What is power and powerlessness in Indian context?
Academics like Amartya Sen, who comes from the upper caste background in India, goes around the world and give lectures on incapacities, lack of freedom, and powerlessness and so on. For instance, Sen’s lecture in London: http://www.demos.co.uk/events/annual-lecture-2010-hd. They also see that they talk about gender discrimination in the West and racial discrimination – again in the West and apartheid South Africa. In this process they quote Western intellectuals and non-Indian subaltern intellectuals, such as Mary Wollstonecraft’s wrath and bitter irony about the subjugation of women and her cool reasoning against gender hierarchy in her 1792 classic, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ and Steve Biko‘s remarks on “powerlessness” in the apartheid-based South Africa in the 1970s.
But these Western-based Indian intellectuals seldom talk about casteism of the upper castes, gender as well as caste discrimination against the Dalit women. And I have hardly come across these academics quoting intellectuals and philosophers that come from the lower caste background, such as Mahatma Phule, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, and Manyavaar Kanshi Ram and others.
What is power and powerlessness in Indian context? – Being born into an upper caste community and the practice of upper casteness is power and born into a lower caste community and continuing to suffer under the thraldom of the upper castes is powerlessness. I also think that not talking about these ideas and practices of power and powerlessness in the India context is also a form of upper casteism. Challenge me if you differ with me Mr. Amartya Sen, the Nobel Laureate.