This is the text of the Ambedkar Memorial lecture delivered byASHIS NANDYat the India International Centre on 14 April 2012, under the auspices of Ambedkar University, Delhi.
It was published in Economic and Political Weekly, July 28, 2010
Every generation likes to believe that it is living in momentous times, witnessing the death of one world and the birth of another, negotiating what pre-war Bengali writers used to grandly call yugasandhikshana, the moment when two epochs meet. This generation of Indians too believes that it is seeing such changes and even participating in them. Perhaps they are. However, I shall argue here that, along with transitions in society and politics to which they like to stand witness, there are transitions in cultures of knowledge and states of awareness of which they may be gloriously innocent. And they perhaps try to protect that innocence. The categories we deploy to construe our world images are parts of our innermost self and to disown them is to disown parts of ourselves and jeopardise our self-esteem. Even when we struggle to shed these categories, they survive like phantom limbs do in some amputees. Or perhaps they survive the way one of Freud’s three universal fantasies, the one about immortality, does. When you imagine yourself dead, you are still there, fully alive, looking at yourself as dead. Continue reading Theories of Oppression and another Dialogue of Cultures: Ashis Nandy→
The hornet’s nest stirred by Ashis Nandy’s comments at the Jaipur Literature Festival might – hopefully – be dying down, but certain questions raised by the occurrences on the 26th probably require a little reflection on everyone’s part.
In the corporate and social media blitz, a lot of the details have been forgotten, excised and overlooked. Till yesterday it was not clear what his entire speech consisted of. The most quoted line from his talk at the festival is: “it is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, the Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the STs and as long as it is the case, the Indian republic will survive.” None of those attacking Nandy for being casteist or spewing hate-speech have in fact even attempted to explain the latter part of the quote: “as long as it is the case, the Indian republic will survive.” How is that a casteist statement? More importantly, media reproductions of his statement have excised a crucial disclaimer he himself gives at the beginning: “It will be an undignified, even vulgar statement, but it is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, the Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the STs and as long as it is the case, the Indian republic will survive.” Continue reading Ashis Nandy, Media and the Work of Acceleration: Anirban Gupta Nigam→
This release was put out by the Rajasthan unit of thePEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIESon 26 January
PUCL condemns the FIR lodged under sec. 506 IPC, criminal intimidation and 3-1(10) of prevention of atrocities against SC,ST 1989 against Prof. Ashis Nandy for his statements in a discussion at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 and the protest demanding his arrest.
From the reports we have received, he was not exhorting hate and not being casteist and was only making an academic point which means that nobody is free from corruption.
Proceeding criminally against him and arresting him is restricting academic freedom and academic debate. Now that he has apologised and regretted what he has said the matter should be closed.
Prem Krishan Sharma, President
Kavita Srivastav, General Secretary
“Approximately 13000 trains run daily out of which 9000 are Passenger trains and 13 million passengers traveling every day. As per Nanda report the railways have cited several reasons for the delay, including prohibitive costs, with one estimate pegging the amount required for bio-toilets at Rs.1,600 crore. Continue reading *hit still happens→
“We won’t beat you at your house, we will beat you in the bazaar, in front of everyone!” A common caveat, often hurled at a dalit by an upper caste. But in this case, they were dalit men who spat this warning at a tribal family. A group of dalits in Alampur village, Sagar district, Madhya Pradesh are forcefully asserting their rights (since 2003) over a belt of forest land belonging to Balram, a tribal resident and his family. The family have farmed the five acres of land for 40 years and were finally awarded forest rights over it by the state government of Madhya Pradesh in 2009. Continue reading A Case of Dalit Assertion Over Adivasi Land: Agrima Bhasin→
This statement is based on a Seminar attended by representatives of Safai Karamchari Andolan, Republic Trade Union of India, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front; Advocates, Doctors and Health Activists; Faculty and Students of MIDS, IIT-M, New College, ACJ, MSE, Madras University among others. The discussion was one among many incidents happening across the country to support the struggle for abolishing manual scavenging and rehabilitation of manual scavengers.
More than a million people (mostly Dalit women and children) in India are still being ordained by the caste-ridden social order to clean the refuse of society with their bare hands. They are systemically forced to sell their labour-power, at a minimal price, to perform this inhuman task – what is termed as “Manual Scavenging”. People from particular Dalit communities, cutting across region and religion, are vulnerable to early death due to fatal infections, disease and exposure to toxic gases that manual scavenging entails. Further, age old casteism, continues to stigmatize and humiliate manual scavengers suppressing them to the status of “lesser humans”. Continue reading Petition – End the Scourge of Manual Scavenging→
The arrest of two Punjabi publishers and two editors for reprinting old books of poet Babu Rajab Ali which allegedly contained some then used caste names, under the Prevention of Atrocities Against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, is a totally thoughtless, callous and ruthless action taken by the Punjab government.
This press release comes from the SC/ST BUDGET ADHIKAR ANDOLAN
The SC/ST Budget Adhikar Andolan welcomes the draft recommendations of the NAC to the GOI. However, it is very disappointing that the National Advisory Council (NAC) has not suggested legislation for SCSP and TSP. It is a known fact that without legislation, accountability would not be possible, and the entitlements under the SCP will not be implemented. The Dalit organisations strongly urge the NAC to recommend SCP/TSP legislation and that this be placed in the parliament in the coming session.
The recommendations of the NAC on the reform of the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) were sent to the Government in December 2011. In line with the recommendations of the NAC, the Working Group of the NAC on Dalit Issues have now enunciated a set of Essential Elements of Implementation Framework of SCSP. Some of the recommendations of the NAC are as followed: Continue reading Dalit organisations demand NAC to recommend SCP/TSP legislation→
Earlier this month, I signed, with some disquiet, onto this petition. Initiated by some members of the CHS at JNU, the petition protests against the withdrawal, in the wake of the cartoon controversy, of all NCERT Political Science textbooks, and seeks to defend the ‘gains of the new National Curriculum Framework 2005’. One reason I signed the petition was because it seems to me urgent that we try to save the NCF 2005 textbooks. They are, quite simply, amongst the most superb provocations available anywhere to critical thinking for young minds. I have over the years read them with my two children, and I would be very disappointed if other children were deprived of the same experience. There were other reasons too: I share the petition’s criticisms of the government’s arbitrary way of making its decisions about the textbooks, and its demand that textbooks be produced by an ‘academic, collective, democratic and inclusive process’ that excludes any ‘direct government intervention’. Continue reading Violence and Laughter: Ajay Skaria on the Ambedkar cartoon controversy→
…27 of the 30 complaints that were addressed to the commission spoke of indifference of police officials towards dalits.These issues were raised immediately after NHRC chairman KG Balakrishnan praised status of scheduled castes (SC) in Gujarat. He said the state’s schemes for development of the marginalised are working well and penetration of education among scheduled caste and scheduled tribes has reached 70%.Almost all dalits and their leaders present in the audience were not in agreement with this statement. [DNA]
Justice Balakrishnan, retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, and at present Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), – who has remained in news since his retirement altogether for wrong reasons – provided further ammunition to his critics with his recent visit to Gujarat. The manner in which he lauded the state government for its ‘innovative schemes for the upliftment of dalits’ and claims that ‘..[f]uture of the SC community seems to be fairly good in Gujarat as compared to many other states’ is being seen as an attempt to clean chit and whitewash acts of ommission and commission.of a government which is still mired in the controversies surrounding the carnage in 2002
The said two day visit (14-15 th March) was part of the plan envisaged by the Commission to hold “open hearing” sessions on issues related to dalit atrocities in different parts of the country. According to media inputs, this was one of the important recommendattion by the K.B. Saxena committee which had done a painstaking job and brought out a report on dalit atrocities in the country few years back.for the commission itself. Not some time ago the commission had held its first such hearing in the state of Orissa.
This press release was put out by theSC/ST BUDGET ADHIKAR ANDOLANafter a large protest in Delhi on 24 April
Massive uproar and agitation by over a thousand SC/ST’s marked the initiation of the campaign “Sau Mein Pachees Haq Hamara” at Jantar Mantar on 24 April, 2012. The protesters flooded the roads of Jantar Mantar as they marched along the high pitch drum beats, adding to the rhythm of the march. Even the scorching heat did not deter those who joined the protest march from several other states. They hooted in unison, “Hamara Haq Idhar Rakho!” Continue reading ‘Sau Mein Pachees Haq Hamara’: Caste of a Scam→
April 14 was Ambedkar’s birth anniversary. There is no single pan-India political icon, certainly not Gandhi, whose birth and death anniversaries are celebrated as public festivals, by the public, in the way the Ambedkar’s is. Some newspapers on 15 April typically had photos of the top leaders of the country paying homage to Ambedkar but that’s about all. When historians turn these pages they will not find, in the first drafts of history, any reports about how people celebrated Ambedkar’s birthday like a festival. They will not find a record of the singing and dancing, of drums and plays, of Dalit housing socities and employees’ unions holding celebrations bang under the nose of the Indian Parliament at Parliament Street as much as in Dalit bastis is villages across India. Such is the public ignorance of this celebration at Parliament Street in Delhi that most Delhites enjoying a free holiday don’t even know about it. Parliament street is whereSIDDHI BHANDARItook these photos in 2010.
बद्री नारायण का यह लेख लखनऊ के एक हिंदी अख़बार को दिया गया था पर उन्होंने छापने से मना कर दिया.
शक्ति अपने संस्थागत रुप में सत्ता में तब्दील हो जाती है। सत्ता अपने मूल अर्थ में भय एवं हिंसा पर टिकी होती है। सत्ता का अभ्यांतरिकरण हो या सत्ता का प्रतिरोध, दोनों ही अर्थो में हिंसा उसके सह उत्पादक के रुप में दिखाई पड़ती है। जनतंत्र को एक ऐसी प्रक्रिया के रुप में परिकल्पित किया गया था जो सत्ता को उसके हिंसक पक्ष से मुक्त कराके सेवाभाव के एजेन्सी के रुप में सक्रिय रखे। यह माना जा रहा था कि जनतंत्र सत्ता को रेशनालाइज कर उसे सेवा-भावि प्रशासकीय स्वरुप में तब्दील कर देती है। यह काफी कुछ हुआ भी किन्तु अपने कार्य-प्रक्रिया में इस जनतांत्रिक समय में भी सत्ता हिंसा को उत्पादित करते रहने वाली शक्तिस्रोत के रुप में सामने आई है। सत्ता पहले अपने भीतर अपने ही कारणो से क्राइसिस को जन्म देती है, फिर उससे उबरने के लिए हिंसा रचती है। बंगाल, झारखण्ड, आन्ध्र के जंगलों में पहले तो बाजार शासित विकास के तहत आदिवासी जीवन के संसाधनों पर कब्जा कर उन्हे बहुराष्ट्रीय कम्पनियों को बेचना, फिर उसके विरोध में आदिवासी जनता का नक्सलवादी विचारों एवं नेतृत्व में हिंसक प्रतिरोध का बढ़ते जाना, पुनः उसे दबाने के लिए राज्य द्वारा की जाने वाली ज्यादा आक्रामक एवं खुंखार हिंसा को इसी रुप में देखा जा सकता है। Continue reading सत्ता और हिंसा : बद्री नारायण→
How many murdered Dalits does it take to wake up a nation? Ten? A thousand? A hundred thousand? We’re still counting, as Anand Patwardhan shows in his path-breaking film Jai Bhim Comrade (2011). Not only are we counting, but we’re counting cynically, calculating, dissembling, worried that we may accidentally dole out more than ‘they’ deserve. So we calibrate our sympathy, our policies and our justice mechanisms just so. So that the upper caste killers of Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange’s family get life imprisonment for parading Priyanka Bhotmange naked before killing her, her brother and other members of the family in Khairlanji village in Maharashtra, but the court finds no evidence that this may be a crime of hatred – a ‘caste atrocity’ as it is termed in India. Patwardhan’s film documents the twisted tale of Khairlanji briefly before moving to a Maratha rally in Mumbai, where pumped-up youths, high on testosterone and the bloody miracle of their upper caste birth are dancing on the streets, brandishing cardboard swords and demanding job reservations (the film effectively demolishes the myth that caste consciousness and caste mobilisation are only practised by the so-called ‘lower castes’). Asked on camera about the Khairlanji murders, one Maratha manoos suspends his cheering to offer an explanation. That girl’s character was so loose, he says, that the entire village decided to teach her a lesson.
Even before the results came out, the Mayawati cabinet passed a resolution to dissolve the assembly. Never before has an incumbent shown such confidence about losing. Mayawati’s body language during the campaign was proof of the same lack of confidence. Mayawati was going to lose, the Samajwadi Party was in the air. And yet, Mayawati must be relieved right now. She knows that this defeat of hers is, ironically, a victory of the Bahujan Samaj Party and what it stands for. Here’s how.
This guest post byRAM KUMAR is a review of five years of Mayawati’s administration in Uttar Pradesh. An English translation has appeared in Fountain Ink magazine, here.
मुख्यमंत्री मायावती जी को 2007 में मिला स्पष्ट जनादेश महज मुलायम सिंह यादव के खिलाफ एन्टी-इनकमवंसी फैक्टर ही नहीं था, बलिक अराजकता और गुंडागर्दी के खिलाफ भी जनादेश था। सरकार का खुले रूप से एन्टी-दलित चरित्र और प्रदेश के अन्दर सरकार के एन्टी ब्राहम्ण टोन के चलते प्रदेश में मुलायम सिंह की सरकार के खिलाफ दलित अति पिछड़े हो गये थे। मुलायम सिंह के कल्याण सिंह प्रेम की वजह से माइनारिटी (अल्पसंख्यक) भी मुलायम से नाराज हो गए। बहन जी ने सर्वजन समाज का नारा देकर विक्षुब्द तबकों को समेटा। सभी को समेटने में रणनीति के तहत अपना नारा बदल “हाथी नहीं गणेष है ब्रम्हा, विष्णु, महेष है” का नारा लगाया। सर्वजन फार्मूला और मुलायम के खिलाफ गुस्सा बहन जी को पूर्ण बहुमत से सत्ता में लेकर के आया।
बहन जी एक सशक्त शासनकर्ता के रूप में जानी जाती थीं। इस बार भी बहन जी सत्ता में आयींऔर सत्ता में आते ही तुरन्त उन्होनें घोषणा की कि अराजकता और गुडागर्दी नहीं चलेगी, कानून का राज्य चलेगा। इसको सिद्ध करने के लिये उन्होंने सबसे पहले जो राजनेता अपने साथ बहुत सारे शस्त्रधारियों को लेकर चलते थे, उन पर प्रतिबंध लगाया और एलान किया कि कोई भी नेता सार्वजनिक स्थल पर तीन हथियार से ज्यादा में दिखे तो उनके खिलाफ कार्यवाही की जायेगी। यही नहीं अपनी पार्टी के एम. पी. रमाकान्त यादव जो आजमगढ़ से हैं, एक गरीब मुसिलम के मकान पर जमीन कबजाने के चक्कर में जबरदस्ती बुलडोजर चलवाया इसकी खबर जब बहन जी को लगी उन्होंने रमाकान्त यादव को अपने मुख्यमंत्री आवास पर मिलने के लिये बुलाया और वहीं से उनको गिरफ्तार करवाया। यह संदेश देने की कोशिशकी कि सत्ताधारी दल के हों या विपक्षी पाटी के हों, कानून सबके लिये समान है। अपनी ही सरकार के खाधमंत्री और विधायक आनन्द सेन को एक महिला के अपहरण केस में बर्खास्त कर जेल भिजवाया और अभी तक 26 प्रभावशाली नेता एवं मंत्रियों को पार्टी के बाहर का रास्ता दिखा चुकी हैं। पिछली सरकार में हुयी 17,868 पुलिस जवानों की भर्ती में हुयी धांधली के चलते भर्ती प्रक्रिया को निरस्त किया और 25 आई .पी.एस. अधिकारियों को भी सस्पेन्ड किया।
The cast in this short film: Sharma- Rajesh, Mishra- Nishant, Choudhury- Roshan, Dalit- Dinamani
Camera- Babita, Script and Direction- Dinamani (email@example.com). Special thanks to Anoop for making the office available for the shoot.