The Festering Sore of the Caste-Wall at Vadayambady: T T Sreekumar

T T Sreekumar, an important commentator on contemporary politics in Kerala — a public intellectual who now qualifies to be an irritant in the eyes of the Kerala police, now that he has openly declared his allegiance to the dalit people fighting injustice and Vadayambady and inaugurated a protest-event there — writes about the issue and its historical origins:

When I visited Vadayambady the other day to express my solidarity with the cause of the agitation, what I witnessed there was an atmosphere of utmost fear and police terror. A big task force of police was stationed at the location. The team that included the special branch officers, had created a situation of terror at the peaceful site. Activists mentioned that a particular police officer continuously hurled abuses, including caste abuses, at the protesters that included Dalit women and children. When the protest began to draw national attention, the ruling dispensation of CPIM that had hitherto remained unconcerned has started to take up some damage control measures. However, when they finally arrived at the site of the agitation almost after a year since the agitation began, the CPIM leaders allegedly refused to address the caste question involved. Dalit activists, including women activists, surrounded them and raised several objections to this attitude pointing to their sheer hypocrisy and lack of integrity.

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Malayali Feminism 2018: In the Light of Vadayambady and Hadiya’s Struggle

The almost insoluble task is to let neither the power of others, not our own powerlessness, stupefy us.


As frightening spectres of untouchability and unseeability hover around the festering sore of the ‘caste-wall’ at Vadayambady in Kerala, as the so-called mainstream left-led government here continues to pour its energy and resources into aiding and abetting caste devils there, as most mainstream media turns a blind eye, as the Kerala police continues its mad-dog-left-loose act, many friends ask me: why have you not yet written about the struggle there of dalit people fighting of the demon of caste now completely, shamelessly ,in the public once more? Continue reading “Malayali Feminism 2018: In the Light of Vadayambady and Hadiya’s Struggle”

Check Hindutva Patriarchy: Prof. Akeel Bilgrami writes to the Chief Minister of Kerala

 (This is the text of the open letter written by the eminent philosopher Prof. Bilgrami, who was honoured by the Government of Kerala a few years back, to Com. Pinarayi Vijayan, on the Hadiya case)
Dear Mr. Vijayan,

You may not remember me from a couple of years ago when you and Prof. Pannikar were kind enough to award me the Social Science Research Prize and attend my lecture on that occasion in Trivandrum. I write out of the blue now —an impertinent liberty— to urge you to intervene in the case of Hadiya where an important constitutional right to choose one’s religion is being violated since, as is well-known, there was absolutely no force exercised upon her in her conversion.   Both Hindutva mischief and patriarchal attitudes are at play in her plight and they need to be strongly resisted.  Moreover it seems to me that the NIA’s being allowed to play a role in this matter is a deplorable interference in the the state of Kerala’s autonomy in the federal system of governance to which our country is committed, and should also be resisted.
  Won’t you please lead the way on this  —your voice, speaking out on all these issues and your support of Hadiya from your position of authority as Chief Minister, will make all the difference.
With my very best wishes,
Akeel Bilgrami
Akeel Bilgrami
Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy,
Professor, Committee on Global Thought,
Columbia University,
Tel: 212 316 3458
Fax 212 854 4986

Free Hadiya March on 3 Oct: Citizens for Hadiya

On October 3, students, human rights activists, muslim-dalit-adivasi-bahujan organisations from all over India are converging in Thiruvananthapuram to march for the freedom of the twenty-four-year-old Hadiya, who is under virtual house arrest in the home of her father, Mr Asokan after the shocking annulment of her marriage to her chosen partner by the Kerala HC. The march will begin from the Martyr’s Column, Palayam, at 11 AM and end at the Kerala State Government Secretariat junction. Through this we hope to draw the attention of the public to the grave dangers posed by these decisions of the judiciary and by the shameful silence and criminal inaction of the Kerala government , which claims leftist and secular credentials. We invite all to participate in this march and strengthen the hands of those who are fighting to undo this unspeakable violation of justice to an Indian citizen and the gross attack on the fundamentals of Indian democracy. We also request you to kindly change your Facebook profile pictures to Citizens for Hadiya and/or write supporting posts.

Continue reading “Free Hadiya March on 3 Oct: Citizens for Hadiya”

A letter to Kummanam-ji, but also to all Pujya/Poojya/Poo Hindutva fanatics from Kerala, in the wake of revolution in the prasad-giving practices in Haryana

Dear Kummanamji

This is to let you know how the events presently unfolding in Dharmakshetra- kurukshetra (or at least its vicinity) are making even me, a lapsed sudrathy from Kerala, more and more creative about convincing your masters in Delhi that Hindutva fanatics in Kerala are no less worthy of kind consideration than their own home-grown fanatics. Actually, is this not the time you should be making a splash? Alas, despite your earnest efforts, these days, the Kerala police (and even your arch-enemies in Kerala, though they seem to be a bit less enthusiastic  these days), take all the credit of minority-bashing and gender-criminalising. And the best you can do is go home to home telling Hindu women to cover up etc. and shout at Muslim groups doing the same, accusing them of nearly the same acts.

My ex-sudra blood boils perhaps when I notice how in the course of post-independence history, Kerala politicians in Delhi with the exception of a few of the likes of AK Gopalan, have performed mostly sudravritti especially after the 1980s even when they were in powerful posts (often clearing the shit your predecessors have made according to the instructions from above and to the extent to which they permit). Now is your chance, I think, to rise, or at least put your head above the ground. Continue reading “A letter to Kummanam-ji, but also to all Pujya/Poojya/Poo Hindutva fanatics from Kerala, in the wake of revolution in the prasad-giving practices in Haryana”

The Heavy Footsteps of Brahmanical Dandaneethi : The Hadiya Case


It appears that for women in India, the modern judiciary is fading and in its place, the terrifying face of Brahmanical Dandaneethi is emerging. A ten year old rape victim is denied abortion, women fleeing dowry harassment are to submit to the rule of local elders and leaders of ‘family welfare committees’, and now, in the Hadiya case, the judges declared that unmarried daughters should be under their parents according to ‘Indian tradition’.

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An Anthem for Kerala: Mojitopaattu

In these days in which Indo-Gangetic barbarians seethe with rage against Kerala and unleash all sorts of false propaganda about the state of affairs here, I have been thinking about my own love for and quarrels with this place. My relation to it has been largely critical, as a Malayali woman born and raised here who has endured, and continue to endure, much second-rate treatment. More than anyone else, I realize, it is Malayalis who have criticized Kerala.  Not surprising, then, is the fact that one of the most ardently-discussed themes in public politics here in the past decades has been the critique of the entrenched imagination of Kerala, and its exclusions. Not for nothing, too, have the struggles of marginalized people here demanded not just material gains, but the reimagining of Kerala in more expansive terms. And newer and newer groups of excluded people keep renewing it – most recently, the LGBTIQ+ people.

Our love for Kerala is a cursing, stumbling love – but love above all.

That’s why I think Anitha Thampi’s poem  Mojitopaattu (The Mohito Song) ought to be our anthem. Anitha is undoubtedly one of Kerala’s most perceptive poets of the present, capable of delving into the depths of the present cultural moment and surfacing with inscrutable yet pervasive feelings and moods and weaving these into words. Our crazy love of Kerala which cannot be but critical is brilliantly caught in this poem In it, this love comes alive as moonlight falling on this place which illuminates erratically, sways madly, and disappears without notice; this loving looks as hard and risky as a drunk’s faltering steps along a rough bylane through treacherous yet playful moonlight; this love eddies through the blood of two and a half generations and comes awake even as the whole world sleeps. Long before the Indo-Gangetic barbarians even noticed us have we felt this mad love, and it will take more than vituperative slander to kill it.

Below is my translation of Mojitopaattu – and I take Anitha’s suggestion that it a song, and a drunken one, seriously. I hope someone sets it to music and it becomes the anthem of crazy-lovers of Kerala.



Four-five sprigs fresh mint

Two spoons sugar
Juice of three limes
Vodka, two measures and a half 

Hey you, swayin’-shakin’-rollin’
 on night-time alley that’s runnin’
all o’er earth that’s green and shinin’
Banana-leaf-like, straight and gleamin’*
Hey sweet moonlight, 
who you be,
you be man or you be woman?

Hey you, fallin’ easy-loose-y
You for real, or just a feelin’?
Hey you singin’ , spreadin’-creepin’
Who you be to sunshine beamin’?

Hey you lurchin’, fallin’, stumblin’
on each an’ ev’ry greenly leafling  
Hey bright moonshine,  distilled-dried blood, bluish, 
two and a half generations bleedin’
Who be you?

You be me, or you be you?

*Kerala, that lies at the foot of mountains like a bright green banana leaf beside the sea.

( Anitha Thampi , ‘Mojitopattu’)


And here is the original, much more terse and controlled in its use of language, but a paattu all the same:



നാലഞ്ച് തളിർപ്പുതിന

രണ്ടു സ്പൂൺ പഞ്ചസാര

മൂന്നു നാരങ്ങാ നീര്

രണ്ടര വോഡ്ക







ആടിയാടിപ്പോകുന്ന പൂനിലാവേ നീ

ആണാണോ പെണ്ണാണോ?

അഴിഞ്ഞഴിഞ്ഞു തൂവുന്ന പൂനിലാവേ നീ

നേരാണോ പൊളിയാണോ?

പാടിപ്പാടിപ്പരക്കുന്ന പൂനിലാവേ നീ

വെയിലിൻറെ ആരാണോ?


പച്ചിലകൾ തോറും തപ്പിത്തടഞ്ഞു വീഴും

രണ്ടരത്തലമുറ നീലിച്ച വാറ്റുചോരപ്പൂന്തെളിനിലാവേ നീ

ഞാനാണോ നീയാണോ?