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Casteless Academe, Name-calling Dalits?

Anu Ramdas

Adivasi, dalit and lower shudra women are more often co-workers in the fields, kilns, mines, factories and neighborhoods than co-learners and professionals in institutions and organizations. The reverse is true for women belonging to upper castes. Majority of women are caught in manual occupations and only a tiny section of women get to be professionals. This lends itself to interrogation in many ways and depending on which end it is proceeding from, solutions will or will not emerge.

To delve into why labor remains rigidly divided among South Asian women, there must exist a sense of injustice at this division of labor. There has to be a deeply felt need to flatten this imbalance of opportunities between castes, occupations and women. Does anyone benefit from prolonging the status quo? Who is likely to engage with this question with a sense of urgency? Whose realities are scarred by this state of affairs? Whose realities will remain undisturbed even as they intellectually engage with this? 

paddy_1

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Exactly whose sentiments are hurt by beef and pork? Part 2

 

Continued from here.

Ravi Chandran

As we saw earlier, beef was made an issue associated with only Muslims. Read the constituent assembly debate on banning cow slaughter--

Seth Govind Das in his speech he says: 

...The Muslims should come forward to make it clear that their religion does not compulsorily enjoin on them the slaughter of the cow.[13]

progressive_brahmin

 

Using beef to seclude Muslims

If we look at the Muslim rulers-- such as Akbar, Aurangzeb, Humayun-- all of them were against cow slaughter, but still the Hindu militants pointed at Muslims, and they continue to do the same now.

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Unite and Fight for the Democratic Right to Choice of Food

[The 'Committee for Democratic Right to Choice of Food' (CDRCF) on the restraints imposed on the Beef and Pork festival in JNU and the crackdown by the administration on the students-- Round Table India]

CDRCF

Friends, we condemn the crackdown by the JNU Administration on students who voiced their opinion for the availability of food that is in tune with different cultures of this country. First it was the suspension order of Anoop Singh Patel and then notices issued to Anand, Abhay and Kusum. The administration hand in glove with the conservative forces is hell-bent on stifling voices who want to initiate debate and discussion against the Brahminic-hegemonic food culture imposed on the campus. Few questions one needs to ponder over. What does 'Unity in Diversity mean?' Does the diversity principle warrant people, who are not in tune with Brahminical traditions, to be second-class citizens, uprooted from their cultures? Time and again people from ethnically diverse backgrounds are the ones who are forced to part with their culture and spaces. Democracy at first means respect for diverse opinions and mutual respect for each other's positions. But in the present Brahminical forces controlled institutions - be it the educational institutes, media, police forces or for that matter 'higher judiciary' – democracy is the privilege of the 'twice-born,' the rest have no say whatsoever.

varaha_avatar

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Exactly whose sentiments are hurt by beef and pork?

 

Ravi Chandran

When its udders were squeezed and milked

You didn't feel any pain at all

When it was stitched into a chappal you stamped underfoot and walked

You didn't feel hurt at all

When it rang as a drum at your marriage and your funeral

You didn't suffer any blows

When it sated my hunger, beef became your goddess?

~

[From a translation of the Telugu poem 'Goddu maamsam' by Digumarthi Suresh Kumar. You can find the full translation on 'The Shared Mirror' here]

~~

Time and again India has showed its Hindutva[1] character. The recent 'banning' of the 'Beef and Pork festival' in JNU and the missing voice of protest only adds opium to Hindutva. Even those students who speak against the state seem to have smelled this opium and are never in their conscious state. One of the sad points I wanted to address in this article is how some Dalits were not discussing all the issues involved in beef and pork consumption. When Osmania University students organized the Beef festival, everyone including 'left liberals' and others predicted ABVP will ask for Pork. ABVP did ask for pork to be served; when JNU students came forward to do a similar event then suddenly the left liberals are talking about Pork, in the context of Muslims. Hence I don't know how to differentiate ABVP and left liberals/democrats, like the DSU in JNU who argued along these lines:

..There has been no single instance where any Muslim organization has forcefully intervened to stop consumption of pork by any community or individuals.....

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Dalits Protest in New Delhi against Laxmipeta Massacre


Dalits Protest in New Delhi against Laxmipeta Massacre on 6th September

Neel Kranti Media

On 12th June, this year, at Laxmipeta, Andhra Pradesh, another chapter was added in the long list of massacres of Dalits by dominant castes in "Independent" India when men and women from Kapu caste attacked Dalits from the same village, killing 5 of them and leaving more than 50 others grievously injured.

However this was not the first attack.

In September last year also, the Kapus attacked the Dalit basti killing a Dalit woman while severely injuring three other women including the village sarpanch.

On 6th September, three months after the June massacre, more than 200 Dalit survivors of Laxmipeta massacre gathered in New Delhi to demand justice and to protest against the insensitivity of the local administration towards the victims and the shielding of the culprits by couple of cabinet ministers in Andhra Pradesh government. The protest was held under the banner of Dalit Struggle Solidarity Committee of Andhra Pradesh.

Please watch the video report (in Hindi) on the protest:

 

Laxmipeta is a small village in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh. About 80 Dalit families along with 100 families from Kapu caste were rehabilitated in the village, after Madduvalasa Project.

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'Sabitha, A woman and a Day ' and Questions About the Position of the Filmmaker

Rupesh Kumar

sab2

As a documentary film maker, while working on Dalit stories and narratives, I have been completely in sync with the film, both as a participant and as a chronicler. In this article I want to note down some of my personal dilemmas while making my latest documentary - Sabitha, A woman and a Day. This film is about an Adivasi woman and both the categories of woman and Adivasi presented me with challenges that I had never anticipated.

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Let's skim the upper caste creamy layer

(This is the second part of the article 'The compulsive need to oppose reservations', continued from here)

Kuffir

What does Pratap Bhanu Mehta really want? He wants 'alternative paradigms' other than caste based reservations to be considered. Why? To build a sense of 'common citizenship'. His worry is 'we are also about to do that to the state', by which he means we're infusing caste into the state.

Perhaps he did write, talk about these ideas before 2006, but one gets the idea that it was the second phase of Mandal reservations introduced during that period which provoked him to think more on the issue. Was the state clean until then?

caste_based_reservations

If there were no reservations, he would perhaps have not thought so hard on caste and citizenship. Reservations have forced him to compulsorily think about caste. Doesn't that make reservation itself an effective alternative paradigm?

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Caste Discrimination is rampant in Vardhman Mahavir Medical College: NCSC

Neel Kranti Media

On 6 September 2012, the National Commission of Scheduled Castes held a press conference at its office at Khan Market, New Delhi, regarding the complaints of rampant caste discrimination in Vardhman Medical College, New Delhi.

It is to be noted that the Dalit and Adivasi students of this medical college have been raising their voices and fighting against their harassment since last three years and have even filed court cases against the college administration but to no avail. However now it appears that their fight for justice is finally bearing some fruits.

Speaking to the press, Mr. PL Punia, Chairperson, NCSC, informed about the enquiry committee that was constituted, one year ago, to look into this matter, under the chairmanship of Prof. Bhalchandra Mungekar, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) who is also former Vice-Chancellor of Mumbai University and member of Planning Commission.

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The Politics of Food Culture: The Holy Cow and The Unholy Swine

The New Materialists

The Brahminical left in this campus (JNU) in the name of secularism supports every religion instead of critiquing it. As Marx said, "Religion is the opium of the masses": the Indian Parliamentary left comfortably forgets this for their vote banks of Majority Hindus and Minority Muslims. Secularism is not supporting all religions but not supporting any religion. It is not celebrating Durga Pooja and participating in Iftar parties, as the Indian Parliamentary left as well as the bourgeois parties do.

jha-_myth_of_holy_cow

The three pillars which support the caste system are Brahminism, Religion, and the concept of God, but the Indian parliamentary left is satisfied with attacking only caste atrocities and, upto an extent, attacking Brahminism for the sake of raising slogans.

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Mary Kom – a hero among champions

Rahi Gaikwad

rahi_gaikwad

She boxed her way to glory, but wrestled her way to the ring. The reason why the nation today salutes the formidable Mary Kom.

Allow me to boast that recently, I had the good fortune of attending an event held to felicitate the medal-rich champion.

Mary was effervescent; she came with her husband Onler and doctor Nikhil Latey. She spoke candidly of the challenges that she had to face in her 12-year boxing journey to Olympics 2012. Marriage, childbirth, fighting in higher weight categories, the attitude of men towards a woman boxer – all had to be met, one by one.

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The compulsive need to oppose reservations

 

Kuffir

Pratap Bhanu Mehta wants to break down the 'tyranny of compulsory identities'. Shouldn't reservations be the last place to begin then? Reservations happen when the state finally decides to pay attention to what caste has done to a lower caste individual. A whole life precedes it: a life spent facing and struggling against, in varying degrees, many structural efforts to incapacitate that individual. Shouldn't we begin at the beginning, then? From the 'scandalous failure to prepare the preconditions for advancement'?

sarasw

What are these preconditions? Mehta mentions: 'Access to primary education to access to public goods, financial support, and a robustly growing economy that provides opportunities for mobility'.

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Cartoons, Caste and Epistemic Violence (Part 2)

Nilesh Kumar

nilesh_1_copy_copy[This is the second part of his article on caste and epistemic violence. The first part explored how the Ambedkar cartoon in the NCERT text book was a metaphor for epistemic violence. Here, he tries to explain how the cartoon is just one more illustration of how entrenched violence is in academia; one more example of the many ways in which culture is used to legitimize direct and structural violence against the Dalits, violence which helps perpetuate their poverty, illiteracy and marginalization-- Round Table India]

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Johan Galtung defines 'Cultural Violence':

'By 'cultural violence' we mean those aspects of culture, the symbolic sphere of our existence exemplified by religion and ideology, language and art, empirical science and formal science (logic, mathematics) that can be used to justify or legitimize direct or structural violence.'

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