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Delhi university must reinstate the removed texts and Apologize-Dalit intellectual collective

 

Dalit Intellectual Collective

With the select removal of texts by three towering writers in Bengali and Tamil: Mahashweta Devi, Bama and Sukirtharani, from Delhi University English Honours syllabus, the exertion of Brahmanical, patriarchal, communal prejudice and domination in higher education once again becomes painfully visible. These authors' writings accentuate the life-narratives of Adivasis, Dalits, marginalized women and minorities. They have been translated into many languages and have been read, taught and discussed across the world for many years now, including in many international universities.      

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It is hence bewildering that the short story "Draupadi," selections from the novel Sangati (Events), and two poems:"Kaimaru" (Debt) and "En Udal" (My Body) were abruptly removed by the Academic Council on the recommendations of its Oversight Committee despite opposition from at least sixteen of its council members. These literary texts speak of the resistance of Adivasi women against state oppression, the discriminatory travails of Dalit women in caste-infected Indian villages, and the searing injustice of manual scavenging. The council, however, claimed that these texts "hurt the sentiments" and "(are not) inclusive in nature to depict the true picture of the society" and provided these as reasons for their removal from the syllabus.

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The Savarna Bhaskar politics

 

  Deepali Salve

deepali salveWe recently saw Swara Bhaskar's public display of 'grihapravesh' rituals following the norms and traditions of Hinduism. They were presided upon by a Brahmin priest, upholding the systematic exploitation of caste, class and gender.

 

There is nothing wrong with this religious display - it has been kept alive for the sake of the self-interest of the Brahminical lobby (practicing discrimination,hierarchy and patriarchy), which consists seemingly progressive people like Swara, who is  fertilising the norms and traditions of Hinduism.

 

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Bigg Boss – A peek into the vacuous lives of Savarnas

 

  Chanchal Kumar

chanchalThe concept behind Bigg Boss is simple, and the title is borrowed from the George Orwell novel 1984. A group of random (mostly) savarna celebrities inhabit a house for a short and fixed period of time, wherein they are expected to interact with each other, follow certain rules and perform “tasks”.

At the end of the stipulated time period, one individual becomes the winner and is gifted a certain amount of money.

The show has been extremely popular among viewers for the often hilarious and controversial moments that ensue, when two celebrities do not get along with each other. What is especially interesting to watch from a sociological point of view is how the many contestants, belonging to the cream of Indian public life conduct themselves and react to the “challenges” that are put before them by the show’s creators. Although it is emotionally draining, it gives the viewer a glimpse into the daily lives of those people who are always exceedingly privileged in some way or another.

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Indian Ethical Thought And Its Discontents: Shenanigans Of The Great International Shashi Tharoor

 

Umar Nizarudeen

Umar NizarI am also surprised at the praise for this book from a sensible social science scholar like Neera Chandhoke, in another review. Caste-blind scholarship which draws a quick distinction between Hinduism and Hindutva is forcing the Congress of Rahul Gandhi to own Hinduism, as a strategy to bring the Congress back to power. While Rahul Gandhi calls himself Brahmin and presents himself as a temple-going Hindu, the Shudra upper caste Tharoor tries to provide a theoretical framework to 'Congress Hinduism' against the BJP's Hindutva.

 --Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/books/shashi-tharoor-review-why-i-am-a-hindu-5109392/

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Art of the Oppressed: Politics of Existence

 

B. Prabakaran

b prabakaran 2021Why does Sarpatta hold an important place in Tamil film history? It not only has convincing arguments for Dalits and women but also raises questions against dominant images and ideas.

A Tamil film, Unnal Mudiyum Thambi ('you can do it brother'), released 33 years ago was directed by a prominent dialogue writer-cum-director K. Balachander, who has directed nearly a hundred films in his career. The female protagonist of the story comes from a village Dalit background, the daughter of a people's advocate. However, the film described her in the course of a dialogue as a 'Harijan' from the Gandhian perspective. The hero of the film belongs to saiva vellala pillai – 'an upper caste' individual in the graded hierarchy, who falls in love with this courageous Dalit girl.

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Limits of The Kapil Sharma Show

 

Chanchal Kumar

chanchal "An ideal society should be mobile, should be full of channels for conveying a change taking place in one part to other parts. In an ideal society, there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared."

— Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

Indian society will always prop up those mythologies, figures, personalities that serve its agenda of supporting Hinduism and maintain caste hegemony by extension. It will effortlessly gather the resources, even crowdfund from among savarna castes to never let go of the stranglehold on the oppressed castes it has had since centuries. Through the Kapil Sharma Show, which on the surface, functions as a comedy show, it performs the dual function of championing the merit of a "self-made" Brahmin man while also parade the minority savarna gaze as pan-Indian culture. In this latter aspect, it merely copies the great mediocre Hindu/Dominant culture vehicle called Bollywood. I will divide this essay into two parts, the first dealing with the myth of self-made status of Kapil Sharma the comedian. Then I will touch on the larger influence his name-brand has on popular society at large.

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‘Chak De! India’ and Women's Hockey

 

Khakhlari

KhakhlariRecently the Indian women's field hockey team made headlines as they qualified for the Olympic semi-finals for the first time in Tokyo.

Quite predictably and not without fair reason, Chak De! India started trending. In the fervor of the win, jubilant fans drew parallels between the team and the movie. Shah Rukh Khan promptly joined in and sent out a tweet to coach Sjoerd Marijne reminding everyone of his role as Kabir Khan in the same. Some even went on to claim that the movie must have inspired the players themselves. Although the claim might be far from true, how representative of the actual team is the movie anyway?

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