#India – MGNREGA activist gangraped, murdered in Bihar #Vaw #WTFnews


 Adrienne Rich`s #Rape- but the hysteria in your voice pleases him best #poem #Vaw

Author(s): Alok Gupta, downtoearth.org
Date: Apr 3, 2013

Victim had angered influential landlord community of her village

A 45-year-old activist, who had been protesting against irregularities in the implementation of the rural employment guarantee scheme, was gang raped near Mandai Khurd village in Muzaffarpur on the night of March 27, the day of Holi festival. The victim died the next day while she was being taken to a local hospital.

The victim had reportedly became an eyesore for the influential landlords who have allegedly “hijacked” the rural employment scheme in the village using fake job cards. The activist (name withheld) was popular for her protests against the liquor mafia. The gang rape took place in a corn field when the victim was returning with her husband after meeting relatives.

Her husband was tied to a tree while she was forcibly carried away to a nearby field. The rapists reportedly tormented the victim for nearly half an hour. The victim’s husband was later untied by the assailants and threatened with dire consequences if he approached the police.

Enraged by the gang rape and subsequent death of the victim, villagers blocked the highway for nearly four hours. Rinku Devi, district secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Samiti, alleged that activists protesting peacefully against the incident were beaten by goons and that three female activists were injured in the protest on March 28.

“The tormentors stuffed bamboo and pebbles in the private parts of the victim. There were deep teeth bite marks on her entire body,” Rinku said.

Villagers are also suspecting the role of police in the entire incident. Villagers claimed that police is not taking action to nab the criminals. They also blamed police for focusing on maintaining law and order in the village instead of arresting those who committed the crime.

Second murder of activist in a week
This is the second killing of a MGNREGA activist in the district. In both incidents, the role of police has come under scanner. Last week, an advocate, Ram Kumar Thakur, was shot dead in Ratnauli village after he exposed a MGNREGA scam.

Police claim that family members of the rape victim did not report the incident to the local police station. News about the incident reached district police headquarters after protesters blocked the road. “We have constituted raiding teams to nab the culprits. Police would have been able to act swiftly if the victim family had lodged an FIR,” Arvind Kumar Gupta, additional superintendent of police, Muzaffarpur, said.

There is also a widespread rumour that the post mortem report of the victim has been doctored. Protesting villagers said that police are refusing to give a copy of the autopsy report. “Our sources have informed that post mortem report says that victim was not raped,” villagers said.

There was no arrest till the time of filing of the report. Keeping in the view the tension reigning the village, a contingent of police have been deployed.

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay: The indefatigable freedom fighter and champion of #womenrights


By- Rupen Ghosh, Facebook

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, born on this day in 1903 (April 3, 1903), should be remembered today for drawing attention to the revival and promotion of India’s rich and varied art and crafts, for championing of women’s rights, and as a social reformer, a fearless and committed freedom fighter and revolutionary. Committed to the causes of women empowerment, education, handicraft, theatre along with her contribution to the field of arts, crafts and writings, she was a remarkable person, who was endearingly referred to as a romantic rebel. Some credited her for initiating cultural renaissance in India. It is a pity that many in the present generation have not even heard of her name and her championing the role of women in the Indian freedom movement.

She came from a family background where her parents remained in touch with such prominent freedom fighters and intellectuals as M G Ranade, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and women leaders like Ramabai Ranade, and Annie Besant, and this attracted young Kamaladevi towards the then resurgent nationalist movement. Later on, she participated in Gandhiji’s Salt Satyagraha of 1930 and was chosen as a front line unit of volunteers, after having prevailed over Mahatma not to restrict the movement to men alone. Defiant and daring, despite herself coming from a conservative background, she deified the orthodoxy and married Harindranath Chattopadhyay, when she was a widow, much to the opposition of the patriarchal society of those times, the early years of the last century, that were essentially conservative and conformist and against widow marriage. Harindranath was brother of Sarojini Naidu and an actor of some repute. Theatre bound them together and Kamladevi would act in and promote plays of social themes that carried the message of social reforms. The marriage however did not last long and they later on separated amicably.

As a committed women’s rights activist, she was instrumental in establishing the All-India Women’s Conference, with a clear agenda to work steadfastly for legislative reforms to bring women’s issues to the centre stage. During her tenure, she set up educational a number of institutions for women. Notable was the formation of Lady Irwin College for Home Sciences in New Delhi, a unique institution in those days.

During the ‘30s, she joined a group of idealistic and intellectually gifted and committed young men and women in forming the Congress Socialist Party. She subsequently became president of the party, working alongside Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and Minoo Masani. She remained a life-long committed feminist, and for her, socialism and feminism were inextricably linked. She fought for women’s rights, including launching struggle for better working conditions for women in working places – factories and farms – and was one of the first to fight for their right to paid maternity leave.

An indefatigable freedom fighter and an idealist, she plunged wholeheartedly in the Quit India movement of 1942, and was incarcerated in jail for over a year. However, as India gained independence in 1947, she eschewed active party politics and stayed away from any accepting any formal posts, be in in the cabinet or as a governor, though there were offers in that direction, and chose to devote her life in social work. During the ‘50s and beyond, Kamaladevi concentrated towards the revival of art and crafts of India, by setting up the All India Handicrafts Board and being associated with it for two decades or so. Her interests in weaving, pottery, sculpture, toy-making, etc. led to forming cooperatives to market the produce of these wonderful craftsmen and craftswomen, so that they are not deprived of their rightful earnings. It is not any exaggeration that if today, India’s crafts and indigenous traditions survive and have a presence in the country as well as abroad, a large part of the credit should legitimately belong to Kamladevi Chattopadhay. Indeed, she was truly a remarkable personality, a selfless freedom fighter, committed to such varied interests as social reform, gender empowerment, community leadership, untiring work for promotion of handicrafts and indigenous culture. and devoted her life to these causes.

Pune University defies SC order by not showing answer sheets; RTI activist slams legal notice


Are information commissioners killing the RTI Act?

 

Moneylife, VINITA DESHMUKH | 03/04/2013

Although Supreme Court in its verdict in August 2011 ordered that certified copies of answer sheets is public information under the RTI Act, the Pune University continues to adhere by its 2008 circular which defies the spirit ofthe order and therefore amounts to contempt of court

The Ordinance number182 of the University of Pune implemented through a circularissued in 2008 puts stringent terms and conditions in providing answer sheets to a student, which are contrary to the provisions in the Right to Information (RTI) Act. These include: not providing certified copies of answer sheets; students to apply for answer sheets within 10 days of the results; applicant to apply for Photostat copies of maximum three subjects only and; copies to be provided within 45 days through the principal of the college.
In August 2011, the Supreme Court has ruled that evaluated answer sheets are covered under the definition of ‘information’ under the RTI Act. Hence, this overrides any rule or ordinance that an educational institution may have had. (Read—Ultimate victory for students: Supreme Court judgment orders access of copies of answer sheets of all examinations. Like the Official Secrecy Act of 1923, which has been overpowered by the RTI Act, the Ordinance no. 182 of the University of Pune too is as good as non-existent and it is the rules under RTI that are applicable to the University. However, University of Pune continues to dictate its own terms as per its 2008 rules.
Pune-based RTI activist Vivek Velankar received several complaints from students of the University of Pune who are not being provided certified copies of answer sheets in thespirit of the RTI Act. States Velankar, “As per the RTI Act, the University of Pune cannot insist that the student can apply only within 10 days after the examination result. Since the University of Pune preserves answer sheets for a period of six months, the student has a right to apply within this period and s/he cannot be forced to apply only within 10 days as per its Ordinance. Also, the University of Pune HAS to provide certified copies ofanswer sheets and that too within the mandatory 30 days as per the RTI Act.”
Velankar has sent a legal notice last fortnight, bringing to the notice of University of Pune as to why its Ordinance No. 182 is irrelevant after the Supreme Court verdict of 2011which has made answer sheets as public information under the RTI Act. Says Velankar, “We are giving 30 days to the University of Pune to abide by the SC judgment and to scrap its 2008 Ordinance, as continuing to implement it amounts to contempt of court. If it does not do so, we will file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).”

 

Details of legal notice sent on 16th March are as follows: 
NOT PROVIDING CERTIFIED COPIES:
As per Point No. 19 of Ordinance of the University of Pune Rule No. 182 in respect ofanswer sheets which states as under that, “The Certified copies of revalued answer sheets are not provided.’’…above Rule No. 182 of Ordinance issued by the University of Pune is completely contrary to the provisions of the Right to Information Act and to the judgment of Supreme Court of India in the case of Central Board of Secondary Education and Anr Vs Aditya Bandopadhyay and Ors reported in Civil Appeal No. 6454 of 2011. The Supreme Court has thereby ruled that the definition of information in Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, refers to any material in any form which includes records, documents, opinions, papers amongst several other enumerated items. The term ‘record’ is defined in Section 2(i) of the said Act as including any document manuscript or file amongst others.
When a candidate participates in an examination and writes his answers in an answer book and submits it to the examining body for evaluation by an examiner appointed by the examining body, the evaluated answer book becomes a record containing the ‘opinion’ of the examiner. Therefore, the evaluated answer book is also information under Right to Information Act, 2005. It is further stated that if the rules and regulations of the examining body provide for re-evaluation, inspection or disclosure of the answer books, then none of the principles of the Maharashtra State Board or other decisions following it will apply or be relevant.
“Therefore it is stated that as per the Supreme Court ruling, the word ‘evaluation’ shall mean and include the word re-evaluation and therefore the Rule No. 182 of Ordinance issued by the University of Pune is completely contrary to the ruling of the apex court and hence needs to be necessarily modified accordingly to enable students to get certified copies of their re-evaluated answer sheets. It is stated that, if the mandate of the apex court Judgment is not followed by your institution then this may amount to the contempt of the court as prescribed in the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.”

 

APPLICATION TO BE MADE WITHIN 10 DAYS AFTER THE EXAMINATION RESULT:
“It is stated that the Rule No. 182 of the Ordinance issued by the University of Pune also states that the student has to apply for certified copies of their re-evaluatedanswer sheets within 10 days from the date of examination result. This rule is also completely contrary to the aforesaid ruling of the apex court. The Supreme Court of India in the aforesaid judgment makes it amply clear that, “the obligation under the RTI Act is to make available or give access to existing information or information which is expected to be preserved or maintained. If the rules and regulations governing the functioning of the respective public authority require preservation of the information for only a limited period, the applicant for information will be entitled to such information only if he seeks the information when it is available with the public authority. It is stated that, period of University of Pune is of six months and therefore, the student is entitled to make an application for the certified copies of the evaluated answer books within the period of six months and the mandate 10 days time limit as prescribed in Rule 182 of University of Pune Ordinance is completely contrary to the judgment of the Supreme Court of India and therefore, it is required to be modified accordingly. It is stated that, if the mandate of the apex court judgment is not followed by your institution then this may amount to the contempt of court as prescribed in the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.”

 

REGARDING APPLICATION FOR MAXIMUM OF THREE SUBJECTS ONLY:
“It is stated that, the Point No. 2 of the said ordinance states that the applicant can apply for the Photostat copies of maximum three subjects only. This is also completely contrary to the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, as the Act does not provide any such restriction as to how many subjects an applicant can apply for Photostat copies of the answer books. Therefore the said provision/point in your Ordinance No. 182 is also contrary to the RTI Act, 2005, and needs to be modified accordingly.”
REGARDING NOT PROVIDING ANSWER SHEETS OF PRACTICALEXAMINATIONS:
“It is also stated that, Point No 1 of Ordinance 182 provides for the photo copy/copies of assessed and/or moderated theory subject/s answer book/s of the current examinationwill be supplied to the examinee/s. The photo copy/copies of answer books of practicalexamination, sessional marks, marks of viva-voce/dissertation/ thesis/project, Common Entrance Test conducted by University, etc shall not be supplied to the examinee/s. It is stated that as mentioned above, when a candidate participates in an examination and writes his answers in an answer book and submits it to the examining body for evaluation by an examiner appointed by the examining body, the evaluated answer book becomes a record containing the ‘opinion’ of the examiner. Therefore, any evaluated answer book is also information under Right to Information Act, 2005. This makes it very clear that, any evaluation done by the University is also information under RTI Act, 2005 and therefore, the photo copy/copies of answer books of practical examination, sessional marks, marks of viva-voce/dissertation/ thesis/ project, Common Entrance Test conducted by University are also covered under the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005. Point No. 1 is completely contrary to the provisions of RTI Act, 2005 and aforesaid judgment of the Supreme Court of India.”
REGARDING PROVIDING INFORMATION WITHIN 45 DAYS OF RECEIVING THE REQUEST:
It is also stated that, Point No. 16 of aforesaid Ordinance 182 states that, “the University shall supply the photo copy/copies within 45 days from the date of receipt of application through the principal of the college concerned”. It is stated that, the aforesaid point of the ordinance is directly and completely contrary to the provisions of Section 7 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, which states that 7. Disposal of request—(/) subject to the proviso to sub-section (2) of Section 5 or the proviso to sub-section (3) of Section 6, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, on receipt of a request under Section 6 shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request. either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in Sections 8 and 9: 6 This provision mandates the information which is sought has to be provided to the applicant within the maximum period of thirty day and no further extension is allowed by the provisions of the Section 7 of RTI Act, 2005. Therefore, the time period of 45 days is completely and directly contrary to the provisions of RTI Act, 2005, and needs to modify accordingly.
REGARDING UNIVERSITY OF PUNE WRONGLY ABIDING BY ITS OWN ORDINANCE
It is also stated that the RTI Act, 2005, is a central enactment and has to be followed in its true spirit and any provision/ rules made by any public authority contrary to the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, shall attract the provisions of the Section 22 which reads thus “Act to have overriding effect—the provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act”.
(Vinita Deshmukh is the consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet – The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart – Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.

 

Strong anti-rape law for India as President Pranab clears the Bill #Vaw #Womenrights


 NEW DELHI, APRIL 3, 2013 | PTI

An anti-rape protester

An anti-rape protester
President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the anti-rape bill which provides for life term and even death sentence for rape convicts besides stringent punishment for offences like acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism.Mukherjee accorded his assent to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill-2013 on Tuesday, brought against the backdrop of the country-wide outrage over Delhi gangrape , and it will now be called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, an official release said on Wednesday.The law, passed by Lok Sabha (lower House of Indian Parliament) on March 19 and by Rajya Sabha (upper House of Indian Parliament) on March 21, has replaced an Ordinance promulgated on February 3.It amends various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

With an aim of providing a strong deterrent against crimes like rapes, the new law states that an offender can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years, but which may extend to life, meaning imprisonment for the remainder of the convict’s natural life and with a fine.

It has provisions for handing out death sentence to offenders who may have been convicted earlier for such crimes.

The law, for the first time, defines stalking and voyeurism as non-bailable offences if repeated for a second time. Perpetrators of acid attack will attract a 10-year jail.

It also defines acid attack as a crime besides granting a victim the right to self-defence. It also has provisions for imposing a minimum 10-year jail term for perpetrators of such acts.

The law has fixed age for consensual sex at 18 years.

New sections to prevent stalking and voyeurism were introduced following a strong demand from women’s organisations.

The amendments seek to define and prescribe punishment for the offences of stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment.

The law also seeks to widen the definition of rape, broaden the ambit of aggravated rape and enhance the punishment for such crimes.

It also provides that all hospitals shall immediately provide first aid and/or medical treatment free of cost to the victims of acid attack or rape, and failure to do so will attract punishment.

It has provisions for a minimum imprisonment of seven years which may extend to imprisonment for natural life, and a fine for rape convict if he is found to be a police officer, a public servant, armed forces personnel or management or hospital staff.

The law also seeks to amend the Indian Evidence Act to allow a rape victim, if she is temporarily or permanently mentally or physically disabled, to record her statement before a judicial magistrate with the assistance of an interpreter or a special educator. It also has provisions to video-graph the proceedings.

Read more at:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pranab-mukherjee-assent-anti-rape-bill-sexual-harassment/1/260483.html

 

Mumbai Police Is Checking What You’re Downloading #Privacy


By  on Apr 3rd, 2013  |  

Mumbai Police has set up a Social Media lab, along with team of cyber experts, and with the help of ISPs, is conducting random checks on content that is being downloaded from certain sites, including torrents, and especially Internet users with large data downloads, reports DNA, quoting Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner (Crime), Mumbai Police. As per the report, on the basis of a complaint from a copyrights holder, the police warned and let off an IT professional who was using his office computer (and we assume, connection) to download torrents. The company emailed its employees to stay off torrent sites.

Copyright owners have, in the past, got websites blocked, hired people to conduct likely-to-be-illegal DDoS attacks, and got all-encompassing John Doe Orders to get anything they want blocked.

Our Take

While it quotes a “cyber security expert” who says that the Copyright Act, the IPC or section 66 of India’s IT Act can be used in this case, it doesn’t question why the person was let off with a warning. That seems rather arbitrary, because if a complaint has been filed, surely the decision on whether to let the person go or not should be left to the Judiciary, not the Police. Or does the Police usually go warning people and letting them go after copyright owners file a complaint? The report doesn’t mention the complainant, the user, the company involved, the content being downloaded or the torrent site.

Is this tapping of citizens’ Internet connections legal? If you look at the 1996 PUCL judgment on (phone) tapping, it clearly points out:

Telephone – Tapping is a serious invasion of an individual’s privacy. With the growth of highly sophisticated
communication technology, the right to sold telephone conversation, in the privacy of one’s home or office without interference, is increasingly susceptible to abuse. It is no doubt correct that every Government, howsoever democratic, exercises some degree of subrosa operation as a part of its intelligence outfit but at the same time citizen’s right to privacy has to be protected from being abused by she authorities of the day.

The judgment states:

1. An order for telephone-tapping in terms of Section 5(2) of the Act shall not be issued except by the Home Secretary, Government of India (Central Government) and Home Secretaries of the State Governments. In an urgent case the power may be delegated to an officer of the Home Department the Government of India and the State Governments not below the rank of Joint Secretary. Copy of the order shall be sent to the Review Committee concerned with one week of the passing of the order-.2. The order shall require the person to whom it is addressed to intercept in the course of their transmission by means a public telecommunication system, such communications as are described in the order. The order may also require the person to whom it is addressed to disclose the intercepted material to such persons and in such manner as are described in the order.

The Police and their CyberCrime cells proactively scanning Internet connections certainly amounts to invasion of privacy.

Readers should also be aware that India doesn’t have a privacy law, as was pointed out by the Standing Committee that criticised the Indian government’s Unique Identity project, saying that

“In the absence of data protection legislation, it would be difficult to deal with the issues like access and misuse of personal information, surveillance, profiling, linking and matching of data bases and securing confidentiality of information etc.”

Maybe it’s time someone filed a case to prevent government organizations from snooping on its citizens, ad-hoc. If you’re not worried yet, take a look at the Home Ministry’s snooping tender that we’d written about.

Despite Union minister’s letter, 43 houses demolished in Mumbai #Ajaymaken


STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu, April3, 2013 

A protest rally in front of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi against demolition of Golibar slum in Mumbai. A file photo: V. Sudershan.
The HinduA protest rally in front of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi against demolition of Golibar slum in Mumbai. A file photo: V. Sudershan.

Paying no heed to the letter from Ajay Maken, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation asking the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to stop demolition of the houses of slum dwellers, around 43 houses were demolished under the supervision from the collector’s office at Mumbai’s Golibar slum on Wednesday.

The activists of National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) have alleged that the Shivalik Ventures, the developer of prime property of 125 acres called Golibar in suburban Mumbai, in connivance with government officials carried out the demolition.

The Golibar Project has been surrounded by controversy from last five years after it was alleged that the Shivalik Ventures has forged various documents to secure consent of the slum dwellers. Also the houses built for rehabilitation are on the lands of Railways and Defence ministry. The Defence ministry has approached the court, claiming its right on the land and the Railways have taken an undertaking that the buildings will be demolished whenever it requires the land back.

On Tuesday, Mr. Maken had sent a letter to Prithviraj Chavan, which said, “I however, would request you to also ensure that wherever, as in these six Slum Rehabilitation Scheme (SRS) projects under inquiry, there are prima facie illegality, no irreversible damage or eviction of residents should be permitted to be done with police force – the aim solely being that of protecting the already marginalised urban poor.” The Golibar Project is one of the six projects in which inquiry has been ordered.

The government officials however said that they did not receive any instruction from the chief minister office. “If the letter has been sent to chief minister then his office will send the necessary reply to the ministry. However, we did not get any order from our higher ups. We are working as per the court orders,” said PR Rokade, Deputy Collector (Encroachment Removal).

Sumit Wajale of NAPM said that the government officials are working for the builders and not for the government. “The demolition drive is purposely undertaken to finish off the resistance even before the ordered inquiry is concluded,” he said, alleging that the demolition drive was also guarded by private security agencies provided by the builder.

Dr Yamini Thankachi’s complaint against Kerala Ex-Minister, K B Ganesh Kumar of Domestic Violence #Vaw


From,                                                                                     01-04-2013

Dr Yamini Thankachi

TN H4, Tagore Nagar,

J Lane, Vazhuthacaud

Trivandrum-695014

 

To,

The Hon’ble Chief Minister

Government of Kerala.

 

Subject: My personal disposal before you on 7th March 2013 (subsequent to my telephonic complaint on 23-02-2013) regarding criminal assault and mental torture inflicted by my husband, Mr K B Ganesh Kumar, Minister for Forest, Sports and Cinema and the petition on the same dated 7th march 2013.

 

Respected Sir,

 

I humbly request you Sir, to look into my following predicament and take immediate action against Mr. K.B Ganesh Kumar, Minister for Forest, Sports and Cinema.

 

I am married to Mr. K.B Ganesh Kumar (GK) for the past 19 years and in the wedlock, we have two children, aged 15 and 5 years.  Our marital life has been under rock even from early days of our marriage. We had almost parted our ways in the year 2001. But considering my child’s future and his apologetic gestures I decided to resume our conjugal relationship. But now it has come to a point that I can no more bear mental and physical cruelty inflicted on me by my husband.

 

Being a cine artist, he has lured many women earlier and now he is constantly engaged in having promiscuous relationships by exploiting his position as a Minister of ruling party.

 

He is not taking care nor is he concerned about the family welfare. In spite of having the means and being well placed he never took proper or adequate care of the family and that amounts to cruelty.

 

As a wife I have been silently suffering all this economic, emotional and physical harm done to me but the most recent incident (which I have already narrated to you over phone and also in person) that happened on 22-02-2013 had been so shocking and painful for me to bear even now. On 21-02-2013, as our eldest son was not in the house, my husband asked me to help him to install an application in his phone (my son used to help him with this otherwise).While flipping through the phone, I accidentally saw the following messages.

 

  1. Kannu mudiyalum nee thane, kannu thurannalum nee thane, ninte mathram
  2. Rajine rajinte vazhi enniku ente vazhi- (about some person she had had an affair with)
  3. Annanode ( She called GK annan) ente relationship transparent aavanam athu kondu njan ellam thurannu paryunnu. Rajumaayi oru bhandhavum ennikku illa because ini only u r there in my mind because I love you very much. Umma.

My hands literally trembled when I saw this. When I confronted him about the messages, I got an evasive reply from him. And I left the situation like that.

But on 22-02-2013, a person came home in the evening furiously, and started shouting at my husband. He confronted my husband with instances of his wife being taken around by my husband discreetly. He told GK how he had one day driven the white Swift that he owned- 6777 to the flat at 4.30pm after calling her. How she had waited till the kids were back and told them to study while she went for her pleasure trip with GK. How the Minister himself drove the car to his official building “Ajantha” opposite to Raj Bhavan. How he went and parked the car way behind the building and how daringly in an official building with a security guard and a policeman on duty, the Minister went inside with this woman and then left her back at the flat in the same car at 6.30pm. He also said that if GK wanted details about what he did to his wife inside the bedroom, he can tell him that too. Then GK knew he was trapped, he right away fell at this man’s feet and repeatedly said ‘maap, maap, maap, ennodu kshamikanam, thettu patti poyi” (Sorry, Sorry, pardon me, I made a mistake).  I stood there shell shocked. After few seconds, I left the scene unaware of what happened subsequently.

 

I went back to the office room, weeping uncontrollably thinking of my ill fate. After few minutes my husband came to the room and locked it from inside. In broken words, still weeping, I sought an explanation from him for what I heard just then. To my utter surprise, without making any attempt to console me or feeling guilty of his infidelity, he just started hitting and beating me continuously. He manhandled me by pushing my head towards the wall. He punched, kicked and beat me. He tried to strangulate me further and gasping for breath I tried to push him away and I cried aloud for help. As he anticipated that people would come by hearing me, he finally opened the door and left. Both my children were shocked spectators of this event. He acted as if nothing has happened and left to Ernakulam soon for shooting.

 

My husband had physically abused me many a times even in front of his family members and I have stood there and prayed that he should kill me so that my ordeal ends that day. But this time I have decided to react to his misdeeds and immediately informed his family members as well you Sir.

 

Soon my right thumb had swollen due to hematoma, my left fourth toe was swollen, my back was aching, neck paining, there was contusion in the forehead left side, and bruises all over the body.  I went to SK hospital where the duty doctor examined and tied a bandage and prescribed medicines. By night, the swelling became more acute and there was hematoma, so I went again to the doctor and had it examined. I took medication and my right hand is still bandaged for immobilization.

 

I am aware that he has a very strong criminal mind and he will not stop at anything. Since the matter is in public now, he is quite agitated and I fear for my life and safety of my children. I may be given enough security and personal protection.

 

This violence at home has to be condemned and criminal action has to be initiated against him. He has gone to the extent of attempting to murder me. How can he be a Minister of State, a role model for the state and yet behave this way to his wife and children? Can the Government turn a blind eye to the misdeeds and criminal activity done by a Minister? I hope not.

Hence, In the interest of justice, I besiege you Sir, for initiating quick criminal action against Mr. K.B Ganesh Kumar and ensure security and personal protection for me and my family. I have been subjected to physical and mental torture from my husband for all these years and it still continues.

Since I was advised by you Sir and mediators directed by you Mr Shibu Baby John, Minister of Labour & Rehabilitation, Mr T Balakrishnan, M D INKEL, Mr R. Jayaprakash, Secretary General LIC Development Officers union, that I should not rush with any litigation and was promised that measures will be taken to see to that justice will be given and security would be given to me, I had not given any written complaint so far.

 

 

Anticipating a quick action,

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

(Dr Yamini Thankachi)

To the Self-Obsessed Marxists And The Pseudo Ambedkarites


By Anand Teltumbde

03 April, 2013
Countercurrents.org

Frankly I curse myself for having gone to Chandigarh. Not so much because I am embarrassed by the unseemly controversy created by certain pseudo Ambedkarites in Maharashtra but because I am deeply saddened to see the egotistic bunch of people with frozen mind masquerading as Marxists. I imagined there will be serious discussions on the current state of castes and the possible way out for their annihilation. But within my brief stay of a few hours I gathered an impression that it was meant not to enrich the standpoint they presented in the approach paper with outsiders’ participation but to prove how they are right and all others are wrong.

Such conferences are meant to be for free and frank discussions to evolve understanding on some complex issue. They are not the public meetings that the organizers can unilaterally decide to throw open the raw discussion to the public. Simply because the larger public will not be at the same level of understanding as the delegates to the conference to whom one basically speaks to. Therefore, there is a basic mischief in organizers’ making the raw record of the conference public in proof of their claim that they came out as victors. If they had little sense of responsibility, they would not have done so. This itself reveals how distant they are from understanding the Indian reality of caste and their immaturity to handle these delicate issue.

Media craves for sensation and they jumped on to my stray statements, of course sans context, that I termed Babasaheb Ambedkar’s all efforts towards dalit emancipation as grand failure. As a matter of fact the Approach Paper already attributed this to me and therefore it was not the first time that I was making this ‘explosive disclosure’. I have been making such observations over many years in various contexts and never ever was it construed as an affront to Babasaheb Ambedkar. It only showed how ill informed the pseudo Ambedkarites were who woke up only by the media and swallowed it without ever suspecting its veracity. As for the leakage of it to the Hindi newspaper, Abhinav Sinha denies having given it to the journalists but can he be absolved of the responsibility for it? Because the manner in which he has been hampering on my ‘second statement’ as my volte face reveals his own ignorance, real or pretended, about the context with which I stood and spoke there. I set the context right in the beginning itself that I did not find anything new in the approach paper except for the horrendous distortions that were indulged in, in describing the contents of the anti-caste movements led by the greats like Jotiba Phule, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Periyar, almost trashing them. The known commentators of these movements with certain radical approach, such as Gail Omvedt, Subhash Gatade and I, also were dismissed in similar fashion. The entire text apart from its usual parts of ‘Marxian’ historiography of caste, smacked of heavy prejudice against the non-Marxist (thin line to differentiate it from casteist and brahmanist, the familiar terms in Indian context) movement, theory and opinions. I therefore decided to merely expose these distortions with a view to chastise the organizers that with this kind of casteist attitude they would be unfit to discuss caste. I chose just a para in the Approach Paper that discussed about my purported opinions on castes simply because that was the best thing that I could do towards the objective I set for myself.

The para originally in Hindi roughly translates as below:

“Anand Teltumbde, the main proponent of the amalgamation (samanvaya) of Marxism and Ambedkarism accepts on the one hand that all plans of Ambedkar for annihilation of caste have proved to be a failure but still considers, one does not know why, Ambedkar’s book – Annihilation of Caste (the analysis of which we have already given above) as important as Communist Manifesto in India. Teltumbde considers reservation as a mirage and useless in the era of declining jobs. He is also a bitter critique of identity politics. However instead of understanding caste within the framework of the metaphor of base and superstructure, he considers this framework itself as a hurdle in understanding the relations between caste and class and considers that the failure to link caste with class struggle is the unpardonable mistake of the Indian communists. We have presented our opinion on the base and superstructure above. We neither get any direction for annihilation of castes from even Teltumbde nor do we understand what Ambedkar can contribute to Marxism in linking castes with the strategy of class struggle.”

Before this there was a sentence with reference to me as follows:

“Yes, most of the ML groups, Gail Omvedt, Anand Teltumbde, Subhash Gatade, etc. are stunned at Ambedkar’s fundamental theoretical contribution that the caste system is not only a division of labour but also a division of labourers, which marks the specificity of India. Lack of understanding compels us to be impressed even by very commonplace things…

The monumental ignorance in belittling the division of castes to the level of other divisions along the order of places in production system (such as division between mental and physical labour, skilled and unskilled workers, permanent and temporary workers, British and Irish workers in Britain and white and black workers in America—these were their own examples) apart, just note the insulting tone of the sentence! It is this misfounded self-righteousness that pervaded the entire discussion of the anti-caste movements, their leaders and their commentators.

Now those who are conversant with my writings would never find that I ever advocated amalgamation of Ambedkarism and Marxism. Rather I have never used the term Ambedkarism, attributed to me. The manner in which I was accused of treating Annihilation of Caste as important as Communist Manifesto insinuated as though the former was worthless. The approach paper was replete with such references ridiculing or trashing others’ opinions and projecting their opinions as the only correct understanding. Obviously, the organizers had formed their opinion on me on the basis of the Introduction I had written to a reprint of Annihilation of Caste issued by the Students for Resistance in JNU in 2012 and some recent interviews floating around on the Net. I have been writing on these issues for the last 30 years and my opinions are fairly known among activists and concerned scholars. Obviously they had not gone through my books where I discussed the contemporary caste question and provided a blueprint for the Annihilation project. Even the sources they referred to did not warrant such misrepresentation and hence it appeared to me that they deliberately wanted to belittle others’ opinions that smacked of casteist prejudice. Moreover, there was a Bushesqe arrogance associated with it that ‘either you are with us or against us’. This attitude not so unfamiliar in traditional Marxist circle being inimical to the building of wider organization of increasing numbers of oppressed people, I decided to just deal with it.

My entire comment therefore was confined to pointing out this attitudinal deficiency in them. The more objectionable manifestation of it was the prejudice reflecting in the text against the anti-caste struggles of the lower castes, particularly dalits. I had duly explicated this context and object to the audience. I tried to show how the distortions were willful and deliberate and therefore smacked of some casteist prejudice. If one understood this context, my entire comment could be easily seen in proper perspective. It did not relate with supporting or opposing Marx or Ambedkar, it did not relate with comparison of their philosophies or methodologies, which anyway I inherently hate to do; it did not relate with even opposing any one of them or their movements, much less trashing them. Take for instance, the issue of manifestos. They accused me of considering Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste as important as Marx’s Communist Manifesto. The raw writing of this kind itself revealed their brahmanist obsession to hierrachize even the ideologies and movements. As capitalism commoditizes everything, Brahmanism hierrachizes everything! Fortunately for me, Asit Das of CDRO who spoke before me had read out the actual sentence I wrote: “What Communist Manifesto is to the capitalist world, Annihilation of Caste is to caste India”, and had also observed that it was not the same as what the Approach Paper conveyed; their domains having been duly differentiated. It was not my concern to analyse the correctness or otherwise of these manifestos. As for Annihilation of Caste, even the same Introduction that they referred to provides a glimpse of my reservations about its applicability to the contemporary castes. Manifestos are the expression of struggles in time and space; they do not happen in vacuum. The right or wrong about them is inevitably associated with the success or failure of struggles they represent. Only time can decide that.

Interestingly, while Sinha misconstrued my statements as the justification of Ambedkar, some misinformed and vested interests among Dalits, the pseudo Ambedkarites projected them as the insult to Ambedkar. Actually, I did neither; it was not my purpose at all. In relation to the phrase ‘Ambedkarwad’ I reiterated my old stand that I did not consider anything like it existed. I gave my own justification in terms of the philosophy or methodology informing Ambedkar’s struggles and polemical writings. Many scholars have written about how deeply Babasaheb Ambedkar was influenced by his professor John Dewey in Columbia. He himself had acknowledged his intellectual debt saying as late as in 1952 that his entire intellectual being he owed to John Dewey. The philosophy of Progressive Pragmatism or Instrumentalism that Dewey is associated with considered that knowledge was tentative; any theoretical postulate needed to be tested out in practice in order to get enriched theory as well as enlightened practice. I merely stated that this methodology, as considered by many commentators of Dewey, could be taken as scientific methodology, for that is what scientist do in their laboratories. This was misconstrued by Sinha as my justification of Dewey and in turn support to Ambedkar. How foolish! It was only meant to stress the plausibility of this philosophy that it may not be casually discarded. I was not justifying anything or supporting or opposing anyone. It was in the same vein that I pointed out the necessity of rethinking many of Marxist formulations in view of the changes that befell the world. I said that I had a long list for Marxist prompting such a rethinking. Was I therefore criticizing or trashing Marx? Only fools would say so. My only stress was on sensitizing people who are intoxicated by this or that ism to be open to realities the world presents; simply because eventually revolutions have to happen in these worlds not in their heads or the books they adore.

Unlike Marx, I said, Babasaheb Ambedkar had no claim to any grand theory. Rather, his basic reservation about Marx stems from his deep distrust of his grand theory. With his meager resources, he followed his pragmatist methodology and in process frequently changed his strategies and tactics. To recount, he initially believed in reforms in Hinduism such that the hardships of the Untouchables could be alleviated. This belief was soon shattered with the hostility the caste Hindus exhibited in Mahad and the entire society kept mum over the issue as it happens even today. He switched his attention to political opportunities that were unfolding with communal turn in politics. He began stressing separate political identity for the Untouchables and soon won them separate electorates in the Round Table Conferences against spirited opposition from Gandhi. But they proved still born. Gandhi’s epic fast blackmailed him into giving them up and accepting joint electorates with reserved seats and other promises in the Poona Pact. The entire plan proved trickery and he realized that the reserved seats had rather become an instrument in the hands of the ruling class parties to decimate genuine representation of dalit interests. He experimented with Independent Labour Party (ILP) and drove his politics along class lines; toyed with joining hands with the Communists but got a taste of their ‘brahmanism’. This experiment also was short-lived in the face of colonial promotion of the communal politics. The Cripps Mission Report of February 1942 became the last straw and he had to dissolve the ILP and launch the Scheduled Caste Federation. Around the same time, he became a minister in Viceroy’s cabinet and was instrumental in converting the incipient preferential system into quota system of reservation and a plethora of labour laws. When the Viceroy’s executive council was dissolved, he found himself totally sidetracked from the parleys for transfer of power for three long years until he was inducted in the all party cabinet, thanks to the Gandhi’s strategy. In the wake of formation of the Constituent Assembly, he prepared a draft outline for the future constitution of India and giving a plan of ‘state socialism’. Against the obvious odds, he managed to reach the Constituent Assembly but it became short-lived because East Bengal, from where he was elected, was marked as Pakistan. Congress at the instance of Gandhi again inducted him into the Constituent Assembly and made him even the chairman of its most important committee – the drafting committee. He initially reposed faith in the Constitution but was soon disillusioned to disown it completely. At the end of his life he fulfilled his vow taken in 1935 by converting to ‘radical’ version of Buddhism.

If one takes an objective look at this brief life sketch, Babsaheb Ambedkar kept changing his strategies and tactics as per the situations with a sole focus on the emancipation of Dalits. One does not find any enduring theory or a theoretical postulate that represents him except for pragmatism. He could be ideal, a role model, for his unstinted commitment, iconoclastic attitude, intellectual honesty, hard work, integrity and sincerity but possibly cannot be extrapolated to face the future. If he had been always evolving and changing all through his life, how possibly could one extend him into the future? It is in this studied sense I have been writing that there cannot be Ambedkarism, which is casually spoken about a section of scholars and sentimentally celebrated by Ambedkarite Dalits. I stated the gist of all this in the conference. I said that my self-initiation into Marxism dates back to my early childhood and by conviction I do follow Marxist methodology, but I still would not call myself a Marxist. Because, firstly, the kind of dogma the Marxists reflect I would never subscribe to and secondly, I might shun all these isms because they also unconsciously serve as identities and eventually divide people. I explicated my conception of Marxism as the core of dialectical materialism, until it is disproved by physical sciences. Thereafter, much of the body of Marxism is a derivation from this core, prone to errors and hence should be available for verification. The claimants of grand theory have to be vigilant about its validity in face of changing reality. But unfortunately, the so called Marxists have made Marxism a religion, an article of faith that Marx has said the last word. This attitude made Marx to exclaim, “thanks god, I am not a Marxist” and impels me too to say similar thing.

Even a cursory look at the life sketch of Babasaheb Ambedkar will indicate that he faced failures at every stage. Nothing that he expected materialized. The political representation of Dalits over which he had struggled so hard proved to be the bane. He himself could never win an election on reserved seat even against the political pigmies. He emphasized higher education for Dalits and opened colleges but soon lamented that the educated people had cheated him. He gave the mantra of Annihilation of Caste but had to reconcile with castes getting Constitutional legitimacy in modern India. We can go on citing such undesirable ends his efforts met all through his life. If one takes a look at the current state of Dalits, we get the similar picture. While a handful of dalits made significant progress, vast majority of Dalits are stagnated vis-a-vis the non-Dalits or even fallen behind. Broadly speaking, untouchability, though outlawed in the Constitution is rampantly practiced as the recent surveys indicate; castes are kicking as a part of modern institutions. The caste identities are being proudly flaunted even by Dalits, paradoxically claiming to be Ambedkarites. Gauged by incidences of atrocities, that I considered the best proxy for casteism, castes have surely aggravated. All the institutions Ambedkar had started for Dalits, viz., Peoples’ Education Society, Buddhist Society of India, Samata Sainik Dal, just to name a few, are in shambles today. The less said of Ambedkarite politics, the better it is.

If these things are not to be construed as failure, what else could one call them? It is as glaring as sunlight but this is picked up as a bombshell and agitated against by Dalits, not knowing that with their behavior they are further failing Ambedkar. He wanted them to be ‘prabuddha’ the enlightened ones; but refusing to see the reality they proudly show up as ‘nirbuddha’, anti-enlightenment. Will they introspect to realize that each bit of their behavior to claim allegiance to Ambedkar is anti-Ambedkar and verily insulting to him? It is not Babasaheb Ambedkar alone, every great person in history who cherished universal goal of human emancipation has met with grand failures. But the fact remains that the humanity owes its existence to them; more to their failures than successes. We cannot negate their contribution to betterment of our lives. The stark realization of such facts only can awaken Dalits to reality from their self-imposed slumber. Only through the realization of his failures can we realize the pain and travails Babasaheb Ambedkar underwent, understand the value of his contributions, and internalize our responsibility to strive to accomplish his dream. Should they not recall that at the fag end of his life when he was looking back to his life in an introspective mode he used to suddenly burst into tears saying that whatever he had done benefitted only a handful of urban people; he could not do anything for the vast majority of people living in villages? It was this realization that he had asked BS Waghmare, who had visited him along with the SCF team of Marathwada to launch struggle for land. The only significant struggle that happened on the real problem of Dalits in the entire history was the countrywide satyagraha for land in 1964, which I guess was also prompted by him in his last years. This says all to the so called Ambedkarites who have constructed a canard against me on this issue as though I was raising it just now!

Most great people can be seen as grand failures because they never accomplished what they set for themselves. The goal of human emancipation, expressed in varying language and terms, since ancient times still stays the same despite struggles and strivings of scores of great people in every era. What was Babasaheb Ambedkar’s goal? He stated it himself in terms of his conception of an ideal society characterized by ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’. Is that fulfilled? Even his subsidiary goal of emancipating Dalits remains unfulfilled. I have already recounted all that he desired but met with almost its opposite end. He imagined he would make entire India Buddhist. The fact is that Buddhism remains confined to his own caste people even among Dalits. Babasaheb Ambedkar detested hero worship; paradoxically he himself became a hero extraordinaire and a cult figure. He ruthlessly dissected gods and goddesses; sadly he himself became bigger than any god ever. He hated irrationality and humbug; but he is drowned in it thanks to his followers; he hated intellectual dishonesty; his followers have made it a virtue; he was proud being an iconoclast; he himself has become the biggest ever icon; he expected his followers to be enlightened and take his chariot ahead; they have shut themselves off from the world and became his blind worshippers, a la bhaktipanth. Whether it is his followers or whether it is the circumstances; the fact remains that he has been so distant from his goal post.

My other point, which remained unsaid (giving an opportunity to Sinha to exploit it to the hilt) but was very much implicit in the context of my comment on ‘grand theory’ and ‘rethinking’ hints was to sensitize the comrades about the failure of Marx being far more catastrophic than any other failure in history. Ambedkar’s failures were implicit in his methodology of progressive pragmatism. Sinha’s belabouring this point in his lengthy lecture on Dewey’s philosophy, which I confess I liked and so acknowledged in my second statement, was really unnecessary, which also I pointed out in the very first statement. I wished to remind the Marxist audience that Marxism is not a fossilized doctrine or exhibition of allegiance to Marx but it is a methodology to understand the dynamic reality around us in order to change it for the betterment of mankind. We can easily recount as I did the failure of Babasaheb Ambedkar or for that matter most great men in history including Marx. However, Marx’s failure becomes more colossal because his was a grand theory. If we give up the article of faith, Marx’s formulations have failed to confirm to the reality, much so to bring about change in it. Capitalism, despite its inherent crises has been able to limp past it and even marginalize it. Should Marxists be not concerned with it? If I say so, I am not at all demeaning Marx. He stands as one of my most adorable thinkers. Therefore, Marxists should not indulge in another kind of self-deception that Marx has uttered the last word, a la end of theory. They have developed more elaborate lexicon to block any impurities in their ideology. A lifelong comrade could suddenly turn a renegade, reactionary and enemy of people!

I had recounted few developments in the world which crave for proper fitment into Marxist praxis and hinted that I have a long list of such things. Sinha rejoices exploiting the fact that I did not ever mention the failure of Marx. I did not have a written speech; I was speaking extempore in a language which I was not used to and to an audience which was potentially alien to what I was speaking and hence might have not been as coherent but I do not think that handicapped me in my communicating what I meant to say as Republican Panthers’ version independently recounted. The thrust of my entire argument was to sensitize them that they should not be conceited in trashing historical movements and peoples’ heroes just because they did not belong to their tribe. The biggest challenge before the Marxists in India is to transcend the existing alienation of Dalits and gain their confidence.

Ambedkar was no Marxist. As I said, he inherited critique of Dewey against Marxism. Anybody can see that with little effort. He also inherited Dewey’s Fabianism which got further reinforced when he entered the London School of Economics, the institution founded by the Fabian Society, in which the founders of Fabianism, viz., Sydney and Beatrice Webs still taught. Fabianism opposed Marxism and had a very different hodgepodge of a vision about socialism. They thought socialism will be brought about through gradualist and reformist way, rather than revolutionary means and it will be accomplished by the enlightened middle class rather than proletariat. Babasaheb Ambedkar also reflected these notions. It is only later that the Fabians felt the need to organize workers and founded the Independent Labour Party (ILP). Ambedkar’s ILP was fashioned after this Fabian ILP. Despite these deep influences he was curiously aware of the potential attraction of Marxism to the downtrodden and always kept on projecting his methods being superior to the Marxist, perhaps as an imperative. He was not opposed to it as can be seen from the serialized features on Russian Revolution and occasional references to its heroes in his Marathi writings. It is only later, with the bitter experience with the Bombay communists that he developed some kind of abhorrence for them. I see him using Marxism as the benchmark, something as the second best to his own methods. In 1953, he writes to his lieutenant Dadasaheb Gaikwad that he saw his methods were not working and hence his people could become communists if they wanted to. Nonetheless, it can still be said that his understanding of Marxism was far from proper. He never referred to or touched upon any basic tenets of Marxism. Although he once said that he read more books on Marxism than all communists combined, if true, none of them might have been the classics. Even in his last lecture in Kathmandu, where he presented a comparative picture of Buddhism and Marxism, he just referred to things about Marxism which no sensible reader of Marx would take seriously. Why should even Ambedkarites also feel slighted by this observation? Is their behavior not irrational? Does it become a true follower of Ambedkar?

It is not at all important in evaluation of his contribution to the Indian society that he did not care for Marxism. He has been singularly instrumental in raising the consciousness of the lowliest of the lowly to their human rights. He has been the first to foreground the caste question at the national level and give a slogan of Annihilation of Caste. No one can deny the contribution of the communists and it is verily true that in the mode of class struggle they waged in countryside, castes had melted away. But in terms of sheer magnitude it may have to be admitted that Ambedkar’s influence exceeds all of them. One may examine the quality of this consciousness but that is a different matter. In India this may be seen as necessary step in the process of democratization. It is with this sense that I said that his contribution to India’s democratization is greater than all communists combined. It is deliberately rhetorical because I want communists to think what opportunities they have missed and what have been the consequence of that miss.

I have been faulting the early Marxists for importing the moulds from Europe for doing class analysis of India and excluding castes as superstructural category. Lenin had defined classes as follows:

“Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated by law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation of labour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and their mode of acquiring it”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘A Great Beginning: Heroism of the Workers in the Rear: ‘Communist Subbotniks’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 29; Moscow; 1965; p. 421).

My contention is that if the early communists had internalized this definition of Lenin, castes could not have been left out to yield an idiotic duality of class and caste. Even today they keep swearing by the Marxian metaphor of ‘base and superstructure’. Sinha still sees a big problem in my statement that this metaphor has been the biggest hurdle in the path of Indian revolution. Ask any Dalit Marxist and he would trash this metaphor; ask any non-Dalit Marxist he would cling to this metaphor. Why? That is the reality of India and its caste divide! Now don’t say that only the non-Dalits grasped the ‘pure’ Marxism. There has been quite a controversy around this metaphor that prompted theoretical developments in the realm of cultural Marxism. But we would not enter that sphere here. Over the time the Indian Marxists limped to realize that castes are not merely the aspects of superstructure but extend into the production base itself. Castes in 1920s almost defined peoples’ lives at least in broad terms and hence if they had been incorporated within the class analysis, the anti-caste struggle would have been an integral part of the class struggle eliminating the need of separate anti-caste movement, which was sure to be developed in a divergent direction as it did. I called this the biggest sin of the communists. Even to this proposition there was lengthy retort from the organizers’ side. Of course, what was possible in 1920s cannot be tried in 2013. But there should be a realization that a costly mistake was committed. Surprisingly, there is no admission ever from the Marxists. With all kinds of display of enlightenment on caste question with unmistaken pretention that it was superior to what existed, confront them on this simple issue and you will find them clinging to this metaphor as though it was the core of Marxism.

I have been saying umpteen times that the core character of caste is like an amoeba; it only knows splitting. Castes basically seek hierarchy; it cannot survive in non-hierarchical waters. Castes under external pressure tend to contract together, but remove the pressure they would start splitting. All caste movements have experienced it but failed to note this core characteristic of castes. Babasaheb Ambedkar tried to articulate his anti-caste struggle in class terms, organizing all the Untouchables into a class. He tended to use ‘class’ instead of castes. His first essay on Caste, when he was just a student in Columbia makes profound observation (I am aware, Sinha and comrades of his ilk will not be amused) about their characteristics. Needless to say, that his conception of class was not Marxist and rather came closer to Weberian sense. But as he proceeded, he was compelled by the circumstances to repeatedly fall back to castes. As a result, it sounds unpalatable to many people that his was not the caste based struggle. ‘Dalit’ that was shaped through this movement deceptively appeared viable, collapsing all the sub-castes into one whole, but today after 60 years it faces a threat of extinction from the upsurge of sub-castes. The logical conclusion for Dalits to realize is that castes cannot be the basis for articulating any struggle for radical change. What does it mean? It means that they will have to shun caste idiom and orient them towards class. The circumstances are congenial today than ever before to realize it as every caste has created a class layer within it, which pretends to identify with the rest but is in fact inimical to it. It is not necessary for Dalits to sublimate to Marxism because they have not yet exhausted Ambedkar itself. Babasaheb Ambedkar gave them a vision of Annihilation of Caste. That is a good enough dream to pursue. Any and everything that comes in its way should be discarded as anti-Ambedkar. Castes cannot be annihilated by Dalits alone for the simple fact that they have not created it. Unless the larger society owned up this task, castes will not be annihilated. Therefore, they should orient them to identify their friends and foes not on the basis of ‘certificates’ but their placements in life situation, i.e., class. I have been advising the Left also in a reverse direction that they should shun their orthodoxy and understand that they ought to see castes as the prime hurdle in revolution and reflect it in their practice. It is not the lip service that they will speak out all wise things but still hamper on the worn out metaphors. Let their theory as well as practice reflect this conviction that they have really changed. It is through the gradual convergence of these two movements and not the isms that the new revolutionary movement will be born quickly fructifying into Indian revolution. It is with this logic that I have been warning both sides for years: “there is no dalit emancipation without a revolution and there is no revolution without dalit participation.” Is there anything anti-Ambedkar here? Or am I speaking the same thing as Sinha did?

There is one more issue that is picked up by the pseudo Ambedkarites and that relates with the Reservation Policy. I pointed out the genesis of the current system of reservation based on ‘quota’ into an innocuous memorandum Babasaheb Ambedkar issued while he was a Labour Member in Viceroy’s Executive Council. The same policy was continued after Independence with an addition of a schedule for the Tribes. The related articles in the Constitution connote the rationale for reservations for the SCs, STs and BCs in terms of their backwardness. Backwardness in a backward country like India did not make a sound ground for making big exception to the general principle of equality. The rationale should have been caste based exclusion. This exclusion was suffered by the SCs alone as the Untouchables, not by the tribals who were outside the pale of castes and surely not by the BCs. The reservation for the SCs therefore should have been based on the principal that it was not their disability (backwardness) but the disability of the larger society to treat its own members equal necessitated reservations as a countervailing force of the state. Even if the SCs were not backward, the society would never give them their dues because of the ingrained notion of their caste. The first correction that would follow is to its domain. It would not be restricted to only miniscule public sector but would encompass entire societal sphere, i.e., public, private, and everything. Such a formulation would have eliminated most of the current deficiencies in policy: the lack of self-terminating feature; lack of well defined objective; lack of linkage to the annihilation of castes; lack of acceptance of the larger society; lack of consideration of the psycho-cultural impact on the beneficiary population, etc. The caste exclusion of the SCs was a concrete reality and was not in dispute unlike backwardness. The onus of annihilation of caste could have fallen on the larger society, where it ought to be, making it strive for it in order to end the policy. The stigma being borne by the society, the beneficiaries would be destigmatized and still they might not like to carry the traditional attribution of low caste. Today the SCs bear huge cost in terms of psychological pressure that perpetuates their backwardness everywhere. While I say this I am not against the tribes and BCs; I admit on the criteria of backwardness, there are as backward people among them as among the SCs. And the state owes responsibility towards them. But reservation is a bitter pill and should be used sparingly. There are other policy instruments to remove backwardness of people without enlivening castes. The ruling classes would never let go of this golden goose but the intellectuals on the peoples’ side should not have blindly toed their line.

These reservations to the SCs moreover needed to be implemented carefully taking the social reality into consideration. The SC was a administration category which did not correspond to the social reality of numerous castes within it and different environments (rural versus urban) and socio-economic statuses of people within them. Small number of people living in cities and towns with relatively better socio-economic condition were bound to grab larger share of reservations than the rest of the population. These reservations moreover would further strengthen their position and push the vast majority to disadvantage. Therefore, while the reservation to the Untouchables was justified for the above given logic, its implementation within the beneficiary set should have been on the basis of family unit. The families that were in advantageous position may grab the first chunk of reservations but they would be excluded from the potential beneficiary population. This simple principle could have dampened the caste idiom within Dalits and ensured even distribution of the benefits across the SC population. The glaring fallacy of the current system of reservation that while it benefits an individual but costs the entire caste could have been eliminated to a larger extent. I had proposed this scheme years ago and publicly offered the implementation assistance if anybody had any doubt about it. The ruling classes for whom the current scheme of reservation has proved as the most potent weapon to divide people at will asunder, would surely ignore it. But this caste-dampening scheme did not evoke any reaction even among Dalits. The fact remains that everybody loves his caste; the lower the caste, more you do. Well, Com Sinha, this was my enduring stand on reservation. Do not search my words in your record as subtle things could not be explained to people who are not open to hear anything than their own voices. And the pseudo Ambedkarites, is there any slighting to Babasaheb here in such a policy analysis? If you see that you are surely holding him responsible for all the ills the country suffers from.

Now the programme the Approach Paper ends with on last two pages of the 55 page document gives you a feel of ‘khoda pahad, nikala chuha’. It is fraught with all salutary statements which could be found in any communist document on caste. I would say, CPM through its anti-caste front has gone far ahead taking up concrete caste issues in certain states like Tamil Nadu. That we should have thousands of propagandists doing anti-caste prachar among masses, that we should accord primacy to the dalit demands in the general charter of demands, that we should demand ban on caste based matrimonial advertisements, khap and other caste based organizations; that the communists should not follow castes, etc. are besides being a usual wish list, does not reflect any Marxist theoretical feat. Anybody Marxist or non-Marxist will easily come out with such measures while speaking against caste system. What theoretical formulation informs it? All of them arguably belong to the bourgeois liberal space. For argument sake, and mind, I am not advocating for Ambedkar, consider his measures in his States and Minorities put forth in 1947. Are they not far more radical than any of these worn out recipes to confront castes?

Now listen, I distilled out an approach to annihilation of castes in my book ‘Anti-Imperialism and Annihilation of Castes’ based on adequate theoretical analysis and support from my own research in cybernetics. One, I found that under the capitalist onslaught since colonial period through 1960s, the ritual castes are weakened to a large extent and hence to speak about castes in a classical hierarchy is fruitless. Contemporary castes have reduced to dalits and non-dalits. Two, the caste contradiction manifests in rural areas between the class of rich farmers and rural proletariat who mostly belong to Dalits. These contradictions are based primarily on economic interests but they are accentuated with non-economic (social, cultural and political) considerations. The rich farmers using their caste ties with their own caste people can easily transform them into a caste conflict between Dalits and Backward castes. Three, atrocity precipitates because of the intrinsic weakness of Dalits (as identified way back in 1936 by Ambedkar). The nexus of the state and its apparatus with the rich farmers adds to this power asymmetry between Dalits and non-Dalits. It is by far the dominating factor. Four, generally the advanced elements of society should undertake education of people against the evil of caste through political economy; not in a cultural or moralistic manner. This is expected to weaken the caste ties between rich farmers and their caste fellows who do their bidding in becoming their foot soldiers against dalits. Five, there will still be some elements who do not understand it and participate in atrocity. They need to be physically dealt with. Here comes the opportunity as well as a role for the Left to intervene. If they join their forces with Dalits, this can be accomplished. The fall out of this process will be in terms of Left winning the confidence of Dalits and thereby the forces for Annihilation of Castes getting spirally strengthened. I am not cluttering it with my worksheets for this blueprint. Do this much, and you will find yourself close to Annihilation of Castes.

Finally to the self-obsessed Marxists, I would like to say that it is childish to take support of words and lose sight of the content. The entire rejoinder of yours to the Republican Panthers hampers upon my second statement, that I annulled all that I said by agreeing with you. Amazing! The very first sentence of the second statement was that I did not say all that you belaboured to refute and you indulged again in distortion. Assuming what one said something and then celebrating refutation of that something is purely a waste of labour. When I said that I agreed with much of what I said, I meant the contents of your Approach Paper (I never said I rejected it entirely. I said, I got a feel of déjà vu reading it) as well as your pontification on Dewey’s philosophy (which I carefully heard). ‘Much of’ however does not include all of it, surely. I was in hurry as had to leave for Jalandhar to observe my other commitments. I uncomfortably spoke something, (not that I do not mean it and am making a volte face) to get out of there, which cannot be construed as agreement with you on my main points. When I told Sinha that he again distorted my statements, he said that “aisa mujhe dhwanit huwa”. To hear what is not said is called hallucination and if it repeatedly happens it is serious enough for a Marxist because then he cannot see the reality. As a senior activist, I had advised against the self-righteous arrogance you people reflected to the comrades who came with me. Please mind it.

And now to the pseudo Ambedkarites, I would state that you have only exhibited your characteristic ignorance in using my stray statements to spread canard among gullible dalit masses that I insulted Babasaheb Ambedkar because I have been expressing such opinions based on my studies over the last 30 years through my books, articles and speeches. It is not I but you who have insulted Babasaheb Ambedkar in process by exploiting the sentiments of his innocent people against someone who has worked singularly for them keeping away from the camp of the ruling classes. It is you who have insulted Babasaheb Ambedkar not now but every moment of the last 57 years by imprisoning him and his thoughts into an inert identity icon, systematically intoxicating dalit masses with devotion to that icon and disorienting them from the issues of their life and death; by trading the brand of Ambedkar for getting into good books of the ruling classes to get state concessions, nominations to posts, getting election tickets, becoming ministers, state largess and scores of such things for your selfish gains and in exchange supporting ruling class policies that have systematically exploited dalit masses; by systematically distorting Ambedkar to support your nefarious activities; and by becoming dalals of dalt interests. Not insulting alone, you have killed him. I am the one who has never shown any iota of bhakti to Babasaheb Ambedkar unlike your tribe but sincerely followed his role model in excelling in whatever I did, in standing firm on the side of the oppressed masses, securing capability of analyzing the world around on behalf of them, and striving to the best of my capacity to fulfill Babasaheb Ambedkar’s dream of ‘liberty, equality, fraternity.’ You have insulted Babasaheb Ambedkar, you have insulted me, and you have insulted the sacred legacy of all those who struggled for human emancipation.

Dr Anand Teltumbde is a writer, scholar of peoples’ movements, civil rights activists with CPDR, Mumbai.Contact: tanandraj@gmail.com

 

PRESS RELEASE- Maharashtra Government Takes no Action Against Proved Illegality by Shivalik Builders


Photo

Whose Interests are they Serving in this Democracy ?

April 2: Ignoring a stern letter from Shri Ajay Maken, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, to Shri Prithviraj Chavan, CM Maharashtra, demolitions in presence of more than 500 policemen and women continued. Nearly 43 houses have been demolished till now by a 200 demolition squad, with active assistance from Shivalik builders bouncers and men, and Kiran Jadhav & Sharad Jhadav, Directors in company personally supervising the same. Houses of Ganesh Krupa Co-operative Housing Society were demolished even though an investigation has been going on against the builders for forging signatures of residents to show their consent for slum redevelopment.

Hundreds of letters asking the Chief Minister to stop demolition has been received too but perhaps pressure from the Builders is too much for Mr. Chief Minister to handle. He has said he will do something, but then why is he not stopping the bulldozers ?

Earlier Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan – GBGB wrote to Chief Minister once again asserting the following :

  1. Slum Rehabilitation Authority Scheme projects in Mumbai are full of flaws, frauds and corruption leading to atrocities against the slum dwellers. Thousands are made shelterless and sent on rent which is discontinued and others decay in transit camps for years. The land rights and co-operative societies related processes and documents are also found to be violating the law and forgery related cases are also filed but it takes years to get an FIR lodged and it goes through years for investigation.

  2. Maharashtra Government had agreed, after a ten day long agitation in first week of January 2013, to get at least 6 projects investigated through the Principal Secretary, Housing Mr. Debashish Chakravarty. That enquiry began in February and open presentations were made on 7th – 8th February, 2013. Builders – Developers / their representatives were also present in most of the cases and some made submissions too. However, even before the enquiry report is finalized and received by CM’s office and us, there is continuous eviction taking place with police force, destroying decades old houses and vcausing irreversible damage, without resolving the issues. This is extremely unjust. Arrests, false cases and everything happened in the month of March in Golibar and Chandivali, as in other slums.

  3. Even where there are courts’ orders, some or the other directions by the Court are not complied with and yet the eviction is taking place, with brutality. Moreover, in case of Ganesh Krupa, Golibar it is clear that transit camps are not provided within 300 mts as promised and upheld by the Court. The Transit camps are in totally uninhabitable condition as per the letter given by the CEO, SRA in December, 2012 for some other society in Golibar, who were also offered transit in the same buildings.

  4. There is a criminal case filed and enquiry is on in the case of Ganesh Krupa Society, Golibar with documents which indicates that there was no consent by 70% people and the General Body Meeting documents are fraudulent. Similar complaints are lodged by some other societies too. The Joint Commissioner, Mr. Datyeji inspected the documents few days back and directed the officials to re-investigate the matter thoroughly.

  5. None of the societies and dwellers in Golibar have received any document confirming that they will get a permanent accommodation in what time limit, of what area and where (in situ rehabilitation is to be ensured as per the SRA scheme, as also the Court’s orders) and hence people want house on their own land. Also, in none of these, people have received any documents. The files in SRA show the agreements between the slum dwellers and some other contractors which they had engaged earlier, but not with Shivalik ventures.

  6. In the case of Golibar, permanent rehabilitation buildings are on the lands of the Defence Ministry’s and Railways. Defence Ministry’s case is pending before the City Civil Court, Dindoshi as directed by HC. Railways have taken an undertaking that those buildings will be demolished, as and when land is required by Railways. How can the dwellers permit their fate to be hung in such circumstances.

  7. Out of 26,000 families, as slum dwelling families in Golibar, according to the developer, 10,000 families have vacated, while the CEO, SRA and officials claim that permission is granted only for 5,500 families as slum dwellers to be rehabilitated. This gross discrepancy is not yet settled. Whatever, the total number, it is also a ground reality that only 900 families are shifted in the permanent rehab buildings that too on the land of the Defence of Railway Ministry. Not more than 1500 families are in the transit camps. Where are the others? Obviously thousands of families are on rent, shifted out with direct or indirect force but not yet settled anywhere. It is also known from the ground survey that at least 20,000 sq. kms land is vacant and available for the developer and yet forcible eviction is imposed on the people.

Demolishing 70 to 100 years old houses in Golibar is criminal and in complete disregard of law of the land. NAPM strongly condemns such action and vows to continue its fight. You can break few more houses but can’t break the resolve of the people to fight for dignified living and shelter. We urge every conscientious individual to join and support our struggle for a dignified living. Continue writing, protesting and shaming those in power, why are the afraid of their own enquiry report by the Principal Secretary, Housing. Let the truth come out, until then stop playing with the lives of citizens of this country.

Medha Patkar, Prerna Gaekwad, Simpreet Singh, Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yevale, Jameel Bhai

For details call : 9699918964 / 09423965153

 

Angry Jeetan Marandi vows to continue stir for poor


JEETAN

 Mukesh Ranjan | Ranchi |  Pioneer, April 1, 2013

Aggravated after his release from the jail after five years, Jeetan Marandi is all set to expedite his movement for the cause of the release of thousands of innocent tribal people lodged in various jails on the pretext of being Naxals.

Jeetan, a prime suspect of the Chilkhari massacre in which Anup Marandi, son of the former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi along with other 17 other people got killed, awarded death sentence by a Giridih Court, was released from Birsa Munda Central Jail on Thursday.

“I am not happy even after my release, as thousands of poor and tribal people are still lodged in jails without any substantial charges against them. My acquittal has exposed the intention of the suppressive Governments at the Centre and in the State,” said Jeetan.

“Had I not been acquitted, the intention of the Government would not have been clear,” added Jeetan. “They are trying to keep me away from my wife and son and have put my wife in the jail with a four-year child with her,” he alleged.

He was arrested allegedly because his name resembled to a Maoist Jeetan Marandi for whom cops had been looking for. There had been wide range of agitations across the country after Jeetan’s arrest on April 5, 2008.

Even Human Rights activist Binayak Sen came in open support of Jeetan Marandi terming the death sentence to the tribal artist as unlawful. An artiste and a tribal rights activist, Jeetan was well known for utilising the power of music to speak against government atrocities on the common man, especially tribals.

He was speaking to the media persons during a felicitation ceremony organised, by Jeetan Marandi Rihai Manch, after his release from the jail at Namkom Bagicha in Ranchi. Jeetan is to be felicitated in Giridih on Sunday.

Jeetan, who also narrated the police atrocities he had to go thorough while he was in jail and looked determined to work for the cause of over 6000 tribal and 10,000 other  people lodged in jail under Crime Control Act. He also accused the State and the Central Governments of conspiring against him to put in the jail to suppress the voice of the poor and downtrodden.

As the Government wants to label Jeetan’s family as a sympathiser of the CPI (Maoists), it has imposed a false case against his wife Aparana Marandi along with her four-year child in jail a few months back. The kid has not even seen his father’s face,” said Central Committee member of the Marxist Co-ordination Committee Sushanto Bhattacharya.

17 people got killed on the spot at Chilkhari on October 26, 2007 while 12 got injured in the massacre. Two more people died later during investigations. During a cultural programme at Chilkhari, a few unidentified persons started firing indiscriminately on the crowd present at the function.

Jeetan and other three were convicted under section 143,342,379,149,120B, 30, 149, Copyright Licencing Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act along with 302.

 

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