Since February 2008, Insight Foundation is organising a monthly meeting in Delhi under the banner of Insight Study Circle to encourage Dalit and Adivasi students to articulate on contemporary socio-economic and political issues and to interact with well-known academicians, professionals, activists from various Dalit and Adivasi organizations. We also document the entire discussion that take place in these circle meetings and publish it online for wider audience.
Past Insight Study Circle Meetings: Speakers and the topics covered
19 September 2010
“Educated Urban Dalit Women: Opportunities and Challenges for Employment and Entrepreneurship"
A Discussion based on the recent study undertaken by Center for Social Equity and Inclusion (CSEI), New Delhi.
Speakers : 1. Annie Namala 2. Satyendra Kumar
This study explores various opportunities and challenges that are present in the contemporary labour market before educated urban Dalit women, a class that is less in number but has considerable impact on the community.
The study has tried to look into the complex interplay of caste, class and patriarchy in Dalit women’s aspirations and their efforts and achievements in globalized India.
Apart from studying about enterprises run by Dalit women, the study has also tried to map the employment opportunities available in public, private and NGO sector. This study was undertaken in two cities Delhi and Hyderabad.
22 August 2010
“Opportunities for Dalit and Adivasi Students for Higher Education in World’s Premier Educational Institutions”
David Vumlallian Zou (from Manipur) teaches at History Department, Delhi University and did his doctorate from Queen’s University, Belfast with full scholarship from Academic Planning Grant (Northern Ireland).
Abhay Xaxa (from Chhattisgarh) is currently working with Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi and did his Masters in Social Anthropology from University of Sussex, UK (2008) as one of the recipient of International Ford Fellowship Programme.
Rama Devi (from Andhra Pradesh) completed her Post Graduation in Human Rights from University of London (2004) as one of the International Ford Fellow. She is currently based in Kolkata and is working with Catholic Relief Service.
Bhawani Buswala (from Rajasthan) is currently in the country for his field research. He is pursuing his PhD in Anthropology from Brown University, Rhodes Island, USA on full university scholarship.
24 July 2010
“Ways and strategies for proper implementation of SC/ST/OBC Reservation in Higher Education”
A public dialogue with a team of students and faculty members from Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Both Delhi University and JNU are the premier institutions of our country and recently have been in news for their obstinate and hostile attitude towards the implementation of SC/ST/OBC reservations both at the level of students’ admissions as well as on the recruitment for the teaching posts.
On 5th August Delhi University is going to convert about 6,000 undergraduate seats reserved for OBCs into general category seats as the university is unable to find suitable candidates among the class that constitutes about half of the Indian population !
Then in JNU, the proponent of brahminical hegemony have been dishing out arguments ranging from ‘SC/ST/OBC being genetically inferior’ to ‘Reservation in teaching posts will actually harm the disadvantage sections (read SC/ST/OBC) as it will result in exodus of well to do (read meritorious ‘upper’ castes) to foreign universities.
In this context, it is very necessary for all of us to sit together, discuss and strategise over ways in which we can counter the casteist tendencies of those who have the control over the educational institutions in our country and denying us our constitutional rights.
Above all the time has come for us to question the ‘merit’ of the system itself, under which about 80% of the Indian population is ‘non-meritorious’ enough to be denied admissions in simple BA and MA courses.
13 February 2010
“The caste of our class room: Democratizing Indian university system and Dalits in Academia"
Bodhi DSR Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai
P. Srinivas English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad
Kaushal Panwar Delhi University
Subhash Arya Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad
Moderated by Ranjit Thankappan from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi
Dalit faculties in Indian Universities and colleges is a growing tribe. Yet it is a new phenomenon in a system that thrives on exclusion and reflects monopolizing tendencies of couple of privileged caste groups in India.
How does the system respond towards the presence of Dalit faculties in the campuses? What are the experiences of these faculties as teachers and scholars, belonging to a particular identity?
Given the level of prejudice and discrimination against Dalit students too, particularly in higher education, the role of Dalit faculties assumes huge importance. In a space where the credentials of Dalit students and even their humanity are always called into question, the need of mentoring and affirmation from someone who has ‘crossed the barrier’ is crucial.