Toilet: Ek Prem Katha - Women's Liberation through the Manusmriti?

 

Obed Manwatkar

obed manwatkarToilet: Ek Prem Katha is a movie produced by Reliance Entertainment owned by Mr. Ambani, one of the main corporate sponsors of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The theme of the movie is fine, since toilets are everyone's need, but the problem occurs when it gives illogical solutions.

In this film, Akshay Kumar plays the character Keshav, a modern Brahmin man who knows the Manusmriti (the law book of Hinduism/Brahminism) by heart. Keshav's father is also a staunch Brahminical mind, who believes that his son's marriage to a black buffalo would help improve his fortunes.

Keshav meets Jaya Joshi (Bhumi Pednekar), a Brahmin woman who belongs to a family that believes in Gandhism and the Bhagwad Gita, and falls in love with her. He eventually convinces her to marry him, but according to Keshav's father, Keshav's horoscope implies that he should only marry a girl who has two thumbs on one of her hands. Since Jaya does not fulfill this requirement, Keshav gets an artificial thumb made and gives it to Jaya, who wears it as a ring on her thumb. Keshav's unsuspecting father agrees to their marriage.

Read more...

The Importance Of Having An Ambedkarite Family

 

Tejaswini Tabhane

tejaswini tabhaneLast month I read an article "Some of us will have to fight all our lives: Anoop Kumar"1 on Round Table India where Anoop Sir talked about how students from marginalized sections of our society are asked many uncomfortable questions about their identity in higher educational institutions and how growing up in an Ambedkarite family can help them to tackle this identity crisis. Coming from an Ambedkarite family of Nagpur, Maharashtra and studying at this prestigious Delhi University, this topic is something I can relate to and this article is a small attempt to share my personal experiences and thoughts on it.

Some of you would ask why I am writing now about an article which was published almost a month ago. Today, something happened with me that evoked many thoughts in my mind and the only words reverberating in my ears was that of Anoop Sir's from that article. I attended a seminar on "Social Exclusion and Discrimination in India" organized by my college. When you discuss social exclusion the topic of Affirmative Actions or Reservation comes in. And you always have a heated debate on it. Here also, the debate was no different from any other space with lots of arguments being made against reservation by the audience which is no surprise. I was listening to all of them silently. I am otherwise a very introverted and shy student who will not speak even in my own classroom. And the name of reservation is enough to make us feel more uncomfortable.

Read more...

India and its contradictions

 

Raju Chalwadi

raju chalwadi 1This August 15th marked the completion of 70 years of Independence. The preamble of the constitution way back in 1950 defined India as a place where Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity will prevail and more specifically a place where oppressed sections will live a life with dignity. But, looking at the current condition any learned person can say that we have failed terribly in attaining the goal of just society. Why did we not become a land of equality as envisaged by our founding fathers?

The answer is clear: The governing class who historically constitutes the 'morally superior' group did not consider "others" as worthy of living a dignified life. The basic principle on which the social relationships of people of India are based is "Caste." Repulsion is the principle behind caste relations. Hence, by its very nature, i.e., antagonistic relationship defines one's thoughts and actions against 'others.' With this relation in mind, we can say that the progress of one social group morally hurts the others. Hence, providing equal opportunity to all is not in our psychology. And it is this 'psychology of getting hurt' that we have not yet been successful in creating a just society.

Read more...

Forging the New Indian 'Genius': the RSS roadmap

 

N. Sukumar and Shailaja Menon

I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity ~  B.R. Ambedkar

The RSS-BJP combine has fine tuned its political strategy and chameleon like forge their words to suit different occasions. Apparently the conductor of the grand orchestra is located in Nagpur. In his public utterances, PM Modi sticks to the goal of development, bringing in mothers and sisters along with soldiers as extremely valuable for nation building. He never invokes the guiding spirits of the RSS in his public addresses. In his 71st Independence Day speech, he appealed to the values derived from sudharshan chakradhari Mohan to charkhadhari Mohan. The 'nation' anyways is aware about the other 'Mohan' who is the soul force behind the 'cultural awakening' of Hindu India.

janeu terrorist

The alter ego of the prime minister, Amit Shah never minces his words about the ultimate agenda of his party. "It is only in India that mutts and religious institutions work along with the government and even more than the government for the welfare of society" (The Indian Express, Delhi, Monday Aug 14 2017, p-7) If religious institutions are better than the state why do we need the state at all? He dismissed very smoothly the entire ethos of constitutional morality, the democratic and secular country for which thousands braved the gallows and prisons in their fight against colonial rule. The RSS and its cronies were never part of this struggle and hence will not understand the price that ordinary Indians paid for achieving freedom, equality and justice. Their only icon- V.D. Savarkar cravenly begged the British to release him from Cellular Jail.

Read more...

Muslim and Pasmanda education: Affirmative Action issues

 

Naaz Khair

naazMuslim population (172 million) is the second largest in the Country, followed by Christian (27 million) and Sikh (20 million) populations (see Table 1).

Muslim literacy rates and levels of education from the latest census (Census 2011) have been analyzed to present the status of Muslim education in this article.

While Jains have the highest literacy rate (94.9%) with the least gender gap (difference between its male and female literacy rates is 3.9%), Muslims have the lowest literacy rate (68.5%) with the gender gap in its literacy rate almost three times (12.7 %) that of the Jains. Among major religions, only Muslim literacy rate is below the national average (73.3%). (see Table 2)

Muslim literacy rate when disaggregated by states and union territories presents a picture of wide inter-state/UT variations (see the map below). Kerala has the highest Muslim literacy rate (93%) and Haryana the lowest (53%). There is, thus, a huge difference (of 40 points) between the top and the bottom state. The map marks states and union territories that have Muslim literacy rate greater than the corresponding state/union territory average.

Read more...

Bahujans and Brahmins: Why their realities shall always collide, not converge

 

Kuffir

My grandfather,
The starvation death
Which occurred during the drought when men were sold;
My father,
The migrant life
Which left home in search of work to pay off debt;
I, in ragged shirt and shorts,
The salute to the flag hoisted in school.*

right to education

 This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. It's been over 25 years since the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union. Babasaheb was proved right: Can you have economic reform without first bringing about a reform of the social order? (Annihilation of Caste)

And the Indian state turned 70 yesterday. Babasaheb had warned political reform would be meaningless without social and economic reform. And he has been proven right again. Even political democracy has not been translated into a substantive reality; Mayawati's angry exit from parliament is the starkest pointer in recent times. In fact, since the seventies, political freedom has become an even thinner proposition.

So what do the Bahujans have now? Neither real political freedom nor any social and economic independence.

Read more...

"Don’t guide us, we know what to speak": The Dalit women of Kabirnagar

 

Pradnya Jadhav

pradnya 2015I had been waiting for a long time to meet Jamanabai and her daughter Sangita, and today I was going to meet them. Almost everyone who I have met in the past few days regarding my research has suggested me to meet Jamanabai and Sangita. Finally, I managed to meet them today. They live in the nearby Osmanpura area. When I was a child I used to go there along with my mother whenever she had to make visits to inspect the municipality corporation’s vocational training centers. I loved spending my entire day there, watching them stitch children’s dresses and make soft-toys. We had several relatives in Osmanpura and getting pampered by them was something I adored the most. Today, after a long time I visited there again, the locality has changed a lot.

The several hidden alleys and narrow lanes of Osmanpura are known as Kabirnagar, Phulenagar, Gadgenagar, Milind Nagar and Nagsenagar. Osmanpura is one among the many other slums in the city. Situated along the railway tracks, it covers most of the Dalit and partly Muslim population. The families settled here came a few hundred years ago leaving their villages and throwing away the slavery imposed upon them. The context in which it evolved as a shared living space for the Dalits is no different than the stories of other slums in the city. The entire area is divided into five different colonies, named after Phule, Nagsen, Milind, Kabir and Gadge Baba by its residents.

Read more...

Communalism and the Pasmanda question

 

Lenin Maududi

Lenin MaududiIt's time for us to understand that politics is at the centre of every society. It follows then that if politics is of a poor quality, it is futile to expect any improvement in social status. Secular warriors in India claim that they are fighting against fascism, so they want every person who is against Sanghi-fascism, to be with them. In doing so, they also join hands with Muslim communal organizations. It sounds very good to hear that to fight a big danger/evil, the smaller danger/evil should be overlooked. It is also argued that if we have to choose between fascism and communalism, then we will choose communalism. Such arguments are nothing but a sign of mental slavery. They do not understand that things that might look good are not necessarily right. Between "Good" and "Right", we should always choose "Right". In the same way, some foolish intellectuals gave the opportunity to the politically untouchable RSS during the Emergency to become their identity on the political platform of India. At that time, it seemed great that all the ideologies came under one umbrella, and Indira Gandhi got defeated. Bravo!

The Muslims, considered as Gandhiji's holy cow, left the Congress for the first time and voted against Indira Gandhi and went to the extent of voting for RSS folks. The result was that Indira Gandhi was completely defeated. But the question is: 'Who won finally'? We need to understand that when any communal/fascist forces form the basis of popularity and easily make their way into democracy, they eventually want to end this democracy.

Read more...

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan: Conservative Accent of a Liberal Cause

 

 Safdar Imam Quadri

safdar imam quadriSir Syed Ahmad Khan was perhaps the tallest among the people who propelled Indian renaissance in the nineteenth century. Like Gandhi, not only did he provide intellectual leadership but also gave his ideas a concrete shape through his actions. He was indeed a very fortunate man who could witness the realization of his dreams and ideas in his lifetime itself. Besides being a thinker, Sir Syed was also a great organizer – a rare combination of an honest intellectual and a strategist par excellence.

However, while formulating the aims, nature and reach of his educational plans, some contractions inherent in his thinking appeared on the surface. Here, we shall try to discuss those confusions, which are in fact contradictions of an ideological nature, as they open many a window upon the world-view of Sir Syed, greatly conditioned by his own background and traditions.

Sir Syed was very much aware of the wider connotations of education, as his core educational philosophy, encapsulated in the title of one of his famous essays, proclaims that a man acquires all the goodness through education (Insaan mein tamam khubiyan taleem se paida hoti hin). But on account of social and political expedience, he seemed to content himself with equating it with a narrow perspective of 'Naukari' alone which showed in no uncertain terms that he could not transcend the colonial mindset. While evaluating his educational conceptions, Rajmohan Gandhi argues that the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College was not as reformist or modern as his journal The Reformer claims it to be, notwithstanding the fact that the college was a vehicle for his ideas -- he wanted it simply as a place where Musalmans may acquire English education without prejudice against their religion.

Read more...

Why Buddhism?

 

Dr. R. Praveen

dr r praveenThe growing atrocities on dalits in the name of hindutva fascism need to be countered with a formidable retaliation, one which leads us to path of progression and helps us to reclaim our humanity and that path is of Buddhism. Babasaheb has shown us the path to salvation as Buddhism and this article looks into the rationale to revert to our native religion of Buddhism.

Buddhism - in the path of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar

So, why Buddhism?

Buddhism is a quarantine for all dalits facing the stigma of caste oppression. It is a place where we can shed our notions of hierarchical thraldom prevailing in hinduism.

The principle of a group to which we identify ourselves with, defines the principles by which we lead our lives. Hinduism preaches hierarchical hegemony as the birth right, the feeling of being inferior to the castes above and superiority over the castes below, is the dictum. Being a hindu places you right where your caste belongs to and hence your notions of superior/inferior.

It's not the tag 'SC' that isolates you, it is the notion of untouchability in hinduism that isolates you. Even if you turn 'SC' to 'XY', you will still be isolated, because the hindus' principle is to practice untouchability on the untouchable castes. It is their dictum or dharma.

Read more...

Crossing Caste Boundaries: Bahujan Representation in the Indian Women’s Cricket Team


Sukanya Shantha

Early this month, union minister Ramdas Athawale made a statement demanding 25 per cent1 reservation for the Dalit and Adivasi community in the Indian men's cricket team. His demand, as expected, touched many raw nerves and anti-reservationists were prompt in their efforts to quell his proposition. They retorted with the usual "efficient versus non- meritorious" argument. Athawale's suggestions were clear. He was referring to the poor performance by the men's cricket team in the recent matches and felt only diversity—in an otherwise purely savarna sport—could help salvage the situation. What Athawale had suggested has already made into the mission statement and functioning of the Cricket South African (CSA), the board that governs their national cricket team. The CSA's mission statement mentions the country's diversity as its strength and wants to base its activities on fairness, inclusivity and non-discrimination2.

indian-women-s-cricket-team

Barring one or two players, most male cricketers in India have come from the privileged brahmin-savarna caste locations. A few "transgressors", who managed to enter this strictly endogamous space, have invariably had to make a painful exit. Somewhere in our fading memories, we might even remember Vinod Kambli for his great performance and then his exit from the sport much before time. Some critics pointed at his "class background" and the lack of support as the probable reason for his supposed debacle. But sadly most fell short of associating his fall with the blatant caste practices that have prevailed in this sport. And when foreign publications3 tried to point at the caste bias in the sport, Indian scholars rubbished4 the effort. And, with all this, then to see recurrence of caste names like Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Jadeja in the list of men's cricket players, year after year, one might actually wonder if this is some "special sport" played only by a certain entitled caste group.

Read more...

Other Related Articles

India and its contradictions
Sunday, 20 August 2017
  Raju Chalwadi This August 15th marked the completion of 70 years of Independence. The preamble of the constitution way back in 1950 defined India as a place where Justice, Liberty, Equality... Read More...
Why Not Janeu Under My Kurta?
Wednesday, 09 August 2017
  Rahmath EP Lipstick Under My Burkha is a ‘by the Brahmin for the Brahmin' movie to propagate the Savarna definition of the ‘oppressed women’. The whole movie gives you a clear picture of... Read More...
Communalism and the Pasmanda question
Wednesday, 09 August 2017
  Lenin Maududi It's time for us to understand that politics is at the centre of every society. It follows then that if politics is of a poor quality, it is futile to expect any improvement in... Read More...
Why Buddhism?
Monday, 07 August 2017
  Dr. R. Praveen The growing atrocities on dalits in the name of hindutva fascism need to be countered with a formidable retaliation, one which leads us to path of progression and helps us to... Read More...
Crossing Caste Boundaries: Bahujan Representation in the Indian Women’s Cricket Team
Monday, 31 July 2017
Sukanya Shantha Early this month, union minister Ramdas Athawale made a statement demanding 25 per cent1 reservation for the Dalit and Adivasi community in the Indian men's cricket team. His demand,... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

I Will Not Exit Your House Without Letting You Know That I am a Dalit
Thursday, 02 March 2017
  Riya Singh Yes, I am assertive. Assertive of my caste identity. It is not a 'fashion statement' trust me, it takes a lot of courage and training of your own self to be this assertive. You... Read More...
Kishori Amonkar: Assertion, Erasure, Reclamation
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
   Rohan Arthur Hindustani vocalist Kishori Amonkar passed away on 3rd April, 2017. Kishori Amonkar is remembered for her contribution to Hindustani classical music, and her passing was... Read More...
From Breast Tax to Brahminical Stripping in Comics: Orijit Sen and Brahmin Sadomasochism
Thursday, 02 March 2017
  Pinak Banik "Only dead dalits make excellent dalits.Only dead dalits become excellent sites where revolutionary fantasies blossom!" ~ Anoop Kumar The context for this article centers around... Read More...
Interview with Prof Vivek Kumar on the Bahujan Movement
Monday, 13 March 2017
  Round Table India In this episode of the Ambedkar Age series, Round Table India talks to Prof Vivek Kumar, Professor, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences,... Read More...
Interview with Prof Khalid Anis Ansari on the Pasmanda Movement
Monday, 27 February 2017
  Round Table India In this episode of the Ambedkar Age series, Round Table India talks to Prof. Khalid Anis Ansari, Director, Dr. Ambedkar Centre for Exclusion Studies & Transformative... Read More...