BJP’s small state theory

Kancha Ilaiah

With the Telangana question reaching a climactic stage it is necessary to examine the implication of carving out small states for issues such as reservations in general and the OBC reservations in particular.

Dr B.R. Ambedkar argued for small states and a strong Centre to put a check on feudal upper caste forces in the states. But he could not succeed in convincing the Centre, even when it was headed by the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, a progressive man of that time, to grant reservations to OBCs.

OBCs could get reservations only in big states such as Tamil Nadu and later in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.


Dismantling ‘Dalit’ with a Poisonous PIL

Anand Teltumbde

Will the removal of the "forward" scheduled castes from the list of SC reservations benefit the "backward" SCs?

Recently a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court for excluding some five to 10 named castes and tribes from the list of the scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) for the reason that they had cornered 99% of the quota meant for the advancement of 1,677 dalit castes and tribes. A bench of justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik has sought responses from the centre and the states to the PIL. Legal aspects of the case apart, this development represents the inevitable aftermath of the caste-centric reservation policy as it has been implemented, as also, the upsurge of the sub-caste squabbles that broke out in Andhra Pradesh between Malas and Madigas in 1990s, which have since reached many other states. But more ominously, it marks the victory of castes over the concept of dalit, which has a quasi-class connotation and had emerged as a result of the Ambedkarite movement.


Playing village card

Chandra Bhan Prasad

How many Anna supporters are ready to live by his code?

A leader's actions or opinions are measured by his vision which he has acquired over a period of time. So, in a way the actions are context specific. We all know that same thing can have different meanings depending upon the context in which it is being referred to and a pattern follows. For instance, a person who propagates organic food will not have nice things to say about food products which have chemical fertilisers. Therefore, his vision is bound to be coloured and those who know him would be aware why he has such a stand.


Brahmanic Marxism

Gail Omvedt

[An excerpt from the chapter Navayana Buddhism and the Modern Age from her book Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste]

Apart from Gandhi, another strongly seductive opponent to the fascination for Buddhism emerged in the 1930s. This was Marxism, which was increasingly gathering strength as an ideology among the younger and militant section of the nationalist elite. It offered militancy and a mass force—the organised, factory-based working class—to fight imperialism.


Interview of Manyawar Kanshi Ram ji


QUESTION: Why are you so hostile to all the national parties, especially the communists?

kanshi1KANSHI RAM: To my mind, all parties represent the forces of status quo. For us, politics is the politics of transformation. The existing parties are the reason for the status quo. That is why there has been no upward mobility for the backward communities. The communist parties have become the biggest stumbling block in this regard. They keep talking about change, but work for status quo. The BJP is better, they never talk about change. So people never feel duped. Parties like the Congress and communists talk about abolishing poverty, but work towards keeping people poor. If the poor are not kept poor, these people cannot remain in their seats.

QUESTION: At the Congress centenary, Arun Singh said your emergence was not healthy for the national ethos.

KANSHI RAM: He is the grandson of a maharaja who never kept the interests of the nation in mind. Nationalism to him is feudalism. NATIONALISM TO ME IS THE MASSES OF INDIA. I BELIEVE IN THE TWO NATION THEORY: THOSE WHO OPPRESS AND THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED .What does the grandson of a wretched maharaja know about nationalism? What can we expect from Arun Singh than such things?

QUESTION: Why is your cadre so hostile to Mahatma Gandhi? 

KANSHI RAM: Gandhi is the root of every thing. I want change. Dr. Ambedkar wanted change. But Gandhi was the custodian of the status quo. He wanted Shudras to remain Shudras .Gandhi worked to keep the nation divided .We are working to unite the nation and erase all artificial divisions.

QUESTION: Why has your movement taken so much time to become a reality? 


Gandhi today

Kancha Ilaiah 

In my childhood, way back in the early Sixties, there was a Gandhi statue in my village. His clean shaved head and semi-naked body with a tucked-in dhoti, in a walking posture, resembled my illiterate shepherd father in every respect except for the classic stick in the right hand, a book in the left hand and round spectacle frames. The village norm was that everyone could touch the Gandhi statue, except the Madigas (dalits). We used to call him Gandhi “thaathaa” (grandpa).

One hundred and forty two years after his birth and 63 years after his death, has the relationship between Mahatma Gandhi the historical figure, the India that he represented, and the poor masses who earn just `32 per day in urban India and `26 in rural India, in other words, the dalits, changed?


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