My Conversation with Sujatha Gidla

by on November 15, 2017 at 9:36 am in Books, Current Affairs, Economics, Education, Food and Drink, History, Law, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, The Arts, Travel | Permalink

Here is the transcript and podcast, I enjoyed this chat very much.  Here is part of the opening summary:

Sujatha Gidla was an untouchable in India, but moved to the United States at the age of 26 and is now the first Indian woman to be employed as a conductor on the New York City Subway. In her memoir Ants Among Elephants, she explores the antiquities of her mother, her uncles, and other members of her family against modern India’s landscape.

Our conversation considered the nature and persistence of caste, gender issues in India, her time as a revolutionary, New York City lifestyle and neighborhoods and dining, religion, living in America versus living in India, Bob Dylan and Dalit music, American identity politics, the nature of Marxism, Halldor Laxness, and why she left her job at the Bank of New York to become a New York City subway conductor, among other topics.

Here is one sequence:

GIDLA: Actually, the only relation I have with my family members is political views.

[laughter]

GIDLA: If we have to connect on familial links, we will always be fighting and killing each other. All that we talk about with my mother is politics and untouchability and caste and Modi and things like that.

It’s the same thing with my sister also. This is where we connect. Otherwise, we are like enemies. My brother, we’re completely alienated from each other, firstly because he goes to church now. We never used to go to church before. He’s into this Iacocca. Is there a name . . . ?

COWEN: Iacocca?

GIDLA: Yeah.

COWEN: Lee Iacocca?

GIDLA: Yeah.

COWEN: The former Chrysler chairman?

GIDLA: Yeah. He reads that kind of books.

COWEN: Management books.

GIDLA: He’s into that kind of stuff.

COWEN: You don’t?

GIDLA: No.

GIDLA: He read Freakonomics and he liked it. I don’t relate to that stuff.

And this toward the end:

COWEN: Your most touching memory of your mother?

GIDLA: I don’t know. When I was arrested, she was very worried. She said, “I wish I could take you back into my womb.”

Strongly recommended.  I was pleased to see that Publisher’s Weekly named Sujatha Gidla’s book as one of the ten best of 2017, you can order it here.

1 RPLong November 15, 2017 at 9:41 am

“the first Indian woman to be employed as a conductor on the New York City Subway.”

I’m all for historic firsts, but come on.

2 Dick the Butcher November 15, 2017 at 10:57 am

I’m waiting for the podcast covering the first Indian woman to be employed as a Walmart greeter and career-wise “rubbed elbows” with indigenous, US untouchables. .

3 amartya sen November 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm

The period’s inception. The comma’s resting place. Yadayadayada

4 Tanturn November 15, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Tyler’s trolling us.

5 peri November 16, 2017 at 11:23 am

When CNN trumpeted amid the national election news the other night that Seattle had elected its first openly gay school board member, I realized once and for all that the supply of undistinguished firsts will not run out in my lifetime.

6 Menglu November 15, 2017 at 9:52 am

With respect, I found this Conversation to be a good deal less enlightening than the others. It might have helped if you had an academic on as well, or if you cut the length and stuck solely to her area of expertise (caste).

7 Ray Lopez November 15, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Yeah, read the transcript and she, Gidla, seems (1) ill-informed, (2) dangerous* (3) self-promoting her book, (4) doesn’t like the prominent Dalit academic despite his on paper credentials, (5) took advantage of affirmative action in India, (6) comes from a rich American family (siblings are doctors, engineers) but seems to knock the American way. All in all, she’s pretty misguided. I did look at TC’s original post where she criticizes the commentator who said castes give color to Indian society–it sounded like something I would have said–but found the comment had been deleted. Actually I would not mind being in a caste, only for a day or week, just for fun (as long as I had the option of leaving the caste, as she did)

* GIDLA: “Charitable organization and education, they’re all within the same framework. I would have to say things that I may be hesitant to say, but the social structure has to be basically smashed and rebuilt on a collectivized basis.” (what an idiot, I guess she doesn’t know much history about the USSR, wartime Germany, Cambodia or Mao’s China, not to mention the Qin dynasty).

Bonus trivia: some Brahmins feel polluted by just looking at untouchables, not just touching them. And Jains drink through straws with filters so they don’t harm any nearly microscopic life forms in the water that might be ingested. Food for thought: would they willingly however ingest Ascaris lumbricoides eggs so as not to deny the worms chance to multiply inside their human host? They can reach a foot and a half–no symptoms–one-sixth of India has them (I had one too) and they look like giant earthworms when you pass them in your feces.

8 charlie November 15, 2017 at 10:04 am

“GIDLA: For sure, yeah. I have seen bad things happen with identity politics, with untouchables as well. All they fight for is reservations. Reservations is based on your suffering, or suffering of untouchables in the villages. If you want reservations, then you’re indirectly asking for discrimination to be continued, on the basis of which you can gain a few seats in universities and political places.”

So she hits the nail on the head there.

“GIDLA: My sister lives here in Long Island. She is a physician. My brother is in Canada. He’s a chemical engineer. He works as a technology consultant for oil companies.

The concept of caste is incredibly useful. If you look at African Americans, clearly they are all low caste people who primarily dealt with sanitation or cleaning toilets (pullman) 50 or 60 years ago.

Of course race is a useful concept as well; clearly there is something called the talent tenth which has a lot of white genes. She seems to fall into that category.

So is caste underrated or overrated?

9 A Truth Seeker November 15, 2017 at 10:31 am

Yet, America supports India’s savage regime. Oppose India, rehabilitate Lin Biao, uphold President Temer’s ideas, sdefeat Trump!

10 Dick the Butcher November 15, 2017 at 11:06 am

Regarding America supports: football players, ruggers, et al don’t need cups and athletic supporters when they wear compression shorts.

11 A Truth Seeker November 15, 2017 at 2:36 pm

America should not support tyrants.

12 Mistah Kurtz He Dead November 15, 2017 at 10:59 am

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a train conducting Marxist.

13 Dick the Butcher November 15, 2017 at 11:10 am

The horror! The horror!

Written in the margin, “Exterminate all the brutes!”

14 chuck martel November 15, 2017 at 11:08 am

As with her late exposure to Bob Dylan, Gidla entered the “beautiful people” era when its time had already passed. Just as a large portion of the enlightened post-60s neo-Marxist crowd had a goal of entering public employment, each morning changing their tie-dyed T-shirts for US Post Office uniforms, she moved from the predictable but regimented life of the financial world to an even more predictable one riding in a train on never-varying tracks. So she’s the Laura Ingalls Wilder of the Indian diaspora.

15 Millian November 15, 2017 at 11:33 am

Well, relative to other interviews, this involves a lot more
(a) nicely stepping around questions like, why were you arrested? without explaining to the audience why
(b) conspiracy theories about people being “given some kind of, I don’t know, perk to become capitalists”
(c) use of free labour by blog commenters – was Prof. Cowen not that motivated, ‘cos I could understand why?

16 Benny Lava November 15, 2017 at 11:39 am

A lot of talk about India and caste but very little substance in both the questions and answers. What is her book about? I have no idea but I get the feeling neither does Tyler.

17 Millian November 15, 2017 at 11:42 am

I think there’s plenty of substance in saying:
“the social structure has to be basically smashed and rebuilt on a collectivized basis. Everything should be run on . . . Agriculture should be collectivized. Industry should be under the state. Foreign policy should be a monopoly of the state.”

Now we might argue that this usually leads to famine and tens of millions of people being killed by the state, but whatever, radical chic, right?

18 Ankur November 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm

+1

19 Benny Lava November 15, 2017 at 1:22 pm

The fact that you think it a substantial answer means you are a shallow thinker.

20 Bernard Guerrero November 15, 2017 at 4:59 pm

The fact that the sarcasm passed about a mile over your head means that your sense of humor was surgically removed.

21 Tim November 15, 2017 at 12:16 pm

“Publisher’s Weekly named Sujatha Gidla’s book as one of the ten best of 2017”

A pretty… predictable list. Books on climate change, racism, gentrification, “austerity,” wrongful imprisonment, immigrants, redlining, all with the expected stance. I mostly agree with most of these stances, but at some point it gets a little dull having lists so dominated by political orthodoxy.

22 Milo Minderbinder November 15, 2017 at 12:51 pm

So MTA conductor is now another job that Americans won’t do?

23 Bernard Guerrero November 15, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Hell, I’m barely willing to get on the trains as a passenger.

24 Ram Seshadri November 15, 2017 at 4:14 pm

As a brahmin in a western country, it was pretty depressing to see her view everything through the lens of caste. I will whatever I do, she would only see me as a castist pig.

I honestly think people who left India are stuck in a time warp. India has moved on, it’s not the same.

25 Brad_sk November 15, 2017 at 7:42 pm

Well said. Heard the same from some of my Indian friends. Its like you are completely sucker punched if you are born into poor “upper caste” family – No reservation, no money, viewed as horrible pig because of rigid caste system some 50 – 100 years ago.

26 Ben November 18, 2017 at 3:29 am

Your upper caste friend is right. They have nothin, poor, and begging. Denying education, wealth, dignity, human rights for centuries to 85% of Indians your friends and their caste fellows occupied every position in every field, not due to merit, but due to caste affinity. Even today they occupy majority of dignified positions. Reservations gave a small windows of opportunities to those who suffered for centuries. your cleve friends nullified that too by denying them proper education after Independence. What do they get without education? Scavenging jobs or someother menial jobs.
Ask them if they want them too when you meet next tine.

Caste is complected social issue. You msy understand rocket science, but not caste, if you are a westerner. Study it before forming opinion. Dont go by these so called upper caste hindus. Since you only see them and hear them, its not your fault.

If you have genuine interest, do some serious reading and follow Indian news. You understand what it is and how cruel it is and is it different from other such discriminations.

27 Ben November 17, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Can you enlighten me what is India without caste? Be happy some think about its oppression even after breaking those chains unlike your types who glorify everything to whitewash crimes in its name. Atleast you identified yourself as brahmin and we know what your say on caste.

28 shrikanthk November 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Disappointing interview.

A hell of a lot of nonsense there. Makes sad reading. Expected more nuance.

“Hinduism is nothing but a prop for caste system” – Huh? What sort of nonsense is that…Has she bothered to engage with any aspect of Hinduism, besides her own experience as a Christian Dalit? And it’s convenient how many Dalits conveniently lose their “Christian” religion at right times, so as to avail of affirmative action.

And she has no clue when she talks of brahmin dominance in US. Less than 30% of Indian Americans are Brahmins. In fact a very large chunk of them are shudras (backward castes) from states like Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

29 potax November 15, 2017 at 5:15 pm

I wonder why so many Indian marxists emigrate to the US. The place seems to be teeming with them. I also don’t understand the opposition to market reform. Sujatha’s postures on why she emigrated sound very forced to me. Her employment in a US bank as a programmer seems to suggest that she came over on an H1B. The liberalization of the economy is what allowed a lot of these jobs to be created in the first place.
The amount of government largesse that Sujatha received after being arrested for plotting the violent overthrow of the Indian state, I think speaks well of the Indian state. (This is not in terms of affirmative action). Anybody who goes to the colleges that Sujatha went to recieves a ton of government largess.

30 shrikanthk November 15, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Tyler – By the way while the interview was disappointing, you weren’t. You asked a decent number of hard questions, more than I thought you would.

Now the factual corrections –

“For Bihar, they eat beef (Brahmins)”

No. They don’t. Some of them eat meat. But none eat beef.

“It’s only the Brahmins who are not allowed to eat meat or fish.”

Not true again. First of all, there is no legal diktat (old or new) banning meat for anyone. At best you have injunctions in the traditional texts. 30-40% of Indian population is vegetarian or eggetarian. While the brahmin population is barely 5%. So clearly a very very vast majority of vegetarians in India are not brahmins. Many low castes in North west India are strictly vegetarian. Vegetarianism is not unheard of even among some dalit families. I have even met Muslim vegetarians (not individuals but families) in India.

“So all these small-time business people, tea vendors—just overnight, they lost all their money. They keep their money in their houses.”

This is the most egregious comment. People were given two months to exchange their money at the bank for new notes. 2 months. I repeat 2 months.

““Why is a woman reading books?” ”

That comment would be directed at both women and men in small intellectually sterile villages / towns. I am not sure why she wants to bring in gender.

“So for me, coming to America means a lot of social freedom.”

Ha! Ofcourse it does. How can you possibly compare a country with a per-capita income of $5K with a country with a per-capita income of $50K? Do you expect the former to have more “social freedom” than the latter?

This is just so puerile..

31 freethinker November 17, 2017 at 7:08 pm

All those who point out errors in Sujata’s interview: don’t you know dalits can never be in error in what they say or do? It is your casteist mind-set which finds errors in what a dalit says!

I know institutions here in India where dalits indulge in the worst kind of caste politics. But few dare to question them. Those who do are harassed under a law which was intended for protecting dalits but more often than not abused by them to harass whomever they want.
Incidentally, I belong to a “lower” caste myself but my family is considered traitors to the caste since my mother insisted my sisters and I should come up without using the reservation policy as we are economically comfortable and my parents well-educated. ..
However, I am afraid shrikanthk makes some questionable observations:
Demonetisation may or may not have been needed but many went through hell because of the way it was implemented , Even the right-wing thinker S Gurumurthy now admits that.

As recently as 1990s I was witness to rural women reading books being frowned upon, not their husbands.

“How can you possibly compare a country with a per-capita income of $5K with a country with a per-capita income of $50K? Do you expect the former to have more “social freedom” than the latter?”
So Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with their high per capita income also have lot of social freedom? As my American friends would say c’mon !

32 shrikanthk November 17, 2017 at 10:34 pm

“Demonetisation may or may not have been needed but many went through hell because of the way it was implemented”

We are NOT discussing the merits of demonetization here. I am merely responding to Ms Gidla’s plain lie that people lost all their money “overnight”. That’s the word she used! Overnight. I repeat…overnight!

“So Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with their high per capita income also have lot of social freedom?”

Kuwait and Saudi are exceptional cases with high PCI mainly driven by Oil. I am talking of “regular” countries here. As countries get richer, social norms also relax. We have seen this ourselves in India over the past 30 years. You’d be lying if you say that you haven’t. 🙂

“As recently as 1990s I was witness to rural women reading books being frowned upon, not their husbands”

Well anecdotal evidence doesn’t carry us too far I am afraid. I was a bookworm growing up. And I can recall N number of instances where many of my relatives made fun of me and said – “Go out…breathe the air…don’t be stuck with your books”. I wouldn’t be commenting here had I paid heed to them.

I can also recall many instances of many working class men speaking proudly of how studious their daughters are.

So let’s stay away from anecdotal evidence.

33 shrikanthk November 15, 2017 at 7:52 pm

“This guy on your blog was saying casteism is very good and probably they should adopt it for American society. Wasn’t he saying that?”

I dont think anybody on any of the blogs ever said that or ever implied that.

34 vkk November 16, 2017 at 12:14 am

i don’t know what about that. but this:
“Caste gives color to society. Different castes make it interesting.”

is definitely YOU!

35 shrikanthk November 16, 2017 at 6:04 am

There are comprehension issues. What was said was – “Castes are a consequence of human and cultural heterogeneity”. Castes are not designed to create heterogeneity. It is the other way around.

36 Ben November 16, 2017 at 11:57 pm

Readers,
(Sorry, if you thlnk i am personally attacking someone. Pl read all his posts from the previous thread on the same topic. For these guys csste is the Iife system and without it they wither away from indian society in no time. So, they defend it and we have to expose them.)

I read your comments in the previous thread and exposed you. You are again here with your lame and stupid support for caste, directly or indirectly.

On interview:
I found the host is one of the best. He asked many questions, gave lot of scope to answer in detail, and covered lot of ground. Only problem i found was that the questions were too long and each sentencd is a questions on its own. To me, she didnt use the opportinity effectively to expose caste and tell about the reality. At times, i found that she was incorrect, inadequate in her answers, and did unnecessary talk leaving the real issue.
She lost a great opportunity to tell the audience about caste, dalits, brahmins, intermediate castes, ambedkar, gandhi etc. I am really disappointed. Interview was not as good as the book and its understandable.

Having said that, let me tell you this:
Your defencse of csste tells how much you (or your csste) benefited by it for centuries. Ofcourse, its your csste interest to preseve csste.
i salute you for the amount of time you spend here to dissect each sentence from the interview. May be getting good renumegation. Keep it up.

37 vkk November 17, 2017 at 3:17 am

their defense of caste is deplorable. but don’t mistake people like shrikanthk for some jobless guy paid to write this sort of drivel. they are well-educated (as in degree, piece of paper) and studied in institutes like IIM and working in reputed institutions.

38 shrikanthk November 17, 2017 at 6:47 am

It’s amazing how you want to make personal remarks, without taking on specific arguments.

In none of my posts have I condoned restriction of personal liberties or discrimination by the state. My posts were an effort to understand caste, not glorify or disparage it.

Sure, I have offered a conservative take on certain aspects of caste. But that is only to provide a necessary corrective. Else those voices dont get heard.

And sorry. No identity can absolve you from the obligation to be intellectually honest. Which is why it behooves all of us, regardless of our caste, to fact check and be objective, notwithstanding our personal biases.

39 Ben November 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm

I know many who troll like this for a payment. Read “i am a troll” by swati chaturvedi. Fascist govt in india spending lot of money on these.

Dont know about this guy. Academic education alone cant make people civil. These are socially igonarant persons with priveleges derived from the caste they born into, not by their worth. They dont know the outside world, dont try to understand how others live in inhuman castiest society. And unfortunately they are everywhere dolling out their ill- gotten knowledge to the world that knows nothing about this system. Convent education (though they hate Christians who educated them a lot) and english are their weapons for most of their targets (dalits) cant communicate in it.

In this case, if it may not for money. It could be to preserve his caste privileges and to whitewash their crimes in the name of caste. Recent CA textbook issue is an example.

Otherwise, who has that much time and energy to criticize a woman who came from humble background crisdecting evevy word she spoke and every word she wrote?

As i already said, i dont subscribe to her ideology or agree with evegything she said. But, she is talking caste in her own understanding and i welcome it.

40 shrikanthk November 15, 2017 at 8:52 pm

“Are there major Bollywood actors and actresses who are Dalits?”

No But you’d be surprised to know there are very few Baniyas in Bollywood. Baniyas are a very very dominant merchant caste group in Northern India. Hardly any of them in Bollywood. Even Northern Brahmins were hardly to be found in Bollywood until the past 10-15 years.

So the absence of Dalits isn’t something particularly striking.

Also Bahubali is a fantasy film set in a distant monarchical past. Ridiculous to read it through the modern lenses of “social justice”. It’s a bit like saying that King Arthur and his Knights should never be shown on the movie screen as their values are antithetical to modern British culture. Huh.

41 shrikanthk November 15, 2017 at 9:53 pm

“One thing is that most of the Christians except Syrian Christians and some Catholic Christians in Goa, Christians are untouchables”

This is such a lie. Here are some numbers from the NSSO (govt body) :
Indian Christians (Caste composition):
Forward caste : 33%
Other Backward caste (more accurately middle castes) : 25%
Dalits : 9%
Scheduled Tribes : 33% (STs are not “untouchable”)

Hindus (Caste composition):
Forward caste : 26%
Other Backward castes : 43%
Dalits : 22%
Scheduled Tribes : 9%

So just 9% of Indian Christians are “untouchables” as opposed to 22% of Hindus

42 Jesudasan Perumal November 17, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Mr. Shrikanth, you are quoting wrong statistic. Only small minority of S.C Christian identify as such because of denial of affirmative action. Indeed, they are the one using Hindu name like Sujatha.
I would think an erudite person like you would know these facts.

You people very much like Catholic and Anglican and Lutheran Church which provide education for your sons and daughters.
You don’t know how these people persecute Pentecostal and Seventh Day and J.V sects which do not have your Caste system.

I am not identicated by any sect. In America, I see that only ‘episcopalian’ resist this ‘ecumenical’ approach. My nephew married Korean. Both well educated and living with her family while completing.
In India, my younger sister’s family has taken a bride from Punjab. They are running logistics business and it was like ‘arranged marriage’ because all same Religion.

BTW many Bollywood personalites are of Domni ancestry. You may be thinking all Dalit is darker skin and short. Such is not the case.

43 blah November 15, 2017 at 10:38 pm

I enjoyed this chat very much.

A very curious remark to make for a purportedly depressing chat, I should say.

“All these immigrant associations—ostensibly, they are there to celebrate Indian culture and festivals, but they’re actually the caste groups.”

This bit about *all these* Indian American organizations purporting to celebrate Indian culture being caste groups is perhaps the best hint in the whole conversation as to how much liberty she takes with truth. I have been to many Indian organizations in the US, including Hindu groups, and the number of meetings where there was any remark about caste, or where I got to know even one other person’s caste, is exactly zero.

Seems quite fitting though that this should appear just now, for Megan McArdle has just written a nice article debunking the idea that one should not scrutinize claims closely if they are made to address genuine issues.

44 shrikanthk November 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm

“how much liberty she takes with truth”

She is not even a subtle skilful liar. I have done some fact checks in prior comments. Feel free to add.

45 blah November 15, 2017 at 11:05 pm

I noticed that. The reason I am not even trying to add is that most people here won’t have the incentive to read the fact-checks. For most of them, it is simply not an issue that concerns them so much; for the rest, their main concern is virtue-signalling or (in the case of some Indians) personal catharsis.

46 blah November 15, 2017 at 11:03 pm

But I should say that people like these make one appreciate the greatness of Ambedkar even better.

Ambedkar was born into a far more casteist society than this person was, arguably suffered much more, wrote understandably bitter tirades against Hinduism, but at the end of the day, he was not one to feel free to get one’s facts egregiously wrong, and his focus was on solving problems, and not on making the correct signals.

47 shrikanthk November 15, 2017 at 11:28 pm

I am not sure about Ambedkar’s suffering. He was born into a lower-middle / middle class family of his time, possibly richer than the median Indian family of late 19th century India. His mentor and teacher in childhood was a Brahmin.

And he got several facts wrong. A lot of his writing is propagandist, particularly his history of Buddhism and Hinduism. For eg – his puerile claim that the modern Dalits are former buddhists. His total denial of the interplay of race and caste is also not something that holds up.

48 blah November 16, 2017 at 12:10 am

You don’t need to agree with all his views or believe that he should share the same notion of what is a reasonable supposition, even after accounting for what was the state of the art historical knowledge those days. Like all of us, he, being human, wasn’t free of biases either. That is not what I am talking about – I think we can’t accuse him of wilful distortion, of the kind I just quoted about Indian American organizations. His family income was not low but there are several personal hardships he had to go through – not being allowed to use public goods, people refusing to share water when he traveled etc.

49 shrikanthk November 16, 2017 at 6:57 am

The problem with anecdotal evidence is precisely that. It is anecdotal.

Sure, some idiot would have refused to pour water. But I am sure even in early 20th century Maharashtra, a good chunk of people would have shared water. The exceptions stick. They make an imprint in the mind of a child. And he recounts it ad nauseum for the rest of his life.

This is human nature.

50 shrikanthk November 16, 2017 at 7:38 am

If I really do want to understand caste, I’d probably refer to scholars like PV Kane, whose monumental history of Dharmasastras still holds up.
Now Kane was a liberal, albeit a brahmin. But nevertheless a stickler for academic rigor.

51 freethinker November 17, 2017 at 7:41 pm

shrikanthk, how come when Ambedkar vehemently attacked Hinduism, he is now an icon of the fanatical Hindu organisation, the RSS, to which the present government is beholden?

I agree Ambedkar’s critique of Hinduism can be faulted at times but he does give us a lot to think about.

52 shrikanthk November 17, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Ambedkar was a second rate thinker. And RSS is a second rate organization.
While I do regard myself as a conservative, I am no fan of the RSS. I don’t regard it as “fanatic” but merely low-brow and puerile.

Why does RSS like Ambedkar? Because he shared the RSS penchant for uniformity and a deep seated dislike of both Islam and Gandhi – the two hate objects of the RSS

53 Dmitri Helios November 15, 2017 at 11:45 pm

“purportedly depressing chat” – What are you talking about? It was enlightening, interesting and informative!

54 blah November 16, 2017 at 12:11 am

May be you are a savarna-type who is obvious to the terrible suffering that was being discussed?

55 blah November 16, 2017 at 2:09 am

Perhaps the most noxious part of the interview is when she disparages the contributions of the Dalit Enterpreneur Chandrabhan Prasad, saying “That particular person, Chandra Bhan Prasad, he makes me puke.”

Chandra Bhan Prasad’s capitalistic, market-based contributions to dalit cause – which are genuinely empowering, both socially and economically – make a far more natural candidate for an enlightened American economics blog to celebrate more than the heat produced by marxist activists:

http://www.livemint.com/Companies/YbUASVvd6m8mbffOFNW2uM/With-Dalit-Foods-entrepreneur-looks-to-conquer-caste-prejud.html

56 shrikanthk November 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

I think the part I found most noxious is when she regards her co-workers at Bank of New York to be “boring” while the MTA crowd is deemed “interesting”.

57 Dmitri Helios November 16, 2017 at 11:07 am

Shrikanth, are subway workers not allowed to be interesting ? And God knows boring bankers never happen!

58 ConfusedNeoliberal November 16, 2017 at 10:59 am

I know Tyler researches about her guests, but, do they research Tyler? She claimed to be a Marxist that wants to build society from the ground up and all the agriculture and industry should be collectivized by the state.
Does she know that Tyler Cowen is the director of a think-tank that is completely the opposite of what she wants? That he probably regards that as one of the most dangerous ideas ever? That his co-blogger is a hard anti-communist?

59 Ñembo Tavy November 16, 2017 at 11:32 am

Phenomenal interview! I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater just because of logical inconsistencies or economic illiteracy on her part. She had some great points, and as a former Christian missionary/Marxist sympathizer, I understand just how easy it is to develop Marxist views if you haven’t been privileged enough to regularly encounter compassionate people who befriend you and turn you on to Hayek. Unless we have some sort of personality disorder, most of us humans are only open to new worldviews (economic/religious) when they’re shared by someone who (we perceive) genuinely cares about us.

If anything, this interview showcases the importance of MR Uni’s work in dispelling ignorance. Easily digestible lessons that can be shared with friends. “Hey man, I saw this cool video that helps explain…”

60 rec1man November 16, 2017 at 12:30 pm

She is a crook, plain and simple
Only Dalits belonging to Indian religions – Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism are eligible to get Dalit Reservation seats / jobs

She is from a caste Mala, entirely converted to Christianity, yet to get Dalit reservations, claim to be Hindu

61 rec1man November 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Bollywood is almost entirely made up of upper castes with sizeable % of Aryan dna

Even South Indian regional movies import Aryan women

http://www.indicine.com/images/gallery/bollywood/actress/gauri-pandit/48400-14-large.jpg

This is Gauri Pandit, a Kashmiri Brahmin, Aryan Upper Caste,
She is very popular actress in Telugu ( dravidian ) movies

Most Telugu dalit women look like Sujatha and the Telugu dravidian audience
wants only to watch Aryan actresses

62 that happened November 16, 2017 at 7:42 pm

She claimed that while working in New York City in financial services, a man glared at her disapprovingly because she had a statue of Darwin on her desk and “he was a Catholic.”

/r/thathappened

She makes one great point, but she talks like a high-schooler.

63 Ben November 17, 2017 at 12:10 am

Shrikanthk displays his ignorance on his comments on Dr Ambedkar. He better read him before giving discources here. He also displays his arrogance in his numerous posts on the this thread.

64 Ben November 17, 2017 at 11:07 am

On the other hand, she may be an expert in marxism and communist ideology, but i found that her knowledge on Ambedkarism or real dalit life is not so.
She may be against capitalism, but her comments on Chandrabhan Prasad is uncalled for.
To understand a dalit life, there are other books.

For those who are genuinely interested, a few of them:
Outcaste by dr narendra jadav
Joothan by omprakash valmiki
Untouchable spring by g kalyana rao
We also made history by urmila pawar
Broken voices by valerie mason-john
My father balaiah by yb satyanarayana
Untouchable (forgot the author, not by mulk raj anand)
And many books with first hand accounts of dalit life in addition to Dr Ambedkar’s works.

65 Tom G November 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Very disappointing – she’s a Marxist, which is stupid, but Tyler fails to mention Venezuela. She argues with her family, but no followup on who makes what points.

She comes to America … for Freedom (yes! yay!). Yet fails to understand Marxism is, everywhere it’s tried, against freedom. So yes, she’s a total hypocrite.

She leaves her high paying banking job — because she’s bored with the other workers who are working for money.
OK. That’s interesting.
The big criticism of capitalism, as lived by Gidla, is that capitalism is too boring.
So she has the freedom, here in capitalist America, to get a more interesting, lower paying job, with other folks who have different life experiences.
And she wants to tear all the differences down, and rebuild everything with nationalized, meaning standard, all-the-same, jobs and results.

Terrible views, but not very strongly expressed.

66 Jesudan Perumal November 17, 2017 at 7:11 pm

The dog that did not bark is the failure to ask the question ‘What did you think of Mayawati’?

After all, Mayawati became C.M of U.P and was once considered a possible P.M.

There is a younger generation of female politicians from lower middle class backgrounds. They are not asserting Caste identity- as Sujatha does- because they have learned the lesson of Mayawati- viz it is the better off older men who benefit and the poorest, labouring, female who gets raped and killed.

New York subway has a long tradition of nurturing sociopathic chauvinistic ex- terrorists and nutjobs. The reason they aren’t running businesses and getting rich is because their own people recoil from them- for good reason.

Sujatha did well because her family was close to the Administration. High Caste Hindus on this forum think she benefited from ‘affirmative action’. This is nonsense. She and her family did well because of politics- nothing else.

If her mother had converted to Pentecostal Religion they would be high and dry. Still, if you see how Prentecostal are improving standard of living and education in A.P & Telengana despite boycott and persecution by Church and State, your eyes will get opened.

67 Ben November 17, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Can you enlighten me what is India without caste? Be happy some think about its oppression even after breaking those chains unlike your types who glorify everything to whitewash crimes in its name. Atleast you identified yourself as brahmin and we know what your say on caste.

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