The castelessness of India’s health policy


Preshit Ambade

preshit ambadeIndia Needs to Change its Health Policy Discourse to Understand Dalit Agitation

Systemic deprivation of Dalits and other communities of social resources has resulted in substantial health disparities. India's health policies are blissfully ignorant towards socioeconomic conditions of the Dalits and other backward communities, and its relation to their overall health status. The agitations following the Bhima-Koregaon incident also have their roots in widespread discontent among Dalits. Such protests are a warning bell for the country's public health researchers and policymakers, to bring their attention to the social realities of not just Dalits, but also other backward communities. The health policy exposition from the western world – mainly from the United States – divulging racial and ethnic disparities provides useful insights for India to drive its attention towards its social realities.


The recent Dalit assertion and protests after the Bhima-Koregaon incident were not only an effort to solidify the community's unity and identity, but they also stemmed from the constant denial of social resources to them. The systematic rejection and deprivation of community assets has resulted in substantial health disparities for Dalits. However, health policy discourse in the country particularly lacks attention toward the social determinants of health, and often neglects the realities and actual needs of these communities. Poor living conditions, unemployment, and dangerous working environments along with modern practices of social exclusion shape contemporary Dalit life in India.


Constitutional Linguistic Justice against Hindi/Sanskrit Supremacy


Vivek Babu

Union of India's Lingua-Franca Debate: An Introduction to Linguistic Justice Regime



 In recent decades, the European Union that emulated “Unity in Diversity” motto similar to Union of India1, had motivated and facilitated Francqui Prize laureate Philippe Van Parijs —a Belgian Political Philosopher & Economist and a key proponent of Basic Income Concept in European Union— to author a book titled “Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World”, which is for sure a gift to the world comprising philosophical and normative support globally with practical consequences towards institutionalising linguistic rights. The book is acclaimed for its strikingly first ever review and systematic treatment of justice principles for a linguistic social fabric, one that potentially presents itself as an important & innovative tool at hand for various ailing state-nations, nation-states, and unions globally.

 The key difference between the imperialism of English Vs Sanskrit/Hindi is that the latter gets imposed on the unwilling masses with the constitutional validity that gives a high pedestal to these latter two languages (Sanskrit/ Sanskritised Hindi) thereby undermining the spirit of equality, whereas the former is a global phenomenon, that happens under the competitive notion of achieving social justice around employment opportunity. While Hindi imperialism is obvious to many, the constitutional prominence given to Sanskrit too remains to be importantly noted. In the article 351 of the constitution, the very mention of “borrowing vocabulary PRIMARILY from Sanskrit”, places Sanskrit on a high pedestal than other languages or classical languages of the eighth schedule. This also becomes an excuse for imposing Sanskrit language education & Sanskritisation of cross-family languages across Indian union. Since the day this republic was established, there is very less evidence of Hindi (as official language) sourcing (borrowing) vocabulary from secondary enrichment source Austroasiatic, Tibeto-Burman and Dravidian eighth schedule languages, with the spirit of expressing composite culture of Union of India.


Tell me …What is fraud here?


P Victor Vijay Kumar

Banking and investment starts at the point when there is an acceptable line demarcating trust and mistrust. This business of earning money from somebody's hard work and efforts, which is called Banking, is risked by a masqueraded picture of promise and assurance.The banking business channels the savings and lives on arbitration earnings by lending at a higher rate. The breach of trust happens only when there is a trust but not where there is a mistrust. Everywhere, the general parameters underlying any lending, especially corporate lending, are the past track record of a corporate promoter, booming industry scenario, consistent track of keeping up promises etc., and a loan appraisal revolving around all these. However, the standards of measurement vary across the globe. Our Banking system was worse, in terms of quality of loan processing, during 1970s – 1990s, going by the standards followed and the assessment of track record of corporates, compared to the present systems and procedures. To highlight one of the differences, there was no mention or not even a single count of staff accountability in loan sanctions, which is widely practiced and malpracticed now.

nirav modi

Nirav Modi

In India, there is no credit insurance (extended by insurance companies) unlike that prevalent in some developed economies like Singapore, Dubai etc. Our economy still lies in the grade of immature and emergent economies list. The quality of entrepreneurship here has feudal qualities too. The corporate governance principles are least believed in in such economies. The task of chasing and risk-taking assumes more priority over management principles, which remain as contingent objectives.


Caste isn't a Dalit question, it's a Brahmin question: Rahul Sonpimple

Round Table India

In this episode of the Ambedkar Age, Round Table India talks to Rahul Sonpimple, leader of BAPSA (Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association), an active political platform of Bahujan students.

rahul sonpimple with scarf

In the interview, Rahul shares his experiences & views on a variety of subjects--from his childhood in a Nagpur slum, his early exposure to grassroots Ambedkarite culture and his introduction to Bahujan politics. He talks about Brahmanism in general and about its strong presence in campus politics, especially among the left in JNU, in particular. He speaks with great clarity on his experiences of confronting Manuwad in JNU, both from the administration and from other students' associations.

His candid articulation offers a lot of insights to all bahujans, especially the young who are studying or plan to join universities. It also emphasizes that Bahujan autonomy is the key to emancipation.


Bhima Koregaon and Dalit Bahujan Movement


Swati Kamble

swati kamble 1I began writing this piece over a month ago at the dawn of January 5th, after ruminating and having constant monologues with self about the violent attacks against Dalits in Bhima-Koregaon and the hunting down of protesting Dalit youth that followed in the next few days. I struggled to scribble down my racing thoughts on paper for about four days, and finally, when I couldn't sleep on the night of 4th January, at four in the morning I sat down to put the turmoil of my mind down on paper. Two things that affected me most and probed me to write this piece were: A video circulated on social media and an upsetting opinion piece written by Mr. Anand Teltumbde.

A friend had shared this video taken in Bhima-Koregaon. It looked like it was taken mere minutes after the stone pelting and destruction of vehicles of Dalit-Bahujans who had come to commemorate the 200 years of Mahar and other untouchable castes' bravery in the battle against the Peshwa. In the video you see a wounded elderly woman and an eight or nine year old, skinny girl dressed in white, along with few other family members. In the video this thin little girl speaks in a quivering but sharp voice "...we stood in front of a shop to buy something to eat, they circled our vehicle. They said don't give any food to these Mahars and then they started throwing stones at our vehicles. My grandmother got wounded..." As she spoke, she imitated with pain, the disgust in the voices of the abusers as they hurled those sharp deafening words of hatred. The pain in her voice pierced me deeply. Her cries demanded answers to the questions: why should Mahars not be given food? Why throw stones at Mahars? Why treat us as untouchables? We have to look back at history to give accurate answers to these very important questions that every aspiring, educated young Dalit mind must be asking. This deep-seated hatred comes from the notion of repulsive disgust that dehumanizes Dalits. It justifies the violence and this modern form of untouchability.


Uproot the Wall of Untouchability Erected by Paraiyars in Sandaiyur


Dr B. Ravichandran 

In Sandaiyur village of Madurai District, Chakkiliyars, one of the Scheduled Castes in Tamil Nadu are protesting for the 13th day since 30th January against an untouchability wall. They are demanding demolition of the wall. In protest. 70 families have left their houses and are staying under a banyan tree at the foothills of Thenmalaiyaandi. As the villagers are in protest, their normal life has been affected. Schools students are missing school, men and women are not going to work, the makeshift shelter lacks drinking water and sanitation facilities. Many have fallen sick and a lady was recently stung by a scorpion. The protesting villagers refuse to re-enter the village until the wall is demolished.

Sandaiyur village consists of different castes such as devan (OBC), pillaimar (OBC), setiyan (OBC), aasari (OBC), barber (OBC), washermen (OBC), devendrars (SC), paraiyar (SC), Arundhathiyars (SC). OBCs live together and SC's are given space to live away from OBCs. Devendrars' houses were away from the area, while Arundhathiyars and Paraiyars lived together until the wall was erected.

Paraiyars and Arundhathiyars in the village did different jobs in the past. Both reared pigs and ate dead cow meat. There were days when Paraiyars borrowed meat and rice from Arundhathiyars. Paraiyars' caste occupation in the village was knitting while Arundhathiyars' was to bury dead bodies and remove dead cows. Both of them worked as agricultural labourers in the fields of OBCs. Now, many of the Arundhathiyars migrate to nearby states to work, due to lack of agricultural work in the village.


Sweet Country: Domination, Land, and Law


Mukesh Kumar

mukesh kumarAustralian director Warwick Thornton's recently released film Sweet Country, which is making a buzz on the global scene, unfolds the relationship of power and domination within the purview of the colonial settlers' encounter with the aboriginal people. The film set in the 1920s in the mesmerising landscape of Northern Territory near Alice Springs begins with the story of an indigenous couple Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris) and his wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey Furber) who were working on the property of a Christian preacher, Fred Smith (Sam Neill). A firm believer in racial equality with a kind heart, the character of the preacher, is historically analogous to those of British missionaries who had ventured out on Christianising the colonial subjects from Latin America, Africa, Asia, to Australia. Under the influence of the preacher, the couple adapts some basic religious habits such as giving thanks to Jesus before partaking meals. Thus, the film early on sets a stage for two sorts of encounters, cultural and political (including law) between the colonisers and the colonised.

In the film, two other white characters, a senile (Thomas M Wright) and bad tampered Harry March (Ewen Leslie)— the symbolism of the colonial power and ego—settled in the vicinity of the preacher, treat 'black stockmen' with strong racial prejudice. At this disjuncture of the film, the gap between the coloniser and the colonised reflects the implications of the colonial power's domination for multiple sections of the indigenous society: for a woman—being reduced to an object of sexual harassment; for elderly indigenous—deprivation of male dignity at the hands of white males; and for children—a concern for indigenous future. All three sections are well portrayed through various indigenous characters in the film.


Vernacular for Dalit-Bahujans and English for Upper Class/Caste: A Socio-Political Conspiracy


Dr. Y. Srinivasa Rao

Dr. Y. Srinivasa RaoQuite often the hypocritical Political leaders keep invoking the Vernacular to point out how the newly entered English language has been wrecking havoc on the local languages. But ironically, they and their fellow caste and class people have been reaping the benefits, locally, nationally and globally since the entry of English as a medium of instruction into the nation. They became global citizens and become global citizens. Their intention in invoking the vernacular as suffering mother is to deprive the dalit-bahujans of their due and keep them in the margins and peripheries. The inbuilt power of the English language as a medium of modern education: social sciences, science, medicine, engineering, as language of the law and governance is well-known. It also became a representative of social status and prestige. It is also seen as provider of equality in the social segregated racial and caste societies. In India, it has provided the speakabilty to the unspeakable and provided the opportunity to internationalize the dalit-bahujan discrimination, exploitation and sufferings under the caste system. In fact, the networking of the dalit-bahujans with the other marginalized groups through English as a common medium of communication has resulted in the building of the powerful solidarity networks. To a larger extent it has removed the social taboos and provider of self respect and social and economic decency. In the pre-colonial times knowledge was seen as power as they both are having close relationship. However, knowledge does not represent any power. The upper social groups intentionally ascribed power to knowledge as a protector of their social positions. In fact, the power of 'knowledge' has provided some sort of permanency to their social positions and kept them as unchallengeable till 20th century. In India, deprivation of education to sudras and atisudras (out castes) by Hindu religious scriptures is multifunctional. It has blocked them from engaging with natural rationalism inbuilt in them, it deprived them of understanding the social realities and social discriminative structures (the latter was main objective in blocking education), it deprived them of expression of their experiences as humans as they were seen as insignificant and unspeakable, it deprived them of human skills as their minds are made inactive so on and so forth. Against the wish of the upper caste, a beginning was made by the Christian missionaries in 18th century and British government in the 19th century. What was kept away from dalit-bahujans, since time immemorial to 19th century, had begun to reach few, at least, through these two agencies. While it was the English medium education offered by the government in India and in foreign soils has created the elite intellectual politicians, it is the same which created a strong educated middle class largely from above three varnas of the four varnas who took charge of the freedom movement, new economy and governing spheres. However, ironically, these groups conspires to present Lord Macaulay Minutes of 1835 and the new era of change it heralded as an conspiracy of the British against India despite being the first to benefit and monopolizing the English medium education. The dalit-bahujans, due to historical, sociological and economic reasons failed to make the most of it. This does not mean that dalit-bahujans are incapable but its accessibility was controlled then and now as well. New conspiracies and strategies of the upper caste/class continue to keep them away from the English medium. While the Brahmins deprived knowledge/education to sudras/outcastes in the vernacular or god languages (in Sanskrit) in the pre-modern times, the neo-Brahmans (this is both a caste and class category) is keeping them away from English. Objective of the both is same.


Rajputanis' revolt against patriarchy, and the fake valor of Rajput patriarchy


Ratnesh Katulkar

ratneshThe Rajputs from medieval times (which is the actual period of their appearance in Indian soil) portray their patriarchal male valor and military dominance through various folklore. In the recent Padmavati protest, the Karni Sena- the new outfit of Rajputs once again showed their bravery by attacking a bus carrying school going kids.

In the recent past, the Rajputs also supported the Ranvir Sena, a feudal army of Bhumihars; and had shown their dominance against the landless Dalits in the form of mass killings in various parts of the country, particularly at Laxmanpur Bathe, Shankarbigha, Narayanpur, and Bathani Tola of Bihar. One cannot forget the infamous Behmai incidence where a group of Rajputs committed a brutal mass rape. Apart from these inhuman acts, the dominance of Rajputs on their own women is well known. The Rajputs played a prominent role in encouraging many evil customs such as the Parda system, Sati system, female infanticide and enforced widowhood in India.

Yet, despite their dominance over Dalits, women, and children, it is a known fact that the Rajputs proved to be very weak and meek before foreign invaders.


Srilamanthula Chandramohan: an artist's 11 year struggle against the Indian obscenity law and MS University

Round Table India



Chandramohan has once again stirred up a storm at the M. S. University of Baroda. This award-winning artist was accused of obscenity in May 2007 for his paintings which he had made for his Masters Final Year presentation. Religious groups both Hindu and Christians protested against his 'vulgar' depiction of Jesus and Goddess Durga. Chandramohan was arrested and released on May 14-2007. The matter did not settle there, the ongoing case of obscenity did not allow him to leave Gujarat and the University refused to give him his degree. The case did not see the light of the day and left Chandramohan helpless. Coming from a small village Mandapalli in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari District Chandramohan's struggle only increased to make ends meet with a limited source of income not being able to leave the state of Gujarat.


ओबीसीजनगणनाः संसदिय जीवघेणासंघर्ष?

प्रा. श्रावण देवरे

शिर्डी येथे 27 व 28 जानेवारी रोजी दोन दिवसांची ‘’ओबीसी जनगणना परिषद’’ संपन्न होत आहे. या परिषदेत प्रा. श्रावण देवरे लिखित ‘’ओबीसी जनगणनाः संसदिय जीवघेणा संघर्ष’’ हे पुस्तक प्रकाशित होत आहे. त्या निमित्ताने पुस्तकातील काही भाग आपल्या वाचकांसाठी देत आहे— संपादक 

Shrawan bookCover Page-1

भारताला स्वातंत्र्य मिळाले 15 ऑगस्ट 1947 ला! परकीय सरकार जाऊन स्वकीयांचे सरकार आले. जेव्हा एक सरकार जाऊन दुसरे सरकार येते तेव्हा सर्वात पहिला निर्णय कोणता घेतला जातो? अर्थातच आधीच्या सरकारने केलेले जुलमी कायदे रद्द करण्याचा निर्णय घेतला जातो. त्यामुळे जनतेला वाटते की खरोखर आपल्यावरचा अन्याय दूर करणारे नवे सरकार आलेले आहे. इंग्रज गेल्यानंतर स्वतंत्र भारतचे सरकार स्थापन झाले. नेहरू प्रधानमंत्री झालेत. आणी ताबडतोब एक जुना कायदा रद्द करण्यासाठी नवा कायदा करण्यात आला. आधीच्या इंग्रज सरकारने एक अत्यंत जुलमी कायदा केलेला होता, त्यामुळे भारताची जनता प्रचंड दहशतीत जीवन जगत होती. भारतीय जनतेला या जुलमी कायद्यापासून मुक्त केलं पाहिजे या उदात्त हेतूने नेहरूंनी देशात पहिला कायदा केला ‘जनगणना-1948’. या नव्या कायद्यामुळे भारतीय जनता प्रचंड जुलुमातून मुक्त झाली व मोकळा श्वास घेऊ लागली. काय आहे हा ‘जनगणना-1948’ चा कायदा? हा कायदा स्पष्टपणे प्रतिबिंबित करतो की, ‘इथून पुढे भारतात जेव्हा जेव्हा जनगणना होईल, तेव्हा तेव्हा त्या जनगणनेत सगळ्या कॅटिगिरींची जनगणना होईल. सगळ्या कॅटेगिरींची म्हणजे SC+ST, मुस्लीम, शिख या सर्व समाजघटकांची जनगणना होईल, एव्हढेच नव्हे तर कुत्रे-मांजरे सर्वांची गणना होईल. कारण या कॅटेगिरींकडून भारताला काहीही धोका नाही. त्यामुळे त्यांची जनगणना होईल. मात्र स्वतंत्र भारताच्या जनगणनेत आता यापुढे ओबीसींची जनगणना होणार नाही. कारण इंग्रजांनी ओबीसींची जनगणना सुरू केल्यामुळे ओबीसी प्रचंड मातले होते व त्यांनी भारतीय जनतेवर अतिशय अन्याय-अत्याचार केलेत. भारतातील गरीब दुर्बल जनतेला अन्याय-अत्याचारापासून मुक्त करण्यासाठी आजपासून यापुढे ओबीसींची जनगणना बंद करण्यात येत आहे.’


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