Category Archives: Dalit-Bahujans

Constitutional Safeguards for Dalits


SAFEGUARDS IN THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES

AND SCHEDULED TRIBES

The important Constitutional safeguards for SCs & STs are mentioned below:

(a) Directive Principles of State Policy

Article 46 is a comprehensive article comprising both the developmental and regulatory aspects. It reads as follows:

“The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections, of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation”.

(b) Social Safeguards

Article 17. “Untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of “Untouchability” shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

616x510To give effect to this Article, Parliament made an enactment viz., Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955. To make the provisions of this Act more stringent, the Act was amended in 1976 and was also renamed as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955. As provided under the Act, Government of India also notified the Rules, viz., the PCR Rules, 1977, to carry out the provisions of this Act. As cases of atrocities on SCs/STs were not covered under the provisions of PCR Act, 1955, Parliament passed another important Act in 1989 for taking measures to prevent the atrocities. This act known as the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, became effective from 30.1.1990. For carrying out the provisions of this Act the Govt. of India have notified the SCs and the STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 on 31.3.1995.

Article 23. Prohibits traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour and provides that any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law. It does not specifically mention SCs & STs but since the majority of bonded labour belong to SCs/STs this Article has a special significance for SCs and STs. In pursuance of this article, Parliament has enacted the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. For effective implementation of this Act, the Ministry of Labour is running a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for identification, liberation and rehabilitation of bonded labour.

Article 24 provides that no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment. There are Central and State laws to prevent child labour. This article too is significant for SCs and STs as a substantial portion, if not the majority, of child labour engaged in hazardous employment belong to SCs and STs.

Article 25(2)(b) provides that Hindu religious institutions of a public character shall be thrown open to all classes and sections of Hindus. This provision is relevant as some sects of Hindus used to claim that only members of the concerned sects had a right to enter their temples. This was only a subterfuge to prevent entry of SC persons in such temples. For the purpose of this provision the term Hindu includes Sikh, Jaina and Budhist.

Educational and Cultural Safeguards

Article 15(4) empowers the State to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for SC and ST. This provision has enabled the State to reserve seats for SCs and STs in educational institutions including technical, engineering and medical colleges and in Scientific & Specialised Courses. In this as well as in Article 16(4)the term ‘backward classes’ is used as a generic term and comprises various categories of backward classes, viz., Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Denotified Communities (Vimukta Jatiyan) and Nomadic/Seminomadic communities.

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Dr. Ambedkar’s Perspective on Restructuring Indian Nation in the context of Dalit Question


Dr. Ambedkar’s Perspective on Restructuring Indian Nation in the context of Dalit Question

Written by – Sukhadeo Thorat

Introduction

ambedkarThe Caste System in its classical form is an unique institution of social governance of the Hindu society. It is based on some specific principles and rules which make it an unique one. Foremost of them is that it involve a division of persons in various social groups called castes The division is created and maintained through institution of endogamy. The duties and the rights, (civil, cultural/religious, political and economic) are assigned to each of these castes by birth in advanced but in an unequal manner . The duties and rights are thus pre-determined by birth in to the specific caste and are hereditary ,not subject to change by deeds of the individuals . The social position or standing of each caste is hierarchically arranged , in the sense that the rights gets reduced in descending order, that is , from the Brahmin( who are located at the top of hierarchy) to the untouchable ,who are placed at the bottom of the caste hierarchy .The caste are hierarchically arranged in a manner that they are interlinked with each other such that rights and privileges of the high castes become the disabilities of the lower castes .In this sense caste does not exist in single number but only in plural , and interlinked (or made interdependent) with each in an unequal measure of relationship. Therefore one has to look at castes as “system” and not caste as single entity in isolation. Another distinguish feature of this system is that it laid down a systematic machanism for enforcement in the form of social and economic ostracism involving penalties and punishments against the violation of the system in practice. But above all the system is sanctified and supported, directly or indirectly by the philosophical elements in Hindu religion. Therefore for generality of Hindus the caste system is religiously sanctified institution to be practice as system of divine creation and matter of religious faith. It is this religious foundation and sanctity, which provide enduring strength and stubbiness to the institution of caste (Lal Deepak, 1984, Ambedkar 1936 and 1987 )

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#JusticeForRohithVemula


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Behan Mayawati’s speech at Rajya Sabha on Rohith Vemula issue


Behan Mayawati’s speech at Rajya Sabha on Rohith Vemula issue

We are not convinced by the government’s clarification, will (Manu) Smriti Irani chop off her head now? – Asks Behan Mayawati in RS today.

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We demand #JusticeForRohith #RohithAct


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Brahmins’ attempts to appropriate Guru Ravidas


Ravidass‟s low caste but high spiritual status, however, posed a serious challenge to the oppressive Brahminical structures of domination. The traditional Brahminical institution of varnashrama dharma failed to confront Ravidass‟s pragmatic and revolutionary reasoning based on equality, dignity and fraternity. Instead, the Brahmins attempted to undermine his low caste profile by appropriating him in the Hindu fold. They concocted stories to project him as a Brahmin in his previous life. Thus challenged by the surging popularity of Ravidass, among the lower and upper castes alike, Brahmins knitted layers of mythological narratives about his mythical high caste in his previous life. This was done, probably, to preclude the lower castes from rallying around his name. Yet another device adopted by the twice born to diminish his popularity was to present him as a Guru of the Chamars only.“This was the final masterstroke to minimize his influence on the society as a whole”. Significantly, though Ravidass was himself a Chamar, his egalitarian social philosophy has historically won him many disciples among the upper castes too. Jhali, Queen of Chittor; Mirabai, Rajput princes and daughter-in-law of King of Mewar, Sangram Singh; Prince Veer Singh Dev Vaghela of Rewa of Madhya Pradesh; and Prince of Kanshi have been among the most prominent ones.
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Guru Ravidass shown on the back leg, near feet, of cow by RSS people.

 
Dalit activists and academics have been condemning the process of Brahminisation of Ravidass. They ridicule the so-called Brahminical narratives and interpretations about Ravidass and also refuse to accept Ramanand as his Guru. Ravidass never mentioned the name of Ramanand in his most authentic bani recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib. Instead, he mentioned the names of various Sants such as Jaidev, Namdev and Kabir. Some radical Dalits claim “that his Guru was Sardanand, and emphasize his ability to defeat Brahmins time and again in debates”. Thus the process of Brahminisation has not only failed to assimilate Ravidass in the fold of the upper castes, it further strengthens the bond between him and the ex-untouchables. The latter feel proud of being known as only Ravidassias. They consider Guru Ravidass and his bani as a paragon of their struggle for social equality, justice and dignity.
Source – Paper, Ravidass, Dera Sachkhand Ballan and the Question of Dalit Identity in Punjab by Ronki Ram

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Postage stamps issued on Guru Ravidas


Issued on 10/02/1971

1971-Guru_Ravidas

Issued on 24/06/2001

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