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

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Statement of Historians

Concerned at the highly vitiated atmosphere prevailing in the country, characterised by various forms of intolerance, we, as academic historians and as responsible citizens of a democracy that has greatly valued its inherited traditions of tolerance, wish to express our anguish and protest about...

Silencing a Critical Voice

The murder of M M Kalburgi in Dharwad in Karnataka is a part of an intensifying war against critical thinking by social forces that use obscurantist belief in the quest for political hegemony. The eminent Kannada writer, scholar, educationist and social campaigner was for long associated with...

Politics of Vendetta

Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, who have fought a long and heroic battle to advance the cause of justice for Gujarat’s 2002 pogrom, face possible prosecution on charges of financial misappropriation. We see this as a clear case of the politics of vendetta launched with explicit intent to whitewash...

Literary Witch-Hunt

In another shocking and serious blow to the freedom of expression, Perumal Murugan, an influential Tamil writer at the peak of his creative powers, has been bullied, blackmailed and harassed by anonymous and vested religious elements led by the Hindutva Right, in collusion with the police and the...

Wendy Doniger's Book

The surrender of a major publishing firm (Penguin India) over Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History , in a recent out-of-court settlement that involves the withdrawal of the book and the pulping of its copies, has rightly aroused much disquiet among all circles committed to...

Kosambi, marxism and indian history

D D Kosambi profoundly redefined the message that Marxism had for historians. What set him apart from others who "applied" Marxism to Indian history was his determination to maintain, indeed increase the standard of rigour in his factual and textual research, for Marxism dealt with a far more extensive area than the one over which research had conventionally been conducted. Guided by the basic thesis about how social evolution occurs, he rejected the view that India had ever passed through a phase of slavery; rather it was the construction of caste society that happened here. The reasons for his acceptance of a stage of feudalism spanning the period from that of the Guptas to the Mughals are most interesting.

Release Binayak Sen, Repeal Chhattisgarh Act

We, the undersigned, are dismayed at the continued detention of Binayak Sen, general secretary of the Chhattisgarh People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), since May 14. Binayak Sen is also national vice-president of PUCL, one of the oldest civil liberties organisations in India. Dr Sen...

M Athar Ali Scholar and Teacher

Census are important for the country. However in India caste identity of an individual is important Class identity is associated with caste. Backwardness in India is four-dimensional: caste, class, status and power. The SCs/STs, the lowest in the caste hierarchy are still the poorest. Caste, wealth, status and learning have been the monopoly of the superior castes. Caste has even travelled beyond the social system to religious communities. Even the converts are known more by their caste than religion. Caste, social and economic inequality are so interwoven in Indian society that the only way to transform it is by recognising it. By ignoring the reality of caste, we will perpetuate it permitting millions of people to live in inhuman conditions. Only when the state is able to identify the socially and educationally backward classes on the basis of caste, such castes can be provided with their legitimate rights. Since the basis of the past oppression has been caste, the basis of liberation too has to be by recognising the root of oppression.

M Athar Ali Scholar and Teacher

Census are important for the country. However in India caste identity of an individual is important Class identity is associated with caste. Backwardness in India is four-dimensional: caste, class, status and power. The SCs/STs, the lowest in the caste hierarchy are still the poorest. Caste, wealth, status and learning have been the monopoly of the superior castes. Caste has even travelled beyond the social system to religious communities. Even the converts are known more by their caste than religion. Caste, social and economic inequality are so interwoven in Indian society that the only way to transform it is by recognising it. By ignoring the reality of caste, we will perpetuate it permitting millions of people to live in inhuman conditions. Only when the state is able to identify the socially and educationally backward classes on the basis of caste, such castes can be provided with their legitimate rights. Since the basis of the past oppression has been caste, the basis of liberation too has to be by recognising the root of oppression.
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