MODI-fest or MODI-jest: Making of Deaf India


Mangesh Dahiwale

mangesh dahiwaleAs predicted, the RSS/BJP Government is going for a massive public campaign to display the achievements of the Government after three years. The campaign will be run from a control room in New Delhi and the programs called "MODIfest" are arranged all over India. MODI stands for "Making Of Developed India". Modi is also the surname of the Prime Minister. We do not know what are the achievements of the Government in the last 3 years, but we know that it is a campaign for the elections. They are planning ahead. If the RSS/BJP is not careful, the bubble of Modi might just burst, like the previous NDA government that went with a campaign on "India Shining". Modi must deliver before he goes for a festival, else it will be an exercise in jest. To the credit of Government, it has been innovative in making up acronyms. For example, like UDAN (Udega Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) etc. But it faces a dearth of heroes to name the schemes after and therefore all the schemes are named after "Deen Dayal Upadhyay": an obscure brahmin figure who went to found the BJP. If the schemes do not find suitable prefixes they are prefixed with "Pradhanmantri XXXXX Scheme". Adityanath is following the trends with "Mukhyamantri XXXXX Schemes".


भारतीय सिनेमा का सुपरस्टार - जातिवाद और सामंतवाद का सहज उत्पाद


संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe)

विश्व सिनेमा में धाक जमाने वाले फ्रेंच निर्देशक गोडार्ड ने जोर देकर कहा था कि हमें सिनेमा में सबकुछ शामिल कर देना चाहिए. यह कहते हुए उनका आग्रह था कि समाज में और जिन्दगी में जो भी जैसा भी है उसे वैसे ही रखना चाहिए. तत्कालीन फ्रेंच और हालीवूड सिनेमा के लिए भी यह एक रेडिकल विचार था. गोडार्ड हालाँकि सीधे सीधे भारत के सुभाष घई, सूरज बडजात्या और चोपड़ाओं के साथ नहीं रखे जा सकते लेकिन कल्पना में ही सही इन्हें एकसाथ रखकर बहस तो की ही जा सकती है. शायद गोडार्ड के साथ हम सत्यजीत रे या श्याम बेनेगल की कल्पना आसानी से कर सकते हैं. लेकिन भारतीय सिनेमा में जिस तरह से एक गैर जिम्मेदार और चलताऊ किस्म का सुपर स्टारडम फैला हुआ है उसका निदान करते हुए हमें सत्यजीत रे या श्याम बेनेगल को तस्वीर से हटाकर देखना होगा तभी हम समझ सकेंगे कि भारत में अभिनेता की बजाय स्टार क्यों पूजे जाते हैं.

royal family

भारतीय समाज और सिनेमा की समस्या को जानने के लिए गोडार्ड को इस तरह देखना जरुरी है, मनुष्य और समाज की समस्याओं को उघाड़ने के लिए, उनके शरीर और मनोविज्ञान की सुरंगों फैले हुए अनजानी नाड़ियों के एक दुर्निवार और भयानक रूप से उलझे हुए ताने बने को दोपहर की धूप में सबके सामने ला पटकने की ये हिम्मत और साफगोई उनमे कूट कूट कर भरी थी. इसीलिये उनके सिनेमा ने विज्ञापन, साहित्य, व्यापार, कला और फेशन सहित न जाने किन किन आयामों को गहराई से प्रभावित किया. द्वितीय विश्व युद्ध से उबर रहे एक समाज में सार्त्र और मार्क्स की क्रांतिकारी प्रस्तावनाओं के नजरिये से समाज और सिनेमा के संबंधों को बार बार परिभाषित करने की उनकी तडप ने उनसे जो इनोवेशन करवाए वे अद्भुत रहे हैं. साम्यवाद और अस्तित्ववाद के दर्शन की तरफ उनका झुकाव उन्हें एक नास्तिक और व्यावहारिक जमीन देता है जिस पर खड़े होकर वे भारतीयों की तरह किसी मिथकीय कल्पना लोक को नहीं बुनते बल्कि गरीबी, दमन, शोषण और नए समाज के निर्माण की सच्चाइयों से न्याय करने वाले सिनेमा की नींव रखते हैं. इसीलिये उनका सिनेमा लोगों की जिन्दगी को इतना प्रभावित करता है.


Dalit Bahujan Missionary Efforts in North Karnataka


Rohan Arthur

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. - Matthew 19:24

Religion is for man and not man for religion – Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar

They say that an individual's identity is like an onion. That there are many layers, and each layer represents a discrete part of the whole. Firstly, is the individual an acceptable level of social granularity? Secondly, how well does the 'onion' metaphor apply in the context of India's caste society?

Growing up in a Methodist (Christian, Protestant mission started by American missionaries) family in semi-urban North Karnataka in the 90s is, for me, an interesting case study of myself. The journey from a semi-urban environment to the urban sprawl of Bangalore, provides some vital clues to how caste and class operate in society. The church would naturally be the first place to look, but careful historical erasure by the church bangs the door shut on any historical context that can help me to answer the questions above. It is only with some scratched shavings collected from history that I have been able to find a context to my own onion. Whether the onion really exists, or not, is not of our concern right now. For many of my Dalit brothers and sisters, this documentation is not available. I have been fortunate indeed to have access to information about these histories, albeit through the racializing gaze of the colonizer.

rohan vikarabad conf


Guru's 'Ethics in Ambedkar's Critique of Gandhi': An exercise in rhetoric


Mangesh Dahiwale

mangesh dahiwaleGopal Guru is an erudite scholar and a political scientist of high reputation. His command over political theories is a sign of his scholarship. However the above-mentioned essay lacks erudition and academic neutrality. His language is full of clichés and oftentimes meanders to become illegible and confusing. The essay in question is one such piece of his writings that has no set goal in sight. His intention is difficult to judge, but one of his sentences may give us a hint of his intention: "All three (Gandhi-Ambedkar-Guru) of our futures are linked up with the transformation of social relations in India". He wants to become part of history. By saying this, he (perhaps) intends to say that his essay is an exercise in social transformation.

 Guru undertakes to transform the attitude of the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar towards Gandhi. He criticizes the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar for inflicting cognitive injustice on Gandhi. He slams the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar for reducing his thoughts to mere formalism. He castigates them for their "selective reading" of Gandhi. He finds faults with Babasaheb Ambedkar's biographer for misinformation. During this overall cognitive castigation (or should we say violence) on Ambedkarites, he absolves himself by placing himself on the same pedestal as Gandhi and Ambedkar, as his quest for cognitive generosity. He plays a blame game, but argues that his essay is an exercise in reconciliation.


Bahubali: Celebrating the grandchildren of Nehru and Savarkar



~ Social and individual efficiency requires us to develop the capacity of an individual to the point of competency to choose and to make his own career. This principle is violated in the Caste System, in so far as it involves an attempt to appoint tasks to individuals in advance—selected not on the basis of trained original capacities, but on that of the social status of the parents. ~ Babasaheb Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste

bahubali poster

 I didn't catch the beginning of the conclusion (Bahubali 2), and dozed through most of the climax. The best of business presentations can't hold your attention for three hours, can they?

There are many Bahujans who have already pointed out how the film is casteist in nature, propagating values of varna hierarchy. But that's only half the story: all films made in India promote caste, the ideology of the ruling classes. This is inevitable because of the way they are made, and the interests they serve. How Bahubali was made tells us more about Indian society than what Bahubali says.


The Rise of the Bheem Army


Vinay Shende

Exclusive details on the recent caste incidents in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and the role of the Bheem Army. This report is based on a member speaking to Round Table India on the condition of anonymity.

the great chamar

History of Bheem Army

It started in a small village called Gagalhedi (name changed) in the district of Saharanpur. People from Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal would indulge in acts of violence, oppression on the Dalits- primarily Chamars there.

There is a junior college in the area, dominated by the Rajputs. The Bheem army chief, Chandrashekhar went to study there. There used to be separate seating places, separate place to drink water for the Dalits. That use to lead to skirmishes many times, as Chadrashekhar would not back off.


Why I Celebrate Bhim Jayanti


Vikas Bagde

vikas bagdeEvery year, on the occasion of Dr. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, Buddha Pournima, Dashehara and death anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar (and the anniversaries of many more Dalit heroes i.e., festivals of Dalits), my inbox is flooded with a variety of messages. Some of them are informative and the rest are grievances about celebration, intention and motive, and the way of celebration.


The informative ones are very useful for knowing facts that are not prevalent. Social media is playing a pivotal role in promulgating information about the ideology of philanthropist leaders and heroes. However, the same tool is used to infiltrate our spaces. It is their long proven and most used strategy: to tell the oppressed that whatever they are doing, they are doing it wrong; that this is one of the reasons they are discriminated against. To make the oppressed live in guilt so that his energy will be wasted in coming out of his guilt, he does not get time to think what the oppressor is doing, and he is therefore unable to anticipate the next move of the oppressor.  Some of the messages in circulation are grievances about the way of celebration, sometimes it feels logical for a short period of time but it cannot sustain when rationalized with context, after considering the history and politics, and current dynamics of the time. For that they will try to give illogical logic for a logic.



बुद्ध पूर्णिमा पर बुद्ध के दुश्मनों को पहचानिए


संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe)

बुद्ध पूर्णिमा के अवसर पर बुद्ध के सबसे पुराने और सबसे शातिर दुश्मनों को आप आसानी से पहचान सकते हैं. यह दिन बहुत ख़ास है इस दिन आँखें खोलकर चारों तरफ देखिये. बुद्ध की मूल शिक्षाओं को नष्ट करके उसमे आत्मा परमात्मा और पुनर्जन्म की बकवास भरने वाले बाबाओं को आप काम करता हुआ आसानी से देख सकेंगे. भारत में तो ऐसे त्यागियों, योगियों, रजिस्टर्ड भगवानों और स्वयं को बुद्ध का अवतार कहने वालों की कमी नहीं है. जैसे इन्होने बुद्ध को उनके जीते जी बर्बाद करना चाहा था वैसे ही ढंग से आज तक ये पाखंडी बाबा लोग बुद्ध के पीछे लगे हुए हैं.

buddha seated

 बुद्ध पूर्णिमा के दिन भारत के वेदांती बाबाओं सहित दलाई लामा जैसे स्वघोषित बुद्ध अवतारों को देखिये. ये विशुद्ध राजनेता हैं जो अपनी राजनीतिक रोटियाँ सेंकने के लिए बुद्ध की शिक्षाओं को उलटा सीधा तोड़ मरोड़कर उसमे आत्मा परमात्मा घुसेड देते हैं. भारत के एक फाइव स्टार रजिस्टर्ड भगवान् – भगवान् रजनीश ने तो दावा कर ही दिया था कि बुद्ध उनके शरीर में आकर रहे, इस दौरान उनके भक्तों ने प्रवचनों के दौरान उन्हें बुद्ध के नाम से ही संबोधित किया लेकिन ये "परीक्षण" काम नहीं किया और भगवान रजनीश ने खुद को बुद्ध से भी बड़ा बुद्ध घोषित करते हुए सब देख भालकर घोषणा की कि "बुद्ध मेरे शरीर में भी आकर एक ही करवट सोना चाहते हैं, आते ही अपना भिक्षा पात्र मांग रहे हैं, दिन में एक ही बार नहाने की जिद करते हैं" ओशो ने आगे कहा कि बुद्ध की इन सब बातों के कारण मेरे सर में दर्द हो गया और मैंने बुद्ध को कहा कि आप अब मेरे शरीर से निकल जाइए.


Romancing the Caste Violence


Dr. N. Sukumar

Mr. Venkaiah Naidu in the Indian Express dated 1st May 2017 (Romancing the Maoists) took umbrage at the human rights activists maintaining silence over the killing of security forces in Chhatisgarh. Violence in any form needs to be condemned. But why is the Honourable Minister so selective in condeming violence? It is equally important to comprehend the multiple forms of violence that assail our society in contemporary times.

development genocide

In the Prime Minister's Mann ki Baat broadcasts, there is a studied silence on the Dadri lynching, Una attack, Rohith's institutional murder and the list is long. Should I believe that for the Honourable Prime Minister, there exist two Indias, one is brahmanical and the other comprises the mlechhas? In the article, the minister refers to the Maoists misguiding the poor villagers. There is an element of mockery in the comment as if the villagers lack agency to decide their fate and are easily swayed by any ideology. The villages are not oases of peace and tranquility but also reflect the contradictions over caste, class and gender. One also needs to decode the nomenclature of a region/space being declared a disturbed area. When Dalits are boycotted in a village, does the state declare it as a distubed area? How does one read the 'velivada' which provided refuge to Rohith and his friends when they were kicked out by Appa Rao, who represents caste hegemony in Hyderabad University? It's not that Bastar, Kashmir or the North East are 'disturbed'. Rather it's the brahmanical mind which is unable to comprehend any discourse on rights. Unfortunately, it's not only the Maoist ideology that fosters violence, the Hindutva canonical texts ranging from the Manusmriti and Gita, to the ideologues- Savarkar, Golwalkar to name a few, believe in ethnic cleansing. Inspired by their ideology, Godse pulled the trigger on Mahatma Gandhi.


Demonetization and Adivasis


Rajunayak Vislavath

raju nayakLet me begin with a story about demonetisation that affected a tribal woman Sukli in a village called Bhatu Pally, a small adivasi hamlet in Warangal District, Telangana. It is situated nearly 100 kilometers away from the old district headquarters and nearly 25 kilometres away from the newly formed district called Jaya Shankar Zilla (Bhupal Pally). She is an agricultural labourer who goes to work early in the morning. Her work is mostly in the paddy fields and on the vegetable farm. Sometimes, she goes to the forest to collect Mova fruit, firewood, and betel leaves. She also takes care of her house and the education of her children. People in the house depend on her. Unfortunately, on November 27th, 2016, when she was in the field, she was bitten, she could not make out whether it was a snake or an insect. She took it very casually and continued her work but after some time she started feeling drowsy.

Then she realised that it was not an insect but a snake. She tried to find out what it could be and went near that place with a stick in her hand. When she removed the grass, she found a different type of snake hiding under the grass. She got scared and was unable to talk. There was nobody with her. She thought something was going to happen to her. She started walking towards her home. With great difficulty, she reached home. She was not able to talk properly. She waved her hands and tried to call her husband who was tilling the land near her house. With great difficulty, she explained to him what had happened to her. He looked at her and saw that her body was swelling. He got scared and tried to apply turmeric on the snakebite marks. Then he ran to inform the elders of the community. Some elders came running to her and told her husband that a snake had bitten her. Experienced in forest life, the adivasi villagers easily found the name of the snake. They said it was a Mannuthenmanjariguna snake. They tried to apply some forest medicine to no avail. She felt terrible and her body swelled more and more. Using forest medicine, by this time, it should have been cured. Instead, her condition worsened. Somebody suggested that she should be taken to the hospital.


मैं परस्पर सम्मान या जन सम्मान की राजनीति के पक्ष में हूँ: अशोक भारती


संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe)

अशोक भारती, संक्षिप्त परिचय: अशोक भारती नेशनल कन्फेडरेशन ऑफ़ दलित एंड आदिवासी राइट्स (NACDOR) के संस्थापक हैं और इस संस्था के माध्यम से भारत के 23 राज्यों में दलित आदिवासी अधिकार की लड़ाई लड़ते रहे हैं. श्री भारती अशोका फेलो भी हैं. एक आइईएस अधिकारी रह चुके श्री भारती ने लंबे समय तक जमीनी काम करते हुए स्वयं सेवी संस्थाओं का एक देशव्यापी गठजोड़ निर्मित किया है. देश भर में दलित आदिवासी आंदोलनों से ये जुड़े रहे हैं और दलित आदिवासी अधिकार और विकास के मुद्दों पर राईट बेस्ड अप्रोच के साथ काम करते आये हैं. श्री भारती वर्तमान में दलित बहुजन राजनीति के लिए एक नया विकल्प बनाने की दिशा में काम कर रहे हैं और हाल ही में इन्होने जन सम्मान पार्टी की स्थापना की है. अभी उत्तरप्रदेश के चुनाव परिणामों के आईने में दलित राजनीति के भविष्य के प्रश्न पर संजय जोठे ने श्री भारती से चर्चा की. इस चर्चा के मुख्य बिंदु यहाँ प्रस्तुत हैं.


 संजय जोठे: जय भीम सर, इधर उत्तर प्रदेश में दलित राजनीति की हार पर आपने अभी तक विस्तार से बात नहीं रखी, आपकी नजर में इस हार का क्या कारण है?

अशोक भारती: देखिये राजनीतिक हार या जीत के गहरे मायने होते हैं और कम से कम आज की दलित राजनीति की हार और उत्तर प्रदेश में बसपा के सफाए के बहुत गहरे मायने हैं. ये केवल एक चुनावी हार नहीं है बल्कि ये एक विचारधारा की और एक रणनीति की हार है. बाबा साहेब अंबेडकर के नाम पर खुद अम्बेडकरी मूल्यों के खिलाफ एक तरह की राजनीति बनाई गयी है, वो कुछ समय के लिए तो चल गयी लेकिन उसका फेल होना तय था. वही हुआ है.


The revolution is a tea party for the Indian left



Sitaram Yechury's concerns have been consistently strange: do the communists in India really stand for the working classes? Who do they stand for, which class do they represent exactly?

On Aadhaar, Yechury said recently: "Goalposts constantly shifted on making Aadhaar mandatory. From passing it as a money bill to violating SC's orders, this is a dangerous game."

Whose liberty is he talking about? That has to be understood clearly to understand Yechury and other communists. It reminds you more of the libertarian's idea of liberty.

Nidhin connecting thread

It also reminds you of a similar question that Babasaheb had asked long ago (in 'States and Minorities'), which challenged the libertarian understanding of liberty:

Constitutional Lawyers assume that the enactment of Fundamental Rights is enough to safeguard their liberty and that nothing more is called for. They argue that where the State refrains from intervention in private affairs—economic and social—the residue is liberty. What is necessary is to make the residue as large as possible and State intervention as small as possible. It is true that where the State refrains from intervention what remains is liberty. But this does not dispose of the matter. One more question remains to be answered. To whom and for whom is this liberty? Obviously this liberty is liberty to the landlords to increase rents, for capitalists to increase hours of work and reduce rate of wages. This must be so. It cannot be otherwise. [italics mine]


Other Related Articles

Mahatma Phule's Thoughts on Caste-Patriarchy: A Critical Evaluation
Thursday, 16 November 2017
  Sachin Garud It is a well-known fact that at the time of India's national movement, there was another movement known as the movement of social engineering or social revolution, led by Mahatma... Read More...
Becoming Minority- An Unsettling Inquiry into a ‘Settled’ Concept
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
  Bhakti Deodhar (Book review of Becoming minority: How Discourses and Policies Produce minorities in Europe and India, edited by Jyotirmay Tripathi and Sudarshan Padmanabhan, New Delhi, Sage... Read More...
Celebrating 7th November as Students' Day
Friday, 10 November 2017
  Rahul Pagare The government of Maharashtra declared 7th of November to be celebrated as Students' Day on the occasion of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's first day of school entry, back in 1900 AD.... Read More...
Problematic Dalit Middle Class
Friday, 03 November 2017
  Dr. Y. Srinivasa Rao Dalits in India are mostly poor. However, there is a sizable middle class and very few rich. Poor and rich categories are not the point of discussion here, and neither is... Read More...
Dalit Human Rights Lawyer Faces Fabricated Charges, Threats
Tuesday, 24 October 2017
  Amnesty International India 18 October 2017 Authorities in Haryana must drop fabricated charges against Rajat Kalsan, a Dalit lawyer and human rights defender, and ensure that he receives... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Independence for whom?
Saturday, 26 August 2017
  Parth Shrimali On 14th August, a day before the 71st Independence Day, a Dalit man was assaulted in Sojitra village in Anand district of Gujarat for skinning a dead cow. Earlier this year, in... Read More...
What's caste? What's reservation?
Thursday, 07 September 2017
  Vinay Shende Every few days, there are news and reports that come out telling us that SC/ST/OBC students committed suicide or dropped-out from College/ University due to Caste discrimination.... Read More...
Caste in the UK - British Government Seeks Answers from Indian Community
Monday, 12 June 2017
  Round Table India  If Hindus migrate to other regions on earth, Indian caste would become a world problem.~ Babasaheb Dr. BR Ambedkar, Castes in India (1916) A new initiative by activists... Read More...
From Brahmanisation to Privatisation: The Case of Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Saturday, 12 August 2017
  Arun Mahanand From Brahmanisation to Privatisation of Education, at the Cost of Dalit-Bahujan Students: Case of Tata Institute of Social Sciences Until the last semester, the Tata Institute of... Read More...
When erasure from memory is also a human rights violation
Wednesday, 02 August 2017
  Dr. Sylvia Karpagam The human rights organisation, Amnesty International has brought out two reports, one in 2016 and another in 2017, highlighting details of prisoners facing death penalties... Read More...