The Crisis and Challenge of Dalit-bahujans

 

Braj Ranjan Mani

There is no competing cultural vision from below for the mind and heart of India. Dalit-bahujans are still absent in the contest of ideas, policies and visions—the fundamentals on which democratic competition takes place.This paralysis of the mind is linked totheir systemic cultural, intellectual and spiritual destruction. Without reference to history one cannot find even poor answers to the complex problems that keep them divided and demoralized, but the corruption and capitulation of the current dalit-OBC leadership has also aggravated the crisis. There is a burning need to renew and reconstruct an ideology—attempted in the past by Phule, Ambedkar and Periyar—that can pave the way to a broad-based unity for social reconstruction.

Constancy of change is the basic principle of life. Heraclitus made the illusion of permanence clear in the sixth century BCE, and a little later Buddha articulated the same in his theory of dependent origin. As 'everything changes but change itself', it is not surprising that social change is the central tendency in human societies. But the direction of change is largely determined by aspirations and visions of change agents. This implies that things can change a great deal, and yet the social order can remain more or less the same, since the people in the vanguard of change have a vested interest to retain the established hierarchy. Thus, there is a crucial difference between change and social change, development and social development.

Development and Social Development Are Not the Same Thing

While development is a necessary condition of social development, the latter involves the specific direction of development that can ensure larger social justice. Symbolically speaking, development can take a handful of people to the moon—it can produce billionaires like the Ambanis and Mittals with their private planes and palaces while the many remain hungry and homeless—but social development takes place through active participation and conscious choice of majority of citizens. Based on people's voice and choice,social development isco-terminus with uplifting the society as a whole, especially the disadvantaged who have been left behind or kept suppressed, historically and culturally. 

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'Power is not only our legitimate right but also an asset': Thol. Thirumavalavan

Speech delivered by Thol. Thirumavalavan,

M.P., and President, Liberation Panthers Party (VCK)

at 'South Asia Parliamentarians' Conference on Dalit Concerns'

~Enabling Equity & Inclusion~

on 8th -9th December 2013, in Kathmandu, Nepal

~

thiruma in kathmandu 

Respected Chairperson Mr. Paul Divakar, Co-chairperson Mr. Yam Bahadur Kisan, Respected Panel Members of this session - Mr. Ranendra Barali, Mr. Ishrafil Alam, Prof. Chung and all other distinguished guests;

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I wish you all the success.

First of all I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the organizers for giving me this opportunity to share my experiences. Before I start I would like to salute our great warriors who fought for equality for all, in particular Lord Buddha and our great revolutionary leader Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. I also wish to extend my salute to the warrior Mr. Nelson Mandela who dedicated his life for equality.

We believe that Lord Buddha is our spiritual head, saint and equal to God. In my view he was the great warrior who fought against discrimination, which caused pain and sufferings to the human life. The great revolutionary Dr. Ambedkar and Mr. Nelson Mandela also fought against discrimination based on caste and race.

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You lookin' at me?

 

Aqui Thami

aquiNichelle Nichols on meeting Martin Luther King jr. — "I said, "I'm going to leave Star Trek because (I was going to say 'because I have an offer to star in...' I never got that far") He (Martin Luther King) said "You cannot – you cannot. For the first time on television we will be seen as we should be seen every day– as intelligent, quality, beautiful people who can sing, dance, but who can also go into space, who can be lawyers, who can be teachers, who can be professors – who ARE on this day, and yet you don't see it on television – until now..."

A biopic on Mary Kom, a woman who inspired and continues to inspire women everywhere but specially women in the northeastern region of India will hit the theaters next year. It is a welcome change from the male centered and voyeuristic movies that Bollyhood otherwise makes.

The spoiler is that Priyanka Chopra plays Mary Kom, and to get "the look" not only did she have to experiment with prosthetics but has to wear make up to look like Mary. Now when there are Manipuri actresses who could fit the role better considering it is a biopic casting someone who looks and sounds so different could either be for her popularity or because of the widely held notions of beauty in our society.

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Dalit Girls Negotiate Women’s Studies

 

Rupali Bansode

rupaliEntering the academic space is not an easy journey for Dalit women. After studying in social science institutions and reading/learning theories about gender and women, there is a phase when self-reflection becomes necessary. In fact, reflexivity is considered very important in feminist research methodology. Taking this into consideration, this note is an attempt towards assembling a few shared experiences of Dalit girls in the discipline of Women's Studies.

Known debates between Feminists and Dalit Women

Caste based structural oppression in India is faced by Dalits in general and Dalit women in particular and this has been voiced multiple times by Dalits as well as non-Dalit academicians and theorists. The academic discipline of Women's Studies where sisterhood is celebrated has faced much accusation  from Dalit women activists and writers, for serving only the 'upper-caste/class feminists' needs and 'not doing justice to Dalit women's perspectives'. The silence from non-Dalit practitioners on the rape cases in Haryana and Bihar outraged many Dalit women's groups. And Dalit Women's groups are accused of not pointing out their grievances about Dalit patriarchy. Such a tussle is going on between feminists and Dalit women for more than two decades.

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Of Power and Privilege: Faultlines in Upper-Caste/Class Indian Feminism

 

Huma Dar

huma 1material to be analyzed (1): upper-caste/class feminists have claimed that only the victims/survivors of sexual assault at an upper-caste "workplace" — the uc middle- to upper-class being implicit here — have the right to "feel confident that they themselves will have the right to control the pace of the follow-up, and also to decide how far to take it." unlike those (in the vast majority) who suffer from "caste violence, communal violence, or [are] in "other" conflict zones"!!!

test case pertinent to caste and class: if the domestic helper of an upper-caste/class feminist has been sexually assaulted by a neighbour or their own brother or father, will they also really advise the assaulted person to sit on it for as long as they want as a rational way to assert their "right to control the pace of the follow-up, and also to decide how far to take it"?! why, or why not?

=> lesson #1 in uc feminism: different rules apply to you depending upon your caste, class, religion, and membership in an occupied people struggling for freedom — the latter btw they'll never spell out 'cuz it would entail speaking out against all occupations. "conflict zones" is so much safer. so benign. it has a feel good je ne sais quoi "progressive" tone, while assiduously avoiding the political. moreover, it will make those in INCACBI, who don't vocally support Azadi, feel cognitive dissonance when they can so charmingly pretend ignorance of Kashmir or Assam or Manipur etc. at best, or point to the Islamist bogey at worst.

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The roots of rape in India

 

Kancha Ilaiah

kancha ilaiahRape has, of late, become an acute disease in the Indian society. Prima facie, this is a problem arising out of a mental disorder, but there is also a larger cultural context that, to an extent, explains how the Indian male became so brutal.

Our cultural upbringing conditions male minds to behave in a cruel fashion with women. Family upbringing, societal conditioning, religious sagas and political animus, all construct our men and women into being what they are — men as aggressive and women as submissive. Which is why men here, in India, are different from men in other countries.

Their cultural milieu is different. Their spiritual systems train them differently. It's not that only Indian men rape and kill children aged three or five. This happens in other countries too, but they are the rarest of rare cases. Daily reports of infants being raped across the length and breadth of a country is a phenomenon unique to India, a society that's otherwise highly conservative. Clearly, the institutional upbringing, including that in family, needs to undergo change.

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