‘Intolerance and Dalit – Hate’ – The Other Way Round

‘Breaking India’ forces are active not only in JNU in India but also at a Canadian University. A so-called ‘Dalit Studies’ Prof. (named Chinnaiah Jangam) in Carleton University in Canada has made such a demeaning ruckus on 3rd May, 2017 over a scheduled public talk there by a visiting Indian academician on “Indian Drishti: Is there an Indian Way of Seeing”, which was organized by Overseas Friends of India, that he managed to see that the talk is cancelled.

It was meant to be a public talk – a talk by the speaker and followed by questions, if any, raised by the audience and answers by the speaker. It was an innocuous program with all the freedom to expression by anybody involved in the event. But this ‘Dalit Studies’ professor did not relish such a freedom to be accorded to an alternative view, which could have been contrary to views held by him. These breaking India forces, in India and elsewhere, pose themselves as the greatest champion of freedom of expression but are so hateful of others that they deny this right to them, whom they think of their rivals.

First the facts of event gathered from the press release of the victim JNU Professor and then the introduction of this hateful Prof. Chinnaiah Jangam working at this Canadian University. The press release said:

On May 3rd, 2017, Dr. Makarand R. Paranjape, poet, philosopher, author and Professor of English Literature at Jawaharlal Nehru University, was blocked from recording a conversation on “Drishti: Is there an Indian Way of Seeing?” with Adjunct Professor Dr. Harsha Dehejia at Carleton University.  This was done at the behest of a faculty member of Indian origin, Assistant Professor Chinnaiah Jangam, Department of History, who managed to browbeat his employer viz. Carleton University to cancel a video recording that expressed Indic Civilizational viewpoint. The subject matter was purely academic-philosophical and aesthetic, in nature, and quite unrelated to Asst. Prof. Jangam’s area of expertise, Dalit Studies, but Dr. Jangam chose to fling absurd abuses at Prof. Paranjape, alleging “hate speech”, right outside the recording studio. So intense was the ruckus created by Asst. Prof. Jangam that the studio administrator was intimidated into canceling the scheduled recording. Dr. Harsha Dehejia, the host, was forced to walk back along his guest, shaken and indignant.

Dr. Paranjape’s colleagues and fellow academicians were shocked to hear such vitriol against India by a fellow academician of Indian origin. Ideological reasoning of “Dalit activism” was employed to justify the intellectual venom against the Indian state and civilization. When contacted, Dr. Paranjape said that he “has never supported discrimination on the basis of caste, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, or sexual preference. It is indeed sad and disturbing,” he added, “when ideological masks are used to advance India-hating or India-bashing by intolerant groups who call themselves progressive or ‘Leftist,’ but end up suppressing freedom of expression and debate on campuses all over the world.” When Dr. Gautam Sen, economist and former professor at London School of Economics, heard about this incident, he said, “A few days earlier, I attended an illuminating talk by Dr. Paranjape on identity politics at Queen Mary, University of London, which was well-received by an appreciative audience. His patience and courtesy dealing with hostile and hard Leftists in the audience, who apparently attended to disrupt, was exemplary. I can scarcely believe him capable of discourtesy, let alone hate speech.”

Following this incident of suppressing free speech, a determined group of Indo-Canadian concerned citizens, most of them highly qualified professionals, civil servants, and friends of India, rose up to challenge the forces of intimidation and “intellectual terrorism.” Overseas Friends of India (OFI) decided to arrange a meeting for Dr. Paranjape to speak, albeit at short notice. The very next evening on May 4th Dr. Paranjape addressed a sizable audience of Indo-Canadians, touching a number of issues, including the topic for which he had come to visit Carleton University. A fitting reply was thus offered to Asst. Prof. Jangam’s machinations to shut down academic freedom of expression at Carleton.

Mr. Shiv Bhasker, the leader of the OFI in Ottawa, and the principal organizer of the resistance expressed satisfaction at the turn of events. He said, “OFI is resolved to meet the challenge of intellectual terrorism; debate, free speech, and academic freedom should not be stifled on Canadian campuses by ideological crusaders, regardless of their persuasion.”

The organization is contemplating taking the issue further with the administration of Carleton University.

Who is this Prof. Chinnaiah Jangam?

He is an Assistant Professor, Department of History, Carleton University, pursuing a project titled “Bearing the Stigma: Being a Dalit (Untouchable) in India”. His profile HERE says:

“This project, inspired by the African American scholars like Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cornel West and their critical dissection of race and racial prejudices in the United States, delves into the history of caste prejudice in modern India. As one of the most extreme expressions of social stigma in human history, caste remains an insidious component of the mental frame of every caste Hindu in India. This study probes into the subjective experiences of the educated Dalit middle class whose educational and employment achievements often get overpowered by the prejudice of caste even in the urban sphere. Using historical and anthropological tools, the project aims to narrate the everyday life experiences of Dalits as an account of the history of caste prejudice in modern India. Studies on Dalits in India have been flourishing in the last ten years primarily because of their emergence as a decisive political community in changing the equations of electoral politics.

By using their numerical strength and voting rights as political weapons, Dalits are redefining the contours and meaning of democracy in India. Therefore understandably most of the studies on Dalits in India are centered on the roots of their political assertion and organized political protests against injustice, caste inequality and the practice of untouchability (Saurabh Dube, Ramnarayan Singh Rawat, Anupama Rao), but none of these works focus on the lived experience of being a Dalit.  Unlike the African Americans whose experiences of racism and their testimonies against the institution of slavery through autobiographies and biographies (W.E.B. DuBois, Fredric Douglass, Harriet Jacob, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr.) shook the foundations of academic fields across the disciplines, there is unfortunately a dearth of studies on Dalit experience in South Asian Studies. Dalit experiences have never formed a part of an academic debate. Neither have they been theorized, which is why the prominent Dalit theoretician in India, Gopal Guru, has rightly asserted that for ‘Dalits theory is a social necessity’ (Gopal Guru and Sundar Sarukkai, 2012). Therefore the empirical studies on Dalits that have populated the social sciences and humanities have done so without paying any attention to their lived experience.  Thus this highly original study makes a fundamental departure from the empirical studies and foregrounds itself on the inescapable experience of being Dalit – an untouched theme –  to firmly entrench new theoretical furrows in the field of social sciences.

This project contributes in expanding the intellectual horizon of Modern South Asia by bringing Dalit life narratives into conversation with other forms of stigmas in society such as race, gender, sexuality, ability/disability, privilege/disprivilege inheritance/disinheritance, dignity/humiliation, claims/denials, and social dignity/social death. It also aims to document narratives of Dalit experiences in the form of a digital library: an interactive platform for Dalits living in India and abroad to share their personal stories, agonies of bearing the burden of debilitating humiliations as an endeavor to end the prejudice of caste. More traditional academic outcomes of this project will be publications in refereed academic journals and a monograph. Most importantly it will also be presented in seminars and workshops to generate new debates around the theme of genre of Dalit life narratives in Modern South Asia. The digital component is envisioned as a means to continue the dialogue beyond the academia and establish a meaningful conduit into the larger global community.”

Indeed the ‘Breaking India’ forces are leaving no stone unturned – by foul or fair means – to ensure that India is not allowed to make a respectable place in the global community.

 

Advertisements

Leave your reply:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: