Category Archives: Dalit-Bahujans
“The Chamcha Age (An Era of Stooges)” was written by Kanshi Ram, and published by him on 24th Sept. 1982 on the occasion of 50th anniversary of Poona Pact. It is dedicated to Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, “whose initiation of cultural revolt in colonial India, later taken up by Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Periyar E.V.Ramaswamy and many other rebellious spirits brought us to this level where we are thinking, planning and struggling to put an end to the ‘Chamcha Age’ and usher in ‘Bright Age’ for the Shudras and the Ati-Shudras.”
In preface he says Chamcha Age started from the Poona Pact giving Joint Electorates instead of Separate Electorates. The purpose of book is to make Dalit Soshit Samaj of the existence of Chamchas or stooges, and to awaken masses how to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit leadership.
The book is divided into 4 parts and 17 chapters. The first two parts give information about past struggles, part III depicts present situation and part IV suggests ways and means of future struggle.
A Chamcha is an indigenous word for a stooge, or a tool, or an agent, who is operated by others for their own benefit. Gandhiji felt necessity of Chamchas from 1939-32 onwards. A Chamcha is created to oppose the real fighter, the genuine leader. While Dr. Ambedkar was taking the untouchables of India from Dark Age to Bright Age, they slipped aside into Chamcha Age. Gandhiji preferred two Chamchas through joint electorate against one real representative through separate electorate.
Part IV of the Book is titled “The Way Out”, has 6 Chapters: It mostly outlines the struggle that is necessary to fight Brahmanism. It has not only historical importance to understand Kanshiram’s struggle, but also can enlighten us what is to be done in future. It describes Dr. Ambedkar’s concept of Educate, Agitate, Organise. Separate Settlements, Denunciation of Poona pact, and also his three attempts to make the movement broad based, giving the excerpts from Baba Saheb’s famous speech at S.C.Conference at Lucknow on 25.4.1948. Below reproduced is the entire Part IV, which is the main Part, for future guidance. Hope it serves some useful purpose for those who are rather nonconversant with Kanshiram’s philosophy.
Check Wallpapers from here – 15th March in Dalit History – Saheb Kanshi Ram Ji’s Birth Anniversary
Ambedkar could anticipate
“Things will be much worse under the system of joint electorates and reserved seats which will hereafter become operative under the terms of the Poona Pact. This is no more speculation. The last election (1946) has conclusively proved that the Scheduled Castes can be completely disfranchised in a joint electorate.” [Dr.B.R. Ambedkar.]
The joint electorate is from the point of the Hindus to use a familiar phrase a “rotten borough” in which the Hindus get the right to nominate an untouchable to set nominally as a representative of the untouchable but really as a tool of the Hindu.” [Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.]
From the above two quotations, it is abundantly clear that Baba Saheb Ambedkar could clearly anticipate the outcome of the Poona Pact. Being a constitutional expert and a democrat, he could well imagine the fact of the disfranchised people in a democracy based on adult franchise. He could also anticipate4e the fate of the people whose representatives were not real representatives, but mere tools in the hand of their age-old enemies. It was the helplessness of his people at that time that forced him to sign the Poona-Pact under the coercive effects of Gandhiji’s fast. At that time, he must have thought of the times when the depressed classes would be less helpless to take up the challenge and fight for their due. At any rate, he was there with us for 24 years to fight the evil efforts of the Chamcha age.
Educate ! Agitate !! Organise !!!
Dalit Global Conference on Defending Dalit Rights – March 19-21, 2015 – Trinity Washington University in NE Washington, DC (USA). Several notable activists and thought leaders in the realm of human rights, including Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Dr. Cornel West, are declaring solidarity with Dalits, and helping bring greater attention to their plight by participating with the conference and call-to-action event planned for Saturday, March 21 at 12noon in front of the White House.
PRESS RELEASE: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12560019.htm
REGISTER HERE: http://bit.ly/1yfIdad
“A Forgotten Liberator : The Life and Struggle of Savitribai Phule”, is the first endeavour in English to spotlight upon one of the supreme names who fought against the totalitarianism of caste and other social evils in India. The book brought out by “Mountain Peak Publishers” on the life of Savitribai Phule (1831-1897) is a collection of essays written by six authors, those account the life struggle of marginalized and lower class women.
In times when even the shadow of untouchables were considered impure, when the people were unwilling to offer water to thirsty untouchables, Savitribai Phule and Mahatma Jotiba Phule shared their their house with them. It was a challenge thrown at the Brahmins to change their mindset towards untouchables. But even after almost 200 years, Dalits (untouchables) are still struggling for water rights.
In the essay “The Stuff Legends are made of” Cynthia Stephen writes “The young couple faced severe opposition from almost all sections. Savitribai was subject to intense harassment everyday as she walked to the school. Stones, mud and dirt were flung at her as she passed”.
Three letters written by Savitribai Phule to Mahatma Jotiba Phule are included in the anthology. From the letters it becomes evident that Savitribai Phule had great respect for her husband and had knowledge of all spheres of life and adept in handling difficult situations.
Sunil Sardar and Victor Paul present translations of Savitribai Phule’s five poems written in Marathi in the essay titled “Pioneering Engaged Writing”. Savitribai Phule was the first Dalit women, in-fact the first women whose poems drew attention in the British Empire. Savitribai Phule was the mother of modern poetry stressing necessity of English and education through her poems.
Read also – ‘First Lady’ Teacher of India: Savitribai Phule
The volume also contains a letter written by a eleven year old girl, Muktabai studying in Phule’s school under the chapter ‘Grief of the Mangs and Mahars’. The content of this letter is so strong for anyone to believe that this was written by a eleven year old girl. This shows the level of education and upbringing those children were getting in Phule’s school.
During the famines of 1876 – 1898, Savitribai Phule worked courageously with her husband and suggested many new ways to overcome the difficult times. They started distributing free food at many locations. She died while she was nursing a plague – affected child — she got infected while serving the affected people. Apart from the exceptionally narrated essays of all six authors there are pictures and a list of important days in the life of Savitribai Phule, which give a glimpse into the life of the great liberator.
Check also – Few poems by Savitribai Phule
Indian women are not aware of the greatness of Savitribai Phule, who dared to purse the profession of teaching in the ‘Dark Age’. She dared to speak against the unpardonable boundaries imposed on women in the Indian society, for which today’s women should be grateful to her. The book is one of its kinds and a must read for all those who believe in human rights and by those women organisations who speak a lot for women empowerment and feminism!
Braj Ranjan Mani writes:
“Savitribai Phule (1831-97), struggled and suffered with her revolutionary husband in an equal measure, but remains obscured due to casteist and sexist negligence. Apart from her identity as Jotirao Phule’s wife, she is little known even in academia. Modern India’s first woman teacher, a radical exponent of mass and female education, a champion of women’s liberation, a pioneer of engaged poetry, a courageous mass leader who took on the forces of caste and patriarchy certainly had her independent identity and contribution. It is indeed a measure of the ruthlessness of elite-controlled knowledge-production that a figure as important as Savitribai Phule fails to find any mention in the history of modernIndia. Her life and struggle deserves to be appreciated by a wider spectrum, and made known to non-Marathi people as well.”
To celebrate Women’s Day without recognizing the contribution of Dr. Ambedkar, Savitribai Phule, and Mahatma Jotiba Phule is hypocrisy and shameful act. Here are few of the highlights of work done by Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule for women empowerment.
Also read – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and International Women’s Day
- On 1st Jan. 1848, India’s first school for girls was started at Bhide’s wada in Pune by Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule.
- On 28 January 1853: First ever infanticide prohibition home of India was started by Savitribai Phule.
- Savitribai Phule started Mahila Seva Mandal in 1852, which worked for raising women’s consciousness about their human rights, dignity of life and other social issues. She went on to organise a successful barbers strike in Mumbai and Pune against the prevailing practice of shaving of widows’ heads.
- On 28 January 1866, Vishnushastri, inspired by Phule’s movement opened an institution to promote widow remarriage. The institution (a society) was known as Punar Vivahtojak Mandal(remarriage association).
- At a time when even the shadow of untouchables was considered impure, when the people were unwilling to offer water to thirsty untouchables, Savitribai Phule and Mahatma Jotiba Phule opened the well in their house for the use of untouchables.
Read also – Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s fight for women’s rights
- Savitribai Phule was the first Dalit woman, in-fact the first woman whose poems got noticed in the British Empire. Savitribai Phule was the mother of modern poetry stressing necessity of English and education through her poems.
- Did you know? On 16th Nov. 1852, Phule family was honoured by British government for their works in the field of education and Savtribai was declared as the best teacher.
- In 1863, first ever orphanage home was started by Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule, hence gave protection to pregnant widows.
Check also – The Annihilation of Caste
Read also – Dr. Ambedkar as an Economist