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

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'Lived-in Experience'

This is with reference to Ajay Guda­ varthy’s ‘Gandhi, Dalits and Feminists: Recovering the Convergence’ (May 31). What is this socio­political category of dalit­bahujan? Dalits are anti­caste and bahujan “other backward classes” are casteist. Neither dalits who are ex­ untouchable castes nor the OBC peasant castes as social categories have a philo­ sophical theory of knowledge. No repre­ sentative of theirs was a philosopher and even Kancha Ilaiah, who claims to have a theory of knowledge, can have it because he has not departed from the Marxist epistemology. And what is this “lived­in experience”, a term that seems to have been borrowed by elite left academicians from Gopal Guru? The bahujans of Buddha’s time were vastly different from the bahujans of today. Buddha, who was an ex­janapadin slaveowner, had no “lived­in experience” of the communal slave varna and still he created their philosophy of pratitya­samutpada, built their revolu­ tionary party of Samgha and directed their emancipatory revolution success­ fully. Neither Phuley nor Ambedkar was a philosopher. Ambedkar turned a parliamentarian after he became the law minister and still the Ambedkarites and their intellectuals apply the test of “lived­ in” or “bodily experience” to savarnas like me who have dedicated their lives to the caste­ending bourgeois democratic revolution and socialism.

Sharad Patil Dhule,

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