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Constitutional Strategies for Bahujan Representation in the Higher Judiciary

 

Dr. Ayaz Ahmad

“As experience proves, rights are protected not by law but by the social and moral conscience of society. If social conscience is such that it is prepared to recognize the rights which law chooses to enact, rights will be safe and secure. But if the fundamental rights are opposed by the community, no Law, no Parliament, no Judiciary can guarantee them in the real sense of the word.”                                                                                                                                                            Dr. B R Ambedkar[1]

Introduction

ayaz1Since the commencement of Indian constitution, the higher judiciary (Supreme Court and High Courts) has operated as the death chamber of social justice policies[2]. By thus arresting social democracy, the higher judiciary has endangered our political democracy too. Such unfortunate judicial performance is rightly attributed to near complete monopoly of the Supreme Court and the High Courts by Brahmin-upper castes/class judges and advocates. Naturally, the efforts to redeem the higher judiciary from upper castes by the Bahujan class rightly concentrate on making it more representative. However, various strategies like the demand to implement Article 312 and abolition of Collegium System popular among social organizations and activists to achieve a representative higher judiciary remain oblivious to constitutional realities. These strategies are mostly presented as legitimate demands to the ruling class with a series of self-fulfilling assumptions. Due to such uninformed strategies, most of those efforts are unlikely to yield desired results. In fact, some of them may prove to be counter productive. This article aims to examine existing popular strategies to secure a representative higher judiciary in order to understand their feasibility in the light of extant constitutional arrangements. It will also explore the alternative legal strategies within the constitutional horizon of possibility to achieve a representative higher judiciary more conducive to social democracy.

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Decoding the post-2014 Parashuram-esque ‘vigilante figure’ in Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

 

Mohimarnab Biswas (Megh)

m biswasThis study locates the middle-class ‘vigilante figure’ in Bombay cinema within the larger paradigm of the rise of the ‘vigilante publics’ in the backdrop of the BJP’s massive electoral gains in 2014. It attempts to do so by focusing attention on the articulation of justice in Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. It looks to characterise the shift in visual codes of representation of the vigilante figure since 2014 through the lens of politics of thematic engagements and tropes within the genre of vigilante films. I attempt to deconstruct the vigilante figure with respect to the notions of citizenship, masculinity and territory and also explore the embedded function of caste in them. This study includes an effort to understand the construction of vigilantism as an ideology in order to unpack the ways in which the society--or at least a part of it--is imagining justice, framing itself and the others it is ‘othering’ in the process. The effort will be to deconstruct the vigilante figure in the film and analyse it on various registers like caste, masculinity, the production of the 'ideal citizen', and the notion of justice.

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Some Thoughts on Manipur and Asad Haider's book, Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump

 

Jackson RK

jacksonrkRacism is a face producing machine. It gives a face to the living things, non-living things, and, this time, to an entity that is both a living and a non-living thing at the same time: virus. As the world shrinks into private rooms in the aftermath of the corona-virus pandemic, racism succeeded in giving a face to this virus. For the world, it is the bat-eating-Chinese; for India, it is the dog-eating-or-whatever-the-hell-they-eat-but-they-make-momos-chinki.

Racist violence of intense hatred against the North Eastern diasporas has been rampant in major Indian cities. The pandemic has discharged a new wave of violent attacks as if the virus shoved the hitherto temporarily introverted hate into becoming an extrovert. The speedy response to the savage attacks is also one of racial paranoia, jokerfication of racial identities, and also of reducing and fixing the injured as forever victims, as people with injured identity with no agency of their own. But is anything ever new? It is in these normal times that I am choosing to sort of review a book that I believe is apropos. 

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Storming Libraries, ‘Achhe Din’ and the New Education Policy


N Sukumar and Shailaja Menon

The NEP 2020 has been rolled out amidst the Corona pandemic with the grandiose dreams of unleashing India's potential as a world teacher (Vishwaguru). Ironically, a few months back police stormed the library of Jamia Millia Islamia, thrashed students and vandalized the reading space. No one knows when the culprits will be brought to justice, if at all. The NEP states that it wants to set up libraries in every district and inculcate the reading habit among the children. In a climate, when students are anxious about appearing for a range of examinations, entrance tests to end semester exams, coupled with the fear of dropping out of classes due to the monetary crisis wrought by Covid 19 why is the state in a hurry to push through reforms in the education sector?

police attack students in jamia library

Police attack Jamia students in library

The University in India

Habermas considered universities as essential for society's progress, but the fact that it contains within itself the seeds of the reproduction of social lifeworlds, meant that constant vigilance is required to unleash its transformative potential. Hence, education has always been viewed as a contested terrain especially in highly unequal societies. Heuristically speaking, education is perceived as serving one of two purposes in society. It either serves to 'domesticate' and strengthen the existing relations of power and therefore perpetuates the ills such as socio-economic, cultural and environmental, critiqued throughout its corpus of literature, rendering conditions of oppression as non-existent or else it serves to 'liberate' in contributing to the ushering in of a new world in which principles of social justice and ecological sustainability are upheld.

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Let’s move on from this simplistic debate of nepotism in Bollywood


Anurag Minus Verma

anurag minus verma 07 2020For the last few weeks, nepotism and insider/outsider has become the trending topic. As an outsider who is working in the Mumbai industry for more than 5 years, I would like to add that the debate of nepotism is a simplistic debate. There are much deeper issues which are plaguing the industry and if you are genuinely interested in reforming the industry then please consider these points.

1. Real harassers of new outsiders are mostly powerful outsiders

These so-called outsiders after gaining power act even far worse than nepotistic people. These outsiders then become casting agents, senior film editors, cinematographers, heads of production houses, etc. They then harass outsiders in their exclusive non-nepotistic ways. Case in point: Kangana Ranaut after becoming powerful in Bollywood might not give chances to talented outsiders. She has employed her family members in her production house. Even many co-stars (outsiders) from Manikarnika have complained of harassment by Kangana where their roles were edited. [1]

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The twice born parasite


Dhamma Darshan Nigam

Dhamma DarshanThe COVID-19 pandemic has made clearly visible the deep chasm of inequality in the Indian society: it is our Bahujan folks who are suffering the most. However, for the Brahminical media and academia (BMA), their suffering is just a “poverty” issue, they portray that people are suffering just because they are poor. They talk and write a lot about the impact of COVID-19 on poor people - about poverty, the reasons for their poverty, and about the people suffering because of poverty. However, caste is rendered invisible. Also, the news of the connection between the impact of COVID-19 and poverty gets only minimum and odd slots of timings on national news channels while on these same channels, the news on the health condition of a COVID-19 positive Bollywood actor runs in prime time slots.

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What exists in India is a positively anti-social order: Suresh RV

 

Suresh RV

(SAVARI and Round Table India are doing a series to put together the Bahujan perspective on the Coronavirus pandemic)

suresh Anu Ramdas: Welcome Suresh. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

Suresh Ravichandran: Thank you for this opportunity.

 Anu: The question that I have for you is, we find ourselves in a very strange time. In the caste system, this whole scenario is so familiar to us ... social distancing, quarantine, etc. This is what we've fought against all our life. The caste system is social distance. In several posts, you talk about how it keeps adapting to contemporary situations, its mutability as you call it. Now, with the pandemic and the language that is coming about, in a very justified atmosphere, the same concepts are being legitimized. Can you elaborate a bit about what is going on in your mind about this?

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The violence of Dalit feminist standpoint and Dalit patriarchy

 

Sruthi Herbert

sruthi soas(Round Table India and SAVARI have been hosting a series of online talks by activists and thinkers on issues of importance to the Bahujan. This is the transcript of Dr Sruthi Herbert's talk on June 13th, 2020)

Hi everyone! Thank you all for being here to have this discussion. The topic for today is the academic violence of Dalit Feminist Standpoint (DFS) and Dalit patriarchy. I think it is necessary for us to get a good grasp of academic terminologies that are thrown about casually on social media these days mainly to put the Dalitbahujan on the defence. This is why I thought I will speak about this topic today. It certainly is not my favourite topic. In fact, I have hardly written about this. However, for the sake of clarity, especially to clarify what I think about this in the light of numerous discussions we have seen on social media, I will speak a little about Dalit Feminist Standpoint and Dalit patriarchy.

To start with, let us briefly discuss Patriarchy, specifically its origins.

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ಬಾಣಭಟ್ಟನಿಗೊಂದು ಚಿತ್ರ

ಬಾಣಭಟ್ಟನಿಗೊಂದು ಚಿತ್ರ

ಅನು ರಾಮದಾಸ್ 

ikon

 ಹಿಂದೊಮ್ಮೆ, ನಾನು ಶೂದ್ರ ಸಂತ-ಕವಿ ಸರಲದಾಸ ಬರೆದ ಒರಿಯಾ ಮಹಾಭಾರತದ ಅನುವಾದವನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ಸರಲ ಅವರ ಗಂಗಾ ಕೇಂದ್ರದಲ್ಲಿಟ್ಟು ಆಯ್ದ ಭಾಗವನ್ನು ಶೇರ್ಡ್ ಮಿರರ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲು ನಾನು ಉತ್ಸುಕನಾಗಿದ್ದೆ, ಹೀಗೆ ನಾನು ಗ್ರಂಥಾಲಯ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತರ್ಜಾಲ ಹುಡುಕಾಟಗಳನ್ನು ಸಂಯೋಜಿಸುವಲ್ಲಿ ನಿರತನಾಗಿದ್ದಾಗ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ ಕವಿ ಬಾಣ ಭಟ್ಟನು ಬರೆದ ಕವಿತೆಯೊಂದರಿಂದ ದಾರಿ ತಪ್ಪಿದೆ.

ನಾನೀಗ ಈ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ ಕವಿಯೊಂದಿಗೆ ಪ್ರೀತಿಯಿಂದಿದ್ದೇನೆ.

ಇಲ್ಲ, ನಿಜವಾಗಿಯೂ ಅಲ್ಲ, ಬೇಸರವಂತೂ ಖಂಡಿತ ಆಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ, ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ / ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಹಿನಿಯ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ನಾನು ಓದುವಾಗ ಆದಂತೆ. ಕವಿತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಜಾತಿಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಯಾವುದೇ ಉಲ್ಲೇಖವಿಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೂ, ಅದು ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಆಕರ್ಷಕವಾಗಿದೆ. ವಸಾಹತುಶಾಹಿಯ ಭಯ ಮತ್ತು ಆತಂಕವನ್ನು ಸುಂದರವಾಗಿ ಬೆಳಗಿಸುವ, ಕೆಲವೇ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯಕ ಸಾಲುಗಳಿಂದ ಮೂಲ ನಿವಾಸಿಗಳ ರಾಕ್ಷಸೀಕರಣಕ್ಕೆ ನೀಲನಕ್ಷೆಯನ್ನು ತಯಾರು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾನೆ ; ಅವರ ವಂಶಸ್ಥರಿಗೆ ನಿರಂತರವಾಗಿ ಉತ್ತಮ ಪಡಿಸಲು ಒಂದು ಪಠ್ಯ ಸಾಧನ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ, ವಸಾಹತುಶಾಹಿ ಎಂದರೆ ವಸಾಹತುಗೊಂಡವರ ಅಳಿವು ಎಂದರ್ಥವಲ್ಲ , ಇದರ ಅರ್ಥವೇನೆಂದರೆ, ಮೂಲ ನಿವಾಸಿಗಳು 'ಬೇರೆಯವರು ' ಎಂಬ ಸ್ಥಿರ ಸ್ಥಿತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಉಳಿಯುವ ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣ ವ್ಯವಹಾರ. ಮತ್ತು ಜಾತಿ ಎಂದರೆ ಬೇರೆಯವರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ, ಅಲ್ಲವೇ?

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Jeyaraj, Bennix case and the RSS in Tamil Nadu

 

Radhika Sudhakar

The Jeyaraj, Bennix case is not the first gruesome custodial murder case in Tamil Nadu, this state has a long history and a terrible record, just as every other state in India.

jeyaraj bennix

The gruesome torture and murder of the father and son by the police attached to the Sattankulam police station and higher officials in Tuticorin district between 19 and 22 June was one of administrative lapses and police excesses. However, the Sattankulam murder will be the first one showing some sort of direct links to the BJP which empowered the police to become extremely brutal there, also exposing an exponentially growing compliance with the RSS in Tamil Nadu from the administration and in police ranks thanks to BJP brought to power in union government by the north Indian States. The case is now under CBI.

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COVID-19 and the failures of India’s healthcare system

 

Dr Manisha Bangar

manisha bangar(Round Table India has been hosting a series of online talks by activists and thinkers on issues of importance to the Bahujan. This is the transcript of Dr Manisha Bangar's talk on July 25th, 2020)

Thank you so much for inviting me to give this very important talk, 'COVID-19 and the failures of India's healthcare system'.

It is a huge topic, and involves two topics, one is COVID-19, which in itself is a huge saga, which started in Feb 2020 and we have almost 4-5 months down the line. And we have seen how the healthcare system has unfolded itself, from the perspective of healthcare workers as well as from the consumers' point of view, that is the citizens of the country. We have also seen how these two major stakeholders were treated by the governments, whether central or state government. In between, somewhere, are people like us, who are evaluating what we have undergone in all these months and what went wrong where.

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Religion and other aspects of Feminism


Mook Nayak 2.0

Preliminary Observations

A lot of debates are going on about Feminism, its origin and its ideals etc. It is said that the main objective of feminism is to promote equality between the sexes. For a moment, let’s leave the counter arguments made on feminism (1) and look at one profound link which has not received proper attention, namely the link between Feminism and Religion.

Religion and Ideals

Firstly, there is no single accepted definition of religion and what it means, so I use the term religion to only mean “the ideal(s) it sanctions to govern the terms of association between members of a society”

Do religion and its ideals have any significance in our daily life? Speaking about the significance of religion, Babasaheb Ambedkar said:

“Religion as a social force cannot be ignored. Religion has been aptly described by Hebert Spencer as ‘the weft which everywhere crosses the warp of history’. This is true of every Society…Religion stands for a scheme of divine governance. The scheme becomes an ideal for society to follow. The ideal may be non-existent in the sense that it is something which is constructed. But although non-existent, it is real. For an ideal it has full operative force which is inherent in every ideal” (2)

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