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A Caste Reading of Responsible Business Conduct Debates

An entity claiming to be a ‘Responsible Business entity’ might be fulfilling the environment and other social responsibilities within the four walls of caste system- ably supported by Brahmanical ecosystem of responsible business conduct. Let us be beware of it.

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POLITICS OF PRESERVING CULTURAL Heritage: A Transect Walk Across Power

In February 2020, I visited a village in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu, India as part of a project, which aimed at making 90 female garment workers in that village aware of their rights and entitlements[i]. The project also had a mentoring centre for school-going children to build trust with the community. During the visit,Continue reading “POLITICS OF PRESERVING CULTURAL Heritage: A Transect Walk Across Power”

About Periyar: A study in Political Atheism

Pradeep Since 2014, Periyar, like Nehru, emerged as an ideological opposition to the governing dispensation. Until then, successive governments would ignore, if not adopt his principles and ideology. Now, the Governments actively violate the persona of Periyar, thankfully, always unsuccessfully. The mainstream tends to appropriate historical figures. However, none of the mainstream ideologies- capitalism, nationalism,Continue reading “About Periyar: A study in Political Atheism”

Politics of Fitness!

Vijay Prakash, a development worker blogger, has just uploaded the 25th video in his you tube channel, hashtag FiTBihariBoy! His videos are short; in which he does some quick exercise, wherever and with whatever he has. The video plays some random songs of the past, generally Hindi, playing in the background. Clearly, the politics isContinue reading “Politics of Fitness!”

Mainstreaming Ethics of Participatory Health Research

In an ongoing Participatory Action Research on Covid Vaccination, community participants had a number of questions, that fell in the domain of ethics. A community member, actively into action research, asked, “What if an unconvinced person vaccinates herself based on our action research process; and she suffers medical problems?” When we explained, “The success ofContinue reading “Mainstreaming Ethics of Participatory Health Research”

Participatory, Action, Research: How to make your work truly participatory

By Mesh Editorial Team “The word ‘participatory’ has been used in engagement and research to cover a wide variety of activities that involve any level of community involvement. But how should we really define participatory? Is it ok for activities that involve a very small amount of direct involvement to be called participatory?” Please read.Continue reading “Participatory, Action, Research: How to make your work truly participatory”

Reservation is a philosophy embedded in the annihilation of the caste system. Does the Judiciary not know this?

An edited version of this article is published at https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/why-are-we-still-asking-the-wrong-question-about-reservation-in-india-7258304/ The Supreme Court On March 19, 2021, asked, “How many generations would reservations in jobs and education continue?” Is this a difficult question to answer? The Court has to just cognise the level of representation of Bahujans in various positions and institutions that do notContinue reading “Reservation is a philosophy embedded in the annihilation of the caste system. Does the Judiciary not know this?”

Mandela (2021): A Political satire, but a product of the current times!

Jai Bhim! Happy World Equality Day! The film, Mandela, is a satire on the Indian electoral process, set in the background of Panchayat elections in Soorankudy village. Two opposing candidates belonging to two rival castes, Vadakkoorans and Therkkoorans, mobilisemembers of their caste through various strategies including cash for votes. Tracing every villager of one’s caste affiliations, the two candidates find that they bothContinue reading “Mandela (2021): A Political satire, but a product of the current times!”

Developing Community-led Ethical Review Processes in India:Issues and Challenges

Blog post based on talk given at a webinar on 18thNovember 2020 on ‘Rethinking ethics in Participatory Research’, hosted by the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University, UK. Available at https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/socialjustice/PradeepNarayananCommunity-ledEthics18November2020blog.docx Video recording available at https://youtu.be/RfkxZvXodRg Introduction For Participatory practitioners, mere extraction of information from communities is unethicaleven if done in aContinue reading “Developing Community-led Ethical Review Processes in India:Issues and Challenges”

The Reservation Hypocrisy: How the Affluent Class Grumbles about Quotas while Relishing Its Privileges

First published in https://www.news18.com/news/opinion/the-reservation-hypocrisy-how-the-affluent-class-grumbles-about-quotas-while-relishing-its-privileges-3280382.html Reservation as an instrument of protective discrimination has become defensive. However, subsidies and the reservation that the privileged enjoy, camouflaged as cultural norm and market principle, have now come out of the closet. In December 2020, there was an unmatched increase in the price of an LPG cylinder. In just 12Continue reading “The Reservation Hypocrisy: How the Affluent Class Grumbles about Quotas while Relishing Its Privileges”

Being in Good Company: Business and Human Rights Struggle Cannot be Apolitical

https://www.news18.com/news/opinion/being-in-good-company-business-and-human-rights-movement-cannot-be-apolitical-3074669.html Published on November 12, 2020 Exactly 100 years ago, India had its first trade union federation when the All India Trade Union Congress was formed in 1920. The power of trade unionism influenced a number of legislation in the subsequent seven decades. Nevertheless, the businesses were successful in mainstreaming a narrative of unions beingContinue reading “Being in Good Company: Business and Human Rights Struggle Cannot be Apolitical”

Would Virtual Digital Platforms mask exclusion in Participatory Workshops?

Is accessing and participating in virtual digital platforms not privilege? One needs to have a smartphone, high speed internet besides residing in locations where mobile phone companies smell profit enough to erect mobile towers or lay down broadband cables, and constantly upgrade; and even if there is access, one also need to have the knowledge,Continue reading “Would Virtual Digital Platforms mask exclusion in Participatory Workshops?”

Uncommon Common Sense in Participatory Research

While organising participatory research, one needs to understand that there are four hierarchies that would operate: – (a) Between research and researcher, where researcher would feel uncomfortable deviating from the design which the research team would have developed; (b) Between Research and Researched, where research participants would find many of the information they have notContinue reading “Uncommon Common Sense in Participatory Research”

Ravana Punyathithi!

The names are being changed for cities, places, people, festivals or dishes. It is not like- ‘an old wine in new bottle’. The very act of pouring of old wine in the new bottle is nothing but a political process with a clear agenda- to decimate the earlier worldview. Often it is done in theContinue reading “Ravana Punyathithi!”

Pandemic of Irrational Narratives: Don’t We Need More Annadurais?

We may get the vaccine to eradicate the COVID pandemic, but what about the pandemic of irrational narratives? Pandemic of Irrational Narratives: Don’t We Need More Annadurais? Published on September 15, 2020 on Birth anniversary of c N Annadurai. Dr Simon Hercules, a 55-year old neurosurgeon, who died of COVID-19, was not allowed a dignifiedContinue reading “Pandemic of Irrational Narratives: Don’t We Need More Annadurais?”

Hegemonic Category of ‘Quota MP’: An Upper-class Person is Seen as ‘Talented’ while SC/ST are Stigmatised

Have you ever heard of an NRI student having died by suicide because she was harassed as a ‘quota’ student? Have you ever heard of anyone arguing about ‘merit’ while discussing the management quota? Have you ever heard of someone like a Subramanian Swamy being referred to as ‘quota’ MP? There is a socio-political category—Continue reading “Hegemonic Category of ‘Quota MP’: An Upper-class Person is Seen as ‘Talented’ while SC/ST are Stigmatised”

“This Educational Policy Is a Casteist Educational Policy” -Periyar

This was Periyar’s response to Rajaji’s Kula Kalvi Thittam (Hereditary education policy) in 1953. He would have responded similarly to the National Education Policy 2020, which the Government adopted on 29 July 2020. The NEP was supposed to be based on the Kasturirangan Committee, which met diverse stakeholders- from academicians, educationists, teachers, professors and bureaucratsContinue reading ““This Educational Policy Is a Casteist Educational Policy” -Periyar”

‘Criminal’ Tribes: Haunting Voices of a 150-year-old Crime

Denotified, Semi-Nomadic and Nomadic Tribal communities are those groups in India that were listed as ‘criminal tribes’, under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, enacted by the then British Parliament. Although they were denotified, that is, unlisted between 1952 and 1959, they are probably the best examples of communities being victims of continuing intersecting inequalities.Continue reading “‘Criminal’ Tribes: Haunting Voices of a 150-year-old Crime”

Building Social Democracy, Do We Not Need More Periyars?

Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak is remembered for popularising Ganesh Chaturthi and making them instruments for the struggle for Swaraj, the India’s Freedom Movement. On the other hand, E.V. Ramasamy Periyar is known for having broken the idols of Ganesha. The symbolisms of ‘Ganesh Melas’’ and of “breaking Ganesha’s idols’ are often contrasted as imagery ofContinue reading “Building Social Democracy, Do We Not Need More Periyars?”

‘Napunsak’ as Abuse: Reflects ingrained Patriarchy and Casteism!

There is nothing surprising about politicians making misogynistic and homophobic statement. I P Singh, a politician with pan political party identity is no exception. He tweeted, “Sushant was napunsak which is why he committed suicide and cowards are never forgiven by society”. This tweet was preceded by another tweet, where he made direct caste-based message,Continue reading “‘Napunsak’ as Abuse: Reflects ingrained Patriarchy and Casteism!”

The Relationship of Mental Health With Social Inequity: Case of Ignorance or of Inertia or of Conspiracy?

I feel very challenged writing about mental health. I realise I have to be conscious about every word I use. Now, calling someone mental patient is not appropriate. Similarly, a person does not commit suicide, but dies of suicide. There are so many myriad terms skating between political correctness and incorrectness: – mental disorder, mentalContinue reading “The Relationship of Mental Health With Social Inequity: Case of Ignorance or of Inertia or of Conspiracy?”

The dance of Caste and Patriarchy: Response to Aranyani Bhargav’s TedTalk

 Regarding Aranyani Bhargav’s Ted Talk, I would say, Bharatnatyam, in the form we see it today, masks three facets: practice of dedication of girl child to deity, eroticism in dance forms and its depressed caste origin. There were two movements in late 19th and early 20th century. One was reformist- which wanted to reform theContinue reading “The dance of Caste and Patriarchy: Response to Aranyani Bhargav’s TedTalk”

Karrupi and Kaala: Sun-rise for Dalit identity in Tamil Cinema.

Last year, Childish Gambino’s This is America was launched, which had layers of symbolisms- on racism, gun culture, police violence- reminding everyone how black body endures social and political violence. It was interesting that there were so many articles decoding these symbols and explaining the 4-minute video number, which depicted violence done to black people, whileContinue reading “Karrupi and Kaala: Sun-rise for Dalit identity in Tamil Cinema.”

A ‘Sanitised’ Dangal

Dangal is a story about the journey of a woman wrestler from a village in Haryana to winning Gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, with support from her father. Often AK’s film is all about his character, but there was a less of Aamir Khan in Dangal compared to his other films! It was alsoContinue reading “A ‘Sanitised’ Dangal”