Friday, April 13, 2018

The Dalit of  India ,

Celebiratet the Greate,

Messiah of the oppressed,

The exploited and neglected,

And the architect of the Indian constitution.

Bharath Rathna

Babasheb Dr B.R.Ambedkar

on his 127rd Birth day 14.04.2018





Sunday, March 11, 2018

India's Forbidden Love: An Honour Killing on Trial


The survivor of a brutal honour killing testifies against her parents in the murder trial of her lower-caste husband.


In March 2016, Kausalya and her husband Shankar were brutally attacked on a crowded street in southern India.
Shankar, who came from a lower Dalit caste, died of his injuries. Kausalya survived and accused her parents of orchestrating an honour killing.
Witness follows Kausalya as she fights for justice through the courts, testifying against her parents in a trial where they face the death penalty.
Kausalya's now-estranged grandparents and brother, Gautham, also await the verdict, desperately hoping Kausalya's mother and father will be released.
The unique access to both sides shows a family torn apart by a caste hierarchy that remains deeply-rooted in India's social fabric.
FILMMAKER'S VIEW
By Sadhana Subramaniam
Modern India has changed radically from the country I grew up in during the 1980s and 90s. Having now spent half of my life in the UK, I remain fascinated by the seeming conflict between tradition and modernity in India today, and have always wanted to make a film that explores this.
Two years ago, I came across the CCTV footage of the brutal attack on Shankar and Kausalya that sent shockwaves across India. My gut instinct was that, if handled sensitively and responsibly, this honour killing had the power to reveal something really important about both the deep-rooted caste system in India and the aspirations of a new generation.
To do this properly, I strongly believed that I needed to get access to both Kausalya, Shankar's widow, and also her family, who are accused of orchestrating the murder and from which she is now estranged.
In these situations, it's almost impossible to get the victim's side of the story as they either don't survive or are forced to go back to their families. Equally, parents or relatives accused of orchestrating such attacks generally do not want to speak to filmmakers.
It took me eight months to ensure that both sides were comfortable and on board with the idea of me making a film about their lives. Filmed over 12 months, the film follows both sides of the family in the lead-up to the court trial for Shankar's murder, at which Kausalya's parents were facing the death penalty

As time went on and I began to understand the perspectives of those involved, I realised that even as India hurtles towards modernity, many traditional and entrenched attitudes, such as those that underpin caste, maintain a tight grip on sections of society in this enormous and varied country. This seems to be particularly the case for women.
All too often, the intense stigma of dishonour surrounding intercaste and interfaith marriage means that most cases go unreported and the victims remain unknown. Yet, in Kausalya, I found a brave young woman, campaigning for justice - not prepared to let her husband's murder go unnoticed or accept the role and restrictions that traditional values place upon her.

One thing that surprised me was the discovery that, in some ways, Kausalya's family were also victims of the caste system. This is not to condone the savage violence of honour killings in any way, but to recognise the shame heaped upon families by their community and relatives when their child decides to marry out of caste.
Without understanding and addressing these pressures on individual families, little progress will be made in eradicating such behaviour. I came to the conclusion that to treat caste-motivated violence only as a law and order issue, as opposed to a sociocultural issue, will not help India in the long run. 
My hope is that this film will help to raise awareness of the issues surrounding honour killing and caste discrimination. I believe that only by showing the devastating human impact of such hate crimes can the issue be properly debated, understood and, ultimately, resolved.

for full report and video pl clik the following link.
https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness/2018/03/india-forbidden-love-honour-killing-trial-180306074425327.html
Source : Aljazeera.com

Tuesday, January 30, 2018



In a first, plea in apex court seeks SC/ST creamy layer's exclusion from quota


Deserving and impoverished biting the dust’
The Supreme Court will hear a petition to exclude the affluent members, or the creamy layer, of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the benefits of reservation.
A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, will hear the petition, which argues that the rich among the SCs/STs are “snatching away” the benefits, while the deserving and impoverished continue to “bite the dust.” It is this lack of percolation of benefits to the poor and really backward among these communities that has led to social unrest, Naxalite movement and perennial poverty, it says.

This is the first time a petition has been filed urging the Supreme Court to introduce the creamy layer concept for the SCs/STs. In 1992, a nine-judge Bench of the court in the Indra Sawhney case, or the Mandal case as it was popularly known, upheld the caste-based reservation for the OBCs as valid. The court also said the creamy layer of the OBCs (those earning a specified income) should not get the benefits of reservation. The ruling, however, confined the exclusion of the creamy layer to the OBCs and not the SCs/STs. Now, the petition filed by Samta Andolan Samiti, which represents the poor strata of the SCs/STs in Rajasthan, wants the creamy layer of the SCs/STs excluded from the benefits.

Scrutiny of assets

The petition, filed by advocate Shobhit Tiwari, refers to the Constitution Bench’s 2006 judgment in the M. Nagaraj case that the “means test [a scrutiny of the value of assets of an individual claiming reservation] should be taken into consideration to exclude the creamy layer from the group earmarked for reservation.”


The uplifted/affluent and advanced sections of the SCs/STs snatch away the maximum benefit and the 95% members of these communities are at a disadvantage. The affluent among the SCs/STs are siphoning off the reservation benefits given to them by the State government as well as the Central government... The benefits of the reservation policy are not percolating down to the people who are in actual need of them,” the petition argues. This lack of percolation of quota benefits to the poorest of the poor ensures that the “weak always remains the weak and the fortunate layers consume the whole cake.”
The petition argues that no class or caste remained homogeneously backward across time. Only the backward portion of castes included in the list of SCs/STs alone are constitutionally entitled to the benefits of reservation.

Source.The Hindu dt 29.1.2018


Blogger views:

The former President Shri.K.R.Narayanan had once said that only 4%of  people are affluent among SC/ST population, hence the question of excluding creamy layer doesn't arise in reservation,more over the posts reserved for SC/ST still not filled up fully and kept vacant in many department for best reasons known to them but the same people want to divide the SC/ST people in the name of creamy layer. The must know that reservation for SC/ST are not only based on the economic conditions but also social conditions of SC/ST people in the Hindu society. Those bother about the poor let them first implement the creamy layer scheme to unreserved posts in jop and education institutions. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Anthology chronicles deceits and pleasures of dalit existence

Writers need a great senseof observation when itcomes todetailing innocent pleasures and everyday deceits that take place around them. Tamil writer Bama’s recently-launched collection of 15 short stories chronicle the lives of people with whom she has lived and who are forcedtolive in situations where they are denied freedom and social justice. “My house is testimony to my independence and control over my own destiny,” Bama, a prominent author in contemporary dalitwritings, writes in a short story titled ‘Loss’. “It has been my sanctuary, benignly permitting me tolaugh or weep to my heart’s content within its sheltering walls.”
Titled ‘Just One Word’, the stories are translated from Tamil into English by Malini Seshadri, who has also translated Bama’snovel ‘Vanmam’ into English in 2008. “In these stories you will meet children, women and men whose inner complexities, emotional struggles, and heightened consciousness I have tried to depict, situating them in the social context of their lives,” says Bama. “The characters of these stories bring out emphatically the manifold contradictions based on caste, religion, gender, culture and class that shape their social context.”

Caste domination and social discrimination always find focus in Bama’s works. After her first novel, ‘Karukku’ (1992), she has published ‘Sangati’ (1994), ‘Kusumbukkaran’ (1996), ‘Vanmam’ (2002), ‘Oru Thathavum Erumayum’ (2004), ‘Kondattam’ (2009) and ‘Manusi’ (2011). The plight of the marginalised in society attains space in these stories. “I have written more than 50 short stories and 15 of them have been selected for this collection. Each story is based on the day-to-day experiences of a dalit. We wantedto add a note abouttheexperiences that led to each story, but dropped it due to lack of space,” she said. The stories in ‘Just One Word’ have been published in different periods. Seven storieswere publishedin 2003 under the title ‘Oru Thathavum Erumayum’ (The Old Man and the Buffalo), five storiesfrom the collection ‘Kondattam’ (Celebration) published in 2009, and the rest were written between 2003 and 2015.
“We always thought education would abolish caste hierarchies in society. But that didn’t happen. The educated still look at us only through the eyes of caste. We are struggling to prove our existence. And that’s why wechose‘JustOne Word’ for the title of the book,” said Bama.
Writer and theatre activist A Mangai finds Bama’s ‘women protagonists quarrel, laugh, fight with their husbands and lead their lives alone.’ “They are survivors. They are not ‘heroic’. What they have is a love for life. Bama doesn’t romanticise her female characters. They are equally products of the society they live in, and reek of all the prejudices that operate within it,” Mangai writes in the introduction to the book. Published by Oxford University Press, the book is edited by Mini Krishnan.
Source: The Times of India 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Why a 34-year-old Dalit rebel has India’s ruling elite running scared

SAGARIKA GHOSE
A bearded, bespectacled 34-yearold sparks fury among ‘nationalist’ TV anchors. The BJP denounces him as divisive and anti-national, teargas- and water-cannonarmed police stop his public rallies, and FIRs are registered against him for the Bhima Koregaon violence even though he wasn’t even at the site.
Why is the establishment so terrified of Jignesh Mevani? Is it because in a climate of fear he dares to openly and audaciously mock PM Modi? Or, because he’s bringing the roaring power of the gathering Dalit revolution into politics, and posing a frontal ideological challenge to Hindutva? Jignesh is combining a caste battle with a wider class war; he’s attacking the very foundations of so-called Hindu unity and behind him stands a youthful army.

 He’s not the first Dalit rebel. In the 1970s, Dalit Panthers attacked caste elitism. But the Panthers soon transmogrified into timid lambs of the ruling class. Former Panther Ramdas Athawale is today a tamed member of the BJP government. “Tilak, tarazu aur talwar, inko maaro joote chaar,” bellowed Dalit activist Kanshi Ram in the 1990s, unleashing fury against upper-caste rulers. The anger evaporated once the Bahujan Samaj Party gained power and allied at various times with the ‘Manuwadi’ BJP and upper caste-led Congress. Kanshi Ram’s heir Mayawati was a powerful symbol of Dalit assertion, but collapsed in a welter of corruption scandals, even destroying Ambedkar’s repeated injunctions against hero worship by building her own statues. The Dalit political leadership constantly failed the Dalit revolution, Ambedkar’s descendants were orphaned. In the vacuum, the Sangh moved in to assiduously cultivate the Dalit vote. As Mayawati reduced herself to a Jatav chieftain and benefits of reservations in Maharashtra flowed mainly to Mahars, other Dalit subcastes were successfully lured into the Sangh fold, often with promises of caste Hindu status. The Ambedkarite revolution was betrayed by its leaders’ moral bankruptcy.

Yet youths like Rohith Vemula who saw themselves as part of the Ambedkarite mission continued to spread awareness of Ambedkar’s gospel in campuses. Dalit bahujan writers like Kancha Ilaiah powerfully articulated the Dalit’s “buffalo nationalism” centred on the black buffalo rather than on the white cow. Dalit intellectuals like Chandra Bhan Prasad praised the British Raj for liberating Dalits from Manuwad. Prasad built a temple to Goddess English, Ilaiah called for the re-writing of the Purusa-sukta, the Vedic hymn that assigns upper castes different places in the divine body but leaves out the perpetually polluted “achhut”.
Into this ferment has exploded Jignesh Mevani. His campaign crucially focused on unemployment and individual freedom. ‘They say Adani-Ambani, we say jobs, they say love jihad, we say love zindabad,’ he yells. Mevani represents the new wave of educated Dalits committed to a no-holds-barred attack on brahmanical Hindutva’s icons like Rama and Dronacharya, demander of Eklavya’s thumb.

Since the advent of the Hindu rashtra, attacks on Dalits have spiked. The assertive Dalit is now daring to keep a pointed moustache like a thakur, Dalit grooms often ride a horse and carry a sword, enraging agrarian middle castes resentful of Dalit success. NCRB data records a sharp rise in crimes against Dalits in 2016 from previous years. Mevani, who shot to prominence after the horrific beating of Dalits in Una by “cow protectors”, is rightfully incensed. He is furiously emphasising the Dalit ideological challenge and counter-culture to hierarchical Hindutva: beef eating and cattle trade as a Dalit way of life, English education as a Dalit right, the right to wear Ambedkar’s prescribed modern dress of trousers and shirt. Mevani refuses to be co-opted. He wants equal space, not sops; respect, not condescension. The caste elite has never been able to accept Dalit pride and Mevani opposes everything Modi represents: cowworshipping Hindutva, big business and clampdown on Constitutional freedoms. Most frightening of all, Jignesh Mevani has just achieved an impressive election win.

He is holding up a mirror to society, once again reminding as Ambedkar did, that without social democracy, political democracy is meaningless. Why is it that with a Dalit President and an OBC PM, India still remains riven by violent caste divisions and a Manuwadi mentality? He’s giving the revolution the angry determined leader it has so far lacked, and aiming to create a cross-class nationwide youth coalition. And in the aftermath of Vemula’s death, Una and rise of the Bhim Army, rebellious youthful crowds are flocking to him. His war cry of Dalit pride, equality and assertion undercuts the united Hindu identity. No wonder the ruling regime is terrified of Jignesh Mevani.

Source : The Times of India dt 14.01.2018


Art and music is equal to political power: Pa Ranjith

— Purnima.Sah@timesgroup.com
Dressed in identical grey suits, walked in 19 band members of ‘The Casteless Collective’ during their first performance, in the city recently. With thousands gathering to see their performance, the band members were taken aback having received such a warm welcome. The highlight were the lyrics that condemned honour killings in the name of caste pride, quota, discrimination, and manual scavenging. And these videos from the concert have only created ripples on the internet!
Arivarasu Kalainesan, an engineering graduate, is one of the lyricists and rapper in the band who authored 10 songs. “I am born and brought up in a slum. I have grown up watching the hardship of discrimination in the name of caste people go through. I used to read and write a lot of poems in school and when I joined college, I got the opportunity to write lyrics for our college band. I gave an audition at Neelam Cultural Centre and I was chosen to work with the band. It’s good to see how through music, people have understood a century old issue.”
And this wouldn’t have been possible without director Pa Ranjith, who always wanted to bring gaana on a big stage.
Says Ranjith, “For me, art and music is a political tool. I want to highlight social issues through art and music, issues that have been there since centuries but have failed to bring about a change. Gaana is in the blood of every child who is born in the slums of north Madras, the same locality where I come from. They are so skilled yet so far behind in many aspects of life. I want to change that.”
Ranjith’s organisation, Neelam Cultural Centre, collaborated with the label ‘Madras Records’ to form ‘The Casteless Collective’, inspired by a Tamil phrase ‘jaathi ilaathu Tamilargal’, used by Tamil anticaste activist and writer C Iyothee Thass. “This collective goes beyond the barriers of caste. And all of us have one aim — zero discrimination in the name of caste and religion though our tool — music and art,” added Ranjith.
That’s when he decided to collaborate with the music composer, Tenma. “We conducted workshops to understand and found a way to bring fusion of gaana, folk, hiphop, rap and rock. It’s more like creating a new genre of music, which has too many elements — powerful stories, percussion instruments like katte and chatti, which are played during funeral processions — and there are rappers and beat boxers. Everyone has an individual personality. I had to conduct them like a gospel choir, more like African gospel because there are too many of everything together,” says Tenma.

The artistes are not only from Tamil Nadu, but also Mumbai’s Dharavi’s rap trio, Dopeadelicz. This rap trio has also worked with Ranjith in Kaala.

Source: The Times of Inida dt 13.01.2018