A short response to Nivedita Menon’s blog on Raya Sarkar’s List

This is my shortest blog post ever. It is also very late. The reason why I am posting it is because my comment on the Kafila blog (of which renown Savarna feminist Professor Nivedita Menon is a member and co-Founder) is waiting for moderation – and I have doubts on whether it will be posted – owing to the obvious Savarna bias of Kafila. The issue is about the List by Dalit lawyer and feminist Raya Sarkar – containing the names of 72 academics (mainly upper caste Bengali men) accused of sexual harassment https://www.facebook.com/RxyaSxrkar/posts/1686281001419245 . This is the blog by Nivedita as a response to the List https://kafila.online/2017/10/28/from-feminazi-to-savarna-rape-apologist-in-24-hours/#comment-271691 .

Here is the full content of my post as a comment below the long blog post of Nivedita:

Hi, I am from a conservative Brahmin family. But I have read Babasaheb Ambedkar. I have also seen the Dalit Bahujan perspective in many articles in Round Table India, Velivada etc. I have realized that caste and gender are inseparable in India. Coming to the specific issue of the List, I have questions for Nivedita:
1) Did you take the pains to engage with Raya Sarkar on her List – which was compiled through the painstaking way in which she obtained the testimonies of the victims of sexual harassment?
2) As others have asked, were you aware of Raya Sarkar’s caste location as a Dalit?
3) Are you aware of your own privilege as a member of the Nair community, in respect to the status of the oppressed Dalit Bahujan communities?
4) Kavita Krishnan (whom you support) displays her hypocrisy in naming and shaming Hindutva trolls but is against naming of the professors and students in this list!! Why should these people in the List not be named? Is it because they are all upper caste?
5) You conveniently deflect the attention from caste and instead make it a “Left vs Right” issue. Have you not considered the oppression that Dalit Bahujans face from the Right wing, just like with your Left-Liberal savarna gang? Rohith Vemula’s institutional murder by the ABVP for instance? They are fighting against Brahmanism – which is responsible for the patriarchy in India. It is not just Hindutva forces but Brahmanism (from both Left and Right wing) which is the root of all evil
6) Why the fact that some people in the List are non-Hindu – does not mean they are upper caste? Caste exists in Islam and Christianity too (though it is not as bad as in Hinduism). The Syeds/Ashrafs, the Syrian Christians and many Catholics are mostly Brahmin converts. They continue to follow the vile practices of Brahmanism even after conversion!
7) How do you assume that DBA feminists have “always” trusted the Savarna feminists like yourself – such that Raya has “destroyed” the trust in the feminist system? Have Savarna feminists seriously considered the issues that Dalit Bahujans face? Do they know that Feminism in India was launched by none other than Savitribai Phule? Do they recognize the women’s rights struggle of leaders like Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Jyotibai Phule, Mahatma Ayyankali, Thanthai Periyar, Behen Mayawati etc.?

Prof. Nivedita, I finally hope that you will at first – allow this comment of mine to be posted. Secondly, I hope you will take your time to answer these questions. Or will you just say I am “mansplaining” ? Or worse, will you label me as a “Hindutva apologist” ? I leave the stage to you.

5 thoughts on “A short response to Nivedita Menon’s blog on Raya Sarkar’s List

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