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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Crumbling Social Justice and the Need for Representative Higher Judiciary

 

Dr. Ayaz Ahmad  and Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh

yogesh pratap ayaz.jpgThis article attempts to explain the discursive role of higher judiciary in shaping the constitutional discourse on reservation which finally culminated in the form of 103rd constitutional amendment for upper-caste quota. Such patent assault on constitutional goals of social justice through the Supreme Court and the High Courts once again heightens the need for Bahujan (SC/ST/OBC) representation in higher judiciary. However, brahmanical strategies to exclude Bahujans from the higher echelons of judicial power are operative in multi-layered fashion through inter-institutional caste grid which makes the goal of representative judiciary even more difficult to achieve. But the move for upper-caste quota, more than ever, makes it possible to pierce the inter-institutional caste grid couched in the language of separation of powers, institutional independence and principle of checks and balances. The examination of upper caste quota through judicial pronouncements reveals the operation of this inter-institutional caste grid characterized by Brahmin-Baniya hegemony.

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EWS reservation subverts representation of unrepresented as sought by Babasaheb

Pradeep Dhobley

(Transcript of his speech at the 'Discussion on the Constitutionality and Progressiveness of the EWS Quota for the so-called Upper Castes and the Repercussions for the SC/ST/OBC/Pasmanda Representation' held on 25th of Feb, 2019 at the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh, Fort, Mumbai.)

Our esteemed speaker Dr.Suresh Mane has already given a lot of material on this subject. I would like to add on to it or if some cues come to my mind, I will raise that. Suresh Mane is in the legal field as well as the political field. So whatever I say, you can always keep his comments with you, him being an experienced person. But few of the things regarding the economically weaker sections(EWS), he has said that that class doesn’t exist. But they have defined in the Constitution, or in that amendment, that those economic weaker sections are also the caste. They are the non SC, non ST and non-OBC. India is a country where there is nobody without caste. So the 10% will not be given to the SC, it won’t be given to the ST, and not to the OBC. So it means remaining are also the Caste. So it is applicable to some caste. And that caste whose annual income is less than Eight Lakh Rupees.

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Lynching of Tabrez Ansari: A Deliberate Executive Prejudice

Shahnawaz Ahmad Ansari

shahnawaz ansariPogroms, communal strife, and massacre have been cultural blots in the garb of reflex action ever since independence because these are ingrained in the bedrock of divided India. But lately, the emergence of ‘spontaneous-mob-lynching’ with a tinge of pride-pouring Hindutva superseded by the enlightened spirit to safeguard its sanctity is, of late, a new craft in the attire of democratic subversion, scripting unveiled snarls. The ‘new-lynching-normal’ of the trivial kind in ceaseless series conceived in the last five years might be a subtle attempt to let the people feel the sought-after-transition of India from a ‘Secular State’ to a ‘Theocratic State’.

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Dalits and dichotomy of the Ganesh festival


Kavita Chohan
 

kavita chohanI am from Haryana. I have been living in Ambedkar’s bhumi Mumbai since the past two years. This is a great time for me to have come in contact with Ambedkarites. I have come to understand that there are various shades and layers to the term 'Ambedkarism'. Ambedkarism is a remarkable and dynamic philosophy.

One of my classmates in college is a fervent propagator of Ambedkarism; he chants 'Jai Bhim' every chance he gets. One day when I was coming back to hostel, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks and made me reflect deeply. The same Ambedkarites from my class were standing in a queue to offer pooja to the Siddhivinayaka Ganesha on the occasion of Ganesh festival. I waited for a while and finally, went up to my friend to talk to him. He asked me not to tell anyone else that I saw him at the temple. He said that his family forces him to do this and that many other Buddhists and SCs come here for darshan as well. This encounter left me deeply unsettled and many questions occupied my head. I started reading up about Ganesh Chaturthi and many other Hindu festivals. I have met many Ambedkarites who claim to follow Ambedkar's legacy, but they still celebrate festivals like Holi and Ganesh Chaturthi. They don't seem to bother about the kind of messages they are passing on to the next generation. Whenever I see some Ambedkarite offering prayers at the temple, faces of Babasaheb, Periyar and Gadge Maharaj dance before my eyes. I keep wondering why do they do what they do.

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The Curious Case of Tabrez Ansari

 

Bobby Kunhu

kunhuThe police have unilaterally decided to dilute the case against the accused in the Tabrez Ansari lynching case from murder to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, thereby reducing the gravity and culpability of the offence. According to Karthik. S, the Superintendent of Police, Saraikela, Jharkand, this was ostensibly done because the autopsy report reaffirmed by senior doctors has recorded the cause of death as cardiac arrest!

You don't need to be a medical genius, much lesser an autopsy doctor to know that finality of death is when the heart stops beating and the cardiac routine is arrested in every case of death. That is why there exists an ethical dilemma about organ donation when a person is brain dead because till the heart stops beating there is the remotest possibility or hope that a person might be revived. So, of course, Tabrez Ansari died of cardiac arrest and I don't see any problem with that.

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The Hounding of a Committed Anti-Caste Intellectual

 

Vinayakala Korvi

vinayakala korviTwo genuine intellectuals, academicians and crusaders for justice and truth, from EFLU to University of Delhi...Stay strong...more power to you Hany and Jenny.

 

Today my close friend Jenny shared this post on Facebook:

 

'Today the Pune police entered our house at 6.30 in the morning. They said that Hany Babu (my husband) who teaches at Delhi University English Department, is involved in the Bhima Koregaon case and for this they could search the house without a search warrant. They searched the house for up to 6 hours, took three books and his lap top, phone, hard disks and pen drives. They just left now.'

 

I was one of the first persons to see this on Facebook, and straight away these were the words that came to my mind, which I shared on FB too.

 

 "I stand with you!
Hany's biggest contribution has been to challenge the caste hegemony in admissions and appointments to the university. He is a dedicated teacher who also graduated in law to be more effective in his work.”

 

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Nidhin Shobhana: A scholar spreading Ambedkarite discourse through his drawings

 

Dr. Dhammasangini Ramagorakh

Today, 5th September,  is the birthday of Nidhin Shobhana. On this occasion, I want to introduce him to you. This guy is not on Facebook! He lives in Calcutta.

In the defense of Ambedkarism, in ideological fights and battles, people like us have to write lengthy articles to argue but this man does the same through a single illustration. Be it against the imaginary idea of 'Dominant Dalit' by Prof. Badri Narayan who produces research and arguments to help BJP, or be it against the 10 percent reservation for the Savarnas who were already enjoying unreserved space.

Screenshot 2019-09-06-00-19-45-1

Nidhin's illustrations are staunchly critical. Look at the illustration in which the Janaudhari rests his foot on Parliament. It seems the Parliament, an official symbol of democracy, is being crushed by the Janaudhari. And you don't need to speak differently on today's Brahmanical fascism. The picture itself speaks so powerfully.

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The Brahmin Is Back!

 

S. M. Dhabarde

Once upon a time there was a Brahmin journalist. Let us call him Happy Sage. Happy Sage was extremely happy with his own life. Why wouldn't he be –he was born with knowledge! As a journalist, Happy was extremely pained and distressed to see the 'degraded' status of his caste fellows in a democratic nation. Happy felt aghast at the thought of Brahmins becoming new untouchables. Happy was extremely moved by the plight of the poor Brahmins and wrote passionately about their 'wretched' conditions. Happy spoke truth to power! Happy showed the courage to take bold steps in the otherwise politically correct society. Happy suddenly emerged as the true hero for the Brahmins. Happy's caste-brethren took a sigh of relief– finally, someone saw our 'pain'. Happy soon realised that there is not much market for talking about the pains of his own community. It was this time around that he saw a business opportunity in publishing literature produced by the Dalits – the real untouchables who have been oppressed by the Brahmanical structure. Happy immediately masqueraded himself into an anti-caste warrior, made friends with Dalit organisations, scholars and poets.

looking ambedkar

Happy spoke passionately about the oppression of the Dalits. Dalits who were listening to Happy were so moved that they treated him as their fellow. Dalits badly needed a professional printing press – Happy became an instant hit. Why not? In addition to the anti-caste language, he also used the radical nomenclature, The New Vehicle, to reach to the Dalit market. Dalits celebrated him and he happily enjoyed their hospitality. After firmly establishing his position as the anti-caste publisher in English language - Happy came out with his real fangs. Happy began publishing non-Dalit topics and works of his own caste-brethren that looked 'beyond' caste. After all Happy must have felt suffocated with the impurity attached to the topics he was working with. There is a limit to how much a cow urine can purify! However, Happy was shrewd and kept one foot in the Dalit market to justify the use of the anti-caste name given to his publishing house. Happy took upon himself to take the most radical Dalit icon Ambedkar to the global stage– damn it, nobody in the West knows about the anti-caste icon. Happy along with his caste-brethren had already sensed that writings on Ambedkar are trending. It is a big market!

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Kashmir Problem: An Ambedkarite Solution

 

Ratnesh Katulkar

ratneshFollowing its election manifesto, Modi led NDA government finally revoked Article 370 which gave a special status to Kashmir. Most of the parties supported this move while Congress seems to be divided on this issue until party leadership gave a statement against this move. The Hindu-nationalists forces are celebrating this decision as the victory of India. The supporters of this move are even quoting Dr Ambedkar as an opponent of Article 370. It is strange that a party and ideology which once tooth and nail protested and demanded a ban on Ambedkar's famous 'Riddles in Hinduism' are now referring to Ambedkar to prove their decision correct.

Interestingly, the reference of Ambedkar's so-called opposition of Article 370 is quoted from RSS's mouthpiece, Tarun Bharat (1992) which cited the verbal account of Balraj Madhok, an RSS veteran, who claimed to narrate the following opinion of Ambedkar at the request of Sheikh Abdullah for special provision to Kashmir.

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From an ‘untouchable’ in Tapra to a student leader in TISS: Interview with Bhatta Ram


Pranjali Kureel

(Students of TISS, Mumbai recently elected Bhatta Ram as the new President of the student council in what is being called a ‘historic win’. Inspiring hundreds of students like me, who enter this institute with high hopes, only to find ourselves in an elite and daunting space, Bhatta Ram says the main aim was our assertion. In this interview, he shares with us his journey till now and what he plans to do afterwards, and tells us how he fought his way through discrimination and deprivation to reach where he is today.)

bhatta ram interview1Pranjali: Jai Bhim Bhatta. First of all, I would like to know about your background, your early life and experiences.

Bhatta Ram: Jai Bhim, I am Bhatta Ram. I come from a village in Rajasthan where Dalits are not treated as humans. When one is born, they don’t get to know where they have taken birth. I was in class 7th when I got to know that I come from a family that is called ‘Dalit.’ I found out that people feel hesitant to even sit with each other, to listen to each other, do not drink water from each other’s hands. I was born in a Dalit family in the Meghwal community. Since birth, we are told to not talk about our caste.

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The politics of Aadai

 

Rajesh Rajamani

 

Rajesh Rajamani newIntroduction

 

There is a prevalent tendency among film critics and even audience to classify a movie as feminist just because it has a female actor playing the lead role. So when Rathna Kumar’s Aadai starring Amala Paul released recently, there were similar expectations. Also, since the movie was titled ‘Aadai’ (The Dress) and was expected to make a commentary on the politics and policing of clothes through an elaborate nude sequence, the expectations were quite high. However, upon release, this heightened expectation seemed to have resulted in disappointment for several critics. The common grouse was that a film which showed the promise of being feminist ended up doing the opposite.

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