A group of Bahujans has come together to form a collective called Mavelinadu that aims to retell as well as de-Brahminise folktales and Hindu myths in order to reclaim Bahujan people’s and anti-caste movement’s history. Mavelinadu launched its website — https://mavelinaducollective.com — on Thursday, October 14, on the occasion of Dhammachakra Pravartan Din, the day when Dr BR Ambedkar converted to Buddhism in 1956 with thousands of his followers in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
The group’s name takes inspiration from the well-known myth of Maveli (famously known as Mahabali), the great leader who was a ruler of a casteless and egalitarian kingdom in ancient times. Mavelinadu too is working towards building a classless, casteless, and a genderfluid society.
One of the founders of Mavelinadu, Sanjana Ajith, told The Satyashodhak that the idea of Mavelinadu came with the realisation that “a lot of the works that the Bahujans creators are producing, is published by platforms that are run by upper-caste people and the editorial control rests with them and that creates a power dynamic where Bahujan works are published only when those pieces are desirable.”
“With Mavelinadu we wanted to bring back the editorial control in our hands and centre the history of the marginalised castes and gender minorities,” Sanjana added.
The initiative is currently led by a four-member team of Sanjana Ajith, Ajinkya Dekhane, Shrujana N Shridhar, and Hritik Lalan, who intend to bring the lived experiences and history of resistance of marginalised castes into the mainstream.
Mavelinadu will offer fellowships in six different categories, viz Research, Visual art, Poetry, Fiction (short stories), Illustrated fiction/non fiction, and Non-fiction essays. The research grant will carry an amount of ₹1,50,000 for a period of six months. The amounts for other grants range from ₹15,000 to ₹20,000 and the grants are for a shorter period.
The group will also launch a magazine called Debrahmanising Gender, the first issue of which will focus on the history of caste and gender and how they shape each other. “Debrahmanising Gender is an attempt to excavate our histories as well as write about our present, while maintaining ownership of our work. We are inspired by the sheer vastness of the subject, and of the possibilities of combining Ambedkarite, anti-caste thought with queer theory, gender abolition, transformative justice and the diverse politics of our bodies,” the website states.
The group has given a call for submissions to the magazine on its website.