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'Never Adjusted Your Stand': 9 Elgar Accused Congratulate Anand Teltumbde From Jail

Their co-accused who is out on bail, Teltumbde has been conferred the Basava National Award – Karnataka's highest honour.
Anand Teltumbde at the Basava civilian award ceremony in Bengaluru. Photo X

Those accused in the Elgar Parishad case – lawyers, activists and scholars – have been in jail with no sign of trial for years now. From the world over, criticism has been rife against state action targeting the 16. Although a few have been granted bail on medical and technical grounds, nine remain behind bars at Byculla and Taloja prisons in Maharashtra. The latter have written a congratulatory letter to co-accused Dr Anand Teltumbde, on his being given the Karnataka government’s highest award, the Basava Award. Teltumbde was granted bail in the case in November 2022.

The letter, which the prisoners released through their lawyers, is being produced below. It has been lightly edited for style.

Dear Anand,

We all felt overjoyed hearing about the conferment of Basava National Award of the Government of Karnataka on you on January 31, 2024. You have exposed the sanatan disease of caste system inflicting this country in the context of fast-changing reality before the people; showed them the practical roadmap of annihilation of the caste system. While the emancipation icon of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was getting deified and Brahminised, you have re-presented the comprehensive thought, practice and life struggle of Dr Ambedkar and pushed forward the wheel of democratic revolution of annihilating the caste system.

With this scarce and unique contribution of yours the movement of ending the caste-class-and gender slavery became profound in ideological terms and at the same time, it became more accurate, more precise and deeper at the plane of understanding and practice. 

Your analyses resolved not only the entanglements in individual contemplation but also the ideological contradictions in collectives. Those who honestly want to bring about fundamental change in the extant system have taken a serious note of your analyses. And those who wanted to run their businesses played games of besmirching your image with various stamps and labels.

Also read: Anand Teltumbde Explains the Genesis of His Articles on Bhima-Koregaon

The fascist regime has persistently tried to defame you calling you sometimes a Maoist and some other times ‘Mayawi Ambedkarwadi’ (Mayawi translates as ‘illusive’ but it is used in the sense ‘monstrous demon’ that deserves to be destroyed, as in the Hindu epics) and also incarcerated you with its oxymoron, “urban Naxal.”

However, your words and deeds never paid heed to such repressive assaults in your life. Your words could never be suppressed. On the contrary, they became increasingly sharper, resolute and fearless. These razor-sharp formulations, ironclad logic, profound analyses, accompanied by practical life-struggle have transformed you into a real public intellectual.

While the fascist regime in your own state has incarcerated you by labelling you “anti-national” and “a terrorist,” soon after your release on bail the government of Karnataka unanimously selected you for its highest national award, the ‘Basava Rashtriya Puraskar’, being conferred at the hand of its Chief Minister.

This incident can be seen as a small streak of light in the present era fraught with darkness. The award in the name of Basaveshawara, the humanist philosopher who had rejected the Brahminic system of caste-and gender slavery and propounded the value of compassion and fraternity in the 12th century, being given to you, the one who has been imprisoned for over two and half years under the charges of terrorism, in itself is an unprecedented incident.

The award is given to you as an ideal legatee of Basava, the prophet of daya (compassion), ahimsa (nonviolence) and samata (equality). It indicates that a small section of the ruling class is slowly emerging that wants to stand steadfastly against the Brahminic Hindutva fascism. The award function that took place in Bangalore leads us to such an optimistic inference. This function has awakened an expectation that the forces fighting against caste-class-gender slavery and fascism may turn into a deluge in not so distant future. Therefore, we feel great importance of your getting this award.

You have been honoured with several national and international awards so far in your life. We have seen people getting excessively overjoyed and strayed away from their ideological stand with awards or willingly adjusting their stance for seeking awards. However, you have never let your own existence whose roots have been well entrenched in the soil of struggle for the annihilation of the caste-class-gender slavery get shaken with awards or the latter going to your head.

You have never adjusted your ideological stand or the radical and revolutionary profundity of your analyses.

Therefore, we the prisoners accused in the Elgar Parishad case wish to send our revolutionary congratulations and good wishes to our own co-accused Dr Anand Teltumbde who has been unstintingly and persistently working inside as well as outside the prison on his getting the Basava National Award.   


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