Jeyaraj, Bennix case and the RSS in Tamil Nadu


Radhika Sudhakar

The Jeyaraj, Bennix case is not the first gruesome custodial murder case in Tamil Nadu, this state has a long history and a terrible record, just as every other state in India.

jeyaraj bennix

The gruesome torture and murder of the father and son by the police attached to the Sattankulam police station and higher officials in Tuticorin district between 19 and 22 June was one of administrative lapses and police excesses. However, the Sattankulam murder will be the first one showing some sort of direct links to the BJP which empowered the police to become extremely brutal there, also exposing an exponentially growing compliance with the RSS in Tamil Nadu from the administration and in police ranks thanks to BJP brought to power in union government by the north Indian States. The case is now under CBI.


COVID-19 and the failures of India’s healthcare system


Dr Manisha Bangar

manisha bangar(Round Table India has been hosting a series of online talks by activists and thinkers on issues of importance to the Bahujan. This is the transcript of Dr Manisha Bangar's talk on July 25th, 2020)

Thank you so much for inviting me to give this very important talk, 'COVID-19 and the failures of India's healthcare system'.

It is a huge topic, and involves two topics, one is COVID-19, which in itself is a huge saga, which started in Feb 2020 and we have almost 4-5 months down the line. And we have seen how the healthcare system has unfolded itself, from the perspective of healthcare workers as well as from the consumers' point of view, that is the citizens of the country. We have also seen how these two major stakeholders were treated by the governments, whether central or state government. In between, somewhere, are people like us, who are evaluating what we have undergone in all these months and what went wrong where.


Religion and other aspects of Feminism

Mook Nayak 2.0

Preliminary Observations

A lot of debates are going on about Feminism, its origin and its ideals etc. It is said that the main objective of feminism is to promote equality between the sexes. For a moment, let’s leave the counter arguments made on feminism (1) and look at one profound link which has not received proper attention, namely the link between Feminism and Religion.

Religion and Ideals

Firstly, there is no single accepted definition of religion and what it means, so I use the term religion to only mean “the ideal(s) it sanctions to govern the terms of association between members of a society”

Do religion and its ideals have any significance in our daily life? Speaking about the significance of religion, Babasaheb Ambedkar said:

“Religion as a social force cannot be ignored. Religion has been aptly described by Hebert Spencer as ‘the weft which everywhere crosses the warp of history’. This is true of every Society…Religion stands for a scheme of divine governance. The scheme becomes an ideal for society to follow. The ideal may be non-existent in the sense that it is something which is constructed. But although non-existent, it is real. For an ideal it has full operative force which is inherent in every ideal” (2)


When Chiranjeevi cannot sanitise 'Aaj ka Goonda Raaj'


Amarnath Sandipamu

In 1991, Chiranjeevi acted in a film called Gang Leader. The summer release was a box office sensation in Telugu cinema. Within a year, it got remade in Hindi as Aaj ka Goonda Raaj. Almost three decades later, in 2020, the film and its star seem more relevant than ever before. Despite having faint memories of movies I had seen before this one, Gang Leader was the film that woke me up to storytelling, capacity of entertainment and film form.

Recently, a series of unusual events triggered a contemplation that made me revisit my childhood, memories fascinated by cinema and my practice as a filmmaker today. It mirrored certain harsh truths about life that, over time, many of us may have accepted as normal state of affairs. For me, due to my love for Chiranjeevi and moving images, it shook things closer to home. Let me share how.


ಪಿತೃಪ್ರಭುತ್ವ, ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದ ಮತ್ತು ಬಹುಜನ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು

ಪಿತೃಪ್ರಭುತ್ವ, ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದ ಮತ್ತು ಬಹುಜನ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು

ಜೂಪಕ ಸುಬದ್ರ

ನಾನು ಇಂದು ಮಾತನಾಡಲಿರುವ ವಿಷಯ ‘ಪಿತೃಪ್ರಭುತ್ವ, ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದ ಮತ್ತು ಬಹುಜನ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು’. ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದವು ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದಿಗಳ ಪ್ರಕಾರ,  ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು ಮತ್ತು ಪುರುಷರ ನಡುವಿನ ಸಮಾನತೆಗಾಗಿ. ಅವರು ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾರೆ, ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು ಒಂದೇ, ನಮ್ಮ ನಡುವೆ ಯಾವುದೇ ವ್ಯತ್ಯಾಸಗಳಿಲ್ಲ, ಗೋಡೆಗಳಿಲ್ಲ. ನಾವೆಲ್ಲರೂ ಪಿತೃಪ್ರಭುತ್ವವನ್ನು ಎದುರಿಸುತ್ತೇವೆ. ಆ ಪಿತೃಪ್ರಭುತ್ವ ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಒಂದೇ. ಬಹುಜನ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು, ಎಂಬಿಸಿ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು, ಆದಿವಾಸಿ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು, ದಲಿತ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು ಇದನ್ನು ಒಪ್ಪುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಅವರ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಗಳು ಒಂದೇ ಆಗಿರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಈ ಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಬುಡಕಟ್ಟುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಪಿತೃಪ್ರಭುತ್ವ ಒಂದೇ ಅಲ್ಲ. ಇದು ವಿವಿಧ ರೀತಿಯದ್ದಾಗಿದೆ. ಅವರ ಪಿತೃಪ್ರಭುತ್ವವು ನಮ್ಮಿಂದ ಭಿನ್ನವಾಗಿದೆ. ಅವರು ಶ್ರಮ ಜೀವನದ  ಹೊರಗೆ ಅಸ್ತಿತ್ವದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾರೆ, ನಾವು ಶ್ರಮ ಜೀವನದ ಒಳಗೆ ವಾಸಿಸುತ್ತೇವೆ.

joopaka subadra-300x300ನೀವು ಪುರುಷ-ಮಹಿಳೆ ಸಮಾನತೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾತನಾಡಿದರೆ, ಜಾತಿ ವಿನಾಶವಿಲ್ಲದೆ ಅದು ಹೇಗೆ ಸಾಧ್ಯ? ಪುರುಷ-ಮಹಿಳೆ ಸಮಾನತೆ, ಇತರ ಶ್ರೇಣಿಕರಣಗಳ ಕಣ್ಮರೆ ಜಾತಿ ವಿನಾಶ  ಆದಾಗ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. . ಆದರೆ ನೀವು ಪುರುಷರು ಮತ್ತು ಮಹಿಳೆಯರ ನಡುವಿನ ಸಮಾನತೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರೆ, ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ ಉದ್ಭವಿಸುತ್ತದೆ: ನೀವು ಯಾವ ಪುರುಷರು ಮತ್ತು ಯಾವ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೀರಿ? ಕಾರ್ಮಿಕ ಶಕ್ತಿಗಳಾಗಿ (ದಲಿತ, ಆದಿವಾಸಿ, ಎಂಬಿಸಿ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು) ಶ್ರಮಿಸುವ,  ಬೆವರಿನ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರಾದ ನಾವು ಸಮಾನ ಸಂಬಂಧದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದೇವೆ.


Caste tag


Pramod Sagar

pramodsEach one of us carries some identity; identity is something that bears a close similarity to who or what a person is. This concept of identity might be improper to use the problem is not with the identity, but the label which is attached to a person which is also commonly called a tag. Remember identity keeps on changing and it is based on the rationale of the person, but the tag is just a label that has no real connotation and is based merely on the prejudices of a person. A tag is a mark of whether you have a quality or not, in a simple way TAG is the BRAND that makes qualitative and valuable differences even with no other, intrinsic quality to influence or attract others. In this regard, someone saying Tag is the symbol of quality of its own name. This is absolutely right and of no doubt in the case of products which we are made, used, bought and sold. When we talk about the social system in India we can see the tag in the form of Casteism. Some use the caste tag to show and assert their superiority and domination.


ಶೂದ್ರರು ಎಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾರೆ..?


ಕಾಂಚಾ ಐಲಯ್ಯ ಶೆಪರ್ಡ್ 

ಕನ್ನಡಕ್ಕೆ: ಮಂಜುನಾಥ ನರಗುಂದ

1990 ರ ಆರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ಮಂಡಲ್ ಆಯೋಗದ ಶಿಫಾರಸ್ಸುಗಳನ್ನು ಜಾರಿಗೆ ತಂದಿದ್ದು ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ಶೂದ್ರರಿಗೆ ಒಂದು ಮಹತ್ವದ ಕ್ಷಣವೆನ್ನಬಹುದು. ಈ ಕ್ರಮವು ವಿಶೇಷವಾಗಿ ಸರ್ಕಾರಿ ಉದ್ಯೋಗ ಮತ್ತು ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಉನ್ನತ ಶಿಕ್ಷಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೀಸಲು ಸ್ಥಾನವನ್ನು ಇತರ ಹಿಂದುಳಿದ ವರ್ಗಗಳಿಗೆ ನೀಡುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ವರ್ಗವು ಬಹುತೇಕವಾಗಿ ಸಮಾಜದಲ್ಲಿನ ದುರ್ಬಲ ಶೂದ್ರ ಜಾತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಮತ್ತು ಈ ಹಿಂದಿನಿಂದಲೂ ಕೂಲಿ ಕಾರ್ಮಿಕರು, ಕರಕುಶಲ ಕೆಲಸಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾ ಬಂದಿರುವ ಜನರನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡಿದೆ. ಮಂಡಲ್ ಆಯೋಗವು ತನ್ನ ವರದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಮುಖವಾಗಿ ವೈದಿಕ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿನ ಕೊನೆಯ ಚಾತುರ್ವರ್ಣ ಶ್ರೇಣಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವ ಜಾತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಗುರುತಿಸಿತು. ಈ ಎಲ್ಲ ಜಾತಿ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳು ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ, ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಮತ್ತು ಶಿಕ್ಷಣ ಹೀಗೆ ಬಹು ಸ್ಥರದಲ್ಲಿ ಇತರ ಉನ್ನತ ಜಾತಿಗಳಿಗಿಂತ ಹಿಂದುಳಿದಿವೆ. ಇವು ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರದ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ದಲಿತರು ಮತ್ತು ಆದಿವಾಸಿಗಳಿಗಾಗಿ ರೂಪಿತಗೊಂಡಂತಹ ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆಯಿಂದ ಹೊರಗುಳಿದಿದ್ದವು. ಆದರೆ ಕಾಲಾಂತರದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿವಿಧ ಜಾತಿ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳನ್ನೊಳಗೊಂಡ ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ವರ್ಗದ ಮೀಸಲಾತಿಯನ್ನು ಅವರ ಹಿಂದುಳಿದಿರುವಿಕೆ ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಹಿನ್ನಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಗುರುತಿಸಲು ಆಯೋಗವನ್ನು ರಚಿಸಲಾಯಿತು.


Discipline and Punish: A History of Impalement in Kerala and Tamil Nadu


Umar Nizar

umarThe brutal murder of P. Jeyaraj and his son Beniks in police custody in Sathankulam in Tamil Nadu invokes the Nirbhaya case in its brutality, the only difference in this case being that the perpetrators were policemen. The atrocious and horrific nature of the torture and the brutalities inflicted upon the victims have terrorized most people into a subdued silence. Such psychotic violence goes beyond the pathology of sadistic policemen and has its roots in historic caste and gender based violence. The historical memory of such brutalities goes far back into the ancient past of southern India, refuting received notions of progressivism as well as those of a glorious golden age.

Insertion of stakes and such implements into bodily orifices (impalement) was historically practised in Kerala and Tamil Nadu as an extreme form of punishment. The public nature of the execution and its almost demoniacal violation of the human corpus, were oriented towards scalding the collective psyche of that community upon which it was inflicted. PK Balakrishnan in his 'Jathivyavasthayum Kerala Charitravum' (Caste System and the History of Kerala) gives a graphic account of impalement as it was practised in Kerala. It was mostly directed at those subalterns accused of amorous indiscretions, breaking caste laws of miscegenation. Jeyamohan, a Tamil-Malayalam writer also has delved into the practice of impalement as it existed in Kerala. The victims of impalement later came to be venerated in the form of hero stones and the like. This remains an aspect of hero stone worship in south India that has been seldom studied.


A painting for Banabhatta


Anu Ramdas


Sometime back, I was looking for the translation of the Oriya Mahabharata written by the Shudra saint-poet Saraladasa. Eager to post an excerpt centered on Sarala's Ganga on The Shared Mirror, I was busy combining library and internet searches, when I got sidetracked by a poem penned by none other than the brahmin poet, Banabhatta.

I am now in love with this brahmin poet.

No, not really, but I was far from bored with what I found, as I usually am with brahmanized/mainstream literature. Though the poem contains no mention of caste, it still is fascinating stuff. Such rare articulation, beautifully illuminating the fear and anxiety of the colonizer, with just a few lyrical lines, Bana develops a blueprint for the demonization of the natives; a textual instrument for his descendants to perpetually fine-tune. For, colonization rarely means the extinction of the colonized, it usually means the complex business of having the native remain in a constant state as the 'other'. And caste is all about the other, isn't it?


‘I am not your data, nor am I your vote bank.’ In Memoriam: Sociologist and Activist Abhay Xaxa


Chitrangada Choudhury, Aniket Aga

On 18 March 2015, near the Barwadih block office in Jharkhand's Latehar district, a group of about 60 Adivasi men publicly defecated on copies of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government's bill to amend the 2013 Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act. The bill sought to weaken the hard-won and long overdue safeguards of social impact assessment and informed consent to acquisition. It was a throwback to when state and industry could forcibly displace rural—especially Adivasi—communities, and acquire their land and common property resources.

abhay xaxa 1

The protest at Barwadih, organized by the National Campaign on Adivasi Rights, got the mainstream media to briefly focus on Adivasi dispossession. The campaign's Abhay Flavian Xaxa, a young sociologist, Oraon Adivasi activist, and writer, had also organised a march against the bill the previous day in his native village Jashpur, in Chhattisgarh, which unfolded under heavy police presence and scant media attention. In Barwadih, Xaxa countered the charge of 'uncivility':


ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದವು ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣವಾದ - ಭಾಗ ೩ ಕೊನೆಯ ಭಾಗ


ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದವು ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣವಾದ - ಭಾಗ ೩ - ಕೊನೆಯ ಭಾಗ

ಅನು ರಾಮದಾಸ್

ಇದು ‘ಸ್ತ್ರೀ ವಾದವು ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣವಾದ’ ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರಾಥಮಿಕ ಭಾಷಣದ ಲೇಖನವಾಗಿದೆ

ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದವು ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣವಾದ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ತಪ್ಪಾಗಿದ್ದೇನೆ ಎಂದು ನೋಡಲು ನಾವೆಲ್ಲರೂ ಬಳಸಬೇಕಾದ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳು ಈ ಕೆಳಗಿನಂತಿವೆ. ನಿಮಗೆ ಬೇಕಿರುವ ಎಲ್ಲ ಸಾಧನಗಳನ್ನು ಇಟ್ಟಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಇದನೆಲ್ಲ ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ನೀವು ಹೇಳಬಹುದು - ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಈ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳಿಗೆ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಉತ್ತರಗಳು ಸಕಾರಾತ್ಮಕ ಅಥವಾ ನಕಾರಾತ್ಮಕವಾಗಿ ಹೊರಬಂದರೂ , ಅಂತಿಮ ಫಲಿತಾಂಶವೆಂದರೆ ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದವು ಪ್ರಗತಿಪರವಾಗಿದೆ ಮತ್ತು ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣವಾದವು ಹಿಂದುಳಿದದ್ದಾಗಿದೆ ಮತ್ತು ಎರಡನ್ನೂ ಸಮೀಕರಿಸಲಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಎನ್ನುವುದು.

ಸೈದ್ಧಾಂತಿಕವಾಗಿ, ನಾನು ಯಾರನ್ನಾದರೂ ಮನವೊಲಿಸುವಲ್ಲಿ ಯಶಸ್ವಿಯಾದರೂ ಅಥವಾ ಯಾರೂ ನನ್ನೊಂದಿಗೆ ಚರ್ಚೆ ಮಾಡಲು ತಲೆಕೆಡಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳದಿರಬಹುದು, ಅವರು ಹೊರಗೆ ಬಂದು ನೀವು ಅಸಂಬದ್ಧ ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೀರಿ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳದಿರಬಹುದು ಮತ್ತು ಈ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳು ಅವರಿಗೆ ಕ್ಲಿಷ್ಟವಾಗಿರಬಹುದು , ಹೀಗಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ನಾನು ಹೇಳಿರುವುದನ್ನು ಬೆಂಬಲಿಸಲು ದೃಡವಾದ ಸಾಕ್ಷ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಒದಗಿಸಬೇಕು.

ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದವು ವಿಶ್ವವಿದ್ಯಾನಿಲಯ ಮಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊರ ಹೊಮ್ಮುವ ಒಂದು ಉತ್ಪನ್ನವೆಂದು ನಾನು ಹೇಳಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ಇದನ್ನು ವ್ಯಾಪಕ ಸ್ತ್ರೀವಾದಿ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯದೊಡನೆ ಸಮರ್ಪಿತ ಮನೋಭಾವದಿಂದ ತೊಡಗಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ನಾನು ಹೇಗೆ ಒಂದು ಸಾಕ್ಷ್ಯವನ್ನು ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಬೇಕು?


“Axone” and the Question of Racism in India


Veewon Thokchom

veewon thokchom 1With the release of the Bollywood movie "Axone" directed by Nicholas Kharkonger, a debate on racism has been ignited. Though the movie could not have been worse than it is when it comes to racism, it at least has sparked off a discourse on racism faced by "Northeast" yellow people in Indian metropolitan cities. And this is the moment that we have to seize. A dialogue on not the movie in particular but racism at large in this country; a talk on race and colour – brown and yellow.

 As a starting point to this dialogue, it is essential to state that one need not have to believe in the objective existence of race to be able to enquire the social, political and cultural relevance of the "idea of race." The question of race needs our attention to have a firm grasp on how race is socially and discursively constructed to maintain a structurally hegemonic relationship between people. Talking about race is not enforcing racial difference but it rather seeks to critique the oppressive relations that come along with relationships amongst races. It is also important to note that the usage of the colour code, i.e. brown and yellow, is equally important to decipher the complex nature of race and racism, just as how the usage of the word "black" became popular in the United States during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s.


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Preeti Koli and Ritika Koli Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said: "Turn in any direction you like, caste is the monster that crosses your path. You cannot have political reform; you cannot have economic reform... Read More...
Pariyerum Perumal: On the caste reality of South Tamil Nadu
Wednesday, 06 October 2021
  Deivendra Kumar A Indian cinema, born under the clutches of imperialism, had undoubtedly maintained the space or difference between the elites and the marginalised. In recent years, the... Read More...
India Oh India!
Tuesday, 05 October 2021
   Nourin N K India Oh India! Let me call you out-by your nameAt last.India Oh! India!My father's wallet isStill on quarantine,Sick and coldWe chant "achhe din aayega"To heal what's stuckIn... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Casteism in City Colleges and Classrooms
Saturday, 29 May 2021
Aarushi Punia It is a common myth perpetrated by upper caste faculty, students, politicians, and media that caste superiority and casteism is exercised amongst uneducated people in the villages, and... Read More...
Understanding Cultural and Social Capital of Savarnas
Thursday, 29 April 2021
Pranav Jeevan P Why is the assertion of Bahujans branded as identity politics based on caste, but the savarna assertions are termed as “culture”, “tradition” and “merit”? The dominance of... 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...
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar - From Denunciation of the Vedas to the Negation of Karl Marx and Surrender to Nāstika Buddhism
Sunday, 16 May 2021
Dr Aniruddha Babar “Buddha would never allow violence, but the communists do. No doubt the communists get quick results because when you adopt the means of annihilating a man, they do not remain to... 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...