Raja Sekhar Vundru

Raja Sekhar Vundru's Writings

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Location: New Delhi, India

Ph.D on Dr.Ambedkar's Electoral System from the National Law School, Bangalore (NLSUI) Currently working as Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India , Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi +911123381994

Friday, December 12, 2014

S R Sankaran 4th Memorial Lecture by Dr Rajasekhar Vundru : PART TWO

S R Sankaran 4th Memorial Lecture by Dr. Raja Sekhar Vundru : PART ONE

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Review : Further Echoes From Babasaheb

Books / Reviews Magazine | May 12, 2014 Weak Constitution This 'intellectual biography' of Ambedkar is a cut-and-paste job Review Further Echoes From Babasaheb A book that slices Ambedkar’s life for clarity is actually a pastiche of past scholarship and fills up its pages by liberally quoting from his own works Raja Sekhar Vundru Ambedkar: Awakening India’s Social Conscience Ambedkar: Awakening India’s Social Conscience By By Narendra Jadhav Konark | Pages: 640 | Rs 595 Ambedkar: Awakening India’s Social Conscience is a ninety per cent reproduction of either B.R. Ambedkar’s published speeches or his writings. To fill the rest ten per cent, Narendra Jadhav treads the dan­gerous ground of plagiarism. The first sample: on the first-ever meeting of Gandhi and Ambedkar on August 14, 1931, and the impending conflict, Dhananjay Keer’s biography (1971, page 168) reads “But the die was cast. The spark of opposition was ignited.” Here, page 14 reads, “The die was cast. The spark of confrontation was ignited”. Ambedkar has been among the most studied, revered, misunderstood and talked about leaders of India. His rightful claim to a central role in nation-building has been consistently flagged by scholars like Eleanor Zelliot, Gail Omvedt and Christophe Jaffrelot. His importance in the arena of political democracy—via the bequest of a rights-based constitution for new generations—has been accentuated by the churning India is passing through. Our efforts to understand the great man started in two ways. Primarily, it was through biographers. Then, starting from 1979, came the massive publication of Ambedkar’s writings and speeches by the Maharashtra government, numbering 22 volumes till date, and mostly edi­ted by Vasant Moon. But by 1979, the core work of Ambedkar had already been brought to the public domain by followers. After Ambedkar’s centenary celebrations in 1991, scholarship grew in multitudes—on the life, work and ideas. Jadhav’s current work, claimed to be an “intellectual biography” of Ambedkar, is somewhat modelled on W.N. Kuber and Keer. Jadhav shot into fame by translating into English his family’s autobiography from Marathi (Amcha Baap aan Aamhi, 1993) as Outcaste: A Memoir (2003). His recent works are edited volumes on Ambedkar: Ambedkar Speaks (2013) and Ambedkar Writes (2013), which are simply a rehash of the multi-­volume published writings and speec­hes. This book is a further rehash of Ambedkar Speaks and Ambedkar Writes. The author divides Ambedkar’s scholarly life into ten parts, and merely fills every part with extracts of his writings and speeches. It starts with Ambedkar’s education and foray into public sphere in 1913-1923, as a scholar in mass movements till 1930 and the Gandhi-Ambedkar conflict in 1930-36. At his political debut after the 1937 elections, he’s classified as a “sch­olar-politician”, and later, in his days as lab­our member in the viceroy’s executive council, as a “scholar-politician-adm­inis­tra­­tor”. Ambedkar’s role in the government in 1947 and while in opposition from 1951 is cov­ered only with a reproduction of his speeches in Par­liament. His search for identity for Dalits is exemplified by reproducing his works on the origins of ‘untouchables’. Biographies of great men are never to be written in a hurry. To write an “intellectual biography” of Ambedkar needs int­ellectual honesty. This 640-page book is a cut-and-paste job of Ambedkar’s spe­eches and writings. Like quick-fix writers, Jadhav probably knows that Ambedkar sells like hot cakes at present. (The reviewer is an IAS officer and has a PhD on Ambedkar’s electoral ideas) Click here to see the article in its standard web format

UPSC Round Table: Does the CSAT need a review?


Saturday, February 08, 2014

Relevance of Ambedkar in Today's India : Panel Discussion

Relevance of Ambedkar in Today's India : Panel Discussion

Talktime Programme on Loksabha TV discussion by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta with Dr. Raja Sekhar Vundru and Dr.Narendra Jadhav. Telecast first on 13 July 2013.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Namdeo Dhasal (1949-2014)
Dalit poet Namdeo Dhasal lived and died raging into the night
“Mercy-grace-peace do not touch Golpitha.”
—From Vijay Tendulkar’s introduction to Golpitha
On July 9, 1972, Dalit writers Namdeo Dhasal, Arjun Dangle and J.V. Pawar met in Bombay and established the Dalit Panthers, a radical militant outfit that sprang out of Maharashtra’s Dalit literary movement. It was the silver jubilee year of India’s independence but the Panthers observed a ‘Black Day’, with black-flag demonstrations all over Bombay, protesting the exploitation and oppression of Dalits.
That same year, Golpitha, a collection of poems by Bombay taxi driver Dhasal, had created a storm that was to blow away the traditional Marathi literary citadels, while also establishing Dalit poetry as a distinct stream of literature in the country. Golpitha, named after a slum area in Bombay, created an imagery, vocabulary and landscape completely unknown to Indian literature and set the tone for a new Dalit expression:
“My everything amber
Sky alchohols in the glass
Let breath reel stagger
Let snake-vines keep the beat move shake
The raga of gutter-ganges
Let the donkey under your skin bray
Let flow the pain, the dark serpent, the charging boar
Let the balls sizzle
An honest beast in your torch
Now is yours
Sell cheap faith-in-Christ, family plan your vulgarity
Kick this heavenly virtue, this fatherly atrocity
This poor promising puking lamb
Crumpled-paper-Pandurang-dindi goes on singing
The sweet notes flute
Juhu beach fragranced
A quarter jingle jangles
Daug­h­ters wed between their thighs
Uncle Uncle Little Star
The delicate guitar of impurity
Listen to the dainty ankle bells
Come come come come God
Crush the frogs in the earthenware pot
Blow out the lamp
Of the ump­teen generations
Suck, drool over the pelvic bone
My esse­nce droops drunken
Why pull it up
For everyone in front of everyone the wine filled glass.” 

(From Amber in Golpitha)

Dhasal continued in the anthology:
“Made so beggarly it is nausea to be human
Cannot fill shrivelled gut even with dirt
Each day just supports them as if bribed
Not a sigh slips through the fingers of day’s plenty as
We are cut down.”

Ambedkar scholar Eleanor Zelliot says, “Nothing is sacred to Dhasal, except possibly his own creative gift and the memory of a man (Dr B.R. Ambedkar) who believed in the creative powers of his own untouchable people.”
“The Lord of the people is never ugly
He is from among men
Babasaheb Ambedkar
Is true, holy, beautiful
Otherwise this book has no meaning
I write all this night
It’s three o’clock
Thought I want to have a drink
I don’t feel like drinking
I only want to sleep peacefully
And tomorrow morning see no varnas

(From Tuhi Iyatta Kanchi, 1981).
As a tribute to Ambedkar, Dhasal wanted to, not dream, but wake up and see no caste in the country. He went on to defy caste in the 10 volumes of poetry and three volumes of prose that was to pour out of him.
Even as the Dalit Panthers fragmented very quickly into distinct streams, the poet in him was in fervour. Dhasal was  prolific; recognition came in waves too. The Maharashtra government awarded Golpitha, and Dhasal’s acceptance of it did cause heartburn among the rest of the Panthers. There was even talk that he’d become part of the establishment (an allegation that never really went away, what with his column for Saa­mna). But that award got him noticed in the English media. On November 25, 1973, the Times of India’s weekly supplement introduced Dalit literature and Dhasal’s poetry to the reading public.
Meanwhile, Zelliot, who was editing the Journal of South Asian Literature, included his translations and an essay by Dilip Chitre in an issue (1982), Laurie Hovell published him in Translations (1986), and V.S. Naipaul wrote about him in his India: A Million Mutinies Now (1990). A Padma Shri also came calling in 1999. But the biggest award, to Dalit literature and to Dhasal, was the Sahitya Akademi Golden Jubilee Lifetime Achievement award in 2005. The late Dilip Chitre, his long-time friend and translator, published a collected works in 2007, Namdeo Dhasal: Poet of the Underworld, Poems 1972-2006. For Indian literature, Dhasal announced early on the beginning of the breaking of literary shackles and caste barriers. By the time he left us on the streets of Mumbai, he’d set the Dalits on the road to literary freedom, their wea­pon the choicest of words to flay an oppressive society with.

(The author is an IAS officer)
Click here to see the article in its standard web format