Category Archives: Dalit History

17th January – Rohith Vemula Shahadat Din


On 17th January Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student from the University of Hyderabad was forced to commit suicide by University administrations.

In the memory of Rohith Vemula, an event is being organized at the University of Hyderabad by his friends and family members where Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohith, Jaan Mohammad, brother of Akhlaq and survivors of Una Dalit Atrocity will be present on 17th January 16, 2017 at 15:30hrs

Rohith Vemula’s mother appeals everyone to join it.

Please spread the information.

Rohith Vemula Shahadath Din

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A tribute to the Great Revolutionary and True Inheritor of Dr Ambedkar’s Legacy: Bahujan Nayak Manyawar Kanshiram


” I will never get married,

I will never acquire any property,

I will never visit my home,

I will devote and dedicate the rest

of my life to achieve the goals

of Phule -Ambedkar movement”

These pledges remind the work of Manywar Kanshiram Sahib who is remembered in the history of India as a True leader of Bahujan Samaj. The journey of Kanshi Ram and his movement of socio-cultural revolution and economic emancipation of Bahujan Samaj started way back in 1964. Kanshi Ram, the eldest son of Mr. Hari Singh, resident of Khawaspur village of Punjab’s Roper district, was born on 15th March, 1934, in a Sikh family belonging to the Ramdasia Community. After qualifying the examination conducted by the Defense Science and Research Development Organization, he moved to Pune in Maharashtra and joined the Explosive Research and Development Laboratory at Kirkee, where he was exposed to the bad breath of Hindu social order i.e. atrocious caste system. In the ordinance factory, where Kanshi Ram was working, the management cancelled the holidays of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti and Buddha Jayanti and instead granted Tilak Jayanti holiday and an additional holiday during Diwali festival. As a reaction to this, not the Ambedkarites from Maharashtra but a Scheduled Caste Mr. Dina Bhana, from Rajasthan, protested against the cancellation of these two holidays. Dina Bhana’s protest resulted in his suspension. By this atrocious act, agitated Kanshi Ram fought the legal battle for Dina Bhana.

Shabe Kanshi Ram Ji and Dalits

As a result, not only was Dina Bhana reinstated but the holidays were also restored. The unjust and casteist act on the part of management resulted in a new awakening in Kanshi Ram, as he did not properly realize the casteist divisions in his youth in Punjab. Thereafter Kanshi Ram studied the literature of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the biggest destroyer of Brahmanism after Buddha, Jotiba Phule and Periyar. Dr. Ambedkar’s Monumental work, “Annihilation of Castes” influenced Kanshi Ram tremendously. In one night he read the book three times which created not only an impact on Kanshi Ram, but shaped his thinking and future course of actions. Beside Dr. Ambedkar’s writings, Mr. Kanshi Ram found the path of further movement in Dr. Ambedkar’s plan for political action. On 24th September 1944, at Madras, with an absolute clarity Dr. Babasaheb declared the political goal of his struggle. Addressing the large followers he said, “Understand our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is to become the rulers of this country. Write this goal on the walls of your houses so that you will not forget. Our struggle is not for the few jobs and concessions but we have a larger goal to achieve. That goal is to become the rulers of the land.”   Accordingly the agenda of political power was pursued constantly by Dr. Babasaheb in his further programmes. On 4thOctober, 1945, in the Working Committee meeting of All India Scheduled Castes Federation again he elaborately stressed on the political power and said, “Politics should be the life-blood of the Scheduled Castes.” Since politics of Congress party, the mouthpiece of the dominant castes was detrimental to the very existence and interests of backward class people, Babasaheb tried to form a broad – base movement of all the victims of Brahmanism.

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About the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)


Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) or Majority People’s Party is one of the only five prominent national political parties of India, which is the largest democracy in the world.
Brief Introduction :
Shabe Kanshi Ram Ji BSP
The ideology of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is “Social Transformation and Economic Emancipation” of the “Bahujan Samaj “, which comprises of the Scheduled Castes (SCs), the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Religious Minorities such as Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Buddhists and account for over 85 percent of the country’s total population.
The people belonging to all these classes have been the victims of the “Manuwadi” system in the country for thousands of years, under which they have been vanquished, trampled upon and forced to languish in all spheres of life. In other words, these people were deprived even of all those human rights, which had been secured for the upper caste Hindus under the age-old “Manuwadi Social System“.
Among the great persons (Mahapurush) belonging to “Bahujan Samaj”, who fought courageously and with commitment against the brutal and oppressive Manuwadi system, for providing a level playing field to the downtrodden to help move forward in their lives with “self-respect” and at par with the upper castes Hindus, especially Baba Saheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar’s socio-political campaign later proved to be very effective in this direction.
Though the contributions of leaders of the downtrodden communities like Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj, Narayana Guru and Periyar E. V. Ramaswami have been immense in the fight against the obnoxious Manuwadi system, but the struggle of Baba Saheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who was born in Scheduled Caste community, and that of Manyawar Kanshi Ram Ji later proved to be greatly effective and pregnant with far-reaching consequences.

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Remembering Mahatma Jotiba Phule on death anniversary


एक महान भारतीय विचारक, समाज सेवी, लेखक, दार्शनिक तथा क्रान्तिकारी सामाजिक सुधारक,

राष्ट्रपिता महात्मा ज्योतिबा फुले जी का आज के ही देहांत 28 नवम्बर 1890 को हुआ था,

महापुरुष की पुण्यतिथि पर उनको शत शत नमन !!!

Jotiba Phule

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What Is “Dalit” And “Dalitism?”


– By V.T.Rajshekar

We have received many letters asking us the meaning of the word Dalit. The same question is also being put to us at meetings. What gives us great pleasure and pride is this word has become popular all over India and abroad in such a short time giving expression to the anger of the Untouchables. And gathering so much of charisma.

Dr. Ambedkar Statue at HungaryWe are also happy to note that not only the militant Dalits but even some Hindu press have stopped using the hated word, Harijan, a Gandhian humbug, and switched on to Dalit. This awareness of their identity is itself a big step forward in the Dalit liberation struggle. The word Dalit symbolises the mood of this explosive commodity and connotes and denotes their protest. Hence the switch- over to this new word is itself a great improvement indicating a big leap in the search for their roots. Only three years back people barring those in the Hindi belt did not even know this word. It was not in their vocabulary. But as soon as they came to know this word and discovered its intrinsic value, its magic, its melody, they readily adopted it. Literally embraced it. “National” newspapers like the Times of India are using this word even in headlines. Even the Malayala Manorama, the largest circulated language daily of Kerala, has started using this word heeding our appeal. We call upon all our Dalit and other persecuted minority comrades to use only this word and persuade others to popularise it. If the English and language dailies start using the word, Dalit, in headlines it will soon catch up. Therefore, Dalits and their co-sufferers must go to newspaper offices and meet journalists and prevail upon them to use Dalit instead of Harijan or SC/STs. We will suggest the Oxford, Webster, Cambridge and other dictionaries to include it.

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Dalit History Month – Remembering P. K. Rosy


P.K Rosy holds the distinction of being the first heroine and the first Dalit heroine of Malayalam cinema.

Most accounts of her life and work are not based on actual meetings with her as she passed away in 1988 and was never acclaimed or even acknowledged during her lifetime. However, her extraordinary life, when examined is full of instances courage, struggle and passion. Before she was discovered by the director of her film, she was already a member of folk theatre groups and had experience acting in Tamil dramas in A Dalit art form called Kaakarashi. In 1928, she was “discovered” by the director J.C Daniel and given the role of an upper caste (Nair) woman in the movie Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child).

When the movie was released, members of the Nair community were enraged to see a Dalit woman portray a Nair woman. Upper caste riots ensued. They vandalized the theatre, tore down the movie screen and proceeded to hunt down Rosy. They burned down her house but she managed to escape the angry crowd. Reports state that she fled in a lorry that was headed to Tamil Nadu, married the lorry driver and lived her life quietly in Tamil Nadu.

Whatever the case, her abilities and her Pioneering work as an actress in a caste feudo-patriarchal society must be celebrated. Only 5 years after her film was destroyed and she chased away from Kerala, upper caste women safely began acting in Malayalam films without any objection or attack. this means more than ever that We must keep the memory of P.K.Rosy’s talented and powerful Dalit womanhood alive.

Dalit History Month - Remembering P. K. Rosy

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Dalit History Month – We salute the strength and resilience of a Dalit woman, Radhika Vemula


Today in Dalit History we celebrate the strength and resilience of a Dalit woman, Radhika Vemula. Born of Dalit parents, she was adopted by a Shudra couple when she was still a baby. Throughout her life, she experienced several confusing realities; as an adopted child in a non-Dalit home, as a spouse in a turbulent and inter-caste relationship and in her struggle to raise her three children with little support.

She managed the economics of her household with tailoring, embroidery, construction and domestic work. There were dire times for the family when it was difficult to pull together three square meals a day. Radhika and the children all worked wage labour jobs on the side but she still encouraged them to come back after their work and read too. She was a mother determined to educate her children and sent all of them to college.

Being bright children, they were all admitted into good schools. When both her sons were in college, she made the decision to further her own education. She began a Bachelors of Arts degree through a distance-learning programme offered by Sri Venkateshwara University. So while her children were students furthering themselves, she was too!

The family was proud of their exremely intelligent older son Rohith Vemula on his admission into University of Hyderabad (uoH). They also finally experienced some financial breathing room when Rohith began receiving a monthly scholarship at his PhD programme. Radhika and the family were deeply shocked when they discovered that UoH, in association with right-wing Hindu political forces, had institutionally murdered their son and brother.

In the hard days that followed, Radhika’s deep sense of grief has been seen to be matched only by her incredible resilience and commitment to obtaining justice for her son. Rohith’s death, had thrown her right in the eye of a storm. She has been protesting outside in the same location at UoH that Rohith had when he had been unfairly expelled by the administration. She has unflinchingly experienced police brutality along with the other student protestors. She bravely calls out Minister Smriti Irani as one of her son’s murderers and refused Prime Minister Narendra Modis’s fabricated sympathy. She stands tall, leading her other two children and all the other students fighting for justice at UoH. In a towering act of revolution, on the significant occassion of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary, she renounced Hinduism and embraced Buddhism. She affirms that she did so in order to honour the memory of her son and to escape the root of their oppression.

In the face of the agonizing loss of her son, the defamation of their family, the breaches of her privacy, the continuous harassment she faces – there is one thing that is clear. Radhika Vemula is never a victim. She is a warrior obliterating every injustice on her path. We mourn with her and we honour the fierceness of a Dalit mother. Power to her struggle. Jaibhim!

Radhika Vemula

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Dalit History Month – Dalit, Queer, Proud


On 29th November 2015, three young queer Dalits changed the face the Delhi queer pride. Dhrubo Jyoti, a journalist, Akhil Khang, a lawyer and Dhiren Borisa, a doctoral student, held up beautiful signs that they had painted. The signs summarized in three powerful words, ” Dalit, Queer, Proud”. In one extraordinary moment, both their Dalit and the Queer identities were visibilized and celebrated. Their assertion also dealt a blow to upper caste hegemony over Queer spaces like the Delhi Pride.

In reality, poor and especially trans and genderqueer Dalitbahujan contributions surpass upper caste efforts at queer liberation. They are the ones who create queer communities, protest enmasse and bear the brunt of the beatings, torture, rape and murders by society and the state. The criminalizing of the lives of queer folks through oppressive acts like the Section 377 (colonial anti-homosexuality law) also disproportionately affects poor, queer Dalitbahujan individuals, who cannot afford the price of privacy or rely on sex work for a living.

The prides in major cities however, had become reflective of upper caste queer activism whose proponents have strived to create “caste-less” spaces to dissociate queerness from caste. In Dhrubo’s pride speech, he states his reply to an upper caste individual asking him why Dalits felt the need to “bring caste into everything”. Dhrubo replies ” We bring caste up because caste is everywhere and in my everything, Caste is in my shirt, Caste is in my pant, Caste is in my sex, Caste is in my being and Caste is in every part of you too!” Together, their compelling Pride statement affirmed that the invisibilization of caste, erased Dalitbahujan struggles, history and identity

Their statement was not met without hostility. The majority of dominant castes accused them of derailing conversations of queerness with caste, but they made clear their position was one that was not posing to ease upper caste fragility but one that would help nurture inclusion.

They continue to engage by being conscious of their own privileges, by being a part of the interrogation of power structures and by opposing the prevailing silence around caste and queerness that shames Dalit queer folk into silence.

Today in Dalit History, we honor the energy of these three resolute young individuals and celebrate both their queerness and their Dalitness as they continue to enlighten us and make us proud!

Dalit History

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