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Vegetarianism is anti-nationalism, says Kancha Ilaiah

05/01/2017

LUCKNOW: Known for his immensely controversial book, `Why I am not a Hindu’, Kancha Ilaiah, on Thursday said that vegetarianism is anti-nationalism.

“For me, my nation starts with eating beef. Unfortunately, we gave up eating beef and our brains are not growing now. There is no enough protein,” said Ilaiah while speaking on Dr BR Ambedkar’s political empowerment in a function held at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University to celebrate 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar.

Currently, the director of the Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University and former associate professor at the department of political science in Osmania University, Ilaiah said that though he is not very tall and strong but his brain is working because he ate a lot of goat brain in his childhood.

“Vegetarianism will destroy the brain capacity. You cannot compete with vegetarian nationalism with China, Korea, Japan and America who are full scale `beefarians’, `porkians’, fisharians and even `frogarians’. Whatever is now poison they are eating, there brain is growing,” sais Ilaiah getting a round of applause from the audience, mainly consisting of dalits, who make 50% of the university’s population.

However, Ilaiah’s 10-minute speech on the importance of beef left the upper caste audience sulking.

“The whole steel industry is collapsing from here to England because China is producing steel in such a manner that all our economists are in doldrums, nothing is being understood by Indian economists. This is because, the Chinese brain has gone so sharp, our economists vegetarians brains are not working.”

From Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swach Bharat campaign to Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati’s latest remark that women entering temples will increase rape, Ilaiah had salvo ready for all.

“We didn’t know whether he was guiding or misguding us. His speech was more destructive and less constructive, giving students ideas on how to create discrimination,” said a political science student.

“At times, the PM sweeps the road. I said when you were a shudra you were doing that. What are you doing now. Ask Arun Jaitely or Arun Shourie to sweep the roads. I am very happy to know that PM is learning English. At least a Shudra is trying. The only problem is vegetarianism doesn’t have a quick learning. He should eat good food,” said Ilaiah.

 Slamming the upper castes, particularly Brahmins, Ilaiah said at a time when Socrates and Plato were writing about justice and republic, scholars here were busy writing about Kamasutras.
“Do we need to write a book about that (kamasutras)? Animals know how to live a sexual life, why are you teaching it at 1st century AD,” said Ilaiah who coined a new slogan, `Bhim Bhoomi ki Jai’ for India, which according to Ilaiah will reflect the land of tilling, aspirational shoemaker, pot-maker.

Vegetarianism is anti-nationalism: Kancha Ilaiah on Ambedkar’s food democracy

Known for his seminal but immensely controversial book, Why I am not a Hindu (1996), Kancha Ilaiah, does not mollify his audience — an experience I have lived firsthand, having attended Ilaiah’s lecture series at the Asian College of Journalism. Currently, the Director of the Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University and former associate professor at the Department of Political Science in Osmania University, Ilaiah’s works have often been described by his critics as “cheap rhetoric”, provocative, while some others point to the inconsistencies in methodology, lack of academic rigour. He acknowledges that he has been told be “mild” and that he “should not be writing what he does” by many in his lifetime.

Perhaps that is true for most writers who write on Hinduism, Hindu Culture and Brahminism: Wendy Doniger’s Hinduism: An Alternate Historydrew ire from the religious right wing outfits, Perumal Murugan’s book about ritual, One Part Woman was not accepted by right wing groups and the author decided to withdraw books from sale.  Late MM Kalburgi, noted scholar on Vachana literature was shot dead; he found that the worship of Ganesha was not prescribed in texts, but a myth. Last year, a case was filed against Ilaiah by the VHP for hurting religious sentiments over his article published in a Telugu daily titled — Devudu Prajasamya Vada Kada (Is God a democrat?); around the time IIT Madras clamped down hard upon Ambedkar Periyar Circle, a student group that engages in socio-political discussions. More recently, Rohith Vemula’s suicide exposed the seedy cracks in the walls of higher education, where caste discrimination is bona fide.

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Ilaiah circles around a miscellany of topics when he speaks — he has examples, stories and tales, ready for your eager consumption. Ilaiah also keeps his ears to the ground and reacts whenever there is a need. Soon after Rohith Vemula’s suicide, Ilaiahwrote in an op-ed that dalit students like Vemula were creating a “new cultural idiom” and by that he meant engaging in a quest for transformation. Ilaiah is quick to correct me when I drop the word, identity: The struggles at JNU, University of Hyderabad, Jadavpur University, IIT-Madras’s issue with Ambedkar Periyar Circle, beef festivals in Osmania or EFLU are “not a struggle for identity” according to Ilaiah — these are about “transformative, political, ideological issues.”

The eating of beef, exercising the right to freedom of speech and being a human without the politics of caste, is the “transformation” he means. “I am more bothered about transformation of society where equality is the goal. These are not identity issues, but equality issues, these are issues of Indian democracy becoming mature. Identity is just a low grade of that, transformation is the next level,” he asserts.

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A conversation with Ilaiah is never linear, but one that meanders. Elaborating upon Ambedkarism, Ilaiah decides to make a point about democratic food culture being a pertinent aspect of the doctrine. To illustrate this point, however, Ilaiah resorts to grand rhetoric that unabashedly trespasses into the absurd — “vegetarianism is anti-nationalism…if a whole (sic) nation becomes vegetarian, its protein levels will go down. You know why West Indies won all the games? It is because they eat protein rich food.”

Kancha Ilaiah says things how they are. Image Courtesy: Facebook/Kancha Ilaiah

Despite such digressions, Ilaiah tells me, “everyone should be free to consume what they want, pork or beef,” — an appropriate critique of the State that is currently obsessed with regulating its citizens’ lunches and dinners.

As far as Ambedkarism is concerned, it is hard to miss that political parties across all leanings have embraced Ambedkar in the recent past, including the RSS. Most posters have his image and speeches are not made without invoking his name. How does Ilaiah understand this? “Ethicality of equality is missing in Hinduism” and the RSS cannot pick and choose ideas.

The Congress, Ilaiah feels is on the heels of repositioning itself into importance by deploying Ambedkar’s thoughts into their political strategy. “Rahul Gandhi has taken a radical position, he likely to become a reformist politician.”

Ilaiah’s beef with most parties is with their dilly-dallying on aspects of Indian history and not taking a solid stand on any of those aspects, especially Buddha and Ambedkar’s relationship with Buddhism. Again, always one to poke the grizzly, he makes statements about how the RSS must embrace Buddhism.

Ilaiah is also not particularly enthused by Communism’s tepid treatment of ancient Indian history — “they want to take everything combined from (sic) Hinduism is good, Vedas are also good…Socialism is good and Vivekananda is also good or that Shankaracharya is also good…no! This doesn’t work. This puts them in a confused status.”

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Caste politics are updating across the country, protests have sparked in various regions over gaining the ‘Backward Caste’ tag — Jats, Harayana’s farming community members sought to be included in the OBC list in 2008, Kapus from Andhra Pradesh, Gujjars from Rajasthan, Patels from Gujarat, Marathas from Maharashtra also demanded the reservation tags. This renewed interest in claiming the backward caste tag, according to Ilaiah is “dalitisation” — a term he coined in his 1996 book, he had ideated that a time would emerge when people would look for spiritual equality — “Dalitised mode of thinking, God has made all humans equal,” he explains. “Today the caste which did not want want reservations, Jat, Gujjars, Patels and Kapus are asking for reservations,” and the solution he says is to give them their position in society, in the community. “What is an open quota? In essence it is a Brahmin quota,” he slickly pronounces. The Dalitisation process “will happen more and more, labour will be respected” he says.

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When I ask him about how things have changed since Independence, he says that while there has been gradual progress, the oppressed are still oppressed. “There is a quantitative change, but there is no qualitative change,” says Ilaiah, his disenchantment is manifest. He attributes positives to the Constitutional provisions, such as the right to vote, employment and education but strongly espouses the idea that the caste system is “rigid” and benefits those in the upper echelons: Brahmins.

The Shudras, according to Ilaiah have been kept away from the spiritual and intellectual domain — Brahmins still have a tight grip on areas of “policy formulation and transformation.”  He says in an exasperated tone, “change is very little,” and explains that if men and women are burnt alive for marrying into other castes, there is no change; “Shankaracharya saying women entering temples will increase rape is not Ambedkar’s India,” he adds. Often understood as a staunch anti-Brahmin or one that is looking to annihilate an entire race through his “venomous” writings, Ilaiah addresses these with ease, “We are not saying that there Brahmins should have no place in this country or that we should be violent. In our religion, as Ambedkar has given, equality in every sphere.” The envelope needs to pushed — “where we are free equal human beings.”

First Published On : Apr 14, 2016 16:42 IST

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/vegetarians-are-anti-national-kancha-ilaiahs-hyperbole-illustrating-ambedkars-food-democracy-2728650.html


Corrupt, fraud Kiran Bedi: let Ms Bedi go to jail

25/11/2011
 

Ms Bedi, how dare you?

By Kancha Ilaiah

Team Anna has been arrogant and self-righteous ever since it launched the Jan Lokpal movement. Its Jantar Mantar hungerstrike yielded quick results, as the Congress government itself gave the team a boost by constituting a committee to draft a bill and by including five members from the team in it. Among them was former cop Kiran Bedi, who behaved as if she were an angel and all others in the country either corrupt or of no consequence. But now this angel has been caught for fraud and cheating organisers that invited her to speak at their functions.

Ms Bedi has claimed that she did it all for public good, as the money earned by submitting wrong invoices was used for her NGO. Ms Bedi wants us to believe that all the money she made by lying was spent on the wellbeing of poor children. This is ridiculous, to say the least. Look at the kind of money she earned through cheating. According to a newspaper’s estimate, Ms Bedi, in 12 air trips, claimed Rs 3,89,062 whereas the amount she spent on these trips was Rs 1,18,277, thus pocketing Rs 2,70,785. Ms Bedi, as a recipient of the President’s Gallantry Award, gets a 75 per cent discount on air tickets, which she happily availed but didn’t disclose.

This is a major crime. The purpose for which that fraudulently earned money is used is not the issue. The issue here involves cheating a trusted organisation which is paying you without even asking for your boarding pass. I also travel and give lectures, as Ms Bedi does. Most organisations treat us “speakers” so well that there would be an immense sense of shame to cheat them.

If Ms Bedi were honest and morally upright, she would have asked for a donation from the organisation for the poor children she is so keen on helping. If Ms Bedi were honest and morally upright, she would not have cheated the organisation by serving an invoice for money she never spent. A chain of lies becomes part of such travel racketeering. The bigger the profile of such persons, the easier it is for them to earn huge amounts of money this way.

This “earning” is not accounted for; one does not have to pay taxes on this. Should such a practice be treated as corruption? I think it is corruption of the worst kind because this fraud is pulled off on the basis of one’s reputation and the trust of an organisation that considers you valuable enough to invite you to talk to them.

First is the moral corruption. Ms Bedi, and others like her, travel like royalty, without having to carry their own baggage or boarding pass. Nor do they take the ticket receipts that the airline generates. All the more easy to generate a fraudulent invoice of a fraudulent travel agency. This act involves a series of lies that need to be transacted between individuals and institutions.

Second, this method of making huge amounts of money deceives institutions that also have a public purpose. So while Ms Bedi may be on the dias of, say, an educational institution, talking passionately about public figures and their corrupt ways, hectoring students and teachers to act against corruption, she herself has no qualms about cheating them.

This angel of morality was just yesterday waving the Indian flag as a leader of the anti-corruption bureau that Anna Hazare established while sitting in a Yadav Baba temple in Ralegaon Siddhi, which works only according to the principles of varnadharma. We all know that in several TV debates this angel of morality and merit used to abuse the reservation system as a legal mechanism that produces a “merit-less” class of people who join government institutions only to make money through corruption. Arvind Kejriwal tells the nation — after Swami Agnivesh exposed him — that he put about `2.9 crore which was given in the form of donations to Mr Hazare’s movement in the account of India Against Corruption, his own NGO.

Ms Bedi runs an NGO with money that is fraudulently collected from public and private institutions and Mr Kejriwal runs an NGO that pockets money given to Mr Hazare. Let them remove Mr Hazare from their team and ask for donations. Then we’ll see how much money they will collect. How come the shining stars of public and personal probity did not open an account in the name of Team Anna itself? Why did they not form an organisation with Mr Hazare as its chairman, without whose signature money could not be withdrawn? Who is operating that money now?

We now understand why they were struggling to keep NGOs out of Lokpal. They wanted a Lokpal that would monitor peons, clerks and small section officers in the government sector, perhaps with a view that more than 50 per cent of small job holders come from reservation background. Would they now introduce a clause in Jan Lokpal Bill where a corrupt peon should be respected for taking bribe as long as it is for a worthy cause?

By Team Anna’s own demands and insistence on stringent action against corruption, should not an example be set by sending Ms Bedi to jail for cheating organisations in this manner? Why is Mr Hazare allowing her to continue after several organisations issued public statements that she cheated them? If Ms Bedi can wash off her guilt and sins by returning the money ( Rs 16,346 only), why don’t we extend that same courtesy to A. Raja, K. Kanimozhi and Suresh Kalmadi? If we accept this principle, why not give them a chance to return all the money they earned through kickbacks and return to being powerful and respectable again?

Team Anna can’t invert the moral discourse when it pleases them. Ms Bedi’s plea of innocence fools no one. If they want to regain credibility, let Ms Bedi go to jail now.

 

 

The writer is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

Read more

 

http://www.afternoonvoice.com/editorial_Kiran-got-caught-in-fraud_21_oct_11.html

http://www.merinews.com/article/is-kiran-bedi-not-a-corrupt-and-fraud-activist/15860071.shtml


Why not a Dalit priest?

28/10/2011
Deepavali in White House
Why not a Dalit priest?
By Kancha Ilaiah

Let not the NRIs work for creating religious frictions by presenting one
section’s festival as Indian festival.

The Non-Resident Indians of North America have
been trying to convince the White House that they should recognise the
Deepavali festival as American national festival by celebrating it in White
House. They made such efforts during the Bill Clinton period but failed. Then
they tried very hard during the George W Bush term and again failed.

However, they succeeded during this time in convincing the Obama
administration that it should celebrate the Deepavali festival in the White
House. On the Deepavali day, Obama attended a celebration organised by
Indians in the White House and lit a lamp. The main representative of India
on the dais, along with Obama was an Indian Brahmin priest with a shaven head
and semi-naked body covered with a Pattu Vastram and a dhoti. He also sported
big three fold Vaishnava ‘namam’.

Assuming that the NRIs were not willing to present a homogeneous Hinduism by
keeping a Shaivaite priest also, the basic question that does bother is: does
that priest represent Indian Dalits-Bahujans who hardly have any space in the
Hindu religious temple structures?

The NRIs living in America used Obama’s black background to convince him to
attend the celebration and give a respectability to Indian-Hindu culture.
What they have ‘hidden’ from Obama and his administrative staff was that in
India still the Hindu priestly caste does not allow millions of Dalits to
enter Hindu temples and they treat them as untouchables.

We were all a witness to Obama’s oath taking ceremony where the black pastors
played a key role, though there were white pastors side by side. In spite of
an attempt to raise a controversy around his own pastor Jeremiah Wright,
Obama refused to disown him.

Since Hinduism does not even give such a scope to Dalits and other backward
castes, they are forced to remain unequal and outside its ritual
celebrations. No Dalit-Bahujan is allowed to become a priest in any
mainstream Hindu temple.

For a long time the American blacks faced a similar denial of spiritual
rights (though there was no untouchability) within the white church. The
blacks fought for decades to fight such spiritual racism and over a period of
time they gained the right to go to the white church. But the blacks were not
allowed to ordain as pastors and lead the church system. To counter such
discrimination the blacks started their own churches, which have become a
whole religious system in themselves. All great black leaders emerged from
that black church.

Whether it were the first major black leader, Frederick Doglas of Abraham Lincoln’s
times, or Martin Luther King who emerged as the greatest leader of the civil
rights movement and won a Nobel Peace prize at the age of 38, all were black
pastors in black churches. Even Obama emerged as a political leader, while
working in the black community church.

When the Indian casteist forces celebrated the Deepavali in the White House,
the Indian community would have realised that it would have destroyed his
race neutral administrative apparatus if they did not take a Dalit priest to
the White House. They should have done that, at least, to tell the world that
the NRIs do not believe in caste discrimination and untouchability.

Some of these NRIs were raising objections as to why the Congress House
Committee of Human Rights (called the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human
Rights and International Operations in the United States House of
Representatives) heard the Indian delegation in 2005 about the existence of
discrimination based on caste and untouchability in India.

Back in India Sri Sri Ravishankar, Ramachandra Guha and others accused us
(myself, Joseph D’Souza, Udit Raj and Indira Atwale were the main deposers)
as people who were indulging in internationalising the internal problems. How
do these so called reform seers and intellectuals respond to celebration of
Deepavali in White House and that too with a Brahmin representing Indian
culture? Suppose the Kerala NRIs ask for celebration of Onam in the White
House, who will represent that festival? Would a Bali’s heritage Shudra
represent it or a Brahmin from Vaishnava tradition?

Do not these intellectuals, so called seers and NRIs understand that
Deepavali as it is being celebrated today is an anti-Dalit-Bahujan festival
as Narakasura, who was killed was a Shudra himself? How could a festival that
celebrates the death of an Indian Shudra be considered as a secular festival?
Secondly, how does Deepavali represent India as a cultural festival when
India is a country of multi-religious people?

The only festival that can represent all Indians is Independence Day (August
15) celebration. Let the NRIs not work for creating religious frictions by
presenting one section’s festival as Indian festival. Let the NRIs stop
globalising communalism and casteism also in this from. Let Obama’s
administration realise that there are 200 million Dalits who cannot celebrate
Deepavali as a festival in India.

This is the reason why the Obama administration should have asked for the
presence of a Dalit priest on the occasion of celebration of the Deepavali in
the White House.

 

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/32772/why-not-dalit-priest.html


Will Lokpal probe divine money?

05/07/2011

Kancha Ilaiah

Baba Ramdev is not willing to end his war against black money. He has now asked the government to unearth all black money — cash stashed away within the country as well as all the money parked in secret accounts in banks abroad.

Following Baba Ramdev’s exhortations, his disciples participated in hungerstrikes and agitations against black money. Likewise, Anna Hazare (who, incidentally, is a devotee of a Yadav baba whose temple is located in his own model village, Ralegaon Siddi) and his team are also opposed to black money and corruption and the Gandhian has threatened to go on hungerstrike again. Team Anna wants the Lokpal Bill dictated by them accepted as is and be made the law of the land. None of them, however, has so far said a word on the recent revelations of huge amounts of money and jewellery hidden in the vaults of temples and bedrooms of babas.

The treasure discovered at the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple is worth Rs 1 lakh crore. And on June 17, Rs 11.5 crore in cash, 98 kg of gold and 307 kg of silver were found by Trust members when they opened Satya Sai Baba’s chambers at the Puttaparthi ashram after his death. It may be recalled that Baba Ramdev rushed to Puttaparthi to see the body of Satya Sai after he passed away. When Satya Sai was in the hospital, several “sacred” men and ministers from the Centre and states bemoaned that if he dies, ethics in India will also die.

One woman minister of Andhra Pradesh, in fact, camped beside his hospital bed for months. Several civil servants, judges and academics rushed to Puttaparthi. Now we have some idea why all this happened. It will be interesting to see what Baba Ramdev and Team Anna have to say about the officially declared wealth of the ashram, apart from the bundles shipped out of Satya Sai’s Yajur Mandir. Is this wealth black or white?

Will Baba Ramdev make a statement about the currency that was lying in Satya Sai’s bedroom, which was locked up when he was shifted to hospital? How do they define black money? Was the cash, gold and silver found in Yajur Mandir all white? If Mr Hazare, Baba Ramdev and their team members treat such money as black money, why are they silent on the course of action against it? Will the Lokpal Bill, which they are fighting for, also cover spiritual shrines of babas, temples, masjids, churches and gurdwaras? Does Mr Hazare’s draft have a clause that covers the kind of black money that was unearthed in Yajur Mandir?

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders A. Raja and K. Kanimozhi and Congress leader Suresh Kalmadi are in jail because they were said to be corrupt. If Satya Sai was alive, and if all the cash, gold and silver were dug up during that time, would he have had to be accountable? What would Kiran Bedi, who claims to be an honest and efficient police officer, have done in this case? Would she have arrested Satya Sai if he was in her jurisdiction?

By his own admission, Baba Ramdev has acquired assets worth `1,100 crore in a span of just 10 years. We do not know the worth of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or Mata Anandamayi, whose spiritual kingdoms are thriving and expanding like wildfire. Shouldn’t Mr Hazare’s Lokpal Bill have a provision for investigating these financial empires?

I am sure no Prime Minister’s or Chief Justice of India’s bedroom (from Jawaharlal Nehru to Dr Manmohan Singh) could possess as much wealth as Satya Sai’s bedroom held.

At least the Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament and the people, and the Chief Justice has to sit on benches and there is an open office system with a registrar around him.
Who are the babas accountable to? In the name of god, spiritual exercises and cultural campaigns, far too much immorality, corruption and accumulation of black money has been taking place in the country. We know how godmen, politicians, bureaucrats, judges and academics make even gods corrupt in India. Early and exclusive darshan of the deity at big temples is available for a price. Part of this money goes into temple hoondis, the rest into the bedrooms of babas.

What does our highly moral civil society have to say about the corrupt culture of spiritual institutions, the latest evidence being the Yajur Mandir? We have seen what happened in Osho’s ashram. American civil society could not tolerate that ashram even for a few months.

Sexual immorality and accumulation of black money has been part of so-called spiritual/religious institutions. If we are against moral and financial corruption, we must focus on the haloed halls too.

* The author is director for the study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/editorial/dc-comment/anna-will-lokpal-probe-divine-money-952


Dalits and English : Prof. Kancha Ilaiah

17/03/2011
Kancha Ilaiah

The democratic nation proved that the fears of lower castes were wrong. They enrolled into regional language education in a big way.
 

One bright morning in 1960, when I was about eight, a newly appointed single teacher came to my house. My mother had already cleaned our courtyard called ‘vaakili’ and was sprinkling the dung water all around the courtyard. I was about to assist my elder brother in untying the cattle and go along with them for grazing. The teacher asked my mother to send me and my elder brother, who was about 10, to school. What she told him shocks every one of us in retrospect: “Ayyaa — if we send our children to school to read and write devil Saraswathi will kill them. That devil wants only brahmins and baniyas to be in that business.”

 

 

For centuries the so called goddess of education was against the dalit learning, reading and writing in any language. She was the goddess of education of only the high castes — mainly of the brahmins and baniayas. But the lower castes, who were denied of education treated her as a devil that would kill their children if they go to school.

The notion that she kills us was so deep that my grandmother fought with my mother for she was terrified of our imminent death, after I and my brother — not my sisters in any case — were sent to school. She used to pray Pochamma — our village goddess — that she should protect us from Saraswathi. Within a few months after we were sent to school my grandmother died of a future shock that we would not survive at all.

The democratic nation proved that those fears of lower castes were wrong. They got into regional language education in a big way. The goddess of Sanskrit education was adopted by lower castes as their goddess of regional language education too. Several school teachers across the country — many of them were OBC teachers — installed Saraswathi photo even in government schools, ignoring the fact there could be a muslim or a christian or any other minority students in the schools.

It is a known fact that there were several hindu teachers who made humiliating remarks about muslims and christians that they do not have goddess of education like Saraswathi and hence inferior in educational values. Saraswathi Shishumandirs have cropped up all over the country. In the ’70s and ’80s the aggressive ownership of ‘matru bhasha’ (mother tongue) theory and adoption of Saraswathi as goddess of Indian education had acquired a nationalist overtone. So militant was that nationalism that any opposition to installing Saraswathi’s portrait in the schools and colleges would only invite fist blows.

The right wing student organisations started installing her portrait in the university departments. The regional language departments made Saraswathi an educational-cultural symbol. Unmindful of the secular constitution of the nation even the university teachers — mainly of regional language departments sporting a visible saffron tilak on the forehead, began to treat others who operate outside that cultural norm as inferior.

A walking goddess

With the increase of women teachers in schools, colleges and universities Saraswathi was made almost a walking goddess in the nation. Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Guru Nanak whose life though revolved around education to all humans never appeared on the nationalist map of education.

While the majority OBCs, some dalits and tribals began to worship Saraswathi in regional educational centres — of course on the real pooja day the priest talked to her only in Sankrit, in spite of the fact, that under her sharp and well decorated nose that language died to a point no return, except that soliloquous priest nobody understands the slokas, she has become goddess of all Indian languages.

While the historical backwards were enjoying their new status of proximity to mythical Saraswathi, the living Saraswathi in the company of her cousin Laxmi shifted her real operative base to the other world, called colonial English world. The backward class people of India, as of now, have no entry so far.

The recent decision of the Central government to introduce English teaching from class one in all government schools will enable all the lower castes of India are going to enter into a new phase of English education. Though this method of English teaching does not take the dalit-bahujan and minority community children to the level of convent educated upper castes, it makes a new beginning of dreaming for egalitarian education in future.

English education is the key for adopting the modernist approach suitable to the globalised India. The upper castes have handled the contradiction between English and their native culture quite carefully. But when it comes to teaching English to the lower castes they have been proposing a theory that English will destroy the ‘culture of the soil’. Having realised the importance of English the Central government has taken a right decision.

However, the next stage should be moving towards total abolition of the gap between the private English medium schools and the government schools in terms of both infrastructure and teaching methods. Even about the language both the public and private schools must be brought under two language formula of teaching 50 per cent syllabus in English and the other half of the syllabus in the regional language across the country.

(The writer is D.Director, CSSEIP,  Maulana Azad National University, Hyderabad)

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/137777/dalits-english.html


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

24/12/2010

 

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?

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/121501/hurting-dalit-cause.html