Check out how Binta Garba represented two state in national assembly.

It is very rare to see politicians who have held political offices in two different states in the federal republic of Nigeria but one of the few politicians with that rare opportunity is Binta Masi Garba from Adamawa State.

Binta Masi Garba popularly known as ‘Iron Lady’ is one of the most respected and revered politicians in the Northern region of Nigeria.

The Kaduna-born Nigerian Politician happens to be the first politician to be elected into the House of Representatives from two different federal constituencies. Also, the versatile politician is the first female State Chairman of a registered political party in Nigeria.

In 1999, Mrs. Binta Garba was first elected as a member of the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly representing Kaduna South Federal Constituency. She was also reelected into the same office in the 2003 National Assembly elections.

Due to her quality representation in the House of Representatives, Adamawa state Governor, Haruna Boni entreated her to come back to her State of Origin, Adamawa State, and she obliged the request after making consultations.

Binta Garba later contested and won the Madagali/Michika Federal Constituency of Adamawa State and was sworn in for the third consecutive time in the House of Representatives in 2007.

On 28 May 2015, she won the Senate seat of Adamawa North Senatorial District.

Gas explosion kills 3 in Mushin area of Lagos State.

A massive gas explosion rocked the Mushin area of Lagos on Tuesday.

The incident occurred in the morning at Ojekunle Street in the ever-busy Ladipo community.

The incident occurred in the morning at Ojekunle Street in the ever-busy Ladipo community.

Three people, all male, are dead. Many cars and properties were destroyed.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has commenced a search and rescue operation.

Other emergency responders, agencies and the police are at the scene.

Buhari flies back to Nigeria after NUPENG threaten nationwide strike.

Buhari Returns After Two-Week Foreign Trips

https://dailytrust.com/_next/image?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcms.dailytrust.com.ng%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2021%2F11%2FBuhari-returns-to-Nigeria.jpg&w=1200&q=75

President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Abuja after spending 16 days to attend three major international events in Scotland, France, and South Africa.

The President arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, around 4:45pm, after attending the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair 2021in Durban, South Africa.

He departed Nigeria for Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday, October 31, 2021, to participate in the 26th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

President Buhari left Glasgow to equally participate in the Paris Peace Forum (PPF) in France.
Source – Daily Trust

NUPENG Threatens Nationwide Strike
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The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) has issued a two-week strike notice to the federal government, raising the possibility of fuel scarcity across the country in the coming weeks.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed by NUPENG president, Williams Akhoreha, and general secretary, Olawale Afolabi, on Monday.

The union said the notice of strike was one of the decisions reached at its special national delegates conference on Thursday.

It listed non-payment of workers’ salaries and benefits, among others, as reasons for its resolution.

One of the issues, NUPENG said, was the outstanding payment of terminal benefits to its members that were declared redundant in 2012 by the management of Chevron Nigeria limited

The union accused the management of Chevron of terminating the employment of contract workers because the employees joined the union, despite that the workers had put in between 10 to 20 years. It said the workers were terminated without payment of benefits.

The statement read in part “We write to convey to the general public and all relevant government agencies the resolution of the special national delegates conference to issue a 14-day notice of a nationwide industrial action if some legitimate welfare and membership related issues that have been variously resolved in our favour even by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment are not adequately and conclusively addressed and resolved within the next 14 days. This ultimatum takes effect from Monday, November 15, 2021″.

“There is also the matter concerning PYRAMIDT workers, who for more than 20 years now are being moved from one labour contractor to another without conditions of service and union representation and recognition,” it said.

The union said contract workers working in oil mining licence (OML) 42 of the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), an upstream subsidiary company of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), were being continuously owed salaries and allowances for upwards of eight to 10 months.

BREAKING: Orji Uzor Kalu’s 2023 Posters flood South-East [PHOTOS]

The posters sponsored by the group were pasted in Strategic places in Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Owerri, and Abakaliki. Its National President, Alhaji Mohammed Umaru, who earlier made the appeal at a news briefing in Umuahia, described the Igbo people as “accommodating”.

Umaru harped on the unity of the country and stated that it was important to support the Igbo people actualise their presidential ambition come 2023.

According to him, the group is a non-political organisation, made up of members from all the northern states living in the South-East geo-political zone.

“The North, West, and South-South have all ruled the nation as executive president.“This is the time we should give our consent for an Igbo executive president.”

“Our people should give the benefit of the doubt to lead the country in the next political dispensation and if they perform well we can allow them a second chance.”

Governor of Lagos State, Sanwo-Olu inaugurates visitation panel on LASU.

Lagos State Governor flanked by LASU visitation panel

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu (middle) flanked by Chairman, Lagos State University (LASU) Full Visitation Panel, Prof. Abdulrahmon Bello (right); his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat (left) and others during a group photograph with newly sworn-in Chairman and members of the Lagos State University (LASU) Full Visitation Panel and State officials at Lagos House, Marina, on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has inaugurated a 10-man full Visitation Panel to identify and proffer solutions to challenges in Lagos State University, Ojo.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony, held at the Lagos House, Marina on Tuesday, Sanwo-Olu said the constitution of the panel further demonstrated the government’s commitment to making LASU among the best universities in the world.

He said that the government wanted LASU to be the best in terms of quality research, pedagogical and administrative excellence, as well as industrial harmony.

The governor said the setting-up of the full visitation panel was based on the recommendation of the Prof Bamitale Omole-led LASU Vice-Chancellorship Special Visitation Panel, constituted to resolve issues trailing the appointment of the university’s ninth Vice-Chancellor.

“The special visitation panel recommended the immediate inauguration of a Full Visitation Panel to holistically assess LASU’s administrative process, academic programmes and finances.

“The special visitation panel recommended the inauguration of a Full Visitation Panel to holistically assess LASU’s projects, staff welfare, industrial harmony, progress and challenges, in order to ascertain if the university is being run in accordance with relevant Laws and the objectives/vision of its founding fathers,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu expressed confidence that the panel would justify the trust reposed in them as seasoned professionals, with experience in the education sector and impressive track records of excellence.

Sanwo-Olu urged them to be objective and meticulous in executing this critical assignment.

He said that terms of reference of the LASU Full Visitation Panel included an inquiry into the level of implementation of the White Paper on the last Visitation Panel Report of 2009.

According to him, the panel is to evaluate the quality of leadership in the university, in terms of roles of the Governing Councils, the Vice-Chancellors and other principal officers since the last visitation panel.

“Examine the financial management of the university, including statutory allocations and internally generated revenue over the recommended period and determine whether it was in compliance with appropriate regulations, statutes, acts and laws of the university;

“To investigate the application of funds, particularly special grants and subventions for accreditation exercises, TETFUND and loans meant for specific projects, in order to determine the status of such projects and their relevance for further funding

To determine the adequacy or otherwise of staff and examine the quality of its staff development programmes in the context of emerging changes and development in the global arena.

“Examine compliance with the law and extant regulations of the university in terms of promotion, welfare, and disciplinary procedures/measures for both staff and students.

Determine the relationship between the university and the various statutory bodies it interacts with, according to its law, for the purpose of supervision, planning, finance, discipline, guidance and any other relationships with the Governing Council, the National Universities Commission, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, the Office of the Special Adviser on Tertiary Education as well as the Visitor to the University,” he said.

Members of the panel are Prof. Abdulrahmon Bello – Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (Chairman); Prof. Dipo Kolawole – Former Vice-Chancellor, Ekiti State University (Member); Prof. Ebun Adejuyigbe – Professor of Medicine (Member);

Also, Prof. Joseph Ajienka – Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt. (Member); Mr Ayo Ogunruku – Former Registrar, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (Member), Mr Lawal Pedro SAN – Former Solicitor General, Lagos State (Member); and Mr Ibrahim Olaniyi Aponmade- Former Bursar, University of Ibadan (Member).

Others are Mr Wale Ayodeji – Former Director of Works & Physical Planning OAU; Mr Paul Kalejaiye; and Mrs Yemisi Omoloye – Director, (Investigation), Inspection and Monitoring Department, Office of the Special Adviser on Education (Secretary to the Panel).

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, said the raising of the full Visitation Panel was the last leg of the Omole-led team recommendations being implemented by the governor.

Wahab said that a thorough assessment would help put all challenges facing the school in the last 12 years to rest.

In his vote of assurance, Bello assured the governor that the members of the panel would perform their assignment diligently. He assured that the university would come out healthier after the work of the panel.

Will Jandor and other Lagos APC accept the olive extended branch by Tinubu faction.

Cornelius Ojelabi. Credit: The Nation.

It appears the disunity in the Lagos chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) may soon be a thing of the past as the newly elected party chairman in the state, Cornelius Ojelabi, said the Lagos APC needs to reunite all aggrieved members and become one big family ahead of the general elections in 2023.

According to the Nation, Mr Ojelabi made this disclosure when he was received by a group known as the Grassroots Network for Asiwaju Tinubu (GNAT), who organised a reception for him and other newly elected party officers. Mr Ojelabi is the chairman of the APC faction loyal to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of the APC.

Olajide Adediran aka Jandor. Credit: Premium Times.

His olive branch to aggrieved members in the Lagos APC is coming after a faction, the Lagos4Lagos movement, led by Dr Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran aka Jandor, met with some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegation who tried to persuade his group to join the PDP. Apart from the Lagos4Lagos movement, there is another faction of the party loyal to Akinwunmi Ambode, a former Governor in the state.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Credit: Punch.

But will Jandor and the Ambode faction accept Ojelabi’s olive branch and reunite with the faction loyal to Tinubu?

It depends. If the main issue that caused their grievances is addressed, then they will reunite and become one big family. Recall that one of the main reasons for their displeasure in the party is Tinubu’s alleged imposition and non inclusion in the affairs of the party.

But from the look of things, Tinubu doesn’t seem to be too concerned about the factions in the Lagos APC, probably because he thought they will not pose a serious threat to his dominance in the state come 2023.

Allied Democratic Forces: The Ugandan rebels working with IS in DR Congo

ADF/IS attacks around Beni have become more frequent since March 2020

The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has long been a cradle of rebel activity, often the spill-over of conflict in neighbouring Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

Among the most notorious groups now operating there is Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The Islamist militant outfit was formed in the 1990s and primarily concerned itself with domestic grievances within Uganda.

GETTY IMAGESImage caption,ADF/IS attacks around Beni have become more frequent since March 2020The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has long been a cradle of rebel activity, often the spill-over of conflict in neighbouring Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.Among the most notorious groups now operating there is Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).The Islamist militant outfit was formed in the 1990s and primarily concerned itself with domestic grievances within Uganda.But after re-emerging in DR Congo, its activity has taken on a more global jihadist dimension, with attacks increasingly being claimed in the name of the Islamic State (IS) group.

The ADF was created in northern Uganda by former military officers loyal to former strongman Idi Amin.

It took up arms against Uganda’s long-serving President, Yoweri Museveni, alleging government persecution of Muslims.

IS video of militants in the aftermath of an attack on a village in Ituri province
Image caption,IS video of militants in the aftermath of an attack on a village in Ituri province

After its defeat by the Ugandan army in 2001, it relocated to North Kivu province in the DR Congo.

Following a period of low-level activity, the ADF re-emerged in 2014 with a series of attacks on Congolese civilians.

Musa Seka Baluku became leader in 2015 following the arrest of his predecessor Jamil Mukulu.

Baluku reportedly first pledged allegiance to IS in 2016.

But it was not until April 2019 that IS first acknowledged its activity in the area, when it claimed an attack on army positions near the border with Uganda.

This statement marked the announcement of IS’s “Central Africa Province” (Iscap), which would later include Mozambique.

While there are indications that IS has co-opted the ADF, IS has never publicly mentioned it by name in its propaganda.

In September 2020, Baluku claimed that the ADF had “ceased to exist”.

“At present, we are a province, the Central African Province, which is one of many provinces that make up the Islamic State,” he said.

Local media still attribute attacks to the ADF.

What is the situation in DR Congo?

According to the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, the ADF has killed about 200 civilians and displaced nearly 40,000 others in Beni since January 2021. The rebel group also targets government and UN troops.

Since the emergence of IS in DR Congo, the frequency of attacks has increased.

Iscap’s attacks take place in ADF territory, centring on North Kivu’s Beni territory, with occasional forays into neighbouring Ituri Province.

Map
Image caption,ADF activity mainly centres on Beni in Nord Kivu

The vast majority of these are on military targets, but the deadliest attacks are on Christian civilians.

Iscap’s most significant attack so far appears to have been the October 2020 jail break in Beni that led to the escape of over 1,000 prisoners.

Fears of religious conflict

The conflict in eastern DR Congo has often touched off ethnic tensions, but the involvement of IS risks adding a sectarian dynamic.

DR Congo is predominantly Roman Catholic, and the church is a key player in the country. Muslims comprise about 10% of the population.

The Muslim community in Beni has become increasingly vocal against the rebel group, but this comes at a cost.

In May, two prominent clerics known to be critical of the ADF were shot dead in Beni.

The rebel group has also been linked to attacks against Catholics. In October 2012, it abducted three Catholic priests from

a convent in the Mbau locality. Their whereabouts remain unknown.

In its propaganda, IS has frequently singled out Christians and taunted the DR Congo government over its “failure” to protect them from its attacks.

Such provocation is characteristic of IS, which often seeks to exacerbate local tensions to bolster its credentials as a defender of ordinary Muslims against “oppression”.

IS propaganda

The ADF does not appear to run its own media outlets or to independently claim responsibility for attacks.

But IS has a sophisticated and centralised online media operation at its disposal, bolstered by a host of supportive outlets operating on various messaging platforms.

ISCAP propaganda has included images of children
Image caption,Iscap propaganda has included images of children

The bulk of Iscap propaganda consists of written claims of attacks, and photos of their aftermath.

In March, as a show of force, Iscap released images purporting to show its militants roaming the streets of a village in Ituri province following an attack on the army. But such images are rare and suggest that IS has yet to become a significant force in DR Congo.

In October 2020, IS’s flagship newspaper al-Naba released a special infographic flaunting Iscap operations over a period of 12 months, highlighting attacks in both DR Congo and Mozambique.

Regional jihadist expansion

Rebel violence in eastern DR Congo has largely been sustained by a lack of strong government institutions and mistrust in military intervention.

These are ideal conditions in which IS can expand, as evidenced by its surge across Iraq and Syria in 2014, and more recently in West Africa, where it has spread beyond north-east Nigeria into the Sahel region.

Similarly, IS expansion is often driven by alliances or the co-opting of established local groups with a shared ideology, as appears to have happened with the ADF.

Iscap is likely to exploit the increased violence to expand activity in neighbouring countries.

Indeed this is already in evidence, with increased attacks in Mozambique and the first Iscap-claimed attack in Tanzania in October last year, which reportedly left 20 soldiers dead.

This expansion, along with the one witnessed in West Africa, is part of a general tilt towards Africa following IS’s recent setbacks in its traditional Middle Eastern heartlands.

Cameroon, Tunisia, Algeria, Nigeria all progress to the African World Cup play-offs

Cameroon and Lyon's Karl Toko Ekambi
Lyon’s Karl Toko Ekambi scored the goal that took Cameroon to the World Cup play-offs

Cameroon, Tunisia, Algeria and Nigeria clinched the final places in the African play-offs for the 2022 World Cup.

Cameroon edged past Ivory Coast 1-0 in the match-of-the-day while Tunisia eased to a 3-1 win over Zambia as they winners sealed top spots in their respective groups.

Earlier on Tuesday Algeria and Nigeria were both held to draws by their closest rivals but still progressed to next year’s final qualifiers.

Algeria twice led against Burkina Faso but drew 2-2, while the Super Eagles won Group C despite being held 1-1 by Cape Verde in Lagos.

Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Morocco and Senegal had already reached the play-offs, which will take place next March and decide the continent’s five representatives in Qatar.

Living up to the hype

The much anticipated Group D clash between Cameroon and visiting Ivory Coast did not disappoint in what was one of the best games of the African qualifiers.

The hosts took the lead in the 22nd minute through Lyon’s Karl Toko Ekambi as his shot looked to take a slight deflection past Sylvain Gbohouo in the Ivorian goal.

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana proved his value to the Indomitable Lions in just his second game since coming back from a drugs ban by pulling of some good saves.

His Ajax club-mate Sebastien Haller did manage to beat Onana only for the ball to hit the bar as the Cameroon held on for the win and stayed on track to play at their eighth World Cup finals.

In the other match in the group a second-half own goal from Malawi captain Limbikani Mzava gave Mozambique their first win of the campaign.

The results means Cameroon win the group with 15 points, just two ahead of Ivory Coast as Mozambique finished third on four points, one more than the Flames.

Tunisia ease to victory

Tunisia and Al Ahly's Ali Maaloul
Al Ahly’s Ali Maaloul scored Tunisia’s third goal in a 3-1 win over Zambia

In Group B Tunisia secured a 3-1 win at home over Zambia which was enough for them to progress to the play-offs.

Aissa Laidouni, who plays in Hungary, opened the scoring after 18 minutes. That lead should have been extended soon after but Whabi Khazri had a penalty saved, after he had been fouled in the area.

Nottingham Forest’s Mohamed Drager did double the lead in the 31st minute and Ali Maaloul added a third before the break.

With 10 minutes left to play Rangers striker Fashion Sakala, who scored a hat-trick against Mauritania on Saturday, pulled one back for Zambia as he followed up on his own penalty.

In the other game in the pool Equatorial Guinea had needed win coupled with a loss for Tunisia to have any chance of making the play-offs, in the end they could only manage a 1-1 draw in Mauritania.

Greece-based captain Aboubakar Kamara gave Mauritania the lead midway through the first half before Saul Coco, who plays for Las Palmas in Spain, equalised on the hour mark.

The results see Tunisia top the group with 13 points, two ahead of Equatorial Guinea in second, with Zambia in third on seven and Mauritania bottom.

Relief for Algeria and Nigeria

Riyad Mahrez in action for Algeria
Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez netted for Algeria in their 2-2 draw against Burkina Faso

Continental champions Algeria were pushed all the way by Burkina Faso, who needed victory in Blida to keep their hopes of a first-ever World Cup appearance alive.

Algeria took the lead midway through the first half when Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez converted a cutback from Youcef Belaili, but the Stallions equalised eight

minutes before the break through Zakaria Sanogo, who chipped the ball over Rais M’Bolhi.

Half-time substitute Sofiane Feghouli restored the Desert Foxes’ lead, converting another pull-back by Belaili in the 68th minute, but the Burkinabe got a second equaliser through Issoufou Dayo’s penalty with six minutes left to set up a nervous finale to the Group A clash.

However, Djamel Belmadi’s men held on to extend their unbeaten run to 33 matches – four short of Italy’s world record of 37 set earlier this year.

Similarly, Nigeria had a two-point lead over Cape Verde going into their showdown but Gernot Rohr’s side scraped into the play-off stage.

The Super Eagles made the perfect start as in-form Napoli striker Victor Osimhen controlled a cross from Moses Simon and slotted home in the opening minute, but the islanders hit back four minutes later when defender Stopira headed in a corner kick.

Cape Verde keeper Vozinha made several saves in the first half to deny the hosts and the Blue Sharks almost pulled off an upset – with Nigeria defender Chidozie Awaziem making a crucial late block.

In the other match in Group C, Liberia beat Central African Republic 3-1.

Marcus Macauley and Peter Wilson gave Liberia a 2-0 lead after eight minutes and, after Isaac Ngoma pulled one back on 61 minutes, Wilson restored the Lone Stars’ two-goal advantage 12 minutes later.

Six from six for Morocco

Morocco and Ferencvaros' Ryan Mmaee
Morocco’s Ryan Mmaee plays his club football alongside his brother Samy at Hungarian side Ferencvaros

It was a perfect campaign for Morocco as they made it six wins out of six with a 3-0 win over Guinea 3-0 in Casablanca.

After scoring twice in Friday’s win over Sudan Ryan Mmaee was on target again for Morocco with another brace, including one from the penalty spot. Ayoub El Kaabi added the third on 60 minutes.

As well as earning a maximum 18 points, Morocco also scored 20 goals and conceded just once.

Earlier on Tuesday, already-qualified Egypt rounded off their campaign with a 2-1 win against Gabon in Alexandria to finish unbeaten in Group F.

Al Ahly midfielder Mohamed Magdy put the Pharaohs ahead from the penalty spot in the fourth minute after Ahmed Yasser Rayyan was clipped by Denis Bouanga.

Clermont forward Jim Allevinah scrambled in a cross to equalise nine minutes after the restart but Gabon defender Johann Obiang deflected a through ball past his own keeper with 15 minutes remaining, and his own goal proved to be the winner.

Egypt coach Carlos Quieroz
Carlos Quieroz is looking to lead Egypt to consecutive World Cup appearances

The visitors finished with 10 men as Bouanga was sent off late on for a kick out at Mohamed Hamdy – his second bookable offence – giving Carlos Quieroz’s Egypt a fourth win in six matches.

Elsewhere Libya finished behind Gabon on goal difference following a 1-1 draw with Angola.

Sanad Al Warfali’s penalty gave the north Africans the lead four minutes into the second half after Yousef Karah was bundled over, but Angola striker Zini fired in a loose ball from seven yards out to net the leveller in Benghazi in the 81st minute.

Jai Bhim, a Tamil language film, has been rated the top film by users on IMDB, beating classics such as The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather.

Jai Bhim
Image caption,Jai Bhim draws attention to the repression of Dalits in today’s India

Jai Bhim, a Tamil language film, has been rated the top film by users on IMDB, beating classics such as The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather. It’s the latest in a line of hard-hitting Indian movies telling stories of repression against Dalits who are at the bottom of a rigid Hindu caste hierarchy, writes film journalist Aseem Chhabra.

At the beginning of Jai Bhim, police officers are shown separating a group of suspects based on their caste.

Those who are from the dominant castes are asked to leave, while others who are Dalits (formerly untouchables) or belong to tribal communities are asked to stay back. Later, police file false charges against those in the second group.

It’s a stark, disturbing scene, with frightened men standing in the corner somewhat aware of their fate, a reminder that such activities occur routinely, and how precarious are the lives of the marginalised, especially Dalits, in small towns and rural India.

Dalits make up about 20% of India’s population, and despite laws to protect them they continue to face discrimination and violence.

Jai Bhim’s title translates to “Long Live Bhim”, a slogan made popular by the followers of BR Ambedkar, a Dalit scholar and leader, who was the chief architect of India’s constitution and also the country’s first law minister.

Directed by TJ Gnanavel, and backed by Tamil star Suriya, the film tells the true story of a crusading lawyer – played by Suriya – who fought for a petition filed by a pregnant woman whose husband was placed in police custody and later declared missing.

Jai Bhim is part of a new movement in Tamil cinema where a number of young filmmakers are narrating stories of repression against Dalits.

“In the last 30 years, beginning with the observance of Ambedkar’s centenary in 1991, the Dalit movement has been growing in Tamil Nadu,” said film historian S Theodore Baskaran.

“Forgotten Dalit ideologues of the 20th Century were redeemed from history. The ideas of [social activist and politician] Periyar and Ambedkar spread through the writings of many Dalit writers. In the last decade, some of the writers moved to cinema and made films. But they used the usual ingredients like songs, fights and melodrama.”

Suriya as Advocate Chandru
Image caption,Tamil star Suriya plays the role of a crusading lawyer in Jai Bhim

Dalit narratives have also found space in independent or indie films in other Indian languages, including Anhey Gorhey Da Daan (Punjabi), exploring the lives of Dalit Sikhs; Masaan (Hindi), a romance between a young man from a family of crematorium workers and an upper caste girl; and Fandry and Sairat (both in Marathi). The last two films were directed by Nagraj Manjule, a Dalit himself.

Fandry narrates the story of young boy whose family catches pigs in the village, and his unrequited love for an upper caste girl. Sairat, an inter-caste romantic musical, was a huge box office success. Also in this group is the Tamil indie, Pebbles (Koozhangal), India’s official entry for the 2022 Oscar for Best International Film.

But now there are many filmmakers in mainstream Tamil cinema whose protagonists are Dalits – who after a long periods of discrimination fight for their rights. And when the legal recourse does not end their sufferings, they are willing to take the fight to a physical level.

The directors include veteran filmmaker Vetrimaaran, who made Visaaranai, a 2015 film about the plight of Tamil migrants in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Asuran, a plot inspired by a massacre of Dalits. Mari Selvaraj and Pa Ranjith, both in their late thirties, are two key directors who have created narratives where the Dalit man is the central character.

Sarpatta Parambarai
Image caption,Sarpatta Parambarai, deeply influenced by Mohammad Ali, explores boxing culture among Dalits

“The representation of Dalit characters was painful,” Dalit filmmaker Ranjith, often referred to as the Spike Lee of the Tamil film industry, told The Wire in a 2020 interview, referring to earlier Tamil films. “Either they were written out, or just their inclusion in the story was considered ‘revolutionary.'”

“In this context, I had to reflect on what my stories could say,” he added. “I wanted

to show that my culture itself is based on discrimination and violence…Today, directors are more conscious when they write Dalit characters.”

Ranjith produced director Mari Selvaraj’s first film Periyerum Perumal. The film opens with a card that reads “Caste and religion are against humanity.” The film’s protagonist wants to become a lawyer like Ambedkar.

Towards the middle of Periyerum Perumal, Selvaraj has a group of men dancing to a 1983 film song Poradada. Composed by Ilaiyaraaja, a legendary musician and a Dalit himself, the song’s lyrics include: “We will take over your throne/… Our cry for victory will be heard/ Our light will fill up this world/ We the proletarians will fight back.”

The song also plays in the background in Selvaraj’s Karnan (2021) and is now referred to as a Dalit anthem.

Ranjith’s films were boosted with the support of Rajnikanth, the superstar of Tamil cinema. The actor was moved by the stories narrated to him and agreed to play the lead in Kabali (the tale of a violent gangster world of Tamil migrants in Malaysia) and Kaala (set in Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum located in Mumbai, with a large Tamil migrant population).

Kaala,
Image caption,Kaala, starring Rajinikanth, makes a strong statement on discrimination against Dalits

And in his latest film, the nearly three-hours-long Sarpatta Parambarai, Ranjith explores the boxing culture among Dalits in Chennai city, deeply influenced by Mohammad Ali, and his activism, whether it was against the Vietnam war or racism in the US.

There are some who feel that the representation of Dalit characters in Tamil cinema does not deserve all the praise that it receives. Leena Manimekalai, director of the 2019 film Maadathy: An Unfairy Tale – a disturbing story about a young woman from an ostracised Dalit community – feels the new cinema has not exactly moved the needle.

“It is feeding into the same hero, hyper masculine, omnipresent, ‘larger than life’ saviour narratives,” Manimekalai said.

“I still see women characters portrayed as mere props or cheerleaders to their husbands/lovers and the underprivileged communities ‘waiting’ for their heroes to save them with their axes, guns and sickles, from their generations of discrimination.”

But it is clear the audience is watching the new cinema. Jai Bhim did not open in theatres so there are no box office numbers to support its popularity. But its 9.6 user rating on IMDb has propelled it to the number one slot film on the online database.

With inputs by Sudha G Tilak

Aseem Chhabra is a freelance film writer and author, most recently, of Irrfan Khan: The Man, the Dreamer, the Star.

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