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Metonymical Representation of Dalit in Ray's Sadgati


Chandrakant Kamble

chandrakanth kambleFamous Hindi writer Munshi Premchand's (1881-1936) story Sadgati  ('deliverance' in the religious sense of the term) was picturized by legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) in a 1981 movie with the same name. India is celebrating Ray's 100th birth anniversary in 2021. In academia and curriculum, Ray's many films are considered masterpieces and taught to film and media students in several Indian institutes, including the Film and Television Institute of India. Mainstream Indian cinema has an inadequate representation of the Dalit and marginalized communities.

The few exceptions, from Achhut Kanya (1936) to Madam Chief Minister (2021) have misrepresentations or portrayals through the established Savarna gaze, displaying immense prejudice and metonymy. Ray is not an exception in this trend of biased cinematic presentation of Dalits. Upper caste filmmakers have always talked about the 'Other' through the Savarna perspective. Feminist theorist and scholar Gayatri Spivak's asked a question, 'Can the Subaltern speak?' her theoretical answer is No…Never.

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Beyond Dalitness: Start Annihilating Caste and Claiming Humanness


Milind Thokal

milind thokalThe process of learning and unlearning is inevitable and will continue forever but some basic concepts must always remain at the core where we must never have any confusion, keeping it more simple, straightforward, and to the point. Let's start with the very basic word ‘Dalit’. Dalit is a Sanskrit word that means ‘Divided, Broken, Scattered’. This is nothing but a nomenclature given to people belonging to the lower castes, characterized as "Untouchable". The word encompasses thousands of castes or we can say it is an umbrella under which all the Scheduled Castes and Tribes fall.

The word gained popularity through the Dalit Panther Movement when they adopted this term as an act of confident assertion, rejecting Mahatma Gandhi's nomenclature of Harijan, children of God. Dalit Panther defined this word in their 1972 manifesto as: “A member of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, Neo-Buddhist, the working-people, the land-less and poor peasants, women, and all those who are being exploited politically, economically, socially and in the name of religion”. We must introspect on whether that has benefited us or has the word became a handy marketing tool in the hands of the upper castes.

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Outlook magazine's duplicity


JS Vinay

js vinayRecently, there was a controversy when the Outlook magazine released an issue with a cover story on “50 Dalits remaking India”. [1]

Many anti-caste activists raised questions about the issue. Some were talking about the usage of the word “Dalit” since a court had ruled against the usage of the term in previous judgments. There were people from the list like Rahul Pradhan[2], Disha Pinky Sheikh[3], Kadubai Kharat[4] who later gave statements that they are not Dalits but Ambedkarites.

 Some people in social media suggested alternatives to be used in place of the term 'Dalits', like 'Bahujans, Ambedkarites, Scheduled Castes, Buddhists (even though not all in the lists were Buddhists), Mulnivasis' etc.

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Rest in Power – K. R. Gouriamma!

 

Bobby Kunhu

"There is no escape – we pay for the violence of our ancestors" – Frank Herbert

kr-gowri-amma

 It has been the fate of every radical social and political activist in history from Jesus to Ambedkar to Malik el-Shabbazz to be mistreated by their peers during their lifetime and to be celebrated and coopted by entrenched hegemons – be it the deep state or the deep caste – across ideologies. Kalathilparambil Raman Gouriamma, popularly known as K. R. Gouriamma, who passed away at the ripe old age of 101 on 11th May, 2021, was to be no different.

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How to turn a murder into suicide: Sumitra Bhave's 'Kasav'


Rahul Gaikwad

rahul gaikwadEvery now and then one comes across some or the other celebrated so-called progressive leader/writer/activist who turns out to be absolutely shallow, superfluous and even hypocritical upon closer examination. This has been the case with Vijay Tendulkar and his Kanyadaan drama; or Pandit Anand Patwardhan's Jai Bhim Comrade where he portrayed Ambedkarite assertion in a bad light and manipulated it. It is no coincidence these so-called progressives invariably come from upper castes, mostly brahmin class.

A couple of weeks back, one such celebrated writer/director who wrote/ directed/produced many award winning marathi films passed away. While I was talking to one my friends, she mentioned how she happened to watch this much hyped and celebrated movie by Ms Sumitra Bhave named Kasav (Turtle) and was particularly disturbed with a couple of scenes and questioned their need in the movie. So after listening to her objection I decided to watch the movie myself.

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మరణం లేని నీలి విప్లవం

 

Kranthi Kumar Mungamuri (ముంగమూరి క్రాంతికుమార్)

yashpal gautam

ఉత్తర్ ప్రదేశ్ యువ బహుజన కార్యకర్త యశ్ పాల్ గౌతం

మరణం లేని నీలి విప్లవం

నా పేరు మరణం లేని నీలి విప్లవం
సమానత్వం కోసం బహుజన తల్లి పురిటి
నెప్పుల నుండి జన్మించినవాడిని
ప్రాచీన కాలపు బుద్ధుడిని, మానవత్వపు దిగంబరుడిని
వర్తమాన సమాజంలో యశ్ పాల్ గౌతముని
బహుజన వారసత్వాన్ని భుజాలపై ముద్దాడినవాడిని
ఏసు ప్రభువు వలె విముక్తీ నినాదాలను గుండెల్లో నింపుకుని
కుల రక్కసి రాజ్యాలపై నృత్యం చేసినవాడిని
విలాస్ గోగ్రే విప్లవ పాఠాలను గ్రామ గ్రామాన భోధించినవాడిని
అందుకే ఆశ తీరని కోరికలాగ మళ్ళీ మళ్ళీ
ఈ నేల మీదే జన్మించాలని ఉంది
అందుకే నా పేరు మరణం లేని నీలి విప్లవం
మీ యశ్ పాల్ గౌతముని....

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Palasa 1978 – A saga of Courage and Revolt

 

JS Vinay

js vinayI got the chance to watch the Telugu movie 'Palasa 1978' on Amazon Prime a few days back. Though I am from Maharashtra, I like to see films on anti-caste assertion in different languages. Will try to get straight to some key points:

The movie is set in a small town called Palasa in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh state. The film concentrates on the exploitative relationship between the Bahujans and the dominant upper castes. Will not go into the details of the plot. The story primarily revolves around the two brothers Mohan Rao and Ranga Rao, who are from the "Untouchable" community and the conflict between two mercantile upper caste landlords. The plot is gripping and the pace of the movie is very fast. It is mostly in the flashback mode.

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