The Touch of Ambedkar (part I)

by Thamburaj Dharmaraj 

The assignment is of performing the story of Ambedkar in a folk art form, shadow puppetry.  Shadow puppet theatre is widely held in the southern districts of Tamilnadu.  Though it is prevalent in most of the South Asian countries it is habitually getting ostracized in the villages and performance opportunity is on the decline for the past fifteen years.  As most of the puppeteers have deserted the tradition of performance and turned into migrant laborers wandering in the cities, the history of puppeteers who survive in Tamilnadu is absorbing.

The puppeteers of Tamilnadu

Read more...

Campaign for Pasmanda Revolution

[This document elucidates the political programme of the Shoshit Samaj Dal, which is working chiefly to promote the cause of social justice, with specific emphasis on representation for the pasmanda sections, dalits and backward castes, among Muslims- Round Table India]

Translation by Khalid Anis Ansari

 

Shoshit Samaj Dal

Campaign for Pasmanda Revolution

 

Everyone utters what is written in the gospels, I utter what I see with my eyes!!!

~Baba Kabir

If we have to put an end to communalism, the idea of two-nation theory should be buried. RSS and Jana Sangh are the largest banner bearers of Jinnah's two-nation theory in this country. So I have been emphasising on the matter that all parties, functioning on communal ground, should be legally banned whether these are RSS, Jana Sangh, Jamaat-e-Islami or Muslim League. But I do not think that mere legal ban on communal parties will solve the problem....a country-wide movement is needed along with ban on communal parties.

~Fakhr-e-Qaum Abdul Qaiyum Ansari

Ninety out of hundred are the oppressed, Ninety is our share,

The rule of ten over ninety will have to go, will have to go!!!

~Amar Shaheed Jagdeo Prasad Kushwaha

Read more...

'Palimpsest of Ethnic Fundamentalism'

by Madhuri Xalxo

[In his letter declining the Gandhi Foundation award, Dr Binayak Sen refers to the protest against the award nomination, and Madhuri Xalxo responds to it- Round Table India]

"The original citation of the Gandhi International Peace Award when it came, was a surprise, as I on my own had never claimed to be a representative of the tribal people of India. However, I had always proudly claimed the heritage of a vernacular and indigenous life-world that was egalitarian and sustainable, and since the awarding body was free to make its own ascription, I humbly accepted the responsibility being put on me. I was fully aware that there could be many views about my fitness to undertake such a task, but it never occurred to me that my ethnic identity, in that I was not ethnically a member of the tribal people of India, would stand in my way.

Read more...

Durga ka Mithak aur Bahujan Sangharsh ki Gatha: a documentary

'The myth of Durga and the saga of Bahujan resistance'

Bahujan Films

This short documentary (posted at the end of this note) named 'Durga ka Mithak aur Bahujan Sangharsh ki Yatra' has its genesis in the OBC students of the country's premier university, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, asserting their right to redefine the brahminical religious texts that portrays the brahminical hegemony of 'upper' castes in the Indian society.

These students believe that the so called Hindu gods and goddess and the festivals surrounding their myths are nothing but the history of 'upper' castes domination over the indigenous population of the country – SC, ST and OBCs and therefore the time has come to re-interpret these texts with Bahujan perspective.

Read more...

Breaking caste: Love stories in Black Letters

by Rupesh Kumar

11_copy

Inter-caste marriage and its ramifications in a caste society are at once personal and political for me. As a Dalit man married to a Nair woman, that too in a Hindu style wedding, I am faced with a number of complex issues, including questions about my political stands, from dalits as well as non-dalits. I was/am prepared to tackle each one of them. And as a film maker, exploring the topic of inter-caste marriages was a fascinating and compelling choice for me. 

Read more...

State Atrocities VS Oppressed Representation

 

Dinesh Maurya 

dinesh mauryaEarlier Forbesganj (Arariya, Bihar) and recently Nalanda (in Bihar) and Paramakudi (Tamil Nadu) are some examples of atrocities on the oppressed people directly involving the state machinery in the name of law and order. But before going into details, it is first necessary to know what does atrocity mean?

The term atrocity, is used some times as a synonym for tension, conflict, antagonism, violence etc., Atrocity is conceptually closer to conflict and more so to violence. Violence or social violence is connected with physical or social harm wherein the person looks to achieve his or her goals by injuring or completely eliminating others or their interests. Finally, atrocity is the net result of violence of the strong over the weak. In India, “Atrocity” has not been defined in any law and therefore the Government has been using the expression “crimes against the SC and ST”.

Since 1974, on the basis of the data collected by Ministry of Home Affairs, the ‘atrocities’ on SCs and STs might be classified into four categories, viz, murder, grievous hurt, arson and rape.

Read more...

Indigenous technology of climate prediction among a Tamil Dalit community

by Thamburaj Dharmaraj


Valluvar community is referred extensively in ancient Tamil literature as ‘masters of astronomical calculations as well as predictions based on that’.  The author of the renowned classical Tamil text ‘Thirukkural’, Thiruvalluvar, is believed to be the offspring of this community.  Though it has valid literary and historical evidences of being a literate and scholarly community, it is culturally branded as ‘untouchable’ within the Tamil social system. 

According to 1891 Madras Census Report and Manual of the North Arcot District Valluvars are referred as ‘the priests of the Parayars and Pallars’.  The Divakaram and Chudamani Nikandu pointed out that ‘they were priests of the Pallava kings before the introduction of the Brahmans, and even for some time after it’. 

Read more...

A Journey to Kundeshwar

Ravindra Kumar Goliya 

One must be wondering at the title: what is this place, why the journey? What is special about this place?raviggg_copy

Kundeshwar is a small village in Tikamgarh district in a backward area of Bundelkhand in Madhya Pradesh. It is special because of a boy named Bal Mukund Bharti who was the first student, perhaps in the whole district, to study at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the most prestigious medical college in the country. What is more remarkable is that he achieved this despite his humble background and without any coaching in some big city.

Read more...

My name Is memory

Thenmozhi Soundararajan

"A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself." -- Malcolm X

Story.

Story.

Story is the shortest distance between two people. This piece of wisdom has stayed with me for many years. It has shaped my work and was the fulcrum on which I balanced my ideas, both as a filmmaker and as a Media Justice organizer. I saw first hand that this critical distance could define a community's future or trap it in a cycle of poverty and loss. Because truly the future of a community was tied to how well it commanded its past. It is a fundamental truth that drives all cultural workers, even to the point that Malcolm X said, " Culture is a weapon."

Read more...

The Badanavalu Caste Clashes of 1993 in Karnataka

by Prakash Holayar, Chamarajanagar 

[Pronouncement of Court verdicts in cases pertaining to Dalit's murders, massacres and atrocities often takes several years. In this article Prakash recounts the Badanavalu Caste Clashes and the final verdict; we invite writers to share their experience and memory of such caste clashes and participate in the documentation of delays and negation in the process of justice for Dalit victims - Round Table India.

In March 1993, three Dalits were brutally murdered by a mob of Lingayats after the dispute over entry of Dalits into a temple in the Badanavalu village of Nanjangud Taluk, Mysore District. After a long wait of 17 years, justice was delivered to the Dalits of Badanavalu village in November 2010.

Read more...

Caste in Urdu Prose Literature (Part 2)

by Ajmal Kamal

Premchand (1880 – 1936) can be counted as a sympathetic voice against caste discrimination, although in recent times the Dalit circles in India are reported to have severely criticized him for being less than sensitive to the miserable life of the lower castes in the rural North India. However, in his writings one does not find much specific mention of the caste divisions in the Muslim society of the same geographical area. The writers belonging to the progressive literary bent, who tried to follow the tradition initiated by Premchand were sensitive to the class exploitation in the Indian society but were not willing to pay much attention to caste as one of the fundamental elements of the economic inequality and injustice. A notable exception is Abul Fazl Siddiqi (1908 – 1987) whose voluminous body of long and short fiction consistently deals with the role caste inequality used to play in the life of the predominantly Muslim UP rural milieu until 1947. Himself a zamindar from Badayun, though of an educated, enlightened variety, Abul Fazl had a sharp eye for the details of the injustices suffered by the members of the disadvantaged rural classes on the basis of caste. Also, he had managed to devise a language that was equal to his chosen subject. His style was deeply influenced by Premchand, especially the artistic finesse that he achieved in his last masterpiece “Kafan”, and had a refined sense of irony of his own that enhanced the objectivity and effectiveness of his fiction. However, the general drift of the Urdu literary criticism, given unabashedly to the idea of separation of art from its social relevance, has largely chosen to ignore these elements of Abul Fazl’s work. It is not possible to present here a selection from his fiction, but following are a few excerpts from his memoirs that bring out the caste relations in parts of the pre-independence rural UP:

Read more...

Response to P V Indiresan's “No quotas for higher studies, please”

by Thavaseelan G

[A former director of IIT Madras writes an essay which is featured in the Vision 2020 series of The Hindu Business Line. The title and the content reflects his racist, casteist and classist understanding of basic concepts of social justice, merit, testing, teaching and the responsibilities of a government funded teaching Institute. The Hindu Business line and its featured author are proudly advocating that IITs remain non-inclusive, genetically secluded Agraharams. -Thavaseelan responds with a few pithy questions for the retired 'educator'- Round Table India]

 

"Reservation at the university level is not the correct solution to the backwardness of communities. This is borne out by their poor performance. Instead, seats should be reserved at the primary school level. "says Prof. P. V. Indirasen.jnu_reservations_copy

 

Read more...

Other Related Articles

Of Brahminism and Everyday Politics
Sunday, 14 January 2018
  Deepika Parya & Sahil Barhate The presence of caste discrimination in Indian Universities predates independence. The introduction of National Law Schools was necessitated by the dearth of... Read More...
Social Media and Bahujans: Some Concerns and Reflections
Saturday, 13 January 2018
  Aditi Priya If we do not struggleIf we do not persist in our struggleThe enemy would finish us with his bayonetsAnd pointing to our bones he would tell the rest of the worldLook, these are... Read More...
Bloody untouchable: Stories of an assertive Ambedkarite Dalit - Part 2
Friday, 12 January 2018
  Sanjay Patil So long as you do not achieve social liberty, whatever freedom is provided by the law is of no avail to you.~ Dr. B. R. Ambedkar I was truly humbled by the response my last RTI... Read More...
Koregaon, Ambedkar and the Grammar of Anarchy
Thursday, 11 January 2018
  Amit Kumar Indian TV news media fully drenched with orgasmic nationalism seems hell bent on demonizing the alleged rioters in the form of large crowds who call themselves Amedkarites, the... Read More...
The Double Dhamaka of being a Brahmin Revolutionary
Thursday, 11 January 2018
  Rajesh Rajamani Recently, when 'Kabali' director Pa Ranjith introduced 'The Casteless Collective', an initiative that attempts to politicize and mainstream 'Gaana' music (considered to be a... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

No Mr. Tharoor, I Don’t Want to Enter Your Kitchen
Saturday, 16 September 2017
Tejaswini Tabhane Shashi Tharoor is an author, politician and former international civil servant who is also a Member of Parliament representing the constituency of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This... Read More...
Bahujans and Brahmins: Why their realities shall always collide, not converge
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
  Kuffir My grandfather,The starvation deathWhich occurred during the drought when men were sold;My father,The migrant lifeWhich left home in search of work to pay off debt;I, in ragged shirt... Read More...
An urban adivasi’s perspective on Newton
Thursday, 12 October 2017
  Nolina Minj India's official entry to the Oscars, Newton has done well for itself in the box-office. Critics have described it as 'brilliant, subversive and one of the finest political satires... Read More...
The beautiful feeling of falling in love with a Bahujan Ambedkarite
Friday, 28 July 2017
  Priya This is not going to be a long write-up, the sole purpose of writing this is to share the beautiful revolutionary feeling that we derive when we have fallen in love or have driven... Read More...
Differentiating the Hindi subject: Bhojpuri experience
Sunday, 24 September 2017
  Asha Singh Questions of linguistic autonomy and annihilation of caste-gender oppressions are crucial for the struggles of an emerging Bahujan public sphere in Bhojpuri speaking regions. Ali... Read More...