Tag Archives: Dalit Women Fights

21st April (2010) in Dalit History – Mirchpur Dalits Killings


A perpetual war is going on every-day in every village between the Hindus and the Untouchables. —Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

Mirchpur, a village in district Hissar of Haryana. On the morning of 21 April, 2010, 18 Dalit homes were torched and 2 Dalits—17-year old Suman and her 60-year old father Tara Chand—were burnt alive. It was pre-planned attack on the Dalits by Jat community and police didn’t help Dalits at all. Khap panchayats supported Jats that led Dalits to leave the villages.

Mirchpur Dalits Killings

Mirchpur Dalits Killings

On 24th September, 2011 Delhi court held only 15 of the 97 people guilty of various criminal acts. It is shameful that rest of the people got away without any punishment. Justice was denied to Dalits once again.

Read more about the incident from here, here and here.

Watch a short documentary on the same incident.

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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!

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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.

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Dalit History Month – Remembering Shantabai Krishnaji Kamble


Today’s #DalitHistory month we honor Shantabai Krishnaji Kamble, a Dalit woman writer and teacher. Autobiography is a key form of Dalit literature as we were locked out of many of our larger cultural texts. Through autobiography we could find the mirrors that would represent our struggles and find meaning in the pursuit of our selfhood. Shantabai through her work helped us understand the journey of what it was to be educated and self-realized as a leader and a teacher.

Shantabai Krishnaji Kamble

Shantabai Krishnaji Kamble

Born in Mahud Budruk of Solapur district. Her parents were poor but wanted her to be educated for they believed education would bring changes in the lives of Dalits. She pursued her education to the fullest but faced harsh discrimination. In the third grade, her teacher made her and the other Dalit students sit outside the class and not allow them to touch him. Upset at this discrimination she wondered what could be so wrong that two humans could not touch. Through her diligence she fought to complete her schooling to become a teacher at the Women’s College in Pune.

Her teaching efforts became part of her activism as she and her husband joined Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s movement. Her memories of the growing Dalit resistance moved her deeply. She drew inspiration from her meeting with Ambedkar in 1942.This led in 1957 to both Shantabai and her husband to join seven other villages to convert to Buddhism. At her ceremony she reflected “We began to live as human beings only having embraced Buddhism.”

After her retirement she penned her seminal autobiography Mazhya ]alamachi Chittarkatha/The Kaleidoscopic Story of My life which was serialized in a magazine in 1983 and is considered the first autobiographical narrative by a Dalit woman writer. It was later teleserialized as “Najuka” on Mumbai Doordarshan in 1990. and has also been translated into French and English.

In remembering her work we close with her book’s dedication “To my Aaye-Appa (mother and father) who worked the entire day in the hot glaring sun, hungry and without water, and through the drudgery of labour, with hunger pinching their stomach, educated me and brought me from darkness into light.” So too did Shantabai bring Dalit women’s writing from darkness to light.

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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5th April in Dalit History – Death anniversary of Jhalkari Bai


5th April in Dalit History – Death anniversary of Jhalkari Bai

Jhalkari Bai

Jhalkari Bai

Also Read – Jhalkari Bai – A legendary Dalit Woman Warrior 

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Jhalkari Bai – A Legendary Dalit Woman Warrior


Our first Dalit History month post is about the legendary Jhalkari Bai. She was a legendary Dalit woman warrior who played a crucial role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 during the battle of Jhansi in the women’s army of Queen Laxmibai of Jhansi.

Jhalkari Bai

Jhalkari Bai

Born into a poor Dalit family, she started her career as an ordinary soldier and eventually rose to be the Queen’s trusted advisor. At the height of the battle she disguised herself as the queen and fought to let the queen escape safely out of the fort.

As she led her brave cadre of women into the British camp, she challenged even the General of the British Forces. His reply on meeting her: “If even one per cent of Indian women were like Jhalkari; the British would soon have to leave India.”

Her story lives on in Bundelkhand region of India and inspires Dalit women everywhere!

Read more about Dalit History Month from http://www.dalithistory.com 

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13th March in Dalit History – All India Samta Sainik Dal (Soldiers For Equality) Foundation Day – March 13, 1927


13th March in Dalit History – All India Samta Sainik Dal (Soldiers For Equality) Foundation Day – March 13th, 1927

The core principle of All India Samta Sainik Dal is to establish the “Equality” among the masses of Indian society by annihilating the evil caste system. This is an independent and non-political organization started by Bodhisattva Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

Get a PDF book regarding Aims, Objectives and Mission of SSD from here.

Few rare photos/documents related to SSD.

 

Dr. Ambedkar with SSD

Dr. Ambedkar with SSD

 

Dr. Ambedkar with SSD

Dr. Ambedkar with SSD

 

Dr. Ambedkar with SSD

Dr. Ambedkar with SSD

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