The 16 December 2012 Delhi gang-rape and, effectively, murder of the young woman is still making news. Even as we go to press the Justice JS Verma Committee report and recommendations on rape and related sexual violence is being analyzed. While the protests were peaking around year-end in a brief conversation FP Managing Editor Pramod Ranjan gave me his unique analysis of the whole phenomenon including the protests. It was then that I decided that the February FORWARD Press Cover Story would focus on this incident and phenomenon. Since then I read and listened more closely to the extensive discourse on the subject and I have yet to hear his perspective. As we were preparing the Cover Story we received another analysis from JNU researcher Mukhtyar Singh. It was a complementary piece. So, this time FP offers you a “two for the price of one” Cover Story or, think of it as, a double-barrelled shot for the true liberation of our society – starting, in Phule’s priority order, with stree, ati-shudra, shudra.
Continuing in FP’s focus on the cultural roots of India’s social and political issues, we are introducing a new contributor Dr. Lella Karunyakara of the Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Wardha. In analyzing Mulayam Singh Yadav’s breaking of Dalitbahujan ranks, in opposition to the SC-ST reservation in promotions bill, he introduces a new concept and a new label: “secular casteism” – in this case of the shudra strain.
FP has often carried analyses of our mainstream media from a uniquely Dalitbahujan perspective. Starting with this issue FP launches a regular column JAN MEDIA written by the eminent media researcher Anil Chamadia. This time he focuses on what the media do not report, especially on Dalitbahujan and people’s events and movements.
Often our PHOTOFEATURE, as again this time, show you something the Brahmin-Bania press does not want you to see. Even when tens of thousands gathered in Delhi for the 25th anniversary of BAMCEF – probably the biggest cadre-based Dalitbahujan movement – the media completely ignored it. In keeping with our tradition, this time FP reports on the large 29th annual convention of BAMCEF – of all three parallel groups. I was invited to address one such in Chandigarh in December 2009; the next December I spoke at another BAMCEF annual convention in Gulbarga, Karnataka. The same year a third splinter group held their “annual” convention in Ahmedabad. Already in Kanshiram’s lifetime, BAMCEF began to break up into parallel movements. So long as any BAMCEF continues to be faithful in following Kanshiram’s path and propagates the Phule-Ambedkar philosophy FP will be with them.
In this issue we also have two American contributors, both Delhi-based, both concerned about Dalitbahujan development. One is our regular Contributing Editor Dr. Thom Wolf; the other is his younger associate Kevin Brinkmann. As Dr. Wolf completed his Progress Prone/Resistant series last time, this time Brinkmann shows how the progress-prone values are embedded in India’s Ambedkar-stamped Preamble to the
Constitution. The question that remains to be explored is to what extent are our constitutional values embedded – or not – in our culture and society. But that is a question deserving of perhaps another FP series or a discourse at the very least.
Until next month … Truthfully,
Published in the February 2013 issue of the Forward Press magazine
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