Independence from Caste!

Milind Thokal

milind thokalAnniversaries are occasions for remembrance and renewal: these are the stock taking moments, we must introspect our achievements and failures. On this day we must ask ourselves whether we are truly Independent? Does this Independence belong to all of us equally? Has this Independence unfolded its wings to the lower strata of our society, to the SCs and STs of India? When we talk about India’s Independence from colonizers (Britishers) we have an answer for this and obviously it’s, Yes! But, what about Independence from the caste system that continues to thrive, and which has in a true sense destroyed the social harmony of the country? Free we are from the hold of British forces, but are we free from the clutches of the caste system, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, sanitation, rapes, honour killings, lynching, misogyny, agriculture and water crises, etc?


Our self-respect was surely also self-determination - Understanding Dravidian politics in the times of Hindutva

Vinith Kumar

[This is part 1 of a series of essays on Dravidian politics today and its historical roots.]

There are pessimists who say that there is no guarantee that victory will be followed by a New Order. There is perhaps room for this pessimism. The New Order, which is the ideal of labour, has its roots in the French Revolution. The French Revolution gave rise to two principles—the principle of self government and the principle of self-determination. The principle of self-government expresses the desire of the people to rule themselves rather than be ruled by others, whether the rulers be absolute monarchs, dictators, or privileged classes. It is called ‘democracy’. The principle of self-determination expresses the desire of a people united by common ideals and common purposes to decide, without external compulsion, its political status—whether independence, interdependence, or union with other peoples of the world. This is called nationalism. The hope of humanity was centred on the fructification of these principles. Unfortunately, after a lapse of nearly 140 years, these principles have failed to take root. The old regime has continued either in all its nakedness or by making sham concessions to these two principles. Barring a few countries, there was neither self-government nor self determination in the world. All this, of course, is true. But this is no argument against the attitude taken by labour—namely, that the preliminary condition for the establishment of the New Order is victory over the forces of Nazism. All that this means is that Labour must be more vigilant and that the war must not stop with victory over Nazis, but there must be no peace unless there is victory over the Old Order wherever it is found.

Dr. Ambedkar, BAWS vol 10, Why Indian Labour is Determined to Win the War

Democracy in the middle of a pandemic  

Now that the dust has settled on TN elections, it is safe to assume that one won’t be called the BJP’s B team. Although, the risk of being called a communist still runs wild.

elections corona


Mahmoud Darwish and the idea of Home as the distant lover


Chanchal Kumar

chanchal kumarMahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian national poet was among the first artists to popularize the idea of the homeland as the distant, absent lover. Writing from exile for most of his life and spanning a career that covered more than four decades, he achieved widespread acclaim with poems that both celebrated and mourned the memory of Palestine where he grew up as a child. In her 2019 book Mahmoud Darwish: Palestine's Poet and the Other as the Beloved, the author Dalya Cohen-Mor writes about the poet: "Blending nationalist verse with love poetry, he created a new kind of patriotic poem in Arabic, or a new kind of love poem, in which Palestine is fused with the figure of the beloved and is the object of erotic attention." (Cohen-Mor2).


The Realities of Higher Educational Institutions for Dalit Students

Sagar Kumbhare

Sagar Kumbhare“May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.”

These unsettling words of Rohith have brought forth the horrific reality of caste based discrimination, exclusion, and humiliation of Dalit students in the Universities of India. However, this is not the first time a Dalit student committed suicide, nor was he the last. 27-year-old Dalit student Muthukrishnan took his own life at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.


Narappa: A critical review


Bhavani Etikala

EtikalaBhavaniIn Telugu cinema, caste issues and atrocities were untouched concepts on the big screen until late. In 2020, Palasa 1978, a period-revenge-drama set in the 80's, was released. Debut director Karuna Kumar said that the film was based on real incidents. The movie acknowledged the deep rooted reality of castesim in the Telugu states through the lens of a Dalit film maker. This film was appreciated at many levels, mainly for being able to shape the Dalit resistance on screen and the entry of the Dalit film maker into main stream film making which was absent till now.


Critiquing GC Spivak’s ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’


Chanchal Kumar

chanchal kumarAnybody who has tried reading 'Can the Subaltern Speak?' will accede to the fact that it is a text rooted in the academic discourse. Perhaps that's the reason why the ideas propounded therein are still considered to be unchallenged, or at least impossible to ignore. I am undertaking the task to bust a few myths surrounding the logic of this essay by Dr Spivak, and I realize I may not be perfect in doing so. My attempt is rather an effort to anticipate more engagements with Dr Spivak's work through the lens of Bahujan thought. This is my intention behind writing this critique.


Sarpatta Parambarai: A punch in the face of Savarna Parampara

JS Vinay

js vinay“Be thy own light- Atta Deepa Bhava”

~ Buddha

"You must abolish your slavery yourselves. Do not depend for its abolition upon god or a superman. Remember that it is not enough that people are numerically in the majority. They must be always watchful, strong and self-respecting to attain and maintain success. We must shape our course ourselves and by ourselves."

~ Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar, Vol 1, Page 212, BAWS..

A few days back the Tamil movie Sarpatta Parambarai was released on Amazon Prime. Directed by Pa Ranjith and starring actors like Arya, Pasupathy, John Vijay, John Vijay, Dushara Vijayan, Kalaiyarasan, Shabeer Kallarakkal, etc. The film is a tribute to the greatest sportsperson of the world, the boxer Mohammad Ali.


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