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Brahmin media cannot resist communal bigotry even amidst COVID-19 pandemic

 

Dr. Manisha Bangar and Anwarul Hoda

"I was very worried about some stories I heard that some people are blaming the epidemic on minorities... on Muslim minorities... even saying that it's a deliberate act of terrorism... this is complete nonsense, is extremely dangerous... we don't need more hatred, we need solidarity, we need love between people." - Yuval Noah Harari

republic tv tablighi jamat

After the Citizenship Amendment Act and the Delhi pogrom Muslims are left with another tragedy to carry with them. In the wake of COVID-19 people showing solidarity and standing for each other's safety while in India in contrast Muslims are blamed for spreading the coronavirus in the country.

Without any shame, TV channels keep on blaming Tablighi Jamat for the Corona outbreak. Going a step further, some of the satellite channels didn't shy away from calling it 'Corona Jihad'. What could be worse for India Muslims to carry the blame of which they know nothing about?

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Cyber Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations worldwide

 

Mahesh Wasnik 

The worldwide Ambedkarite Community celebrated 193rd Mahatma Phule birth anniversary and 129th Dr. B R Ambedkar Jayanti together, online, as a "Cyber Jayanti Celebration."

phule ambedkarDuring the difficult time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ambedkarite community celebrated 193rd Mahatma Phule Birthday and  Dr. B R Ambedkar’s 129th birthday online via multiple social media platforms like Skype, Google hangout, Facebook, YouTube channel, Zoom, WebEx, Free-conference call, webinar jam, GoToMeeting. These cyber celebrations were telecast live on Bahujan media networks like AwaazTV, Maitri TV, KanshiTV, Samyak India TV, Bahujan TV, MNT News Network, MN Live and Dalit Dastak.

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Corona Virus, Science and Buddha


Harishchandra Sukhdeve

harishchandra sukhdeveThe world is at a standstill for almost more than three months now. And, nobody knows when the wheels of the economy will start turning again. Unprecedented. It had never happened before: all continents being shut down for human movement. Human beings are in self imposed cages to save themselves from the tiny invisible Corona Virus. Or rather from the newer version of Corona Virus, hence called Novel Corona Virus, the COVID-19.

This Novel Corona Virus has infected human beings for the first time in December 2019, in the crowded industrial city of Wuhan in China. It quickly spread among a large population killing many people. The infection was swift and widespread leaving no clue about how to respond, much less how to cure people. By the time authorities in China could figure out how to respond, Corona had already travelled to many countries in Europe and America. While China was reeling under its devastating spread and deaths with no medicine in sight to cure people, other countries were quite normal till the dawn of the new year. Corona is pretty stealthy. It doesn’t make its presence felt for two to three weeks. In cascading devastating events that followed after December 2019 in China, Italy overtook it in deaths by February, 2020, when America’s President Trump was still in an ambivalent mood, enjoying the hospitality of Modi in India. Come March and even before it was over, America overtook both China and Italy in terms of affected people, and by mid-April it was topping the list for deaths by Corona.

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COVID-19, Safety and Security of Sanitation Workers

 

Ajit Kumar Lenka

ajit kumar lenkaCurrently, millions of people are affected by Covid-19 (coronavirus disease). The number of infected cases and deaths due to Covid-19 is increasing rapidly. As per the WHO data, more than two million people are affected and thousands of people have died from the coronavirus Covid-19 across the globe. In the case of India, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), thousands of people are infected from Covid-19, and hundreds of deaths are reported. As per the WHO guidelines, everyone should follow basic hygienic such as regular washing of hands with soap and water, wearing mask and maintaining social distancing of at least 1.8 meters from others. One needs to avoid unnecessary, unprotected contact with animals and be sure to wash hands properly.

In India, the majority of sanitation workers directly involved in cleaning work are working without protective gear. More than 1.2 million workers are engaged in cleaning work under the supervision of municipalities across the country. In the battle against Covid-19, sanitation workers are playing a major role in cleaning and maintaining hygiene. These workers are more vulnerable than the other workers because they are dealing directly with hazardous work. They are most vulnerable in the current pandemic situation. They face social distance as well as exclusion in both villages and cities (Kumar, 2014). The majority of the workers belong to lower castes. Their educational level is also low and they have very little ownership of resources. They are at the lowest rung of society. Considering these attributes, the present article focuses on special attention for the safety and security of the sanitation workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Coronavirus may leave soon, but when will the caste virus leave?


Keerthi Nathan

keerthi nathan 2020During the first week of April, there was a news report about a man who was reportedly killed for allegedly marrying outside his caste. The incident was reported to have taken place in a village in Tiruvannamalai district in Tamil Nadu. This alleged honor killing was carried out when the state was amidst the nationwide lockdown. Another incident which took place in the same Tiruvannamalai district saw a cop assaulting and thrashing a Dalit youth in full public view. The cop went absconding soon after and there’s no update on it as of date.

Even during these times of lockdown, caste atrocities have refused to die down and we see reports of shaming and killing in the name of caste. Lockdown or no lockdown, when it comes to protecting the so-called honor of their caste, these people do not care about anything that comes in their way. Not when it comes to preserving their caste pride. This is about safeguarding the integrity and honor in the name of caste. Let us now look at how Dalits have suffered in the name of caste and discrimination during times of calamity.

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Corona, Social Disruption and Academic Anxieties

 

Umar Nizar

umarThe Journal of Extreme Anthropology recently carried a study by an Indian academic on the forced movement of millions of migrant labourers and their families across the states, and mostly into the Gangetic Delta. The domain under consideration, for too long has been infected with the caste virus. The author of the journal article ironically also happens to be an expert on 'post-humanism'. 'Can the subaltern speak?' asks Spivak, but the real question seems to be, 'can the bourgeois listen ?' Will the third world academic community refrain from caricaturing the sufferings of millions of their fellow humans? The exigencies of academic production seem to have subordinated basic decency.

 The fact that caste has been deemed a benign, and less 'extreme' case of anthropological aberration by the publishers of the 'extreme' journal is open to debate. Hierarchical subjugation has pathologized billions of Indians across the ages. Today, the disruption of mainstream society and the possibilities for new forms of cohesion and dynamism that it offered must be put up for analysis.

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Time to destroy the stereotypes about Dalit occupations


Anurag Minus Verma

anurag minus vermaRecently many of us have seen/read news about a few Indians thanking sanitation workers (read Dalits) with flowers for combating the corona pandemic on the streets. Such rare gestures look pleasant but this doesn’t change the fact that these are mere gestures1. It is no surprise that in these emergency times, many Dalits are out there and fighting the battle. The same community that is the most inhumanely treated in India.

I even heard a comment a few days ago at my apartment building that “We must thank these ‘lower castes’ who are taking care of sanitation issues in these tough times.“

Such comments are welcome but I wondered if we have a misconception that the contribution of Dalits in India is limited to cleaning the dirt of society. Are we ignorant of the variety of occupations that Dalits are/were masters of?

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