Caste, discourse, and epistemic violence

The attempts to replace the word ‘Dalit’ with ‘Bahujan’ and the recommendation of Delhi University standing committee on academic matters for removing three books by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd from the postgraduate political science syllabus, raise disturbing questions. Mukesh Kumar Bairva explores the issues and the politics surrounding these decisions

The frantic attempt by the ruling dispensation to replace the word “Dalit” with “Bahujan” and the recommendation of Delhi University’s standing committee on academic matters for removing three books by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd from the post-graduate political science syllabus raise disturbing questions. Why are the Indian academics so uncomfortable with the word “Dalit” and Dalit epistemology? The committee opines that Ilaiah’s books discursively denounce Hinduism and are therefore dangerous for the students and constitute an insult to Hinduism. One may agree or disagree with his ideas or perspective, but excluding his texts from the syllabus is an attack on academic freedom and alternative readings of history, culture, and society. It seems to preclude the possibility of counter-intuitive thinking. This kind of scorn for alternative versions of reality goes against the quintessential Indian discursive tradition which celebrates diversity and difference. Indian society has produced profoundly radical thinkers like Gautam Buddha, Kabir, Ravidas, Jotiba Phule, Periyar and Ambedkar. So,  to continue this tradition, the heteroglossia of Indian thought should be allowed to flourish in Indian universities and other academic spaces.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: Caste, discourse, and epistemic violence

 

 

 

 

 

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