Tag Archives: Dalit History Matters

30th May (1936) in Dalit History – Bombay Presidency Conversion Conference


Bombay Presidency Conversion Conference was held on 30th May 1936.

Bombay Presidency Conversion Conference (Mumbai Elaka Mahar Panshad) of Mahars was held at Naigaum (Dadar) to sound their opinion on the issue of Conversion. Mr. Subha Rao, popularly known as Hydrabadi Ambedkar, presided over the Conference. In the morning the Ascetics shaved their beards, mustaches and destroyed their symbols of Hinduism in an Ascetic’s Conference.

Say No To Hindu Temples

Say No To Hindu Temples

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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.

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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.

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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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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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Dalit History Month – Remembering Jogendra Nath Mandal


Today in ‪‎Dalit History‬ we focus on the powerful legacy of freedom fighter Jogendra Nath Mandal. His crucial role in the founding of India and Pakistan came from his strategic position as the significant Namashudra leader of United Bengal.

As the Indian subcontinent was moving towards independence, Dr. B.R Ambedkar and the Congress Party of India clashed bitterly over the rights and representation of scheduled castes. Ambedkar was an unyielding critic of the Congress party’s positions on many issues, which he believed were not in the interest of the scheduled castes. Thus when members were being elected to the Indian Constituent Assembly, the Congress party in Bombay saw to it that Dr. Ambedkar was not elected. However, Jogendra Nath Mandal, who had been nominated from Jaisur and Kulna (undivided Bengal), sacrificed his seat to Dr. Ambedkar so that he could become part of the 296 member constituent Assembly. In doing so, Mandal ensured there was at least one Dalit present in the drafting committee of the Indian constitution.

Jogendra Nath Mandal

Jogendra Nath Mandal

As a leader of the Namashudras, Mandal found common cause with the Muslim League, in their demand for Pakistan. His reasons were, “First the economic interests of Muslims in Bengal were generally identical with those of the Scheduled Castes…and secondly that the Scheduled Castes and the Muslims were both educationally backward.” He hoped that in Pakistan, Dalits would be equal, as freedom from the oppression of Caste Hindu landlords and moneylenders would cease. For M.A. Jinnah, the 1st leader of ‘Pakistan’ had assured them freedom to practice any religion; In his speech of August 11, 1947 he said, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State.” Thus on August 15,1947 Mandal became a member and a temporary chairman of Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly, and agreed to serve as the Minister for Law and Labour. He also served as the second minister of commonwealth and Kashmir affairs.

Sadly, his time in Pakistan was not peaceful as he could not stop the increasing violence against Dalits in the country. First, his demand to have two more Dalit members as ministers was also ignored by Liaquat Ali Khan, then Prime minister of Pakistan. Second, he countered the proposed Objectives Resolution that defined Pakistan, an Islamic state, which disregarded the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. Later in October 1950, he resigned and went to Calcutta (now Kolkata) in independent India.

Mandal later tried to enter the Indian political sphere in 1967 but failed in his attempt as he was one of the founding members of Pakistan. He contested in the Barasat constituency in the year 1967 and was defeated. Jogendra Nath Mandal died on 5 October 1968 at the age of 64 years in Bangaon in the state of West Bengal, India.

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Al Jazeera Show on Dalit History Month – India’s ‘untouchables’ reclaim the past


In case you missed last night Al Jazeera Show on India’s untouchables reclaiming the past with Dalit History Month, here is the recording of the same. Please watch and share it with your friends.

Comments from the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Caravan was also shown in the show. Here is the snapshot of the comment.

Comment on Al Jazeera Show

Comment on Al Jazeera Show

 

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22nd April in Dalit History – Death anniversary of Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia – Founder of Ad-Dharmi Movement


Mangoo Ram was born on January 14, 1886 , in village Mugowal, Hoshiarpur district, where this father,Harman Dass, had left the traditional Chamar caste occupation of training and preparing hides and attempting to sell tanned hides commercially. Mangoo Ram’s mother, Atri, died when Mangoo Ram was three, so the father began to depend heavily on his sons – Mangoo and an older and a younger brother for assistance. Because the leather trade required some facility in English, Mangoo Ram’s father was forced to rely on literate members of upper castes to read sales orders and other instructions to him. In payment for their reading instructions for an hour, he would have to do a day of crude labour. For that reason, Mangoo Ram’s father was eager to have his son receive an early education.

When Mangoo Ram was seven, he was taught by a village Sadhu (Saint) and soon after attended a variety of schools in the Mugowal area (Tehsil Mahilpur of district Hoshiarpur). He also attended school in a village near Dehra Dun , where his older brother has settled. In most of the schools, Mangoo Ram was the only Scheduled Caste student. He sat at the back of the class, or even in a separate room, and listed through the open door. When he attended high school in Bajwara, he was forced to stay outside the building and listen to the classes through the windows. Once when he came inside during a heaving hailstorm, the Braham teacher beat him and put all the classroom furniture, which he had “polluted” by his presence, outside in the rain to be literally and ritually washed clean. Nonetheless, Mangoo Ram was a good student: he placed third in his class in primary school. But whereas the other good students were encouraged to become patwaris (village record-keeper) or to seek higher education, Mango Ram was encouraged to leave school and help his father at a more proper “Chamar task”. In 1905, he did quit school; he married, and for three years helped his father develop their leather trade into a thriving business.

Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia

Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia

In 1909 America as in the air. Scores of upper caste farmers from Mangoo Ram’s area of Hoshiarpur had gone to the United States , and those who had not gone were talking about it. Mangoo Ram decided to go also. He persuaded his father that it would be good for the business – he would send money back from America – and his father responded by giving him some savings from the family business. Amid assurances from some of the local Zamindars (“landowners”) and two Chamar friends set off for the new world.2

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Dalit History Month – Inspirational Living Smile Vidya


Today in Dalit History we honor the inspirational Living Smile Vidya. An activist, actress and author, Living Smile Vidya has transformed trans politics in India through the fearlessness of her work in all of her creative mediums.

Born into an Arunthathiyar community, Living Smile Vidya writes poignantly of her journey to be recognized as a woman in her breakthrough biography “I am Vidya”, India’s first transgender autobiography. The book outlines her struggles with gender realization as a transwoman in her teenage years, her traumatic gender reassignment surgery, and her turbulent journey with her family. Originally written in Tamil it has now been translated into English, Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi and is taught in colleges throughout South India. In addition to the book, a critically-acclaimed Kannada film, “Naanu Avanalla, Avalu (I am not he, I am her)” adapted her story and has won mwon 2 National Awards and a Sahitya Acakemi Award.

Smile Vidya

Beyond her writing, Living Smile Vidya is also an accomplished actress. She was the first full-time trans theatre actress, and her acting to date includes 20 performances with 9 eminent theatre directors. She also made the leap from theater to film acting in short films and documentaries. Her performances have tackled the changing face of masculinity and the ongoing exploitation of Dalit women, while addressing humanity and peace in relation to gender and political space. For her substantial body of performance work, the British Council for excellence in Theatre awarded her the Charles Wallace India Trust scholarship in 2013.

The tcenter of her creativity though is her activism. Living Smile Vidya through her own painful experience, speaks out against the violence that occurs to her community when trans people are stigmatized and forced to beg or do sex work to survive. She fought that sentence; and was one of the first trans people to work in a professional setting as a banker. With this win, she continued to fight for the recognition of her community by being the first trans person to have her chosen gender identity reflected in her passport.

Living Smile Vidya continues to fight for trans affirmative action that reflects the intersectionality of their identities under caste patriarchy. She asserts that the unique trauma of growing up a trans creates an emotional, social and economic space that must be addressed on its own. This is a new frontier for her activism; as she was one of the five transgender people, who, last November, had approached the Madras High Court demanding a 3% reservation under a new category, mirroring those for people with disabilities. She asserts that affirmative action is vital to this journey: “When parents see a transgender child, they think of begging or sex work as their future. How will they accept their own children if these are their only options?”

To her leadership, courage, beauty, and a powerful truth, we salute Living Smile Vidya! Jai Bhim!

Please share the information with your friends. Follow the Dalit History Month on Facebook from here and check www.dalithistory.com

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Dalit History Month – Remembering Dalit Women’s Declaration


Today, in Dalit History we explore the Dalit Women’s Declaration at the Hague. In March 2006, After international advocacy that began as early as 1996, over 200 gathered at the historic Hague Conference on Dalit Women’s Rights, which led to the drafting of the Hague Declaration on Human Rights and Dignity of Dalit Women.This gathering was led by Dalit women’s organizations and was a clarion call to action to the international community.

Dalit Women’s Declaration at the Hague

Dalit Women’s Declaration at the Hague

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Dalit women are one of the largest socially segregated groups in the world and make up more than 2% of the world’s population. In addition to their poverty is the grief of caste-based sexual violence, and the harrowing reality is that over 67% of Dalit women have faced some form of sexual violence.

This declaration was a watershed moment; for the conference brought Dalit Women leaders from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka to give testimonies of violence and exclusion. More importantly, the delegates developed a key advocacy and strategic declaration aimed at being the blueprint for the next phase of the Dalit Women’s Movement.

This included a plan of action to incorporate Dalit women’s issues into several UN documents including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as well as the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Check Also – Dalit History Month – Jhalkari Bai – A Legendary Dalit Woman Warrior

The Hague declaration also called on South Asian governments to fully support Dalit Women in their assertion, and to ensure Dalit women and girls were brought on par with the general population in terms of overall development within a period of 5 years. And beyond implementing the rule of law, to end the culture of impunity. Finally, the Declaration also called upon the international community to undertake and support this in possible measure.This blueprint compelling vision is still relevant today and is a snapshot of history into the rise of the international Dalit women’s movement.

Read the declaration and the report here.

Please share the information with your friends. Follow the Dalit History Month on Facebook from here and check www.dalithistory.com

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