The farmers’ protest and the new Shudra consciousness

The unity and solidarity across castes in the farmers’ protest can be seen as a rise in Shudra consciousness, which emphasizes the dignity of labour as a philosophical force and which can alter the existing hegemonic relations socially and politically, writes Pallikonda Manikanta

“Dedicated to the good people of the United States as a token of admiration for their sublime, disinterested and self-sacrificing devotion in the cause of Negro Slavery; and with an earnest desire, that my countrymen may take their noble example as their guide in the emancipation of their Sudra Brethren from the trammels of Brahmin thraldom.” With these words of dedication in his radical work Gulamgiri (Slavery), Jotiba Phule, the great Shudra social revolutionary, reminds us of an unfinished task. This unfinished task has now become bigger by the erasure of the social category, Shudra, from discourse and by the systematization of “Brahmin thraldom” in post-independent India through brahmanical nationalism. The Shudra identity has had the capacity to destroy the brahmanical social order.

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