Some Fundamental Issues in Anti-Caste Struggle
By Anand Teltumbde
13 June, 2011
[The transcription of the Inaugural Speech delivered at the biannual conference of the Kula Nirmulan Porata Samiti in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh on 11 June 2011.]
Yesterday in your public meeting I spoke about the crises and confusions dalits faced. Since it was a public meeting, I needed to sensitize people about the necessity of a KNPS like organization in order to struggle on the basic issues our people faced. Today, it is a conference of delegates that I am told to inaugurate and hence my perspective would be entirely different from yesterday. You have set annihilation of castes as your objective as the name of your organization—kula Nirmulan Porata Samiti suggests. It is a very inspiring objective because these days people scarcely speak about annihilating castes. They may be shouting slogans for it but through their behavior, they definitely give contrary impression. It is not annihilation but they want to zealously preserve castes. I hope KNPS means what I understood, that it wants castes be annihilated. That is the only hopeful feature of KNPS that appealed me and brought me to Guntur.
My objective here is to set the perspective for your deliberations. Towards that, I thought of raising certain fundamental issues. In order that you can effectively handle the tasks of this project of kula nirmulana, you should be equipped with clear understanding of these issues. I would therefore focus my speech on three or four very basic issues, the understanding of which, in my opinion is a must for you. These issues are 1. Caste, 2. Political power, 3. Representation logic and the resultant mode of struggle.
Take for instance the first issue of caste. Despite creation of so much noise against castes I do not see any clarity about castes in Dalit circle. What they talk about castes is full of rhetoric, emotional outburst and meaningless stereotype. That kind of understanding will take you nowhere. If you want to annihilate castes, it is basic that you must understand them. You must know their essential characteristics, their existential form, and the sources of their sustenance. We are habituated to abuse Manu, as the originator of the caste code, not even pausing for a moment to think whether such a pervasive system could be created by a person, howsoever evil minded he or she may be, and least, imposed upon the entire subcontinent. The next obsession among our people is to speak about the caste in history. They curiously relish wearing researcher’s garbs and speculate over the origin of caste system. One does not know why they are so much interested in the past. One may understand the logic of this exercise if the caste system had remained unchanged through its history of a couple of millennia and the ancient past of India had been reliably readable. Because then one could expect to see the roots of the system and think of strategies to strike at its root for its annihilation. But unfortunately both these premises do not hold. Firstly, it is grossly wrong to assume that caste system has not changed through its long history. Although it gives an impression of being fossilized to impel, for instance, Marx to observe that India did not have history, the caste system actually has been continuously changing from within keeping its outer façade the same. The simplest evidence one could provide in support of this is the very existence of huge surplus population of certain dalit castes in every region of India. It could result only by disappearance of some caste vocations and/or merger of some castes. The caste system has been extraordinarily resilient and has adjusted itself to the changes in its environment. The second premise about the ancient India that one can comprehend it in historical sense is also grossly wrong. India did not have a sense of history and its ancient past is completely enveloped in mythologies. Therefore any attempt at digging it up with intention of locating roots of the caste system is sheer waste of energy and time. The second and the most practical approach therefore is to understand its existing form and strike at its manifestation. For that a little knowledge of recent history, which incidentally is well documented would suffice. This history need not go beyond the colonial times. Because the major changes in caste system have came only since then. Marx while writing his pieces for the New-York Daily Tribune at the time of introduction of railway in India had observed that it would lead to establishment of capitalist industry and would eventually cause collapse of its decadent social systems like caste. As we know, India came to acquire second largest railway network in the world and a sizeable base of capitalist industry. But far from collapsing, the caste system appears going stronger as far as its vileness is concerned.
Everybody, including Marxists have lamented that Marx miserably failed in predicting the demise of the caste system. Some of them even accused him of being too simplistic about India. Last year while speaking in one of the prestigious universities in the US on the related topic, I said that Marx was damn right. There were many people who were very well versed about Indian history as well as Marx’s writings. They were baffled because they were hearing for the first time ever someone saying that he was right. On their demand, I repeated myself and explained that the caste system as understood then based on rituals had really collapsed among the castes, mostly dwija castes, who adopted capitalism. After the transfer of power, the modernist developmental projects introduced by the Nehru government changed the entire countryside. These changes were significantly marked by the land reforms, howsoever half baked they may appear, and the green revolution that immediately followed them. The land reforms took away surplus lands from the upper caste landlords and transferred them to farming (shudra) caste tenants. Dalits tenants were mostly ignored because they did not figure in the revenue records and moreover the landlords preferred to transform their lands to their confidant shudra tenants than Dalits whom they despised as untouchables. The Green revolution that followed these reforms brought in huge productivity gains to the landowners. It was basically a capitalist strategy, which created input market, output market, credit market and consequently money economy in the countryside. The traditional caste ordained jajmani relationship of interdependence collapsed and dalits were transformed into pure proletarians, totally relying on wage employment on the farms of the shudra caste landowners. As a part of this developmental paradigm, the dwija caste landlords vacated the villages in favour of nearby towns perceiving developmental opportunities there, leaving behind the baton of Brahmanism in the hands of neo rich, culturally unsophisticated shudra castes. The contradiction between the dalit wage labour and the shudra caste landowners began manifesting in the form of caste atrocities, marked by the infamous incident at Kilvenmani in Tamilnadu on 25 December 1968, in which the henchmen of the landlords burnt down 44 dalits, mostly women and children. Kilvenmani also inaugurated the new genre of caste atrocities, in terms of ferocity and cruelty reflecting uncultured response of the upwardly mobile shudra castes in villages. Karamchedu, Chundur in this state down to Khairlanji in my state can only be understood in light of these changes in the political economy of village India. Of course, one may have to consider the cultural arousal among dalits, attributed basically to Ambedkarite movement, despite their economic and political weakening, being the factor provocateur. The cultural arousal of dalits impelled them to resist any overture of the shudra castes, which acted as provocation for the unsophisticated shudras to unleash atrocity on Dalits. As Babasaheb Ambedkar way back in 1936 explained, the basic reason for atrocities remains the power asymmetry between dalits and non-dalits. During the first two decades after independence this power asymmetry has tremendously increased because of economic and political empowerment of a section of shudra farming caste and impoverishment and all round disempowerment of Dalits.
These changes in the caste system were unprecedented in its history. Blissfully, they easily passed by Dalit intellectuals. The agricultural surplus with the farming shudra castes flowed to nearby towns into small enterprises (such as cold storages, rice mills, ginning mills, transport, contracting, etc.), transforming them into petty bourgeoisie. As the virtual lords of rural India, they became important node in the political nexus between villages and state capitals and then Delhi. Slowly they wielded political power, gradually capturing the institutions of local self government, such as gram panchayats, panchayat samitis, zilla parishads and became a major claimant of power even at the state level. While some of them had joined the national parties, many saw them incapable of accommodating their heightened aspirations and floated their own regional political parties. This phenomenon would bring in coalition mode of politics, which significantly precipitated in the form of Janata party that had come to power after the defeat of Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1977. Today these castes have become so powerful that they not only control political power, in so far as their numbers in local self institutions to parliament is concerned, they also control economic power.
While I am compelled to speak in terms of castes for no better option, I really hate this lingo. Because, although a section of this shudra caste cluster is a real oppressor of dalits today, it will be grave mistake to see the entire mass of shudra population as an enemy of dalits. There are as poor people, perhaps poorer than even Dalits, in this caste cluster but with the caste idiom they naturally identify with their leading caste-men and are available to do their bidding. Basically these caste ties are behind the formidable constituency the Pawars, Yadavs and your Reddys and Kammas have created. It is their practical need to have dalits around to bind non-dalits in villages together. Although at existential level majority of these labouring people of non-dalit shudra castes could easily make a common cause with dalits, the leading section of these castes would never let it happen.
These changes have brought about a radical change in caste configuration. As I said that the ritual castes differentiation among the dwija castes, who had adopted capitalist relations had almost collapsed, with the spread of capitalist relationship in the rural areas, the Shudra caste cluster, which adopted these relations, got attached to the dwija castes cluster sans ritual caste differences. The caste system today therefore presents a clear class like division between Dalits and non-Dalits. It has become simpler than ever before to deal with this caste structure provided it is understood properly. While on the one hand castes have made themselves simpler to deal with, on the other hand because of their intermingling with the institutions of governance (e.g., elections, reservations), they have become complicated to deal with. Because this feature of castes, have made them a formidable weapon in the hands of the ruling classes, who would not let go of them easily.
When I see dalit vanguard fixated with the obsession against Manu or Brahmans, absolutely oblivious of such momentous changes around them, I feel pity for them. To my mind, it reflects callous attitude towards Dalit masses in rural areas as primarily these changes have impacted them adversely. The rural Dalits are not in position to comprehend them and simply follow their leaders. These vanguard elements have created a quasi godhead in the form of an Ambedkar icon which helps them gain abiding allegiance of rural masses of dalits. Any and everything can be sold in the name of Ambedkar. Common masses are not in position to discern the truth through a complex context in which certain things were said or done by Babasaheb Ambedkar. For instance, Babasaheb had said that Brahmanism and capitalism were two enemies of Dalits and elaborated that he was not against the Brahmans but their attitude, their creed. He went further and said provocatively that Brahmanism could well be found even among Dalits. He did condemn Manu as the creator of the caste code but it was in symbolic terms. If he had believed that a single person can write a code and entire society gets structured according to it, he would not have wasted his time to write lengthy books as to how the Shudras and Untouchables originated. But the Dalits have taken it literally and created an abstract enemy in the form of Manu and his minions, Brahmans. They identified Brahmans as their enemy and dalits as their automatic friends. While doing johar to Ambedkar, they have really failed him. The most important contribution of Babasaheb Ambedkar is to give dalits a mantra of ‘annihilation of castes’. What his followers did was the exact opposite—preservation and persistence of castes. Sadly their entire behavior is predicated upon caste identities.
In light of this analysis how foolish it looks to think of bahujan or dalit-bahujans in caste terms. I was sad to hear from KNPS platform many people speaking about SC, ST, BC, Minorities as though their unity is sans problem. It is utterly irrational repeating stereotypes despite contrary experiences. Is it not the sad fact that we could not even construct ‘Dalit’ in caste terms? Rather after eight decades of dalit movement, whatever ‘dalit’ existed, appears to be falling apart into its constituent subcastes. Ignoring this stark reality is it not foolish to think of unity of castes into bahujan or some such term. I do not have any quarrel over bahujan; rather I would very much want it to come into being soonest. But that bahujan will be on class basis. To conceive of bahujan any other way is just infeasible. All this euphoria about bahujan is the anxiety to achieve arithmetic permutation and combination for electoral gains. The success of BSP in UP created this mirage of bahujan for all the political class of dalits and their opportunist supporters in intellectuals to run after. I will deal with this matter after a while. But suffice it to say that to create bahujan on class line should be the aim of KNPS. I will be sad if it also falls prey to the popular stereotype and talks of infeasible unity of the castes.
I do know class is an anathema for Dalits. But is there any alternative? If you have proper understanding of caste, you will realize that caste can never be the basis of any organized radical struggle. The persistent failure of our movement is solely because of the fact that we have not understood what caste is. Babasaheb Ambedkar explained caste metaphorically as a multi storey tower, which does not have a staircase connecting the stories. Well, he has not elaborated this metaphor to project more important characteristics of castes. There was no problem if the caste system was such a isolated clusters of communities held in whatever notion of hierarchy so long as they were autonomous. But it is not the case. These storeys have vertical relationship of exploitation and horizontal contention for superiority. Even that does not depict the full picture of caste. Each storey itself is a tower unto itself, representing the sub caste system and so on. This is the complexity of castes in conceptual terms. Caste seen thus reduces to a basic notion of hierarchy. Once speaking in one of the US universities, I provoked the audience with a weird definition of caste saying that the essence of caste is that Indians are intrinsically incapable of treating their interlocutors equal; either they think they are superior or they are inferior but never equal. That indeed is the case. Fortunately for us and India, this continuum of hierarchy is virtually collapsed into two segments—dalits and non-dalits. The point is that castes can never come together for any radical struggle. They have this inherent tendency to splinter. Let me just add that Babasaheb Ambedkar’s struggle was actually based on class and not on caste.
At the time of articulating resistance to brahmanical oppression by people like Jotiba Phule, it appeared that various laboring castes – Phule’s shudra and ati-shudras—would come together in fight against Brahmanism. They did to some extent. But soon the inevitable happened and the movement collapsed. The dalit movement was organized seemingly with people from more homogeneous pancham varna or the outcastes or the untouchables. It appeared more viable than the Jotiba’s shudra-ati-shudra. In early days of the movement it also appeared that the castes other than Mahars (Ambedkar’s own caste people who naturally constituted the core of his movement) were gravitating towards the leadership of Ambedkar. But by 1937, when the first general elections were held, they could be easily detached into the competing castes. Even after so many decades, after constructing the administrative category of Scheduled Castes, we have failed to bring together all the untouchable castes. Practically Dalits remained to a majority caste in every state/geographical region which having a similar profile to Mahars in Maharashtra, accepted Babasaheb Ambedkar as their leader. The ruling classes could very easily prevent other castes from coming together and by now have promoted their own icons in contrast to Ambedkar. (Example could be Annabhau Sathe for Mangs in Maharashtra; Jagjivan Ram for the Madigas and so on)
Now we will go over to political power. This mantra popularized by Kanshiram has not only enthused but also mesmerized cross sections of Dalits. Kanshiram identified political power to be the key to all problems of dalits and pursued it single-mindedly. He has carefully shunned issue based agitations saying that once the Dalits gained political power, all these issues would get automatically resolved. In his formulation the economic deprivation of Dalits was predicated upon the absence of political power to Dalits. And political power for him was to be gained through the ballot box for which his strategy was to build a constituency of 85 per cent of people belonging to SCs, STs, BCs, and Minorities against the 15 per cent of the upper castes. He untiringly worked and stunned everyone by the electoral successes of his BSP. BSP has since shared political power in UP several times and in the last assembly elections, it surprised all cynics by winning absolute majority on its own with its controversial sarvajan strategy. This success has basically inspired many people to imagine that Dalits elsewhere also should follow this strategy and win political power.
Now I would invite your attention to the following facts. When one is dazzled by the success of BSP in UP, one should also pay attention to its failure to replicate this success elsewhere. BSP for instance has failed to make any mark in Punjab, Kanshiram’s own state, which has maximum population of SCs-- 29 percent as against 21 percent in UP. The reason for its success in UP is the combination of the unique demography of Dalits in UP and their preparedness to revive the movement which had suffered setback by desertions of the erstwhile RPI leaders like BP Marurya, Sanghpriya Gautam, etc. UP has 21 percent population of Dalits but over 80 percent of it belongs to a single caste cluster called Jatav Chamars, which means there is 16 plus percent of solid and sure dalit votes in UP, which by any reckoning becomes formidable in the fractured polity of that state. UP had a strong movement led by the Scheduled Caste Federation and later by the Republican Party of India. It was not Maharashtra but UP which sent maximum RPI representatives to the state assembly and parliament. It however had a lull when the RPI leaders joined the ruling class parties. With such a unique background the BSP worked in UP systematically cultivating its constituency and created a formidable position for itself in the realm of electoral politics. Despite all out efforts to replicate this success, with a huge resource base built up with the help of political power in UP, it could not make any headway in any other state. This much for the success of BSP!
Now listen carefully how BSP’s conception of political power stands it on its head. Political power is basically a derivative of the control on means of production, which is achieved by people by waging concerted struggle against the entrenched propertied classes. Even in the non-economic sense, power would be construed as the counter hegemony of the socially oppressed people secured through struggles against the hegemonic classes. Kanshiram totally averted both these socio-cultural and economic realms of struggle and only focused on the electoral realm. The BSP did have electoral success and catapulted ‘daughter of a dalit’ to the chief ministership of the largest state in India. But in absence of these struggles, the people remained divorced from real power. Mayawati certainly became powerful but within the framework of the bourgeoisie-landlord state, the characteristics of which could not even be scratched. It is therefore we see, despite the costly propaganda she has been indulging in periodically, the ground reality in UP remains the same as it would have been in anybody’s rule. Rather there appears to be some amount of backlash by the cultural assertion she indulged in by creating memorials after dalit icons to consolidate her constituency as seen in the rising incidence of caste atrocities on Dalits. Atrocities, indisputably is a concentrated expression of casteism and gauged by this parameter, she has failed to arrest casteism in her own rule. Political power in the hands of a dalit person does not become dalit power. It only means that person is presiding over the assemblage of dominant classes. Strategically it suits those classes to have such an arrangement because it calms down the lower strata without much cost. You should seriously consider these points so as not to fall prey to the superficial propaganda. I am all for political power for dalits and would like KNPS to make it as its goal. But it should not distort the meaning of political power as done by BSP. Political power can never accrue to Dalits without incessant struggle against the entrenched classes. A dalit person reaching the seat of power may even be counterproductive because the illusion of power thus created could slow down the pace of struggle. This has rather happened in UP as elsewhere.
Somewhat related but demanding an exclusive treatment because of its pivotal importance is the representational logic, the third point of my speech. The representational logic is belief that a representative of community in organs of government will take care of the interests of the community. This logic could be seen at the core of the dalit movement. Babasaheb Ambedkar right from his evidence to the Southborough Committee in 1919 demanded representation to Dalits with this logic. He always imagined that Dalit in order to be effective representatives of their community should be higher educated like him. He might be an exception to the galaxy of great people advocating universal primary education, who has advocated higher education. Jotiba Phuley had started primary schools; Dr Ambedkar opened Siddharth college! When he became a member of the viceroy’s executive council, he got 20 odd dalit students sent to Europe for higher education. It would be difficult to recall the names of these students today by even the ardent researcher of the dalit movement. Leave apart their contribution to society; they even did not acknowledge the debt of Dr Ambedkar. At one time, he urgently needed some money and sent for getting it from one of these fellows who was well placed in the job at Delhi. He did not get it. In 1953 in a public meeting in Agra, Babasaheb Ambedkar had to publicly speak against these educated people that they had cheated him. Many a private conversation, he expressed this feeling to his confidants.
This logic is so deep entrenched in the collective psyche of Dalits that they would never doubt it. Basically, it is a corollary of the caste obsession. The entire scheme of reservation is premised on this logic. This is not a place to evaluate this scheme but a broad brush evaluatory comment would not be out of place. Reservation basically benefits an individual but it is given in the name of community. The individual who benefits by reservation is supposed to take care of the community interests. Does it really happen? Do the politicians who get into parliament work for Dalits? Many people may innocently respond in affirmative because they have been indoctrinated into believing so. But the evidence is contrary. In my analysis of Khairlanji (read my books Khairlanji: A bitter and Strange Crop or The Persistence of Caste), I have noted that almost entire state machinery connected with Khairlanji was manned by Dalits and a stray exception belonged to the OBC. Despite that Khairlanji was almost suppressed; when it could not, it distorted the evidence such that eventually nothing would happen to the real culprits. We have commonplace experience that our IAS, IPS or such officers hardly empathize with dalit masses. It is understood that they just become a peg in the giant wheel of administration but beyond that they feel the counter pressure to prove that they are not communally biased. Whatever may be the reasons, the experience is that the Dalit officers prove of little or no use to common dalits and sometime they could be worse than the non-Dalits. What we need to note is that reservation system demands community to bear the cost and benefits a stray individual to cut him off the community. This asymmetrical design is never questioned by anyone and rather is upheld by Dalits. There is no denying the fact that reservation has done good to Dalits as a counterveiling force against the prejudices of the larger society against them. But they needed to fine-tune it for its intrinsic bias to benefit the beneficiaries, which expand inequities and give rise to Mala-Madiga syndrome.
The representational logic has actually not worked the way it is assumed by Dalits, viz., as the sole measure of their advancement or as a mechanism of sharing power. It only served to create illusion for the masses. Dalits get elated to see their man or woman become a president, minister, chief minister or some state dignitary. There is no objective analysis whether their elation is really justified by the acts of these individuals. Over the six long decades, Dalits have reached all possible high places but over ninety percent Dalits have remained where they were. There is no realization that these individuals are basically picked up by the establishment for their capacity to serve the system, which includes its anti-Dalit agenda. This brings in the necessity of understanding the characteristics of state, which is Achilles hill for Dalits. Why should the state, which Dalits in their language call it a Brahman Baniya state (the upper castes state) should pick up certain Dalit individuals only for nomination? They get post-facto attribution of merit. But it is false. If you take a look for such nominations, most people who get picked up by the state were at the most mediocre even among Dalits. There were more capable Dalits than them but they would not be picked up simply because the state is not be sure of them. After all, the state co-opts co-optable elements and represses the not co-optable ones. That is the age old strategy. Instead of such simple thoughts coming to their mind, Dalits blindly celebrate the success of such individuals who become prop of the system as they effectively ‘manage’ their communities.
KNPS must discuss these fundamental issues to plan out their action programme. Most of our premises and understanding, which have driven our movement, have been erroneous. The pathetic state that we find ourselves as a community in is largely because of these errors. Therefore it is very necessary for us to examine carefully our experience vis-à-vis these fundamental issues. I am merely presenting my viewpoint but there are no pretensions about their infallibility. There is nothing that is right or wrong for all times or infallible for any time. Every thing is relative; relative to its time and space. If we realize that the caste is incapable as a category to organize people for a radical struggle, or the need to slowly orient ourselves to class line; how do we do it? Do I mean the same thing as the so called Marxists have been telling us: caste is a myth and only class is real? No I hold them responsible for creating the idiotic duality of class and caste. If these people, equipped as they were with advanced tools of analysis provided by Marxism, had really understood Marxism, they would not have left caste as a super-structural residue in their class analysis of the Indian society. With brahmanic ethos of following a given word, a la ved vakya, these people tried to fit in the Indian reality into the borrowed mould of classes from Europe and when they found that caste did not fit within it, they kept it aside as a residue of feudalism which will disappear after the proletarian revolution succeeds. If the castes were the pervasive reality of the Indian social system, extending from the realm of production to the realm of spirit, as all of them vie with each other in their claim to correctness, the class analysis of India should have verily embedded castes. It is a pity that even Leftist intellectuals, have not noticed this blunder. Even if they had followed Lenin’s definition of class, they would have not committed this grave error.
What does one do now? Does one just give up caste identities and sublimate to a class as certain Marxists would like to see us doing? That would be utterly ahistorical. Caste is not a maya to be wished away. The Left advice still smacks of their age old maxim that caste was something subordinate to class, a part of superstructure. I would advise them to shut up and relearn the basics of Marxism. We must transcend caste identities, but the way of doing so is not sublimating to class. This vile identity of caste defines everything of us in life which cannot evaporate away just by wishing so. It will itself require a step by step struggle. While battling against the casteist elements and their prop in the system, we have to definitely orient along class line. The struggle against caste would surely be based on identity of Dalits but it still need not be against the non-Dalits. It will be against the anti-Dalits. The struggle could follow two pronged strategy. One is to extend hand to all the progressive elements and the non-Dalit masses who are identically placed as Dalits in their life-world. This would expand their constituency and make the task easier. After all, the castes cannot be annihilated by Dalits alone; it’s a task of larger society to burry them. Two, it could be ready to smash the obstinate and pig-headed elements if they do not see the reason. I call this a shock therapy, which is needed to root out certain deep drawn cultural ills. In my book Anti-Imperialism and Annihilation of Castes, I have indicated how this approach will spirally strengthen the anti-caste as well as revolutionary movement and eventually accomplish the revolution of annihilating castes and reaching proletarian class rule. Pity that there is no discussion of this proposition in dalit circles! To a Mala-Madiga problem, I had given a simple solution of prioritizing prospective reservation to the dalit families who have not availed of the reservation benefits. I know, howsoever I tell them, Dalits do not wish to believe that their holy cow of reservation has died long ago. But so far as these ill conceived disputes among Dalits are concerned, they should see reason and take note of the solution some one offered. My solution has a great advantage that while it conceded caste based reservation, it does not strengthen caste identity and moves away to a secular family identity. If Dalits honestly wanted castes to die, they would have upheld such solutions. Instead they completely ignore it. Their behaviour variously underscores that they want castes to survive. Castes, as though, are their treasure which they would never give up; they would preserve their shitty caste identities with utmost zeal. I wish I am proved wrong but unfortunately I do see no signs of it. While shouting ‘johar BR Ambedkar’, they do not realize that they are the greatest betrayers of his mission.
I know I have ruthlessly ruffled many a feather of your notions and hurt some of you in process. But that is what I believe to be my task. The wrongs of our movement are so deep drawn that only such shocks, repeated shocks, could correct it. As an activist-intellectual I have to be honest and truthful. That is precisely what I do and did. I see KNPS differently but even anywhere I would not have minced my words. I only hope that you all would seriously ponder over these fundamental points and reorient your struggle onto the right track.
Dr Anand Teltumbde is a writer, participant and analyst of peoples’ movements and a civil rights activist with CPDR, Mumbai
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