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Textures of being - The Mappila verses by Ajmal Khan


Umar Nizar

umar"Where do coconut trees go

When their roots are declared illegal".

-Ajmal Khan, `Mappila Verses’

Poetry as a tool of resistance has been wielded by personas ranging from the Hebraic to the Hellenic, from Moses to Kabir. Poet, sociologist and educator, Ajmal Khan in his debut collection of verse, creates a poetic/proto history for the Mappila community. The poet imaginatively deals with the predicament of a group that has inhabited the south west coast of India for millenia, and yet finds itself anathematized in the wake of the CAA and its discontents. The poet writes: `But no lives matter/Some lives aren’t lives’ (Ajmal Khan, Mappila Verses). Here the `Mappila’ is a universal category (as Žižek would say) that becomes a catchall term for all subjugated, subaltern identities throughout the world-Palestinian, Afro-American, Syrian, Rohingya, Lankan Tamil, Kurdish, Yazidi and so on.

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Why did Dr Ambedkar choose Buddhism?


Kamna Sagar

kamna sagar 2021To answer this question, in this article I will expound on B. R. Ambedkar's (1891-1956) early life including his adolescence and schooling, social and political exercises, reasons behind his battle for equal rights, his involvement in legislative issues, his support for untouchable individuals, his perspective on Communism, and his disappointment with government. Subsequently, I will examine what he looked at as the ultimate answer for helping the untouchable individuals through his exploration of the meaning of religion, his musings on the issue of disparity in religion, and his perspective on contemporary religions in India, including: his perspective on Hinduism; his perspective on Christianity; his perspective on Islam; and his perspective on Sikhism.

Next, I will talk about his path to Buddhism, including his proposition of a genuine religion, his experience with Buddhism, and his perspective on customs. After sifting through the entirety of the political and religious choices, he came to think about two alternatives, Buddhism and Marxism. In the end, following quite a long period of careful thought, he picked Buddhism because of its ideals of equity, its backing of women's rights, it being an indigenous religion of India, its dismissal of both God and soul, and his own enthusiasm for the Buddha's views. Positively, I will talk about which type of Buddhism he followed, his skeptical point of view through the recreation of Buddhist methods of reasoning of Karma, Four Noble Truths, ethical quality, etc. I will also examine others finding faults in his neo-Buddhist methodology. Next, I will discuss the impact of his choice of Buddhism on the marginalised individuals. Ultimately, after an intensive investigation, I will reason that he changed over to Buddhism in view of his disappointment and dissatisfaction with government in figuring out how to improve the life of the Dalit community.

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Will change in names of caste-based localities change their realities?


Mayur Kudupale

mayur kudupale 2021The Maharashtra government has initiated steps to change names of localities, awards and to remove the word ‘Dalit’. For changing the name of localities the government is attempting to remove the stigma attached to the names of the localities; it has also changed the name of award Dr Balasaheb Ambedkar Dalit Mitra Puraskar to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Samaj Bhushan Puraskar, while it has planned to use the word Scheduled Castes and Neo-Buddhists in place of ‘Dalit’ in official communications. Earlier, the National President of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Sharad Pawar has expressed his displeasure over caste-based names of areas in public meetings. His party member Mr Dhananjay Munde, who is social welfare minister of Maharashtra, proposed all three changes in a cabinet meeting. Now, the cabinet has approved the proposal by Mr Munde. The chief minister has supported it by saying “the decision is in favour of social harmony and national unity”.

After a long period, the Government has shown a positive attitude but the society is not looking at it in a reformist manner. In this article, I have tried to engage with the reality of caste-based names of localities vis-a-vis the current decision of the government.

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Bhima Koregaon: The battle between writer and director

 

Rahul Pagare

rahul pagare 1Bhima Koregaon is an epitome of glory, bravery, and courage that our ancestors gifted us by sacrificing their lives. The freedom which we got in 1818 is more significant than any other kind of independence. This freedom gave birth to the revolutionary Mahatma Phule, the super courageous Shahu Maharaj, and the nation builder Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. All of them have taken inspiration from the 500 avengers who fought the battle in bone chilling winter by traveling miles and defeating a massive force of 28,000 peshwa soldiers.

A period movie is something that should resonate with that specific period for the audiences. Therefore, creating a film around Bima Koregaon is a daunting task, and whoever takes up the responsibility to hold the baton should be welcomed whole-heartedly by the community. We would also take pride in promoting this good deed.

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The Karnataka anti-cow slaughter bill is against the poor


Dr. Sylvia Karpagam

Sylvia pix"If India's politicians had any connect with land and farming, they would understand the organic relationship farmers have with livestock, milk, manure and killing of cows. It is not a Hindu-Muslim issue as the government is trying to project. This is a farmer's issue"

A farmer in Karnataka about the anti-cow slaughter Bill

The post Covid-19 lockdown has brought out the worst of vested interests. While corporates are scrambling to acquire land and assets by blatantly pushing the government to tweak or do away with protective legal mechanisms, the government is making decisions that will have adverse and long-term social, nutritional, health and economic consequences. One of them is the anti-cow slaughter bill, which the Karnataka government has passed with great urgency, without even a pretence of due process of democratic consultation, particularly with those who will be the most disaffected by this law. Any reasonable, fairly intelligent voter of the state should challenge this Bill, which is neither evidence-based nor rational, and viewed in the backdrop of the following issues.

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The fence-sitter of Tamil Nadu politics: Superstar Rajinikanth


Keerthi Nathan

keerthi nathan 2020Tamil Nadu has a long history where Dravidian politics is associated with the Tamil cinema industry and they both go hand in hand because the Tamil film industry has produced three Chief Ministers. The trend started with M.Karunanidhi and CN Annadurai who were known for their acumen in script writing and continued the same zeal in delivering powerful scripts which propagated the ideological messages of Social Justice and Anti-Brahmanism (the movie Parasakthi was heavily based on this). These were also the core ideologies of the Dravidian movement in the state. Since then, there has been no stopping and the Dravidian movement further gave rise to two Chief Ministers who were film superstars (MGR & Jayalalithaa).

MGR’s career in politics was the ditto performance of his on screen persona i.e., being the savior of the poor and he carried along this image in his public life as well. He was known to be a generous person who had a cult like following among his followers especially the women voters. People saw the same persona which he portrayed on the screen in his real life as well and they wasted no time in associating themselves with his party, the AIADMK. After MGR, it was Jayalalithaa who carried on the baton and also succeeded in convincing the people that the AIADMK’s legacy shall always have the ideals of MGR.

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After a series of dismal performances, what is the future of Congress?


Keerthi Nathan

keerthi nathan 2020The Mahagatbandhan alliance comprising of RJD, Congress and the Left parties have given a tough fight to the ruling NDA in the recently held elections in Bihar. Although the RJD has increased its vote share tremendously since last the general election held last year, it is the Congress which has been consistently underperforming and has caused considerable damage to the overall tally of the Grand Alliance, bringing into question its credibility as a junior partner in an alliance.

During the run up to the Bihar elections, the RJD had entered into an electoral alliance with Congress and the Left parties which consisted of CPI(M), CPI(ML)L, CPI. The Congress was allotted 70 seats, while the RJD contested on 144 seats and the combined Left parties got a share of 29 seats with the CPI(ML)L bagging the highest of 19 seats. And when the election results were being declared yesterday, the Left parties had done reasonably well and the CPI(ML)L won 11 seats compared to that of the 3 seats it won in the 2015 Elections.

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