Caste Attacks on Buddhists in Nashik (Part 2)


Amar Khade

What actually happened in Talegaon?

According to reliable sources, this is what happened: around 8.30 to 9 pm on 8th October 2016, after finishing his dinner, the alleged perpetrator (a Dalit boy aged 14 years) was chatting with his two Maratha friends near his house. The victim, a minor Maratha girl, was the neighbor of the Dalit boy. She came out of her house and joined the trio. After sometime, the Dalit boy returned to his house. While returning to his house, the two Maratha friends started to make loud noises and created a commotion. 

nashik 4

At this instance, the family members of the Maratha girl came outside their home and started to beat the Dalit boy. Later, they also beat the family members of the Dalit boy. In 10 to 15 minutes, the rest of the villagers joined this whole commotion. The vehicles and tractor of the Dalit family were vandalized by the villagers. Residential property was also vandalized. The local police arrived later, and arrested the Dalit boy. In the span of 15 minutes after the arrest of the Dalit boy, there was an attack on the Buddhist community in the nearby Vilhodi village.

After this, on the morning of 9th October, the Mumbai-Nasik-Agra highway was blocked by the caste rioters. The public and private vehicles were set on fire and gutted down by the caste rioters. The cumulative attack on the residences of Buddhist community started on 9th October .The news of the attack on the Buddhist community was circulated on Whatsapp, social media. The caste Maratha rioters organized in groups and started to threaten Buddhist community members around Sinnar, Trimbak and Igatpuri. Rioters especially targeted the vehicles and properties having the Buddhist and Ambedkarite symbols.


Caste Attacks on Buddhists in Nashik


Amar Khade 

On Sunday, 9th October 2016, rumour spread across social media like Whatsapp that a 14 year old Dalit boy molested a minor girl in Talegaon (Nashik district, Maharashtra). It was later reported by the guardian minister of Nashik, Girish Mahajan, that the medical authorities have reported that rape has not occurred, and the issue is under investigation. But inflammatory messages regarding this incident spread beforehand and caused communal tension in some parts of Nashik.

 nashik 1

Buddhists were targeted by the caste Marathas to avenge this particular incident. Especially in some parts of Igatpuri, Buddhist residential houses, vehicles were gutted down by the caste rioters. They took swords and entered into the houses of the Buddhist community in Igatpuri and hurled all castiest slurs, beat them and ransacked their property, personal belongings and gutted their vehicles. There was a group of rioters geared with all kinds of sharp knives, swords and some even threw stones on the Buddhist houses. There was also desecration of a statue of Dr B. R. Ambedkar by the caste rioters. 


A Critique of “Real” and Fear: A Response to UoH SU Election Debates


Prashant Bagde

The recent assertion by BSF on Round Table India published on dated 2 Oct. 2016, regarding the UoH SU elections 2016 seems to be an attempt to claim that they are 'real' Ambedkarites. At the same time they are alleging ASA of many things thus intended to say that ASA is not a 'real' Ambedkarite organisation. In doing so they have discovered new terms called "congressi-Ambedkarites" and "congress Ambedkarism". Despite such not so new blame game and lowly political opportunism on the part of BSF, there are three important questions significant to our understanding. These questions are important not exactly to counter the claims made by BSF but to enhance our understanding about Ambedkarian political domain. These questions are: First, what is so called 'real' Ambedkarism? What does an adjective 'real' suggests when added with the term Ambedkarism? What difference exactly this adjective 'real' makes? What are the expected criteria and parameters to qualify the realness of the term 'real'? Whose intentions and what intentions does the use of the term 'real' satisfy within an Ambedkarian political domain? For me, it is the time to interrogate into the claim for the 'real'. Second, why is it necessary for BSF to make a claim for the real (Ambedkarism)? What makes them claim for the 'real' and on what grounds? Third, what do we understand from the term alliance in electoral politics? What is the conceptual meaning of the term alliance in electoral politics? What is the purpose of alliance in democracy? The concept of alliance must be having some purpose in electoral mechanism of a democratic system.

Before going on to interrogate these questions, we must clarify our basic understanding about the concepts of politics, electoral politics and political movement. Conceptually these concepts are different but interrelated to each other. At the same time these concepts are loaded and broad. The word politics seems to be small and we often use it a thousand times in our everyday language in very general sense. However, the conceptual meaning of the term politics is large and loaded. In the democratic system, generally, we need concepts like electoral politics and political movement to constitute our politics. At the same time we are part of different social groups and political organisations. By virtue of the social group and political organisation we participate in the process of electoral politics and political movement. Such participation of social groups and organisations contributes in the constitution of their respective politics. This scope and freedom of the constitution of respective politics, by the social groups and organisations, ensures the functioning of democratic system in democracy. In other words, the participation of social groups in the process of electoral politics and political movement, contributes in the constitution of politics and thus in democracy.

Taking this understanding to the university campus settings Ambedkar Students' Association (ASA) learned the importance of socio-political movement and electoral politics in the constitution of Ambedkarite politics. As the history of ASA (since 1993) on UoH campus suggests that ASA is not merely an organisation. Ambedkar Students' Association, since its inception in 1993, is primarily a struggle and socio-political movement. ASA is a struggle against Brahmanism and capitalism. ASA is anger against oppressor. ASA had emerged as a struggle and movement against brahmanic oppression on the campus. Hitherto, the legacy of ASA is continuing as the world has witnessed it in the recent time. There is no need to say as the world has witnessed that it was particularly an attack on the ASA by Brahmanic elements as soon as it assumed the power in the central government. It was attack on the struggle and socio-political movement initiated by ASA on the campus of University of Hyderabad. What makes the Brahmanic power to attack particularly ASA? This question is important, because, the Brahmanic power had understood ASA as a struggle and movement against the Brahmanism and capitalism. In this sense their targeting particularly ASA appeals to our common sense. For most of the time of its political activism, ASA concentrated on the constitution of struggle and political movement rather than electoral politics. Because of the success of ASA's struggle and political movement it managed to establish the strong Ambedkarite politics on the UoH campus. However, in this process of establishing Ambedkarite politics, ASA has gained a larger support from all the sections of the campus community. After achieving such large support from all sections ASA has decided to participate in electoral politics to enhance its politics.


Uniform Civil Code or the Struggle for Our Commons


Georgy Kuruvila Roy

Doesn't the form in which the current debate on Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is taking place, make the implementation of the UCC an urgent concern? In other words, the UCC is required precisely to do away with the vilification of Muslims (or any community for that matter) that the present debate is fostering. Thus the paradox of the present situation is pretty clear: the solution process for the long standing animosity between different communities has itself become a symptom which requires the enactment of the UCC to prevent such debates from happening.

Do we actually realize the democratic consequences of narrowing down the debate as a question of us and them? With the Shah Bano case the dominant current of the debate is based on two nodal points: the victimized woman and the undemocratic Muslim personal law. Certain aspects of the Muslim personal law are seen as undemocratic like the unilateral divorce which was the question here. My intention in bringing this issue is that with this case the Hindu right reduced the question to that of the victimized woman and the Muslim community.

khap syam

Let us ask here a different question: what if women are not mere victims but are agents of a divorce? Or what if the woman demands divorce? This question enables us to move from mere victimhood to active agents in a democratic polity. This is how the UCC was first brought up in the colonial state by different women's groups. They were actively demanding the implementation of UCC because the personal laws of communities were against the democratic spirit of equality and freedom. Here their claim was also that it was not just one community- like the Muslims presently- whose laws were problematic but the laws of all communities were patriarchal.


Remembering Rohith, marching ahead for Rohith Act: HCUSU Election results 2016


Dr Manisha Bangar


manisha bangarThe election results of HCUSU 2016 have brought glad tidings.

Ambedkar Students Association, whose five member students including Rohith Vemula were suspended and which has been in the forefront of the #JusticeforRohith movement, has emerged as the second single largest students union.

Congratulations go to Prashanth Dontha, Ms Kavya, Sunkanna, Vijay, Munna, and all the members of ASA. 

If it was the unwavering initiative of ASA to spread Phuley Ambedkarite ideology in the campus and not play second fiddle to NSUI and ABVP that triggered the series of events from August 2015 to Rohith's institutional murder to the horrendous police excesses in campus on 22nd March 2016 and the arrest of students and faculty, then this election results instill more fire among all. This is a clear indication that Phuley Ambedkarism is here to stay in HCU which essentially has won the notorious reputation of being a Brahminical den of, be it 'progressive secular thought' or 'obscurantist thought'.

It's no surprise that the Students Union elections in HCU campus this year have garnered so much attention - not so much due to the predictable victory of SFI led coalition or because Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) emerged as the second single largest union despite contesting the elections on its own without any political backing unlike the SFI, NSUI or the ABVP or because the other lesser known relatively recent Bahujan students unions like the Bahujan Students' Front (BSF), Tribal Students' Forum (TSF) and Dalit Students' Union (DSU) which contested in coalition with SFI and won. Rather, these elections in UoH have gathered attention because of the fact that the ASA's activism and the students' agitation that ensued after the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula on 17 th January 2016, and the JAC's struggle for Justice for Rohith, #savedemocracy and #savefreespeech campaigns - all these have become the face of resistance for the youth of this country.


Mahisha Dasara Festival in Mysuru City


Guru Murthy and Mahesh Sosle

Dalit Students Federation, University of Mysore

gurumurthy and mahesh sosleThe progressive thinkers, cultural personalities and social activists gave a new dimension to the history of Mysuru by celebrating 'Mahisha Dasara' on September 29, 2016 organised by Dalit Welfare Trust in association with Backward Class Association, Mysore University Dalit Students and Research scholar Federation in Mysuru city. Thousands of intellectuals, social organizers, researchers, students, workers and other indigenous sections of Karnataka state assembled before the statue of Mahisha to celebrate 'Mahisha Dasara' and recall the yeoman contributions made by Mahisha, the great Buddhist king for the inclusive development of people regardless of religion, caste, color and creed.

"Mahisha was a great Buddhist monk, secular ruler and destiny maker of the marginalized indigenous people of Mysuru region. Mahisha and his people were the angel guardians of state but the Brahminical forces have termed Mahisha as a demon with a view to bury the real history and betray the Buddhist and Dravidians who built the 'Mahisha Mandala'. The progressive thinkers should rewrite the history of indigenous people and reestablish their social and political supremacy in modern India", observed Prof. K.S. Bhagavan, a well known thinker and writer of Karnataka.


Bahujan Students' Front (BSF) on HCU Elections


Bahujan Students' Front (BSF)

The recently concluded HCUSU elections generated a lot of discussion and debate both in social media and offline as well. Innumerable questions were raised and allegations were made against the Bahujan Students' Front-UoH in particular and United Front for Social Justice (UFSJ) in general. In this pamphlet, Bahujan Students' Front (BSF) would like to tell why it went as an alliance partner in UFSJ. Who was it that actually diluted the unity of oppressed communities? We would like to make the campus community aware of the hegemony of 'Congress Chamchas' who call themselves Ambedkarites.

This election (2016) was very significant as it was the first election in the aftermath of the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the struggle that still continues. BSF felt that this was the right time for all oppressed communities and organisations representing the former in the UoH campus to forge an alliance and send the strongest message to Brahminical forces in the campus and the country at large. With this in mind, BSF formed an election coordination committee of its own to mobilize support from all organizations representing marginalized communities. BSF representatives first initiated negotiation with representatives of Ambedkar Students' Association (ASA) in forming the larger unity of the oppressed (UDA). The response from ASA was that forging an alliance of all oppressed communities (UDA) was risky when other forces are strong, cases are pending against students and creation of three panels would give mileage to ABVP. Thus BSF's proposal of UDA formation was neglected by ASA. Further the formation of a grand alliance of all organizations which were uncompromisingly engaged in Justice for Rohith struggle was emphasized by ASA.


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