Statement condemning the unjust introduction of the TISS-MAT exam

 

Educate!!! Agitate!!! Organize!!!

AMBEDKARITE STUDENTS' ASSOCIATION (ASA)-
TATA INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES (TISS), MUMBAI

Statement condemning the unjust introduction of the TISS-MAT exam for Management school courses and the unfair proportional weightage given to the TISS-NET exams in general

tiss gate

As the application window for the academic year 2020-2022 is out open, it is a very shocking fact to notice that the TISS Administration has implemented an unfair proportional weightage in the general TISS-National Eligibility Test (NET) and an additional unjust act of introducing the TISS-Management Aptitude Test (MAT) for the students who wish to pursue their Post-Graduation Management courses such as ODCL and HRM.

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Inscrutable Islam and Kerala Modernity


Umar Nizar

umarThere is a 'scramble for Muslim intelligentsia' going on along with a clamour for token inclusivity from the left-leaning, upper-caste politically correct elite, and yet even this tokenistic Islamic presence proves elusive. Islam has become that wide gaping wound on the side of a cancerous polity that festers. The agalma of Islam, as it has become a precious object imputed to the other in the Lacanian sense, from the right thinking, intellectual elite, has proven itself to be increasingly elusive. The inscrutability of this agalma lies in the search for the truth, the seeking for the Real. There is to be no promise of attainment per se at the end of this elusive and endless quest.  It alas is never to be reached. It is the bad infinity of contemporary politics, and part of the byzantine political process with or without electronic voting machines. What do Muslims want and what is their agenda, what is the point of their abject religious existence, are they attracted to violence or sovereignty, where is the epistemological crafting within Islam?; these questions are on the mind of every politically inclined person on the centre-left.

In liberal politically democratic Kerala with left wing inclinations, there has been a search for the elusive Muslim in the secular sphere. The communal yet not-so-communal 'Indian Union Muslim League' (IUML) occupies a behemoth space in the political sphere and hence popular centrist politics is devoid of such discourse. Shihabudeen Poithumkadavu, a noted writer has said that the most significant refomist leader to have emerged from Kerala in recent times is 'Gulf Money'. He was referring to the influx of remittances from the middle–east; the NRI petro-wealth that has skyrocketed with the advent of a weaker Rupee regime back home. This political economy has given solid reply to fissiparous communal mongering in the political arena in the state. But in matters of culture and civil society, the scenario is much different. The Muslim is difficult to place. He/she is a subaltern with deviant tendencies at best or an anti-national. 

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Babasaheb - Crusader for Social Justice and Father of the Oppressed


Nikhil SanjayRekha Adsule

nikhil adsule

(Speech delivered by Nikhil Sanjay-Rekha Adsule in Kathmandu, Nepal at the 8th Asian Pro Bono Conference as an introduction to his paper on 'Dr.Ambedkar and his pro bono services in Access to Justice and reclaiming Humanity along with a presentation on India's Social Structure i.e Caste system and its modus-operandi')

Good morning friends,

It's such a beautiful feeling to be in the land where Buddha - a radical philosopher and an ardent believer of revolutionary nonviolence was born.I am elated to be given this opportunity to speak explicitly about a hero who inspires me. Who shall be more apt than the person who reintroduced Buddha and his Dhamma in the land of India where Buddha was forcibly dispaced by Vaishnavite and Brahmanical tendencies and portrayed as an avatara of Vishnu.This statement assumes importance in this very land of Buddha as Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, my hero, crusader for Social Justice and Father of all the oppressed and suppressed in India, whom we fondly called Babasaheb came in Kathmandu and delivered a lecture, "Buddha or Karl Marx". So, like our Father, here I am his son to speak and I thank the organisers for inviting me and let me pour my feelings here!

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Black Brahmins, Black Muslims: Matriliny and Psychology of race in India

 

Umar Nizar

umarIn the wake of the election of Narendra Modi, the sociologist Shiv Vishwanathan made the startling claim that Modi’s OBC credentials were obliterated by the fact of his fair skin, which for working class Indians heralded upper class antecedents. (Shiv Vishwanathan himself was caught in a rather strange double bind, having supported Modi and at the same time shed tears for the victims of the Gujarat pogrom under his watch). 

While among the Muslims in India, fairness of skin has emerged as a clear marker of their antecedents, the caste Hindus never espoused such a doctrine in their ideological claims. While it was common for relatively darker Indians in the Hindi heartland and southern India to be Brahmin priests, it was rare for those in Punjab and the mountainous Himalayan belt to claim such caste status. The identification of caste solidarity was also rarely made in terms of skin colour. Fairer skin was made into a fetish and an object of value, with religious, sacred-profane associations. Like the desacralization and profanation of much that was sacred, the fetish object called `fair skin’ (or wheatish, whitish, etc) has been desacralized in its various cinematic and other popular avatars. 

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Behind the Eyes: International Short Film Festival, Satara 2019

 

Satara is a city in Maharashtra that is known for its culture, history and socio-political movements, and hence, also for its artists, film-makers and activists. Though the city has given the nation good filmmakers, it has been quite unfortunate that these filmmakers have not been in the native film industry i.e., the Marathi film industry. Hence there is a need to encourage more people to take up filmmaking. The idea of having more filmmakers is not merely to make commercial films but also use films as a medium for assertion and the camera as a tool to express the discrimination that is found in society.

behind the eyes

The knowledge about caste began reaching the masses with Ambedkar and Ambedkarite writings. But caste as a social institution or rather as a social stratification has existed in the Indian society for time immemorial, now. With Ambedkar's writings and the growing Ambedkarite literature, there has been an academic discussion as well as discourse and undoubtedly a faster momentum in the social movement. But, it is quite unfortunate that this ideology has not made its way through film-making. "Filmmaking" here refers to the so-called commercial films and films as a medium of assertion, as mentioned before. There have been a handful of film-makers who have made films based on these inhumane discriminatory practices and there is indeed a need to have more such films and film-makers.

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In Solidarity with Scholar-Activist Prof Hany Babu


KK Baburaj

kk baburajIn my college days in Maharaja's during the 80s, MT Harish was one of my closest friends. Now a professor in medical college, his home then in Punkunnam, Thrissur was a common hangout place for me during those days. During the time spent there we used to watch world classic cinemas from video cassettes that his father, who was working in the Gulf, had collected and read the latest books. That is how I came to make acquaintance with his younger brothers Ansari and Hany Babu who were students then.

It was many years later that I came across the controversial literary criticism of a prominent Malayalam writer, N S Madhavan’s story ’Higuita’ and learned that it was written by MT Ansari, brother of Harish. Then several years later, I was introduced to Jenny Rowena through her writings and personally too, and I came to know that Hany Babu is her husband.

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Muslim exceptionalism and the digital public sphere in India


Umar Nizar

umarMuslims in India form a significant minority, numbering almost 140 million. These Muslim belong to various denomination including, Sufi, Salafi and Sunni and the Jama'at-e-Islami. The public sphere in India has been caste and class ridden in a way that MN Srinivas (1989) observes in his work on Sanskritization, where people belonging to the Hindu faith, attaining economic wealth try to move up the caste ladder by adopting the customs and practices of the upper castes. There is also a parallel 'Arabization' process prevalent among the Muslims of India.

The ghettoisation of Muslims post the advent of ultra nationalist Hindutva has contributed to an 'Islamic Exceptionalism' in India. (This could also be framed as an 'exclusion' of muslims from the public sphere. In the battle of perceptions, what matters most is sovereignty. The ability to set one's own agenda is often denied the subalterns.) I would like to inquire into the ways in which Indian Muslims engage with the digital public sphere, as they try to articulate a universal and not ghettoized position.

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