Cow and culture

by Kancha Ilaiah 

They killed five Dalits for skinning a cow... At least now the whole nation must stand up against this kind of spiritual and political nationalism.

IS A cow's life worthier than that of five Dalits? The Dalits have had to pay an enormous price — of remaining untouchables — for removing carcasses from villages and towns for thousands of years. They had to pay the price of remaining illiterate and insecure for building up the leather economy of India. If they had not removed dead cattle, dogs and even humans, the people in the towns and villages would have died of disease — dreadful contagious diseases at that. Even now they keep paying a price — sometimes with their lives as happened at Jhajhar in Haryana.


History of Karamchedu and what actually happened ?


Kathi Padma Rao

Written on 26th Anniversary of the Karamchedu massacre (on July 17th, 1985 ) in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh. 


Karamchedu village is located 7 km off from Chirala in Prakasam District of Andhra Pradesh State. The village was a big Panchayat with 16 wards. Kammas, the landlord community, lived in eight wards. Other eight wards comprised of BC, SC and ST people. Dalits resided in the 16th ward. The Kammas were very rich, arrogant and outnumbered people of other castes, and they had the last word on everything. No wonder, Karamchedu was ridden with obnoxious feudal culture.

There was no place for modern and progressive ideas in the village. The Kamma caste ruled the roost. Yadavas, Rajakas, Nayibrahmins, Upparas, Chundu nayaks, Muslims, Yerukulas, Yanadis, Malas and Madigas were living in the village. Kammas owned thousands of acres of land. They presided over and decided all village affairs. The big shots among them included the families of Daggubati, Chaganti, Yarlagadda, Perni, Manda and Puvati. The fattened Kammas routinely ill-treated, humiliated and physically assaulted workers who toiled in their houses. They were also known to murder their workers and the bodies disappeared for ever. Ten years before the Karamchedu carnage, Upperas, Backward Caste people, rebelled against the brutality of Kammas. The latter frequently raided Upperapalem and attacked Upperas.


Hindu nationalism & women

Gail Omvedt

Dalits have reason to be worried, with the RSS in control of the Ministry of Human Resources Development. Not only is it in a position to impose its cultural agenda on the nation, but it also seems to be moving to cut off the development of a Dalit intelligentsia which has been one of the powerful forces challenging it. Recent correspondence calling for an end to reservation for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students at the M.Phil and Ph.D. level is an indication of this. So are statements in the Rajya Sabha by Ms. Vasundhra Raje, Minister of State for Personnel, that the Government is considering applying an ''income criterion'' for reservation.


First feminist war of the new century

by Chandra Bhan Prasad

British imperialism did help serve the Dalits' cause. The sciences, modern institutions and democracy were attendant features of colonialism which, in turn, shook the very foundations of the Varna order. The British, however, had no such intent when Queen Elizabeth granted a charter to a few London businessmen on December 31, 1600, giving them monopoly rights to trade with India. But the results were earth shattering.


Krishna and Narmada

by Gail Omvedt

THE KOYNA, built high in Satara district of the Sahyadris on one of the major tributaries of the Krishna, is a big dam, a ''major irrigation project'' in the terminology of the Indian Government. Its reservoir has a storage capacity of 98 tmcft and the dam generates over 900 MW of electricity. When lift irrigation schemes on the Krishna are completed, about 2.5 lakh hectares of drought-prone land in eastern Sangli district will be irrigated. The reservoir has submerged 98 villages, affecting a little over 9,000 people. Of these, 8,203 are officially classified as ''projected-affected persons''; of these, 6,372 have received 7,524 hectares in five districts of Maharashtra. Though the dam was completed in 1956-59, over 2,000 of the evictees have received land only since 1989, when the Koyna Dharangrast Sangram Sanghatana was formed.


An Open Letter To Arundhati Roy

by Gail Omvedt

Dear Arundhati,

I'm sorry to have to write a critical letter to you. I very much liked The God of Small Things. I also appreciated your intervention on the nuclear issue. I was impressed on reading in Indian Express that you had decided to donate some royalties to the Dalit Sahitya Academy.

However, when it comes to the issue of "big dams", I can understand the urgency you feel for the people of the valley and the victims of misguided development projects everywhere, but I feel that you're missing many things.


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