The Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) organised a 360-km walk from Salem to Chennai against the scourge of caste arrogance killings (often called ‘honour’ killings) in Tamil Nadu. The walk concluded on June 22 in Chennai with a ‘March to the City’ demanding the passing of an act specifically against ‘honour’ killings. Over 300 people, including CPI(M) Tamil Nadu Secretary G. Ramakrishnan, courted arrest in the struggle on the final day. Anticaste.in spoke to Samuel Raaj, General Secretary of the TNUEF, on the motivation and aims behind the Walk and on the experience gained from it. [Read more]
Left-wing student and youth organisations held protests throughout Kerala to protest the central government’s order banning the sale of cattle for slaughter in markets. The beef festivals organised by the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) witnessed large participation of students, youth, prominent personalities from various fields and the general public. [Read more]
The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has condemned the notification by the BJP government at the centre prohibiting the sale of cattle for slaughter in markets. Subsequently he shot off a letter to the Prime Minister, demanding the repeal of the newly imposed restrictions. [Read more]
The Marxist assessment of the communal problem has been that communal unity cannot be forged except on the basis of class unity bringing together various sections of the working people belonging to all the communities on the basis of a united militant struggle waged by the people against the oppressing classes. In other words, class unity of the working people against the oppressing and exploiting groups at the top was the real solution for the communal problem.
This is as true of the caste question as of the communal question. This may be illustrated by the way in which the Marxist movement in Kerala assessed and sought to solve the question of the demand raised by the backward castes for reservation in government service.
The Marxist movement in Kerala in its early days, extended full support to the demand of the backward castes for reservation in government jobs and in educational institutions. At the same time, it organized the working people (belonging to all castes and communities) on class basis.
It was the first Communist Government in the State which formulated and issued the rules according to which definite quotas were fixed for the backward Hindu castes as well as for Muslims and the Christian communities. [Read more]
Satyendra More, Subodh More
2017 marks the 90th anniversary of two historic struggles for social justice in India. These are the Chavdar Lake Satyagraha of March 1927 at Mahad, Maharashtra, in which thousands of Dalits for the first time drank water from the lake that had been for centuries set aside only for caste Hindus, and the burning of the Manusmriti at Mahad in December 1927. The leader of these struggles was Dr B R Ambedkar, and it was with these two movements that Dr Ambedkar first emerged as one of the champions of the struggle for social justice in the country.
The main organiser of both these struggles was R B More, who was to become a widely respected communist leader. On 11 May 2017, the 45th death anniversary of Comrade R B More, Anticaste.in republishes an essay written in 2003 by his son Satyendra More and grandson Subodh More. The essay was originally written as two articles by the authors separately, and were combined and edited by Ashok Dhawale for People’s Democracy. [Read more]
Hundreds of young men and women in Mumbai joined the Mumbai Youth March organized by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) on April 23 evening to protest against increasing atrocities on minorities and Dalits in the country. The fearless march of the youth shouting slogans against Gaurakshak criminals and their political masters resonated with the protest in the hearts of the downtrodden people. [Read more]
In this article, Prabhat Patnaik demolishes the “efficiency argument” which claims that affirmative action, including reservations, lowers the “efficiency”, or quality of output, in any sphere where it is practised. The basis for an analytical objection to affirmative action on the basis of the “efficiency argument”, he says, can only be provided by a rejection of the presumption of even distribution of talent across social groups, in favour of an alternative presumption that either talks of the all-round superiority of some groups over others (which underlies racialism and concepts like the herrenvolk), or talks of different groups having different kinds of talent (which is supposed to justify the caste system). If both of these alternative presumptions are rejected as they should be, then the analytical objection to affirmative action on the efficiency argument not only disappears, but becomes its very opposite, namely an argument for affirmative action. [Read more]
B T Ranadive
Nationalist tradition in India looked upon the struggle of the lower castes against the domination of the upper castes as a diversion from the general anti-imperialist struggle. The caste question was considered to be an internal affair of the Indians who, in spite of all the differences and inequalities among them, were expected to first fight for the freedom of the country, under the leadership of the bourgeoisie. At the same time, there was another current which held that India was unfit for freedom till the people first overcame the inequalities of the caste system. This current was represented by certain social reformers coming from upper castes whose bourgeois democratic consciousness was appalled by the monstrous iniquities of the caste system and other obscenities of Hinduism. In essence, both these traditions sought to delink the anti-caste struggles from the contemporary democratic and class struggles; they sought to circumscribe the anti-caste struggle within the framework of the existing political and economic system.
This essay by B T Ranadive makes a broad survey of both these traditions as well as certain other anti-caste currents which launched a direct attack on the inequality of the caste system. Ranadive argues that while anti-caste struggles, including those which take the form of a demand for reservation of jobs, etc, should be supported, what is called for is a deeper struggle, embracing the oppressed of all castes, against the present socio-economic system which is based on certain property and production relations which sustain both caste and class oppression. [Read more]
B V Raghavulu
(Article published in ‘People’s Democracy’ on the occasion of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary in April 2016.)
Everybody is talking about Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life and work today. Ambedkar’s life work was to a large extent in the pre-independence period. He passed away on December 6, 1956. It was not even a decade since achieving independence at that time. And it was not even five years after the promulgation of constitution, in whose drafting he had played a major part. Though there were attempts by the ruling parties in the last seven decades of independent India to appropriate the legacy of Ambedkar to suit their interests, never were these efforts so intense as we are witnessing them today. [Read more]
5 April 2017 marked the 60th anniversary of the swearing in of the First Communist Ministry in Kerala, with Comrade EMS as the Chief Minister. Among the many far-reaching measures of the First Communist Ministry were the pioneering land reforms which abolished statutory landlordism and ‘jenmi’ system in the state, thus breaking the back of Brahminical landlordism and weakening “upper caste” Hindu landlordism as a whole. On the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of the First Communist Ministry, Anticaste.in republishes Comrade EMS’s landmark article “Castes, Classes and Parties in Modern Political Development”, published first in the journal ‘Social Scientist’ in November 1977. [Read more]