Becoming Minority- An Unsettling Inquiry into a ‘Settled’ Concept

 

Bhakti Deodhar

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 Publications 2014.)

At a time when its attitude towards internal and external religious minorities poses an intractable predicament for the Indian government in the gaze of the international community, and an influx of refugees cracks open the fault lines in the European Union, Becoming minority, published in 2014, seems more relevant than ever. A minority is not a natural category. Rather, it is the product of a discourse. With this central argument, the book sets out to convince us of the dynamic character of this seemingly standardised notion through a wide range of empirical case studies.

 Edited by Prof. Jyotirmay Tripathi and Sudarshan Padmanabhan, the volume is the quick successor of another book edited by them – The Democratic Predicament: Cultural Diversity in Europe and India (published earlier that year). Both books, and Becoming minority in particular foreground the question of religious, cultural, ethnic and linguistic minorities, and how they defy conventional wisdom, consequently bringing in fresh perspectives to the discussion.

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Celebrating 7th November as Students' Day

 

Rahul Pagare

rahul pagareThe 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. Today 117 years have been completed after this historic step. His school's name was Chhatrapati Pratap Singh High School, which is located in Satara.

It is indeed a good step taken by the government of Maharashtra to celebrate the legacy of this visionary nation builder who laid the foundation for our country and protected us with the walls of equality, liberty, fraternity, secularism, and justice as enshrined in the constitution of India.

To celebrate this day and to make it special for the students, we, the volunteers of Rashtranirmate Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Vichar Mahotsav Samiti decided to give a special gift to the students of our society.

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Chamcha Leadership or Conscious Leadership?

 

Rajanikanta Gochhayat

rajanikanta gochhayatRepresentation simply means acting and representing opinion/interest on behalf of the people. In the Indian context, Representation is divided into two categories: one, leadership from a reserved constituency and two, leadership from an unreserved constituency. Here, we would like to discuss the leadership emerging from the reserved constituencies by applying two models of Representation: trustee model and delegate model.

Dalit leaders seem to be a failure from the perspective of both these models. A trustee is a person who acts on behalf of others, using his/her superior knowledge, better education or greater experience, but Dalit leaders hardly use their own experience or learning. If we look at the Dalit leadership in terms of delegate model, Dalit leaders seldom represent the voice of their constituents in the decision-making process. Leaders as delegates, since they belong to reserved constituencies, are bound to have a frequent exchange of voice with their constituents and articulate their demands to be manifest in the policy. We are also ready to recognize the conscience of our leaders who should rationally use it in discussion and debate in the legislature.

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Dalit Women Speak Out- A Conference

 

Asha Kowtal

The swift changes in the political landscape and the challenges faced by women human rights defenders often pushes us Dalit women into a vortex of greater insecurity, fear and anxiety. The severe pushback by both state and non-state actors has increased the complexity within Dalit women's movement building and caste-gender research domains.

for web

Interrogating caste/gender privileges and attempting to construct independent spaces is predominantly a lonely and difficult battle for Dalit women. Often times, the complexity of the issues at hand become so overwhelming that, we wished we could seek counsel, unpack the layers of intersections, develop greater clarity and respond with strength. A gathering of Dalit women seems to be the need of the hour!

The #dalitwomenspeakout event in Pune, is a two-day conference aimed at bringing in approximately 250 Dalit women activists, professionals, practitioners, students and leaders together. The conference will make an attempt to weave the diversity of our voices towards constructing new approaches to transformative politics.

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Are Indian authorities planning to hack the next election?

 

S. Kumar

The next state assembly elections for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh (HP) are due in the coming months. The election in HP is scheduled on 9 Nov'17 and result will be declared on 18 Dec'17. The state has about 5 million registered voters.

vvapt

Further, the election in Gujarat will be held across 28,639 polling locations for 182 assembly constituencies. The state has 43.3 million registered voters as in Sep'17. The election will be scheduled on 9th and 14th Dec with results on 18 Dec'2017 to ensure that HP election results do not impact Gujrat election.

The Election Commission (EC) has announced that VVPAT machine (EVM machines with printers) will be used for both the elections for all assembly seats. Gujarat and HP will be the only states after Goa where VVPATs will be used in all the polling stations.

Many people have raised objections on EC's decision to declare HP election dates without announcing Gujarat poll dates. However, this controversy could have been easily avoided as Gujarat polls will be held prior to 18 Dec'17.

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A Dalit Panther is not a single person but a complete movement by himself

 

Praful Kamble

prafulI come from a small village named Bhilwadi, in Sangli district of Maharashtra. I had pursued my Bachelor of Arts from my village. When I was in SSC and HSC I started my own Dance Academy called Blue Star. Gradually, I came into contact with the camera and I learned to handle basic cameras and from that time onwards I have been interested in filmmaking.

My keen interest to learn filmmaking kept growing. Cities like Pune and Mumbai are well-known for such courses, I started gathering information relating to it and found that the fees for such courses were more than one lakh INR which was next to impossible for me.

After that, I found out about an institute named BARTI which also offered such courses, including filmmaking, absolutely free. After cracking the entrance exam, I got an opportunity to pursue my dream from IDEMI, Mumbai.  

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Dalit Human Rights Lawyer Faces Fabricated Charges, Threats

 

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 adequate protection against violence by dominant caste members, Amnesty International India said today.

"Attacks on human rights defenders in India are becoming an everyday phenomenon," said Karthik Navayan, Programme Manager at Amnesty International India. "It is alarming that authorities appear to be misusing the justice system to harass activists, instead of protecting their rights."

Rajat Kalsan has frequently represented Dalits in Haryana who have faced discrimination and violence by members of dominant castes, including in cases of gang-rapes, killings and house-burnings. He has been harassed and intimidated in the past for his work defending the rights of Dalit people. In 2011, he was provided police protection. The protection was withdrawn in 2016 without any apparent reassessment of the risks he faces.

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