Tag Archives: Black Lives Matter

Treacherous Road to Make Manu History

Even today the attempt is to whitewash Manusmriti, not shun it. But all is not lost as the ripples of Black Lives Matter have reached Indian shores.

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It was 1927, the second phase of the historic Mahad Satyagrah was on, and Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar led thousands of people in burning the Manusmriti, an act he compared with the French Revolution of 1789. Time and again, in speeches and writings, he categorically opposed the world-view of Manu, the legendary figure to whom are attributed the tenets of the Manusmriti, said to be dated to around 100 CE.

In the book written by scholar and activist Anand Teltumbde, Mahad: The Making of the First Dalit Revolt, published by Navayana in 2017, is recorded the resolution which was proposed by the social activist Gangadhar Sahasrabuddhe, and then read out at the Mahad Satyagrah. It states that the firm opinion of this conference is that the Manusmriti, “taking into consideration its verses which undermined the Shudra caste, thwarted their progress, and made their social, political and economic slavery permanent…is not worthy of becoming a religious or a sacred book. And in order to give expression to this opinion, this conference is performing the cremation rites of such a religious book which has been divisive of people and destroyer of humanity.”

Twenty three years later, Dr Ambedkar marked the promulgation of the Constitution of India as the “end of the rule by Manu”. And yet, 70 years thereafter, a significant section of Indians are still fascinated by Manu and have no qualms in venerating him. Even the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and large parts of Europe, in which statues of slave-owners and colonialists are being knocked down or disfigured, the Indian followers of Manu have no regrets about deifying him.

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The Need for Black-South Asian Solidarity: Lavanya Nott

This is a guest post by LAVANYA NOTT

In February 2013, George Zimmerman, a 28-year old neighbourhood watch coordinator in Sanford, Florida, stalked and fatally shot 17-year old unarmed Trayvon Martin, an African-American high school student. In July of that year, Zimmerman was acquitted of his crime.

On August 9, 2014, unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown was shot several times by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri after Brown stole several packs of cigarillos from a neighbourhood store. In late November of that same year, a grand jury did not indict Wilson of his crime.

The Black Lives Matter movement began after Zimmerman’s acquital, and the Ferguson non-indictment saw the movement surge forward, with thousands of citizens taking to the streets all over the United States in protest. In the months that followed, the movement gained rapid momentum, spurred on by yet another non-indictment—that of a White police officer in Staten Island who put 43-year-old Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in broad daylight, without provocation. His death was ruled by a medical examiner as a homicide, but his killer Daniel Pantaleo escaped indictment.

In mid-September 2015, Mohammad Akhlaq’s house in Dadri was broken into, his family attacked, and his life taken by a rampaging mob of RSS workers who were responding to a rumor that Akhlaq killed a cow and subsequently consumed its meat on Eid.

Less than a month later, a gang of upper-caste Rajputs set fire to the house of a sleeping Dalit family, killing two-year-old Vaibhav and his nine-month-old sister Divya. This attack, in BJP-ruled Faridabad, was set against the backdrop of a long-standing caste-related dispute between the Dalit and Rajput communities in the city.

Continue reading The Need for Black-South Asian Solidarity: Lavanya Nott

The Anthem of ‘Black Lives Matter’

MEERA NANDA has sent us this moving and militant anthem of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

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R&B singer Janelle Monáe released a blistering 6 1/2-minute protest song on Friday called “Hell You Talmbout.” [African-American slang for “what the hell are you talking about.”] The song’s premise is simple, and that simplicity is the source of its power. The lyrics are the chanted names of black Americans killed by police and vigilantes, followed by the phrase “say his name” or “say her name.” The chorus is an anthemic, gospel-leaning repetition of the song’s title. Monáe is joined on the track by a drum line and the members of her Wondaland Arts Society collective: Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty and George 2.0. All of the vocals are raw, several to the point of breaking. None of the names are sung.

At the moment, Hell You Talmabout is available as a stream only. Here is the link.

And here are the lyrics. Note that some of the names are hyperlinked to tell you about the person being named.

Continue reading The Anthem of ‘Black Lives Matter’