But it’s crucial to remember, even in a pandemic casteism never takes a break.
The IIT Kharagpur prof who berated an entire class of SC/ST/OBC + PwD students as ‘bloody bastards’ was apparently Covid+.
But that didn’t stop her.
She continued to use her hyper nationalism (not ‘standing up for the national anthem’) to lash out on ‘quota’ students in her English class, where she gets to determine whether they even make it to any of the IITs next year.
This is how casteism opeates in university spaces
It’s not just the usage of casteist slurs or telling students they don’t belong
It’s also constant harassment of those who avail reservation by UC profs to remind them of their ‘place’ in the system.
It’s calling them + their parents ‘bloody bastards’ in an English class.
Wilkerson’s Caste not only makes visible the plainly manifest yet stubbornly obscured reality of racial suppression of African Americans but also supplies other people of color with a vocabulary to understand their place in the lattice of racial and social order in the US.
When researching Coming Out as Dalit, I often struggled to understand how exactly did 'upper' castes subterfuge caste discrimination as nonexistent not only in our society but internationally.
After spending 3 hours with @surajyengde's EXCELLENT treatise, I finally know. 1/n
They did that by dominating almost ALL positions of power and foreign policy, effectively eliminating Ambedkar, & nitpicking on the differences between Caste & Race to exclude it from international attention.
Why solidarity b/w Dalit Panthers & Black Panthers? This! 2/n
As we stand today in a crucial moment of America recokning (once again) of its racist origins, it's vital for Dalit and Black solidarity to take shape.
We NEED to counter the decades-long propoganda (which even Indians believe) that Caste is somehow not as savage as race 3/n
3. Dalit murders — for entering temples, for falling in love,for a mustache, for existing — are so routine & ‘expected’ that our deaths are the norm, not the exception.
4. The idea that mainstream = upper class, ‘upper’ caste lives is innate. So our deaths are forever the other.
It’s also easier for UCs to side with #BLM while ignoring Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim, working class lives is coz Black folks have been doing the difficult work of fighting for their right to be worthy for years.
Now the rest can just ride on the coattails of that ‘cool’ woke vibes.
That using a caste name as a slur is not ok should be common sense. But for casteist bigots who need schooling...
It reduces the humanity of a whole section of people to a curse, creating a false idea that it's valid to 'abuse' a Chandaal or a Bhangi -- verbally & physically
Every time someone says 'You look like a Bhangi' when calling lack of hygiene or 'Don't be a chamaar' for 'ill-manners,' validates & reinforces the 'lowerness' of Dalits, directly leading to their oppression including violence. It also makes Dalits (kids) feel invalid/unworthy.
As we celebrate #AmbedkarJayanti it's crucial to remember that amidst the caste bias, neglect & apathy
The moth-eaten books, forgotten lectures & glossed-over legacy tucked into 20 words in textbooks
Dalits kept his spirit alive
Scorned by savarnas for crowding roads, derided by academics for 'hero worship', for many Dalits born into a religion that deemed them filthy& untouchable, Ambedkar is closest to a mythical figure
A singular leader who fought for rights that changed the course for generations.
If his life story, his ambition, his drive to study for 20 hours a day are folklore for some of us, that's because that's the only myth where instead of humiliated outcastes or crafty thieves, we were represented as equals, and as the centre of our own stories.
Rioters, fundamentalists, foot soldiers played music, chanted ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and cheered in glee, while proudly claiming to having given ‘freedom to a Muslim man’ — objectively by beating him mercilessly.
I wrote this after #RohithVemula's death. It's not entirely surprising that it remains as relevant today after Dr #PayalTadvi's institutional murder when people are still asking if caste really exists in India.
1. Be aware of your confirmation bias
If you've never experienced caste-based discrimination first hand, you'll simply tend to assume that it doesn't exist. Because that's not your lived experience. But for millions of Dalits, it is their everyday reality. So listen to them. 1/9
2. Learn the history
Try to educate yourself about the exact nature of the caste-based oppressions that are being discussed, because our textbooks don't tell us enough. Figure out for yourself why the reservation and the quota system were needed in the first place. 2/9
This #AmbedkarJayanti I urge everyone to read Ambedkar. Especially if you are Dalit & still searching for your identity/place in the world. Nothing will fill you w/ more pride, confidence & a total zeal to take on the world than reading how he talks about our place in the world.
As Dalits, it's not always easy to access Ambedkar. Esp when it risks revealing the identity we've carefully hidden from the world + when reading/displaying/associating w/Ambedkar can come w/ rejection, discrimination and even violence. #AmbedkarJayanti
If you're Dalit & have never read Ambedkar don't do it simply coz he was a 'Dalit leader' (he was an Indian statesman who was Dalit & led everyone)
Or coz everyone is telling you how imp he is (facts)
Do it coz no one else will tell you that you are not lesser than anyone else
Been laying low on the violent attacks on Dalits peacefully gathered at #BhimaKoregaon that resulted in extensive damage to Dalit property & the death of a young man. Dalit history has prepared us for this exact outcome several times, be it Mahar Satyagrah or Nagpur Temple Entry
Each time Dalit assert themselves or show pride in their history, UCs retaliate with violence.
The only difference this time, Dalits decided to collectively exhibit just what could result if the abuse of 25% of country's population is constantly ignored.
If #MumbaiBandh and the 'inconvenience' of thousands of people is what it takes for UCs and mainstream media to pay attention to Dalit violence and abuse, then perhaps that's how last resorts look like.