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So you want to ally with the Dalit Rights Movement?

 

Shivani Waldekar

Shivani WaldekarOn 25th May 2020, George Floyd, an unarmed Black man was murdered in police custody in Minneapolis, USA. A video showing a white police officer kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was pinned to the floor went viral. Following this, large anti-racism protests took place with many white people also standing against racism and police brutality. I think that is one of the toughest things: stand against your own community and your own people and demand justice.

In India, from Rohith Vemula, Delta Meghwal, Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan, Dr. Payal Tadvi to Hathras, Balrampur, Azamgarh, Bulandshahr, Dalits are struggling to fight the social boycotts imposed by dominant castes, Dalit women are still seeking justice for mass rape, the death of manual scavengers keeps hitting national newspapers headlines, and the list of caste-based atrocities is increasing everyday but the Savarnas, the so-called upper castes, or the dominant or privileged castes, haven't dared to expose their own existence. They're always silent on Brahmin Supremacy, Brahminical patriarchy and their silence is violence and violation of many civil rights movements. On the other hand, these people are always asking about how to be an ally of the Dalit Rights Movement?

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Serious Men - Not so Serious about Dalit Realities


Neeraj Bunkar

neeraj bunker 2020The recently released ‘Serious Men’ is an Indian Hindi language comedy drama film directed by Sudhir Mishra. The film is based on a book of the same name by Manu Joseph. This movie revolves around the issue of child genius scams. Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Ayyan Mani) plays a migrant Tamil Dalit man who lives in a Dalit chawl and wants to make his child a genius by spreading the news that his son is a genius by birth, and for this, he emphasizes on his son to memorize nonsensical things without understanding their meaning. He works in a reputed research institute as a personal assistant to a scientist (Brahmin).

It is based on a fictitious novel but the director has the liberty to contextualize it and he failed to do so. The film touches on a very sensitive issue of Indian society, and that is caste. Even though the protagonist works in a big institute, he can’t afford his own flat and still lives in a very congested room with an attached bathroom and kitchen that is situated in a Dalit slum. It is yet another attempt to depict the Dalit reality in a very stereotypical manner. His son cannot be a genius because he is Dalit and for making his child a genius he has to do certain things that show him to be dishonest, corrupt, immoral, etc. On the other hand Dr. Acharya, a brahmin, is shown to be very good and smart in his work as a scientist (although he also engaged in fraud).

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Michael Creighton's New Delhi Love Songs: An imminent classic?

 

Chanchal Kumar

chanchal kumarWhat makes great literature? Or, to be more precise, great poetry? Mark Yakich, the American poet believes, "Reading a good poem doesnt give you something to talk about. It silences you. Reading a great poem pushes further. It prepares you for the silence that perplexes us all: death." I share this idea. When I am in the midst of a good poem, or going through a collection of poems that stands out, I find myself taking breaks from my (re)readings to pause and stare ahead blankly, trying to understand and process a distant feeling. I think this is the moment I subconsciously try to come to terms with my own mortality. In a sense, it makes me aware of my own chaotic existence and the times that we live in. Reading Michael Creighton's book of poems, New Delhi Love Songs makes me grapple with questions every person once in a while asks themselves, when they go through an experience that is of profound value. A feeling that can only be vaguely pointed at, not satisfactorily articulated.

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Old is Gold

 

Shell Shield

shell shield(This poem has been penned based on urban life settings browsed over from newspapers, heard on corporate floors and in hostels)

His story
He loved her, and she used him
She demanded - this, that and what not
He gave her all, and debt piled
In the end, she left
He had no thread to tie her to him
Losing her, he turned glum
Her story
She loved him, but he did not know her
Gargi's sister she was
Her love like rubies fell on a monkey
He knew no rubies, he knew gold
Letters are mere alphabets
All his village folks know his worth in lands and gold
She looked into the horizon, where the rainbow spread
She walked ahead for letters more

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Human Liberation Day: Live talks organised by Ambedkar International Center

 

We are all aware of India's recent socio-political developments (NRC/CAA, COVID 19, Hathras, etc.) and their unfavorable impact on minorities and oppressed communities. However, it is difficult to grasp how these seemingly disparate incidents are all connected and explain, in a way, their origins.

aicmedia

It is interesting to note that Dr. Ambedkar had predicted such an outcome for India. To learn more about this while also understanding what advice Dr. Ambedkar has for us about these times, consider joining this upcoming event.

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Silence!

 

Abhilasha Bharti

abhilasha bhartiI woke up in the middle of the night and here I'm writing this. Writing because I realized that I haven't slept in the first place, and was half-awake thinking, analyzing many things. To name a few, for now: people, thought processes, society, etc. Yet, the topic which was overpowering everything else was about, "Silence". Hence, it compelled me to write my heart out and I vented it all out on paper before it got all heavy in my head.

Silence!

The way I have looked at silence has been so that I have never looked at it as something disturbingly uncomfortable (at least not for myself).
Silence lets you think and reflect.
Silence helps you to analyze yourself, things, and situations around you better.
Silence eases the process to let your guard down and allows you to be all vulnerable with yourself.
Silence provides a space where you get to be yourself without anyone seeing what are you up to, there ain't any judgments.

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Statement Condemning the Arrest of Bahujan Journalist Prashant Kanoji

 

via Sanskruti Yagnik

pkanojiaOn 18 August 2020, Bahujan journalist Prashant Kanojia was arrested by Uttar Pradesh police. He is being held in custody over a tweet he had forwarded, which he had immediately deleted upon learning that it contained fake news. This is a routine social media behaviour that one observes on the platform almost every day.

However, this was used as a pretext for arresting Kanojia. Furthermore, the Allahabad High Court accepted the Uttar Pradesh government’s request that it be given four weeks to respond to his bail plea. This ensures that Kanojia remains incarcerated for an extended period of time. 

This is not the first time Kanojia has been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police over a tweet. In a similar incident last year, he was detained for ‘objectionable comments’ against the Uttar Pradesh chief minister on Twitter. On that occasion the Supreme Court had ordered his immediate release. However, the harassment has continued.

It is clear that the arrest and detention of Kanojia is politically motivated and driven by vendetta. It fits a larger pattern of Uttar Pradesh administration attempting to silence dissenting voices. In recent times it has repeatedly gone after activists and journalists alike using questionable legal pretexts. This is a clear attack on the right to free speech, and the Uttar Pradesh government needs to be held accountable for attempting to create this ‘chilling effect’ by intimidating and silencing its critics. 

Prashant Kanojia is a well-respected journalist with a big social media following. Being an outspoken Bahujan with a mass following, who consistently raises issues of caste-based exclusion and violence, his arrest has to be seen as an attack on the anti-caste activists. We, the undersigned, condemn these intimidation and harassment tactics of the Uttar Pradesh government and demand Kanojia’s early and timely release.

Please find the list of signatories here:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1H7k865NzyHcqb7BrxevamuVJaPUOZscYQ1d7fDP6ueU/edit?usp=sharing

We stand in solidarity with Prashant Kanojia. #StandWithPrashantKanojia

Jai Bhim!

 

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