Skip to main content

When Gujarat's Dalit icon Mevani criticized "Brahminism" in Dalit movement, asserted "right" to differ with Ambedkar

By Our Representative
A five-month-old video of Gujarat's top Dalit face, Jignesh Mevani, "dug up" by a right-wing channel, finds Mevani, who won from the Vadgam with the direct support of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the recent state assembly polls, controversially accusing sections of the Dalit movement as infected with Manuvaad and Brahminism, the terms used by Dalit ideologues to condemn casteism.
"I do not believe that the Dalit movement cannot be Brahminical", Mevani said. Even as sharply criticizing what he called the "Brahminical attitude of some Ambedkarites in the Dalit movement", he continued, "There is Manuvad even within the Dalit movement, as well as Brahmanvad." Mevani used the strong words, significantly, before he allied with the Congress, or had even thought of fighting the polls with Congress support.
He was speaking at an event in Lamakaan, an open cultural space in Hyderabad on Auguust 15, and the topic was the need for radical youth movements. He said this during a question-and-answer round with the audience. The video was dug out by the right-wing channel, apparently, to showcase how Mevani differed even with Dr BR Ambedkar, recognized as India's undisputed Dalit icon.
While the main thrust of Mevani's interaction was to point towards how the Left and the Dalit movement were "natural allies", he suggested, he had the right to differ from Ambedkar. If, he said, Dr Ambedkar took a certain view on aligning with the Left, then "even my view can be different from his". If the views of Lenin and Marx couldn't be regarded as final, then this would also be true of Ambedkar or Periyar, he added: "This is what Ambedkar taught us."
Criticising those in the Left and the Dalit movement who thought that the concepts of caste and class are opposed to each other, Mevani quoted top historian DD Kosambi as saying that classes arose in the form of caste, adding, in India, class and caste are intertwined and the struggle for class and caste must "happen at the same time."
"How can someone say that the annihilation of caste can only happen after the class struggle, or vice-versa?", Mevani wondered, adding, to believe that the Left has "never, in the history of India, tackled the issue of caste is historically wrong", one reason why those who followed Dr Ambedkar after after his death fought elections under "a combination of Dr Ambedkar’s Scheduled Caste Federation and the CPI."
Asserting that Dr Ambedkar was at his "radical best" in 1930s, and in 1936, the Independent Labour Party he formed had a red flag, and he launched "many rallies with the communists", Mevani reminded Ambedkarites critical of the Left that Dr Ambedkar was no doubt critical of Marxism and communism, but also underlined, "The biggest enemies of Dalits and the working class are Brahmanvad and capitalism", wondering, "Why isn’t the Dalit movement saying this?"
People do not remember this Ambedkar; they only remember the one associated with Buddhism. They do not remember Ambedkar who wanted to end Brahmanvad and Manuvad... They remember that he wrote the Indian Constitution, but not the Ambedkar who, four months before writing the Constitution, "wrote in 'States and Minorities', as a Left Wing politician would, that all the insurance sectors, land and key industries should be nationalised."

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.