An open letter to Hon’ble Minister Mr. Ramdas Athawale

 

Raju Chalwadi

raju chalwadi 1This letter has been written in keeping with the philosophy that critical self-evaluation and accountability of the movement and leaders itself is necessary and a pre-condition for it to succeed.

 Dalit politics has reached a critical stage; the decline of BSP and co-optation of prominent Dalit leaders by the current establishment has put the entire project of Social Justice in limbo.

I hope the readers while reading this letter would consider me as someone who is concerned with the current stage of Ambedkarite politics and not as someone who is anti-reservationist or anti-Dalit leaders.

An open letter to Hon'ble Minister Mr. Ramdas Athawale

Respected Sir,

I am writing this letter to express my concern with regards to the situation of Dalits in "New India." This letter is specifically written to you because as you have been the only person in the current right wing establishment who has come from an 'Ambedkarite' tradition. A tradition which strongly resists discrimination in any forms. You not only represent a section of radical and educated Ambedkarite masses but also the Republican Party of India (a faction) which was envisaged by Dr. BR Ambedkar. How important the dream was for him to establish the RPI can be ascertained from the fact that despite being ill in his final stages of life he was busy in arranging meetings with leaders to finalize the structure of RPI. He wrote a letter to Ram Manohar Lohia on 24th Nov 1956 for the meet but Lohia responded to him by asking Ambedkar to focus on his health instead. But, he was not concerned about his health; he wrote two more letters on the night of 5th December 1956 just a few hours before his death; one to SM Joshi and another to Acharya Atre regarding the RPI. Such was his eagerness to establish the party which he thought would fight for the masses.

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Ganesh, Gandhi, Goumutra: The many scams of Brahminism

 

Obed Manwatkar

obed manwatkar"Hinduism  is not a religion, it's a disease." ~ Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

On 9th November 2014, Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai, a senior Journalist of the so-called 'mainstream electronic media' tweeted to the world that Mr. Manohar Parrikar and Mr. Suresh Prabhu were elected as full cabinet ministers. He proclaimed his 'Saraswat Pride' in that tweet.

Now what is this Saraswat all about? It is a caste-group of Brahmins.

Citing from Wikipedia,"The Saraswat Brahmins believe themselves to be named after the mythical Saraswati river, which was thought to arise in the Himalayas and flow through the present Punjab and Rajasthan region to the western sea near Dwaraka, in Gujarat. Saraswat Brahmins are mentioned in the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhavishya Purana. The Saraswati river of Rigvedic and Vedic texts has been historically identified with parts of watercourses near Lake Pushkar in Rajasthan, Sidhpur in Northern Gujarat and Somnath in Saurashtra, Gujarat".[1]

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Save democracy from VVPAT

 

S. Kumar

The potential manipulation of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was demonstrated by Mr Hari Prasad in 2010. He published research papers with US Scientist and demonstrated on a TV show that EVMs can be hacked. Mr. Hari Prasad was jailed for his incredible work.

vvapt

Senior political leaders like Mr. Waman Meshram and others filed multiple petitions in the Supreme Court and campaigned against EVM for a long time. In 2013, the Supreme Court agreed that EVM can be hacked and ordered that the VVPAT method to be implemented by 2019.

However, even though the Supreme Court never said that EVMs can continue, the Election Commission continued the election process with EVM. In recent UP elections, charismatic leader Mayawati blamed the results on EVM manipulation. Many Maharashtra politicians could not get even a single vote (not even their own vote) in the local elections completed using EVM receently. Further, one instance of live demonstration of EVM machine with printer was captured on camera in Madhya Pradesh, showing votes were polled in favor of BJP even when votes were cast for another party. The polling officer even threatened the people present there with filing police cases if they they leaked the information.

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Toilet: Ek Prem Katha - Women's Liberation through the Manusmriti?

 

Obed Manwatkar

obed manwatkarToilet: Ek Prem Katha is a movie produced by Reliance Entertainment owned by Mr. Ambani, one of the main corporate sponsors of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The theme of the movie is fine, since toilets are everyone's need, but the problem occurs when it gives illogical solutions.

In this film, Akshay Kumar plays the character Keshav, a modern Brahmin man who knows the Manusmriti (the law book of Hinduism/Brahminism) by heart. Keshav's father is also a staunch Brahminical mind, who believes that his son's marriage to a black buffalo would help improve his fortunes.

Keshav meets Jaya Joshi (Bhumi Pednekar), a Brahmin woman who belongs to a family that believes in Gandhism and the Bhagwad Gita, and falls in love with her. He eventually convinces her to marry him, but according to Keshav's father, Keshav's horoscope implies that he should only marry a girl who has two thumbs on one of her hands. Since Jaya does not fulfill this requirement, Keshav gets an artificial thumb made and gives it to Jaya, who wears it as a ring on her thumb. Keshav's unsuspecting father agrees to their marriage.

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The Importance Of Having An Ambedkarite Family

 

Tejaswini Tabhane

tejaswini tabhaneLast month I read an article "Some of us will have to fight all our lives: Anoop Kumar"1 on Round Table India where Anoop Sir talked about how students from marginalized sections of our society are asked many uncomfortable questions about their identity in higher educational institutions and how growing up in an Ambedkarite family can help them to tackle this identity crisis. Coming from an Ambedkarite family of Nagpur, Maharashtra and studying at this prestigious Delhi University, this topic is something I can relate to and this article is a small attempt to share my personal experiences and thoughts on it.

Some of you would ask why I am writing now about an article which was published almost a month ago. Today, something happened with me that evoked many thoughts in my mind and the only words reverberating in my ears was that of Anoop Sir's from that article. I attended a seminar on "Social Exclusion and Discrimination in India" organized by my college. When you discuss social exclusion the topic of Affirmative Actions or Reservation comes in. And you always have a heated debate on it. Here also, the debate was no different from any other space with lots of arguments being made against reservation by the audience which is no surprise. I was listening to all of them silently. I am otherwise a very introverted and shy student who will not speak even in my own classroom. And the name of reservation is enough to make us feel more uncomfortable.

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India and its contradictions

 

Raju Chalwadi

raju chalwadi 1This August 15th marked the completion of 70 years of Independence. The preamble of the constitution way back in 1950 defined India as a place where Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity will prevail and more specifically a place where oppressed sections will live a life with dignity. But, looking at the current condition any learned person can say that we have failed terribly in attaining the goal of just society. Why did we not become a land of equality as envisaged by our founding fathers?

The answer is clear: The governing class who historically constitutes the 'morally superior' group did not consider "others" as worthy of living a dignified life. The basic principle on which the social relationships of people of India are based is "Caste." Repulsion is the principle behind caste relations. Hence, by its very nature, i.e., antagonistic relationship defines one's thoughts and actions against 'others.' With this relation in mind, we can say that the progress of one social group morally hurts the others. Hence, providing equal opportunity to all is not in our psychology. And it is this 'psychology of getting hurt' that we have not yet been successful in creating a just society.

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Forging the New Indian 'Genius': the RSS roadmap

 

N. Sukumar and Shailaja Menon

I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity ~  B.R. Ambedkar

The RSS-BJP combine has fine tuned its political strategy and chameleon like forge their words to suit different occasions. Apparently the conductor of the grand orchestra is located in Nagpur. In his public utterances, PM Modi sticks to the goal of development, bringing in mothers and sisters along with soldiers as extremely valuable for nation building. He never invokes the guiding spirits of the RSS in his public addresses. In his 71st Independence Day speech, he appealed to the values derived from sudharshan chakradhari Mohan to charkhadhari Mohan. The 'nation' anyways is aware about the other 'Mohan' who is the soul force behind the 'cultural awakening' of Hindu India.

janeu terrorist

The alter ego of the prime minister, Amit Shah never minces his words about the ultimate agenda of his party. "It is only in India that mutts and religious institutions work along with the government and even more than the government for the welfare of society" (The Indian Express, Delhi, Monday Aug 14 2017, p-7) If religious institutions are better than the state why do we need the state at all? He dismissed very smoothly the entire ethos of constitutional morality, the democratic and secular country for which thousands braved the gallows and prisons in their fight against colonial rule. The RSS and its cronies were never part of this struggle and hence will not understand the price that ordinary Indians paid for achieving freedom, equality and justice. Their only icon- V.D. Savarkar cravenly begged the British to release him from Cellular Jail.

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Muslim and Pasmanda education: Affirmative Action issues

 

Naaz Khair

naazMuslim population (172 million) is the second largest in the Country, followed by Christian (27 million) and Sikh (20 million) populations (see Table 1).

Muslim literacy rates and levels of education from the latest census (Census 2011) have been analyzed to present the status of Muslim education in this article.

While Jains have the highest literacy rate (94.9%) with the least gender gap (difference between its male and female literacy rates is 3.9%), Muslims have the lowest literacy rate (68.5%) with the gender gap in its literacy rate almost three times (12.7 %) that of the Jains. Among major religions, only Muslim literacy rate is below the national average (73.3%). (see Table 2)

Muslim literacy rate when disaggregated by states and union territories presents a picture of wide inter-state/UT variations (see the map below). Kerala has the highest Muslim literacy rate (93%) and Haryana the lowest (53%). There is, thus, a huge difference (of 40 points) between the top and the bottom state. The map marks states and union territories that have Muslim literacy rate greater than the corresponding state/union territory average.

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Bahujans and Brahmins: Why their realities shall always collide, not converge

 

Kuffir

My grandfather,
The starvation death
Which occurred during the drought when men were sold;
My father,
The migrant life
Which left home in search of work to pay off debt;
I, in ragged shirt and shorts,
The salute to the flag hoisted in school.*

right to education

 This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. It's been over 25 years since the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union. Babasaheb was proved right: Can you have economic reform without first bringing about a reform of the social order? (Annihilation of Caste)

And the Indian state turned 70 yesterday. Babasaheb had warned political reform would be meaningless without social and economic reform. And he has been proven right again. Even political democracy has not been translated into a substantive reality; Mayawati's angry exit from parliament is the starkest pointer in recent times. In fact, since the seventies, political freedom has become an even thinner proposition.

So what do the Bahujans have now? Neither real political freedom nor any social and economic independence.

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"Don’t guide us, we know what to speak": The Dalit women of Kabirnagar

 

Pradnya Jadhav

pradnya 2015I had been waiting for a long time to meet Jamanabai and her daughter Sangita, and today I was going to meet them. Almost everyone who I have met in the past few days regarding my research has suggested me to meet Jamanabai and Sangita. Finally, I managed to meet them today. They live in the nearby Osmanpura area. When I was a child I used to go there along with my mother whenever she had to make visits to inspect the municipality corporation’s vocational training centers. I loved spending my entire day there, watching them stitch children’s dresses and make soft-toys. We had several relatives in Osmanpura and getting pampered by them was something I adored the most. Today, after a long time I visited there again, the locality has changed a lot.

The several hidden alleys and narrow lanes of Osmanpura are known as Kabirnagar, Phulenagar, Gadgenagar, Milind Nagar and Nagsenagar. Osmanpura is one among the many other slums in the city. Situated along the railway tracks, it covers most of the Dalit and partly Muslim population. The families settled here came a few hundred years ago leaving their villages and throwing away the slavery imposed upon them. The context in which it evolved as a shared living space for the Dalits is no different than the stories of other slums in the city. The entire area is divided into five different colonies, named after Phule, Nagsen, Milind, Kabir and Gadge Baba by its residents.

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Communalism and the Pasmanda question

 

Lenin Maududi

Lenin MaududiIt's time for us to understand that politics is at the centre of every society. It follows then that if politics is of a poor quality, it is futile to expect any improvement in social status. Secular warriors in India claim that they are fighting against fascism, so they want every person who is against Sanghi-fascism, to be with them. In doing so, they also join hands with Muslim communal organizations. It sounds very good to hear that to fight a big danger/evil, the smaller danger/evil should be overlooked. It is also argued that if we have to choose between fascism and communalism, then we will choose communalism. Such arguments are nothing but a sign of mental slavery. They do not understand that things that might look good are not necessarily right. Between "Good" and "Right", we should always choose "Right". In the same way, some foolish intellectuals gave the opportunity to the politically untouchable RSS during the Emergency to become their identity on the political platform of India. At that time, it seemed great that all the ideologies came under one umbrella, and Indira Gandhi got defeated. Bravo!

The Muslims, considered as Gandhiji's holy cow, left the Congress for the first time and voted against Indira Gandhi and went to the extent of voting for RSS folks. The result was that Indira Gandhi was completely defeated. But the question is: 'Who won finally'? We need to understand that when any communal/fascist forces form the basis of popularity and easily make their way into democracy, they eventually want to end this democracy.

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Sir Syed Ahmad Khan: Conservative Accent of a Liberal Cause

 

 Safdar Imam Quadri

safdar imam quadriSir Syed Ahmad Khan was perhaps the tallest among the people who propelled Indian renaissance in the nineteenth century. Like Gandhi, not only did he provide intellectual leadership but also gave his ideas a concrete shape through his actions. He was indeed a very fortunate man who could witness the realization of his dreams and ideas in his lifetime itself. Besides being a thinker, Sir Syed was also a great organizer – a rare combination of an honest intellectual and a strategist par excellence.

However, while formulating the aims, nature and reach of his educational plans, some contractions inherent in his thinking appeared on the surface. Here, we shall try to discuss those confusions, which are in fact contradictions of an ideological nature, as they open many a window upon the world-view of Sir Syed, greatly conditioned by his own background and traditions.

Sir Syed was very much aware of the wider connotations of education, as his core educational philosophy, encapsulated in the title of one of his famous essays, proclaims that a man acquires all the goodness through education (Insaan mein tamam khubiyan taleem se paida hoti hin). But on account of social and political expedience, he seemed to content himself with equating it with a narrow perspective of 'Naukari' alone which showed in no uncertain terms that he could not transcend the colonial mindset. While evaluating his educational conceptions, Rajmohan Gandhi argues that the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College was not as reformist or modern as his journal The Reformer claims it to be, notwithstanding the fact that the college was a vehicle for his ideas -- he wanted it simply as a place where Musalmans may acquire English education without prejudice against their religion.

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