Dalit History Month Berlin

Dalit History Month Berlin

The system of “caste” is based on the premise of structural social inequality.Dalit History Month is a participatory radical history project dedicated to sharing the contributions and resistance of Dalits everywhere

Project Hearland
Courtesy Project Heartland

23 April 2018, 6 pm

Film Screening: Project Heartland

Project heartland captures the struggles of people from marginalized communities, mainly Dalits, in Gujarat, India. It shows the courage and determination of Dalit women and men to assert their rights against all odds. By capturing these stories of struggle, Project Heartland wants these brave people to be known, recognized and seen as inspiration to others.

Directed by: Pratik Parmar
Produced by: Ahmedabad Talkies

Thenmozhi Sounderarajan
Thenmozhi Sounderarajan

23 April 2018, 7 pm

Thenmozhi Sounderarajan

Dalit History and Futurism

Talk by Thenmozhi Sounderarajan on “Dalit History and Dalit Futurism: The power of a visionary history”

In a time of growing religious violence toward Dalits and other marginalized communities in South Asia, Dalit American artist, scholar, technologist and activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan hopes to introduce Dalit History as an antidote. Her talk will both introduce the complex situation facing religious and cultural minorities under the ruling Hindu fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata, Part (BJP) and also share key moments from Dalit History that show the transformative possibility that the legacy of Dalit resilience possesses not just for Dalits but for all of India.

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a filmmaker, singer, and grassroots media organizer. As a second generation Tamil Untouchable Dalit woman, she strives to connect grassroots organizers with media resources that can widen their base of resistance. She is the Executive Director of Third World Majority, a women of color Media/Tech Justice training and organizing institution based in Oakland.

Follow her work at twitter @dalitdiva and at equalitylabs.org

India Untouched
India Untouched

9 May 2018, 5 pm

Film Screening

India Untouched – Stories of a People Apart

Director Stalin K. spent four years traveling the length and breadth of the country to expose the continued oppression of "Dalits", the "broken people" who suffer under a 4000-year-old religious system. The film introduces leading Benares scholars who interpret Hindu scriptures to mean that Dalits "have no right" to education, and Rajput farmers who proudly proclaim that no Dalit may sit in their presence, and that the police must seek their permission before pursuing cases of atrocities. The viewer hears that Untouchability is an urban phenomenon as well, inflicted upon a leading medical surgeon and in such hallowed institutions as JNU, where a Brahmin boy builds a partition so as not to look upon his Dalit roommate in the early morning. But the film highlights signs of hope, too: the powerful tradition of Dalit drumming is used to call people to the struggle, and a young Dalit girl holds her head high after pulling water from her village well for the first time in her life. Spanning eight states and four religions, this film will make it impossible for anyone to deny that Untouchability continues to be practiced in India.

Director: Stalin K.
Producer: DRISHTI - Media, Arts and Human Rights

Dr. Gajendran Ayyathurai
Dr. Gajendran Ayyathurai

9 May 2018, 6 pm

Dr. Gajendran Ayyathurai

Towards Critical Caste Studies

Extant humanities and social science studies reveal complex modern and postmodern literary, anthropological, and historical methods to understand Indian literature, culture, religions, regions, and vernacular communities. However, they are largely infused with and inflected by manifest and latent aspects of caste. This explains why there is a wide range of studies which contradictorily pay obeisance to the privileged caste perspective, on the one hand, even as they show sympathies towards the marginalized people’s perspective, on the other. This presentation, therefore, will engage in an examination of the state of the art of caste-based studies on India, and analyze the possibilities offered by the emerging interdisciplinary subfield: Critical Caste Studies.

Dr. Gajendran Ayyathurai teaches and researches at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) at the University of Göttingen. He is working on 'Deep Resistance is on the history of Tamil Buddhism in South India' as his current book project. His article entitled 'The Emergence of Critical Caste Feminism among the Tamil Buddhists in Modern India' is under review.

9 May 2018, 7 pm


Rasika Ajotikar - Revolutionary Cultural Performance Tradition

After the talk, there will be a short video presentation and a musical performance of songs from a long-standing anti-caste movement and 'revolutionary cultural performance tradition' as a mean to create awareness against ills of the caste-ridden society, from Western Maharashtra. The presentation will introduce the journey and struggles of Dalit artists such as Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali, members of the Kabir Kala Manch - a revolutionary cultural group from Maharashtra, who are fighting Brahminical hegemony and state oppression through their music, despite threats and imprisonment under false charges by the state.

Rasika Ajotikar who is an ethnomusicologist, singer and doctoral researcher at the SOAS, University of London, draws her research findings from her interactions/observations and ethnographic account with Kabir Kala Manch, especially Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali’s poetry and performance. Performance that has a long-standing movement history and is used as a medium to raise awareness among the oppressed caste communities in India. Inspired by this revolutionary medium she is co-producing new knowledge together with Kabir Kala Manch members. As they cannot be present here due to the state restrictions and resource constraints to present their own ideology, Rasika will be representing them and with their expressed permission and will be performing some of their songs at the end of the presentation. She is presently working as a research fellow in the Musicology department at University of Göttingen.

Courtesy Neha Gajbhiye

18 May 2018, 5.45 pm

Film Screening: Ambedkar in Hungary

Like India’s Dalits, the Roma minority experiences endemic and ingrained discrimination. The Dr. Ambdekar School in Hungary is a base of resistance. Here, Roma students turn to Ambedkar and Buddhism in their quest for dignity and equality. The film takes the audience on a journey to Sajókaza and Budapest, to find out how Dalits and Romas connect.

Directed by: Neha Gajbhiye

The screening is followed by a Discussion with Dr. Santosh Raut (Dept. of Aesthetics and Philosophy, EFLU Hyderabad), who supported and participated in the film "Ambedkar in Hungary"

Education and Political Mobilisation in Colonia India
Sumeet Mhaskar, Jana Tschurenev

18 May 2018, 7 pm

Talk: Education and Political Mobilisation in Colonial India

Talk by Jana Tschurenev and Sumeet Mhaskar on the topic "Education and Political Mobilisation in Colonia India: The Anti-Caste Movement in 19th Century Bombay Presidency" followed by an open discussion.

Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar is an Associate Professor at the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O. P. Jindal Global University, and Junior Research Partner with the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Sumeet has previously held post-doctoral and visiting scholar positions with Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Max Weber Foundation and Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) at the University of Göttingen, Center for South Asia at Stanford University, International Centre for Development and Decent Work at Kassel University. Sumeet holds a doctorate in Sociology from St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, and M.A and M. Phil degrees in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. His research interests include labour and informal economy, joblessness, rural urban migration, discrimination and exclusion at workplaces and urban transformations.