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Azadi Kooch: Towards a New Grammar of the Dalit Struggle

Non-Dalits in India would have considered July 2017 to be a month of glory for Dalits in general. A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-zealot and Dalit by caste, Ram Nath Kovind became the 14th President of India.

One Nation, One Market

The goods and services tax presents several challenges from weak regulatory systems to prevent profiteering, to inadequate long-term provisions for the needs of states. Not much has been said about how this economic policy is also a confluence of neo-liberalism and Hindutva, and assists in the building of a Hindu rashtra.

End of the Dalit Chimera

The decisive electoral defeat of the Bahujan Samaj Party in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections certainly ends the chimera created by Kanshi Ram and later, Mayawati that Dalits can be the ruling class in India. The astute electoral games of the BSP worked for it in the short-run, but the logic of caste-arithmetic underlying the Bahujan category and Mayawati’s misdemeanours have cost the party dearly.

Injustice Unlimited

The verdicts in the Swami Aseemanand and G N Saibaba cases expose the roguery of the Indian state. The former was let off despite clear and close links with saffron terror and mass murder, while the latter was sentenced to life imprisonment for being sympathetic to a people’s resistance to state oppression. While such fascistisation is visible across the globe, in India, it finds resonance with the hegemonic, ruling-class ideology of Brahminism, which the current regime seeks to uphold.

Robbing Rohith of His Dalitness

The basic question that the Rohith Vemula case raises is about the existence of the rule of law in India. If his mother Radhika Vemula was rich, there would have been no issue about Rohith’s caste and all people named in the FIR for abetting his suicide would have been in jail. But her fault is that she lived off the pittance that Rohith sent her from his paltry fellowship!

Big Data, Bigger Lies

The claim that the government will use big data analytics to trace those who illegitimately deposited old currency notes, is just another instance of using lies to score political points. Notwithstanding this hollow posturing, the way this government is talking about the power of big data and its uses, only confirms the worst fears of the misuse of Aadhaar and other public data entrusted to the state.

India’s Marie Antoinette Moment

Narendra Modi’s promotion of a “cashless society” shows the government’s disconnect from ground realities, and harks back to Marie Antoinette’s famous “let them eat cake” response to learning that peasants had no bread to eat. Clearly, a cashless or less-cash economy will not be achievable in the near future, and may also not be desirable.

Demonetisation — Modi Digs a Ditch for the BJP

The demonetisation move has boomeranged on the Bharatiya Janata Party badly. The unprecedented hardship it caused people has surely paved the way to the BJPs Waterloo in the forthcoming assembly elections in some crucial states.

Fire of Una Ignites Saffron Udupi

For the first time in a long time Dalits have mobilised enmasse for issues concerning their livelihoods. The uprising in Una has shaken the political establishment in Gujarat and has spread to other parts of India as well, including saffronised Udupi in Karnataka.

Behind the Ire of the Marathas

Maharashtra has seen strange developments over the last two months. Marathas, the most populous community, considered to be dominant in the state in every sphere, have come out on the streets in unprecedented numbers and with unusual calm to present their grievances.

10 Years of Khairlanji

Was justice really done in the Khairlanji massacre? Is there any let-up in atrocities against Dalits? More importantly, will the victims get justice given the depressing trend in recent judgments, where perpetrators of violence against Dalits have been repeatedly acquitted?

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