The caste-neutral whip and other jokes

He draws a mob as big as India, adds a panch-enforcer with a whip, points to the accused, and renders mob justice.

Indian children understand mob justice quite well. They see it on the street, on television, in newspapers; its appearance now in text books, thanks to this cartoon, will take the process of normalizing it a little further. Think of thieves being beaten up. Thieves being tied and beaten up. Many of them minors. 'Bad' women being beaten up. Women practising 'witchcraft' being beaten up. Dalit women being beaten up. The children also see, hear and read about khaps.

[Interspersed through this article are pictures of actual public scenes involving mobs inflicting violence on individuals. Hope they arouse some critical thinking] 

 Why did a substantial section of the brahminzed classes not see it that way? They didn't/don't see even Hazare, another whip wielder, that way. The Indian public sphere is still very unproblematic.

Some say Nehru was whipping the snail, not Dr Ambedkar. So what was Dr Ambedkar doing in the picture? Like the Indian mob usually does, Shankar wanted an identifiable two legged villain.

The joke is that the cartoon renders the whole purpose of the constitution making process meaningless: wasn't the constitution meant to do away with mob justice and other such undemocratic practices? What is the lesson the kids get out of it? Democracy? That is the joke.

please read the rest of my article on the ambedkar cartoon issue on round table india here. please also read the other, very interesting articles on the issue, while you're there:  

'The cartoon controversy: Inside the mind of one 'fanatic' Dalit - I' by Anoop Kumar,

'Whipping up 'critical pedagogy': Uncritical defense of NCERT's violence' by Savari,

'The Cartoon, the Classroom and the Idea of India' by N. Sukumar


Kiran said...

It is a very bad choice of a cartoon. Whether the acamedicians picked it up due to their own prejudices or a mis guided attempt to promote "critical thinking" is up for debate. Personally I think they can be given a benefit of doubt but the cartoon needs to go from the text books

kuffir said...

yes, i think so too.

Anonymous said...

This should make Kufr bhai happy


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