Two talented youngsters and their life of songs


C K Premkumar

ck premkumar[P S Banerjee and Mathayi Sunil bagged the Kerala government’s folklore awards this year. They are being introduced to the readers by their friend, through this article.]

It was the time when C K Janu was leading the Kudil Ketti Samaram (protest by constructing huts) in front of the secretariat against the A K Antony government. In between the protest calls, they used to sing their hearts out, a ritual which used to cut through the city noise. A dark, skinny boy, from the fine arts college nearby, used to come by and take part in the performance of those songs. He danced with them, rendering the protest spaces lively. At last, when the protest succeeded, he sang and danced in joy with the other protesters and became a remarkable visual for the newspapers and channels at that time. He is P S Banerjee, who secured the young folklore artiste award from the Kerala Folklore Academy

The history of Banerjee’s musical life begins with his Pre-degree studies at D B College, Sasthamkotta. It is someone else’s history too. It belongs to Mathayi Sunil as well, who bagged the young folklore artiste award from the Folklore Academy, along with Banerjee.


The caste view of 'saffron dollars'


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 [Mooknayak]

A comedian's monologue at the Kennedy Centre explaining the difference between good and bad India shows the pervasive naivety of people regarding the origin of inequality in India. Many people who came forward to support also fantasized about the problem in the binary context. Reducing the issue to a binary model is a favorite subject for the so-called high castes because they reap the benefits of having such a view. Caste is a diabolical system ubiquitously operational in India. Excluding caste from the discourse on social justice is a terrible joke on the foundation of the system of thought, i.e., truth.


The myth of 'Departmental Politics'


 Deepali Salve


Ever since I got into university for higher education, one word that I have constantly heard is "politics". As I did not face casteism/exploitation till my graduation, I was far away from experiencing what casteism exactly is! There was an illusion in my mind as a child that teachers engaged in beating only upto the school level. But that illusion had begun to slowly disappear.

Some misconceptions were triggered in my mind for some time before and after my tenure in the college — that there was a lot of "politics" going on in colleges but it was not politics, I'd say it's casteism. There was a fear in my mind—as to how things would work out in the 'political' education system, what problems I would have to face and why I would fall prey, even when there was nothing wrong with me. Such questions were consistently popping up in my mind, hence I started looking at everything with suspicion and inspecting even the little things.


Analyzing a Brahmin historian's views on the origins of untouchability



shubhi 3

Often the theory of varnasankara or mixed castes and untouchability are discussed together in Indian academia mainly to rationalize the link between low occupational status of lower castes and untouchability. There is no obvious link between the two; for Ambedkar argued beef eating by the Buddhist broken men had resulted in the imposition of untouchability on them by Brahmins.

In Dharmasutras and Manusmriti, by varnasankara theory, brahmanical writers basically meant that various mixed castes arise due to the 'miscegenation' among members of the four varnas, which they categorise under anuloma and pratiloma rules thus deciding the respective status of mixed castes. It is interesting to note, the ways in which the theory of varnasankara is interpreted by various scholars.


Bahujan collectives cannot survive without trust and gratitude


Tanoj Meshram

Meshram ProfileI still remember the simplistic example I used to give to myself and others from my college days about “collective” tea-making (of course with milk and sugar as it is often consumed in India!) to underscore the point that underprivileged Bahujan students or people can survive and progress only by encouraging collectives. In my example, one had tea, another sugar, third, milk, fourth stove, fifth utensils, and last water. These six people can have tea only if they join hands. This is often the state of most Bahujans; they have only one or another ingredient but not the whole to survive, progress, or excel in whatever field they long for. And that’s where the role of collectives comes into the picture.

I must confess that my own long journey to where I am today is because of the collectives of various kinds. It was not possible for me alone to reach wherever I have, despite whatever kind of individual biological or social dispositions I had. And recently while writing my long five-page unorthodox acknowledgment section for my dissertation I realized how significant collectives have been in my life and how important it was for me to express my gratitude to all those who helped me in my personal journey despite some of them not being so close today.


The Supreme Indignity of being an Untouchable in India


Anshul Kumar

anshul"It is usual to hear all those who feel moved by the deplorable condition of the Untouchables unburden themselves by uttering the cry "We must do something for the Untouchables". One seldom hears any of the persons interested in the problem saying 'Let us do something to change the Touchable Hindu'. It is invariably assumed that the object to be reclaimed is the Untouchables. If there is to be a Mission, it must be to the Untouchables and if the Untouchables can be cured, untouchability will vanish. Nothing requires to be done to the Touchable. He is sound in mind, manners and morals. He is whole, there is nothing wrong with him. Is this assumption correct? Whether correct or not, the Hindus like to cling to it. The assumption has the supreme merit of satisfying themselves that they are not responsible for the problem of the Untouchables. "

- Dr BR Ambedkar in Untouchables or The Children of India's Ghetto

Recently, the Supreme Court of India observed that criminal proceedings arising out of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 can be quashed invoking powers under Article 142 of Constitution or Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code.

The mere fact that the offence is covered under a 'special statute' would not refrain this Court or the High Court from exercising their respective powers under Article 142 of the Constitution or Section 482 CrPC, a three judges bench headed by CJI NV Ramana observed.


Who is to Blame for Climate Change?

  Pranav Jeevan P


"The truth, indeed, is out—but the ears to hear it and the minds to learn from it seem to have been atrophied by a cultivated ignorance and a nearly total loss of critical insight."― Murray Bookchin

In a world where the effects of climate change are already upon us and we are dealing with extended droughts, frequent cyclones, and floods, it is time that we really focus on where the issue of global warming and pollution truly comes from. 

The discussions on pollution, global warming and greenhouse effect have been going on for decades and yet there has not been much action in combating these issues.


'Great boast, little roast': DSE and Bahujan students

Preeti Koli and Ritika Koli

ritika and preeti koliDr. 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 unless you kill this monster." (Ambedkar, 1936)

Caste-based microaggressions are not new to any of the Bahujan students who manage to enter educational spaces which are historically and predominantly upper caste spaces. We get to hear casteist comments filled with hatred from upper caste folks on a regular basis. When I was in the last year of my under graduation, I still remember how a friend of mine made a casteist remark on getting into DSE. Dalit to them is the one who is malnourished, poor, and always begging to get basic things to survive-

"hum bhi muh par kalikh laga lete hain aur DSE ko jake bol denge hum SC hain, hume admission dedo sir (We'll also put soot on our face, go to DSE and say we belong to a scheduled caste, give us admission sir)" were the exact words of my friend.


We the people: Dismantling Legitimacy of Coercive Power- Part 4


Pranav Jeevan P


"If a larger country oppresses a smaller country, I'll stand with the smaller country. If the smaller country has majoritarian religion that oppresses minority religions, I'll stand with minority religions. If the minority religion has caste and one caste oppresses another caste, I'll stand with the caste being oppressed. In the oppressed caste, if an employer oppresses his employee, I'll stand with the employee If the employee goes home and oppresses his wife, I'll stand with that woman. Overall, Oppression is my enemy" - Periyar E. V. Ramasamy

Every single social interaction we have in our day-to-day life mostly involves adhering to one hierarchy or another. We are programmed to respect these coercive hierarchies of gender, caste, class, sexuality, culture, language, religion and tastes. These hierarchies are reinforced in our family, educational institutions, workplaces, public spaces and government. A critical analysis of these hierarchies is essential to understand who holds power over us and to delegitimize that power, which they use to coerce us into submission. Democracy is about dismantling these power hierarchies and redistributing power equally among the people so that they are not coerced and exploited.


Poona Pact & a Dalit-CM


Dr Jas Simran Kehal

dr jas kehal 1Revisiting Poona pact through literature, I was wondering what frame of mind Dr Ambedkar would have been in prior to signing the pact. One needs to have nerves of steel to single-handedly manage that sort of tough bargain while safeguarding interests of the depressed classes. That somber mood was disrupted by crowning of a Dalit chief minister and the subsequent reaction from my online community, which was initially euphoric and later inquisitive.

When queries continued to pound, I flipped over my reading material from Poona Pact and ended up at Kanshi Ram's "The Chamcha Age". As rightly stated by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes that "The pen is tongue of the mind"; I decided to wield mine on the eve of the historic Poona Pact day.

To put an end to this entire hullabaloo over the issue of a Dalit CM and restore insight among our masses, I have coined three phrases which appear similar but are poles apart:

1. A leader who is a Dalit.

2. A Dalit Leader

3. An Ambedkarite Leader. 


Dalit movement must provide our students a positive identity: Anoop Kumar


Anoop Kumar 

(This is the transcript of his speech at an international conference on Babasaheb Ambedkar in Tokyo, Japan, in October 2018)

Thank you very much. Jai Bhim and good morning to all. My name is Anoop and I've been teaching for the past 5-6 years in Wardha. Today, I am going to speak on the problems, which our Dalit students face in higher education. I have been working on this issue since the last 20 years almost- first as a student and later on as an activist, and now as a teacher.             anoop kumar

I will put forward, whatever experience that I have gained through working on this issue. The Indian constitution has provided reservation in education for Dalits. It has been the single most important factor in Dalit empowerment.

Reservation has empowered millions of Dalits to come out of their marginalization & deprivation, to lead a life of dignity.

Still, there are various gaps to be filled to provide equal opportunities in real terms for Dalit students. I am trying to list some of the gaps, which are problems for the Dalit students, despite the reservation policies.


How the caste census became a national issue and thereby a Brahmin problem



neha yadavAs the 16th census of India is about to be conducted, several marginalized organizations and leaders have intensified their demand for a caste census. This is happening in the background, when the government is yet to publish the caste wise data of 2011 census and the parliament has been informed that the government has no intention of enumerating caste based census in the upcoming census of 2021.

Though the decadal census that is conducted in India records the population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the caste census of 1931 (pre independence India) serves as data for estimating the OBC population in India.

A nationwide demographic record on how various castes are placed in Indian society remains unclear. The demand for a caste based census, enumerating data relating to all castes, is a long pending demand in this light.