Tag Archives: Dalit Human Rights Movement

Stop Trying to Portray Us as Extremists: Dalit Human Rights Movement

The police investigation about the bomb blast at the Kollam Collectorate on 15 June 2016 has now turned against us. Neither the organization nor its activists have any involvement in this incident. The accusation against us is just a ploy to use draconian laws such as the UAPA to destroy dalit-adivasi resistance.

The demeaning and enslaving social norms in Kerala have, since centuries, denied dalit people the most basic human rights such as the right to education, the right to decently clothe one’s body, the right to travel on public roads, and express one’s views. But India became a democracy that aimed for social democratisation, and Dr B R Ambedkar raised the possibility of social equality and reservations for the underprivileged groups through the Indian Constitution. Yet, sixty-five years later, the classes fundamental to this society have made no social, economic, or cultural progress and they continue to endure caste slavery and and exploitation in all areas of public life. The mainstream political parties who surfaced as the protectors of these classes have never offered them complete protection at any time. Though they have been faithful followers and workers of these parties, members of the disadvantaged groups have had little economic security; they have lacked social education; they have had to cry out for tiny parcels of land. Continue reading Stop Trying to Portray Us as Extremists: Dalit Human Rights Movement

Crushing Dignity, Force-feeding Honour: The CPM is Back in Form Again!

The hunt, it seems, is on again. The CPM in power has begun to show its fangs again, and shamefully, they seem to threaten only dalit people who refuse and criticise their disciplinary/welfarist embrace.  In north Kerala, two dalit women were arrested for having allegedly attacked a DYFI leader who abused them in casteist terms. In the south, the persecution of the Buddhist Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM)seems to have begun afresh, with the police and the press foisting on them responsibility for the recent bomb blast at the premises of the Kollam Collectorate. The two women mentioned belong to the Congress party; as for the DHRM, the CPM has had a long-standing grouse against them, carried forward now from their last term in power. I am not sure, but the recent ouster of Laha Gopalan, the leader of the Chengara land struggle in the wake of the CPM’s return to power, could be part of this story too. I have no love lost for that man, who evoked the name of Ambedkar but ran the village set up by the landless in Chengara like a crude caste headman. But the timing of his expulsion and the way the village seems to be under the thumb of the police arouses discomfort. Continue reading Crushing Dignity, Force-feeding Honour: The CPM is Back in Form Again!

Out of Development’s Waiting Room, Out of Democracy: The Continuing Agony of the DHRM

[with inputs from Baiju John]

Faced with the never-ending agony to which the members of the Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) in Kerala seem to be subject to, it appears that that the more familiar ways of marginalizing of dalit people in Malayalee people do not work anymore. The past few days have seen horrendous attacks on these people near the town of Varkala in Thiruvanathapuram district. The DHRM has accused the Siva Sena and the BJP of violence, but it appears that both the authorities and the press are equally and irremediably deaf. Continue reading Out of Development’s Waiting Room, Out of Democracy: The Continuing Agony of the DHRM

Violence in Consumerism’s Own Country

As the stories of the DHRM and those of the successful negotiations with which the Chengara land struggle has ended continue to unfurl in the Malayalee media, contradictory messages about Dalit political struggle continue to reverberate in Kerala. Dalits have been markedly reserved about the outcome of the talks with which the land struggle at Chengara has ended. Laha Gopalan, the leader and chief negotiator, has openly declared that the settlement was a hurried one, and that he agreed to it mainly out of fear of violence, given that the divisions have been created among the landless people at Chengara, whose patience has worn thin. Meanwhile, the DHRM’s violence continues to offer opportunities for potshots at Dalit politics. The Kerala Chief Minister, for instance, issued ‘warnings’ against ‘identity politics’ on Gandhi Jayanti, as if ‘identity politics’ were the same as ‘violence’.

Continue reading Violence in Consumerism’s Own Country

Ab aap police station se samachar suniye

(And now, the news read from the police station)

I am absolutely appalled by the new levels of unethical reporting reached every day. I could bear it if it were a race to the bottom that we see in the English media, because at some point we could have heard the thud of crashing skulls. But it appears the bottom is bottomless…

Take this “news story” on the front page of the Indian Express yesterday:

Shadowy Kerala outfit preaches hate in Dalit ghettos

It begins – “Police in Kerala have stumbled upon a shadowy extremist Dalit outfit that they suspect is working clandestinely to radicalise Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities in the state.”

Continue reading Ab aap police station se samachar suniye