No ghar, so no ghar wapsi

 

Kancha Ilaiah

kancha ilaiahThe Sangh Parivar is conducting the so-called "ghar wapsi" programmes all over the country. According to a newspaper report, about 8,000 people have been brought back to "ghar" from Christianity in newly formed Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The reconversion of some dalit Christians in Kerala is also widely reported. Nobody knows when did the dalits leave the Hindu "ghar". Where is this "ghar", which they left? And where is it that they are returning to now?

The Sangh Parivar launched the "ghar wapsi" campaign to create a fear psychosis among the evangelical Christians because they have been converting dalits and adivasis. Though the Sangh Parivar tried this programme with poor Muslims at Agra, they know that now Islam does not have an open conversion practice. But the moment one embraces Islam, his/her caste and cultural identity changes very quickly. Since Islam believes in one identity, after a generation or two, those who are converted into Islam would not know what their caste roots were.

On the contrary, in Christianity, the caste roots remain even after generations. For example, the most ancient Catholic Christians of Kerala, Mangalore and Goa would know their caste roots. But among Indian Muslims, such clear identities are non-existent.

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A case for caste census

 

Era Sezhiyan

As the Supreme Court has ruled that conducting a caste-based census is against the law, the people would like to know what steps the Prime Minister will take to sustain the policies of reservation. By Era Sezhiyan

 In its judgment of November 7, 2014, the Supreme Court set aside two orders of the Madras High Court that had directed the Centre to conduct a caste-based census. In the judgment of October 2008, the Madras High Court observed that a caste-based census would increase the percentage of reservation in favour of the weaker sections. In May 2010, the Madras High Court reiterated that decision. The Supreme Court held that such decisions of the High Court interfered in the government's domain of policymaking.

69 per cent karunanidhi

M. Karunanidhi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president, and other leaders of the party watching the procession taken out by the DMK on January 23, 1994, to press for the continuation of the existing scheme of 69 per cent reservation. Photo:The Hindu Archives

In 1951, there were two cases before the High Court of Madras involving reservation for backward classes in public services and in educational institutions: Champakam Dorairajan vs State of Madras and Venkataraman vs State of Madras. The Madras High Court had struck down the Communal Government Order passed by the Justice Party government in Madras Presidency in 1921 that had provided for caste-based reservation. In the appeal, the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that these two reservations were against the law. To validate the policy of reservation, the Government of India took steps to introduce a Bill in Parliament amending the Constitution. Speaking on May 29, 1951, in Parliament on the report of the Select Committee that was set up to look into the First Amendment, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said: "Now I don't for an instant challenge the right of the High Court of Madras, to give the decision.... Nevertheless, while it is quite valid and we bow before the decisions of the court, the fact remains that we are faced with a situation for which the present generation is not to blame. Therefore, some sort of special provisions must be made. We have to do something for the communities which are backward educationally, economically and in other respects, if we wish to encourage them in these matters. We come up against the difficulty that, on the one hand, in our Directive Principles of Policy we talk of removing inequalities, of raising the people in every way, socially, educationally and economically, of reducing the distances which separate the groups or classes of individuals from one another; on the other, we find ourselves handicapped in this task by certain provisions in the Constitution."

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Return to which home?

 

Gopal Guru

On October 14, 1956, Babasaheb Ambedkar, along with several hundred thousand "untouchables", embraced Buddhism. The moral and ethical strength of Ambedkar's embrace of Buddhism lies in its cultural and intellectual capacity to sustain among the ex-untouchables a growing association with it. Conversion as a cultural-intellectual movement that took off in October 1956 from Nagpur continues to gain strength. It would be fair to observe that Ambedkar's Buddhism has got a pan-Indian following among certain castes formerly deemed untouchable, such as the Jatava/Chamar from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, the Malas from Andhra Pradesh, the Parayars from Tamil Nadu, the Adi Karnataka from Karnataka, and a tiny section of Pulayas from Kerala and of course the Mahars and a few Matangs from Maharashtra.

ghar wapsi frontline 1

Dalits worshipping the buffalo before participating in a conversion ceremony at Balmiki Ashram on the occasion of the 112th birth anniversary of Ambedkar, in Chandigarh in April 2003. The converts, mostly scavengers, vowed to worship the buffalo instead of the cow. Photo:PTI

However, scholars of Buddhism have perceived different meanings in Ambedkar's conversion. Some of them locate the primacy of nationalism in the act, while others see it as a decision emerging from Ambedkar's frustration with Hinduism. Still others see the conversion as a personal choice that Ambedkar imposed on millions of untouchables. Arguably, such multiple readings of Ambedkar's conversion, by default, treat Hinduism as the least important factor in Ambedkar's act of conversion to Buddhism. By Ambedkar's own admission, it is Brahmanical Hinduism that provided the major context for the emergence of Buddhist assertion starting from Iyothi Thass and Laxmi Narsu from Tamil Nadu, culminating in Ambedkar's 1956 conversion. Ambedkar held Brahminical Hinduism largely responsible for producing what could be called the withering down impact, particularly on untouchables.

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The Gita and OBCs

 

Kancha Ilaiah

kancha ilaiahNo Shudra-OBC can be a priest either in a Ram temple, a Krishna temple, or a Shiva temple. But he can be the Prime Minister of this country.

Today, when a Shudra-OBC is PM, it's not because of the Gita, but because of Ambedkar's Constitution.

 The Other Backward Classes are a historically oppressed majority in India. All debates on "Hindu nationalism" initiated by the brahminic forces assume that the Other Backward Classes, who constitute the largest social group in India are part of Hinduism. The dalits, Muslims and Christians keep on protesting, but the OBCs do not protest, not even when a senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said recently that the Bhagavad Gita should be made India's "national scripture", replacing the Indian Constitution.

The OBCs voted for Narendra Modi, India's first OBC Prime Minister, in substantial numbers. But they have not got anything substantial from his elevation. Instead, the upper castes particularly brahmins and baniyas have got very visible positions in his ministry, and the baniya industry is booming ever since Mr Modi and Amit Shah took over the state apparatus and the BJP.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj's attempt to bring an act to declare the Bhagavad Gita as India's national scripture, that is, the conscious-keeper of India's government and its people, has far more serious implications than Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's obnoxious statement.

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Universal rights and universal violations

 

K. G. Balakrishnan

As we mark the 66th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, disclosures of mass human rights violations have highlighted the need for greater accountability

human rights day, kashmiri displaced persons

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which stands as a beacon for the international community on the standards it should set for the defence and promotion of human rights. The Declaration was drafted over a period of two years on the initiative of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, through members from various nationalities and political backgrounds, including the noted Indian freedom fighter, educator and reformist, Dr. Hansa Jivraj Mehta.

It was in keeping with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Paris Principles that countries across the world, including India, established their respective National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). In India, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was established by The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

Widespread violations

 However, despite this wide array of human rights institutions, there continue to occur throughout the world widespread violations of human rights. There is therefore some sting, but more than a grain of truth in the cynic's lament that "the only thing universal about human rights is their universal violation."

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Tilak Gandhi Golwalkar vs Phule Shahu Ambedkar

 

Dr. K. Jamanadas

(First Published in September 2001)

dr. k. jamanadasGeneral Review

About Bal Gangadhar Tilak, he was a great scholar of Sanskrit. He was a great leader of RADICALS, they used to call themselves "Nationalists" and leaders of whole country. He was called "Lokmanya" meaning "recognized by the people" and was projected as leader of non-brahmins, but in reality, he was the leader of Brahmins alone. He started two news papers. He was jailed by the British for his writings. But he fought against the imperial power. His idea was to capture power from the British and restore it to the Brahmins, as was during Peshava rule. He openly said that non-brahmins need not take education and they do not have to take part in politics. Though he said, he does not like Untouchabilty, he refused to sign a memorandum for its abolition.

"Annihilation of Caste" of Dr. Ambedkar is based on the writings of Tilak. Also "Riddles in Hinduism" deals with his views about Gita. Ambedkar respected his intelligence and knowledge, but disliked his attitude about social reforms. Tilak had threatened to burn the pandal of "Social Conference" and only wanted political reforms and not the social reforms. The following information is drawn from the writings of Dhananjay Keer.

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