In this interview, central secretariat member of the Dalit Human Rights Movement, Kerala, Seleena Prakkanam talks about struggles and leadership and caste issues.
The number of women entering higher education is
growing in Kerala. What were your experiences of
Do you think this affects their desire and ability to enter
You entered public life as a Kudumbashree leader. What
are your reflections on that experience?
Did you enter the Chengara land struggle out of disillusionment
with this sort of development work?
You were a very young woman when you entered public life
and became a leader. What were your experiences then?
Why were you attracted to the DHRM?
But won’t that lead to loss of reservations? Are you against
Tell us about your efforts in education.
What difference does DHRM make for women?
What is the DHRM’s understanding of the family?
Tell us more about this commune.
It has been observed that the DHRM does not return
v iolence in the same coin.
Lastly, about the controversy around upper-caste-born Jayan
Cherian’s award-winning movie Papilio Buddha. The DHRM
found itself dragged into the debate over the signifi cance
of upper-caste-born people’s presence in dalit struggles.
Yes, but we do not believe that liberation from caste will necessarily
come only from dalits. We do not feel that the movie was
anti-dalit or misrepresenting dalit reality. We are trying to
wreck caste, not reaffi rm it. Jayan Cherian is not dalit-born,
but can we deny him the potential to be human, the desire to
shed caste and become human? An identity politics rooted in
Buddhism cannot but give attention and support to serious
rebellion against caste, no matter who initiates it. And as long as sub-caste divisions continue among us, who can say that
someone being born dalit is all that one needs to engage in
meaningful anti-caste politics?
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