Caste and the order of experience: Sketching anti-caste in Akbarian philosophy

 

Abdul Ahad K

abdul ahadI am writing this note to delineate some conflicts I went through as an audience in a seminar conducted in Calicut University under the title, 'From Identity to Epistemology'. A Dalit friend who is an artist shared his story during the event.

"I am a Dalit. I realized that only in 1987 when I was denied a prize for my performance in school at a state-level cultural festival. I had many such experiences. I am an artist with no baggage of 'religion'. Till the age of 19, I grew up on the shores of Thanoor beach. The Muslim friends there used to abuse each other using my lower caste name 'Cheruman'. During the horrific demolition of Babri masjid, my family was attacked by Muslims, who took us to be Hindus. We were forced by the RSS goons in the locality to retaliate. Till the age of 7, we were looked after by a RSS shaka. As children, we played in their grounds. There are people who converted to Islam in my family. The vivid imageries of my pregnant sister who, to escape from the violent rioters rode a boat alone on the river diverging at the Arabian sea and later the description of the fish that surrounded her womb to protect her is all so alive with me".

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Celebrating Dhamma Chakra Anupravartan Day: An Urgency, with Reason

 

Prabuddha Council, JNU

 "Religion in the sense of morality must remain the governing principle of every society" – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

prabuddha bharat poster

Engendering violence of any kind, anywhere, is a great threat to humanity as well as the environment. Suffering pervades all and is causal to the deteriorating conditions of society. Hope seems to be dying and despair seems pervasive. However, human mind is capable of overcoming this suffering. To deal with these sufferings, we have developed varied mechanisms like society, science, politics, and religion etc. Those civilisations evolve which go in tandem with Transformation. In Buddhism, the Dhamma Chakra is the symbol of this 'transformation', and celebrating Dhamma Chakra Anupravartan is nothing but celebrating the transformation happening around us.

In the context of JNU, we see that there is a change in the social and political discourse. By the current unfolding of events nobody can deny that the Dhamma Chakra is turning. The manifestations of this happening 'Transformation' is evident firstly, in the very recent invocation and emergence of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as an overarching figure that compels us to consider the glaring fact of change in politics as well as in society. Secondly, by the penetrating influence of Dr. Ambedkar on the passionate spirit and contagious joy among his followers, followed by the strengthening of their moral stamina, by a striking political emergence in campus is also a big sign of this manifestation. Hence, this makes a strong reason for the celebration of Dhamma Chakra Anupravartan in JNU.

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Najeeb Ahmad missing: JNU bosses & police silent despite protests

 

Hisham Ul Wahab P

The ongoing protests in Jawaharlal Nehru University campus demanding a fast probe into the disappearance and return of Najeeb Ahmad, a muslim student of School of Biotechnology, and immediate judicial action against ABVP culprits made a huge outcry among the students and teachers of the campus. But the heinous silence and snail pace of moving procedural formalities of JNU administration gives cause for suspicion about its legitimacy, which has been in standstill in recent past. The series of protest programmes in the campus could not open the eyes of Sangh-minded administration and hostel wardens to the seriousness of the matter. Students came in large numbers to protect their colleague from the assaults of ABVP goons, at the time of physical violence and thereafter, and throughout these days amid anger and suspicion, to protect the academic spaces from the grip of Sangh Parivar Goondaism. The later events of hate mongering by ABVP against Muslims, comments like "Muslims are terrorists" and "Pakistani Mullas" could be seen in the common rooms and bathrooms of the hostel. JNUSU has been called for an immediate strike at the campus till the return of Najeeb and assurance of punishment and debarring against the culprits.

najeeb

According to the Delhi Police, a case under section 365 (kidnapping with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine a person) of IPC has been registered at the Vasant Kunj North police station on the basis of a complaint by his parents. At the peak of students' confrontation at the main gate of JNU on sunday night, the Proctor assured the JNUSU on filing a complaint in the same police station as soon as possible by the administration. Meanwhile students themselves came forward to submit their deposition in front of the Proctorial Committee on Monday since 11 AM. But throughout the day, the administration has not made any concrete attempt to file a complaint against the culprits. In meantime, they have come up with a press statement blaming Najeeb for the violence and declaring him as the "accused". Even after the meeting of JNUSU leaders with the Vice Chancellor, Jagdish Kumar, the administration relied mostly on the statements of Saurabh Sharma, former JNUSU Joint Secretary from ABVP.

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Project Heartland 2: Meet the men who started the Una movement

 

Pratik Parmar

Project Heartland captures the struggle of people from marginalised communities, mainly Dalits in Gujarat. It shows the courage and determination of Dalit women and men to assert for their rights despite all odds. By capturing these stories of struggle, Project Heartland wants these brave people to be known, recognised and be seen as inspiration to others. This video covers Episode 2 of the project: 

 

In this YouTube mini series, we shall bring out different stories from the heartland of Gujarat which nobody tells.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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