India “shit hole” and Ganga a “junkyard”

 

Pardeep Attri

Recently, an Australian radio host, Kyle Sandiland called India a “shit hole” and Ganga a “junkyard” and Indian groups in Australia are seeking an apology from the radio station as the Indian community is quite angry with such remarks from the Australian media. I was reading this news online and there were hundreds of comments below the article and most of those comments were literally abuses hurled at Australians, Australian media, and most importantly on Australian cricket team! I was wondering what cricket has to do with the remarks of the radio host. Later on I figured out that it’s cricket that brings Indian and Australian people together and then makes them fight for almost anything!

ganga dirty

 People who are opposing the same are either ignorant or in denial. It is hard reality and Indians need to accept it --not only the Ganga, but almost all the other rivers (have you ever seen Yamuna?) are turning into drains, have been dumping spots for big industries for a long time now. Have you ever visited the Allahabad and seen the condition of Ganga? This place is called the holiest place to take bath and shed all your sins committed in this life time, but I doubt if one has ever survived no illness after taking a bath in such polluted water. A few years back The Economist reported that Hinduism’s scared river (Ganga) contains 60,000 faecal coli-form bacteria per 100 millilitres, 120 times more than what is considered safe for bathing. Ganga has eventually become the “junkyard of corpses” and there shouldn’t be any doubt about this.

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Feet of Clay: Amitav Ghosh and the Imperial Indian Gaze

-- Jason Keith Fernandes

A couple of days ago, an interview, of the part-time Goa resident author Amitav Ghosh, with Lila Azam Zanganeh for the magazine Guernica created something of a storm of outrage. Ghosh had suggested in the course of conversation, that 'one of the wonderfully liberating things about India; [is that] it lets you be exactly who you want to be.' One can see why this statement would generate a furor; a Dalit activist friend responded to this particular line by saying 'say this to a Dalit, dear writer'. How can one forget that in various parts of India, on a daily basis, people (and not just Dalits) are not allowed to be who they want to be. They are not allowed to marry who they want, or wear the clothes that they would like, nor live where they want. In very many of these cases, when these people dare to be who they want to be, they are killed.

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On Jha’s Suicide Quote

-- Prabin Dhangada Majhi

[ Prabin's article is a response to senior journalist and editor Prem Shankar Jha's comments in a 2007 CNBC discussion on reservations. The comments resurfaced again in online discussions over suicides of Dalit students in India's elite educational institutions, recently. You'll find some of Jha's comments reproduced here . And you'll find more information on the suicides of Dalit students here -- Round Table India]  

Someone, who has never been uncomfortable for decades in the absence of certain sections of society, in the profession that claims to speak for everyone, judges everyone including those who are absent, must be having strange feelings about the all-too-recent hullabaloo about representations and reservations. I 'd not call that xenophobia.

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Notes and beats of misrepresentation in Malayalam films

by Rupesh Kumar

Indian films mass mediate stereotypical images of marginalized communities like dalits and adivasis; something that is rarely challenged by anyone. The producers are almost invariably savarna/dominant caste males. The candid display of the film makers' enormous illiteracy about the history, culture and politics of adivasi and dalits cannot be countered with the same tools, as film makers from the marginalized communities are only now beginning to get a foothold in this field. Finding ways and means to challenge popular culture's devastating impact of this endless reproduction of humiliating and ignorant portrayals is therefore an urgent task. One possibility is to critique the portrayals, as consumers of films. This can bring into public conversations the topic of mass produced representational history of marginalized Indians, which is often just plain wrong.

In the first of the series, I will set the tone for such articles by randomly sampling a few Malayalam film songs.

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Notes on Forbesganj Violence

by Ashok Yadav & Khalid Anis Ansari

The police firing and subsequent killing of five OBC Muslims in Bhajanpur village in Forbesganj of Araria district in Bihar on June 3, 2011 has been analyzed in most reports in the public sphere through the frame of 'communalism' and there has been little effort to grapple with the other dimensions that the event entails. Increasingly, it is being felt that the discourse around secularism/communalism is being employed to reinforce the restorative politics of Indian ruling elite, broadly the upper caste sections of all religious identities, and is working as an instrument to subvert the counter-hegemonic peoples' solidarity at large.

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Jotiba Phule and Tilak and the question of education for Women and non-Brahmins

--Anoop Kumar

I am posting a few extracts from a paper written by Parimala V. Rao ("Educating Women and Non-Brahmins as 'Loss of Nationality': Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the Nationalist Agenda in Maharashtra").

This was published as an ocassional paper by the Centre for Women's Development Studies, New Delhi. She is also the author of 'Foundations Of Tilak's Nationalism', published by Orient Blackswan in 2010.

I have placed the extracts point-wise for easy reading; the references given below have also been quoted from the same paper.

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Maintained by the State (VII: 133)

 

Anu Ramdas

This extract is from the book Dharmatheertha, No Freedom with Caste, The Menace of Hindu Imperialism, edited by G. Aloysius:

no freedom with caste

It is clear therefore that the motive of the priests in forming an exclusive caste was not any consideration of a religious or spiritual or racial nature but one of sheer greed for wealth, women and wine. The ridiculous extent to which they went on advocating their own unimpeachable divine greatness even so late as 100 A.D. may be seen in the Manu Smriti:-

"A brahman is born to fulfill dharma. Whatever exists in this world is the property of the brahman. On account of the excellence of his origin, he is entitled to all. The brahman eats but his own food, wears his own clothes. All mortals subsists through the benevolence of the brahman."

 " Let a brahman be ignorant or learned, still he is a great deity. To brahman, the three worlds and the gods owe their existence. Thus though brahmans employ themselves in all mean occupations they must be honored in everyway, for each of them is a great deity."

" Let the king after rising early in the morning worship brahmans who are well versed in the threefold sacred sciences and learned in policy and accept their advice." (Laws of Manu, VII 37).

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On Gujarat Riots, Tehelka and Role of Dalits and Tribals

 

Anoop Kumar

[Thanks to Taha for his comment on Gujarat riots and the role of Dalits which reminded me of this particular incident. I wanted to write about this since long but keep on postponing it as I didn't have much material except what I heard at the seminar held in Pune University]

Almost two years ago, I met one activist from Chhaara tribe (a denotifed tribe that was legally notified as 'criminals' by British and were forced to remain in confined area and could never go out without police permission). All such 'criminal' tribes, basically nomadic, were forcefully settled in one place, from Maharashtra to Gujarat to UP to Rajasthan.

 Though now denotifed but the society and the administration still treats them as criminals, even after 60 years of Independence from British rule. They hardly get any jobs, have very low penetration of education and are still seen as walking criminals and treated as such by all.

Still the police comes to these 'criminal settlements' to raid and 'catch' the culprits if there is petty crime anywhere in the city and also come to arrest youth from the community to 'parade' them as culprit for some unsolved crime and sometimes pay them for that in cash

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'Without BSP-like working culture, political power for the Dalitbahujans would be a dream! An illusion!' - Karthik Navayan

Karthik Navayan, young lawyer, human rights activist, Dalit writer and poet, shares his insights on how Dalitbahujans can work towards attaining political power in an interview with Telugu News channel TV 1. 

  

Interviewer: Karthik Navayan, who tried to raise Dalitbahujans consciousness through his poetry and writing, is now with us. We'll discuss what needs to be done to achieve political/state power for the Dalitbahujans with him. Karthik garu, you've written many articles, essays etc on this subject. What was the inspiration for your writing?

Karthik: Ours is the largest democracy in the world. The SCs, STs, BCs and the minorities together constitute 85% of the country's population while the upper castes are around 15%. When we come to our state, we have not seen a BC Chief Minister until now. When we look at the nation as a whole, we haven't seen a BC Prime Minister until now. Look at our misfortune: when Deve Gowda became the Prime Minister, he was brought down within a short time. The lack of opportunities for the SC/ST/BC leadership in the executive and administrative structure of the country... The failure to gain their trust through utilizing their energies and talents-- I think this is the cause of the continued existence of poverty, deprivation, injustice and corruption in this country.

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From Limca Books to Forbes Magazine

by Nilesh Kumar

Ideology of Bahujan Samaj Party is "Social Transformation and Economic Emancipation" of the "Bahujan Samaj" which comprises of the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and the Religious Minorities such as Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Buddhists. Reason for including all these classes is because they all were, in some way or the other, the victims of the Brahmnical system in the Country since last 1000 of years, under which they have been vanquished, trampled and forced to languish in all spheres of life. They were deprived of all those human rights which had been secured for the upper caste Hindus under the age old "Brahminical System".  

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Mayawati, statues and three types of 'political' Indians

-- Bodhi DSR ( via Anoop Kumar)

There are three types of ‘political Indians at this juncture in history - 

- the politically sophisticated, 

- the politically unsophisticated

- and the politically apolitical. 

Each of these ‘tribes’ have their own take on the statues built by Mayawati. 

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An Open Letter to Dr. Udit Raj

 

by Khalid Anis Ansari

 

This is a response to Dr. Udit Raj’s (President, Indian Justice Party) note "Rather Upper Castes are nearer to Muslim than Dalits (untouchables)". For the convenience of readers the full text of the note has been reproduced at the end of this letter.
 
[I]
 
Dear Dr. Udit Raj,
 
 
Many greetings!
 
 
 
First of all let me thank you for these interesting observations emerging from your own social experience as a political worker. But I think there is a need to go beyond a few individual cases and reflect on this as a collective social phenomenon as well. To begin with I find it slightly discomforting when a mass worker like you especially focuses on the marital transactions between Muslim and Hindu elite and fails to grasp the upper caste content of the ‘Muslims’ in this equation. Let me candidly point out that all the ‘Muslims’ you mentioned in your write-up are upper-caste ashraf Muslims, which form only 15% of the Indian Muslim population. And, the kind of transactions you talk here between upper caste Hindus and Muslims is not recent but has a history going back to medieval India. Whom did Akbar marry (Jodhabai, a Rajput)? Who were the navratnas in Akbar’s court (Birbal, a Brahmin)? Which were the spiritual books that Dara Shikoh (Aurungzeb’s brother) translated into Persian (Upanishads)? What I want to stress is that these kinds of transactions (spiritual, material and marital) between Muslim and Hindu elites is not surprising, but is and has been a persistent feature of Indian life. Let me quote from one of Masood Falahi’s interviews, a young scholar who is working on caste within Indian Muslims:

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