Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Honored killing are an illegitimate justification to save a fragile caste structure?

Kill to Honor the caste system

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Roshini Devi remained remorseless in accepting the fact that she and her family killed their daughter Sunita, a divorcee living with her lover Jasbir against the wishes of their family in particular and society in general, in Karnal district of Haryana state. Jasbir’s mother though felt grave loss of her son yet had to succumb to the social pressure in pretending as if she was happy with the way her son and his lover met their end.

Honored killing may not be in the official dictionary of India but such incidents are not isolated and are happening on a regular interval. The only fact is that the media does not have enough time to discuss over this, and if they discuss it, they shout on the technicality of the issue like lack of police action, therefore making it a crime story. Ofcourse, it is a crime but much bigger than what an ordinary criminal could do. As it involves those who believe in superfluous racial philosophy which believe that intermingling of different communities by way of marriage must not only be disowned but also discouraged. And if some one dare to go against their dictates, the result is the brutal killings and the atrocious display of dead bodies in public so that future generations, young children should remain caution to understand their boundaries. The politicians, as usual get into the news only when we have to look politically correct. Haryana and western Uttar-Pradesh are notorious in this regard where killing for the honor of family and society is the order of the day.

A few days back, the caste Panchayat sat in karnal and forced Jasbir’s parents to withdraw the case against the girl’s parents. These caste Panchayats are rampant in India and are a result of our over emphasis on ‘identity’ and ‘culture’. Of late, it has become fashion in Uttar-Pradesh that every caste is organizing its own Panchayat, predominantly male chauvinist, they are the law themselves. It is this arrogance and deep abhorrence for law, that an old rustic fellow like Mahendra Singh Tikait can abuse the chief Minister of Uttar-Pradesh and get away with it. Though the Uttar-Pradesh Chief Minister Ms Mayawati, brought him to knees yet the fact is that Tikait got support from all the political parties who rather than condemning his caste-ist remark, made a beeline to support him. When everything is politics, the biggest casualty would be the rule of law. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that though India has a political constitution which is secular and gives one man equal right to vote, it is the Manu Smriti and its laws which runs our social structure. And our political laws and constitution remain helpless to this and it should remain our biggest concern.

India declared itself a secular republic with a progressive constitution yet its girls are killed for falling in love with person of their choice. Such stories are not even reported.

About a fortnight ago we heard the killing of a boy who happened to be a Muslim and fell in love with a girl who was daughter of a local political leader of the Hindutva brigade in Indore. The couple was threatened. They ran from Indore to Mumbai, even approached a TV channel and gave their perception live on the TV that they are under the threat. And many months back, when the girl was pregnant, they thought that now the things are calm down, they went back to Indore. The very next morning the boy was killed. The remorseless mother did not utter anything.

The political parties and societies at large in India remain fixated to old mindset and this over emphasis on culture and values with a superficial belief of a superior culture has led to this killing in the name of honor. There is no war against it. After the great war of Ambedkar who declared openly that Indian village system need to improve, who was apprehensive of village politics and caste Panchayats and the dominance of the powerful upper castes in it, no real political battle has been fought against it. The political battle of between the champion of Hindu values verses secular values is a clear deviation from the real battle where India should have prioritized.

The stratified Indian society did not jolt even with the powerful waves of Tsunami. The caste system is so strong here that Tsunami would fail and every Indian, it seems, is proud of his/her lineage. Hence the focus on identities not only fetch good votes to you but also burry the dissents with in the communities. Today, the identity politics has far reaching impact. With male chauvinists sitting everywhere, they are using identities for their own nefarious purposes and find motivation and suspicion on every one who questions these values.

It is across communities. Girls are to be won over. The global markets do the same thing by parading them at the ramps while the traditional markets do not allow them to select their own choices. Perhaps, the fear is in the mindset that once they start deciding about their choice, our family system, the much respected system on which bollywood’s outdated films have spend millions of rupees, would become redundant. The glamour, the hoopla and the industry behind this fad create an artificial aura of the Indian family system and marriages without realizing that they are just keeping together for the sake of society and not for themselves. And if divorces are growing today, it is not that there are bad values but there is a choice now for women to opt out of the marriage.

How can the writ of constitution run large in society where religion is being marketed not by the political parties but by the big corporations also to boost their sale? The film stars make good film but end up in globalizing the tainted Indian belief system. Irony is that there is no movement against the atrocious value system and even the so-called civil society harp on our great past and cultural legacy.

Our histories as well as mythologies are full of so-called illicit relationships. There were multiple queens and concubines and all these things were considered as usual and ‘leelas’ as justification. While the case of Rakshasas, these things were shown as bad but for the ‘gods’ they were ‘leelas’, or what I would call ‘theatre of absurd’. These absurdities are part of our value system and we continue to eulogize them. Rules are different for different people based on their castes.

This consciousness related to colour, caste, region and religion has created an ugly situation in India. A state which claims to be secular has in fact promoted multicultural fanaticism in the past fifty years. In the name of multi-culturalism, we are witnessing promotion of patriarchical fanaticism by the state. It is a situation ‘ you are happy in your house and we are in our house constructed by some ‘wise’ men. These wise men are seculars who sit together and strengthen each other. Their secularism is under the threat when a woman ask for justice or there is an inter religious or inter-caste match. All of them are up in arms to discount that. Political leaders consider that a threat to peace and social activists do not take up the issue. And Haryana’s case is a grim reminder where nobody came to cremate the woman despite police approaching a local NGO for the same, it refused. It also caste shadow of the self styled social action which are witnessing in the past twenty years. We are all active in the front which are non controversial and do not really threaten our status quo.

In the Bhadohi town of Uttar-Pradesh, the daughter of a ‘social activist’ disappeared and he filed an FIR against a Muslim exporter for allegedly kidnapping her. Though in normal circumstances all the ‘parents’ do lodge FIRs against the boys and their families if their daughters ‘disappear’. But this case was different. Here was one well known activist fighting against the ‘carpet mafia of Bhadohi’ and claiming victimization from them, hence the social activists in the state capital also jumped into the fray. Protests, Dharanas and everything took place. The police arrested the ‘accused’. I am narrating this incident to portray India’s casteist social action groups and how they promote their caste men as ‘simple’, ‘honest’ and ‘revolutionary’ working for the ‘poor’, these days ‘dalits’ and ‘marginalized.’

In the Varanasi case, police swung into action after a lot of pressure and finally after two-three months later they were able to trace the ‘disappeared’ girl and her ‘husband’. The girl went away from her family and married to a man of her choice, who was known in the family. Since, parents in India including social activists, feel highly offended and embarrassed if their children decide about their own and particularly if any one of them is either from a down trodden community or married or physical challenged, our honor is at stake. So, the entire episode of disappearance was created and an innocent man was made scapegoat to save the ‘honor’ of ‘social activist’. And so far none of the other friends who participated for the ‘honor’ of ‘social activist’ had the courage to tell people that their campaign was wrongly done and need apologies.

The Indian police and Indian State does not come out clean on these things well. About five years back one Balmiki boy from Delhi fell in love with a girl who happened to be from a Jaat family. Balmikis are the lowest even among the formerly untouchable communities and Jaats are powerful middle caste peasantry dominant in western Uttar-Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. They have been the best beneficiary of the green revolution but a highly conservative community and resist marriages with in the community as well as any self arrange marriages. Every community in the western Uttar Pradesh has its own caste panchayats. These caste Panchayats are called to determine the fate of the youngsters who defy social norms. The Balmiki Boy of Delhi and the Jaat girl married in a court. Immediately after the incidents, the Jaats attacked the village of Balmikis in a Delhi suburban area and demolished their houses and huts. The girl’s parents filed case of abduction against the boy’s family and the police starting torturing this. Since the boys brother has been in social action for years, some of us decided to form a committee and met the police officials. We met a senior police officer who said that it was a ‘social’ problem and ask us not to take it as an ‘administrative’ problem. ‘ You see policemen do also have castes and most of the Delhi police personnel hail from the Jaat, Gujjar and other communities from Western Uttar-Pradesh and Haryana. This lower staff of ours has its own social values and would go by the social norms.’ The officer suggested that we should do some ‘social reform’ in the region. It is shocking that this view point comes from a senior official who is given responsibility to uphold the law. I said,’ Sir, why can not you tell your junior officers to follow the law and protect the innocent.’ Despite the police officials assurance, things did not change. The girl was put under tremendous pressure where she changed her statement many time. The case is in the Delhi high court and it has asked quashing of FIR against the boy and his family. Since this is a battle between two unequal, the forces of Manu Smriti are powerful the forces of the constitution of India. The police, the administration and other powerful organs of the state remain to the side of law breakers.

In the west, honored killing is basically linked to the Islamic world but the thing is that we are no better in India. Any marriage without consent of the parents is considered an embarrassment and humiliation. Parents do not marry their child; instead they marry with power and prestige. This disease is contagious and spreading like a wild fire. The terms may change, the glamour may be there but ultimately the Indian marriages are big fad and an impediment in the way of choice of an individual.

We continue to live in clan and identities. These identities are basically male dominance cultural values in our society. It helps the Parochial values of a period when women were kept in Hamams, as well as where the kings, Zamindars and others were keeping women of their choice. It is a culture we appreciate. Today, when these things are being questioned and people are marrying out of their choices, the biggest mental block comes from a false notion of superiority. That is why these honored killing. People talk of social backwardness, education and economic upliftment but caste can not be eliminated by these factors alone unless we are interested in it. The report from UK are disappointing as how South Asians living in that country are indulging in honored killings. It shows that our mindset will not change with mere shifting our places and earning a few dollars and pounds. More importantly it also shows that we do not go to any place because we respect their values but we want their money. Most of these Desis who are living abroad are there not for British value system or European value system but for their own earnings. It is tragic that they become more fundamentalists and this argument of culture values and religion has put them into the company of new breed of Swamis and Babas who are earning millions from their trips abroad. Every body is looking for Nirwana but with in their ‘cultural’ boundaries.

Honored killing is not a ‘problem’ in India as those who are supposed to raise the issue in the human rights forum, in their own caste forums, in their communities, fear that it would open floodgates for ‘liberation’ and it is this fear of liberation of women, particularly her right to chose her partner, that would threaten our family values and structure. We are worried that if we are unable to ‘honor’ our family values, our system will crack. Therefore, even the activists fail to come forward to take on this honor but if we fail to respond to this urgent call, I am afraid, it will be too late.

But who will initiate the process? Once we fight against honored killing which are actually racial in nature as it is caste based violence, the forces of the status quo will be in action. Today, the priest is not speaking Sankrit but he is anglicized with a computer. Already, you have seen preachers entering; there are classes for girls, as how to be good ‘wives’, daughter in laws and mother. They are making huge money and people are put into caste structures. The newspaper industry will die, the fraudulent preachers will lose their jobs, the priests and all other will die with out funds if our boys and girls chose their own partners and live happily. Yes honored marriages have the potential to make many workless but definitely they will revive our love and give honor to individual. Nothing is happier and satisfying than human freedom. The so-called freedom from the British was a political battle that many feel we won, but we have not yet won our battle for individual freedom and their right to choose their faith as well as their partners. India has a long way to be called a civilized nation as it has not yet been able to protect those individuals who chose to live together despite all the protest from the society. A society can not be bigger than the choices of two individuals to come together. This is the biggest challenge that we face today in India where the individuals have to face the might of society based on Manusmriti. Time has come to demolish it and ensure a dignified and honored life for our children.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dalit Bahujan protests against the neo colonization process in Andhra

Polepally struggles against Special Exploitative Zone

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Hyderabad vs Banglore, says an advertisement of Congress Party for the Karnataka elections and the mascot is S.M.Krishna, the original feel good man of the Congress Party. Chandra Babu Naidu’s became the darling of English media for his ‘revolutionary’ role in changing the lives of millions of people in Andhra Pradesh but his dream to rule India was shattered the people defeated him in the subsequent elections. Unfortunately, the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh refused to learn lessons from the defeat of Telugu Desham Party and continue to feel good that ‘Hyderabad’ city has turned hi-tech and big investment keep coming in the state. In the loud noise of hi-tech Andhra, Chandra Babu forgot that farmers were dying and agriculture was facing stiff challenge from the corporate and strain from the new zamindars of the land such as powerful builders, a majority of whom have turned to be politicians or have strong political affiliations. Rajshekar Reddy came in the aftermath of that defeat of Telugu Desham in the hope that he would do something for the farmers, though, many of us who have been constantly following the Congress’s economic policies understand that the party of Zamindars of the past is fast turning to Party of the new liberal econocrats and it goes by the advice of the English media which is mostly urbanized and has deep disdain for rural India and agriculture sector.

Hence after the defeat of Chandra Babu Naidu, followed by Congress’s much touted liberal regimes, it was expected that the government would understand the crisis looming over the farm sector and would not involve itself in the loot. But it looks that the politicians are happy to be a part of this loot of the nation which is called SEZ. Land Acquisition anywhere is becoming a highly charged issue and political parties and governments are only opposing it where they find it political correct. For ruling parties SEZ and land acquisition under any name is becoming another instrument to loot and fill their coffers.

Just three hours drive from Hyderabad to Mehboob Nagar district present the irony of current phase of development that is taking shape in our country. Over 1240 acres of land has been acquired from 350 families in Polepally, a majority of who belong to Dalit Bahujan communities. The land has been acquired three years back and compensation has been much below the normal standard. The Dalits and OBCs who got government land several years back for their livelihood have been given a paltry sum of Rs 18,000 per acre. Those who had their own land or purchased land several years back got Rs 50,000/- per acre. Yahiya, who owned 6 acres of land was compelled to take the compensation for Rs 3,00,000/-. ‘ If you want to take the compensation, take it otherwise we would put in your bank account’, said the government officials. Yehiya was threatened much time. He says that this land is gold. We do not need anything. Such a fertile land today would fetch a price of Rs 30 lakh per acre. That is the market rate today, as the land is very much on the highway.

‘ We had every product like Rice, Jowar, cotton and vegetables. One acre of land would produce about 15-20 quintal of cotton for a market price of Rs 2,500-3000/- per quintal. Tor dal would go for Rs 1,600/- per quintal and an acre would easily produce 10 quintal.

Ramesh Gowda is an anguished person as ‘no body takes interest’ for the cause of the farmers, he says. Ramesh had a total of 8 Acre of land. 2 acres of land was acquired in 1998-99 by the TDP government for Rs 24,000 per acre, to redistribute the same to the Schedule Castes. The rest 6 acres of land have been acquired by the government for the SEZ purposes. He has got Rs 3,00000/- for a land which could have easily provided him nearly Rs 90,00000/- ( Rs Ninety Lakh Only). ‘ We have lost our land. We lost our touch with the earth. It was gold, as we were able to fetch our family. My elder son is doing MCA. I put my daughters in best schools. How am I going to serve them? I have got Rs 3 lakh as compensation. What can I do with that? I do not have work to fetch my family.’ says Gowda.

Dalits are one of the biggest affected communities apart from the other bahujan communities. Out of total 41 deaths in the past two years, more than 50% belong to SC category owning land between one acre to 5 acres. One fourth of them are tribal and shockingly the average age of those who died is 46. These deaths are out of shock after losing their land and therefore the onus of these deaths goes on the government of Andhra Pradesh which is shamelessly pursuing its land grab agenda. It is therefore a big lie when the government and many experts suggest that Dalits have nothing to lose in the SEZ. G.Vanketesh, a dalit farmer today has become totally landless and looking for work. ‘ We work as laborers and do not get even Rs 100/- per day. It is a difficult job. In the village the so-called NREGS is basically in the hands of contractors,’ says Venketesh, 28. We had three acres of land given to us by the government but today that land has been acquired and we were given a compensation of Rs 18,000 per acre. In fact, we got only Rs 16,000/- as the balance money was grabbed by the authorities. Venkatesh has a family of five. His father can not work. For him it is the loss of inheritance. Where to go for work and how to feed his family are his immediate concerns.

Bachanna is about 55 years of age and have two sons. He belongs to Mala community. He only got Rs 16,000 and that too for one acre of land. He is shocked to see the callous attitude of the official who denies him even peeping in that land which gave him so much.

Karmaiya, a Dalit farmers had to give away his 6 acre land. Instead of getting Rs 1,08,000/- he got Rs54,000/-. Actually, the compensation packages are not easy to handle. Poor farmers, who are most of the time illiterate, are betrayed by their ‘own’ people who turn middleman to the officials. The officials have linkages with the middlemen and bank managers of the rural banks.

Many farmers did not even get 10,000/- at the end though it is Rupees Eighteen thousand on paper. Yadaiah, got only Rupees Nine thousand for all his 5 acres of land, he says he got only for two acres but he doesn’t know where the rest of the money has gone, most probably to the middlemen who play a link between the bank officials, the authorities and the farmers. .hivli, a tribal woman, do not even know who got money, she did not get any money. The problem with women is many fold. They are victims at home, they work harder and if they are single or widowed then the amount of oppression is simply inexplicable.

A number of these farmers were arrested when they protested against this illegal land grab. ‘Nobody came to support them. The authorities do not allow them to go near the field. They are now considered as threat.

Shankaraiah, 34, has five daughters. With his 3 acre land now gone to the government he does not known where his future lies. There is no work in the village at the moment. Their families are in deep distress. They do not really know how to get out of the crisis that mercenaries masquerading as politicians have done it to them.

As mark of protest against the political system, the struggling farmers of Polepally have decided to contest the coming bi-election in Mehboobnagar. It is a unique way of protest. Rather than boycotting the elections, they have decided to contest the poll and will be forcing the authorities to take note of their protest. About 70 of them want to contest but finances are a big concern. Most of them are poor farmers and therefore seeking support from all those who believe that Polepally’s farmer’s can show a way to other people in resisting these Special Exploitative Zones, which are killing the Dalit Bahujan communities and snatching the country from its highly rich natural resources as well as bio diversity. It is this threat to our nature, our rivers, and our forests that we must protect. In democracy, we can only protest through the legitimate mean but if it fails the people either enter into deep shells of depressions or pick up guns to protect their honor and dignity.

The colonization process of our natural resources is now being legitimized by the state power. Polepally’s farmer’s are resisting it with their conviction, and their faith in democracy which is essentially very difficult given the nature of battle for the control over natural resources have rarely been democratic as democracy today do not seem to support people’s voice but it look it has become an instrument to legitimize the corporate's unrestricted control over our resources as well as lives.

One can differ with the nature of protest as different perceptions come in mind. Some of the Telanganites suggest that first they should get the Telangana state first and these issues could be resolved later. This was very similar to what Gandhi had told Ambedkar when the latter asked for a separate electorate. The issue is that who would be forces dominating in the new Telengana state. And secondly, would such movements have anything to do with those groups who are ready to shake hand with the Hindutva fascists or corporate supported parties whether they are in power or opposition in the state. In fact, the silver line is that the Dalits are leading the protests and a substantial number of women are raring to challenge the traditional political parties, says Sujatha Surepally, who is a leading light of the campaign against SEZ under the banner of POLEPALLY SEZ VYATIREKA IKYA SANGHATANA. The struggle of Polepally would strengthen the unity between the Dalit-Bahujan communities including Muslims, tribals and farmers. Sujatha further says that SEZ is a new colonization process to keep Dalit Bahujan communities subjugated for ever. Madhu Kagula, who is spearheading the campaign against SEZ says that Telangana is not different from its dying and starving people. Why are the political parties and so called social organizations silent on the issue of Polepally, he laments. When people are dying, women have become widows, the parties and their supporters ask us to wait for the new state to get it resolved. The problem according to both Sujatha and Madhu is that no party has taken a stand against the SEZ. And it is this frustration that has led the people to protest in this unique way, they say.

Polepally’s people need support, not just moral and physical but also financial support to keep their momentum going unless they get justice. Those who wish to support the movement for social justice and dignity of the people of Polepally may write to Sujatha Surepally at ssurepally@gmail.com

Monday, May 05, 2008

An Ambedkarite artist challenges the brahmanical hegemony

Art as the form of political protest : A Dalit artist challenge brahmanical hegemony

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Every time Savi Savarkar wanted to exhibit his paintings at the Ravindra Bhawan at the Lalit Kala Academy, Delhi, the hidden agenda of the Hindutva ensured that he does not get space for his paintings. After many efforts he got permission to exhibit those wonderful paintings which are actually Ambedkar’s statements against brahmanical social order. As I write this, Savarakar’s paintings are in the last days of their exhibitions. When a friend suggested that we should go see Savarkar’s paintings at Ravindra Bhavan, the first thought that came in mind ( and that is our ignorance level about Dalit art) was Vir Savarkar. I felt, this friend was joking. May be Sangh Parivar has put some paintings but he confirmed to me about Savi Savarkar, a man from Maharastra and his wonderful work. Savi Savarkar fought many battle because of his caste and his paintings have challenged the brahmanical hegemony.

After visiting his painting exhibition, I remain spell bound and thank to our friend for opening me a new front of art. I am not an art critique yet always found that despite India’s art work were the creations of Dalit Bahujans, we never saw art as a mean of protest. Even when the Dalits created and constructed Indian art whether it is Madhubani paintings or elsewhere, they confined themselves with in the parameters of the brahmanical value system or their gods and goddesses. Art was mostly ‘godly’ which is actually unlikely of being a Dalit as God never really came for the rescue of Dalits particularly in India.

When one goes through those paintings in complete Ambedkarite thoughts, it gives us enough hope that Modern art will now have to cope with the fiercely competitive Dalit protests which were not there earlier. Brahmins have always been shown as pious, poor but honest in all our art form. But thankfully, the first time, one can see how notorious they look when you see the painting ‘ Brahmin and Ganga’, oil on canvass-2006. Its interesting how Savi has used the most famous sacred river Ganga being used by the Brahmins to uphold their traditions. And this is an important factor even today that for the growth of brahmancal values, they have used every form whether it is nature or now science.

In the past, artists have made Devdasi paintings for purely arts sake, appreciating their beauty, curves and hair but Savarkar paints many forms of Devdasis. He is not satisfied with terming them as woman but look beyond that. Devdasi’s are victim of the caste system. The way he has described and painted them exposing the cultural values and big mutths which had Devdasis is worthy of mentioning here.

Artists always involved in not only introspections but also expertise themselves with comparative studies. One of the sketches made in 2002 named as Fish and Blue Face are a comparative study of Chippas tribal in Mexico with that of the Dalits in India. Both says Savarkar, work hard and are mentally strong, despite the fact that their bodies are overburdened with work and to him that the hands and legs work but body disappear.

Narrating an event which forced him to make ‘ Woman out of woman’, Savarkar says how he got frustrated when he saw the life experience of Joginis. He felt helpless that time. How paradoxical it is that Brahmin have sex with Devdasis but bring his own water to drink. Can there be any other system which is hippocratic, racist and abusive in nature?
Says Savi, when Devdasis come to the street even there the people make her pregnant. It is a story which can make any ‘thinking’ person mad and frustrated. And that has reflected in the paintings where the naked face of Brahminism is exposed.

There are so many paintings and for an art lover they are a complete treat to observe. For a lay person like me, it is the intensity which is attractive. The colors that he chose to depict and the face of the Brahmanism which is not only intrusive but also intimidating are the real protests.

In fact, Gujarat-2002 was a blot on the face of democracy. Artists were against the communal carnage. We saw many exhibitions at the secular platform decrying the goons of Hindutva and lamenting on the decline of our ‘golden’ past. The Hindutva goons also attacked exhibitions of M.F. Hussain, who they claimed to denigrate the Hindu gods and goddesses. What makes Savi Savarkar different from others is his unambiguous war against Brahmanism. He portrays Gujarat carnage not exactly in terms of RSS verses the Muslims but in terms of Brahmanical intimidations and farce. Savi saw the majority of Muslims being attacked as hailing the Dalit community and hence the bias against them was more than being against an ordinary Muslim. Thus, his paintings have exposed that Gujarat violence was not just a communal carnage unleashed by the Sangh Parivar and their different offshoots but the brahmanical intimidations and annihilation of the Dalits and people like them. The most important factor of Savi’s artistic expression is expose of an order build and developed by Manu that degraded men not on the basis of their castes but also gender. And therefore, as an artist, he has not confined himself to the issue of caste violence but has shown more concern on the condition of women. He makes it clear how women are victim of caste prejudices, patriarchical system and religious values. Not only this, he is able to show how during the so-called communal violence in Gujarat, it is the women who face the victimization from the forces of the brahmanical social order.

It’s very rare to find such political statement through art. Savi Savarkar is going to exhibit his paintings in Paris soon. But before he could do that, all those who value art as freedom of expression and choice must support his cause. After much financial hardship Savi Savarkar was able to exhibit his works at the Ravindar Bhavan. All those who value art and feel that art has a political statement against brahmanical values and bramindom must survive and grow, should visit Savi’s exhibition and support the cause. One hope that you would be able to see this extraordinary man’s passion for the civilized society as demonstrated in Dr Ambedkar’s writing. It is therefore refreshing to see that art which had been a domain of brahmanical values, has now found Ambedkarite protest in the form of Savi’s imagination and expressions. And one must appreciate his work for that. One hope that many more artists from Dalit-Bahujan communities would learn and adopt this form of art against the brahmanical value system and hopefully they would be able to project and portray the real face of Dalit vision, which means freedom of expression, freedom of choice and a society based on equality of human being without any prejudice against women.

Savi’s work would be there at Ravindra Bhavan, Lalit Kala Academy till May 8th, 2008. Those of you who wish to know more about his work can visit his website at www.savisawarkar.arttimes.in and he can be contacted at savisawarkar@yahoo.com