Three books that lay bare the savarna discourse and its devious proclivities.
This package includes:
Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition by B.R. Ambedkar (MRP: Rs 499)
In 1936, a Hindu reformist group invited B.R. Ambedkar to deliver their presidential address and chart a path to end the caste system. When he argued that the immorality of caste was sustained by the Vedas and shastras, and without ‘dynamiting’ them there could be no reform, they withdrew their invitation. Ambedkar published the text on his own. Mahatma Gandhi responded to the provocation. The hatchet was never buried. This new annotated, critical edition features a comprehensive introduction by Arundhati Roy, who says ‘to ignore Gandhi while writing about Ambedkar is to do Ambedkar a disservice’. This edition generated inevitable questions regarding political representation, caste, privilege, and power in Indian society. Annihilation of Caste is a breach of peace.
This history like no other asks you to consider what you are laughing at. In 2012, the inclusion of a 1949 cartoon by Shankar showing Jawaharlal Nehru whipping a snail-borne B.R. Ambedkar in a school textbook, evoked dalit protest, and a savarna counter on the grounds of artistic freedom. Scholar and cartoonist Unnamati Syama Sundar then undertook an archival survey of cartoons on Ambedkar in the English language press. The result, a collection of over a hundred cartoons from India’s leading publications, drawn by Shankar, Enver Ahmed and R.K. Laxman, among others, lays bare the perverse and thoughtless hostility Ambedkar often contended with. The incisional commentary woven around each cartoon offers a veritable biography of a man historically wronged.
Premanand Gajvee writes with a fierce urge to expose unspoken histories and set right historical wrongs. His plays, never complex, have the unerring ability to unsettle and move the reader, and compel us to reckon with discomfiting realities. The three plays translated from Marathi in this collection—each representing a distinct style in Gajvee’s oeuvre—probe contentious questions of contemporary relevance, often evoking widespread debate. The one-act Ghotbhar Pani (A Sip of Water), performed over 3,000 times, fuses a folk idiom with absurdist, nameless characters; the Greek tragedy-like Kirwant explores the plight of a sub-caste of ‘untouchable’ brahmins who are despised for performing death rites; and Gandhi–Ambedkar stages the clash between two titans mediated by an irreverential, imaginary, interstitial clown.
‘A superb, high-grade critical edition’—Martha Nussbaum, on Annihilation of Caste
‘No Laughing Matter unveils the dirty savarna gaze and gives us much to learn’—Varun Grover, on No Laughing Matter
‘I consider Kirwant a play of great social relevance and one of the most significant plays I had the privilege of doing for Marathi theatre’—Shreeram Lagoo, on The Strength of our Wrists