Sunday, July 18, 2010

కులాన్ని కనుక్కుందాం !

12 comments:

రాకేశ్వర రావు said...

Very funny. Especially the last line, may be they will marry one of those poor uneducated villagers belonging to the 'crushed' 'classes'. We all go through that phase అనుకోండి ప్రత్యేకించి ఆ వయస్సులోఁ। అందులోనుండి అంత తేలికగా బయటపడలేని వారు శ్రీశ్రీలాగా రెండు సార్లు పిచ్చాసుపత్రిలో చేఱి కాస్త కోలుకుంటారేమో।

Middle-class urban young women
For whom papa brings everything home,
Where all is set up neatly on the table,
Who don't know where food is coming from.

They take answers only in yes or no.
Is discrimination still there?
Are all people equal?
Is the sky black or white?
Is Gandhi good or bad?

They do need people to blame too.
Who made Negros black?
Who created women weak?
Why do Inuit eat animals?
Who spilled BP oil in the gulf?

Hopefully they will grow out of it,
or may be in to it.
May be they will write a few books
May be lift a few awards
from people who wrote similar books.
May be they will marry a rich person from a big family and have kids, who will go to international schools and later make documentaries on women in the Muslim world or Black people in the West or Pigmies in Africa, or amimals on a planet inhabited by humans, Or on bacteria in water that goes into the flush!

What were we talking about again? I am sorry am I downplaying a serious issue here?

K. మహేష్ కుమార్ said...

@రాకేశ్వర్రావు: మీ వ్యాఖ్య "kill the messenger" తరహాలో ఉంది. మీ తరహతో నాకు ఆశ్చర్యం కలగడం లేదు.

రాకేశ్వర రావు said...

నేను పల్లెటూళ్ళో బతుకుతానండి। నేను పుట్టినప్పుటినుండీ మా ప్రజాప్రతినిధులందరూ మాలమాదిగవడ్డీయాదులే। అంటే మా ప్రాంతంలో వారి జనాభా ఎక్కువని। అప్పులు నుండి ఓట్లు అడగడాల వఱకూ రోజూ ఎవరోకరు వచ్చిపోతూనేవుంటారు। కావాలంటే నేనే ఇంకా ఇక్కడ జరిగే మహా రంకుల గుఱించి ఇంకా విఫులంగా వ్రాయగలను। కాబట్టి నాకు పట్నంలో పింజరాల్లో బతికే అమాయకఁపు ఆడపిల్లల నుండి చెత్తగా('మేరీ పాస్ మా హైఁ' అన్న రీతిలో) తీయబడ్డి డాకుమెంటరీల అవసరం లేదని అంతే।

కాబట్టి వారు పుస్తుకాలు వ్రాస్తారేమో అన్నాను రంగనాయకమ్మలాగా। మాటలు చెప్పేవారు కాదు, చేతలు చేసినవారి పటాలు పెడితే ఆనందంగా వుంటుంది। మాటలు రోజూ వినేవే, ఇంటర్నెట్ యుగంలో వాటికి తక్కువ లేదు॥

K. మహేష్ కుమార్ said...

@రాకేశ్వర్రావు: You are missing the point again. అర్బన్ అమ్మాయిలు తమ మూర్ఖత్వాన్ని స్వయంగా తెలుసుకున్న వైనమిది. సౌత్ డిల్లో పోష్ గల్లీల్లోంచీ ఊర్లోని నిజాన్ని తెలుసుకుని తమెంత blissful unawareness లో ఉన్నారో తెలుసుకునే "mockumentary"ఇది. మాలాంటోళ్ళు ఎందరో ఉన్నారని చెప్పడం వీళ్ళ ఉద్దేశం. The purpose of it is served.

Ananya said...

Hi,
I found your blog through the "insight" feature on YouTube - which allows me to see where my videos are being posted. I am one of the girls who made "Our Journey - How We Know Caste." This video has gotten a variety of feedback, and unless it is given on the youtube page itself, I do not respond, fearing that I may be intruding on a conversation to which I am not really invited.

I felt compelled to take part, or at least inquire about this series of comments. To be sure many people have critiqued the film, so I am not afraid or hurt by critique. I have found a lot of the critique challenging, but ultimately helpful in shaping my ideas (and practice) about what it means to stand in solidarity with the anti-caste movement, and the movement for Dalit rights.

I am writing to request if you could share your critique with me. It looks like some of the most severe critique I have received and would really like to ask you some questions - If that's ok with you.

I say the critique looks like a severe critique, because I am, unfortunately, not able to read it fully - apart from the words in English. My computer is just showing boxes with letters and numbers - I'm guessing its text, Kannada perhaps (?) - but alas, I would not have been able to read it even if it was showing up properly.

I am approaching you despite (and also because of) this disadvantage - because it would be really valuable for me to get your feedback, if you are so inclined. As the first comment suggests - I do come from a position of class and caste privilege. I believe it is my responsibility to make this privilege visible and deconstruct it. This is not easy (am I going to marry an "uneducated villager" - probably not. But I can work towards a place where everyone has access to education, so if me, or anyone in the future wanted to marry a villager, it wouldn't be such a "ridiculous" thought). I have to be careful when I speak from a place of privilege, because the position comes with blind spots, that can ultimately harm/insult/undermine other people and their struggles.

I'm wondering if it is such a blind spot that you are pointing out in your critique? Do you find this video to be a mockumentary? I'm wondering what you feel the purpose of this documentary is?

To the first person: I see that you critique the simplicity of the video, saying it only goes from black/white, poor/rich, good/bad.
Caste is a complex issue, I agree. I was wondering if you think non-Dalit people have a responsibility/ role to play in getting rid of caste? If so, what would that be?

I ask these questions very sincerely and in spirit of an honest, and open discussion. If you would have time to answer them I would be very grateful!

Thank you for reading this,
Sincerely,
ananya

yab said...

A good reality check, but I feel the video might be showing only one side of the story. It would have been good if the other castes (of that village) point of view was also shown.

I understand people would be reluctant to talk and it is not an easy task to get the people talking about caste discrimination, when they are not at the receiving end and even more difficult if they are the ones who are perpetuating it.


Ananya,
I really appreciate your efforts. The language is Telugu (not Kannada). It certainly looks like there is a huge urban - rural divide in caste perception.

K. మహేష్ కుమార్ said...

Dear Aananya,
I like the video and that's why it found place in my blog :)

I have seen many people in urban spaces like you who discover caste only at the time of collage admissions. Especially in the context of "reservations". This deprivation and discrimination leaves them bitter about Dalits. They never understand the actual conditions of Dalits and their struggle on day to day basis.

Your video is a self discovery process and that is needed for many more of your kind. That's whay you said in the documentary and that's what I liked about it.

In regard to "other" representation YAB asked...hmmm I know how difficult it is. Some times you might be killed for it.

Mahesh

K. మహేష్ కుమార్ said...

Oh in regard to "mockumentary" I used it to say that it is mocking at urban people who have wrong or no perception of Dalit issues. It was meant to be an insignia not ridicule of your documentary.

yab said...

Hi Rakeswar rao,
Your point is well taken. Caste system or caste discrimination is not as simple as shown in the video above. This video might be just scratching the surface of the multi faceted caste system. An equally or more appealing 10 min video clip can also be made about the ills resulting from the activities taken up by the govt. to lessen the caste discrimination, like ills and misuse of reservations or misuse of sc/st atrocities act etc.,(may be Mahesh might not post them here), but that doesn't mean the original issues for which these acts were made don't exist and the above clipping doesn't mean the before issues listed don't exist. Citing another problem is never a solution to a problem.

It is certainly a good thing, that somebody has taken the pain to present a certain concept and tried to present their point of view. These girls could have easily whiled away their time on a numerous distractions available in the cities, marry a rich person from a big family and have kids and again while away their time on numerous meaningless things, is that is what is growing out of it.

Making documentaries on women in the Muslim world or Black people in the West or Pigmies in Africa, or animals on a planet inhabited by humans, Or on bacteria in water that goes into the flush is not an easy thing. In fact making anything is not an easy thing.

Well documented thoughts (books or otherwise) are the inspirations for a lot of actions.

Even though I couldn't agree with the intent your post, I really enjoyed the satire in it.
Especially
May be they will write a few books
May be lift a few awards
from people who wrote similar books.

'మేరీ పాస్ మా హైఁ' అన్న రీతిలో

Ananya said...

Hi,

Thanks so much for your replies and comments! I guess I had misinterpreted what some of the comments were saying initially, and I really really appreciate your clarifications. :)

In regards to the critiques people have identified:
I have heard other people also ask for the inclusion of the perspectives of other castes. But I feel like that is already there - through all the mainstream media sources. Why should a video focused on the experiences of Dalit people feature other people, especially when other castes get represented all the time, and Dalit people do not?

And by saying this I don't mean that other castes have everything the need etc..I know they too have issues - of class, health, gender, and also caste. But when focusing on caste-based discrimination faced by Dalit people (an issue, if addressed, would benefit all those who suffer caste discrimination) - why is it necessary to hear from others?

I ask this questions sincerely. I ask it because I feel sometimes when people ask for other perspectives, they are not asking for complexity, but rather a point of view they agree with. As it stands, the video reflects a certain reality that makes people, particularly from caste privilege, uneasy - so they mark it as one sided. I'm not saying that critique made here is like that, but I did want to mention it, and ask the question above, in order to help differentiate it from critiques like the one I just described.

One thing other people have pointed out is that the video overlooks caste discrimination in urban areas. I have to agree with people when they make this critique - I'm beginning to realize that caste discrimination also exists in cities (although it looks modern). in that sense the rural-urban divide isn't that big (although arguably improving).

I was wondering if you had seen the film "India Untouched" It's made by Stalin K, an Indian director from Gujarat. It's really great. Luckily someone's uploaded it on youtube. If you're interested its a great watch, and very informative. I'd be curious to know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_UnVZT0-0k

Thank you again,
And thank you Mahesh for posting this video!
Sincerely,
ananya

Weekend Politician said...

One of the questions raised towards the end of the video is...

"How do we contribute to the dismantling of caste, and caste-based prejudice?"

That is the important thing to ponder. The effort of these girls in trying to understand the issue are commendable and Mahesh picking up the video and publishing it in his blog is also appreciated.

People who want to see unbiased presentation of facts and rational judgments might want to see all the perspectives. As Ananya herself said, this video is not claiming the status of a single source of information for the entire issue. It is just providing an important and often ignored perspective. May be.. it finding a place on Mahesh’s blog might be inspiring a stronger backlash :). (Mahesh, I am not questioning your intent or purpose, but I am just expressing my opinion based on the reactions your posts got from other folks in Telugu Blogworld)

Discrimination is there everywhere and is present in many forms and directions as well. Correcting the discrimination and prejudices is something that needs to be addressed at different levels like the self correction of individuals, religions imparting the values, education system imparting the understanding, legal and administrative system having the necessary provisions etc. So fighting against the discriminations of various kinds might go on as long as the human race survives.

Generalizing or showing the complexity of the problem is not always meant to justify the status quo. Though there are forces on all sides who want to mislead the gullible public. It is unfortunate that a discussion on caste system is easily being turned into a debate to support or oppose Reservation policy. This is the tendency that is clogging the minds from understanding truth and from perceiving justice. . It is important to have the victims as well as the perpetrators on board to arrive at a meaningful solution to any social problem. Hence the need to have different perspectives.

After all, justice need to have truth as the foundation and truth will have validity only when all the perspectives are presented.

OK coming to the most important point of how and what to correct. Any discrimination that prevents the realization of constitutional objectives and rights whether overtly or covertly, need to be handled as a top priority. Caste based discrimination is one such thing.

Ananya, Thank you for pointing us to the Film “India Untouched”. It is a really good film that provided many perspectives.

Weekend Politician said...

One of the questions raised towards the end of the video is...

"How do we contribute to the dismantling of caste, and caste-based prejudice?"

That is the important thing to ponder. The effort of these girls in trying to understand the issue are commendable and Mahesh picking up the video and publishing it in his blog is also appreciated.

People who want to see unbiased presentation of facts and rational judgments might want to see all the perspectives. As Ananya herself said, this video is not claiming the status of a single source of information for the entire issue. It is just providing an important and often ignored perspective. May be.. it finding a place on Mahesh’s blog might be inspiring a stronger backlash :). (Mahesh, I am not questioning your intent or purpose, but I am just expressing my opinion based on the reactions your posts got from other folks in Telugu Blogworld)

Discrimination is there everywhere and is present in many forms and directions as well. Correcting the discrimination and prejudices is something that needs to be addressed at different levels like the self correction of individuals, religions imparting the values, education system imparting the understanding, legal and administrative system having the necessary provisions etc. So fighting against the discriminations of various kinds might go on as long as the human race survives.

Generalizing or showing the complexity of the problem is not always meant to justify the status quo. Though there are forces on all sides who want to mislead the gullible public. It is unfortunate that a discussion on caste system is easily being turned into a debate to support or oppose Reservation policy. This is the tendency that is clogging the minds from understanding truth and from perceiving justice.

It is important to have the victims as well as the perpetrators on board to arrive at a meaningful solution to any social problem. Hence the need to have different perspectives. After all, justice need to have truth as the foundation and truth will have validity only when all the perspectives are presented.

OK coming to the most important point of how and what to correct. Any discrimination that prevents the realization of constitutional objectives and rights whether overtly or covertly, need to be handled as a top priority. Caste based discrimination is one such thing.

Ananya, Thank you for pointing us to the Film “India Untouched”. It is a really good film that provided many perspectives.