Perspective for the Dalit Literature in the Era of Globalization
By Dr. Anand Teltumbde
(Transcription of a speech
delivered at the South India Dalit Literary Workshop at Thiruvananthpuram,
Kerala, 27-29 May, 2002)
Mr. Chairman and Friends,
At the outset let me make it clear that I am not a dalit writer in the
sense that I have not written any fiction so far except perhaps for
juvenile stories in school or college magazines which I suppose everybody
does. Nor am I a student of or a commentator on dalit literature. I
am a lay reader who enjoys good literature as a normal human being.
It is a different matter that even these small pleasures are being denied
to me by the circumstances of my being in the corporate sector and that
to with the drab disciplines like Information Technology for my living
and simultaneously involved in number of peoples' movements, which leaves
very little time for reading any work of fiction. It is with great difficulty
that I have managed to keep abreast with the dalit writings in Marathi.
It is true that I have done some non-fiction writing as an editor of
a workers' magazine in Marathi, as a pamphleteer for their movement,
as a contributor to various left-of-the-center magazines and periodicals,
as a researcher and editor in my technical fields, and lately a book-writer
on the subjects like macro-economics, sociology and dalit issues etc.
The practical problem however
is that these writing are not considered as 'literary' in common parlance.
I was at loss therefore to understand what I would do in a literary
workshop like this. I was somewhat comforted by the explanation that
I was meant to present the developmental perspective for the dalits
in coming times. Although, in this way I have a permission to take you
straight to the intricacies of neo-liberal economics - a vile discipline
that times have thrusted upon me, in deference to the context you sit
here I would endeavor not to be an entirely odd man out and try to take
you through the Marathi dalit literature, as a proxy for dalit literature
in general and then provide a glimpse of the future that is in store
for it when globalization matures in this country. Developmental imperatives
for the dalit literature will automatically come clearer at the end.
The genesis of the dalit
literature is variously traced by scholars depending on what they mean
by it. In the conception of a layman which I have said I am, the genesis
of dalit literature must lie in the spread of education among dalits.
It is only when they write and read, their literature could be born.
But to the extent that the dalit literature is premised as different
from the mainstream literature, this simplistic explanation betrays
sociological ignorance that as dalit start writing; their literature
will be automatically different. Dalits could well accept the hegemony
of the Brahmanic literature and cast their expression in latter's mould.
This is more natural to happen than otherwise. Indeed it has happened
as the history of dalit literature will show.
Right from the impressionable
age in school, the language, mode of expression, socialization, role
models are all given by the hegemonic system of Brahmins; there is not
a trace of our language, customs, culture or our history in it. We are
only taught to be ashamed of our being, to be alienated form ourselves
and therefore to emulate what the upper caste people do. The concept
of sanskritisation precisely points to this process. In order for the
literature of dalits to be really different from that of mainstream,
there is a prerequisite of the caged dalit consciousness being freed
from the hegemonic hold of Brahminic literature and culture. This may
take place in many ways; the best and easiest however being the live
counterforce of a movement against this Brahminic hegemony but in no
case it should be taken for granted. The writer's being a dalit, certainly
authenticates his or her experience but can neither be a necessary nor
sufficient condition for the dalit literature. Because it is possible
at least theoretically that some one who is not a dalit, could develop
dalit consciousness and create dalit literature. I could cite examples
for both the cases albeit with my conception of the dalit literature.
My conception of the dalit literature has to do with the sustained rebellious
expression against the Brahminic hegemony and iniquitous order of every
kind with a vision to create a world sans exploitation. Merely mirroring
the dalit life authentically will not necessarily therefore be dalit
literature because it could still confirm to the mainstream mould and
I am aware that this definition
would stir up a lot of controversy among the majority of our literary
intellectuals but precisely for this very reason I have raised it here.
Dalit literature is our property and we could set its boundaries the
way we like; there is nothing intrinsically wrong or right about that.
But we should be aware that these boundaries have socio-political implications.
After all, dalit is a desired identity; it is not yet a material reality.
If the argument of exclusivity of identity that makes writing by dalits
as a necessary condition for the dalit literature is extended further,
we may soon have an undesirable crop of literature named after the sub-castes.
After all, there could be valid argument that a consciousness of a Mahar
is not the same as that of Mang in Maharashtra or Pala in Tamilnadu.
This is not a conjecture any more; I learnt recently that in Nagpur-
a indisputable den of Ambedkarian movement, a particular sub-caste of
Mahars - indisputably the most advanced section of dalits in terms of
dalit consciousness, have publicly organized themselves claiming that
their culture is different from the other Mahars. Mala-Madiga dispute
in Andhra Pradesh has been too well known to be reminded about.
Because of the legacy of
the Phuley-Ambedkarian movement, it was natural that this kind of rebellious
expression first manifested in Maharashtra. It is neither easy nor necessary
to locate exact origin of the dalit literature after Phuley and Ambedkar.
But before the name came in to being in the sixties, such people as
Baburao Bagul, Bandhu Madhav, Shankarao Kharat were already creating
dalit literature. In its formal form it sprouted out of another progressive
movement called Little magazine which was a kind of rebellious manifestation
of the youth of those days against the establishment. First lot of the
dalit degree holders had started coming out of universities in significant
numbers in later half of the sixties just to find a dark future in wait
for them. The dalit politics represented by the RPI that was formed
after the death of Dr. Ambedkar had already become a hanger on or an
addendum to the ruling class parties. In Bombay, there was a resurgence
of the rightist forces like Shiv Sena duly helped by the Congress Party
to counter the sway of the leftist forces over the trade unions. The
global situation represented far bigger turbulence than here. The crisis
after a long spell of capitalist development during the post World War
II- reconstruction gave rise to various dissent movements of people
every where. The times were just ripe for the protest movement of dalits
to germinate. The newly educated dalit youth found inspiration in the
movement of blacks in the distant lands of North America; their black
literature and Black Panther became the role models of sorts for them.
It was therefore natural that this protest gained its first expression
in the form of a new literature called Dalit literature. As in the black
literature, its manifestation had to happen in the form of poetry- Dalit
The most notable example
of this protest came in light in the form of Golpitha- a collection
of poems by Namdeo Dhasal. Golpitha - name of a red-light district in
Mumbai, depicted the tough life of a dalit there and is considered as
Dhasal's most stellar work. People were shocked by the raw energy exuded
by each of its word entirely unfamiliar to the established literary
circles. They had never seen quite like it before. Its proletarian lingo,
iconoclastic imagery, defiant idiom and terrible anger shook the establishment
to its very foundation. A spate of poetry followed - Surung by Traimbak
Sapkale, Horpal by Bhimsen Dethe, Nakebandi by J. V. Pawar and numerous
others, each creating a benchmark in creative expression that entire
traditional Marathi poetry would fail to meet. Later came the other
forms, short stories and series of autobiographical narratives which
transcended boundaries of India and shook the sensibilities of the world.
What was the tone of the
dalit literature? It basically sought to assert dalit identity by discarding
the Brahmanic language and symbolism and instead using their own language,
idiom, metaphor and imagery. In content, it mainly expressed the pathos
of their living and gratitude to Dr. Ambedkar for ameliorating them.
They sang praises to him and glorified whatever he did. They reflected
rebellion and tendency to relate with all the revolutionary ideologies
and movements in the world including Marxism. In relation to Marxism
most people however extended the skepticism of Ambedkar albeit in a
poetic style. For instance, JV Pawar in his Nakebandi (Blocade) writes:
"You treat Marx as a
medicine I deem it as a drug
dismantle this stony caste mansion, this fence
and let there be a free play of water, for,
stagnant waters do not bring revolutions
what can your drug do?"
(translation: Prof. V. D. Chandanshive)
The underscoring radicalism cannot be missed in the motley voices in
which dalit poets penned their poems. Even Buddhism was radically interpreted
and brought to bear the contemporary relevance. The late Daya Pawar,
wrote of the Buddha wandering among the poor rather than meditating
in the forests. Hira Bansode, in almost feminist terms, has written
of the sacrifice of Yashodhara, left behind by Siddhartha:
''He was moving towards a great splendour
far from the place where you lay...
he went, he conquered, he shone
while you listened to the songs of his triumph
Your womanliness must have wept,
you who lost husband and son
must have felt uprooted
like the tender banana plant
But history does not talk about/the story of your sacrifice
...But wait, don't suffer so
I have seen your beautiful face
You are behind the closed eyelids of Siddhartha
Yashu, just you"
(translated by Jayant Karve and Philip Engbloom).
The early voices always talked about revolt and revolutions. J. V. Pawar
in his Dawn excels in articulating the anger of the then dalit youth
when he passionately talks of revolution:
"The revolution is not
going to wait
the clenched fists are not to be loosened now
I have endured much, no more enduring now
I can't be unfaithful to the blood
Ordering me to hold arms"
The concept of revolution
in Dalit literature however remains amorphous inasmuch as it is reluctant,
nay opposed to the concept of Marxian revolution, the only concept that
gives a definitive meaning to the word 'revolution'. It certainly reflected
dalit anger against the status quo and yearning for the change, although
the nature of which they were not sure of.
The next upsurge in Marathi
dalit literature was the autobiographical narratives. With their nerve
raking accounts of what the writers lived through, these autobiographies
stirred the conscience of all kinds of readers. Whereas the dalit poetry
made a mark of creativity of expression, the autobiographical narratives,
in their rawness and disregard for literary norms and without making
claims to creativity lent dalit experience much needed authenticity.
The most genuine autobiographical masterpiece of N.S. Suryavanshi's
Things I Never Imagined (1975), Sharan Kumar Limbale's Akkarmashi, P.
E. Sonkamble's Athavaniche pakshi, Kumud Pawde's Antahspot, Shankarrao
Kharat's Taral Antaral, Shantabai kamble's Majya Jalmachi Chittarkatha
and the sensation caused in the literary circles of Maharashtra by Daya
Pawar's Balute (1978) may be considered as marking the rising of the
'dalit autobiography' at the horizon of the Marathi literary establishment.
The inner quest of identity,
the cultural denunciations of the iniquitous Hindu dispensation and
the social struggles to assert one's human dignity took various forms
according to the will, vision and capacity of each writer. The first
essential characteristic feature of the Marathi dalit literature is
that it is not originally and essentially a literary exercise. The practice
of writing does not aim at achieving an aesthetic performance in literature
as an art. It serves purposes of social intervention and accordingly
carries strong militant connotations. This holds good in Maharashtra
as in other areas of India. The nature of these connotations varies
and takes different shades depending upon the writers' personalities,
changing socio-cultural contexts, motives and inspiration to write.
These autobiographical testimonies are more of a social phenomenon,
a form of social protest practice, a socio-cultural action in the form
of a literary performance than a literary event.
The mainstream critique of
Dalit literature in general accused it as being one dimensional, namely
negatively focusing on revolt only. I would say, it failed to understand
its essence. It could not be dalit literature if it did not pour forth
revolt and discharge a burden of hatred and contempt accumulated since
centuries, or even sometimes hurl abuses at and spit out back on high
castes the venom that they had to swallow for ages. The alleged 'negativity'
is actually a form of bold, genuine and strongly positive assertion.
It was a volcanic rupture in which repressed and ruined human beings
broke their status of animal servility by a shout of protest that signaled
the birth of a human being. It was beyond their sanitary aesthetics
to comprehend its meaning.
It was all right to start
with. It is pity however that the dalit literature, could not extricate
itself from indulgence in self-pity, obsession with identity, hymn-singing
to Ambedkar that lent him almost a godhood, and rhetorical talk of revolt
without any action. A trend surfaced in Maharashtra that objected some
of these features of the dalit literature and insisted that it be called
Phuley-Ambedkarite literature. It pleaded that after the religious conversion,
the dalits are no more dalits. Beyond the quibbling around the nomenclature
however they could not provide any alternate perspective or vision for
it. It was not mere naivety but the reaction of this trend that had
killed the Dalit Panther in its womb. It is well known that the Dalit
Panther had split on the issue of the Manifesto, one section disputing
the radical manifesto that was drawn up under the plea that it was not
confirming to Buddhist tenets. It is the same section that hankers on
the change in name. Its entire thrust is to rob of whatever militant
content that the dalit literature had and make it more and more surrealist.
The main malady of the dalit
literature is that it could not relate with the contemporary lives of
majority of dalits. It had serious handicap in terms of its reach because
of the extremely low literacy levels of dalit population and thereafter
the access issue on account of poverty. Dalit literature faced a potential
dilemma right since its inception. While it aspired to play up dalit
identity with the premise of distinct dalit consciousness but it remained
essentially a middle class phenomenon like any other literature. It
did not strive consciously to preserve its umbilical chord with the
dalit masses, 75 % of whom slogged on farms in villages. It is therefore,
that it could not relate with any of the contemporary happenings, some
certainly catastrophical proportion such as the mill strike in Bombay,
the lay offs that followed thereafter, the deaths of students on account
of non-payment of scholarships, the municipal strikes, and many communal
conflagrations, to say the least. The dilemma accentuated after the
demise of the Dalit Panthers, the one that had the still birth, with
which most of the dalit litterateurs were linked. The role of literature
is not merely to hold a mirror to the society but also to help it construct
a vision for future. The Dalit literature did perform this role in its
early phase but shorn of its connection with dalit movement, soon it
failed to do either. That is why it even lacked in creative expression
which was its forte and earned accusation of tiring sameness.
Inspired by the black literature,
it expectedly led to the formation of the Dalit Panthers which seemed
to set a new paradigm of revolutionary politics in the country. But,
unfortunately it was not to be. The ideological weakness manifested
itself in the fact that the dalit panthers split even before they could
conjure up their manifesto. It followed thereafter the path of the RPI
in Maharashtra, mutating into countless factions and eventually losing
its own identity. It is interesting that Namdeo Dhasal, the most creative
and fiercest of all; the quintessential of a dalit and a stormy petrel
of Dalit Panthers is seen today on the laps of Bal Thakre- the sworn
enemy of Ambedkarite dalits. He represents ideological fluidity of dalitsm
when he justifies his moves and still appeals to some dalits. One of
the Dalit Panther factions came to be known as Bharatiya Dalit Panther,
which in name itself implies not only empting it of defiance that characterized
the Panthers but also marking an end of creativity of its precursor-
the dalit literature.
Even with all the minuses,
the contribution of dalit literature in resetting the developmental
paradigm for dalits has been immense. First and foremost, it effectively
threatened the Brahmanic hegemony from literature which was one of its
cultural holy cow. Second, it conscentized dalit masses for dissent
and rebellion. Third, it stirred up thinking in dalit intellectuals
and catalysed creation of organic intellectuals of dalits. Fourth, it
rejuvenated the sagging spirit of Ambedkarism giving rise to youth organizations
all over the country. Fifth, it broadened the world view of dalits inasmuch
as they learnt to relate with the struggles of other oppressed people
in the world. Sixth, it highlighted the cultural resources of dalits
an demonstrated how they could be effectively used in their battle for
emancipation. Seventh, it broke away from the stereotypes that crept
in dalit movements and demonstrated a new paradigm of people oriented
politics. One could add a few more points to this list!
These contributions unfortunately
could not be sustained and withered away in a short time. Dalit literature
still survives but is completely divorced from its socio-political content.
The dalit literature movement in general has lost its former edge. It
appears to be a self serving activity of some dalit academics that keep
producing it, reviewing it, doing research on it and earning their Ph
Ds. Some are motivated by still other material considerations and target
their effort to the State as though it is their target readership. These
selfish motives also could be seen behind their zeal in fiercely protecting
their space. Already, many variants of dalit literature, such as Adivasi
literature, Bhatke Vimukta literature (in addition to numerous versions
of Ambedkarite- Buddhist literatures) have appeared in Maharashtra which
do not necessarily relate with the 'mainstream' dalit literature. In
1999, in the wake of the State sponsored Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, one
more movement came into being by the name Vidrohi Sahitya Sammelan and
within a short time it split vertically, both the factions holding their
respective conferences this year. Dalit literature essentially is reflecting
the maladies of the dalit and in general left politics; as a movement
it is hardly visible. Caught in a vicious circle of dwindling readership
and declining quality, its future does not appear any promising in the
Today, with much of these
contributions squandered away in process, dalits find themselves at
the cliff where their very existence is in jeopardy. This situation
is created by what is called globalization.
The current phase of Globalization
is an imperialist strategy of capitalism in crisis to have a tightening
grip over the economies, resources, markets as well as cultural and
communication systems of the vast majority of underdeveloped countries
by the transnational corporations, based mainly in the US and Western
Europe. It is being executed through the mediation of the imperialist
institutions like IMF and the World Bank since 1980s with the help of
their Macro-Economic Stabilization and Structural Adjustment Programmes.
The first experimentation of this strategy was in Chile after the displacement
of popular Allende government through CIA-sponsored coup, under the
direction of Milton Friedman of Chicago University. Soon thereafter,
with a few exceptions, entire Latin America became a laboratory for
this strategy. The devastation it unleashed there is a testimony to
what could follow anywhere. But still the ruling comprador class in
most developing countries has adopted them under the guise of their
own Economic Reforms.
In our country, it actually
started with the introduction of economic liberalization occasioned
by the first IMF loan of SDR 5 billion in 1980. This liberalization
agenda was pursued during 80s till the country reached a brink of bankruptcy
on the FE reserve accounts in June 1991. The then Narsimharao government
officially adopted the above said programmes and inaugurated the full
scale globalization in India. The subsequent governments under the Sangh
Pariwar, with their characteristic doublespeak has been pursuing the
naked imperialist anti-people agenda and heaping untold sufferings on
the masses. The underlying economic philosophy of these programmes stems
from the theories of neo-liberalism that propounds the rule of market,
reduction in the role of State, cutting public expenditure on social
services and eliminating the concept of public good; deregulation, and
general replacement of public with private.
As for the dalits who have
not only poverty but cruelest social discrimination to endure, the impact
of the globalization is uni-directionally adverse. The adverse impact
of globalization on poor people is so well documented as to be incontrovertible.
But its impact on the socially disadvantaged group like dalits is far
more devastating. Generally, dalits tend to equate the impact of globalization
with the loss of reservation because of the public sector getting decimated.
No doubt, reservation constitutes a significant factor in dalit lives.
But, to reduce globalization to mean mere loss of reservations will
be utterly myopic. The impact of globalization is all pervading. Even
it extends to aggravate casteism in operation as the recent data on
atrocities on dalits establish. If we take atrocities against dalits
as the index of casteism, then the average number of atrocities against
dalits per year during the post-Reform years shows significant increase
over that during the pre-Reform years. It also has adverse implication
to the long term project of Dalit Emancipation. I have showed it elsewhere
how on all the components of this project, viz., Land reform, Education,
Democracy and Modernity, it is going to be ruinous to dalits.
Let us just consider globalization
in relation to our subject matter of dalit literature.
The basic foundation of any
literature is the spread of literacy and education, so that people produce
and consume literature. Both of them are going to be grievously affected
by globalization. As you all know that globalization brings privatization,
privatization of not only public sector companies but all public institutions
including that of education. The immediate impact of this on dalits
is going to be in terms of making the Constitutional provisions of reservations
in jobs irrelevant. We have seen the bitter reality over the last five
decades that a dalit person howsoever qualified cannot be accepted on
a merit-seat. This has been the state of our implementation of reservation
policy and our state of politics that there is no known SC person in
the entire PSUs who is not against the reserved seat. Does it mean that
entire dalit community has not produced a single person who could be
equal to the lowliest from the so called high castes in all these years?
The answer does not lie in objective facts; it lies in caste prejudices.
Otherwise the very first IAS from the SC and ST communities in 1950
and 1954 are said to have scored maximum marks in theory but were given
so low marks in the personal interviews that they were placed last and
made to appear as needing helping hand of reservation.(Please read the
details of A. K. Biswas's write up at www.ambedkar.org) This being the
state of public sector, the situation in private sector can well be
imagined. Unless, you hide your caste which of course is not easy, you
cannot get an entry in private sector. Thus, with disappearance of public
sector the job situation for educated dalits is going to be calamitous.
The technological advancement has been exerting pressure on the job
growth which in recent years has been negative. In such circumstances
there is just no hope for a dalit, howsoever he is educated to get a
job in this country.
The jobs provide the basic
motivation for dalit to get education. If there are no jobs and if the
education is becoming increasingly expensive in the private institutions,
how many dalits would go in for education? Already, the statistics amply
indicate the increase in drop out rates of dalit students at various
levels during the last decade of globalization. Whatever progress dalits
have made during the five post independence decades is getting fast
negated by the globalization. We were denied access to education for
centuries by the vile Brahmanism, now the Globalization is doing the
same thing under the new Manu Dharma of Neo-liberalism!
And this is the talk about
the educated dalits whose proportion to the total dalit population is
still abysmally low. When we speak of dalit literature, we should not
forget that it related only to less than 10 % of total dalits. In it's
hey day, the literacy percentage among dalits hovered between 10.27
to 14.67 percent. Even today, the vast majority of dalits is out of
bounds of this talk. Most of them are too poor to afford education.
It should be noted that globalization has reversed the trend of reduction
of poverty during the 80s and has pushed many people below poverty line.
Even the World Bank admits that due to current global recession some
10 million people shall be pushed below its definition of extreme poverty
line (which is $ 1 per day). Globalization is going to virtually eliminate
these people in coming years. The rural agricultural economy is scheduled
to be devastated completely. The imperialist game plan to make us dependent
for food grains is already in offing. The impetus to agri-trade in cash
crops is increasingly marginalizing the food production. The other globalization
policies emanating to what could be called as their 'fiscal deficit
fundamentalism' is aggravating the access situation of poor to food.
The paradox of over 60 million tones of food rotting in the Food Corporation
godowns while there are 500 million Indian going hungry is but an example
of the globalization-driven policies! Taking pride in being the seventh
biggest wheat exporting country in the world by selling our wheat cheaper
to Cargill than to our hungry countrymen is globalization!
Another important aspect
of the globalization is the cultural onslaught. Since the dalit literature
falls in this domain, the cultural implication assumes particular importance
for our discussion. Culture ensures the long term cost effective subjugation
of people to certain mode of living. It always constitutes an important
instrument in the armory of the imperialists. During the last decades
the intrusion of alien culture or the onslaught of western culture cannot
be hidden to anyone. All the media are visually fashioned on the American
lines. Apart from the foreign TV channels directly beaming their programmes,
the indigenous channels also show similar useless stuff that creates
a world of make-believe in place of the real world. There is another
dose of cultural jingoism of Hindutva which might appear to be indigenous
but in fact it is complementary to imperialism as we shall see if time
permits. The same is visible in cinema, radio, the magazines and even
the news papers. All the media channels just provide the shallowest
possible stuff, devoid of real concerns of life and promote the value
congenial to none other than imperialism. The consumerist life style
is already teasing the toiling people. While there is no potable water
for 60 % of the population, this country permits shameless advertisement
of Evian brand of mineral water at over Rs. 80 a liter. This alien culture
is taking toll of dalit consciousness also. It is destroying community
on which the entire dalit emancipation project rests.
Based on the above discussion,
if the dalit literature is to have any future the following prerequisites
shall have to be ensured:
" Due job prospects
for dalits in all the sectors of the economy.
" Empowering dalit population for improving their access to education.
" Special public drive for promoting literacy and dalit education.
In terms of the programmes,
it would amount to having reservations of jobs for dalits at least in
proportion to their population in all the sectors of the economy, special
infrastructural provision including reservations for improving access
of dalits to education, and extra investments in dalit literacy. In
January this year, the Government of MP had sponsored a meet of dalit
intellectuals and activists who are supposed to have discussed and come
out with a 21 point declaration called 'Bhopal Declaration'. This 'wish
list' however does not have any supporting political rationale in the
entire Bhopal document. This rationale needs to be spelt out unequivocally.
It can be stated as "dalits as the producing castes have inalienable
right over all the resources of this country at least in proportion
to their population. The State needs to accept this premise as the recompense
dues to dalits for letting others live." In order to make the State
accept this rationale, dalits will have to wage a massive struggle immediately.
It cannot be achieved through political parleys.
there is another phantom of Hindutva that is debilitating people with
its venomous attack. It has shown its fangs against the religious minorities.
It's naked dance in Gujarat is to be seen to believe. It is folly however
to see it only against Christians or Muslims. Hindutva is against equality,
it is against democracy, it is against liberty, it is against justice,
in short, it is against humanity. It is naïve therefore for dalits
to assume that they would be safe under the Hindutva rule. Like the
Paster Niemoeller's poem- Victims of the Nazis, it may now be their
Some people asked me yesterday
whether it was true that dalits and tribals (SCs and STs) did the killing,
raping and looting in Gujarat. Painful though, but the answer could
be in affirmative. Dalits and tribals are said to have been used by
the Hindutva brigade in large numbers wherever logistics suited them.
Is it not a failure of the dalit literature, our cultural work that
Gujarat carnage can be carried on the backs of dalits and tribals? Is
it not a failure of our politics in general that our chaps have to be
the foot soldiers of our own enemy against our potential alleys?
Hindutva and globalization
are not two separate entities; they are the manifestations of the same
basic phenomenon- imperialism. The base philosophies of both are the
same. The base philosophy of globalization- Neo-liberalism is extremely
individualistic, it regards individual as a basic unit as its premise.
In Hindu social order also, the caste appears to be the basic unit,
but, since caste is stuck to the individual in terms of his merits and
demerits, it is essentially individualistic; it also is premised on
individualism. Neo-liberalism does not regard community; there is no
community in the Hindu social order either. Neo-liberalism is premised
on inequality of individuals. There is eloquent discussion as to how
equality is 'unscietific' in Human Action for instance of Ludwig Von
Misces-the high priest of Neo-liberalsim. Inequality is the soul of
Hindu social order. Neo-liberalism grants liberty to an individual to
act in the market place and does not extend it to outside sphere; Hindu
social order does not respect liberty at all. It only grants liberty
to individual to follow their Jati Dharma. There is no fraternity in
both; the later being the corollary of community.
There is no democracy in both- neo-liberalism locates democracy in the
market place linked with the Rupee in your pocket. It is anti-thesis
of the modern democratic principle, even ordained in our Constitution
that has 'one person-one vote- one value' as its value premise; Neo-liberalism
grants market democracy which gives as much power to you as you have
Rupees in pocket.
I may be pardoned, but I
wish to warn that the impending task of fighting this two-headed enemy
is beyond the dalit literature alone. As I commented earlier, the dalit
literature has acute limitation in terms of its reach and class appeal.
Unless it is conceived in an integral form with other mass cultural
media, its meaningful survival shall ever be a question mark. Dalit
literature, in order to find its moorings, shall have to essentially
find its umbilical chord with the people's movement on a broader platform.
The sectarian, caste based approach in each and everything unconsciously
creeping in our scheme of things has done us an enormous harm. This
aberration is but the manifestation of our confusion with regard to
our friends and foes. The enemy is the imperialism; it is the destiny
of dalits to fight its native ally in Hindutva alongside. The enemy
camp has vast cultural resources at its disposal. The target population
of the dalit cultural work is already under the sway of its audio-visual
media in the form of TV and cinema. The task of dalit literature shall
be to creatively counter their appeal. It will have to adopt the role
of repertoire of material for the people's cultural movement. Only the
latter can effectively counter the media onslaught of imperialism. The
dalit literature will have to bother about not only producing quality
material but also about distributing it to maximum numbers of people.
It will have to catalyse production of songs, skits, dramas, etc. with
creative form and content. It will have to bother about creation of
cultural vehicles to reach it to people.
The role of dalit literature
as a cultural vehicle cannot be overemphasized in the big fight that
lies ahead of people. But it in its present form is utterly incapable
to perform this role. It will have to radically transform itself along
the above suggested lines. Then and then only it will have its historical
the writer can be contacted