National Symposium on ‘Telugu Literature: Contemporary Politics and Socio-Political Movements’

 

Council for Social Development, Hyderabad hosted a National Symposium ‘Telugu Literature: Contemporary Politics and Socio-Political Movements’, on August 30-31, 2012. The Chief Coordinator of the event was Mr Sambaiah Gundimeda (Sam Gundimeda). Had a good listening to various presentations.

The conference note – National Symposium on Telugu Literature & Politics

The Paper Presenters details – Programme Schedule for Telugu Literature Symposium

And, below is the programme’s on going activity photograph, where my presence is also observable.

Participation at Council for Social Development National Symposium on ‘Telugu Literature: Contemporary Politics and Socio-Political Movements’.
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University of Hyderabad Onam Celebrations to have ‘Pork’

The traditional celebrations of Kerala New Year – ‘Onam’, at University of Hyderabad is likely to have ‘Pork’ as a menu. This is a very historical event. Here is a video interview by Ravi Chandran, Ph. D., scholar from the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad with Muhammad Ali, Ph. D., scholar from University of Hyderabad, who also hails from Kerala.

Please this video.

Hindutva and Dalit/Bahujan Student Organisations Perception Over Teacher’s Day at University of Hyderabad

Recently, for the past few years, especially after association with University of Hyderabad, where the presence of Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations are in considerable strength, I’ve been observing increasing denounce of Teacher’s Day Celebration on September 5, the Birth Day of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. The Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations have been arguing that instead of marking Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s Birth Day as Teacher’s Day, the Birth Day of Savitri Bai Phule should be marked as Teacher’s Day, who was regarded as the First Women/subaltern Teacher in India. As Brahmins never imparted education to others, especially to the subaltern, Savitri Bai Phule and her husband Jyotiba Phule were instrumental in taking a revolutionary step to educate the subaltern sections. With the increasing assertion of subaltern politics, especially Bahujan Samaj party’s style of Anti Brahmin/Hindutva style the subaltern sections like at University of Hyderabad (taking inspiration from Ambedkar-Phule ideological legacy and BSP political assertion, etc) are getting much more determined to break the challenge of Brahiminism in Indian public sphere, like in the present way.

II

On the occasion of Teacher’s Day on September 5, a few days back at University of Hyderabad Akhil Baratiya Vidarthi Parishad (ABVP) released a poster. Though I’ve been associating with the University of Hyderabad since 2006, this is the first time, as per my knowledge ABVP resorting to release a poster on the occasion of Teacher’s Day.  This is a deliberate step by the ABVP as per my observation.

III

The student mobilization techniques of both the Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations and Hindutva forces like ABVP varies on two opposite poles, like while ABVP wishes to consolidate its base by projecting the threat of the ‘Other’ like Muslims, Religious conversions, threat to Bharatiya (upper caste Hindu) culture – like opposition to Beef, etc; on the other hand Dalit/Bahujan student organizations mobilization is based on in opposition of Hindutva forces, etc. In other words, it can be said that while ABVP is aiming to consolidate on upper caste unity (in guise of ‘Hindu’ Nationalism), the subaltern sections like Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations are aiming to break the hegemony of Hindu Nationalist/Brahmin forces, by consolidating the subaltern on Ambedkar-Jyotiba Phule ideological lines, etc.

IV

Thus, we can observe that the contestation over the Indian public space to project and protect in favor of and in opposition of Hindu Nationalism is continuing in various forms (by both the ABVP and Dalit/Bahujan forces respectively), and the present Teacher’s Day occasion is one among them. The other notable incident in the same direction was Beef Stall installation at University of Hyderabad during annual Sukoon festival. Both the Hindutva forces lead by ABVP and Dalit/Bahujan forces lead by DSU, ASA, etc stood in opposition and in favor of the same.

Reflections on Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishanan and Teacher’s Day Celebration

 

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, one of the distinguished academician and Statesman, who held various high portfolios, occupied the distinguished position of Indian President. During his Presidential tenure, it is said that some students’ approached him seeking his permission to celebrate his Birth Day (September 5); to this his response was that he would be very happy if his Birth Day was observed as Teacher’s Day, his well admired profession! As a result, as per his wish, his Birth Day is greatly marked across India as Teacher’s Day over the years.

I

There is a close relationship in my personal life with this Teacher’s Day, since childhood; as both my parents were well into this profession, etc. And, moreover, I too well remembered even today how the personality of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was presented on the eve of Teacher’s Day on various platforms, either in news papers or at school by reading out his academic excellence in Indian Philosophy, etc. The presentation of his life sketch, especially his academic excellence used to strike me a lot and made to ponder over about his great academic excellence!! But, when I went to college and started to get exposed to Dr B R Ambedkar’s academic excellence, especially towards (anti) Hindu religious Philosophy, etc, again I encountered two great personalities; in divergent ways, who were contemporaries. Slowly, I used to exclaim myself; why Dr B R Ambedkar was not presented as a great academician/scholar and why only Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was exposed as an extraordinary intellectual? Then, somehow, I started to resolve myself, that I should study both these two academicians’ views on Religion, especially in relation to Hinduism. So far in this direction, I’ve been successful in getting exposed towards Dr B R Ambedkar’s literature on Hinduism, etc. But, even though acquired a few copies of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s academic work, especially on ‘Indian Philosophy’ volume I & II, unable to read them so far due to various factors, like as these two volumes are written in well academic philosophical language, etc. But, certainly, I wish at some point of time in my life, hopefully, after completion of my Doctorate or so, I would be able to read Dr Sarvepalli’s works on Hindu Religion too.

II

Recently, for the past few years, especially after association with University of Hyderabad, where the presence of Dalit-Bahujan Student organizations are in considerable strength, I’ve been observing increasing denounce of Teacher’s Day Celebration on September 5, the Birth Day of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. The Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations have been arguing that instead of marking Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s Birth Day as Teacher’s Day, the Birth Day of Savitri Bai Phule should be marked as Teacher’s Day, who was regarded as the First Women/subaltern Teacher in India. As Brahmins never imparted education to others, especially to the subaltern, Savitri Bai Phule and her husband Jyotiba Phule were instrumental in taking a revolutionary step to educate the subaltern sections. With the increasing assertion of subaltern politics, especially Bahujan Samaj party’s style of Anti Brahmin/anti Hindutva style the subaltern sections like at University of Hyderabad (taking inspiration from Ambedkar-Phule ideological legacy and BSP political assertion style, etc) are getting much more determined to break the challenge of Brahminism in Indian public sphere. But, they are yet to march a long direction in this respect. Meanwhile, we have to observe how the Indian political discourse will take its own course, especially in relation to Brahminism/Hindutva hegemonic wishes to perpetuate further in the public sphere and anti Brahman/anti Hindutva forces on the other hand to break the Brahmin hegemony.

 

The Romanticism of ‘Social Justice…’

The word ‘Social Justice…’ is an idealist term; for many practical reasons. Human Beings notions and perceptions of Justice, equality, etc constantly varies with the passage of time. But, these notions get the recognition of State, when State acknowledges authoritatively certain notions for better standards of living. Usually, such recognition takes place due to prolonged demands and activism for better extension of Rights to the subjects.

The Madigas of Andhra Pradesh, one of the predominant sections of Scheduled Castes of India has been waging a long struggle since early 1900’s for better recognition and extension of Rights, within the Untouchable category, i.e. from the times of Madras Presidency during British India regime. The Madigas demand was to recognize the heterogeneous nature of the Untouchables and extend benefits accordingly. Genealogically the struggle of Madigas has been continuing from the times of L C Guruswamy to the present Madgia Reservation Poratha Samithi (MRPS), demanding to implement Justice to them properly, and critics well acknowledged their struggle as a path breaking one among many of the significant social movements of contemporary world; especially Madigas agitation gave a good inspiration to the other sections of marginalized communities like Lambadas, etc.

Many persons imbibed the notion of ‘Social Justice…’ or the voice of ‘Equitable Distribution of Resources/opportunities’ in a positive mode, like the instances of above mentioned ones, especially due to the influence of Madigas movement. But, there are some persons who turned this positive notion either intentionally or unintentionally in wrong sense by Romanticizing it for their deserved benefits. There are two prominent persons as per my personal observation who had been Romanticizing this ‘Social Justice…’, either for their personal popularity or for academic sustenance or for – to impress others about their genuine thoughts, etc and to make others to believe them about their honesty and commitment for Social Justice and need for the Democratization of the Society, especially in India. I came to know about these two persons, while I started to associate with the Dalit Students’ Union at University of Hyderabad.

The first incident of observance of Romanticism of Social Justice took place during the early days of starting of the academic year 2006; at the Shopping Complex of University of Hyderabad. The person who Romanticized Social Justice, which he imbibed from the Madiga Movement was one of the prominent persons in Dalit Students’ Union on the University Campus. In fact, he continued in that prominent position for a sustained duration. One fine evening at the Shopping Complex, this prominent person of DSU, started to preach to another person of DSU to Love and Marry Madiga Sub-Caste women, instead of loving and marrying upper caste women. The response from the opposite active listener in a jovial manner was that they can marry, but, the Madiga Sub Caste women are not getting proper good education; so how can they marry??? When this entire conversation was taking place, I was with them only, but, observing their conversation as an (active) passive listener. One can easily understand that for heart, especially during times like love and marriage to choose on social justice lines is impossible. Heart and Mind chooses the opposite gender for sharing of life on various dimensions, but not on the lines advocated by the prominent person of DSU in the present context!! Heart and Mind chooses many parameters – for choosing of Life Partner, like prominently Beauty (of course both inward and outward basing on the type of individual to choose), and other parameters like education, compactability between the two in living relationship, etc. I was particularly sure that the prominent person of DSU, who was advocating Social Justice for marrying Sub Caste ladies of Madigas was just talking stupidly in-order to project himself as an intellectual and to get good marks in front of others by projecting himself how well he imbibed the notions of Social Justice…advocated by the Madiga movement!! My observation proved to be right within a few months. This prominent DSU advocator of Social Justice (in marriage) after a few months of starting 2007 fell in love with a Mala lady and subsequently though informed to the both side parents, unable to get married due to various practical reasons. The sarcastic thing in this entire episode is; though this DSU (Madiga) prominent person advocated to love and marry Madiga Sub Caste women for Social Justice reasons; he failed to follow the same when his turn came!! He fell in love with a Mala woman. Malas are a step ahead of Madigas within the Scheduled Caste categories!!

The other much more prominent person, who is well known for his academic inclination and online activism towards Social Justice and Democratization (especially of the Indian Public Sphere), is a good cheater in personal life on many fronts. Even-though he was a Madiga Student at University of Hyderabad for some duration, coming from a poor background (as an orphan), he never associated with Madiga’s platform DSU. But, his academic specialization and whole life activity surrounds around talking of (In)-Justice and need for Democratization of Indian Society, especially in relation to the Madigas, etc.  By removing his mustache, applying cosmetics and clothing in a gentle manner, always lenses upon others in the wider society to exploit (in negative mode) for his personal benefit, especially for personal financial empowerment. With his appearance as a genuine gentleman and with his words of Social Justice and need for Democratization of Indian Society, he always eyes on others to attract.  I had observed closely and silently many of his cheats in this manner during the last few years, even cheating of women on marriage lines too for his financial empowerment. There is no end for his desire for financial empowerment on wrong fronts, by cheating others. So, as an orphan and as a person who imbibed well the concept of ‘Social Justice…’ learned to market social justice in words and writings, without genuine commitment towards the same!!!

On the whole, I’ve observed the concept of Social Justice advocated by the Madiga movement in positive mode. But, same time there are also others who are adopting the concept of Social Justice in the above two enlisted forms!!! The first narrated incident is not much dangerous to the society, when compared to the second one.

Silent Revolution of the Hindutva Forces at University of Hyderabad

Christophe Jafferlot, the author of well know work ‘India’s Silent Revolution: The Rise of Lower Castes in Northern India’ argued that the subaltern sections in Northern India are creating Silent Revolution in the Democratic space by occupying the representative bodies, especially by the lower caste political parities like Bahujan Samaj Party, etc.

But, when I observe at the University of Hyderabad Campus Student Politics; I’m tempted to coin this phrase in reverse mode. I don’t regard the presence and activism of Subaltern sections at University of Hyderabad, especially which are grouped under categories like Dr B R Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) & Dalit Students’ Union (DSU) as creating any Silent Revolution; they are very vibrant in every aspect. But, I regard the Hindutva Forces at University of Hyderabad, which are primarily grouped under Akhil Baratiya Vidarthi Parishad (ABVP) as creating ‘Silent Revolution’. The ABVP cadre is never active in full-fledged sense of the term, especially when compared with the other sections like Students’ Federation of India (SFI), North East Students’ Forum (NESF), ASA, DSU, etc. ABVP activities can be observed during certain occasions only, that too in insignificant manner; especially like Vinayaka Chaturdathi, etc types of Hindu festivals. But, the mode of actions with regard to various other activities, especially related to the Student community is insignificant. ABVP is said to be getting the prime support from the North Indians, Upper Caste Students and from the Students of Science courses. The Science students’, whenever they face any problem, like with regard to their fellowships, etc attacks the University Administration and creates ruckus. On the whole ABVP is failing to have a proper leadership and proper systematic activities over the years, when compared to the other vibrant student organizations.

Though ABVP is not vibrant in dealing with the student issues in proper manner; it is successful in getting good vote share in the annual Students’ Union elections!! Thus, I regard this success of capturing good vote share by AVBP as ‘Silent Revolution’!!! But, again, this silent revolution, without proper political activism is a dangerous phenomenon to any democratic set-up.

Failure of Communism in Confronting Caste Perpetuation

Communists were very late in recognizing the caste factor in the Indian context, in the place of Class. As a result of this failure, it lost much political mileage in due course of Indian political process. For over many decades communists were seen as perpetuators among the subaltern masses, without recognizing the caste factor in the Indian scenario and Class analysis was propagated. This dimension was criticized by many subalterns, like Dr B R Ambedkar, etc on various occasions.

After the subalterns became conscious of Caste factor instead of Class factor; their experience varied vastly in their personal lives. One such incident was shared with me by a Telangana Scheduled Tribes (ST) Doctorate Holder at University of Hyderabad (UoH). This ST Doctorate Holder was associated with the School of Humanities and was much inclined towards Communism since his childhood in the Telangana region. Telangana region is well known for Communist influence, but, such an influence got reduced over the years due to various reasons. Even the Naxalite influence is/was also exists in this region of Andhra Pradesh. The ST Doctorate Holder in the present context was a clear testimony to acknowledge how Communists attempted to perpetuate their sway among the subaltern masses by putting forward Class analysis, without recognizing the Caste factor in the Indian Context. Persons like the present one, started to slowly disassociate to a great extent with the Communists/Communist Movement, when they got convinced that Caste is the significant factor to be considered in the Indian scenario rather than Class. The Present ST Doctorate Holder was a leading person on the UoH; as a founder member of one of the Student organizations. As he had political inclination since childhood, he attempted to be successful on the Campus political scenario. He felt confident that he/his sections like SC/ST students can be successful on the Campus Student Politics, especially in the annual students’ Union elections. For this confidence, the prime reason/s was that he/his associates had Marxist background and had confidence on how to deal politically, like; how to organize and how to deal with issues…., etc. But, to his utter surprise once, a non-politically affiliated person from Reddy Community, who laced experienced came to the limelight on the Campus politics, that too on behalf one of the Communist organization and he was fielded to contest the election as President of the Students’ Union…solely on caste lines. This Reddy community person and the ST Doctorate Holder too hailed from the same region of Telangana (village/mandal, etc). The success of the Reddy person as President of the UoH Students’ Union utterly shocked the ST person. As a result of this incident the ST person once again in his personal life recognized the influence of the Caste factor in the Indian sceaniro, that too within the Communists!!!

(Based on the personal sharing of a ST Doctorate Holder at UoH)