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Dalit movement must provide our students a positive identity: Anoop Kumar

 

Anoop Kumar 

(This is the transcript of his speech at an international conference on Babasaheb Ambedkar in Tokyo, Japan, in October 2018)

Thank you very much. Jai Bhim and good morning to all. My name is Anoop and I've been teaching for the past 5-6 years in Wardha. Today, I am going to speak on the problems, which our Dalit students face in higher education. I have been working on this issue since the last 20 years almost- first as a student and later on as an activist, and now as a teacher.             anoop kumar

I will put forward, whatever experience that I have gained through working on this issue. The Indian constitution has provided reservation in education for Dalits. It has been the single most important factor in Dalit empowerment.

Reservation has empowered millions of Dalits to come out of their marginalization & deprivation, to lead a life of dignity.

Still, there are various gaps to be filled to provide equal opportunities in real terms for Dalit students. I am trying to list some of the gaps, which are problems for the Dalit students, despite the reservation policies.

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How the caste census became a national issue and thereby a Brahmin problem

 

 Neha

neha yadavAs the 16th census of India is about to be conducted, several marginalized organizations and leaders have intensified their demand for a caste census. This is happening in the background, when the government is yet to publish the caste wise data of 2011 census and the parliament has been informed that the government has no intention of enumerating caste based census in the upcoming census of 2021.

Though the decadal census that is conducted in India records the population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the caste census of 1931 (pre independence India) serves as data for estimating the OBC population in India.

A nationwide demographic record on how various castes are placed in Indian society remains unclear. The demand for a caste based census, enumerating data relating to all castes, is a long pending demand in this light.

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My journey from a Brahmanic kid to a truth seeking adult

 

Amol Shingade

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 As settled nomadic people, we have a house in the middle of the village. We are largely dependent on agricultural activities happening at the village level. However, before coming to Pune for graduation, the image of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was as a leader of only the Dalits. This image was created in my mind by my parents and the surroundings in which we grew up. 

My parents are not educated, they belong to a nomadic background but they strongly believe that they are superior to Dalits therefore, they told me many times that Babasaheb has never done anything for us. I remember in fourth grade we had a chapter on Babasaheb in a textbook. That chapter described the struggle of Babasaheb.

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Mirabai Chanu – Bahujan, Brahmin or just Meitei?

 

Khakhlari

Khakhlari

 How digital activism narratives around the athlete exposed structural racism towards the ‘chinky northeasterner’

When Mirabai made news as the first woman to score a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, people across several socio-political factions were quick to claim her. Her win evoked nationalistic pride and sentiments and celebratory posts poured in. A congratulatory cartoon depicting her as the Mirabai of the Bhakti movement, replete with distinctive markers of an ‘Indian’ woman, bindi, bangles, saree, etc.. was widely shared by famous names.The only indication of it representing the weightlifting champion was the ektara being replaced with the barbells.There were others veering towards Hindutva and Brahmin supremacy as well who shared photos of her praying to several ‘Hindu’ gods and praised her as a ‘proud Hindu girl showing off her religion and achieving great feats’.

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Understanding Tribal Culture: The Perspective from Within

 

Balaka Chattaraj

balaka chattaraj 1The terms Tribe and Adivasi have been historically misinterpreted in academia. The Tribal and Adivasi culture have always been explained and argued from the colonial standpoint and caste epistemology. The two popular epistemologies have always painted Tribes and Adivasis in one particular manner, first as savage and second as under-developed.

The caste epistemology has painted the Tribal and Adivasi as either the victim of development or a stakeholder of the privileges provided by the State. The colonial standpoint has painted the Tribal and Adivasi communities as first, as those without knowledge of writing; second, without history; third, without development; fourth, without democracy. The major debate about tribal and Adivasi communities in mainstream academia is about how the tribal and Adivasi communities are victims of rapid development in India.

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Liberal narrative and Afghanistan


Vinith Kumar

These last few weeks have been about the Taliban. But it hasn’t really been about them. The reports, the end of the war, the exit of the American forces, the tragic images from the Kabul airport, all of these things were about the Taliban, but also not one of them were really about them. While some addressed the terrorising spree they were on, others addressed the geo-political implications and so on.

rajapeta left

The Taliban have got the classic ‘cancel’ not only from the liberal world, but also from the left or whatever remains of it today. They have been ‘terrorists’ for long, but they have perhaps never been cancelled by the left like they are today.

The liberal world can perhaps assume such freedom so as to produce ‘extremist’ narratives of the Taliban. The liberal world can perhaps even present democracy as moderation and peaceful. But what do these things mean to those who already live on the edge? What does extremism mean to them and more specifically what the hell does democracy mean to them?

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We the People: Expanding the Idea of Democracy - Part 3


Pranav Jeevan P

pranav jeevan pPeople normally blame democracy by saying it is not a good model of governance citing the issues that plague our country like poverty, corruption, unemployment and under-development. They believe that we are facing these issues because we are a functioning democracy and somehow it is the democratic process which is causing this backwardness and inequality. They simply equate voting for one of the available contesting parties or politicians as the sole idea of democracy. What these people fail to realise is that it is because of the existence of democracy of some limited sense that we enjoy even some basic constitutional rights.

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Future. India. Dalit.

 

Anu Ramdas

anu ramdas 1

This article was written for the Society of Future Studies a member of the Swiss Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences and was published in their journal edition of 01/21 which focussed on The Future of India.

'Unborn time' feels like a good description for the ubiquitously used concept of future, it is a definition-defying yet universally understood concept. The term future and all that it connotes is a product of human imagination, irrevocably tied to a temporal state that will always be unborn. Since the future does not exist in time and space, no one demands tangible evidence for it, however a close reading of the present and the past is expected. Towards this, the human mind processes multitudes of factors to approximate a prediction of the immediate future. In a sense, prediction as a primordial survival skill is also one of the oldest transactional commodities used by humans, from individuals to nations.

The nation as a constructed idea bundles many kinds of promises and penalties - If you are a citizen, you will be protected. You will be provided for. Your rights and aspirations, that is, your present and future will be taken care of.

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Caste management through feminism in India


Kanika S

There was a time some 5-6 years ago when feminism tried to undermine Dr Ambedkar by pointing out that he carried a penis.1 Now he is just as fantastically a carrier of feminist ideals because his work helped women achieve voting rights, property rights, divorce rights, etc.2,3,4 And that alone is a sufficient criterion for the feminist movement to present him as the face of (any strand of) feminism – a completely separate social movement with its own origin story, specific goals and cultural history1,5. In this article I want to highlight the incoherency of feminist politics in the Indian society, and raise questions on the compatibility of feminism with the goals of an equal society as envisioned by anti-caste movement.

snehal

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We the People: Expanding the Idea of Democracy - Part 2

 

Pranav Jeevan P

pranav Democracy is incomplete when it is not expanded to include economic, social and political realms in the world we live in. Economic democracy proposes to remove decision-making power from a few corporate shareholders and transfer that power to the workers, customers, suppliers,and the broader general public[1]. When a few capitalists control the decision making, they prioritize profits over worker welfare, environmental impact, dislocation of communities, and broader harm to the public. Capitalism results in economic crisis due to reduction in effective demand as people are unable to earn enough income to buy its output production.

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Sunflower giving Mother


“If there was no night, women would not even have a chance to rest” – Smt. Kusum Nigam

Dhamma Darshan Nigam

Our mother once said that “अगर रात नहीं होती तो महिलाओं को आराम करने का मौक़ा भी नहीं मिलता” (If there was no night, women would not even have a chance to rest). One other time about the 1984 massacre of Sikhs she said that “पूरी दिल्ली जल रही थी” (the whole Delhi was burning), which remains stuck in my mind. And since then I have read the same quote in many books. Such was the depth of thinking of our mother. Our mother was a home-maker, not some working woman who could have seen things while going here and here, or while interacting with different people, but she had a critical eye to understand and analyze things clearly, even through her limited periphery. She had the habit of reading newspapers, magazines and books daily. She used to read every part of the newspaper from front page headlines to daily city crimes, from national to international political news, news from sports pages to new national and international researches, from news about new recipes to Bollywood and entertainment news. She was always up-to-date. She was our social scientist, our political analyst, and our encyclopedia.

kusum nigamOur mother was a hard core Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supporter. Hard core supporter of BSP’s president Mayawati ji. It was the time of the 2020 Delhi assembly election. Every news channel, newspapers, and her three sisters, four daughters she used to talk with, everybody was talking about Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), so she also got a soft corner for AAP. On the eve of the election she told us that for some moments she thought to give her vote to AAP. But then she emphatically said that “वोटिंग मशीन देखते ही, आंखें और उंगली सीधी हाथी पर ही जाती है” ('as soon as I see the voting machine, my eyes and fingers go straight to the elephant'). She also used to say that this is not about winning or losing, but about registering our vote to our party. She had knowledge about all political parties and what was going on in which political party. She was a proud Bahujan Ambedkarite mother.

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We the People: Expanding the Idea of Democracy

 

Pranav Jeevan P

Part 1

pranav Most people believe that democracy means voting in an election every 5 years. Elections in a representative democracy is of course an essential part of the very idea of political democracy, but that doesn't mean that the very idea of democracy is limited to this right to vote. Moreover, every country takes pride in calling themselves a democracy, no matter how far away they are from it in reality, precisely because of the moral superiority and immunity that the idea of being democratic provides them.

The notion of democracy has evolved over time from direct democracy, in which the people directly deliberate and decide on legislation to representative democracy, where the people elect representatives to do that, such as in parliamentary or presidential democracy. Most decision making of democracies works on the principle of majority rule, though other decision-making approaches like supermajority and consensus have also been used to increase inclusiveness and broader legitimacy on sensitive issues and counterbalancing majoritarianism. In present liberal democracies, the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority through enforcement of individual rights. Democracy differs from other forms of government where power is either held by an individual, as in autocratic systems like absolute monarchy, or where power is held by a small number of individuals, as in an oligarchy. Democracy focuses on providing opportunities for the people to control their leaders and to remove them without the need for a revolution. The primary aspect of a representative democracy is the political right of universal adult franchise[1].

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