The Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap has been continuously attacking the government over the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, which was passed by the parliament in second week of December 2019.
There were protests across the country against the CAA. Even I participated in one such protest.
In a recent post on Twitter, Anurag Kashyap wrote: “The CAA/CAB is not going anywhere. It is impossible for them to take it back because for them, that would mean defeat. This government views everything in terms of victory and defeat. Such is their ego that even if everything gets burned to ashes, Modi can be wrong. Because illiterate people are like that”1.
Anurag Kashyap’s tweet proves nothing but privilege. Mr. Kashyap does not appear to me as a person who knows his country. Will the Revolutionary Anurag Kashyap acknowledge that access to education has been a privilege of Upper Caste/Class?
25.6% of India’s population is illiterate, which means almost around 34 Crore people. Anurag Kashyap, by using the word illiterate in a negative manner, has defamed 25.6% (i.e. 34 Crore) of India’s population.
To understand the sheer ignorance of Mr. Kashyap, let us understand what literacy means.
What is literacy…?
Literacy is the ability to read, write and comprehend information in order to communicate effectively. From reading the newspaper to understanding road signs, literacy is the only tool that helps you make sense of your surroundings2.
Only reading and writing is the criteria to calculate one’s literacy. From Anurag Kashyap’s tweet we can deduce that only people who can read and write have a sound mind.
Let us assume, by literacy Anurag Kashyap meant education. What does education mean? That itself is a wide and dynamic question to answer.
My roots are from the village Nanhori which is near Bramhapuri Tehsil in Chandrapur district, Maharashtra. Near my village there lives a man who does not know how to read and write, but he sings poems which are composed by him. Probably this man will be counted as illiterate but in his poems he talks about slavery, superstition and patriarchy.
On the other hand, when I was in class 8th I visited a friend of mine who lived in a very “High class” locality of Nagpur. I was offered a seat by his grandfather, I was sitting with my friend and his grandfather. My friend’s mother was standing. When I offered her my seat. The old man interrupted and said, “She cannot sit in front of me”. These were educated people from a high class locality of Nagpur.
So whether literacy gives you social conscience is itself in question.
The oppressed communities in the villages and even in the city, are not concerned about their literacy and education. They have to undertake the routine fight for survival every day of their lives. They educate and enlighten themselves in their own ways.
Like Kuffir Da (Editor of Round table India) says: “who taught you numbers ..? the Bahujan woman who planted saplings in a row”.
The privileged always romanticize things which are easily accessible to them. Today they are doing the same with education.
Mr. Revolutionary Kashyap, the so-called progressive director of Bollywood, should come out of his comfort zone to understand his country. Because he is not ‘literate’ about his own country.
Dipankar Devesh Kamble is a student at National Law University, Nagpur, and Management member of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Education Society, Bramhapuri. He can be contacted at email@example.com