Thursday, October 01, 2015

Caste won't go away

and so I continuously remind myself of it. Here is
An open letter to Shashi Tharoor by Dr. A.K.Biswas "A feudal lord of Nadia, Krishna Chandra Roy, advised a body of disgruntled men for “inviting the English to take the government into their hands”. This has been recorded in 1803 by biographer Rajiv Lochan Bandopadhyay who was a descendant of the dynasty of Krishna Chandra. Consequent upon the fall of Siraj-Ud-Daulla, Lord Clive presented twelve guns to Krishna Chandra Roy, “in recognition of the services rendered by him”. This was an extraordinary gesture. Those guns were used in the battle of Plassey. Obviously these devastating firearms were the rewards of no mean service. Krishna Chandra was the tallest and strongest pillar of support for establishment of the British Empire in 1757.
May we ask whether the gift of those lethal weapons to Krishna Chandra Roy was part of the ‘reparations’ the British paid right after the battle of Plassey and or a ‘share of the loot’ Clive is accused of committing?....
Feudal lords apart, the British had strange suitors. In 1803 when the British Army, con-quering Orissa, reached the gates of Jagannath temple at Puri, a delegation of priests met Lieutenant Colonel Campbell and conveyed to him an ‘oracle’ of the Lord of the Universe for handing over its management......
The Compulsory Primary Education Bill 1911, tabled by Gopal Krishna Gokhale in the Central Legislative Council of the Governor-General, has occupied—unjustifiably as well as undeservingly—huge spaces in historical discourses. The following stipulation occupied the heart and soul of Gokhale’s Bill: “In any area, where 33 per cent of the male population is already at school, there this principle of compulsion should be applied.” (Italicised by this writer) Who were to benefit if this principle was applied? First of all females were altogether excluded by the great leader. The compulsion, if passed, as a law and enforced could benefit perhaps few urban centres, for example, Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Poona, Dhaka, Cuttack, Karachi, Lahore etc. Who could reap the advantage of compulsion in the given framework?
Let me point out, by 1911 Bengal, which was ahead in educational progress, presented a picture of peculiar interest for appreciation. W. H. Thompson, Superintendent of Census Operations of Bengal had observed that “The extent of literacy among males of thebhadralok seems to have reached its limit.” As an alumni of St Xavier College, Calcutta, you, I guess, need no elucidation of word ‘bhadralok’, who actually is an exclusive caste club for Brahmans, Baidyas and Kayasthas. The official, however, underlined that in the case of all three the last decade (1901-1911) “has shown great progress” in female education. Speaking factually, this self-styled bhadralok club did everything to frustrate the educational aspirations of all others in Bengal. The opponents of the Gokhale education bill were Sir Surendra Nath Banerjea ..."
And more.
A caste atrocity in CSSS: can savarna apologize? by Georgy Kurivilla Roy, a student of Partha Chatterjee who is mentioned in the article: "The incident that happened on July 15 involves a contract labourer at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata. The said laborer, belonging to the Dalit Muslim category, was made to do sit-ups in front of a lot of other staff of the Centre by the Registrar. This was done as the laborer did not pick up the chairs as his supervisor asked him to do the day before, for some meeting that had happened.....Now, coming to the reason for the Director not asking for an apology from the Registrar - she says he is an efficient Registrar and that she doesn't want him to resign."

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