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

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.