OU students observe ‘Narakasura Vardhanti’


Osmania University, the nerve centre for Telangana movement, has also become a centre for crazy or perhaps dangerous thoughts these days. In a bid to show their utter contempt for the ruling party or the ruling classes, a section of OU students have started denouncing the Hindu festivals and worshipping demons. This trend was never before in the university and it started only this year. During the Dasara festival, these OU students boycotted the Bathukamma festival as well as Vijayadasami; and instead mourned the killing of Mahishasura. They put up a big portrait of Mahisasura in the Arts College premises and worshipped him, saying he was killed by the so-called upper class Durga only because he was a Dalit.

Now on the eve of Diwali, the OU students observed “Narakasura Vardhanti,” the death anniversary of demon Narakasura, who was supposedly killed by Lord Krishna and Satyabhama. They made a similar allegation saying Narakasura was a Dalit and hence, the Brahminical character Krishna killed him to suppress the revolt by Dalits against upper castes. They said in a bid to cover up the killing, the Brahmin sections portrayed him as “Asura.” So, the students called him as “Naraka Shura” rather than Narakaasura.

Well, if Telangana state is given, the entire mythological characters may undergo a change: gods will become demons and demons will become gods!




Dalits observe ‘Mahishasura day’ in JNU


New Delhi: A group of Dalit students came together at JNU on Monday to honour Mahishasura, the demon killed by Goddess Durga, even as the varsity sent a showcause notice to a student on his role in circulating an “offensive” poster that caused a row on the issue earlier this month.

Members of the All India Backward Students Forum (AIBSF) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had clashed two weeks back over posters that were found “hurtful” by a section of students.

Dalits observe `Mahishasura day` in JNU

The posters were circulated by students of the AIBSF, based on an article on ‘Dalit viewpoint of Durga-Mahishasura’.

The students under the banner of AIBSF said today they were honouring the “martyrdom” of Mahishasura, who belonged to the backward caste and was a “just and a powerful king”.

The University, which was conducting an internal inquiry into the incident of the clash, has meanwhile issued a showcause notice to Jitendra Yadav, a PhD student of Center of Indian Languages and president of AIBSF.

Dalits observe `Mahishasura day` in JNUThe notice said Yadav had been found guilty of releasing an “offensive” poster depicting a deity “in a derogatory manner which created considerable unhappiness and resentment among a section of students” that led to violent incidents.

The notice asks him to explain his act of “serious misconduct and indiscipline” and asks him to submit his reply by October 27.

Yadav said the University was playing into the hands of right wing groups and said the article their poster referred to had not insulted any deity but had asked Dalit and OBC youth to know who their heroes were.

The students also organised a seminar on ‘Mahishasur & Macaulay: The Limits of Post-Modernity’ on the eve of the birth anniversary of Lord Macaulay, the 19th century British historian and politician who was instrumental in introducing the English language as a medium of education in India.

A new painting of ‘Mahishasura’ by artist Lal Ratnakar was also displayed on the occasion.

BSP to contest all 140 seats in Kerala


Kozhikode: The BSP will contest all 140 constituences in Kerala for April 13 assembly polls and will not have any understanding with any party or alliances, party’s National Secretary Pramod Kureel said on Saturday.

The decision was taken under the direction of BSP President and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, he told reporters.

“In this election, BSP, by achieving 10 per cent vote share, will establish itself as prominent political player in Kerala,” he claimed.


BSP to contest all 140 seats in Kerala

“The state has been ruled either by LDF or UDF all these years but it is a sad state of affairs that 50 per cent of Kerala’s population is without safe drinking water, roads and other basic infrastructure”, he alleged.

Mayawati will campaign in Kerala for three days, he said.

The names of 38 candidates were also announced at the press conference. Earlier, the party had announced the list of 70 candidates from Kochi on Saturday.


RAJA OF CORRUPTION-Hurting the dalit cause : Prof. Kancha Ilaiah



By Kancha Ilaiah
Our democracy is not only fragile but corrupt. But that does not absolve any dalit leader indulging in a massive corrupt practice.
The Indian nation is reeling under corruption of all varieties — financial, moral and ethical. Unfortunately former minister Raja’s corrupt contracting of the communication networks called 2G spectrum scam has not only shaken the UPA government but affected the moral credibility of DMK politics and more so that of the dalit ideology.

Raja is not only a dalit but has grown up in the Dravidian ideological framework. Why did he pursue politics of this level of corruption? Did he do it at the instance of the DMK leadership or on his own? I cannot imagine that a politician of his age and background could do it without the knowledge of the top DMK leadership.

The DMK has its origins in the socio-political culture of Periyar Ramasami Naikar’s movement. The DMK has moved far away from it. We have been haunted by the corrupt image of Lalu Prasad and Mayawati for quite some time now. The scope to justify their deeds as individual aberrations tainted our ideological vision also. Of course, we cannot write off such corrupt practices of the dalit-bahujan leaders as some historical inheritance of the same brahminic practice as the practice sustains outside the realm of ‘sramanic’ practices.

Gautham Buddha gave us a moral code that one’s own property should be an external image of one’s labour power that must get invested into it in varied forms. He was not totally opposed to private property but opposed to private property accumulated by exploiting the labour power of others.

Periyar, Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Ambedkar inherited the moral ethics of Buddha. DMK and Bahujan Samaj Party are the political expression of these great leaders of depressed classes. When these parties are heading the state institutions what ethical, moral and financial policies should they follow?

Marx also believed in a similar theory that the private property of a person should not go far beyond one’s own family labour power. Any property accumulated in any other form outside the realm of labour power of one’s own family is nothing but exploitation. The kind of political corruption that Raja or Kalmadi or Ashok Chauhan or Yeddyurappa got involved in amounts to plundering of the national resource that got generated with the investment of mass labour power of the nation into it.

If it were to be China or any other western democratic system, such political leaders either would have been hanged or they would have been jailed for their entire lifetime. In a country like the USA the jail term may be 120 years or 140 years whereby whatever could be the life span of that particular individual, he/she cannot come out of the jail till he/she dies. The Indian laws of punishment do not follow such a course. Life sentence at best means one would be in jail for 14 years.

Double punishment

The culture of punishing less for major crimes of corruption of the magnitude that we witness today has been inherited from the historical culture of ignoring or giving marginal punishments for such practices. Should not that legal trend change now? As Kanshi Ram used to say that if upper castes with proven history of corruption indulge in corruption they should be punished severely and when the state is being run by the representatives of the poor and oppressed they should be punished more because they were supposed to help the poor more. Raja, if proven guilty deserves double punishment because his moral duty was to work for the welfare of the poor more than the others. Obviously this he did not do so.

Of course, the present market economy seems to force every section to get into the network of corrupt accumulation of private capital. The culture of massive corrupt accumulation of family wealth seems to have become a normal mode of political life of politicians. May be this is part of third world democracy.

Our democracy itself is not only fragile but corrupt at the very base of it. But that does not absolve such massive corrupt practice of a dalit leader who emerged out of the political formation of the kind that DMK is.

B R Ambedkar thought that the Indian corruption is imposed by the brahminic intelligentsia, as they lived off the ‘dakshina’ economy. Those politicians who have come from the productive communities have acquired an ideological education that more you earn more respect and stature you acquire irrespective of the means you adopt for acquiring the wealth.

If Ambedkar and Jagjivan Ram, having come from the dalit-bahujan background provided one kind of example, Raja, having come from the same dalit background and having grown from the ranks of Periyarite party seems to set another example.

Culturally we have lost a moral ground that Buddha, Phule, Ambedkar and Periyar handed down to us. The political formations that emerged out of their ideology and practice must reset on a course of fresh debate about the political and social morality they set in motion. If these political parties along with communists also do not observe the cultural ethics of non-corruptibility where will the nation go?



Insight into Dalit bahujan writings: THE WEAPON OF THE OTHER Kancha Ilaiah



THE WEAPON OF THE OTHER – Dalitbahujan writings and the Remaking of Indian Nationalist Thought: Kancha Ilaiah; Pearson Education, 7th Floor, Knowledge Boulevard, A-8 (A), Sector 62, Noida-201309. Rs. 695.

The meek and the weak deserve to be written about because they constitute the ‘other’ side of our society. The maturity of our democratic consciousness can be measured by how we treat, not our descendants and dependents, but members of the classes/castes other than our own.

The term ‘Dalitbahujan’ refers to and encompasses the Scheduled Castes and the Other Backward Classes, the “people and castes who form the exploited and suppressed majority.” This is what Kancha Ilaiah told us in his classic Why I Am Not a Hindu (1996). Now, 14 years later, Ilaiah says there were three kinds of nationalist thought during the anti-colonial struggle. There was the Hindu nationalism of Tilak and Gandhiji, the Brahmanical communist nationalism of P.C. Joshi and S.A. Dange, and Dalitbahujan nationalism of Jotirao Phule, Ambedkar and Periyar E.V. Ramasami.


Dalitbahujan writings made five contributions to Indian nationalist thought, says Ilaiah. The first is the Buddha-Ambedkar school that advocates non-violence and restricted use of weapons, for self-defence only. In contrast, the Hindu gods carry weapons —Krishna has his ‘chakra’ (wheel), Parsuram his axe, and Rama his bow and arrow.

The second contribution is the concept of equality based on communal property. The life of Dalitbahujans mostly depends on the labour power of their hands and the larger prakriti (or nature). The leisure-loving higher castes, who constitute the upper class, base their life on private property and on the labour of the other sections of society.

The third contribution is universal humanism or ‘Dalitism.’ The “egalitarian democratic-socialist baby” is growing in the womb of Dalitbahujan wadas or neighbourhoods.

The fourth relates to the democratic gender relations. Ilaiah believes that man-woman relations in the Dalitbahujan wadas are less patriarchal. In these wadas, atrocities are inflicted by husbands under the influence of brahmanical feudalism and capitalism.

Socio-economic values

And the fifth contribution concerns positive socio-economic values. The class of people who produce goods and are wrongly considered ‘polluted’ deserve to be respected, while those who produce nothing and remain mere ‘consumers’ but claim themselves to be ‘pure’ must be ‘devalued.’ “Making shoes should receive greater respect and better payment than teaching in the university.”

It is noteworthy that Ilaiah is himself a university don. Hence he merits our respect for the courage of his conviction to talk against his own interest.

Kancha Ilaiah, who has risen from a humble background, has six books to his credit, and his articles have appeared in all leading Indian journals. He has participated in the U.N. Conference on ‘Racism, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia’ held at Durban in 2001 and has also been a postdoctoral Fellow with the Dalit Freedom Network, Denver, in 2004-05.

This book, which is rhetorical in character, is the outcome of another Fellowship, the one from Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (1994-97). Ideally, such a prestigious Fellowship should have been used to offer some fresh theoretical insights.

But Ilaiah has chosen to uncritically endorse Jotirao Phule’s theory that the Aryans were invaders. Phule (1827-90) could take that position because such was the historical thinking during his time. In fact, he was only echoing what Max Mueller (1823-1900) had said. If Ambedkar (1891-1956) endorsed that line it was because his work related to public administration, not history. As for Periyar (1879-1973), the Aryan invasion theory eminently fitted into his campaign for the Dravidian cause.

One expected Ilaiah, as an academic of stature with a record of pioneering work, to have examined the issue in the light of the latest thinking in the academia. For instance, we have Romila Thapar telling us that Aryans were not a race but were people speaking Indo-Aryan group of languages. And languages get disseminated through story-tellers, pen-pushers, litterateurs, and so on.

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