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

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Adivasis and Gynocracy

This is with reference to David Hardiman's review of Ajay Skaria's book. I had read Hardiman's 'The Coming of the Devi' in 1988-89. The devi Sala-bai occurs in the very beginning of the autobiographical novel Trsna (1999) by Com Najubai Gavit, who is the first adivasi woman novelist of India. I am the editor and publisher of this unique novel. Hardiman approves of the contrast made by Skaria between oral and textual history of the adivasis. Oral history cannot go beyond some generations, while textual history reaches up to the vedas and the epics. Shiv Sena has concentrated its attacks on Christian adivasis of the Nasik district, the very area of Godavari valley called 'janasthana' by Ramayana, ruled by the gynocratic queen Surpanakha, a younger sister of Ravana. Rama first destroyed the gynocracy of Tataka and then that of Surpanakha. Both were adivasis. Visvamitra bade Rama to kill Tataka in the interests of the four-varna religion. The all-India slogan of the Sangh parivar is 'Jai Rama'. History is repeating itself, though it has been related up till now in brahmanical manner. The Vajpayee government is bringing emergency to strengthen the caste system and hence the objective of the third independence struggle will have to be annihilation of caste, accompanied by non-brahmanical enlightenment. That is why the vanguard role in this emancipatory war will be played by adivasis and dalits. Skaria misses this.

Sharad Patil

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