Former Assistant Professor Dr. Ritu Singh has been at the forefront of the protest against the alleged display of casteism in her dismissal from the Psychology Department of Daulat Ram College (DRC) by Principal Dr. Savita Roy.

Protestors from organisations such as the Bhim Army Students Federation (BASF) and Mission Save Constitution have since the past 150 days joined Dr. Ritu Singh in claiming Gate No. 4 of the Arts Faculty of Delhi University (DU) to display their resistance against the structural casteism pervading the University.

The dismissal of the former professor had taken place midway through the COVID-19 pandemic without show-cause notice. Her allegations of casteist harassment against the DRC principal were initially dismissed by the Sessions Court, the High Court, and even the Delhi Police. Later, on 23 May, 2023, a complaint was registered by Delhi Police upon the intervention of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. A list of the signatures of 35 students provided by Dr. Savita Roy as evidence backing up the termination of Dr. Singh’s services was also, as The Quint reports, falsified.

The Mooknayak presents a recurrent account of alleged police supression against the scenery of blue flags fluttering in the midst of small businesses selling books on Dalit literature at Gate No. 4, which was then reportedly vandalised, protest tents removed, and protestors detained. The incident took place in the early morning of 9 January, 2024. Questions were raised about the subsequent imposition of Section 144, and a complaint was said to have been filed against the looting of Dr. Singh’s personal belongings and the alleged unruly behaviour of the police.

Protestors have further claimed that the site was washed with Gangajal and Gaumutra for its apparent purification, along with the locking of the university gates and the dismantling of a poster of Babasaheb Ambedkar. The protestors took to social media to question the motives behind such actions. Supreme Court Advocate Mehmood Pracha questioned in a post on Dr. Singh’s X (previously Twitter) handle,

How will a space become impure if Dr. Ritu sits down?

On 19 January, 2024 Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad joined the protest site to extend support and mark the death anniversary of Rohith Vemula. The Press Trust of India (PTI) reports that Azad, along with Dr. Singh, advocate Pracha, and around 80 other protestors, were detained and subsequently released.

In a conversation with DU Beat, BASF President Ashutosh Boddh confirmed the account of repression and claimed the structural complicity of the Vice Chancellor in the denial of justice and maltreatment of not just Dr. Singh but her fellow protestors. He cited the refusal to take action against the chargesheeted Dr. Savita Roy and DU registrar Vikas Gupta, the former of whom was in fact later appointed General Secretary of the Principals’ Association. He posed the question,

Why is it that we see locks on the University gates only when our demands are in question?

In a recent video uploaded to her YouTube channel, Dr. Singh sought an update on the five demands made before the Dean of Student Welfare. These demands include the immediate suspension of both Dr. Roy and Vikas Gupta, an investigation into the ‘NFS’ or Not Found Suitable option that the University allegedly resorts to when it comes to candidates of the reserved categories, as well as an inquiry into the other allegedly fraudulent appointments made to the University.

As of now, no requisite actions or response has been made on the aforementioned demands.

Read also : Protesters Demand Suspension of DRC Principal Dr. Savita Roy

Featured Image Credits: Bhumika Saraswati via Instagram

Deevya Deo
[email protected]

TW// Misogyny, casteist slurs

You may have heard the line “Hamare ghar mai toh ye ladka-ladki ke beech bhedbhav or caste wagera ka kuch nahi hota,” in discussions based on gender and caste-based discrimination. Slowly, we all start labelling ourselves and our homes as “progressive”. So, let’s decode “our progressive homes.”

One of my favourite parts about Delhi University (DU) is the availability of safe (debatable) spaces for discussions or events based on the subject of gender and caste. Dialogues over gendered or caste-based division of employment, as well as discrimination in public settings, are held often. If you attend such gatherings, you may have heard comments like, “hamare ghar mai toh papa bhi help karte hai”, “Mere ghar mai toh caste wagera ki baat hi nahi hoti thi”, and so on. Soon, a large portion of the audience begins to agree with these views and begin to label their homes or families as forward thinking. But are our homes truly progressive?

One thing that I started to notice recently in these discussions is this distorted line of equality. 

“Mere ghar mai essa nahi hota, mummy khana banati, and papa hi sabzi wagera kaat dete.” Patriarchy is so deeply ingrained in our society, particularly in our homes, that even a slight shift in the notion of, “Aadmi kamaega and aurte ghar ka kaam karegi” (Men will earn and women will do household chores) makes us progressive and blocks us from challenging the ever persistent patriarchal roles in our homes. Does the gender-based division of labour vanish if men partake in household chores? Is this what we mean by an equal work division, at home? Will the men in one’s household perform all of those, “acts of help” in front of relatives or guests? One of the most important things to realise is that we are too quick to label ourselves as open-minded. Help is not the same as work. A working woman is expected to undertake household chores, but if men help even a little, it’s as though the foundations of patriarchy have shattered. Why are domestic tasks the responsibility of women if the house belongs to both?

To quickly understand gendered division of labour and how help is not the same as equal work division, here is a part of an extract from a document by the ILO International Training Centre, Module on Gender, Poverty and Employment– “The way work is divided between men and women according to their gender roles is usually referred to as the ‘gender division of labour’. This does not necessarily concern only paid employment, but more generally the work, tasks and responsibilities that are assigned to women and men in their daily lives, and which may, on their turn, also determine certain patterns in the labour market.”

A person, when asked about the division of labour in his house, told me that they have a maid in his house since both of his parents work. As a result, no such patriarchal standards exist. It’s amusing how people perceive gender issues as a separate entity while completely ignoring the caste and class aspect that intersect with the former. This gendered division of labour, in which women are often underpaid, is fueled by patriarchy. 

“3000 milte hai 1 ghar se. 2 ghar mai kaam karti hu 5-5 ghante”

A maid who works in the houses of Malka Ganj.

Liberation from patriarchy for the upper class involves exploitation of the lower class. 6,000 for a 30-day interval, 10 hours of work per day. Would you choose a job where your salary for a 10-hour shift is the same? The sad reality is that most of the so-called “safe and progressive spaces” in DU are dominated by upper-class and upper-caste individuals who typically describe themselves as centrist or apolitical. They fail to look outside of their own narrow bubble, which limits their knowledge on these issues. 

Another part from the extract from the ILO document reads- “In the context of gender, horizontal segregation refers to the extent to which men and women are located in different occupational sectors. Women are usually highly concentrated in the sectors that require lesser skills (e.g. agriculture), that promise little chance for career advancements (e.g. services) and that are related to care-giving (e.g.: nursing), which often coincide also with low wages. On the other hand, vertical segregation refers to the extent to which men and women occupy different hierarchical positions within the same occupational sector. Within the same sector, women tend to occupy the lower ranks of the hierarchical ladder (and consequently the lower salary ranges).”

While “help” is categorised as “progressive” in the case of patriarchy, “not talking about caste” is termed “progressive” in the case of casteism. You may have heard claims from critics of reservations that they were unaware of caste prior to their entrance exams. They think that casteism is a thing of the past while turning a blind eye to the way it prevails in everyday life. They fail to notice how their parents have domestic staff sit on the floor while they sit up and how they are made to  use different utensils to eat or drink tea. Beyond households too, the use of casteist slurs like chappri, bhangi, etc normalises them. Taking pride in one’s caste is also a way of propagating casteism in everyday life.

The majority of us, the so-called liberal progressive people who take part in these conversations, come from privileged backgrounds. The majority of our discussion on gender issues within the four walls of class comes from a second or third-person perspective. One wasn’t aware of caste since one didn’t have to regularly experience such discrimination as privilege always acted as a line of defence. In college, we slowly attempt to comprehend these problems, while remaining well within the boundaries of our privilege. We fail to cross those boundaries and understand these issues. 

We must not be blinded by our privilege and attempt to empathise with the lived experiences of other individuals, and consider how caste, class, and gender all interact with one another in various ways. The only way to truly understand these issues is to recognise intersectionality. Along with this, claiming to be “apolitical” or “centrist” will not be of any help, as politics is deeply rooted in society. 

Thus, the next time you describe yourself or your homes as “progressive”, stop and consider if this is actually the case or if structured patriarchy and casteism have masked the true meaning of the word.

Featured image credits: Hindustan Times

Read Also: Conditioned By Patriarchy 

Dhruv Bhati

[email protected]


Every day, we come across a wide range of content on social media. From news updates to political opinions to personal blogs, content creation acts as a source of income for many. In many cases, this has unfortunately facilitated the development of media that capitalises on polarising social issues and caters to the “majority,” even at the cost of being offensive or discriminatory towards particular groups. Read ahead to find out what fuels social media’s “economy of hate” and the alarming impacts this has on our society.

The use of social media is on the rise in the contemporary digital era. Following the boom in usage, it has now acquired the function of a community space for news updates, political ideas, and the development of online communities of individuals with shared interests. Being a social media celebrity comes with the added benefit of monetization. This content plays a major role in our daily discussions and the formation of personal opinions. With the added advantage of anonymity, this freedom of speech or expression of thoughts can go unchecked and develop a dark side too.

Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is becoming increasingly common among teenagers and adolescents, as well as in nations with fragile democratic structures and diverse social and religious groups. According to the Pew Research Centre, in 2022, at least half of the young people in the United States had experienced bullying at some point in their lives. India has one of the highest rates of cyberbullying. As per a study by McAfee, 85% of children in India have experienced cyberbullying or have perpetrated it themselves. This rate is nearly twice as high as the global average.

Content creators have a significant role in the perpetuation of cyberbullying. Targeting an individual or community for a few likes in order to grow an account is all too common on Instagram and X (previously Twitter). Some people post discriminatory content as a “joke,” while others post it as a social or political viewpoint. In India, social media is one of the most powerful tools used by politicians to propagate political messaging, which often includes ideological propoganda and hatred towards certain communities. Not only this, but social media has been employed to mould public opinion and cover up the true situation in areas such as Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, the current conversion of Uttrakhand into “devbhoomi”, ethnic violence in Manipur, and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in various parts of the country in the name of illegal encroachment. There are various social media accounts on X (formerly Twitter) dedicated entirely to spreading such malicious content.

Along with using social media for political purposes, another major issue is the use of social media to propagate disinformation about particular subjects such as reservation, gender discrimination, and the queer community. Multiple individuals on X (previously Twitter) grew their accounts by posting abusive and false information about these issues. Engaging in such posts (even if you disagree with the viewpoint being tweeted) helps such tweets develop reach, making it easier for the user to reach wider audiences who may be uneducated on such issues and gullible to misinformation.

The Centre for Countering Digital Hate strives to halt the dissemination of hate speech and false information online. It is a nonprofit organisation that works to defend internet civil liberties and human rights. The Centre for Countering Digital Hate was recently sued by Elon Musk. According to a report in the Washington Post, X filed a complaint in the U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that CCDH engaged in a number of unlawful acts in an effort to inappropriately access protected X Corp. data. Here are a few citations from CCDH reports:

Anti-LGBT Hate Content

TW// Queerphobia

According to a report by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, over 1.7 million tweets and retweets since the start of 2022 mention the LGBTQ+ community via a keyword such as “LGBT”, “gay”, “homosexual” or “trans” alongside slurs including “groomer”, “predator” and “paedophile”. The hateful ‘grooming’ narrative online is driven by a small number of influential accounts with large followings. Now new estimates from the Centre show that just five of these accounts are set to generate up to $6.4 million per year in ad revenues for Twitter.

Anti-Muslim Hate Content

TW// Islamophobia

A study by TRT World revealed that 86% of anti-Muslim content originates in the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. According to the research, such hostile content and disinformation led to violent attacks on Muslims and mosques.

According to a report by CCDH, social media companies, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube, failed to act on 89% of posts containing anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobic content reported to them. CCDH researchers, using platforms’ own reporting tools, reported 530 posts that contain disturbing, bigoted, and dehumanising content that targets Muslim people through racist caricatures, conspiracies, and false claims. These posts were viewed at least 25 million times. Many of the abusive contents were easily identifiable, yet there was still inaction. Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter allow users to use hashtags such as #deathtoislam, #islamiscancer and #raghead. Content spread using the hashtags received at least 1.3 million impressions.

Misogyny and Sexism on Social Media

TW// Misogyny, Sexual Harrasement, and Mentions of Rape

CCDH exposed the most influential and largest incel forum (incel, standing for ‘involunatry celibate,’ a self-assigned social media term for mostly cis-gendered heterosexual men who consider themselves “denied” of sex by women and actively spread misogynistic, sexist, hostile content directed towards women and even men who they consider more sexually accomplished than themselves). This new in-depth study by the CCDH’s Quant Lab shows a 59% increase in mentions of mass attacks, widespread approval of sexual violence against women, with 9 in 10 posters supportive, and support for paedophilia, with the rules explicitly changing in March 2022 to permit the sexualization of ‘pubescent minors’. The ‘Incel Forum’ receives an average of 2.6 million monthly visits and has 17,000 members. Discourse is driven by 406 ‘power users, who produce 74.6% of all posts on the forum, some spending upwards of 10 hours a day on the forum. In some cases, boys as young as 15 are being led down a rabbit hole of hatred and extremism. An analysis of almost 1.2 million posts made over an 18-month period found:

  • A 59% increase in the use of terms and codewords relating to acts of mass violence.
  • Mention of rape every 29 minutes. 9 in 10 (89%) of posters in relevant discussions were supportive of sexual violence against women. The forum’s rules changed to permit the sexualization of “pubescent minors”. 
  • Analysis of discussions of paedophilia on the forum shows that 53% of posters are supportive of sexual violence against children.
  • One in five posts on the forum features misogynistic, racist, antisemitic, or anti-LGBTQ+ language.
  • Mainstream social media platforms like YouTube and Google are enabling pathways to the ‘Incelosphere’.

Casteist Content

From misogyny to queerphobia to caste and race, social issues across the world are being capitalized on under this “economy of hate.” Take, for instance, the Twitter account by the name of “Anuradha Tiwari,” which often posts defamatory and hateful content on reservations. Her whole X and LinkedIn profiles are packed with anti-reservation content. This kind of content fosters young people’s development of hateful opinions and prejudice. A report by The Centre for Internet & Society titled “Online Caste-Hate Speech: Pervasive Discrimination and Humiliation on Social Media” talks about the anti-reservation and casteist content across various social media platforms. Furthermore, it discusses how casteism on campuses is greatly impacted by such online hatred.

In conclusion, the economics of hate create a shadow that undermines our social fabric in the complex network of digital places. Creators are often motivated by financial gain to take advantage of conflicts and controversy by posting systematically discriminatory content online. This exploitation breeds bias, misinformation, and harassment, in addition to eroding empathy. A cycle of hatred is fueled by the pernicious attraction of money because attention-grabbing stories draw attention and increase the wealth of those who spread them. A holistic strategy that includes stronger content regulation, media literacy instruction, and ethical digital citizenship is necessary to combat this destructive influence. We may strive to create a digital environment that is based on respect, understanding, and true connection by eliminating the financial motivations for hatred.

Featured Image Credits: Article-14

Read Also: Decoding Deceptive Deepfake

Dhruv Bhati
[email protected]

Casteism has been lurking in our systems as a product of historical grievances. From condemning the actions to being the perpetrator, is this deep rooted caste bias finding new ways to make itself comfortable?

Yet in another turn of events, a student from scheduled caste, hailing from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), had to face the atrocities of casteism. The victim, Sagar Kumar, was subjected to physical brutality over refusal to copy the assignment of the alleged attacker, Shubham Kumar. In a conversation with Dalit Desk, Sagar explained what he faced.

On 28 November, at night 11, I was studying in my room while Shubham came in and asked me to do his assignment to which I refused and told him the teacher can fail me for this. Several times he insisted but I refused. Thereafter he hurled Casteist slurs at me and started abusing me and beat me. Adding, I am mentally traumatized after this incident; strict action must be taken against him.

-Sagar Kumar told Dalit Desk.

According to the report by Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association (BAPSA), JNU, Shubham Kumar has been abusing Sagar Kumar for the past one year. This has put the latter through a great deal of purgatory and physical trauma. This incident is a reminder of the prevailing status quo arising out of casteism. BAPSA found Sagar Kumar with a high blood pressure. He was shivering in fear for his life while his voice was cracking. A complaint of the aforementioned incident has been lodged at National Commission for Scheduled Caste, Vasant Kunj Police Station, Equal Opportunity Cell (JNU) and Chief Proctor of JNU. The creamiest brains putting it out at the most premier institutions of the country makes me wonder, if we are too invested in literacy that educating the consciousness has taken a back seat.

The shameless shout out for impunity by Shubham Kumar only exposes the fault lines of the self-proclaimed island that JNU is.


The irony of the entire situation is the fact that we condemn the very actions that we see being perpetuated around us by our own people. From using the casteist slurs to mocking the minority in the name of comedy, we are witnessing a degree that is pulling us towards the breaking point. Institutional casteism is on the rise and this incident comes as no shock. A recent study suggests the lofty prevalence of casteism in higher educational institutions but the constancy of this sitch is quite overwhelming. What irks me is the smell of normalcy around it. Unless the blood oozes out of the situation, the discriminatory and defamatory acts are subjected to negligence. How can these deprecatory and belittling instances thrusted aside while condemning them?

The very existence of the grievances cell for the marginalised section in the educational establishments proves the existence of these preferential and unjust acts. Creation of these cells to seek redressal has pulled curtains over the actuality of the situation. This has made it easier to achieve those estranged dreams in the crippling shadows of the same. Meddling with casteism does question the political agenda and its pernicious relationship with it. A peculiar pattern can be observed in the same regard, even at the places of education. Meenakshi Yadav, the representative of Student Federation of India (SFI) from Lady Shri Ram College spoke to DU Beat. She questions the standing of this circle which instigates casteism while fulfilling their political dream.

Brahmans portray themselves that they are in-charge, they are in power. They feel a sense of superiority due to the presence of the current governing body.

-Meenakshi Yadav, SFI representative, LSR

It is a simple monopoly of strength to establish dominance of a caste by the ones in power. Showing the monochromatic nature of elitism, it pulls the reins of casteism. It aligns the political inclinations and caste-based notions, producing a class of inherent elitism. This is an establishment which teaches equality and the next minute pulls the card of ‘winner-winner, political dinner’.

Koi gujjar hai toh batado, humko dosti karni hai par sirf apne cast walo se.
-A first year student as quoted by Meenakshi Yadav, SFI representative, LSR

Delhi University has long been known as a place where tensions arising from casteism have been lit. Not long ago, it had displayed a reservation of their thoughts when the writings of two dalit writers, Bama and Sukhartharini, have been removed and replaced by the work of an upper caste writer, Ramabai. This altercation of syllabus poses a sheer threat to the sovereignty of the institute and questions the autonomy of the academic space. How can we account for the pillars of democracy with a prejudiced and biased eye? Is this discriminatory influence above the education imparted by the most premier institutions?

A student from Delhi University told DU Beat on anonymity, “It is quite usual for me to go about
my day and hear people using a language that might not be welcomed by any marginalised group. Even if we retaliate, all that comes out is a small laugh and the words are expected to be forgiven the next minute. It is quite normal to see the usage of such a language, be it in college or my neighbourhood. It is the same story spinning everywhere.”

Our civilizational past shows us the derogatory history of this section of the society. The pain inflicted on people like Sagar Kumar is told in pursuit of the lost self-respect and in anticipation to put an end to such infamous incidents. It is veracious to say that we are experiencing an infamous facade of cruel reality. The blatant act of turning a blind eye to the prolific iniquity by the prestigious establishments makes me question the due justice. Will a fair play swing by the wronged eyes or will it continue to serve exoneration to the offenders?

Featured Image Credits: ‘Skyscape’ by Rajyashri Goody via India Today

Ankita Baidya

[email protected]

Three years on, the suicide that sparked a rebellion is still being remembered with the wounds of inequality and misuse of administrative power, still fresh and burning.

Just two years ago on this day, Rohith Vemula passed away, his life ending with a noose. This was not just a plain suicide of an Ambedkar Student Association (ASA) student facing discrimination because of his Dalit identity but, as many described it was more of an ‘institutional murder.’ What drove Vemula to suicide or was his death already planned and then made to look like a suicide? Such questions and speculations dominate debates since his death in 2016.

However, what can’t be ignored is that Vemula’s death along with the powerful letter he left behind, surely created a new age of rebellion amongst the youth against caste-based discrimination and University administration.

Commemorating his third death anniversary, a series of talks and marches embraced the University of Delhi’s North Campus.

It started with Youth for Social Justice organising a remembrance meeting for Rohith Vemula followed by a Young India Padyatra from Arts Faculty to Vishwavidyalya Metro Station. It was concluded with a candlelight march at 6 pm from Vishwavidyalya to Arts Faculty.

In the afternoon hours of 17th January, a remembrance meeting for Rohith Vemula was held by Youth For Social Justice at Arts Faculty. Speakers and professors from all over the colleges of the University of Delhi were invited to speak on Rohith Vemula’s suicide which happened three years ago at University of Hyderabad. The Chief Guests of the event were Rajendra Pal Gautam, Minister of Social Welfare, Government of Delhi and Professor Manoj Kumar Jha, Member of Parliament and Department of Social Work, DU. At the meeting, the speakers spoke extensively about the institutional discrimination and systematic oppression Dalits face in central universities and the lack of SC, ST, and OBC teachers in reputed institutes of the country. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Savitribai Phule were remembered and slogans of ‘Jai Bhim’ were raised by the crowd present there. Rohith’s last letter was also quoted a couple of times by the speakers highlighting casteism and elitism in a university space.    

Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat
Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat

As the evening hours set in, a candlelight march was held by Students’ Federation India (SFI). The participants first walked from the metro station to the Vivekananda statue in the Arts Faculty complex. They stood with candles in their hands while a few volunteers stood in front of the statue, honouring Vemula’s legacy.

Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU beat
Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU beat


However, it is ironical that in Hyderabad, Vemula shifted from the SFI to the Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) as he found the former to be a body showing some amount of classism, something which Vemula was strictly against. However, this can be heard as speculation too as different sources have been building different narratives since his death.

“Yes, he had his own issues with SFI back then and SFI itself has had issues with the ASA.” Akhil, an SFI-affiliated student from Zakir Husain Delhi College, remarked. He continued by saying, “However, what we need to appreciate is how his institutional murder led all the fronts to change for the upliftment of lesser communities to come together. His death was unfortunate for this country, but it strengthened us and will keep on driving this revolution. In fact, a few months after he passed away, SFI and ASA came together as a coalition and won the Hyderabad University elections.”

After a few moments of silence, the marchers walked back to the Arts Faculty gate and planted their burning candles to the ground. Gathering in a circle, they shouted slogans invoking the immortality of Rohith Vemula, Bhim Rao Ambedkar, and several other pioneers of this movement.

Whatever outcome comes out of this current political scenario with caste-based discrimination still prevailing, notions of patriarchy being challenged, and reservation still being a heated theme in our Parliament, Vemula and the many others who died in this struggle, their legacy will continue to impact the youth.

‘People may dub me as a coward. And selfish, or stupid once I am gone. I am not bothered about what I am called. I don’t believe in after-death stories, ghosts or spirits. If there is anything at all I believe, I believe that I can travel to the stars and know about the other worlds…’

-Rohit Vemula in his death note



Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat

Shaurya Singh Thapa
[email protected]

Disha Saxena
[email protected]


Feminism has been the buzzword for a while now and rightly so. However, today’s feminist movement seems to be in danger as time and again it refuses to integrate intersectional feminism. It’s time that upper-class and upper caste women check their privilege.

Average Dalit Woman Dies 14.6 Years Younger than Women from Higher Castes, reported The Hindu on February 19, 2018. According to another report from UN Women, titled Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Dalit women face more unjust or prejudicial treatment as compared to higher caste women in India. They have less or no access to safe drinking water and healthcare. They have low mortality rates due to poor sanitation facilities. This report astonished me. My first question was, ‘What does mortality rate have to do anything with caste?’ I know this question of mine reeks of ignorance and elitism. I have been raised this way, with my parents never talking to me about caste. They made me believe that caste is a ‘non-issue’. However, they have judged people on the basis of their caste, whenever they ask someone’s last name. I have judged my fellow classmates and friends. I always thought, especially when I was in high school that they have had it easy. They wouldn’t have to worry about admissions and scholarships and jobs for they had reservations. This isn’t just me. Every fairly educated, upper or middle-class Indian thinks this way.

A lot of upper and middle-class parents wish to raise their kids away from the ugliness of caste system. As a result, they end up raising kids who are caste blind. They raise a whole generation of casteist, privileged kids who have no idea about what’s happening around them. Textbooks in schools also teach them that caste doesn’t exist anymore. Right from the childhood, kids like me, have been caste blind-folded. Same goes for religion too. Like they say. the first step of solving any problem is acknowledging that there is a problem. Refusing to cognize caste is an ostrich policy, not progressivism.

Consequently, another question popped into my head. Does my feminism talk about the women who face far more discrimination than me because of their caste, ethnicity, and religion? I think for a while now, my feminism has been about what you call ‘mainstream feminism’. With it being trans-exclusionary and caste/class-blind, it has been non-intersectional. I have been preaching about feminism without taking into account the experiences of women whose caste, religion, race, and social identities have stopped them from enjoying equal rights and opportunities like me. These forms of discrimination further marginalise women which leads to larger inequalities. I am privileged, for my life has not been affected by my social identity (i.e. caste, class, religion) in any way.

I may never be able to understand how much it hurts trans people to know that they’re not being seen as who they are. I may not be able to understand how caste dictates one’s everyday life. I might never be able to know the terror under which minorities live. All I can be is an ally. I can give spaces which I am occupying to them to speak for their rights. I should not speak for them. I need to recognize my privilege and learn from them. We need more trans women, Dalit women, women from the lower classes in leadership roles. It’s time for feminism to become more inclusive. We need to uplift women who are disadvantaged socially, politically and economically. Intersectionality matters and its time we listen to the less-privileged women for they are the ones who will be the pacesetters of women’s rights all over the world.


Feature Image Credits: Salmon Design

Disha Saxena 

[email protected]     

“The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of stardust. In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.”


This is what Rohith Vemula, PhD scholar in Hyderabad Central University wrote in his last letter after which he took his own life. His fault was that he was Dalit, a Dalit who dared to stand up for himself. Systematically, culturally, economically and socially oppressed since his birth which he refers to as his ‘fatal accident’

Education has been denied to Dalits from as long as time permits us to remember. India’s recovery from colonialism paralleled Dalits, adivasis and backward castes reclaiming their human dignity and social prestige. Decades later, the Brahmin-Savarna forces still plunder and pillage their dignity outrightly and with pride.

When Smriti Irani says the incident is not a matter of lower caste vs upper caste she remarkably forgets to what extent basic human rights are refused to lower caste people, especially Dalits. If it’s not driving a scholar to suicide then it’s banning Dalit unions, beating a lower caste student for going to school, to the point where Dalits are not even allowed entry in religious places, a grim reminder that we have not taken a step towards progress.


Why do we continue to vilify and degrade lower caste people whilst believing without moral apprehension that they do not even deserve reservation? Who is to say that caste has been a historical, now removed concept? It is ahistorical, demeaning and a blatant lie to say that caste does not matter anymore, even in the most liberal areas in the country.

If caste does not matter then why is manual scavenging still practiced along the lengths and breadths of the country, overwhelmingly by Dalits? Does it matter when a former Prime Minister is exposed as accomplice in Dalit massacres? Does it matter when nearly all marriages in the country are within the caste? If caste does not matter, then why are we all aware from a young age, what caste and creed we belong to?

From a skewed, near-sighted urban lens, of course caste matters. It matters when a Dalit student scores a few marks lesser than you, and gets into a good institution. However, no one bats an eyelid when Dalit students die asking for their rights. Very obvious and visible oppression is overlooked, seen disguised as victim complexes, “pseudo-secular” wreckage and what not.

How much has India failed its religious and caste minorities? Inspite of the depressing history of caste oppression, our curriculum barely touches upon caste. We are taught the Varna system in past tense, as if the whole country is not still practicing and perpetuating it by choice. We are taught how Ambedkar made our constitution, and how untouchability was made a criminal offence. When were we taught that Ambedkar called for annihilation of caste, and not uniting castes which organizations like RSS wholeheartedly believe in? The same RSS that Rohith refused to align with.


“May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.”


Rest in power, Rohith.


Kartikeya Bhatotia

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