Savarna India Under Permanent Siege: An Excerpt From "Hatred in the Belly"

29 May 2016

Hatred in the Belly: Politics behind the appropriation of Dr Ambedkar’s writings is a collection of essays by writers, academics, students and activists, who are referred to as the Ambedkar Age Collective in the book. The book comprises essays, speeches, and writing that emerged as spontaneous reactions to an edition of BR Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste that was released in 2014 by the publishing house Navayana. The writer Arundhati Roy had written an introduction to the book titled, “The Doctor and the Saint.” In the introduction, Roy discussed the ideological battle between Ambedkar and Mohandas Gandhi (In its March 2014 issue, this magazine carried an excerpt from Roy's introduction). The launch of the Navayana edition was met with severe criticism from many quarters of the Dalit-Bahujan community. The discourse that it initiated, the Collective wrote, was a “glimpse of the ways through which the marginalised resist continued attempts made at hegemonising their knowledge and lives by the brahminic oppressors irrespective of their political leanings.” The title of the book, “hatred in the belly,” is a Telegu phrase (ka dapulo kasi). The poet Joopaku Subhadra had employed it in a speech criticising the Navayana edition.

The following essay, titled ‘Savarna India under permanent siege,’ was written by the activist Anoop Kumar. In the essay, Kumar writes about a temple in Baddi, a village in Bihar’s Rohtas district, dedicated to Ravidas, who is revered in the Dalit community. He elaborates why the struggle faced by the Dalit villagers to build and maintain the temple is emblematic of the Dalit-Bahujan response to the Navayana edition.

I, Ravidas, proclaim all Vedas are worthless. ~ Sant Ravidas.

Anoop Kumar is the founder member of Insight Foundation, New Delhi.

Keywords: caste Arundhati Roy Dalit BR Ambedkar Ravidas Navayana Annihilation of Caste Rajput Hatred in the Belly Bahujan Baddi