Tag Archives: dalit-bahujan

Times of India covered Dr. Ambedkar Caravan among Round Table India, NACDOR, APSC and Dalit Camera


Few months back, Al Jazeera show on Dalit History had mentioned comments from the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Caravan. Today, Times of India covered about Dr. Ambedkar Caravan. Read from here –

In recent months, racial violence has been foregrounded in the US, with the Charleston incident in which nine black church-goers were gunned down and other incidents of police brutality that are no longer possible to deny. And all of a sudden, Black Twitter has become a preoccupation with the US media, reminding it of its own evasions.

Hashtags around race like #icantbreathe #Blacklivesmatter found their way into many feeds, pushed themselves into wider view, and forced a reckoning. The LA Times recently even assigned a reporter to cover Black Twitter, while acknowledging that “it is so much more complicated than that”.

African-American struggles have inspired and tactically informed anti-caste activism. But could Dalit-Bahujan Twitter exert a similar force, in India?

Take Round Table India, a forum of writers that aims for “an informed Ambedkar age” and sees caste as the primary fissure in Indian society. They aggregate news on politics, society and culture, they comment and critique, and try to be a hub for Dalit-Bahujan voices. ‘Unlike mainstream media, we aren’t casteist – we have many upper castes writing, at least as much as their share in the population,” says Naren Bedide, one of the founders.

It’s only half a joke. The media is scandalously unrepresentative – in 1996, Pioneer journalist B N Uniyal found that he hadn’t met a single Dalit journalist in his entire working life. In 2006, a Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) study found that 90% of the decision-makers at English newspapers and 79% of TV journalists were upper-caste.

In other words, the media frames national events, but does not include most of the nation. It speaks with near-unanimity on IIT’s “standards” when it pushes out Dalit students; it misreports caste-based violence as “farmers’ clashes” or lovers’ quarrels when it reports them at all; and it often misses the real import of events. “When others interpret the world for you, can you change it?” is the question that drives Round Table India. “We don’t have, and don’t expect access in the media. It’s a conscious decision to build spaces of our own,” says Bedide. As he sees it, it is a structural conflict, and one can’t use the tools of savarnas, like mainstream media, to dismantle their edifice of hierarchy.

There are blogs like Atrocities News that wrenched attention to the Khairlanji killings and continue to document caste-based attacks. But there are also blogs with entirely different missions, Facebook and Twitter accounts, mailing lists and Whatsapp groups – and to club them all together as Dalit social media flattens their diversity. Shared Mirror, for instance, is a platform for Dalit poetry, translated and new. Savari, a space by Adivasi, Bahujan and Dalit women, speaks with its own distinctive voice.

There are forums dedicated to history and to challenging narratives and erasures, like Dr Ambedkar’s Caravan, which has over 500 articles so far. In April, activists across the board celebrated Dalit History Month, creatively resisting the attempt to reduce Dalit history solely to one of atrocity. This was, again, a nod to Black History Month. Hashtags like #Dalitlivesmatter are often used to galvanize others.

TOI

Twitter, though, is still a hostile medium, say many of these writers. “It is full of either Internet Hindus or Congressis and left-liberals, there is no understanding of other issues,” says Bedide. Facebook, which nurtures more like-minded groups and longer conversations, is more useful, says Ashok Bharti, chairman of the National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR). “If any incident happens anywhere, it is on my Facebook page in five minutes. It’s better than a wire service, though the stories are often raw,” he says.

“Dalits are still untouchable on social media; if I post anything about Dr Ambedkar or Dalit history in a general forum, I get blocked in a few minutes,” says Pardeep Attri of Ambedkar’s Caravan.

Of course, there is no unified Dalit social media, any more than there is a single Dalit politics across the country, fragmented as it is by sub-caste, region, gender, class and ideological preference. And yet, social media offers something new. Dalit Camera, a YouTube channel, records life “from untouchable eyes”. Bathran Ravichandran, who founded it, says that social media, with the many perspectives it offers, has “broadened the views and values” of Dalit activists around the country. Social media only supplements, in a small way, the grassroots work that goes on around the country, he says.

Others are skeptical of the reach and representativeness of social media Dalit voices. Political analyst and activist Anand Teltumbde describes them as “a small fraction of Dalits, who just talk to each other”. According to him, a sharpened sense of caste and sub-caste identity makes it harder to make common cause with others, and only props up their elite adversaries.

Meanwhile, groups like NACDOR prefer to engage with mainstream media and institutions, and use social media for direct access and advocacy. So does the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) at IIT Madras, which has a vocal social media presence. Akhil Bharathan of APSC thinks that caste, as an all-encompassing framework of oppression, also compels one outwards, to think of gender, class, and minority justice, and to form alliances. While these voices may now be a “counterpublic”, drowned out in the din of powerful interest groups, the “ultimate aim is to be the public,” says Bharathan.

Source – TOI

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A reply to those who say BSP doesn’t work for Dalits


A reply to those who say BSP doesn’t work for Dalits

Name any state, where you can find 3 direction signs and all named after Dalit-Bahujan Ideals? Or name any government that has worked for Dalits and have given this much importance to Dalit-Bahujan ideals? You won’t find it anywhere but in Uttar Pradesh or you won’t find any government that has given importance and credit to Dalit heroes. So, if today if you can see this sign direction named after Dalit-bahujan heroes all this has become possible because of the work and dedication of Saheb Kanshi Ram, Behan Mayawati and BSP towards Dalit-Bahujans.

If you have not read the achievements of BSP and 100 reasons to vote for BSP, read it from here.

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10 March in Dalit History – Death anniversary of ‘First Lady’ Teacher of India: Savitribai Phule


Savitribai Phule

Read also – Book Review of “A Forgotten Liberator : The Life and Struggle of Savitribai Phule”

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Read also – ‘First Lady’ Teacher of India: Savitribai Phule

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Check also – Few poems by Savitribai Phule

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Read also – Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule’s contribution towards women empowerment

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India and Untouchables


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Read also – Know how much our forefathers suffered because of caste system

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Check also – 

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Read also – Dr. Ambedkar as an Economist

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Holi – A Festival To Commemorate Bahujan Burning


Holi – What is it and how did it originate?

It is well known that Holi forms one of the important festivals among the Hindus. It is supposed to be festival of Shudras, and is one of the three most important ones in India, the others being Dasera and Diwali. The Dasera is in honour of killing of Ravana and Divali is in honour of killing of Narakasur and noted pesant king Bali. The purpose of Holi, indirectly, is concerned with killing of Hiranyakashyap. The important elements of the festival of Holi are as follows:-

1. A pyre is burnt.
2. Abuses are showered on people, and other obscenities are observed. Dirt, mud etc. is smeared.
3. Festivities are indulged in to celebrate the victory.

Also check – Some Random Thoughts on Diwali – Say No To Diwali

Traditional Account

The puranas give an account of hokika burning. The traditional story is that a powerful King Hiranya Kashyapu sent his sister Holika to kill his ten year old only son Pralhad, as he was worshipping Barhmnic god Vishnu against his wishes. Holika had a cloth which could resist burning. She sits with Pralhad on a pyre. The wind blows wrapping Pralhad with the cloth and Holika is burnrd to death. Holi is supposed to be celebrated to commomorate this event.

Say No To Holi

Say No To Holi

Purpose of writing puranas

Dr. Ambedkar avers that “This literature arose during the period subsequent to the triumph of Brahmins under the leadership of Pushyamitra” (p.257 W&S vol.3) Original authors were non-brahmin sutas, but later they were ousted by brahmins who made monopoly of it. At that time they were finally edited and extra new subjects, apart from five traditional ones, were incorporated. [W&S vol 3, p.255]. But if you consider the fact that the majority of people were only allowed to know either by reading or hearing, and mostly by hearing, only these so called scriptures and nothing else, it becomes evident that the purpose of these books was rather more for false appeasement rather than information or enlightenment, let alone their progress and liberation, so that they don’t aim and strive for any higher literature. The real purpose of Puranas was to misled the dalitbahujan masses regarding their aspirations to knowledge, to curb down their desire for more information and limit their desires to their paltry needs. BSO has always done that and even now, we see that. An example of Gandhi admonishing the savarna leaders for accepting Agnibhoj, an untouchable in the Congress ministry by saying that this will increase the aspirations of these lowly born harijans is well known.

Check also – Raksha Bandhan: Another form of Slavery

In practice, the stories in Puranas were used to present a make shift explanation for unexplainable capture of Buddhist monuments by the Brahmnical priests and to tell the dalitbahujans that the Brahmnical values are their own, when in fact, the masses were opposed to these values. It was also used to regularize the usurpation of Buddhist temples and tirthas, and thus misleading masses about their real history and heritage.

The above quoted story of Holika is nothing but an eyewash to hoodwink the dalitbahujans. This becomes clear from two cardinal facts. These are:-

1. That the fire for burning the holi is brought from an untouchable. [Ghurye: Caste and Race in India, 1969, Popular Prakashan Bombay, p. 26]

2. It is noteworthy that the festival of rejoicing ends by touching an untaouchable and the taking a bath. [“Rigvedi”: marathi book – “aryaachya sanaancha prachin va arvachin itihas” p. 366, 1979, pradnya patha shala mandal, Wai-dist. Satara, M.S.]

There is no satisfactory explanation of these vital clues in this festival in the traditional story of Holika and Pralhada.

Obscenity of Holi

The second aspect of Holi is abusing the people. This goes on from about 15 days before the festival begins and goes on till the culmination of atrocities on the second days of holi. This certainly is a relic of old “Hindu” tradition of adding insult to the injury inflicted upon the old rivals of Hinduism, i.e. Jains and Buddhist. The Jains have somehow, adapted themselves and accepted the supremacy of brahmins, but the Buddhist did not and hence are condemned to be the Untouchables.

Present day obscenity

It is camouflaged in fish pond ceremonies and All fools’ conventions and the like, the original traits are seen even today.

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Brahmins and Beef Eating – What Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Said


(Excerpted from Chapters 11 to 14 of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s 1948 work The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables?)

The Census Returns [of 1910] show that the meat of the dead cow forms the chief item of food consumed by communities which are generally classified as untouchable communities. No Hindu community, however low, will touch cow’s flesh. On the other hand, there is no community which is really an Untouchable community which has not something to do with the dead cow. Some eat her flesh, some remove the skin, some manufacture articles out of her skin and bones.

Check alsoFew Posters against Beef Ban.

From the survey of the Census Commissioner, it is well established that Untouchables eat beef. The question however is: Has beef-eating any relation to the origin of Untouchability? Or is it merely an incident in the economic life of the Untouchables? Can we say that the Broken Men to be treated as Untouchables because they ate beef? There need be no hesitation in returning an affirmative answer to this question. No other answer is consistent with facts as we know them.

The-Architect-Of-Modern-IndiaIn the first place, we have the fact that the Untouchables or the main communities which compose them eat the dead cow and those who eat the dead cow are tainted with untouchability and no others. The co-relation between untouchability and the use of the dead cow is so great and so close that the thesis that it is the root of untouchability seems to be incontrovertible. In the second place if there is anything that separates the Untouchables from the Hindus, it is beef-eating. Even a superficial view of the food taboos of the Hindus will show that there are two taboos regarding food which serve as dividing lines. There is one taboo against meat-eating. It divides Hindus into vegetarians and flesh eaters. There is another taboo which is against beef eating. It divides Hindus into those who eat cow’s flesh and those who do not. From the point of view of untouchability the first dividing line is of no importance. But the second is. For it completely marks off the Touchables from the Untouchables. The Touchables whether they are vegetarians or flesh-eaters are united in their objection to eat cow’s flesh. As against them stand the Untouchables who eat cow’s flesh without compunction and as a matter of course and habit.

In this context it is not far-fetched to suggest that those who have a nausea against beef-eating should treat those who eat beef as Untouchables.

There is really no necessity to enter upon any speculation as to whether beef-eating was or was not the principal reason for the rise of Untouchability. This new theory receives support from the Hindu Shastras. The Veda Vyas Smriti contains the following verse which specifies the communities which are included in the category of Antyajas and the reasons why they were so included

L.12-13 “The Charmakars (Cobbler), the Bhatta (Soldier), the Bhilla, the Rajaka (washerman), the Puskara, the Nata (actor), the Vrata, the Meda, the Chandala, the Dasa, the Svapaka, and the Kolika- these are known as Antyajas as well as others who eat cow’s flesh.”

Generally speaking, the Smritikars never care to explain the why and the how of their dogmas. But this case is exception. For in this case, Veda Vyas does explain the cause of untouchability. The clause “as well as others who eat cow’s flesh” is very important. It shows that the Smritikars knew that the origin of untouchability is to be found in the eating of beef. The dictum of Veda Vyas must close the argument. It comes, so to say, straight from the horse’s mouth and what is important is that it is also rational for it accords with facts as we know them.

The new approach in the search for the origin of Untouchability has brought to the surface two sources of the origin of Untouchability. One is the general atmosphere of scorn and contempt spread by the Brahmins against those who were Buddhists and the second is the habit of beef-eating kept on by the Broken Men. As has been said the first circumstance could not be sufficient to account for stigma of Untouchability attaching itself to the Broken Men. For the scorn and contempt for Buddhists spread by the Brahmins was too general and affected all Buddhists and not merely the Broken Men. The reason why Broken Men only became Untouchables was because in addition to being Buddhists they retained their habit of beef-eating which gave additional ground for offence to the Brahmins to carry their new-found love and reverence to the cow to its logical conclusion. We may therefore conclude that the Broken Men were exposed to scorn and contempt on the ground that they were Buddhists, and the main cause of their Untouchability was beef-eating.

The theory of beef-eating as the cause of untouchability also gives rise to many questions. Critics are sure to ask: What is the cause of the nausea which the Hindus have against beef-eating? Were the Hindus always opposed to beef-eating? If not, why did they develop such a nausea against it? Were the Untouchables given to beef-eating from the very start? Why did they not give up beef-eating when it was abandoned by the Hindus? Were the Untouchables always Untouchables? If there was a time when the Untouchables were not Untouchables even though they ate beef why should beef-eating give rise to Untouchability at a later-stage? If the Hindus were eating beef, when did they give it up? If Untouchability is a reflex of the nausea of the Hindus against beef-eating, how long after the Hindus had given up beef-eating did Untouchability come into being?….

DID THE HINDUS NEVER EAT BEEF?

TO the question whether the Hindus ever ate beef, every Touchable Hindu, whether he is a Brahmin or a non-Brahmin, will say ‘no, never’. In a certain sense, he is right. From times no Hindu has eaten beef. If this is all that the Touchable Hindu wants to convey by his answer there need be no quarrel over it. But when the learned Brahmins argue that the Hindus not only never ate beef but they always held the cow to be sacred and were always opposed to the killing of the cow, it is impossible to accept their view.

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Modi Budget: Dalits/Adivasis left out, ‘Sab ka Vikas’ only for corporates


New Delhi: Pursuing unabashedly and openly a pro-corporate policy, the Modi Budget outlines a stark vision of an India that sharply limits budgetary allocations to millions of its poorest and neediest citizens, the Dalits and Adivasis, said the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) – Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan (DAAA).

Also check – Dalits/Adivasis ignored in union budget 2015

Modi Budget: Dalits/Adivasis left out, ‘Sab ka Vikas’ only for corporates

The Budget has severely fallen short on its fiscal promises and takes away 57% per cent of state money meant for welfare schemes for Dalits and Adivasis. “Where are the ‘achhe din,'”asks an agitated aam aurat.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to whip the budget into shape and make the economy fairer for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections, unfortunately, his words have not translated into action,” says NCDHR General Secretary Paul Divakar.

The Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP), the most important budgetary components for Dalits and Tribals initiated in 1979, became necessary as Dalits and Tribals were continuously denied their adequate share of government funds essentially required for their development.

This year, Dalits have been allocated only Rs 30,850 crore, while the allocation is only Rs 19,980 crore for Adivasis. However, as per the SCSP/TSP Guidelines, the SCs should be allocated 16.6% of the Plan Outlay, which amounts to Rs 77,236 crore towards SCSP and the STs should be allocated  8.6% of the Plan Outlay, which amounts to Rs 40,014 crore towards TSP. Dalits, therefore, have been denied a total of 61%  of the due amount under the SCSP, and 53% has been denied to Adivasis under TSP.

When compared to 2014-15 allocations , SCSP allocation was Rs 43,208 crore and TSP allocation was Rs 26,714 crore, this year’s allocation has declined and is anti-SC and anti-ST.

None can deny the truth that Dalits and Adivasis have been the backbone of economic growth through their sheer contribution to  agriculture and infrastructure development in this country. However, it is for all to see that they are paid far below the minimum wage; their health indicators such as infant and maternal mortality rates and the rate of anaemia is very high when compared to the non-SC/ST population.

It is not only ironic but a cruel stroke that the Government instead of protecting them and promoting their development has grossly reduced spending on their welfare. Where is the money going? The answer is not far to seek  – it is going to the corporates with a reduction in corporate tax from 30% to 25%.

From the gender perspective, the Budget spells doom for SC/ST women, as it earmarks practically nothing for them. Out of the total allocation of Rs 30850 crore under the SCSP, the allocation for women specific schemes is a meager sum of Rs 73.70 crore – which amounts to  0.23% only! Are Dalit and Adivasi women not in the gamut of ‘SabkaVikas’? The scenario is much the same when one looks at the Budget allocation under TSP — a paltry sum of Rs 40 crore ie 0.20% only! The only small streak of hope is the allocation of Rs 50 crore for SC Girls’ Hostel! It is also very shocking to note that despite a wave of atrocities against Dalit and Adivasi women, the government turns a blind eye by not earmarking any allocation to Dalit and Adivasi women in the Nirbhaya fund which has an additional fund of Rs 1,000 crore.

This year the allocations have also declined in the education sector (Ministry of Human Resource Development) to Rs 10194.7  crore under the SCSP and Rs 5486.44 crore under TSP. Allocation in the critical Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for SC/STs has been reduced from Rs 1904.78 crore to Rs 1599 crore. Retrogressive allocations are also seen in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meal Scheme and in Higher education for SCs and STs.

The Modi Govt. has really missed the boat to reach out to the Dalits and Adivasis! Though this Budget could have been used to give real relief to struggling families facing assaults, atrocities, discrimination, poor health, lack of education and unemployment, no concrete measure has been taken to improve their condition.

Source – NCDHR

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किसकी चाय बेचता है तू – ब्रजरंजन मणि


किसकी चाय बेचता है तू

~ ब्रजरंजन मणि

अपने को चाय वाला क्यूँ कहता है तू

बात-बात पे नाटक क्यूँ करता है तू

चाय वालों को क्यों बदनाम करता है तू

साफ़ साफ़ बता दे किसकी चाय बेचता है तू !

खून लगाकर अंगूठे पे शहीद कहलाता है

और कॉर्पोरेट माफिया में मसीहा देखता है

अंबानी-अदानी की दलाली से ‘विकास’ करता है

अरे बदमाश, बता दे, किसकी चाय बेचता है तू !

खंड-खंड हिन्दू पाखंड करता है

वर्णाश्रम और जाति पर घमंड करता है

फुले-अंबेडकर-पेरियार से दूर भागता है

अरे ओबीसी शिखंडी, किसकी चाय बेचता है तू !

मस्जिद गिरजा गिराकर देशभक्त बनता है

दंगा-फसाद की तू दाढ़ी-मूछ उगाता है

धर्म के नाम पर बस क़त्ले-आम करता है

अरे हैवान बता तो, किसकी चाय बेचता है तू !

धर्मपत्नी को छोड़ कुंवारा बनता है

फिर दोस्त की बेटी से छेड़खानी करता है

काली टोपी और चड्डी से लाज बचता है

अरे बेशर्म, किसकी चाय बेचता है तू !

काली करतूतों से शर्म नहीं करता है

कोशिश इन्सान बनने की ज़रा नहीं करता है

चाय वालों को मुफ्त में बदनाम करता है

अरे मक्कार अब तो कह दे, किसकी चाय बेचता है तू !

अपने को चाय वाला क्यूँ कहता है तू

बात-बात में नाटक क्यूँ करता है तू

चाय वालों को क्यों बदनाम करता है तू

साफ़ साफ़ बता दे किसकी चाय बेचता है तू !

~

Here’s the English transliteration (and translation) of the poem:

Kiski Chai Bechata Hai Tu (Whose Tea Do You Sell)

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