In the present day and age, India has made great strides in the field of science, sports, and the arts. When we look around, there is no dearth of accomplishments in our country. However, a nation’s true marker of advancement is its collective thinking process. Thought precedes action. Only when our thoughts are emancipated, our actions can be wise. To change the thought process of a nation of 1.4 billion people is no small feat. It takes years and years of unconditioning, unlearning, and relearning. India is the only country where an archaic practice such as the caste system is still prevalent. Although we have come a long way from what the abhorrent caste system used to be even half a century back, we still have miles to go as a nation and cannot stop until we have eradicated the seed of caste hatred from the minds of all our citizens.
While the west continues to grapple with its inherent problem of racism, India’s casteism has had an adverse effect on the nation. It is more important than ever to talk about caste, especially since this is Dalit History Month. Inspired by Black History Month, followers of B.R. Ambedkar celebrate April as Dalit History Month, as a way of memorializing important people and events in the history of the Dalits or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Discussions, storytelling, special publications in media, and artworks protesting against caste atrocities are organized during this month.
Owing to the efforts of some of the greats of Indian history such as Jyotirao Phule, B.R. Ambedkar, Ayyathan Gopalan, and a few others, we have made progress on our way to becoming a caste-sensitized nation. However, almost every day you will read in the newspaper about instances of caste violence, often leading to murder or rape. Casteist slurs are still thrown around willy-nilly. Caste violence also exists in invisible forms that are ingrained in the power hierarchies of Indian society. It is found in social interactions, workplaces, educational institutions, and several other walks of life, where people are often judgemental enough to perceive someone based on their surname.
In the context of India’s ongoing fight against caste atrocities and to celebrate Dalit History Month, Mara Collective, in collaboration with Bangalore International Centre, has organized a stand-up comedy headlined by talented Indian comic Manjeet Sarkar. Comedy is not always meant solely for entertainment. For eons, humor has been used as a political tool. Sometimes political discussions or speeches can seem too didactic or dry for people but when presented with wit and humor, it can entertain people and simultaneously stimulate them into thinking consciously. That is the essence of good political comedy and something that Manjeet Sarkar will look to implement in his upcoming show.
Date: April 14, 2023 (Friday)
Time: 9:30 pm – 11 pm
Venue: Bangalore International Centre
Entry is free and only for folks above the age of 18.
The 14th of April is Ambedkar Jayanti — a beloved day celebrated in memory of the father of the Indian Constitution and the champion of the Dalit cause, B.R. Ambedkar. The great man was born on this day and some even refer to it as ‘Equality Day’.
Manjeet Sarkar is a stand-up comedian who has been performing for six years. Ambedkar Jayanti marks the launch of the second India tour of his show, which takes the audience on the journey of his upbringing, shares real-life experiences, and brings to light a series of observations about the contrasts between Indian rural life and metropolitan life. He is also writing a book on the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. Manjeet’s art has found itself featured in prestigious national and international news outlets, including Brut, The Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, The Print, and more.
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