This note comes via Malarvizhi Jayanth. Those in support can leave a comment saying so, and add their designations to their names, if they wish.
In a footnote in Uproot Hindutva: The Fiery Voice of the Liberation Panthers by Thirmavalavan, MeenaKandasamy describes Ponnar Shankar as dalit. M Loganathan, an advocate from Nanje Goundanpudur and Students Wing Convenor of the Kongu Nadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KMK), has been quoted in news reports as saying that there is evidence proving that Ponnar and Shankar are Kongu Vellala Gounders and claiming that depicting them as Dalits will lead to caste tension.
We are offended that a deity being named dalit can even be called an offensive act. We are offended at how legal backing is available for openly-casteist harassment. We are offended at news reports that present this case as a quaint little example of caste quibbling, without pointing to the long history of violence, without pointing to the continued conspiracy to maintain the status quo and culture of violence that this case is an outcome of.
Our histories are deeply marked by caste. We seek to emancipate our present by reclaiming these histories for the marginalised.
Re-writing history from the perspective of the marginalised is necessary and vital for the self-determination of dalit communities. Now, such an effort is being criminalised. This is a threat to democracy and the pluralist ethos. This is an offence against free speech. We stand in solidarity with Thirumavalavan, MeenaKandasamy and Samya, in support of the subaltern perspective and assertion they stand for.
*Here are some inflammatory footnotes about violence against Dalits:
Dalits have been denied temple entry, forced to work with hazardous material, treated as bonded labour and attacked for attempting to buy their way out of their bondage (subhead: Dalit Family Attacked over Land, September 2002).
In Kalapatti village, sustained violence against dalits, has lead to many of them to fleeing their homes. “On 16 May 2004, a Dalit settlement in the village of Kalapatti in Tamil Nadu was attacked by upper-caste members (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005; UN 23 Feb. 2005; DHRM n.d.; Frontline 19 June – 2 July 2004). According to the sources, approximately 100 houses were burnt down by a group of 200 people and Dalits trying to escape were assaulted, including reports of sexual assault of women (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005; UN 23 Feb. 2005; DHRM n.d.; Frontline 19 June – 2 July 2004),” notes the UN Refugee Agency website.
Jairus Banaji, Chittibabu Padavala, R. Kalaiarasu, Swathi Vadlamudi, Kuffir Nalgundwar, Malarvizhi Jayanth, Ajith Kumar A.S., Anu Ramdas, Anoop Kumar, Divya Trivedi, Karthikeyan Damodaran, Jaya Shobaneshwari, Satish Poduval, Khalid Anis Ansari, Afsar Mohammed, Divya Rajagopal, Bobby Kunhu, Jenny Rowena, Anil Tharayath Varghese, Sanil Zenbuddha, Smitha Patil, Sudeep Ben Aadil Almitra – Kozhikode, Sanjeev Sreedharan, Salim T.K., Rupesh Kumar, Manohar Kumar, Nabina Das, Afthab Ellath, Sruthi Herbert, Anand Navayana – Publisher – Navayana Publishing, Murali Shanmugavelan, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Vinay Sreenivasa, Anitha Ranjani Sampath, Rhoda Alex, Karthik Navayan, Poovi Gotha, Vikram Benny, Sushanta Sarkar, Kumar Varma Kayanikorothu – Andhra University, Rajashekhar Geddada, Thiben Ram – France, Sanam Roohi Reddy, Kiritkumar Pravasi, Prasheel Anand, Peggy Trawick, Shiva Shankar, Sujatha Surepally, Chellapandi – IHRE District Coordinator – Palani, Ponnuchamy, Arumugam, Ravichandran Bathran, D. Ravikumar, Jebamalai Raja
An update on the list of signatories on 19 June: Benjamin P Kaila – Los Angeles – Friends for Education International, Gills John, Leena Manimekalai, Poovannan Ganapathy, Reny Ayline, Sadique Pk Mampad, Rama Hansraj, Chandraiah Gopani, Prabhu Mohapatra – Department of History – Delhi University, Nivedita Menon – JNU, Pramada Menon, Rajkumar Hans – History – MSU – Baroda, Janaki Srinivasan – Panjab University, Aniket Alam, Aditya Nigam, Sudarshan Papanna, Chinnaiyan Lakshmanan, Smriti Suman – Department of Political Science – Delhi University, Baskar, Yasser, K Sanjay Kumar, Abdul Khadar M., Shruti Sareen, Balaji Kulasekaran, Jay Sullivan – USA, Md. Ali – Correspondent – TwoCircles.net, Ravi Shankar, James Chang, Akshay Sharma – National University of Juridical Sciences – Calcutta, Kenneth Jackson – USA, Abhirami Sriram – Editor – Orient Blackswan, Karthika Naïr – France, Vinay Bhat, Nishanth, Munusamy Ganapathy, Prashant Tandon – Delhi, Sneha Krishnan, Bhargavi – Student, Rahul P.S., Inasu, Muraleedharan Raghavan, Mathi, Karthikeya Sivasenapathy – Tiruppur, Joe, Deepti Nair – Sub-editor – New Indian Express, Venkatesa Pandian, Nathaniel Roberts – Research Fellow – Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity – Germany
An update on the list of signatories on 23 June: Ramakrishna Bhargav N. – Research Scholar – Department of Communication – University of Hyderabad, Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Sharmila Rege, Nikhila Henry, Deepesh C., Aniruddha Dutta, Anant Maringanti, Sukumar Muralidharan, Leonard – Hyderabad University, Ausaf, Sreekanth Bolloju, Hany Babu, Gopikanta Ghosh, Gouri Patwardhan – Filmmaker, Subaguna Rajan, T. Sundara Vardhan, Abhiyan Humane – UW-Madison, Geeta Charusivam – Activist – Chennai, Raju Naran, Ranjith Kumar, J. Devika, Uma Chakravarti, Ashley Tellis, Anushiya Ramaswamy, Dr. Tharakeshwar V.B. – Associate Professor & Head – Department of Translation Studies – School of Interdisciplinary Studies – The English and Foreign Languages University – Hyderabad, C.S.Lakshmi (Ambai), Ivy Hansdak – Asst Professor – Dept of English – Jamia Millia Islamia – New Delhi, Kotesh Devulapally – Research Fellow – EFL University – Hyderabad, Ramesh Aroli – Assistant Professor – Dept of Journalism – Kamala Nehru College – University of Delhi, Harsh Mander, Govind Krishnan, Premjish – MPhil Visual Studies – School of Arts and Aesthetics – JNU, Sruti Bala, Dr. Nikhila H. – Head and Associate Professor – Department of Film Studies and Visual Communication – The English and Foreign Languages University, Chandrashekhar Aijoor, Aparna Eswaran – Research Scholar – CIPOD – JNU, Raghvendra .H.K, Selva, Dilip Gaikwad, Bhimrao Kuchekar, Arumugam, Nirmala M N – Research Scholar – EFLU, Amartya Kanjilal, Ketaki Chowkhani, Sanju Jyo, Akshi Singh, Rahamath Tarikere – Professor – Dept. of Literature Studies – Kannada University – Hampi, `Sufi’ MP Prakash Nagara – Hospet, Sravanthi Kollu, Nataraj Honnavalli, Gee Ameena Suleiman – Bangalore, Darshana Sreedhar – Research Scholar – CSSSC, Sowmya Dechamma C.C. – University of Hyderabad, Govindarajan.G – Asst Engineer – IOCL, M.S.S. Pandian – JNU, Anushiya Ramaswamy, Kaveri Rajaraman Indira, Vijay Boratti – Assistant professor in English – University Evening College – University of Mysore, Kancha Ilaiah, Paramjit S. – Judge, Anandhi S. – MIDS – Chennai, Arumbhu, Mohan Rao – JNU, Saptarshi Mandal – Legal Researcher – Delhi, Philip Vinod Peacock – Associate Professor – Bishop’s College, Revd. Dr. Keith Hebden, Arunesh Maiyar, Simona Sawhney – University of Minnesota