All posts by subhash gatade

Whatever Happened to Struggle Against Untouchability

Untouchability Walls keep rising and falling in Tamil Nadu.

Whatever Happened to Struggle

BR Ambedkar wrote in Annihilation of Caste that “…the world owes much to rebels who would dare to argue in the face of the pontiff and insist that he is not infallible. I do not care about the credit which every progressive society must give to its rebels. I shall be satisfied if I make the Hindus realize that they are the sick men of India, and that their sickness is causing danger to the health and happiness of other Indians.”

In 2008, Uthapuram, a village in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, had made national headlines. It was the year when the Karunanidhi-led DMK state government had taken the initiative to demolish a portion of a thirty-metre wall that had been raised by the dominant Pillaimar community, an OBC caste which had wanted to keep residents of the Devandra Kula Vellalar community, which falls under the Scheduled Caste category, out of the Mariamman temple.

Built in 1989, this wall had become a symbol of segregation based on caste and organisations like Tamil Nadu Anti Untouchability Front, along with other groups and individuals had been conducting agitations to end this discrimination. Finally, the DMK government was forced to take action.

This was perhaps the first time that the rest of India came to know about the prevalence of this pernicious practice in Tamil Nadu. The demolition of the wall was projected as a significant step to move towards caste annihilation.

The recent death of 17 dalits in Mettupalayam wall collapse, in which members of the arunthathiyar dalit caste lost their lives is a reminder of how our celebrations were premature. And that when it comes to caste and its attendant exclusions and discriminations, India still has miles to go.

(Read the full article here https://www.newsclick.in/Whatever-Happened-Struggle-Against-Untouchability)

कितनी आज़ाद है ग्रामीण पत्रकारों की कलम? : पी. साइनाथ

Guest Post by P Sainath

(बनारस के पराड़कर स्मृति सभागार में 29 नवंबर, 2019 को “पत्रकारों पर हमले के विरुद्ध समिति” CAAJ द्वारा आयोजित कार्यक्रम में दिया गया व्याख्यान)

मैं पांच भाषाओं में बराबर खराब बोल सकता हूं। यहां मैं मुंबइया हिंदी में बोलूंगा। आप लोगों ने सम्मान दिया, किताब रिलीज करने को बुलाया, यह मेरे लिए सम्मान की बात है क्योंकि ग्रामीण भारत के बारे में बहुत कम छपता है। इस किताब में दस राज्यों से रिपोर्टें हैं। ये वे दस राज्य हैं जहां देश की आधी आबादी, करीब साठ−सत्तर करोड़ लोग रहते हैं। इसलिए ये बहुत अहम है। इसकी अहमियत समझने के लिए आप ये आंकड़े देखिए।

हिंदुस्तान के नेशनल अखबारों में ग्रामीण खबरें कितना छपती हैं, इसके लिए इनके फ्रंट पेज लीजिए। दिल्ली में एक संस्था है सेंटर फॉर मीडिया स्टडीज़। एन. भास्कर राव की। वो तीस साल से रिसर्च कर रहे हैं मीडिया के ऊपर। अभी उनका आपरेशन कमती हो रहा है क्योंकि मीडिया में रिसर्च को लेकर इंटरेस्ट नहीं रह गया है। अब मीडिया वाले मार्केट रिसर्च एजेंसी के पास जाते हैं, इनके पास नहीं जाते। सीएमएस की स्टडी में ग्रामीण खबरों पर एक रिसर्च निकला था। ये नेशनल डेली का पांच साल का डेटा है। नेशनल डेली का मतलब वे अखबार जिनका एक एडिशन दिल्ली से निकलता हो। हो सकता है कि एक ही एडिशन निकलता हो कुल दिल्ली से, लेकिन वो भी नेशनल डेली है। बाकी सब एंटी-नेशनल डेली हैं। तो नेशनल डेली के फ्रंट पेज पर पांच साल का एवरेज ग्रामीण खबर का स्पेस है 0.67 परसेंट। ग्रामीण इलाके में जनसंख्या क्या है? 69 परसेंट, 2011 के सेंसस में। 69 परसेंट आबादी को आप देते हैं 0.67 परसेंट जगह। अगर जनसंख्या के 69 परसेंट को आप 0.67 परसेंट जगह अखबार के फ्रंट पेज पर देते हैं तो बाकी पेज किस पर जाते हैं? फ्रंट पेज का 67 परसेंट नर्इ दिल्ली को जाता है। और यह 0.67 परसेंट भी एग्ज़ैग्जरेशन (अतिरेक) है। ऐसा क्यों दिखा रहा है? क्योंकि पांच साल का यह एवरेज है। इसमें एक साल चुनाव का साल है। अगर चुनाव का साल निकाल दें, तो डेटा 0.20 परसेंट आता है।

एक पत्रकार जो काम करता है, बिना इनसेंटिव के करता है। अपने आदर्शवाद के चलते करता है। आपको ग्रामीण पत्रकारिता से कोर्इ प्रमोशन नहीं मिलने वाला है। कोर्इ रिकग्नीशन नहीं मिलने वाला है। मैंने जब “एवरीवन लव्ज़ अ गुड ड्रॉट” किताब लिखी, तब ज़माना बदल रहा था। तब मुझे थोड़ा रिकग्नीशन मिला। इस किताब का नाम मैंने नहीं दिया। एक छोटे से किसान ने मुझे ये नाम दिया था। वो मेरे साथ गया था पलामू, डालटनगंज। लातेहार में हम पहुंचे एक दिन। मैंने सोचा सर्किल आफिस में जाएंगे। किसान का नाम था रामलखन। वो मेरे साथ गया। सरकारी आफिस में एक आदमी नहीं बैठा था। सर्किल अफसर नहीं, बीडीओ नहीं, कुछ नहीं था। वहां बीडीओ को बीटीडीओ कहते हैं। ब्लॉक द डेलपमेंट अफसर। मैंने पूछा− रामलखन, ये लोग कहां गया यार। उसने बोला, सब तीसरी फसल लेने के लिए गया है। आइ फेल्ट अ लिटिल स्टुपिड… ये तीसरी फसल क्या चीज़ है। मैंने बोला− मैं जानता हूं रबी, खरीफ़। डेढ़ सौ साल पहले एक तीसरी फसल थी जायद। ये तीसरी फसल क्या है मैं नहीं समझ पा रहा। उसने बोला− ये तीसरी फसल है ड्रॉट रिलीफ (सूखा राहत)। उसने कहा− यहां बड़े लोग इस तीसरी फसल को बहुत पसंद करते हैं। ये लोग अकाल को बहुत पसंद करते हैं। इस तरह मेरी किताब का नाम पड़ा।

( Read the full text here : https://www.mediavigil.com/event/how-free-are-rural-journalists-sainath-lecture-in-varanasi/)

 

Talking Faiz: ‘In This Hour of Madness’

( Note : To be published in the Annual Number of ‘Mainstream’)

In this conversation academician, writer and social activist Zaheer Ali talks about his latest book ‘Romancing With Revolution : Life and Works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’ (Aakar Books, Delhi, 2019) and why Faiz is ‘ extremely relevant in today’s India’

This is the hour of madness, this too the hour of chain and noose You may hold the cage in your control, but you don’t command The bright season when a flower blooms in the garden. So, what if we didn’t see it? For others after us will see The garden’s brightness, will hear the nightingale sing

(This Hour of Chain and Noose (Faiz, Tauq o dar ka Mausam, 1951)

Continue reading Talking Faiz: ‘In This Hour of Madness’

Ayodhya: Can a Dispute Reach Closure if it Still Causes Pain?

The dispute will linger until India learns coexistence from history.

Ayodhya: Can a Dispute Reach

Coexistence between social groups was a social reality and a primary tenet of Indian life, long before the word secular was included in its Constitution in 1976. Now that a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court has delivered a “historic” judgement on the Babri Masjid dispute, there is a sense of disquiet. This is not just on account of the asymmetries and silences in the judgement that many writers have pointed out. It is because the court has ruled that the forces who brought down the Babri Masjid are entitled to the land on which it stood. The question remains whether there can be any real closure in a dispute if the pain it has caused continues to linger.

 

Exit Azad! Enter Savarkar!!

Even at the breakneck pace at which its proponents are rewriting history in the Hindutva mould, its real past will habitually catch up with it.

Savarkar

Last year, a statue of freedom fighter and first education minister of independent India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, was destroyed by Hindutva mobs at Kankinara in North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. At the time, there were communal flare-ups in many districts of the state in the aftermath of aggressive Ram Navami marches, the first of their kind in the country.

The episode was immediately forgotten. Few would have had the premonition that the incident was was merely a precursor to the larger game-plan of the Hindutva right, to erase not just the legendary freedom fighter’s statute, but his name from history.

Now, for some reason, the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) has decided to organise a seminar on ‘Veer Damodar Savarkar: Life and Mission’ on 11 November, the birth anniversary of Maulana Azad, perhaps gives an indication of their intent. This particular date also has no apparent connection with Savarkar, who was born on 28 May 1883 and died on 26 February 1966.

Besides, just over a decade ago, 11 November was declared as National Education Day, to commemorate Azad and recall his contribution to policies and institutions that streamlined the educational needs of newly-independent India. It was a day to reflect on and discuss the country’s education system and its future.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/exit-azad-enter-savarkar)

Politainment : Why Hindutva Brigade Spews Lies

Their fantasy is to control India’s fate by distorting historical events.

Nishank

History is witness that Buddhism, which originated in the Indian subcontinent, posed a challenge to brahmanical Hinduism. It is also recorded history that Buddhism was completely wiped out of this region centuries later, through means violent and non-violent. But the Hindutva supremacists, compelled by their desire and fantasy to re-shape national identity, want India’s past to match their views on religion. And for them, India is a nation only of and for Hindus.

That is why, through repeated false statements on the subcontinent’s “history”, they are challenging and demolishing India’s past. That is their way of attacking its multicultural present. With the goal to establish Hindu dominance in all fields, they are starting backwards, with untrue claims about “time immemorial”. The recent fabrication of Badris University by a Union minister is a step in that direction.

The Minister of Human Resource Development, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, has said that the oldest university in the world was in Badrinath, a town in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The university was called “Badris”, the minister claimed in a lecture he delivered in Dehradun, a prominent city of Uttarakhand, last week. No such institution ever existed according to historical record, but Pokhriyal has insisted that will be “restored to its full glory”, presumably from funds taken from his ministry’s grants.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/politainment-why-hindutva-brigade-spews-lies)

Goodbye, Tipu Sultan

The Sangh Parivar has supported Tipu when it needed to.

Tipu Sultan

Ghatam Bhindyat, Patam Chhindyat, Kuryat Rasbharohanam

Yenken Prakaren, Prasidho Purusho Bhavet

(Break earthen pots, tear clothes, ride a donkey:

Men try to achieve popularity by any means.)

It was 2006 and DH Shankarmurthy, a nondescript swayamsevak, was handling the higher education ministry in the HD Kumarswamy-led coalition government suddenly hit the national headlines. The trigger was his unusual demand to recast history books in the mould of the Sangh Parivar. Especially his proposal to obliterate the great warrior Tipu Sultan’s name from the annals of Kannada history.

The proposal was based on the completely false pretext that Tipu did not give due importance to the Kannada language and promoted Persian language instead. Never mind that the Mysore state archaeological department holds in its possession more than thirty letters sent from Tipu to the shankaracharya of the Shringeri math, all written in Kannada.

Shankaramurthy wanted Tipu Sultan—who sacrificed his children to end the British rule—obliterated from Karnataka history on the spurious logic that the alleged neglect of Kannada language was reason enough. Even then, the demand had caused a national uproar cutting across party lines. At the time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal Secular (JD-S) were sharing power in the state. As a result, their plans fell flat. Much water has flown down the Kaveri, Godavari and every other Indian river and now a BJP-led government, holding power in the state of Karnataka and the centre has drawn up fresh plans to fulfill a task left unfinished.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/goodbye-tipu-sultan)