Anticaste.in republishes renowned Marxist historian Irfan Habib’s classic essay on the evolution of caste in India. [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]
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]
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]
A fundamental and core feature of India’s socio-economic structures is its caste system. Birth and descent determine positions in immutable social hierarchies. When Rohith Vemula penned his tragic yet passionate suicide note he described his Dalit identity as a ‘fatal accident’. And it is true. Had he been born into another caste, he would not as a child has had to witness his mother Radhika facing caste based indignities. Nor would Rohith and his sibling Raja have faced discrimination in their school classrooms. The cancellation of his scholarship, his only means of survival as a student at a top University, would not have led to the drastic action he took, thus making him a victim of an institutional murder. The institution in question is not just the callous university establishment, but in fact, the institution of caste. [Read more]
B.V. Raghavulu, Vice-President of the Struggle Committee Against Caste Discrimination (Kulavivaksha Vyatireka Porata Sangham) and Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M), speaks to G. Mamatha on the caste question in India. [Read more]
People’s Democracy, February 23, 2014 The first state convention of the Struggle Committee for the Annihilation of Caste (Jaati Anta Sangharsh Samiti) was held at Nagpur on January 25, 2014. The venue was named after Surekha Bhotmange and the hall after Priyanka Bhotmange, the mother and daughter duo who were raped and killed in the […]