Caste system still operates among Dalits: Irfan Habib

Farooq Anwar

aligarh_panelEminent historian and president of Aligarh Muslim University historians society Irfan Habib said that under British rule, a dalit did not have right to consume water from water installations meant for the public.

He said that the caste system still operates among dalits by citing the examples of riots between Jatavs and Valmikis. He also focussed on the rise of BSP as a dalit power.

The Third Day of the Indian History Congress started with great enthusiasm among scholars, historians and young students coming from different parts of India and other countries.

Aligarh Historians Society on Tuesday, organised a panel discussion titled “Forms of Inequality In Indian History”.

Noted Historian and President of Aligarh Historian Society, Irfan Habib was the coordinator for the session, with noted historian Prof. J.V. Naik as the chairman.

The panel discussion started with panellists comprising of Yagati Chinna Roy, Prabhat Patnaik, and C.P. Chandrasekhar.

The first speaker for the sixth session was Yagati Chinna Roy. His paper was on “Caste and Class in colonial Andhra: Dalit mobilisation in the early twentieth century”.

He said that in pre-colonial traditional Indian society, politics as an avenue was barred to dalits but now were they considered worthy of being mobilized. The concept of politics itself was exclusively associated with the caste Hindus, in other words, politics was the domain of the rulers, Rajas, Zamindars and a small privileged section of people enjoying high socio-economic status.

An untouchable person was not only untouchable in social and religious matters but in politics too.

The second speaker was eminent Indian Marxist and political commentator, Prabhat Patnaik who talked on “Globalisation, inequality and economic crisis”.

He said that the current phase of globalised world is not different from what we have witnessed during the world wars and great depression.

This perception is wrong that globalization is homogeneous in nature. In this globalized world, capital is more mobile than labour.

He stressed that in India, fascism emerged from the Hindutva group.

He bravely pointed out that current globalization predicts towards inequality and has tendencies towards fascism. Patnaik further added that World Economic Forum held at Davos talked about rising inequality.

The third speaker was C.P. Chandrasekhar who spoke on “Foreign capital and India’s growth story after Liberalisation”.
He focussed on globalization and its consequences on growth and inequality.

He said that productivity increases but wages do not.

The chairman for the session, Prof. J.V. Naik concluded the session by saying how Gandhi ji believed in the concept of equality.

He raised a strong voice on politics without principles.