How patriarchy benefits the men from different castes


Atul Anand

Atul 1When a testimony of Sunita Manjule appeared on an English news portal in the first week of June[1] about domestic violence and abuses by her ex-husband Nagraj Manjule, it shocked a lot of people. I was one of the people who believed there would be a huge backlash in media against Nagraj Manjule. That belief was gone very soon. Though, I still believe that the brahminical media which has nominal or no representation of Dalits and Bahujans, is biased while reporting the issues of the marginalised. There have been two different media surveys by Media Study Group and Janvikalp, which showed that around 90% of the media jobs in Delhi and Bihar are held by the Brahmins and other upper castes such as Rajput, Bhumihar, Kayastha, etc.[2] Majority of which is men from the upper castes. This statistics is worse in the case of representation in decision-making positions in the media organisations. The institution of media follows the caste hierarchy too. The brahminical media denies existence of caste and it selectively chooses to discuss reservations, vote bank politics or certain atrocity cases whenever that is 'news worthy'.

However, it was different in Nagraj Manjule's case. The brahminical institutions, which are inherently patriarchal, benefit the men from different castes when it comes to the issue of gender. The testimony of Sunita Manjule shows that these institutions favoured Nagraj Manjule, from the treatment in his extended family to the divorce case. On social media, a lot of self-proclaimed anti-caste people gave their entire attention to the media which carried the article than the issue itself. Even if the article appeared on a savarna media platform, it was still a testimony by Sunita Manjule. There were many attempts to trivialize the issue. The savarna media was compared to 'Khap' which victimised Nagraj Manjule. It was ironic. Since when have 'Khap' been helping women to bring out their issues? A lot of other people called out this hypocrisy, most of them were Dalit-Bahujan women. Christina T Dhanaraj wrote on her social media account, "...if this happens to me or my Dalit sister, daughter or a friend; and if I do find an opportunity that comes in the form of a newspaper or a website or a blog; and if I do muster up the courage to tell my horrible truth; then I can be sure of only one thing: I have to fight and I have to fight alone." Rama Hansraj commented, "Dalit women who raise their voice or open up about the violence are either branded as opportunists or heartless bitches, over-punishing the great man who struggled his way up."


Maya Bansode: A story of assertion


Yogesh Maitreya

Latur is one of the districts in the state of Maharashtra. Not many of us know about it. Some of us may know it and that too for the destructive earthquake that took place there in the year of 1993 in which almost 30,000 people had died. Latur is far away from our popular imagination. However, no matter how small some places are, they have so many stories, stories of struggle, stories of assertion, stories of celebration and most of these stories go unheard. Maya Bansode's story is one such story.

maya bansode

"I am interested in politics because in my childhood people used to tease me by calling me Mayawati. But I used to like that." This was what Maya told me about her engagement in educational, cultural, social and political activities in which she has been participating since school. Today Maya is pursuing her Ph.d from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, one of the premier institutes for social sciences in India. But listening to her struggle, one cannot stop oneself from feeling admiration about her struggle to educate herself and assert herself as a woman.

Maya belonged to a Dalit family in the village of Poharegaon, situated in the district of Latur. She has five sisters and one brother. Her parents are peasants who also work on daily-wage basis wherever work is available. To support her large family, during her childhood, she used to work as a shepherd. She had no other option but to do that since it was a question of survival. However, she did not let go of education; she used to scribble down her homework on her hands and read it aloud while the goats grazed. This was how she scored 69% in her 10th standard board examination. It wasn't easy for her since like many Dalit children she too had faced caste-based discrimination. "In my village, upper caste girls used to be jealous of me and tease me since I, being a Dalit girl, was studying, and studying good" she told me, reflecting on those drab experiences of her early life. "One day, even a teacher had beaten me up severely since I was caught in a fight with a girl who belonged to the teacher's caste. That girl even told me that how can Mangs and Mahars like you study." But Maya survived. Maya fought in her own way.


Zambia, India and London Protest Against Vedanta AGM


Foil Vedanta

29th July 2016

* Angry protests across Zambia and India in run up to Vedanta's London AGM on Friday.

* Tribals and Dalit Bahujans protest beating and murder of activists resisting Vedanta's Niyamgiri mine.

* UK courts hear two cases against Vedanta's Zambian operations.

* UNCTAD report reveals scale of KCM's export misinvoicing in Zambia.

zambia foil vedanta 1

Angry protests will be held in India and Zambia next week in the run up to British mining company Vedanta Resources's(1) AGM at Ironmongers Hall, Barbican, London at 2pm on Friday 5th August. Inside the AGM dissident shareholders will ask questions submitted by protesting Zambian villagers who are suing Vedanta in the UK for twelve years of polluted water, as well as displaced farmers who were never compensated for their land in Lanjigarh, Odisha, India and accuse Vedanta of beating and harassing them with state collusion. A loud protest organised by Foil Vedanta(2) will take place outside the meeting, demanding that Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines publish its hitherto secret annual accounts in Zambia, and accusing the company of pollution, human rights abuses and financial mismanagement.


Singh Sena attacks Dalit Protest at Jantar Mantar


Dr Ratan Lal

Youth for Buddhist India had organized a protest at Jantar Mantar chiefly for atrocities being committed on Dalits. The protest also included a three minute silence for the MPs from Dalit, Tribal and OBC backgrounds because of their indifference towards their communities.

 I was also a part of the programme. The stage of the programme was constructed near the four way lane (चौराहा) near Jantar Mantar. At about fifty metres distance Singh Sena and Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha had also organized a programme. Approximately hundred members of Singh Sena marched towards the barricade (the place where Youth for Buddhist India had set up the stage.


The question that arises now is: why did Delhi police officials allow them to proceed there? Did the administration and the government plan the attack? 

Secondly, why is the government promoting such medieval and barbaric caste organisations? Even a barely educated person can understand that castes which were oppressed for thousands for years were placed under the Schedules of the Constitution. Therefore, they are castes which have the constitutional right to organise for their rights. National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have also been formed to protect their rights.


Politics behind Destruction of Memory and History of Ambedkarite Spaces

Sanjeev Kumar and Babasaheb Kambale 

sanjeev kumar 1babasaheb kambale

It's very rare to witness the demolition of any space of Brahminical importance - for instance, spaces associated with Gandhi, Nehru, Savarkar, and Patel etc. However, it's very common that the spaces belonging to historical figures who propounded fraternity, equality, freedom and justice for humanity such as Ambedkar, Phule, Periyar, and Savitribai Phule etc., are being demolished both officially and unofficially. For instance, there was a reading room with a statue of Ambedkar adjacent to the Arts Faculty Library in Delhi University, where mostly economically weak students from all castes used to study. But both the reading room and the statue were demolished by university authorities to build a new building which is being allocated to the faculty of Law this year. It's very unfortunate to observe that, it was Ambedkar, the most learned person in India when it comes to Law, whose statue was demolished and there was no reimbursement, whereas statues of Vivekananda, Nehru and Gandhi are protected by the Delhi University administration with care and respect. This is not only true of Delhi University, but it's a pan Indian practice where Gandhi, Nehru family and Tagore's spaces have become the most official sacred sites with the vibrancy of originality maintained, despite their losing relevance.

The most recent case of defiling the history and memory of dalit-bahujans happened in Dadar, Mumbai, last month. At 2 AM on 25th June 2016, Babasaheb Ambedkar's Press and Bhawan was demolished. One can play devil's advocate and say that, the state wants to build a multi-purpose multi-storey building in the memory of Babasaheb, thereby destruction was necessary. But if the state wanted to build a multi-floored building, construction of the same would have been welcomed, just not at the cost of destroying the existing heritage. That is the sheer mischief and collective conspiracy of the Trust's authorities, and state mechanisms involved, to insult not only Ambedkarism, but the memory and history of Dalit-Bahujans. We have been to various places of Brahminical importance and found that they are never touched by the state whenever it wanted to convert the space into a heritage site; it was done by keeping the originality, history and memory of the space intact. But Ambedkar's press and Bhavan was destroyed, this shows the maliciousness of the Brahminical attitude and the fear of Dalit-Bahujan history and space.

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Figure 1: Picture Taken on 11-02-2015

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Figure 2: Pictures after Demolition on 25- 06-2016


Demolition of "Ambedkar Bhavan”: Historical Facts and Current Controversy!


Amar Khade 

On 25-06-2016, some parts of Ambedkar Bhavan situated in Dadar area of Mumbai were demolished by the current Trustees of the "The People's Improvement Trust". The said structure is under the control of "The People's Improvement Trust". In Maharashtra, the political movement among the Ambedkarites is fractured and has many factions. And the recent demolition of the "Ambedkar Bhavan" has added some more fuel to it. This controversy has divided the Ambedkarites in Maharashtra into three groups. One group has been supporting the heirs of Dr Ambedkar and the other is in support of the Trust, the third group belongs to those set of Ambedkarites who are skeptical and have their own analysis about the issue.

amk 7

Old Pamphlet by Dr.B.R Ambedkar making an appeal to princely states for the envisioned social centre for Untouchables

Chronology of the whole set of events associated with the demolition of Ambedkar Bhavan

3 December 2015: The new development plan for the land of People's Improvement Trust notified by Govt of Maharashtra signed by Chief Minister, Devendra Fadhavnis.

6 December 2015 (Death Anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar): The Trustees of the "The People's Improvement Trust" publicly announces at Chaityabhumi regarding the new development plan for the construction of "Ambedkar Bhavan". The Trust publicly distributes pamphlets and advertises the plan on various flex banners in the stall near the Chaityabhumi area. (Chaityabhumi: The Final Resting place of the mortal remains of Dr B R Ambedkar)

14 March 2016: Notices are issued to Mr. Prakash Ambedkar and other tenants for occupying the building premises of Ambedkar Bhavan. Notices were also pasted on the notice board of the "The People's Improvement Trust".

14 April 2016: Inauguration of new, approved building plan of "The People's Improvement Trust" by Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri.Devendra Fadnavis and other dignitaries.

25-06-2016: Some parts of the "Ambedkar Bhavan" were demolished by the Trustees, between 2.30 am to 4.30 am.


The Ambedkar Bhavan Issue


Vaibhav Wasnik

"Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for
the government but illegal for the citizenry" ~ Thomas Jefferson

ab 3

Recently, an issue that has hit at the very crux of Ambedkarite consciousness across Maharashtra (and parts of India) has been the destruction of Ambedkar Bhavan located at Dadar. This has resulted in a spat between the Ambedkar family and a faction symbolically headed by the Chief Information Officer of Maharashtra, Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad. I have been following this issue mostly through interviews given by the concerned parties on news channels (mostly YouTube recordings) and would like to put forth my views on the issue. Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad has made the following claims regarding the justification for the demolition:

1) It had been Ambedkar's dream to build a big center for Dalits on the land of Ambedkar Bhavan, and the trust supposedly looking after this Bhavan had decided to go ahead and build a 17 storey building on the proposed site.

2) The members of the Ambedkar family, who were supposedly owning the land (without paying any amount for electricity and other facilities) were scared that they would lose control of the prized land and were therefore not ready to hand over the land for the proposed project.

3) In order to show the supposed immoralities at play, Mr. Gaikwad showed a letter which Dr. Ambedkar had supposedly written to his son - the father of the Ambedkar brothers at the helm of this dispute. This letter talks about how Dr. Ambedkar's son, Mr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, was profiting by renting the land to shopkeepers – something which Dr. Ambedkar was seriously against, since he felt the land belonged only to the community. Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad in his personal attacks said that Dr. Ambedkar had also claimed that progenies like Mr. Bhimrao Ambedkar were a disgrace, and that the Ambedkar brothers today are plainly following their father's footsteps.

4) Even the inspection for electrical issues was disallowed by the Ambedkar brothers and 'their goondas' in spite of the presence of a hundred policemen. He uses this and other such instances to claim that the Bhavan had become a center for goondagiri.

4) The proposed demolition of the site was advertized in widely read Marathi newspapers like Samrat, Loksatta, etc., and if there was an issue with it, then the fact that no stay order was filed against this demolition in the Indian courts, remains a question.


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