Create Dalit Economy the way Dalit Sahitya was created: Chandra Bhan Prasad

 

Chandra Bhan Prasad and Pushpendra Johar in a discussion: this is a part of the series of interviews, talks, articles that SAVARI and Round Table India are trying to put together to gather the Bahujan perspective on the Coronavirus pandemic.

This is the second part of the discussion; the first part is here

Pushpendra: We saw those videos on our smart phones, on our laptops and you talked about your own uncles and father. You said they had to flee Burma in 1941 when the war (world war 2) was going on and the Axis powers were pushed back by the Chamar regiment. What do these emerging videos of thousands and thousands of labourers, workers evoke in you personally? Also, have things changed for the underclass?

cbp

CBP: My father..they were four brothers and two of them reached Burma in 1930 and both joined railways as labourers. My father joined them in 1939, just before the beginning of the war. And when the Japanese army supported by Hitler entered Burma, the Government of India announced that those migrant workers should now go back to their homes because enemy forces might take over Burma. So my father, my two uncles, one aunty with her baby, they left Burma and reached my home in Azamgarh with so many stories..that they walked for so many miles, they took truck for some distance, they took train, they took bus, they took this and that.

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കൊറോണ പ്രതിരോധം : കേരള മോഡല്‍ മിത്തും യാഥാര്‍ത്ഥ്യവും


കെ സന്തോഷ്‌ കുമാര്‍

santhosh kumar 2020കൊറോണ (കൊവിഡ് 19) മഹാമാരിയേയും  വൈറസ് വ്യാപനത്തെയും കേരള സര്‍ക്കാരും  സമൂഹവും ലോകത്തിനു മാതൃകയാകും വിധം ഫലപ്രദമായി പ്രതിരോധിക്കുകയും അതിജീവിക്കുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നുണ്ട്. കേരളത്തിലെ സുശക്തമായ പൊതുജന ആരോഗ്യമേഖല, ആരോഗ്യകേന്ദ്രങ്ങളുടെ ലഭ്യത, ഗുണമേന്മ, അവബോധം, രാഷ്ട്രീയ ജാഗ്രത എന്നിവയാണ് ഇത് സാധ്യമാക്കുന്നത്. കേരള മോഡല്‍ വികസനത്തിന്റെ ഗുണാത്മകതയാണ് മഹാമാരിയെ പ്രതിരോധിക്കുന്നത് എന്നാണ് ചില പൊതുഭാഷ്യങ്ങള്‍.

കേരളത്തിലെ ആയിത്തജാതിക്കാര്‍ സാമൂഹിക നീതിക്കായി നടത്തിയ സാമൂഹിക രാഷ്ട്രീയ മുന്നേറ്റങ്ങളും, അവയിലൂടെ സൃഷ്ടിക്കപ്പെട്ട രാഷ്ട്രീയ ജാഗ്രതയും സമൂഹത്തിന്റെ കീഴ്ത്തട്ടില്‍ ഉണ്ടായ വിദ്യാഭ്യാസ പുരോഗതിയും തുടര്‍ന്നുണ്ടായ സാമൂഹിക മേഖലയുടെ വളര്‍ച്ചയും, മിഷനറി പ്രവര്‍ത്തനങ്ങളും ആധുനിക ചികിത്സാ സമ്പ്രദായത്തിന്‍റെ ചരിത്രപരമായ വികാസവും സ്ത്രീ വിദ്യാഭ്യാസവുമാണ് കേരളത്തിന്റെ ‘വികസന സവിശേഷത’യ്ക്ക് നിദാനമായി തീര്‍ന്നത്, അതല്ലാതെ ഇന്നു ചര്‍ച്ച ചെയ്യുന്നതു പോലെ "കേരള മോഡല്‍ വികസനം’ കൊണ്ടല്ല (കേരള മോഡലിനെ വിമര്‍ശനപരമായി സമീപിച്ച സാമൂഹിക ശാസ്ത്രജ്ഞരും സാമ്പത്തിക ശാസ്ത്രജ്ഞരും കുറഞ്ഞ വളര്‍ച്ചാ നിരക്കിലെ 'മാനുഷിക വിഭവശേഷി' വികാസത്തെ കേരളത്തിന്റെ വികസന സവിശേഷതയായി രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയത്).  കൊറോണാനന്തര കാലത്ത് ഈ വസ്തുതകളെ കണക്കിലെടുക്കാതെയാണ് "കേരള മോഡല്‍" സംവാദം രൂപപ്പെടുകയും ചര്‍ച്ച ചെയ്യപ്പെടുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നത്. സാമൂഹികമായി നിലനിൽക്കുന്ന യാഥാര്‍ത്ഥ്യങ്ങളെ, അത് ചരിത്രപരമായി രൂപപ്പെട്ടുവന്ന വ്യവസ്ഥാക്രമത്തിനുള്ളിൽ നിന്ന് മനസ്സിലാക്കാത്തതു കൊണ്ടാണ് 'കേരള മോഡൽ വികസന'ത്തിന്റെ മേന്മയാണ് കൊറോണയെ പ്രതിരോധിക്കുന്നത് എന്ന വ്യാജമായ തോന്നല്‍ ഉണ്ടാകുന്നത്. ഇത് തെറ്റിധാരണയില്‍ നിന്നുമാകാം.  ഇതിന്റെ  പ്രചരണമാണ് കേരളത്തിലും ദേശീയതലത്തിലും അന്തര്‍ദേശീയ തലത്തിലും ഇപ്പോള്‍ നടക്കുന്നത്. മുപ്പത് വര്‍ഷത്തെ കമ്മ്യൂണിസ്റ്റ് ഭരണമാണ് ഇത് സാധ്യമാക്കിയത് എന്നുവരെയുള്ള ഭ്രമാത്മകമായ ഭാവനയിലേക്ക് ചിലര്‍ കടക്കുന്നുമുണ്ട്.

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Knowing (Reading) Ambedkar And Being An Ambedkarite: Through The Anti-Caste And Feminist Lens

 

Shivani Waldekar

Shivani WaldekarIn the contemporary period we see that there are very few informed Ambedkarites who are coming to the forefront and challenging the social, economic, cultural, political, educational systems, who are asking for fundamental rights, fighting against inequality and injustice and looking towards Liberation.

"The battle to me is a matter of joy.
The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual.
There is nothing material or social in it.
For ours is a battle not for wealth or power.
It is a battle for freedom. It is the battle of reclamation of human personality"
~ Dr. B.R.Ambedkar.

14th April 2020 was the 129th birth anniversary of a great social scientist and renowned thinker, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, and the best way to remember him is to discuss his ideas and also examine his followers through those ideas.

Once upon a time my beloved asked me, "What is meant by Ambedkar?" "Ambedkar means Revolution" I replied within a second. And the exact same question I asked him and he replied "Ambedkar is a Thought." But Ambedkar isn't limited to 'Revolution' or 'Thought' only. He is beyond that. We couldn't think in unison that Ambedkar is a 'Revolutionary Thought' because we both are different persons with different perceptions, positions and perspectives. We couldn't even understand or realise that day if we both compiled our different perspectives and come together with healthy minds and keep aside our biases, then maybe we can pursue the truth that Ambedkar is a 'Revolutionary Thought' which changes with time, but stands for reclamation of human personality and freedom for all human beings irrespective of their caste, class, gender, religion, and other forms of identities and that is the totality of humanity.

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The dignity of the underclass is the first casualty: Chandra Bhan Prasad

 

Chandra Bhan Prasad and Pushpendra Johar in a discussion: this is a part of the series of interviews, talks, articles that SAVARI and Round Table India are trying to put together to gather the Bahujan perspective on the Coronavirus pandemic.

 Date: 17 April 2020

Pushpendra Johar: Welcome to the discussion. I would like to start by going back to the day when the Prime Minister announced lockdown in the country; when we were going to have Janata Curfew, scheduled for 22nd March and we saw how things developed thereafter. On the day of Janata Curfew people were banging utensils, thalis (metal/steel plates) and what not. You have been quite critical of the whole practice, you did not mince words in criticising it, saying that this was anti-science, the whole act of thali-banging and conch blowing etc. This then led to cracker burning and lamp lighting. If we look at the acts of clapping and burning lamps, these were copied from different cultural contexts in Europe where they were clapping in their balconies to appreciate the medical staff and also celebrating human spirit after loss of so many lives. What do you make of such practices as enacted in India?

cbp

Chandra Bhan Prasad: There is a Hindu festival in North India, and in the Hindi belt in particular, when on one day in a year women bang thalis, not thalis exactly but some other tool that is used to clean wheat flour. They bang that thing, take a round of the village and go and throw it in some pond. This is called daliddar bhagao, chase away all the evils in the family, in the village. So the Prime Minister must have had this feedback that let's make this a cultural or religious kind of a thing, give it that dimension where women will bang thalis to chase away this virus and hence they become part of this in a very religious manner. That's why I was very upset because I stood in the balcony and I saw people banging thalis with plenty of happiness writ large on their faces.

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The Origin of Dalit Feminist Literature: Mukta Salve, the First Voice of Dalit Feminism

 

Shivani Waldekar

165 years ago, one young Dalit girl strongly criticised brahminical hegemony and the hierarchal oppressive social structure. She questioned and critically examined caste, class, gender and religion and that empirical data continues to remain very relevant today, as they were in 1855. She strongly believed that education is the only path which liberates the people who are enslaved by the structure. It is an important tool which gives confidence to ask the questions against injustice and exploitation in our society and gives a voice to the unheard and unobserved since two thousand years. They constitute a part of society but never came out and spoke. Education is the only asset through which they will change their status and break systematic oppression and social stratification. Education is the tool through which they gather knowledge and cultivate their minds and enlighten their souls and go towards an egalitarian path and liberate themselves.

mukta salve

On 1 March 1855, the periodical named "Dnyanodaya" published one essay named "About the Grief of Mahars and Mangs"(Mang Maharanchya Dukhavisayi) written by the very first Dalit writer Mukta Salve. It is the first evidence in history which pointed out the historical exploitation and the problem of Indian caste and patriarchy where Dalits had always faced intolerance because of the oppressive Brahmin structure. Dalit history was always invisibilized by upper caste and class to portray that Dalit have no history of their own and especially when it comes to Dalit women then it's always in the dark and unpublished because women's liberation is closely linked with castes. That's why Muktabai's essay is to be treated as the first voice of Dalit feminism and history of modern Indian Dalit feminist literature which initiated Dalit women's liberation.

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Beauty, Femininity and the Politics of ‘Desire’


Noel Mariam George

noel mariamThe recent crowning of a biracial black woman as Miss World made news as it made full circle with four other wins by biracial black and black women in the biggest beauty pageant. Not many understand beauty pageants as political; however what can be more political than a contest in which nations compete with each other by localising their nationhood onto the bodies of their women to claim the title of ‘most beautiful/desirable’[1]? Beauty pageants have become a new site of the ‘political’ understood in terms of aesthetics and black women are now claiming their space in these contests as sites of representation and even empowerment. Arguments made in favour of these pageant wins, claim that feminine representation of black women as desirable are subversive and hence political, as black women have historically been denied the freedom to express their femininity and have been deemed ‘undesirable’ in contrast to white women[2] (this is not to shy away from the monopoly of control, both monetarily and items of discourse of the beauty, pop and other culture industries).

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