍ വിദ്യാര്‍ഥിനി ആത്മഹത്യ ചെയ്തിട്ടുണ്ട് എന്ന വിവരം അറിയുന്നത്. സ്വാഭാവികമായ ഉത്കണ്ഠയുടെ ഭാഗമായി നടത്തിയ അന്വേഷണത്തില്‍ അത് എന്റെ തന്നെ ഡിപ്പാര്‍ട്ട്മെന്റിലെ(ഹ്യുമാനിറ്റീസ് ആന്‍ഡ് സോഷ്യല്‍ സയന്‍സസ്) ഇന്റഗ്രേറ്റഡ് എം.എയിലെ പെണ്‍കുട്ടിയാണ് എന്നറിഞ്ഞു. അപ്പോഴാണ് എനിക്ക് പരിചയമുള്ള ആര്‍ദ്രയെ വിളിച്ചതും ഫാത്തിമ എന്ന മലയാളിയാണ് മരിച്ചത്, കൊല്ലത്താണ് വീട് എന്നും അറിയുന്നത്. പെട്ടെന്ന് രണ്ട് കാര്യങ്ങള്‍ മനസിലൂടെ കടന്നുപോയി. ഏതാണ്ട് ഒരു വര്‍ഷത്തിനിടെ രണ്ടുമലയാളി വിദ്യാര്‍ഥികള്‍ ഐ.ഐ.ടിയില്‍ ആത്മഹത്യചെയ്തിരിക്കുന്നു. അതില്‍ രണ്ടുപേരും മുസ്ലിം ആണ്.

അങ്ങനെ ഓര്‍ക്കാന്‍ കാരണമുണ്ട്. 2018 സെപ്തംബറില്‍ മരിച്ച ഷഹല്‍ കോര്‍മത്തിന്റെ നിഷ്‌കളങ്കമായ മുഖം ഇപ്പോഴും മാഞ്ഞുപോയിട്ടില്ല. സംസാരിച്ചിട്ടൊന്നുമില്ലെങ്കിലം ഇടയ്ക്ക് ഭക്ഷണം കഴിക്കുമ്പോഴൊക്കെ കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ട്. പെട്ടെന്ന് ഒരുദിവസം ആത്മഹത്യചെയ്‌തെന്ന് വാര്‍ത്ത വന്നു. അന്ന് മലയാളി ആണ് എന്നറിഞ്ഞപ്പോള്‍ ഏതുനാട്ടുകാരനാണ് എന്നറിയാനായി കുറെപ്പേരോട് അന്വേഷിച്ചിരുന്നു. ഷഹലിന്റെ കൂടുതല്‍ വിവരങ്ങള്‍ അറിഞ്ഞപ്പോള്‍ അത് വല്ലാതെ വേദനിപ്പിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു. ഓഷ്യന്‍ എന്‍ജിനിയറിങ്ങ് ഡിപ്പാര്‍ട്ട്മെന്റില്‍ ഡുവല്‍ ഡിഗ്രി തിരഞ്ഞെടുത്ത് ഒമ്പതാം സെമസ്റ്ററില്‍ എത്തിയപ്പോഴാണ് ഷഹല്‍ ജീവിതം അവസാനിപ്പിച്ചത്. അത് അക്കാദമിക് തലത്തിലെങ്കിലും അന്വേഷിക്കപ്പെടേണ്ട മരണമാണ് എന്ന് അന്നേ തോന്നിയിരുന്നു. എന്നിട്ടും 'ഈ സംവിധാനങ്ങളുമായി ഇണങ്ങിച്ചേരാന്‍ പറ്റാത്ത ഏതോ ഒരുവിദ്യാര്‍ഥി മരിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു. കൂടുതല്‍ അതിനെ കുറിച്ച് ആലോചിക്കേണ്ടതില്ല' എന്നൊരു ഉദാസീന ബോധത്തില്‍ എല്ലാവരും ആശ്വാസം കൊള്ളുകയും പതിവുപ്രവൃത്തികളില്‍ വ്യാപൃതരാവുകയും ചെയ്തു. എന്നെ സംബന്ധിച്ചിടത്തോളം 'മാനസിക സമ്മര്‍ദം മൂലമോ' 'ഹാജര്‍ ഇല്ലാത്തതുകൊണ്ടോ' ആത്മഹത്യചെയ്തു എന്ന വിശദീകരണം ഇപ്പോഴും തൃപ്തിപ്പെടുത്തുന്ന ഒന്നല്ല. വിദ്യാര്‍ഥികളുടെ കുടുംബപശ്ചാത്തലം, രക്ഷിതാക്കളുടെ സാമൂഹ്യ പശ്ചാത്തലം എന്നിവയൊക്കെ കണക്കിലെടുത്താല്‍ ആ കുടുംബത്തോട് നീതിപൂര്‍വമായ സമീപനം ഉണ്ടായോ എന്ന സംശയം ഇപ്പോഴും ബാക്കിതന്നെയാണ്. സാധാരണഗതിയില്‍ എട്ടുസെമസ്റ്റര്‍ മതി ഒരു ബി.ടെക് പൂര്‍ത്തിയാക്കാന്‍. അതുകഴിഞ്ഞ് ഏതെങ്കിലും കമ്പനിയില്‍ ജോലി നേടി കഴിയാവുന്നതേയുള്ളൂ. അതിനപ്പുറം ഒരു വര്‍ഷം കൂടി പഠിച്ച് ഡുവല്‍ ഡിഗ്രി നേടിയേ ഇറങ്ങുന്നുള്ളൂ എന്ന് ഷഹല്‍ തീരുമാനിക്കുമ്പോള്‍ അത്രയും അധ്വാനിക്കാന്‍ തയാറാണെന്നും അതിനുള്ള ആത്മവിശ്വാസവും പ്രതീക്ഷയും അവനുണ്ടായിരുന്നുവെന്നുമാണ് മനസിലാക്കേണ്ടത്. പക്ഷേ ആ ആത്മവിശ്വാസവും പ്രതീക്ഷയും അണായാതെ കാക്കാന്‍ ഞാന്‍ കൂടി ഉള്‍പ്പെടുന്ന ഐ.ഐ.ടി സമൂഹത്തിന് കഴിഞ്ഞില്ല.

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Reconnecting some Unknown Dots to Buddhism: An Ambedkarite Observation

 

Subhransu Sekhar Harpal

subhransu sekharThere are no non-vedic reference point for Ram killing Ravana or Durga killing Mahishashur. This is more a political ploy than mythology, to disconnect the greatness of this day from Ashoka Vijaya Dashmi and to connect with Hindutva/vedic Sanatan religion with mythical interpretation of Vijaya Dashmi.

During this period there is also a wide presence of the celebration of indigenous women's power, as festivals of local deities across the country. This is being highly neglected by so-called historians (Brahmistorian) of India. Here, again, I don't find any reference for Ravana or Mahishasur being killed. These local deity festivals are the oldest, longest, as well as widespread. It simply implies that Dashara/Vijaya Dashmi also has an independent presence in native social culture, celebrating the woman as a power centre or liberator of society as a whole. Matriarchy came to existence as a natural choice in the evolutionary process, which was well supported by the earth's environment, whereas patriarchy is a man-made imposition on the earth's environment. This culture still survives and is struggling for its existence. Its forms are being highly sanskritised, so it needs extensive research to revive its essence.

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Asuran: A movie on symbolism of Dalit assertion

 

Ramkumar Govindan

RamkumarIntroduction

In the recent past, the market for movies on anti-caste politics has gained momentum in Indian cinema, especially in Tamil cinema. The young directors of Tamil Nadu such as Pa. Ranjit, Lenin Bharathi, Maari Selvaraj, Raju Murugan, Vetri Maran etc., are making movies with progressive ideology, dealing with subjects on anti-caste politics, and portraying the lives of marginalized communities. The movies of this genre are receiving support from the wider audience (including a section of caste Hindus) and making capital commercially. This is a new trend in the Tamil cinema space.

Asuran (2019) is an interesting addition to this genre (trailer of the movie is here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOCM9wztBYQ). It is directed by Vetrimaaran and produced by Kalaipuli S. Dhanu. It talks about resistance, negotiation, and assertion of Dalits of Thirunelveli district against caste Hindu landlords. The period that it discusses is between 1960s and 1970s. It has Dhanush (as Sivasamy) in the lead role, Manju (as Manimekhalai) as his wife, and Pasupathi as his brother-in-law. Also, the lead pair are parents to three children, 20, 15, and 5 years old.

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Bapu: The Biggest Scam in India


Kartik Boudh

kartik boudhIdeas of great personalities have influenced the masses and have dealt with great injustices and inequalities in the world. Progressive thoughts shaped and nurtured by great minds of the world are still alive. Ideas have become such powerful tools to overcome the oprressive structures. They have turned into mass revolutions for the greater cause to humanity. When it comes to India, without pausing people talk about how M K Gandhi’s thoughts and actions have nurtured Indians and shaped their lifestyle. Ambedkarism, as a school of thought is a counter to Gandhism and Brahminical hegemony. It is the voice of the silenced and oppressed masses which offers resitance against the dominant forces in India. Lot of Indians are quite fascinated by Mr. Gandhi, while not bothering about Babasaheb. But, how much has Gandhism as a school of thought contributed to India?

The emergence of M K Gandhi in pre-independent India's socio-political sphere had much more to do with his interests of serving as a lawyer to the Gujarati Bania merchants in South Africa than with any progressive values as suggested by his followers. We need to trace back history to see the purpose of his stay there and why he returned. The misguided history that we are taught needs to address the inside story of Mr. Gandhi, his dualism and hypocritical standpoints afterwards. These things are indigestible to the Gandhians. The 'Mahatma' of the nation was without doubt an orthodox Hindu with sugar-coated progressiveness. He wore the mask of a mass leader but espoused conservatism derived from Hinduism. The socio-political movements he led was mostly to serve the interests of the savarna classes. Babasaheb Ambedkar led the pathbreaking movement in India called Mahad Satyagraha earlier than the Dandi march by Mr. Gandhi. But, unfortunately most Indians still don’t know about Mahad Satyagraha and about the purpose it was fought for. After all, what matters most is interests of the savarna. And that influenced the narratives around the Indian Freedom Struggle.

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Ambedkar and Du Bois: In Common Pursuit of Equality & Justice

 

P. Dayanandan

ambedkar and du bois

B. R. Ambedkar. Indian Flag in the backdrop. W.E.B. Du Bois. Flag of Ghana in the backdrop. (Du Bois illustration courtesy: Sarah Rogers, The Daily Beast, 04-10-2017)

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar corresponded with the prominent American Black leader Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois in his effort to explore every possible avenue to liberate and empower Dalits. Ambedkar studied at Columbia University, New York. It was there at the age of 22 he experienced the joy of freedom from the stigma of untouchability. He later recalled: "The best friends I have had in my life were some of my classmates at Columbia and my great professors". On his return to India he again experienced discrimination and observed the tyranny of subjugation of Dalits. Liberation of the Dalits from oppression became Ambedkar's personal mission for the rest of his life. On 2 July 1946, Ambedkar sent a letter to Du Bois, whose reply is dated 31 July 1946. In his letter, Ambedkar pointed out that he had read Du Bois' writings and found much similarity between the oppressed conditions of Black people in the U.S. and the Dalit people of India. Ambedkar was interested in taking up the issue in the United Nations, and wanted copies of a representation that had recently been submitted to the United Nations. In fact, Ambedkar had examined the similarities and differences between the oppression faced by the enslaved peoples in USA and Dalits in India in his essays (see references).

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Immanuel Sekaran: Symbol of Resistance

 

Bagavanidhi M

bhagavnidhiOnce when I gave Babasaheb Ambedkar’s book to my friend in Rameshwaram in southern Tamil Nadu, I asked the friend who belongs to a dominant caste Maravar community how his parents would react. He replied saying his parents don’t know much about Ambedkar, but if this was an Immanuel Sekaran book, it would become problematic, and his friends may even tear or burn the book. October 9th marks Immanuel Sekaran’s 95th birth anniversary, and while this may not cause a stir across the country, it causes a stir in Southern Tamil Nadu among the Pallar community. Immanuel Sekaran influenced the Pallar community far more than Ambedkar and other anti-caste leaders. For the youth of this community, posters usually mean images of Immanuel Sekaran or Maveeran Sundaralingam who fought against British East Indian Company. They may not know about Babasaheb Ambedkar’s anti-caste politics, they only know Immanuel Sekaran as their role model. 

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Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din: The Liberation Day

 

Dr. Ratna Panvekar

dr ratna panvekar 1Dhamma

The word Dhamma is commonly used in Buddhism and it means the teachings and doctrines of Buddha. These teachings and doctrines describe the nature of things, the way things are, the way they operate. In short it means justice, truth and good behaviour. Dhamma means ethical conduct and righteousness. It is nothing but morality. The Dhamma is one of the Three Jewels of Buddhism in which the practitioners of Buddhism seek refuge, or that upon which one relies for his or her lasting happiness. The Three Jewels of Buddhism are the Buddha- meaning the mind's perfection of enlightenment; the Dhamma- meaning the teachings and the methods of the Buddha; and the Sangha- meaning the monastic community that provides guidance and support to followers of the Buddha.

Chakra

Dhamma wheel or Dhamma Chakra is commonly known symbol in Buddhism that signifies the teachings of Buddha. It is considered the wheel of transformation and the wheel of law.

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Our students are not allowed to celebrate their success: Anoop Kumar, Director, Nalanda Academy

 

Round Table India

anoop interview

In this episode of the Ambedkar Age series, Round Table India talks to Anoop Kumar, Director Nalanda Academy, Wardha, Maharashtra.

In the interview, Anoop Kumar talks about the beginning and the phenomenal growth of Nalanda Academy in Wardha, Maharashtra, which has helped over 200 students from Bahujan backgrounds to enter the most prestigious of higher educational institutions in India and abroad. He talks about how the idea of the Academy was conceived, how the community was made a part of all the efforts of the Academy. He also talks about the structures which act as obstacles for Dalit and other marginalised students to gain access to quality education in India.

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Climate Justice in India: A Critical Overview

Pradnya Mangala 

pradnya mangala ore

Background: Global climate strike led by Greta Thunberg and youth around the world has trigged climate justice debates in the mainstream. In India, from the past few weeks, we have witnessed climate protests in major metropolitan cities demanding governments to act on the current climate crisis to ensure a livable future for the coming generations. This outcry all around calls for a thorough examination of the debates around climate change especially for the Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasis communities whose majority population is engaged in climate-dependent livelihoods like agriculture, fishing, and forest-related activities.

I begin by briefly explaining, what is climate change? Climate change means a change in the usual weather pattern found in a place. The change can be in terms of the amount of rainfall or snow received or temperature in a season, month or throughout the year (NASA, 2014). United Nations framework convention on climate change, 1992, outlines climate change as a "change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods." Climate scientists all around the world have overwhelming consensus that concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have significantly increased since the beginning of the industrial revolution, which has caused extensive use of fossil fuels and deforestation. Reports suggest that there has been a 40% increase in CO2, a 150% increase in methane, and a 20% increase in nitrous oxide in the atmosphere (The Royal Society).

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Open defecation, stunting, caste and lynching

 

Dr. Sylvia Karpagam

On the pretext of open defecation, two dalit children, Avinash and Roshni, age 10 and 12, were brutally murdered1 on the 25th of September 2019, in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, with the girl child being molested2 before being murdered. At the same time, the Prime minister of the country was receiving an award3 for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan which aims to make India "completely free of open defecation". This award has been criticised4 in many circles, not in small reason for the prolonged communication blockadeand denial of basic rights to the citizens of Kashmir, by the current government.

sylvia Vidhan Soudha Case

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Privatization will perpetuate economic and social inequality

 

Gautam Kumar

gautam kumarThe three words, Justice, Liberty, Equality mentioned in the preamble of the Indian constitution are the essence of our constitution. This is part of the basic structure because these are building blocks of a Welfare State which is the ultimate vision of the founding fathers of our constitution. In these words, the sequence has its own importance. Justice came first, and within that, social, economic, and political justice are sequenced in a particular manner, and social justice has been given prime importance. The goal of social justice can be attained through economic justice and political justice. Political justice is ensured through reservation of seats in parliament, economic justice is ensured through reservation in government sector jobs and some provisions of directive principles of state policy which put some duties on the state to ensure equal wages and to restrict the concentration of wealth. Marx gave an economic interpretation of history in which socio-cultural relations are also influenced by economic interest. Here I analyze some data on how economic inequalities lead to social inequality.

We all know that the Indian economy is dominated by the informal sector. Approx 81% of the Indian labor force is working in the informal sector, the formal sector is a mere 6.5% of which government sector is less than 2%.1 Research by Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat and others show that enterprises owned by higher castes employed about 86% of total workers in private sector enterprises located in the rural area. The urban sector also shows a similar trend which means that lower castes have a lower share in private enterprises relative to their share in population on the other hand share of higher castes in private sector enterprises is much higher than their relative share in population.2

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I, Bhagyashri Boywad

 

Bhagyashri Boywad

I, Bhagyashri Boywad, come from Nanded, one of the backward districts of Marathwada. I am from an economically backward family, my father works as an auto-driver and mother is a domestic worker. We do not own a house given the economic conditions. Both my siblings (one sister and a brother) had to drop out from school but I was determined that I will continue to study. I have always been a good student in school and participated very actively in every event. The teachers helped me a lot, they motivated me whenever I faced challenges in continuing my education but there was one thing that was always there – discrimination against me. It is from school that I started facing discrimination because of my skin colour, my caste, and my physical appearance. My intelligence was never enough to satisfy people that I deserve equal respect and space in my own school and everywhere. This made me think low of myself. I started believing that it is necessary to be beautiful to be appreciated and acknowledged. 

bhagyashree boywad

I started to work after my school because it was becoming extremely challenging to continue with my education. For better job opportunities, I shifted to Pune and started as a construction worker in Aundh Military Camp at a salary of Rs.120 per day. I found it more difficult to sustain myself and therefore changed my job and went to Poly House and worked as a Bouquet making worker. After a few months, I started to work with National Insurance Academy as a garden labourer. Working six months and living in vulnerable situations, I finally could save some money to enrol myself in 11th grade but couldn’t attend classes and study. I had to get back to the job because further money was required to pay my school fees. My entire family was left unemployed so I had to go out and earn. I had to manage my studies and job hand in hand and somehow, I managed to pass out from High School with top grades (80.31%) but that was not acknowledged by the school authorities as I belonged to a Dalit background. Therefore, I was not appreciated with the scholarship amount that the school ought to reward me with. Disheartened, I continued with my work and kept on changing the workplace as nothing was sustainable. 

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Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s 129th Birth Anniversary Commemoration
Thursday, 23 April 2020
  Ambedkar King Study Circle On Thursday April 16, 2020, the Ambedkar King Study Circle located in California, also known as AKSC, commemorated the 129th birthday of Babasaheb Dr. B.R Ambedkar.... Read More...

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Cyber Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations worldwide
Monday, 27 April 2020
  Mahesh Wasnik  The worldwide Ambedkarite Community celebrated 193rd Mahatma Phule birth anniversary and 129th Dr. B R Ambedkar Jayanti together, online, as a "Cyber Jayanti... Read More...
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s 129th Birth Anniversary Commemoration
Thursday, 23 April 2020
  Ambedkar King Study Circle On Thursday April 16, 2020, the Ambedkar King Study Circle located in California, also known as AKSC, commemorated the 129th birthday of Babasaheb Dr. B.R Ambedkar.... Read More...