ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Race or Caste, Discrimination Is a Universal Concern

Whether it is Australian attacks on Indians or atrocities committed on dalits by Indians, or discrimination and oppression of the people of the north-east, they are basically issues that concern humanity and cannot be prevented from being internationalised.

How the State Treats Friends and Foes of the Oppressed

The State zealously sheltered its petty minion, Manohar Kadam, the police officer who, out of casteist prejudice, ordered the totally unjustified firing that killed 10 persons in Ramabai Nagar in Mumbai in July 1997, ignoring the persistent demands of dalits and acting only when it was impossible to do otherwise. In sharp contrast, it arrested Binayak Sen - the saintly doctor and civil rights activist who has been intensely sensitive to the plight of poor tribals - and persevered with its lies that he was actively involved in Naxalite activities. What explains this sharp difference in treatment?

Subalternism vs Dalitism

Speaking Truth to Power: Religion, Caste and the Subaltern Question in India (Vol I) edited by Manu Bhagavan and Anne Eldhaus

Reverting to the Original Vision of Reservations

The solution to the reservations imbroglio lies in reverting to the original conception of reservations for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes as a countervailing force against the disability of Indian society to treat its constituents with equity.

Uttar Pradesh: A 'Mayawi' Revolution

The Bahujan Samaj Party's victory in UP was a culmination of Mayawati's politically clever strategy of crafting an alliance between the dalits and the brahmins. To label it a "social revolution" contradicts the very framework of this alliance as a politically convenient arrangement. Its replication in other states would depend on particular caste configurations in every state. It would also be too premature to read in the BSP's victory the portents of a future "dalit raj" in the country.

Khairlanji and Its Aftermath: Exploding Some Myths

The importance of Khairlanji lies in providing a clear illustration of the genesis, development and culmination of a caste atrocity. Khairlanji brings to the fore the irrelevance of dalit politics and politicians and rejection of them by ordinary dalits. But above all, Khairlanji helps dispel a number of myths - the myth that economic development does away with casteism, the myth of Maharashtra being a progressive state, the myth that there exists a significant progressive section of non-dalits that is against the caste system, the myth that dalits placed in the bureaucracy can orient the administration to do justice to dalits, and finally the mythology of 'bahujanwad' developed by the late Kanshiram and followed by other dalit leaders.

An Enigma Called Kanshi Ram

It is not easy to assess Kanshi Ram, either as a leader or as a legacy. The unprincipled pursuit of governmental power that he represented, falsely projecting this as bestowing political power on dalits, to the detriment of every other aspect of the dalit movement has certainly been a great negative. Whether in the long run, his model of politics furthers the dalit cause or hampers it is a question that can be posed but not easily answered.

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