15, Jun 2023
What makes our constitution egalitarian? Are the notions of equality, brotherhood and justice derived from Western cultures, like fundamentalists believe them to be, or have they always been present in our culture for centuries and preached through verses, poems and works of countless social reformers?
For centuries, India has witnessed countless social reform traditions that sparked when powerful voices came together in the form of poetry, writings, mystic and spiritual questioning and tried to build a world towards equality.
CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad scrolls through some of these works and explains some very powerful texts penned by the poet saints of the 12th century in the form of Vachana Sahitya, later edited and published by the late M.M. Kalburgi; She goes on to read from the Bijak of Kabir written in the 17th century, poems and songs of women poets of the Bhakti Tradition like Sant Soyarabai – the Dalit saint who sang against Brahmanical patriarchy and the renowned Dalit poet Janabai – Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar famously dedicated his seminal work ‘The untouchables’ to these legendary social reformers; Writings and texts of Dalit writer and activist Shantabai Kamble, historical stories of eminent figures like Chatrapati Shahu and many more, to expound a powerful argument that seeks to look back at our traditions and history to understand social reform and counter the idea of far-right supremacists.
Bhola Man Janey I Shruthi Veena Vishwanath