Chalo Thiruvananthapuram – Wipe Out Caste Colonies! Reconstruct the Kerala Model!

 

[Via Santhosh Kumar]

On January 29, 2017 "Chalo Thiruvananthapuram" movement heralds from the protest fronts of Chengara with the mission to ensure equal justice for the marginalised in the domains of land ownership, housing facilities, employment and rights to resources. Jignesh Mewani, the acclaimed leader who engineered the Una Protest March in Gujarat will inaugurate the event. This alternate scheme of protest is initiated to reclaim the lives of the marginalised people that were crushed under the rule of democracy during the past sixty years of our country. Within six decades after the formation of unified Keralam, Adivasis, Dalits, Dalit Christians, estate labourers, fishers, women, sexual minorities, backward communities, and linguistic-racial-religious minorities have been structurally ousted from the spheres of political and social dominance.

chalo thiruvananthapuram

A majority of the population whose livelihood depended on resources from nature, soil, forest and freshwaters were cast away to colonies, slums and wastelands and made refugees on their homeland. There is not much difference in the policies and vision of the democratic governments that has been ruling the state from the foreign powers who once enslaved our countrymen and looted natural resources. No land reformation act affected the big estate or land owners in Kerala. It could not even make a dent on the existent caste system prevalent here. There was no special law enforcement to protect the rights to resources of Adivasi and Dalit communities that traditionally relied on forest, soil and other ecological resources. Though there were laws made to annihilate feudalism, farming lands were converted into estates. Those who were conferred permanent ownership of land immediately turned it into a commodity to reap profits. Today, corporates and land mafias reign over the agriculture land of Kerala.

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Gangrape and Murder of a 16 year old Dalit girl in Sendurai, Tamil Nadu

 

(A condensed translation, by Trevor Jeyaraj, of Mr. Venpura Saravanan's Facebook post in Tamil )

N (16), daughter of Rajendran R of Sendurai taluk in Ariyalur district, Tamil Nadu, who finished her class VIII and discontinued studies due to her situation at home was working at a garment store in Sendurai. Manikandan, the son of Ramasaami, a resident of Keelamalikai north street and an Indu Munnani (Hindu Munnani) member was working as a mason in the Sendurai area. N and Manikandan met each other and they were in a relationship, meanwhile, N became pregnant. Therefore, N forced Manikandan to marry her.

hindu munnani website

Picture from the Hindu Munnani website

Manikandan, who did not wish to marry her, on December 29 2016, through the advice of Rajasekaran, the Indu Munnani Secretary of Ponparappi abducted N and locked her in an unknown location. Here, along with Manikandan, Keelamaaligai Thirumuragan (S/o Arivalagan), Vetriselvan of Ayandhathanoor (S/o Seenivaasan), Manivannan (S/o Selvaraj) - these four men gangraped N for four days. Then they disrobed her and tried to drag the foetus from her womb and finally put a stone around her body and threw her into a well.

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Rejecting Victimhood, Reclaiming Resistance

 

Joint pamphlet by BAPSA, SIO, YFDA on the occasion of Rohith's Shahadat Din

[Distributed for 'Resistance March' against Institutionalized Brahmanism on 16 January 2017 in JNU, New Delhi]

The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the enforced disappearance of Najeeb Ahmad reveal that agents of Brahmanical Fascism in universities have selected students from marginalized communities as their targets. JNU right now is reeling under a conspiracy of saffronisation engineered by M. Jagdeesh Kumar and his Sanghi bosses. Students in JNU are resisting the attempts at crippling social inclusion in the admission and research programmes, but the threats to the life, liberty and dignity of personhood of students from marginalised communities show that Brahmanism is out to root out the very presence of Dalit and Muslim students from higher education.

rohith blue

Rohith Vemula suffered a sustained period of humiliation, which included eviction from hostel, termination of stipend allowances, exclusion from all public spaces of HCU, before he was forced to end his own life on January 17th, 2016. What was Rohith's 'crime'? He refused to accept Brahmanical hegemony in universities, he stood up to intimidation by the minions of fascism (ABVP), and he protested against the carceral state which sent Yakub Memon to the gallows. Rohith Vemula's humiliation should remind us that there are entrenched histories of casteism even in premier universities. These histories of subjugating students hailing from deprived backgrounds include systematically discriminating against them at the time of entering university, alienating them within the university, or even erasing their existence itself, as is the case of Najeeb Ahmad.

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Statement by concerned Academics and Public Intellectuals following the Court Sentence on the EFLU Defamation case

 

[via Susie Tharu]

We the undersigned wish to express our grave concern over the fact that five senior students of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), who were raising the issue of discrimination against SC and ST students in the EFLU's Department of German, have on 13/12/2016 been charged with defamation of a professor and sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Their protests concerned Sreeramulu M, a ST student enrolled in the BA programme of EFLU's German Department. Sreermulu had not been allowed to continue in the programme ostensibly for his failure to maintain grades. The others who have been sentenced are office bearers of associations representing such marginalized students; they were speaking at a Press Meet held on 24/12/2012 after Sreeramulu, who had been trying for several months to be allowed to continue his course and avail remedial classes, went on fast. The defamation case was filed in March 2013. Two SC/ST atrocities complaints filed by Sreeramulu M and again by another student, Ranjan Kumar, in January 2013 are pending with the Police and are yet to be investigated.

munavath sriramulu

Munavath Sriramulu

The countrywide discussion raised through the struggles following Rohith Vemula's death in January 2016 drew public attention to the extent of caste discrimination in our universities. SC, ST, OBC and minority students figure disproportionately in the statistics for failure, drop out, expulsion, rustication and even suicide. Educational institutions and those who run them (teachers and administrators) have been forced to acknowledge that they are implicated in this terrible attrition of young citizens and know they must initiate reforms. Yet, far too little is being done to discuss this evidence, rethink rules, temper teachers' attitudes, reform syllabi or challenge ideas of merit that discriminate against the marginalized. A teacher's job is to help the actual students in the classroom to learn; not to uphold abstract standards of merit. From the courts, the underprivileged expect humane recognition of the inequities of their predicament and wise support for their cause. But what they have received is a demoralizing and intimidating signal.

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Hoping in times of disillusion

 

Trevor Jeyaraj

trev All our efforts towards justice seems like a Sisyphean quest. Rolling one pain over another and trying to overcome the present in an effort to heal the scars of the past is back-breaking, mind-numbing and soul-drowning. We are caught between losing focus when we have a purpose and loosing purpose when we have a hard-earned focus. We tilt continuously between the baggage and hangover of the past and the future's uncertainty while troubleshooting the turmoils that is now. Such hoping and toiling and repeating is arduous than ever. We did not live in the times that were, but in the recess of our spirit, we somehow as underdogs (may) feel that history is coming to a dark, gloomy climax in these times, moments that stare us like demons in our face. This is more a daily ritual, an unavoidable custom, especially for the oppressed sections of the society as every material reality is pitted against 'them' (read: us). I have always been fascinated and driven by the little things in life. What was dear to me was trivial and dated for my friends and siblings but I continued to hope.

Hoping and imagining are childish, for my friends as well as my enemies but I continue to be childish, adamant enough to recover the parts of myself that was lost in the process of 'growing up'. It is this virtue that keeps me believing in justice and letting go of my subtle oppressions as a man. In this piece, I refer to Hoping as a continuous struggle against one's self-pity as much as the striving against others' scorn of our quest for emancipation and not merely a phrasal hope, dry and unused. These are desolate times, of disillusion and hopelessness. This is the rule of the heartless-mediocres and we know that the worst is yet to come, obviously pushing a cliché here. Hoping is contagious and has the power to spread within the oppressed communities and we need it badly for such a time to sustain our personal and collective endeavours whereas death of hopes can be fatal for the arduous journey of individual emancipation and a liberation that is communitarian, a journey that is too personal yet so fondly collective. We have witnessed helplessly and angrily with tears and dreams decimated about the Rohith and the post-Rohith events and the foxy silence of the oppressors who usually pose as liberators, in the case of Delta Meghwal and the year coming to an end where the sheer agony and torment was visible in the tired, inconsolable face of Najeeb's mother.

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The Occasion of Namantar Din!

 

Pradnya Jadhav

~ I have seen you
At the front of the Long March
The end of your sari tucked tightly at the waist
Shouting "Change the name"
Taking the blow of the police stick on your upraised hands
Going to jail with head held high......... ~ Jyoti Lanjewar

Namantar means Renaming. Few decades ago, the word Namantar had galvanized the entire Maharashtra, especially the Marathwada region, as the demand for renaming Marathwada University after Dr. Ambedkar started to evolve. In recent times, renaming places, institutions does not demand rigorous engagement and constant follow up, provided, the suggested name represents the true spirit of nationalism. However, the renaming of Marathwada University took more than 17 years causing severe damages to the lives of Dalits and yet without meeting the actual demand of the movement. The renaming was perhaps replaced by expansion of the previous name. Keeping the word "Marathwada" intact, on 14th January, 1994 the university was named as "Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University".

(Namantar Shahid Smarak, Nagpur)

Namantar Shahid Smarak Nagpur

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Myth making in India: The story of Teachers’ Day

 

Amar Khade

amar khadeTeachers' Day is celebrated across many Nations to pay respect and appreciate the works done by Teachers in shaping the next generation citizens. Different Nations celebrate Teachers' Day in accordance with their local socio-politico-cultural setup. International Teachers' Day is celebrated on 5th October every year. Nearly 100 countries with Membership with UNESCO celebrate International Teacher's Day on that day.

Some facts about Teachers' Day celebration in different countries:

In Brunei, Teachers' Day is celebrated as mark of respect for the Late Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien on his birthday i.e. September 23rd. He is considered as the "Architect of Modern Brunei" for his contributions in the field of education. He reformed the education system in Brunei by introducing nominal fees for attending schools, thus making education in Brunei accessible even to the poorest people. He also offered religious scholarships to students for continuing their higher education abroad. The teachers in Brunei receive "Congratulations" on 23rd September as a part of Teachers' Day celebration.

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