<SiteLock

North Beach turns into ideas

by Chandrabhan Prasad

 

The decision was deliberate. I wore a starched kurta churidar pajama because it had given me a distinct identity. Plus, with the "end caste" discrimination badge in place at the second button, anxious mediapersons could easily approach me to learn about India's caste system. The party had just begun.

Read more...

Journalistic ethics at Durban

by Chandrabhan Prasad

A t the Durban conference, I was greatly perturbed by the intellectual taste of the Indian media and the excessive dependence on secondary sources for news.Not one of them seemed to have confirmed with the WCAR Secretariat facts relating to Para-73, before pronouncing judgments on the "exclusion" of "Work & Descent" in the UN Charter.

Read more...

Woman power in Dalit movements

 

Chandra Bhan Prasad

(First published in The Pioneer in October 2001)

I do not wish to refer to Ms Mayawati, the pride of the Dalit movement today, who has single-handedly redefined the grammar of cowbelt politics. Yes, Kanshi Ram did "introduce" her but don't male politicians require mentors, too? I am talking about other women, the "new strengths" in modern-day Dalit movements.

 In this exercise I am not going to refer to Nidhi, Anjali Deshpandey, Prabha Jagannathan, Meenakshi Nath, Rama Lakshmi, Bela Malik, Bulbul, Tista Setalvad and over half a dozen more - all women with minds, inner rebellion, successful and who have played decisive roles in my life, sustained me in Delhi, both intellectually and emotionally. Neither do I wish to refer to Rinku Ghosh, in-charge of Agenda, The Pioneer, who is more worried than me about the regularity of Dalit Diary. Nor do I intend to elaborate upon the role acclaimed novelist Sagarika Ghosh has played in my life, or for that matter Nivedita Menon, whose robust insight and intellectual clarity could frighten any anti-Dalitist. Neither shall I discuss the legendary Gail Omvedt, the first intellectual to discuss Dalit Diary's concerns in any other daily newspaper, nor Ms Shubha Parmar, a Delhi University lecturer, whose intellectual charm draws all, irrespective of age. Here, I am concerned with the others.

To begin with, let us talk of Sevanti Ninan, an acclaimed columnist with The Hindu. About a week ago, she called me asking me to write for www.thehoot.org on the position of Dalits in media. Privileged as I felt, I wrote the article challenging Varna editors to explain why they had followed a policy of exclusion and why they didn't respond to Uniyal's path-breaking story, In Search of a Dalit Journalist.

Read more...

Chinna breaks the fellowship fortress

by Chandrabhan Prasad

It was the morning of January 30, 2000, and the place was Rashtrapati Bhawan. We, a group of Dalit writers and a host of non-Dalit intellectuals, along with the editor of The Pioneer, were walking out of Rashtrapati Bhawan after having presented the first copy of the Dalit Millennium, a 12-page supplement guest edited by Rajashekhar Vundru, to President KR Narayanan.

Read more...

All the myths about Kerala

 

Chandrabhan Prasad

Brahma Satyam, Jagat Mithya: This is one of the three slogans the Adi Guru Shankaracharya had offered while according "religious" cover to the Chaturvarna order in the early ninth century in India.  Shankaracharya was born in Malayali land and was an accomplished myth maker. According to him, "The world is not real, real is only Brahma." Then he went on to elaborate how things we see are only reflections of Brahma.

 When the elephant had disappeared, they commenced on their journey once again. While they walked, one of the disciples is said to have posed an uncomfortable question to the guru: "Sir, if everything is unreal, why did you run from the elephant?" Came the reply, " My dear disciple, like the elephant, the very act of me running away was also unreal!"

The great myth maker was born in today's Kerala and it could be only coincidence that Malayalam society is wrapped in several layers of myths still waiting to be decoded. One of the myths about Kerala is the egalitarian nature of its society. Modern day Kerala came into being in 1956 under the States Reorganisation Act when the princely states of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar merged into one. In the first Assembly elections, the communists, under the leadership of EMS Namboodripad came to power - the first time communists ever captured power through the democratic process. Since then, the communists and the Congress have ruled over the state for an equal number of years.

Read more...

Varnas only celebrate their intelligence

 

Chandra Bhan Prasad

A few years ago, a former foreign secretary had said, "Dalits don't fit into the Indian Civil Services' culture." What the retired (Varna) civil servant seemed to be saying was: a civil servant is meant to govern people and not serve them.  This seems to be the culture of the Varna order. But even then, some of them do defy Varna morality and serve the people: they distribute contraceptives, organise yoga classes for prisoners, turn into national heroes and walk away with a Magsasay. The Dalits, on the other hand, have served society for ages and even when they do get into the civil services, don't learn the culture of governing. They keep serving.

I know of stories about the commendable intelligence and concern shown by three Dalit IAS officers, who have even been able to use new age technology to their benefit. Training in formal knowledge has eluded Dalits since time immemorial. The systematic exclusion of the Dalits by the petrified Varna systems was more perfect than any computer programme. Computer programmes have bugs but the Varna system does not. The Varna system's juggernaut rolled on until Vasco da Gama's discovery of India.

Read more...

Other Related Articles

The caste view of 'saffron dollars'
Saturday, 27 November 2021
  Dr. Bhushan Amol Darkase "If anyone throws his glance at the Indian physical and social world as a spectator, he will undoubtedly find this country a home of glaring inequality." -Dr Ambedkar... Read More...
Buddhist Sangha — an embodiment of gender neutrality
Wednesday, 24 November 2021
  Dr Amritpal Kaur  When an ideology for restructuring of human nature and society becomes a religious cult, it not only loses its spirit of rationality and political relevance and its... Read More...
Waatavaran’s ‘Adivasis for Forests’ Initiative
Friday, 19 November 2021
  Waatavaran's 'Adivasis for Forests' Initiative In Partnership With Raigad Administration Receives International Support Rahul Sawant "The larger goal of the Adivasis for Forest is management... Read More...
The revival of 'public conscience'
Thursday, 18 November 2021
  Dr. Bhushan Amol Darkase The survival of Indian democracy depends on the revival of 'public conscience' which Dr. Ambedkar explained as, 'Conscience which becomes agitated at every wrong,... Read More...
Narratives of Dalit Cultural Politics in Telangana
Tuesday, 16 November 2021
   Bhangya Bhukya Vemula Yellaiah's Kakka which was published in Telugu, twenty years ago and now translated in English is a powerful narrative of dalit assertion in Telangana. It is the... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Govt. of India should send One Lakh SC ST youths abroad for Higher Education
Monday, 21 June 2021
  Anshul Kumar Men sitting on the pinnacle of the palace "So, I went one day to Linlithgow and said, concerning the expense of education, "If you will not get angry, I want to ask a question. I... Read More...
Reflections On Contemporary Navayana Buddhism - Context, Debates and Theories
Tuesday, 10 August 2021
  The Shared Mirror    PRE RELEASE COPY Reflections on Contemporary Navayāna Buddhism Context, Debates and Theories     Shaileshkumar Darokar Subodh Wasnik bodhi s.r ... Read More...
Conceiving a New Public: Ambedkar on Universities
Saturday, 26 June 2021
Asha Singh & Nidhin Donald Dr. B.R. Ambedkar conceptualizes education as a ‘vital need’ which helps us fight notions of ‘inescapable fate’ or ‘ascriptions of caste or religion’. He... Read More...
Caste management through feminism in India
Friday, 06 August 2021
Kanika S There was a time some 5-6 years ago when feminism tried to undermine Dr Ambedkar by pointing out that he carried a penis.1 Now he is just as fantastically a carrier of feminist ideals... Read More...
Rainbow casteism and racism in the queer community is alienating us
Monday, 28 June 2021
  Sophia I entered the Delhi queer movement in my early 20s, as a complete outsider in terms of language, origin, race, class, and caste identity. I wanted to bring change to the status quo and... Read More...