Vinay: Jai Bhim friends. Welcome to Ambedkar Age*. In this episode, we shall discuss the issue of film-making. In recent times, we have seen a number of people making films on the issue of Caste, from a Dalit Bahujan perspective – be it Nagraj Manjule or Pa. Ranjith. In continuation of this phenomena, we have two smart young filmmakers today who have made documentaries on Caste. We have Pratik Parmar who made Project Heartland and Somnath Waghmare, the filmmaker of Bhima Koregaon.
Jai Bhim Friends. So tell us about yourselves and your background.
Somnath: Jai Bhim. My name is Somnath Waghmare. I belong to a village called Malewadi on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border. My family stays there. They migrated 30 years ago because of unemployment. My parents are farmers and I have a brother and sister, both of whom are married. I completed my Graduation in Sociology with First Class at Islampur, a town in the District of Sangli in Maharashtra. After that, I completed my Masters in Media studies from Pune University. That was four years ago. During my Masters, I got introduced to filmmaking. I worked for some time at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, for their Community Radio. After FTI, my interest towards filmmaking began to increase. I made a documentary, ‘I am not a Witch’, which was about a landless woman. After that, I made Bhima Koregaon. It has been screened at many places like IIT Bombay, FTII, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), etc.
Currently, I am studying in TISS, pursuing my integrated MPhil-PhD.
Pratik: My name is Pratik Parmar. I am from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. My family lives in Javaraj, which is 40 kilometers from Ahmedabad. My parents are Government Servants. From an Education perspective, I am a Mechanical Engineering dropout. I am working in the Gujarati film Industry and Bollywood for the past 3 years as an Assistant Director. Since two years, I have become more involved in making documentaries on caste issues. I am completing Project Heartland currently and previously made ‘No More Now’, which was a Documentary that spoke about violence against Dalit women.
Vinay: Filmmaking is one of those fields in which we don’t have much of a presence. We don’t see our people too often. Even if they exist, it is for background work and not as directors or producers. What then attracted you to filmmaking?
Somnath: Actually, our society is a caste-based society. A big section of the society is denied many things. Our country has a history of discrimination and untouchability. There is no other community in the world that has had to face such inhuman treatment and we come from that community. But Brahminism works in every aspect of your life. Media and Cinema are both Brahminical institutions in this country. Indian Cinema has completed 100 years and yet it took so long to have films like Sairat and Fandry, or what Ranjith is doing in the South. It has taken a lot of time to bring such perspectives.
While I was growing up, I saw that cinema and television were upper caste and Brahminical. Even Print media and electronic media. English media is even more Brahminical. There is no representation at all. So that question that was always there in my mind when I was studying. My growing up has been through a social movement, and I have been associated with the anti-caste movement since my graduation. I have lived for 21 years in a village. The kind of life I live or the kind of society I see is based on my experiences with caste. These things are not seen in Cinema. Indian Cinema is an elite space which doesn’t have any representation or reality of Bahujan society, which makes up almost 85 percent of the population. I thought that we shall tell our stories. There are some people who make movies on Dalit issues, but they are not Dalits. They view Dalits as a ‘subject’. My interest was that we should come forward and we should tell our own stories.
Pratik: When I was in 12th standard, I couldn’t clear my Science examination twice. Those were my formative years. During that time, I started watching Cinema; started reading Literature. My family is not an Ambedkarite family. So, for me, my understanding of the caste system became difficult to articulate, and I was looking for a medium through which I could articulate. If there was something that was making me uncomfortable that I wanted to share about, that was the caste system. As Somnath said, India had been created on the basis of caste system. Due to this, my interest towards cinema began.
If you study Indian Cinema’s 100-year history, it is dominated by upper castes. It is not that Dalits have had no representation. Dalit characters are there – they are based on the narratives of upper caste filmmakers. I feel that my life, your life, Somnath’s life, Dalit-Bahujan’s life, should be seen through our eyes and not others’ eyes. We need to tell our stories. Why should they appropriate our life? Keeping that context in mind, I had affection towards cinema, and that makes me tell stories from a Caste perspective.
Vinay: Who were your icons while growing up?
Somnath: I have been inspired by Iranian Cinema and African Cinema. Because I feel they talk about their people. I have never been attracted to Indian filmmakers. The heroes, heroines being depicted there – I always wonder, ‘who are these’? These are like Aliens. When I saw colleges shown in TV and cinema and when I attended my college in my town, they were completely different. A 40-year-old hero comes driving a car worth 20 lacs, wearing shining clothes – there was nothing like this. Our cinema has no link to reality. I always feel that social movements give you realization and my realization happened during graduation as I was into the anti-caste movement. My M.Phil research currently is about caste and its portrayal in Marathi cinema.
Since we are not there, they try to tell our stories. What exactly is Cinema? They consider Dalit-Bahujans as ‘subjects’ and use accordingly. When Fandry was released in 2014, it attracted me a lot. I got emotionally connected. I realized that it is a medium through which we can tell the entire world our stories. Our stories are truly global in nature. Bollywood or Tollywood or whatever other cinema institutions exist today, their stories are not global. If they were, then how many people from India won the Oscars? So, we know their value. Our stories need to be told by us and this attracted me the most. I will give most credit to Nagraj Manjule and Ranjith. It’s not that we don’t have Dalit Bahujans in the industry. But they hide their identity and try to make cinema from a Brahminical perspective, or they have accepted their slavery. These two, on the other hand, gave a voice. Because of them, it felt like we could also do it.
Pratik: When I was 17-18 years old, I started watching cinema. At the time of the Cannes film festival, I would make a list of all the films that were getting awards, and watch them 2-3 times. While watching those films, I realized that I could better relate to many of them, Spike Lee’s films for example (he is an Afro-American filmmaker). We are not able to see such things in Bollywood cinema. In my formative years of watching cinema, I could never relate to the characters in Indian cinema. I am unable to see my life reflected even in the current wave of Gujarati films. Earlier, Gujarati cinema was rural-based. Now, the new wave is very urban in setup. Even in the urban set-up, the characters are Brahmins, Savarnas, Patels, etc. All these characters have their own lifestyles, their own food culture. For them, it’s their new-wave. But as a Dalit, it is a Katti-Khichdi narrative. I cannot relate to these. So, as I watched movies, I would check who got the Oscar that year, or who got the Palm d’Or at the Cannes film festival. In that way, I was able to explore many European filmmakers. I got to know some Iranian filmmakers as well. Even Spike Lee. Now, look at Spike Lee. Before he started making films, one should see how White American Male directors would approach Black characters. It would be either for the role of a criminal or for humour. Spike Lee changed the narrative altogether. He presented Afro-American characters in lead roles. He started to make an assertive narrative. He later made a Biopic on Malcolm X as well.
If you see European films, they talk about various movements such as the Italian neo-realist movement. Godard also made different films. They all have been my icons. Sure, European cinema does have a White Male perspective as well. But what I take from them is a different counter-narrative than what is happening in their mainstream. Like how Godard in Bande a Part, criticized entire Hollywood very fearlessly. My inspiration for being fearless in movies comes from there.
Vinay: Any Asian filmmakers?
Pratik: Quite a few. Ozu. Akira Kurosawa.
Vinay: Somnath, any Asian films for you?
Somnath: I usually watch less of Asian movies. But Iranian cinema fascinates me. They convey a lot, being closer to the ground.
Pratik: Abbas Kiarostami. Iranian cinema is very reality-based, grounded cinema. The authenticity that is shown in their movies is yet to come to Indian cinema.
Somnath: We need to see who is making cinema. Cinema should be a reflection of the class and community that you come from. This whole industry – media and cinema, are not diverse. Until it becomes Democratic, we will not get real stories. Cinema is our experience of Life. If a Karan Johar’s experience is of an elite life, he will show that only. Why would he tell a story like how Nagraj does? Our experiences are not like that, hence Indian cinema is like that.
Vinay: How did you get the motivation to talk on a topic as sensitive as caste, in your movies?
Somnath: Actually, I had written in Round Table India when I was making the film, about why I was making Bhima Koregaon. I was working in FTII. I have a keen interest in activism. The way I like cinema, I also like politics. I feel we should work with people and not just screen movies in festivals and live an elite Life. I am not too attracted to that kind of life. When Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Bajirao Mastani released, there was so much glorification of the Peshwas. The reality of Peshwas was much different. Caste discrimination was the highest in the period of the Peshwas. At that time, there was also a discussion going on – that ‘The Mahars (untouchables and now mostly Neo Buddhists) fought against the Peshwas and sided with the Britishers. Aren’t they traitors?’ I thought, who sets such a discourse? It’s Cinema. Cinema brings a lot of stories to us. Literature and cinema have a strong influence on people. So I thought I should do Cinema. When I was watching Jai Bhim Comrade made by Anand Patwardhan, I realized that the community that I belong to was not like what was being shown. It happened because Anand Patwardhan is not from that community. On the other hand, Eleanor Zeliot, who had done a lot of work on Maharashtra Dalit movement had written nicely about the Neo-Buddhist movement.
If you see Sairat, the hero is a Dalit. He has been presented differently because of the filmmaker’s experience. These people who are non-Dalits, OBCs, Adivasis; they know the market and make films on us. They have a legacy. So, my aim was that we should come forward and share our stories. Bhima Koregaon is not a story that can be found in any of the texts and not part of any academics. Why isn’t it there? Because ‘those’ people don’t want it there. But I will not criticize them. I will not abuse them that you have made cinema on us in this way. Since I am not there, my representation is not there. I will come and talk about my stuff. Because I know my work is global.
Pratik: I have been working for the past 3 years in the Gujarati Film Industry. A year ago, I saw that a very casteist slur was used in the script. So I asked the Director, who was also the writer, “why are you using these kinds of words”. He said, “I am using this character for humour.” So for him, that Dalit character was a commodity. That made me feel very bad personally, and I left that film. Then I realized, that if we want to stop Dalit characters from being used as a commodity, we need to make our own movies. So, from there, I started.
You asked where the motivation comes from. It’s not like Dalit community people are not there, be it Bollywood or Regional cinema. But they have this fear that if they come out openly as Dalit, their career will be in danger. So, they don’t come out openly. We need to assert our identity and come out. We need to write characters from our perspective. If we don’t do it, Brahmin-Savarnas will come and make movies on our communities and appropriate it.
In Indian cinema history, if you look at Shyam Benegal, or see the entire alternative movement that ran in the 1970s including Govind Nihalani, they had begun portraying Dalit characters as victims. For example, in Shyam Benegal’s film Manthan, an upper caste character comes from outside and rescues the Dalits. For them, they need an upper caste agency to rescue Dalits. The ‘Brahmin Savior Complex’ resides in them and it will continue. We need to break all this. We need to create our own narrative and create a counter-narrative. That is a big motivation – that an anti-caste discourse has to be kept running. Even if we fall short of resources, we must still continue. We can go back to our community if needed. The community will always stand with us; it has stood with us in the past too.
Vinay: Let us move to the work you have done. You have made Bhima Koregaon and you, Project Heartland. What were the challenges you faced while making the films? Everything was quite new to you, since you don’t have a Godfather, and our support system is also not quite strong. What did you learn out of facing those challenges
Pratik: When I was making No More Now (about 2.5 years ago), both my cinematographers were Brahmins. When we would go to shoot, if we are shooting, for example, on the Valmiki community, they (co-Cinematographers) become very happy seeing the poverty. They keep saying that we will get a good shot from this angle, etc. They look at things like that. I faced a lot of difficulty while working with them and that led to a lot of differences.
Another example is that when we went to the Valmiki community to shoot in their locality, they(Brahmins) said, “let’s shoot now itself and tell them to play their Dhols”. I said, “We just can’t shoot right away. They need to do prayers on their Dhol before anything. They can’t be standing before the camera only for you. For you, it might just be a good shot.” So, they look at Dalit characters as a subject. And when such a collaboration happens, it creates difficulties. Since we come from Dalit communities, we can understand that pain.
In Gujarat, Dalits are a minority. When you go to a village with the camera, you are with people, you have your team members, but normally, Dalit settlements are outside the village and the population will be a minority. The oppressor will also be from the same village. In all our shooting experiences, while leaving the village after shooting, everyone would ask, “why have you come”? In fact, we were attacked in one of the villages – our camera was broken, the memory card was broken, and our laptop screen as well.
Vinay: Even after making the film, you face challenges?
Pratik: When we are shooting a film, we need to think about what might happen to the Dalits whom we shot. We will go back to our homes, but what will the effect be on these people? Such questions remain. After completing the film, I haven’t been personally attacked, nor have the Dalits (who have been shot) faced atrocities.
However, there is a late response from the industry. They see that this guy is a Dalit filmmaker. When you approach them and explain about your film, they will ignore you or give you less time. If you look at some Industry people, some will call themselves your friends, but they will neither look at your work nor promote the film.
Somnath: Caste is also the way you are looked at. My experience has been different because I fit into their image of ‘Mainstream’. They will say, “Somnath, you don’t look like a Dalit”, when they come to know of my identity. My experience so far has been decent. It could also be because I have the privilege of working for FTII. So when I was making the film, the first problem is that you don’t have a lot of money. So for both Bhima Koregaon and I am not a Witch, I put my own money for the pre-production. I mostly used my friend’s camera for shooting. We didn’t even do the Sound Recording. One thing I also realized was that the Non-Brahmin movement is different from the Ambedkarite movement. There is this discourse that if you are born in a particular caste, your thinking will only be a certain way. I don’t give importance to people’s caste, but to what their thinking is.
The journey has been interesting. Bhima Koregaon was always welcomed. I had appealed through Dr. Karthik Navayan, who is an activist and my friend; I used to work with him. I shared with him that had I shot a film and was struggling with funds for post-Production work. So he wrote an appeal on Facebook, seeking support. Within a week, I could get 1.5 lakh Rupees through the Ambedkarite circle on Facebook. I didn’t have a team with me while making the film. Bhima Koregaon has been all due to people’s support. One was a filmmaker called Deepu from Bangalore; he runs a group called Pedestrian Pictures. Then there was Mridula Chari. A third person gifted me a Camera of worth 2 lakhs after Bhima Koregaon. Such things are welcoming, because of the place you are from. But I feel caste is there. Caste works in cinema. Once you make something like Bhima Koregaon, people will start ignoring you. Either there is acceptance or ignorance. After acceptance, you will become part of the ghetto. It has been welcoming for me. I feel I will be able to do good work in the future too.
Vinay: I have seen both of your works. What I liked about them was that you didn’t show victimized Dalits. Most others show us as victims. You showed stories of success, as to how we assert ourselves. I liked it very much as a viewer.
Somnath: If you see academicians or people from cinema, how do they view a Dalit? Maharashtra has the most number of Inter-Caste marriages between Dalits and Brahmins. It is a problem with their thinking. They think of Dalits as victims. I told earlier also, that caste is also there in how you look. My lead character in the film is Prof. Sachin Garud. When the screening was happening in Bangalore, a 17-year-old woman comes and asks “Is Mahar community the manual scavenging community?” The second question she asks is if Sachin is a Dalit or not. She has a fixed image of a Dalit in her mind, even though Dalits have changed. Look at people like Tina Dabi. It is the cinema that portrays and builds the image that Dalit is a victim. For me, I resonate with what Eleanor Zelliot says, “Dalit is a symbol of knowledge and revolution”. Even in my future films, I want to present Dalits that way.
Someone had shared a very interesting thing: when Govind Nihalani and Shyam Benegal made movies in the 1970’s, Dalit characters shown were there to be looked at, like Om Puri Saab’s image. The way he was portrayed, everybody started to believe that a Dalit would only be like that. Today, we need to break such stereotypes. We need to move away from this victimization and show assertive Dalits.
Vinay: What are your upcoming projects?
Pratik: I was in Assam 2 months ago, shooting for a documentary on the Bodoland movement. The objective of that is to also look into aspects of Dalit-Bahujan unity, or Bahujan politics as we call it. For that perspective, I am making this documentary on the lives of the Bodo people. I will be going again to Assam in November to complete that documentary. After that, I am planning to make something on the migrant Dalits from West Bengal who are now living in Assam. These are my 2 major upcoming projects. I am also trying to write a short film. I plan to finish the script in the next 3 months.
Vinay: It seems your hands are full now!
Somnath: I am studying now and completing my integrated course, so I have less time for films (laughs). However, I am writing a movie now. It will be a fiction film that I shall be making make two years from now. I do not have financial or family support to get into films full-time. If I get a partner, I can continue with that film. I am thinking of being a full-time filmmaker after 2 years. The script I am writing is on Ambedkarite characters. For example, in the movie Kabali, the lead character Kabali is a slightly Ambedkarite character. Sairat and Fandry’s characters are not Ambedkarite. It is more of a caste struggle that we cannot ignore. Nagraj is the first person who challenged Brahminism in this way. He also broke the stereotype of aesthetics, upper caste views of fair skin, caste, etc. My plan is to look into the emerging campus Ambedkarite politics in places like TISS, IIT, JNU, HCU, etc. The Ambedkarite politics in such institutes is gaining success. So, my fictional movie will be on campus politics.
Right now, I am into reading. Dr. Gail Omvedt and Eleanor Zelliot played a great role in telling about Ambedkar to academicians around the world. My upcoming documentary will be on the life of Dr. Gail Omvedt, and her intellectual journey, what made her come to India and come here. It will be taken in fiction format. My cinema going forward will be mostly on Caste and Gender. I will never show victimized Dalits the way Brahminical filmmakers show. My character will always be assertive. My dream is to be a filmmaker of that kind.
Vinay: Now that you are pursuing your education, best wishes on for that. We share a lot of messages through the medium of Round Table India on various topics; Academia, Science, Media, etc. Any message that you would like to give our aspiring, young people? Some might even take an interest after this interview. What is your advice?
Somnath: First thing is about identity. Caste is a living Reality – it cannot be hidden. I have never heard of Dalits discriminating against others; they are the ones who are discriminated. So, we should accept our identity. What you want to tell is global in nature, it is not just linked to India. Caste is linked to Racism, and all these institutions are Brahminical. You need to create your space there. There are people in the industry who are hiding their identity and enjoying their Cinema. Till the time we come forward and tell our stories, the others will use us and show things as per their view. We need a counter-narrative the way Dalit Literature came into the picture. If the USA can have Black Cinema, then why can’t India have Dalit Cinema?
I am too small to give a message to anyone. But I always feel that we need to make cinema and tell our stories but also work with people. We need to work with people on issues of caste and gender. If you are talking about making cinema, but your own practical life is different, it won’t work. I think one should accept identity and the historical struggle against Brahminism that we have waged, and we need to propagate it further through the medium of cinema.
Pratik: I’m myself an aspiring filmmaker, so I don’t know what message I can give. From what I have seen in my short 2-3 years journey, I hold the view that if you belong to the Dalit community, you need to bring your solid life experience to the cinema. You need to assert your identity and come out in the open. There will always be this question about what will happen to your career after that. But we have a very strong support of the community. We can always go back to the community. We should not be fearful, we should be assertive.
Another thing is about the place we come from. There is a gap being created in the Dalit community. After Reservation and particularly Mandal commission, a big class difference can be seen in the community. Some of the Dalits who conquer class forget their background. There are such filmmakers who set their own discourse that is far away from what is happening on the ground. It’s similar to some activists and student leaders as well. They and we should be sticking to reality. In Project Heartland for example, I try to tell stories of the place I come from.
Vinay: Somnath and Pratik, you both mentioned that you got good support from the community. Can you please elaborate on that so that others also become? Also, tell us about the experiences during the screenings.
Somnath: Mine is a crowd-funded film. It is not one organization or person that funded it. The film’s pre-production was done with my own savings. During post-production, we reached out to the community. We put out an appeal and specified the details about what amount was needed and for what. Not many people knew me, so I appealed though Karthik Navayan. Within one week, I got the amount. Initially, I didn’t feel that people would respond so enthusiastically. I really liked that a lot. Later, Shiva Shankar gifted me a camera and Deepu and Mrudula supported me. It made me realize that people will trust you, but you also need to gain their trust.
My experience with the screening has also been good. I initially thought that media would ignore it. The popularity it gained was majorly due to Round Table India. 3 articles/stories had come in Round Table India. I knew that mainstream media was Brahminical – it would either give you space or it won’t, and it will first ‘see’ your work. RTI is widely read not just by Bahujan society, but even others because the content is global. Like how today, there was a story by Yashwant Kamal, you won’t find such stories anywhere else. My journey towards making Bhima Koregaon began with an incident in FTII. My first screening was in FTII. That was important for me. FTII is a big institution for cinema. After that, screenings happened in IIT Bombay, Bangalore, Kerala, and Ahmedabad. The experience has been good. The film is now uploaded on YouTube as well. When it was screened in Embassy International, a Tamil woman came to me and said, “It’s the first time I am seeing my own history. A positive history. I came to know that I also have a positive history. I never knew about this.” She said that whenever she sees Dalit documentaries they show someone’s house being burnt, or some kind of atrocity. She was seeing a positive story for the first time. That was a good thing for me. Now the film is on YouTube, and many people send me messages. So it gives me satisfaction for the work I did for 7-8 months. People like the positive history. And to live, it is important to have a positive history.
Pratik: When we started making Project Heartland, we didn’t have much financial support. I had just moved out of the Gujarati film industry after fighting with them. My friend and I jointly bought a very basic DSLR Camera. Just like that, we somehow made Project Heartland. It was made for Web consumption. When we started to promote the film on Facebook, we got a very good response from Ambedkarites. People started sharing and viewing it. I had sent the link of the first episode to Kuffir Sir. I hadn’t even told him that we needed to publish it or requested him to watch it. I had just sent it to many friends. He saw it and immediately replied, saying that “We would like to publish this in RTI.” He asked for more details and eventually, we published it in RTI. I greatly increased my Ambedkarite contacts through that. Initially, I was largely in touch with Ambedkarites in Gujarat. After the movie went viral, I was able to connect with Ambedkarites outside Gujarat as well. My understanding of the caste system also increased because of that. People of the Bahujan community have been very supportive.
Coming to screening, it has been screened at various kinds of places – Galleries, University spaces – and the response depends on the space where it is being screened. If the audience is upper caste, their response is different and needs to be seen. They will say, “Why are you showing the other community in a negative way?” I responded by saying it’s not a question of showing negativity – we are showing reality. We are showing whatever is happening in society. The response from the Dalit community, on the other hand, is very good. They have been used to seeing victim Dalits in cinema. They feel very proud to see victorious Dalits. Look at the characters in the episodes of Project Heartland. In Ramji Bhai’s village, for example, the Darbar community dominates. Till now, apart from Ramji Bhai, no other Dalit family has ever revolted. Ramji Bhai was one of the first to do so. That episode went viral. After that, they began showing the video to the entire Dalit community on YouTube.
They would talk of how “because of his revolt, a movie was made on him, we should all muster courage and revolt against oppression, we should start speaking out against it.” If you see in the context of Gujarat, Dalit population is in minority. The percentage is 7%. So, for me, it becomes difficult to assert my identity as a filmmaker. And in Gujarat, Dalit-Bahujan unity is not happening to a large extent on the ground level. For example, the dominant Thakur community is Shudras. Most of them have a lot of land with them, but there is also a section within them that doesn’t own land or even proper employment. Yet they have their obsession with the Neo-Kshatriya identity and consider themselves Kshatriyas. But they are not seeing that their representation is nowhere, whether in University, Cinema or Media. You won’t find them and even if you do, the number is minimal. This means that they are also oppressed in some ways. So, this is just an example, but there are many such castes in the Bahujan community. It is getting difficult to form a Dalit-Bahujan identity in Gujarat, and facing RSS and then asserting yourself is a very tough task.
Vinay: Thank you Somnath and Pratik for this wonderful discussion. I came to learn so much about your journeys. We at Round Table India are continuously trying to engage with other Dalit-Bahujan friends and trying to educate the world about such topics.
* In the Ambedkar Age series of videos, Round Table India aims to produce documentaries, interviews and talks on contemporary issues, and debates from a Dalit Bahujan perspective. Viewers can also view Bhima Koregaon and Project Heartland on YouTube. Round Table India is also there on Facebook as well as on the web portal. Keep Following us. Jai Bhim friends. Thank you very much. Jai Bhim.
1. You can watch the movie Bhima Koregaon on YouTube. The link is given below:
2. Some more articles about it on Round Table India:
3. You can also watch various episodes of Project Heartland by the various links below from Youtube:
4. Sairat and Fandry are Marathi movies Directed by Nagraj Manjule.
5. Kabali is a Tamil movie directed by Pa. Ranjith starring super star Rajnikanth.
Pratik Parmar is an aspiring filmmaker currently living in Ahmedabad, India. Somnath Waghmare is a filmmaker currently pursuing his studies in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. Vinay Shende is an Ambedkarite working in the Corporate Sector in India.