Space, conceptual and physical is a prerequisite for any community to thrive and flourish. The vacuum regarding anti-caste and minority discourse makes the world-renowned University of Delhi a monocultural space where the cultural signifiers of both the left and right stripes continue to occupy and hold as their own thereby pushing the alternatives to the extreme margins and often appropriating the available alternative spaces. Acutely aware of this, we feel there is an urgent need to fill this void. While it is encouraging to see discourses like Feminism and Gender Studies taking shape within the academic circle in Delhi, there is a stoic silence on the other issues related to the North-East, the Adivasis, the Dalits, the OBCS and Muslims. The non–existence of such vibrant discourses in the academic and political capital of India is rather surprising. Therefore, we would like to put forward this group, AMBEDKAR READING GROUP: A Dalit Adivasi Bahujan Minorities Collective, Delhi University, which will give the much-needed space to dialogue, debate and act for the discarded issues of the Dalits, Adivasis, Bahujans, Muslims and others. Here, our main attempt would be to rethink given epistemologies through marginalized knowledge systems. For this we would focus on existing anti-caste discourses, dalit theorization, bahujan authors, and the vast alternate epistemes produced from within Muslim, other minority and marginalized life-worlds. We would also attempt to rethink mainstream categories of gender through the writings from within these groups. For this, first of all, we would set up a fortnightly reading group. Reading material for the group, will be deposited in advance at CRYSTAL photocopy shop and Delhi School of Economics photocopy shop and fortnightly discussions will be conducted in different colleges and spaces in the university. Similarly, we will conduct frequent talks and debates about these issues so as to initiate new conversations within the university. For this, we would invite scholars from marginalised groups and also conduct discussions and brief seminars on their books and theories. The end product of the group will not be mere scholastic brainstorming but to shape itself into a discourse that acts as a voice of and space for the underprivileged.
(AMBEDKAR READING GROUP: A Dalit Adivasi Bahujan Minorities Collective, Delhi University)
(ARGDU WAS FOUNDED IN SEPTEMBER 2014)