Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan: Stillness in the Midst of Chaos

 

Chanchal Kumar 

I deliberated for some time on what I should call this essay. Would such titles as "The importance of being Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan", or "Why we need someone like Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan" encapsulate all the things Chandrashekhar means to us? Do they reflect the magnetism of his persona? The expression "stillness in the middle of chaos" is not my coinage. Saul Bellow used these terms to describe art. He wrote, "I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness that characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction." If we define art as a spring of affirmation, of reassurance, then Chandrashekhar's presence around us is the cue.

chandrasekhar azad ravan

 I do not aim to approach this topic as a political commentator. Politics requires great acumen, and I'm not trained for it. My concerns are more abstract. I'm trying to situate the figure of Chandrashekhar in artistic imagination, if romantic. Would it be Hero-worship? Maybe. In my defense, we dalits can be excused for feeling a sense of attachment towards one of us. A person who speaks our language (in the wider sense of the term) and shares our vision. You see, dear reader, we are pretty emotional beings. And in this age and time where every day the national media thrusts a new savarna saviour on us, convinced that they will liberate us, I feel it's justified to expect a tangible change in society from someone who has walked the same path as we have. I cannot engage in hyperbole because essentially, our world and the dreams we harbour, are modest.

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Untouchability in Rural Karnataka


Srikanth Karan

Untouchability is a lived reality for many Dalits in the interior villages of Karnataka, mostly in Tumkur, rural Bangalore and many other villages. I am sure this is the case across the country though hardly reported in the news. Only one out of a lakh incidents are reported or brought to light and that too goes without any public attention. Dalits are not allowed to enter the Brahmin and caste Hindu households but are called for labor and household works; water is served in a glass reserved for Dalits, placed always outside the house; temple entry is still prohibited, Dalits worship outside the temples and walk away. The news report here from a village in Koppala district is only a leaf from the book. I have tried to translate the contents of the news report below.

prajavani 2019 news

News from Prajavani print edition

"On the occasion of a Dalit marriage, entire village was shut down because Dalits would visit in huge numbers.

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Ownership of Protests: Grammar of Indian Muslims vs. Muslim Indians

 

Bobby Kunhu

kunhuI have already received a lot of flak for the bits and pieces of opinion that I have expressed on social media, a collation of which is what I propose to write in this essay. At the outset, I would like to make it clear that my intention isn't to undermine the gravity and importance of the unprecedented protests against the Government of India in the aftermath of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019. However, I believe that hegemony needs to be called out whenever it is noticed regardless of the time and space. Not doing so will be equivalent to complicity in perpetrating a discourse that overlooks hegemony.

After CAA received Presidential assent on 12th December 2019, there were lots of advises pouring in "only" for Muslim communities on how to respond to it – especially from privileged savarnas who presumed that they did not have anything to do with the legislation and assumed the mantle of saving Muslim communities, which for them translated into saving their version of secularism. While one lot advised Muslims to come out in large numbers and protest as it was their issue alone and nobody else was going to talk for them failing which they have to leave the country, the other lot wanted them to remain silent and not risk themselves to further persecution. Both the lot did not bother listening to what Muslim communities wanted to say.

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Screening of Project Heartland – Short Films by Pratik Parmar

 

Anand Silodia

Screening of Project Heartland – Short Films by Pratik Parmar

Venue: Museum of the Moving Image, NYC
Time: Friday, January 24, 7:30 PM

project heartland scene

Project Heartland is a collection of short documentary films by director Pratik Parmar telling the stories of Dalit-Bahujan folks across the Indian state of Gujarat, chronicling caste atrocities and acts of superhuman resistance. From the infamous Una flogging incident where seven members of a Dalit family were assaulted by a group of dominant caste vigilantes under the pretext of cow protection, to the frustration and despair of Muslim Bahujan citizens seeking political rights, the series offers a critical lens on what shapes and un-shapes political agency within Gujarat and India as a whole.

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An internship call for Bahujan women in economics


Aditi Priya

Jai Bheem to all Bahujan women economists/aspiring economists! I work as a Research Associate at a research organisation headquartered in Chennai.

ekach savitri

a) My organization is providing internship opportunities from February/March onwards for a duration of two to three months to Bahujan students who are either currently doing their Master’s degree in Economics or those who have completed that course.

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Madduri Nagesh Babu: A Mighty Storm in Telugu Literature

 

Tangirala Sony

He was a poet who caused a mighty storm in Telugu literature. His poetry emanated from the villages and the heartaches of Dalit mothers. Poetry tradition until then was different. With Madduri Nagesh Babu's writings, a new kind of poetry was set in motion.

madduri young.v4jhjhjk

He had such an effect on other poets that even the best of them who considered themselves accomplished had to relook at their poetry, undertake introspection. He reinstated poetry back on track, especially by compelling everyone to revise their poetry. It was only after Nagesh Babu started writing, a clear distinction between Dalit poetry and non-Dalit poetry emerged.

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Akkitham’s Jnanpith: No genocide without poetry

 

Umar Nizar

umarThe most political of India's literary awards, the Jnanpith has went to a chip off the old feudal coconut block, Akkitham Achuthan Nambudiri. This was long predicted, even before CAB was a twinkle in the right wing eye.

Akkitham is one of those rarities in the right wing intelligentsia that he has leftist pretensions. He projects himself as a rival to that other compatriot, EMS Nambudirippad. In the formal investigations into the genesis of hatred in Kerala, the fundamental issue is always cultural. The major preoccupation of culture in Kerala is poetry, and song. Akkitham excels in both. He is an aberration, a right wing intellectual with communist aspirations. But the hegemonic edifice and coporate Mafiosi that has bestowed this award upon Akkitham have no qualms about his avowal of the RSS.

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