Bant Singh is a lower caste Mazhabi, Sikh labourer and singer from the Jhabhar village in Mansa district, Punjab, India, who has emerged as an agricultural labour activist, fighting against the power of the landowner. Described by Amit Sengupta as “an icon of Dalit resistance he has been active in organizing poor, agricultural workers, activism that continues despite a 2006 attack that cost him both of his lower arms and his left leg.”
After his minor daughter was raped by some powerful men in 2000, he dared take them to court, an unusual occurrence when a Dalit is raped by a non-Dalit, braving threats of violence and attempted bribes. The trial culminated in life sentences for three of the culprits in 2004, “the first time that a Dalit from the region who had complained against upper-caste violence had managed to secure a conviction.”
On the evening of 7 January 2006 Bant Singh was returning home through some wheat fields. He had just been campaigning for a national agricultural labour rally to be held in Andhra Pradesh in January. He was suddenly waylaid by a gang of seven men, suspected to be sent by Jaswant and Niranjan Singh, the current and former headmen of his village who have links with the Indian National Congress party. One of them brandished a revolver to prevent any resistance while the other six set upon him with iron rods and axes beating him to pulp.
He was left for dead, and a phone call was made to Beant Singh, a leading man in Jhabhar, to pick up the dead body. However, Bant Singh was alive, though barely.
Source – Wikipedia and Chords of Justice
Caste Based Reservation in India started in 2nd Century BC. In Manusmriti – the law book of Brahmins all the laws were based on Caste and no Merit was ever considered. It divided people into High and Low Castes on the basis of their birth and not on the basis of Merit. Wealth, Political power, Spiritual leadership, Education, Ownership of Land, Trade and all lucrative aspects were reserved purely to the higher castes.
The History of Reservation
It’s a high time when all of us stay updated with all the news which the mainstream media doesn’t disclose. We as an awareness creating platform & alternative Media are about to set a campaign to spread awareness among large masses regarding the protests which are going to be held at Delhi Jantar Mantar from 25th April 2015 to 27th April 2015. These protests are to free the Mahabodhi Maha vihara which is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage center with 2,500 years of history, from the Hindu authorities. Lord Buddha TV has launched its biggest protest for setting Mahabodhi Maha vihara free from the controls of Hindu authorities. Peaceful protests will be carried out at Jantar Mantar to demand the most significant Buddhist pilgrimage into the hands of Indian Buddhist authorities.
False history has been propagated by the Hindu authorities to the masses and the tourists out of one being the theory of The Buddha being the reincarnation of Vishnu. These protests had been carried out for years but has not resulted into justice to the Indian Buddhists. We request you to stay updated with Lord Buddha TV and participate in the protests.
If you can raise your voices for Net neutrality & Corruption free India Campaigns, why can’t you raise your voice to demand justice for the Indian Buddhists.
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Today in Dalit History we honor Ayyankali, the Dalit firebrand in Kerala who fought Caste apartheid through innovation and resistance that inspires even till today. A contemporary of Ambedkar he was born into the Pulaya community in Thiruvananthapuram. He burned with the injustices his community faced. Dalits were landless and exploited, punished for crossing into caste hindu areas, and both men and women were targets of violence forced to into draconian states of undress.
In the face of this violence Ayyankali took it as his life mission to challenge every form of Caste discrimination. His rebellion began with an ox-cart. Ayyankali dared to break the Caste restrictions by riding on the public road while also wearing caste hindu clothes. Though attacked by the Upper Castes, his bold move launched the Southern Kerala movement for Dalit Rights that eventually won in 1900 the right for Dalits to walk along the public roads.
Ayyankali went further and launched the first schools for Dalits with Dalit teachers. Though the school was destroyed by upper caste thugs, this educational revolution could not be stopped. In 1907 the Travancore government passed an order mandating that all Dalit children be admitted into the schools. Despite this law, Upper Castes blocked its implementation to which Ayyankali led a statewide Dalit strike.
Through much difficulty the strike held and the battle for education extended to Dalit rights as exploitative landlords started whipping workers who dared to wear clothing and who also protested the landlords’ sexual exploitation of Dalit women. The outraged landlords started setting the homes of workers on fire. Ayyankali responded by setting the landlord houses on fire. Stricken with fear, never knowing when they might be attacked, the landlords sued for peace.
Through this and all his efforts he constantly faced terrible violence and a state that abetted caste perpetrators. He often did not hesitate to retaliate with violence seeing it as a form of raw protest of the oppressed. He even banded together teams of brave Dalit men and women and organized martial arts training for them. This group became the “Ayyankali Pada” (Ayyankali’s Army). With the failure of the state implementing the rule of law for all, he then established his own people’s courts, including a supreme court!
Finally, he took on the Caste apartheid dress code for Dalit women where Caste hindus insisted Dalit women could not cover their upper bodies. His challenge overturned this measure in 1916 and sent a message that the upper caste sexual exploitation of Dalit communities was unacceptable.
To his enduring spirit of rebellion we salute Ayyankali! JaiBhim!
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Dalit Global Conference on Defending Dalit Rights – March 19-21, 2015 – Trinity Washington University in NE Washington, DC (USA). Several notable activists and thought leaders in the realm of human rights, including Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Dr. Cornel West, are declaring solidarity with Dalits, and helping bring greater attention to their plight by participating with the conference and call-to-action event planned for Saturday, March 21 at 12noon in front of the White House.
PRESS RELEASE: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12560019.htm
REGISTER HERE: http://bit.ly/1yfIdad
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Presented by International Commission for Dalit Rights and Global Conference Organizing Committee
To celebrate Women’s Day without recognizing the contribution of Dr. Ambedkar, Savitribai Phule, and Mahatma Jotiba Phule is hypocrisy and shameful act. Here are few of the highlights of work done by Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule for women empowerment.
Also read – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and International Women’s Day
Mahatma Jyotiba Phule
- On 1st Jan. 1848, India’s first school for girls was started at Bhide’s wada in Pune by Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule.
- On 28 January 1853: First ever infanticide prohibition home of India was started by Savitribai Phule.
- Savitribai Phule started Mahila Seva Mandal in 1852, which worked for raising women’s consciousness about their human rights, dignity of life and other social issues. She went on to organise a successful barbers strike in Mumbai and Pune against the prevailing practice of shaving of widows’ heads.
Bhidewada, where India’s first school for girls was started by Savitribai Phule and Mahatma Jotiba Phule
- On 28 January 1866, Vishnushastri, inspired by Phule’s movement opened an institution to promote widow remarriage. The institution (a society) was known as Punar Vivahtojak Mandal(remarriage association).
- At a time when even the shadow of untouchables was considered impure, when the people were unwilling to offer water to thirsty untouchables, Savitribai Phule and Mahatma Jotiba Phule opened the well in their house for the use of untouchables.
Read also – Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s fight for women’s rights
- Savitribai Phule was the first Dalit woman, in-fact the first woman whose poems got noticed in the British Empire. Savitribai Phule was the mother of modern poetry stressing necessity of English and education through her poems.
- Did you know? On 16th Nov. 1852, Phule family was honoured by British government for their works in the field of education and Savtribai was declared as the best teacher.
- In 1863, first ever orphanage home was started by Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule, hence gave protection to pregnant widows.
Read also – Book Review of “A Forgotten Liberator : The Life and Struggle of Savitribai Phule”
Not many people know that Dr. Ambedkar always worked hard to uplift the situation of women in Indian society. Here are few of the less known quote/ideas/thoughts/work from Dr. Ambedkar on women empowerment. To celebrate Women’s Day without recognizing the contribution of Dr. Ambedkar, Savitribai Phule, and Mahatma Jotiba Phule is hypocrisy and shameful act.
- Newspapers started by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Mooknayak and Bahiskrit Bharat predominantly used to cover issues related to women and their empowerment.
- Dr. Ambedkar was always concerned about women empowerment. In a letter to his father’s friend, young Dr. Ambedkar, during his studies at New York, said – We shall see better days soon and our progress will be greatly accelerated if male education is persuaded side by side with female education…”
- On 18th July 1927, Dr. Ambedkar addressed a meeting of about three thousand women of Depressed classes, he said ‘I measure the progress of community by the degree of progress which women had achieved.’
Check also – Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s fight for women’s rights
- Never regard yourself as Untouchables, live a clean life. Dress yourselves as touchable ladies. Never mind, if your dress if full of patches, but see that it is clean. None can restrict your freedom in the choice of your garments. Attend more to the cultivation of the mind and spirit of self-Help. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (While addressing women of Depressed classes on 18th July 1927)
- Send your children to schools. Education is as necessary for Females as it is for males. If you know how to read and write, there would be much progress. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (While addressing women of Depressed classes on 18th July 1927)
- Dr. Ambedkar said to Women “Learn to be clean. Keep from vices. Give education to your children. Instill ambition into them. Inculcate in their minds that they are destined to be great. Remove from them all inferiority complexes.”
- Dr. Ambedkar said to Women – The paternal duty lies in giving each child a better start than its parents had. Above all, let every girl who marries stand by her husband, claim to be her husband’s friend and equal, and refuse to his slave. I am sure if you follow this advice, you will bring honour and glory to yourselves.
- Dr. Ambedkar raised the Women’s issue as Member of Legislative Council during his debate in Bombay Legislative Assembly on 10th Nov. 1938; he strongly advocated family planning measures and said that besides many other problems giving birth to many children negatively affects Mother’s health.
- Did you know? Maternity Benefit Bill was introduced by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in 1942, during his tenure as Labour Minister in Governor General’s Executive Council.
- While drafting the constitution of India, Dr. Ambedkar was the prime movers of the provisions related to the welfare of women. On the question of civil rights, Dr. Ambedkar made provisions in articles 14-16 in the Indian Constitution, which provide equal status to Woman and also banned the of sale and purchase of woman prevailing Hindu India.
- Dr. Ambedkar also introduced an emancipatory bill (the Hindu code Bill) in Parliament which intended mainly 1) to abolish different marriage systems prevalent among Hindus and to establish monogamy as the only legal system; 2) Conferment of right to property and adoption on women; 3) restitution of conjugal rights and judicial separation; attempts to unify the Hindu Code in tune with progressive and modern thought.
- Did you know? Dr. Ambedkar created awareness among poor, illiterate women and inspired them to fight against the unjust and social practices like child marriages and devdasi system.
- How many Indian ministers have resigned over women issues?
Read also – Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule’s contribution towards women empowerment
- Did you know? In January 1928, a women‟s association was founded in Bombay with Ramabai, Dr. Ambedkar‟s wife, as its president.
- Did you know? Dr. Ambedkar believed in the strength of women and their role in the process of social reform. In the Kalram Temple entry Satyagraha at Nasik in 1930, five hundred women participated and many of them were arrested along with men and ill treated in jails.
- Did you know? Dr. Ambedkar believed in the strength of women and their role in the process of social reform. The historic Mahad Satyagraha witnessed participation of three hundred women along with their male counterparts.
- I strongly believe in the movements run by women. If they are truly taken in to confidence, they may change the present picture of society which is very miserable. In past, they have played a significant role in improving the condition of weaker section and classes.
- “Unity is meaningless without the accompaniment of women. Education is fruitless without educated women, and agitation is incomplete without the strength of women”.
- In January 1928, a women’s association was founded in Bombay with Ramabai, Ambedkar’s wife, as its president.
- On 20th July 1942, The All India Dalit Mahila conference was organized and 25,000 women attended that conference.
- Gaining inspiration and encouragement from Dr. Ambedkar, many women wrote on topics like Planning, Buddhist philosophy and such other topics. Women also wrote plays, autobiographies, and participated in Satyagrahas. Tulsabai Bansode started a newspaper Chokhamela. This showed how Dr. Ambedkar created awareness among poor, illiterate women and inspired them to fight against the unjust social practices like child marriages and devdasi system.