Community Struggles Towards Democracy - Part 1


KK Kochu

kk kochu profile1Democracy, according to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, is not just an order of governance, but it is a way of living. Unsegregated living with sense of unity and sharing of acquired experiences is necessary in order to achieve such a state. He has said that it is impossible to achieve such a state in a society socially divided by caste system. So, the entire population, irrespective of the savarna-avarna divide, has to be mobilized in our social and political struggle for democracy.

Indian Imagination

Dr. Ambedkar’s concept of democracy was not modelled from western political experiences of the same. He speaks of this in a speech he gave for All India Radio (AIR) in 1956. It is rooted in the historical experiences of India starting from the time of Buddhism. In ascending path, caste gives you nobility, and in descending path, it imposes contempt. Fraternity is inevitable to break this Chinese wall found nowhere else in the world. Sree Narayana Guru also supported this thought when he said ‘all are brothers’. That is why it is criminal to negate the inherent equality of different social groups.

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Ambedkarite Movement after Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and contribution of Bahujan Women

 

Sheetal Kamble

sheetal kamble(The text of her speech 'Ambedkarite Movement after Dr. Babashaeb Ambedkar and the contribution of Dalit-Bahujan Women' at IIT Mumbai. It was the Second Lecture in 'The Savitribai Phule – Fatima Sheikh Lecture Series' and was organized by Ambedkarite Students Collective, IIT Mumbai on 18th April, 2019.)

I would like to thank the Ambedkarite Students Collective (ASC), IIT Mumbai for inviting me to talk for the Savitribai Phule-Fatima Shaikh Lecture Series. Today's topic is Dalit Bahujan women's contribution in the Ambedkarite movement after Dr. Ambedkar. It is an honor for me to be on the same panel as Mr J. V. Pawar (Founder member of the Dalit Panther).

Before getting to know the contribution of Dalit Bahujan women in the Ambedkarite movement, we must understand who they are and what they have been doing in the Indian village. The Dalit women or former untouchable women have a long history of resistance in the village. In Maharashtra, the Dalit women's literature is scattered in magazines, newspaper articles, essays, and books. A number of Dalit women's autobiographies written and published in Marathi language have been later on translated into English.

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Peace and inclusive development

 

Dr. Gail Omvedt

Peace in the world has two main terrains. Peace at the level of the nation and at the level of the world. Both affect each other depending upon the nature of the disturbance to the peace which is created on these terrains. Peace had been the constant feature for millions of years of existence of the human society. Before the emergence of rudimentary states and that of women's subordination there did not exist anything like the standing army or anything representing organised violence. Following women's subordinaton there came into existence caste, class, race, community based exploitation along with the gender exploitation. These forms of exploitative relations consolidated the state as an instrument of the organised violence. Exploitative relations and the state as an instrument of organised violence are therefore, two main sources which violate the peaceful nature of human society.

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Exploitative society and its state also prevent the inclusive development of humans because these kinds of societies cannot but exclude majority of the humans from the process of development by exploiting them and accumulating products of their labour in the hands of a few individuals. They not only do this exclusion but also expropriate natural resources and pollute them. They destroy healthy exchange of matter between humans and nature disturbing ecological balance at world level. This gives rise to the violation of peaceful relations between humans and humans as well as between humans and nature.

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Modern Historiography fits Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Indian Nationalistic Perspective

 

Jaspal Singh Sidhu

Jaspal Singh Sidhu"That history always has a purpose.

That history is always about power.

That history is never innocent but always ideological."

~ Keith Jenkins, 'Rethinking of History', Routledge Classics.

Of late, a majority of historians including those subscribing to the Left ideology have attempted to portray Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a 19th century sovereign king in South Asia with Lahore as his seat of power as a SECULAR ruler respecting and supporting all the religions. At the instance of central government they sought to highlight empathically secularism of the Sikh ruler in the modern context, particularly in 1980s when the Sikhs were politically restive in Punjab and were up in arms against the centralized New Delhi regime. A statue of the Maharaja was installed in Delhi and a flyover named after him. Commemorating the Maharaja's 'secular credentials', a seminar was officially organized where historians applauded the ruler for his bountiful offerings to the Hindu temples, restoration of the demolished mosques besides building of historical Sikh shrines.

The Maharaja was much admired for giving eminent places of power to Muslims, Hindus and some Europeans along with the Sikhs in his Lahore Durbar and raising of an Army composed of people from all faiths, castes and creed. And the portrayal of the Maharaja in Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru—that highlights more his liberal outlook rather than his distinction as a Sikh ruler-- came in for a special mention: "Ranjit Singh was remarkably humane at a time when India and the world seethed with callousness and inhumanity. He built up a kingdom and a powerful army, and yet he disliked bloodshed. He abolished the death sentence for every crime, however heinous it might be, when in England even petty pilferers had to face death."

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The word “Dalit”, Appropriate or Not

 

 Adv. Dr. Suresh Mane

(Bahujan Republican Socialist Party)

 

 

220px-Dr Suresh mane

 (This piece was first published in Dainik Lokmat's editorial section, Nagpur edition on 11th September 2018. http://www.lokmat.com/editorial/words-dalit-are-incorrect-or-inappropriate/)

 After the decisions delivered by the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench and Madhya Pradesh High court prohibiting the usage of ‘Dalit’ word in government proceedings; subsequently the central government on March 15, 2018 issued an order to its various departments and the state governments to avoid using ‘Dalit’ word or reference, and also recently in the last month the government has banned the electronic media, there have been various opinions developing around the usage of ‘Dalit” word and has given rise to a new dispute. On one side the union minister for social justice Thawarchand Gehlot considers the High courts’ decision as rightful; the state minister of his department, Ramdas Athavle has however disapproved this decision of banning the usage and has expressed to move to the Apex court for against this resolution of the government. 

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Dalit women organise ‘differently’

 

Asha

Organizing by Dalit women has always been examined, by many, using a wide array of lenses originating in hues of various political perspectives. To some, we are autonomous, leading our movement towards a collective vision. To others, we are stooges, perhaps of the Dalit men, maybe the savarna women or the donors, or for that matter … any other dog! The intersections of our vulnerabilities are often heightened by constant criticism and the pain of brokenness further exacerbated by the feeling of being undervalued.

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Needless to say, like most of you, we also encounter a crisis almost every day. The intensity and impact of it vary; for us, it can often be debilitating. We wish to believe that the brickbats thrown at us from within and from outside, has steeled us to only strengthen and sharpen our strategies for organizing. For it is only by learning and unlearning each day, the women from our community have been able to come thus far.

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