In a world that is a Russian doll of prisons, learn how to break out.
This pack includes:
While the caste system has been formally abolished under the Indian Constitution, according to official statistics every eighteen minutes a crime is committed on a dalit. The gouging out of eyes, the hacking off of limbs and being burned alive or stoned to death are routine in the atrocities perpetrated against India’s 170 million dalits. What drives people to commit such inhuman crimes?
The Persistence of Caste uses the shocking case of Khairlanji, the brutal murder of four members of a dalit family in 2006, to explode the myth that caste no longer matters. Analysing context and crime, it seeks to locate this event in the political economy of the development process India has followed after Independence. Teltumbde demonstrates how caste has shown amazing resilience—surviving feudalism, capitalist industrialisation and a republican Constitution—to still be alive and well today, despite all denial, under neoliberal globalisation.
Commanding in its scope, revelatory and unsparing in argument, Republic of Caste amounts to a new map of post-Independence India. Anand Teltumbde identifies the watershed moments of its journey: from the adoption of a flawed Constitution to the Green Revolution, the OBC upsurge and rise of regional parties, up to the nexus of neoliberalism and hindutva in the present day. As a politics of symbolism exploits the fissile nature of caste to devitalise India’s poorest, Teltumbde’s damning analysis shows progressive politics a way out of the present impasse.
With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Yvonne Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As she notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable. For generations of Americans, the abolition of slavery was sheerest illusion. Similarly, the entrenched system of racial segregation seemed to last forever, and generations lived in the midst of the practice, with few predicting its passage from custom. The brutal, exploitative (dare one say lucrative?) convict-lease system that succeeded formal slavery reaped millions to southern jurisdictions (and untold miseries for tens of thousands of men, and women). Few predicted its passing from the American penal landscape. Davis expertly argues how social movements transformed these social, political and cultural institutions, and made such practices untenable.
September 1970. Ramchandra Singh enters the Hardoi District Jail in Uttar Pradesh as a naxalite undertrial. Barely twenty, his life of expanding prospects—in studies, politics and love—is reduced to the horizon of a life term. The odds are stacked against the survival of his humanity and imagination, but Singh regenerates his gifts of empathy, humour, reflection and, above all, language—in a secret diary smuggled out with the help of friends.
A singular record of recent history and of individual witness, Singh’s prison diary, newly expanded, appears in English for the first time. Offering unprecedented intimacy with the everyday life of the imprisoned everyman, Singh challenges us to look without flinching and question our assumptions about crime and punishment.
‘Ramchandra Singh raises our spirits with the earthy fragrance of his ‘criminal’ life. His memoir, in fact, bears the fragrance of fire’—Varavara Rao, on 13 Years
‘Angela Davis swings a wrecking ball into the racist and sexist underpinnings of the American prison system’—Cynthia McKinney, on Are Prisons Obsolete?
‘Republic of Caste is a much-needed intervention in the politics of emancipation. It offers us a critique of the critique’—Gopal Guru, on Republic of Caste
‘Anand Teltumbde’s analysis of the public, ritualistic massacre of a dalit family in 21st century India exposes the gangrenous heart of our society’—Arundhati Roy, on The Persistence of Caste