Category Archives: Today in Dalit History

26th May (1935) in Dalit History – Death anniversary of Mata Ramabai Ambedkar


26th May (1935) in Dalit History – Death anniversary of Mata Ramabai Ambedkar

Ramabai Ambedkar’s parents died when Ramabai was in her childhood, leaving behind two small brothers to take care of. Their uncle and maternal uncle proceeded with all the three to Mumbai. At Mumbai she married Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. During her domestic struggle she lost her father-in-law Ramji. Ramabai Ambedkar did help Dr. Ambedkar during ups and downs in life.  Then another tragedy followed with the demise of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar’s elder brother Anandrao.

Check alsoMovie on Ramabai Ambedkar – Ramai

Mata Ramabai Ambedkar

Mata Ramabai Ambedkar

Afterwards, for higher education Babasaheb got the Sayajirao Gaikwad scholarship at Baroda. For higher education when Dr. Ambedkar had to leave for England, all the responsibilities to take care of home came to Ramabai, which she handled very well.

Ramabai used to encourage Babasaheb for higher studies and used to do household work and remit money to Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. Ramabai went through difficult life but her sheer determination helped her win over her difficulties. Heap of troubles, difficulties were showered on Ramabai but she didn’t surrender, she was adamant in upbringing the poor and downtrodden of her society, she took over the struggle carried by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and stood like a rock along with Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar to carry out the grand work initiated by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.

On 26th May, 1935, Mother Ramabai Ambedkar left this world. More than 10000 people attended the final procession.

Salute to Mother Ramabai Ambedkar on death anniversary.

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24th May in Dalit History – Death anniversary of Sant Ramanand Ji and Attack on Shri Guru Ravidass temple in Vienna (Austria)


On the 24th of May, 2009, six Jat Sikhs (upper castes) men armed with daggers and guns entered the Shri Guru Ravidass Gurdwara in Vienna (Austria), and started shooting, aiming at the two visiting Sants (Sant Ramanand Ji and Sant Niranjan Dass Maharaj Ji) from Punjab, India who were giving a sermon at that time. The bloodshed by upper caste Jat Sikhs resulted in the death of Sant Ramanand Ji, who died of gun wounds, and the serious injuries to Sant Niranjan Dass Ji, the spiritual head of Dera Sachkhand Ballan, a religious centre for Dalits in the Punjab devoted to Guru Ravidass Ji.

Sant Ramanand Ji (on right side) and Sant Niranjan Dass Maharaj Ji

Sant Ramanand Ji (on right side) and Sant Niranjan Dass Maharaj Ji

Both Sants were on a mission to preach and spread the teaching of Shri Guru Ravidass Ji, enemies of humanity attacked and seriously injured and killed inside Shri Guru Ravidass Gurudwara in Vienna, Austria. More than 30 followers of Guru Ravidas Ji were also injured and eleven of them seriously. An email reportedly received by Radio Akash in London, purportedly from the Khalistan Zindabad Force, claimed responsibility for the attack.

A passenger train burns in Jalandhar, in the northern Indian state of Punjab as thousands of protesters take to the streets after an attack in a Sikh temple in Austria. (Source Daily Mail)

A passenger train burns in Jalandhar, in the northern Indian state of Punjab as thousands of protesters take to the streets after an attack in a Sikh temple in Austria. (Source Daily Mail)

When news of the death Sant Ramanand Ji spread, the Punjab erupted in violence, a state curfew was imposed, and the army was called in to restore order.

After this unfortunate killings and attacks on Dalit leaders, Dalits in Punjab founded new religion, Ravidassia, and did get separate from Sikhism. At that time Akali Dal and SGPC did their best to please Dera Sachkhand Ballan, Jalandhar, so that Dalits don’t leave Sikhism but at the same time Akali Govt. arrested several Ravidas leaders campaigning for the new Ravidassia religion. Such a hypocrisy by so called Sikh leaders of the time. At present in Sikhism also one can see divisions as per caste system and so called Jat Sikhs think Sikhism is their personal property! Let me tell so called upper caste Jat Sikhs that Sikhism is not a property of anyone, it was founded to fight against injustice and caste discrimination but now there is no difference between Sikhs and Brahmins as both practice discrimination.

Sant Ramanand Ji is no more physically with us because of most unfortunate incidence at Vienna, Austria, but his noble thoughts shall always be with us to lead us on the right path.

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22nd May in Dalit History – Birth anniversary of Bhagya Reddy Varma (Madari Bhagaiah)


Remember Bhagya Reddy Varma (May 22, 1888 – July 2, 1950) the “Father of Dalit Movement in Andhra Pradesh” on his birth anniversary. His original name was Madari Bhagaiah and he was founder of Adi Hindu Movement in Andhra Pradesh. Bhagya Reddy Varma was born in a Dalit, Mala caste family in the princely Hyderabad State to Madari Venkaiah.

Bhagya Reddy Varma

Bhagya Reddy Varma

Bhagya Reddy Varma founded around 26 schools in around Hyderabad region for Dalits. He established Dalit panchayat courts to settle disputes among dalits. He chaired All India conference of Schedules castes held at Lucknow on 27, 28 December 1930, to support send delegation to Round Table conference. Babasaheb Ambedkar was present in this meeting.

In 1906, he started Jagan Mitra Mandali to educate Dalits through popular folklore. Mandali worked on the social consciousness among untouchables. Later in 1911, he founded Manya Sangham, which tried to create awareness among untouchables through literature and lectures.

Bhagya Reddy Varma had launched a movement against devadasi system, forcing the Nizam to declare it a crime.

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20th May in Dalit History – Birth Anniversary of Iyothee Thass – Great Social reformer and Buddhist Scholar


Lest We forget – Iyothee Thass (1845 – 1914)

Introduction

Iyothee Thass was an intellectual and social critic of 19 – 20 century Tamilnadu. In the primordial collective consciousness of the Dravidians he sensed the Buddhist values of equality and compassion. Working them out he severely criticized the brahminic hegemony that brought in estrangement and caste division among the people. Though a man of secular credentials he upheld the ethico-rational sensitivity that genuine religion can cultivate in promoting justice, righteousness and truthfulness. In this paper a brief attempt is made to construct the reformistic work which done by Iyothee Thass Pandithar.

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Who is Iyothee Thass?

Born on 20 May 1845, Thass’s original name was Kaathavarayan. His grandfather had served as a butler to Lord Arlington. Kaathavarayan gained expertise in Tamil literature, philosophy, Siddha and had good knowledge of English, Sanskrit and Pali. After organizing the tribal people in the Nilgris in the 1870s, he established the Advaidananda Sabha in 1876. He launched a magazine called ‘Dravida Pandian’ along with Rev. John Rathinam in 1885. He issued a statement in 1886 announcing that the so-called untouchables’ are not Hindus. He established the Dravida Mahajana Sabha in 1891 and during the very first Census urged the so-called untouchables to register themselves as casteless Dravidians. This in fact makes Tamil Dalits the true descendents of the anti-Brahmin legacy which is today claimed by non-Brahmin non-Dalits. Iyothee Thass’s meeting with Olcott was a turning point not only in his life but also for the Tamil Dalit movement. In many ways, Thass was a forerunner of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

Check also – 5th May in Dalit History – Death Anniversary of Iyothee Thass 

Iyothee Thass and Buddhism

He led a delegation of prominent Dalits to Olcott and pleaded for his help in reestablishing Tamil Buddhism. With Olcott’s help Thass visited Sri Lanka and got diksha from Bikkhu Sumangala Nayake. On his return, he established the Sakya Buddhist Society in Chennai with branches in many places including Karnataka. Returning from his sacred pilgrimage to Colombo, Iyothee Thass issued a pamphlet in Tamil, entitled, Buddha: The light without distinction of day and night. In this, he systematically stated his project “Tamil Buddhism” a brief statement of Sakya Buddha’s life was followed by an exploratory survey of the Tamil epical-ethical literary tradition to explain the past glory, the fall and the present degradation of the Tamil lower caste and the antagonism between Brahmins and Sakya –Valluva (Parayar) Tamils; the emancipatory future for the original Tamils was sought to be projected as the modern rediscovery of the earlier Buddhist traditions through construction of Buddhist Temples, maintenance of Buddhist medical halls, Buddhist college, Buddhist young men association, celebration of Buddha’s birthday anniversaries and establishment of Buddhist charity fund to feed the poor. The pamphlet closed with an appeal to join these effort by singing the apprehend forms. The coming together of the initial group to implement project Tamil Buddhism was, thus, based on a common understanding of a collective-historical rationale and a social consensus in the modern sense of the term. However, not all the founding members of the society took ‘pancha silam’ and became Buddhist. The Sakya Buddhist society started its activities in 1898 with religious meetings on Sundays, semi-public lectures on socio-religious issues by learned men of all faiths and confessions and conversions to Buddhism that is, taking of pancha silam and enrolling as members, though in small numbers, yet continuously. Soon the Sakya Buddhists were recognized as an independent entity by other international Buddhist bodies and a flow of visitors, monks and lay people started and increased with passing years. Writing about those early years, Iyothee Thass says: “lectures are delivered every week in the hall of the society in addition to the occasional lectures delivered here and there in the city of Madras. Thus a great interest is aroused in the minds of people in the life and teaching of our Lord Buddha. And not a few have been the conversion to the faith of the master… Some 260 Buddhist visitors, bhikkus and lay men and women from Holland, china, Japan, Burma, Ceylon, Siam, Singapore, Chittagong, Benares, Calcutta, Bodh Gaya and other places have called and stayed here on different occasions”.

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15th May in Dalit History – Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar published Annihilation Of Caste


On 15th May, 1936 Babasaheb Ambedkar published Annihilation Of Caste book. Dr. Ambedkar was scheduled to deliver this speech to a conference in Lahore, but could not. The conference organizers cancelled his invitation as they felt the contents of the speech were too radical for the time. Dr. Ambedkar later released the speech in written format, and it became one of his most famous work – title, ‘Annihilation of Caste’. In this work, Dr. Ambedkar discussed the problems in ending the caste system in India, and how those problems could be countered.

If you’d like to read the text, Columbia University in the City of New York has designed a special e-text format of the speech for easy readability and cross-referencing at http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/projects/mmt/ambedkar/web/index.html

Annihilation of Caste – Front Page

Annihilation of Caste – Front Page

 

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What Merit? In Punjab, Class 12th, Dalit Girl got 7th position and a Muslim Girl became topper


In the latest declared result of class 12th by Punjab School Education Board, in which more than 3 Lakh students appeared, a Dalit girl, named Namrata, from Jalandhar has 443 marks out of 450 in the medical stream and overall got 7th position in the merit list. Also, she is topper in Jalandhar. (Merit list is made combined of different streams such as Commerce, Non-Medical, Medical etc) Namrata achieved this position despite having poor family background and without any coaching. Read more about her from Lokleader [in Punjabi] and here.

Namrata on left (Photo Credit Lokleader)

Namrata on left (Photo Credit Lokleader)

Further, overall topper in class 12th is Saima Rashid, (as name suggests she is Muslim girl), she got perfect 100% score! Read more about her here.

Congratulations to both!

When toppers are from Dalit-Bahujan communities, what merit so called Brahmins and upper castes talk about all the time? Few years back, V. T. Rajshekar had said,

“all ruling classes built” a theory by suited to their needs and try to give a ‘scientific’ backing to it. Merit and efficiency is a pure Aryan invention, aimed at maintaining their monopoly”.

Check also – How Brahmins are enjoying reservation since ages – The History of Reservation in India.

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5th May in Dalit History – Death Anniversary of Iyothee Thass – Great Social reformer and Buddhist Scholar


This article was first posted at Round Table India and is written by Bala J.

We may say that great minds think alike when two scholars who lived in two different times and places reach a similar conclusion on the same problem. The traditionally educated nineteenth century Tamil scholar, Pandit Iyothee Thass as well as the twentieth century western educated intellectual from Maharashtra, Babasaheb Ambedkar, embraced Buddhism to show that it was the only way to annihilate the caste system. Both of them identified that the caste system had originated with the fall of Buddhism; therefore, believed the revival of Buddhism could perhaps liberate the people from the evil system of caste.

Pandit Iyothee Thass (1845-1914)* was born in a Dalit family in Royapettah in Chennai. He was a Siddha practitioner and a well-versed Tamil scholar having scholarly expertise in the traditional knowledge on astrology and palm-leaf manuscript reading. In 1870, Iyothee Thass founded Adhvaidhananda Sabha (considered to be the first institution-building activity in his life), in Uthagamandalam, where he was brought up. In 1891, he established an organization called the Dravida Mahajana Sabha, and on 1st December 1891, he organised the First Conference on behalf of the Sabha at Ooty in Nilgiris district. In that conference, ten resolutions were passed including the one on enacting a criminal law to punish those who humiliated untouchables by calling them Pariahs, creating separate schools and providing scholarships for matriculation education for untouchable children; providing employment for educated untouchables, and representation for untouchables in District Boards and Municipal Boards (Tamilan, 14 October 1908).

The resolutions were sent to the Indian National Congress and the Mohammedans’ Association on 21st December 1891. In 1896, Reverend John Ratnam and Iyothee Thass jointly started a journal called Dravida Pandian. Another interesting piece of information is that, in 1882, Reverend John Ratnam and Iyothee Thass established a movement under the name of Dravida Kazhagam, (G. Aloysius, Nationalism without a Nation in India, Oxford, 2000); but this fact has been concealed so that no one now remembers Iyothee Thass as the pioneer of the Dravidian movement or anti-Brahmin movement.

Returning to Buddhism

Pandit Iyothee Thass

Pandit Iyothee Thass

Pandit Iyothee Thass exhorted Dalits to embrace Buddhism for annihilating the system of caste. With this objective he constructed an alternative history with the help of Tamil literature and folk traditions of Tamil. He demonstrated that the untouchables were the native Buddhists and untouchability was imposed upon them because they opposed the orthodox practices exemplified by the Hindu Brahmins. He asserted that Buddhism was the first anti-Brahmin movement in Indian history. So he called on the Dalits to return to their original religion, Buddhism.

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PM Modi – Lord Buddha died when someone hit a nail on his ear!


Everyone knows that last year during election campaigns Modi had said Taxila was part of Bihar. But in reality, Taxila, which is in Pakistan, is nowhere near Bihar! Next in the election campaign Modi had said, Buddha was born in Bihar, but in reality Buddha was born in Lumbini, Kapilavastu, which is in Nepal.

Now, today on Buddha Purnima speech, Modi said following –

modi

Seems like he is reading books published by terrorist organisations like RSS. How can one accept all this? All this is utter lie and no one with right mind can accept this. Modi is trying to erase true history and is trying to propagate fake ideas. In reality, Buddha died a natural death, all this is lie what Modi is preaching. Check out what Dr. Ambedkar had written about the end of Buddha in The Buddha and His Dhamma. Modi has definitely hurt the sentiments of Buddhist community in India again and again.

Further, in the same speech today, Modi said that Buddha described women empowerment as – in next birth all women will be men! In reality, there is no such reference that Buddha said all this. Buddha never believed in rebirth, then how can Modi say and quote some book, written by some RSS person that in next birth women will be men? It is really shameful. Next, according to Modi, Buddha said – in next birth lower caste people will be born as higher caste people! What a shame again, there is no such thing Buddha ever said, Buddha and Buddhism doesn’t believe in caste, it is only in Hinduism. In other words, what Modi is saying that if we are reborn, we will still have caste system and caste discrimination!! Buddha was against any kind of discrimination, how we can accept what Modi is saying? This is degrading the great personality of Buddha, who stood against all kinds of discrimination.

Apart from the all this, Modi mentioned in his speech that wherever he has gone (abroad), he makes sure that he goes to Buddha temples there. But in reality it must be remembered that the main reason for all this is that in western or any other developed country, if India has any good image, it is because of Buddha, not because of any other fake God. People in those countries feel safe in the hands of Buddha but it’s shameful that India doesn’t value it’s great personalities. Leave aside giving importance to Buddha, people like Modi malign Buddha.

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IIT – JEE 2015 Topper Ashish Gawai belongs to Dalit-Buddhist community


Buldhana’s Ashish Gawai, 17 is now All India Topper in JEE Mains 2015. What merit these Brahmins and so called upper castes talk about? All  this smashes the fake logic of so called upper castes people that merit this, merit that, blah, blah..

If topper would have been from Sharma, Thaukar, Dwivedi or Trivedi, he would have been all over the place! Ashish Gawai belongs to Dalit-Buddhist community hence has been ignored by media and everyone. Our community faces discrimination at each and every step. Shame on Indian media and people who discriminates and heartfelt congratulations to Ashish Gawai. Hope one day media and India will stop considering caste in every situation and give credit to everyone.

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Read a news report about it from here.

Also check Sasikanth Senthil IAS top scorer in Main Exam 2008 from our community.

A video in Marathi on IIT – JEE 2015 Topper Ashish Gawai

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Why Dalit History Matters


This article was first posted at Round Table India.

If you want to destroy a society, destroy its History and the society will get destroyed automatically – Dr. Ambedkar

Dalit History Month

Dalit History Month

Nobody till now has questioned winners; neither will anyone in the future ask them, how have they won? Fiction is “generally accepted falsehood” or “non factual literature”, whereas the History is “systematic continuous record of events”. Dalit history has been maligned and distorted since ages. Historians ought to be freeless, sincere, open minded, open hearted, truth seeking & also courageous to show the truth at any cost but it is the misfortune of the Dalits of India that historians have always presented a distorted picture & never showed the truth to the people. Being Dalit, we have been taught to hate ourselves, we have been taught that Dalits’ don’t have any history; we have been taught Dalits can’t do any good. Who taught you all this? The upper castes did. Hence, almost everyone confuses history with fiction & historians have made people blind, deaf & dumb – have disabled people from thinking rationally. Historians have made us believe and worship fictitious characters such as Krishna and Rama.

A few years ago, the Punjab School Education Board came up with a 4th standard book in which Guru Ravidas was shown worshiping King Rama and Sita. But in reality, Guru Ravidas was against idol worship and he never worshiped any of these two deities. Not only this, the names of Guru Ravidas’ parents, his date of birth and even the Guru’s name were wrongly published! Further, it was taught to us that Guru Ravidas was a disciple of Ramanand but nowhere in Guru Ravidas’ bani (teachings) will you find Ramanand’s name mentioned even though the names of other saints such as Saint Kabir, Saint Namdev etc., are mentioned in his bani. A few days back, Mohan Bhagwat from RSS was claiming that Dr. Ambedkar believed in RSS’ ideology!

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