There have been so many debates on Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan.But to which extent it is working? And what is the situation of the people who actually clean India? This episode follows the story of Kiran bhai, who is fighting for the rights of scavengers. He himself has worked as a sweeper and understands the pain and plight of the scavengers personally. Know more about him and the situation of the scavengers of the region in which Kiran bhai is working.
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.
We 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.
Dr. Ambedkar’s Perspective on Restructuring Indian Nation in the context of Dalit Question
Written by – Sukhadeo Thorat
The Caste System in its classical form is an unique institution of social governance of the Hindu society. It is based on some specific principles and rules which make it an unique one. Foremost of them is that it involve a division of persons in various social groups called castes The division is created and maintained through institution of endogamy. The duties and the rights, (civil, cultural/religious, political and economic) are assigned to each of these castes by birth in advanced but in an unequal manner . The duties and rights are thus pre-determined by birth in to the specific caste and are hereditary ,not subject to change by deeds of the individuals . The social position or standing of each caste is hierarchically arranged , in the sense that the rights gets reduced in descending order, that is , from the Brahmin( who are located at the top of hierarchy) to the untouchable ,who are placed at the bottom of the caste hierarchy .The caste are hierarchically arranged in a manner that they are interlinked with each other such that rights and privileges of the high castes become the disabilities of the lower castes .In this sense caste does not exist in single number but only in plural , and interlinked (or made interdependent) with each in an unequal measure of relationship. Therefore one has to look at castes as “system” and not caste as single entity in isolation. Another distinguish feature of this system is that it laid down a systematic machanism for enforcement in the form of social and economic ostracism involving penalties and punishments against the violation of the system in practice. But above all the system is sanctified and supported, directly or indirectly by the philosophical elements in Hindu religion. Therefore for generality of Hindus the caste system is religiously sanctified institution to be practice as system of divine creation and matter of religious faith. It is this religious foundation and sanctity, which provide enduring strength and stubbiness to the institution of caste (Lal Deepak, 1984, Ambedkar 1936 and 1987 )
5 February 1988: Massive counter demonstration of Dalits to pin the Government of Maharashtra to publish the “Riddles in Hinduism”
With the death centenary of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and the birth centenary ofDr. Babasaheb Ambedkar due in 1990-91, the state government of Maharashtra had begun the project of publishing the complete works of both. As part of this project, it brought out a volume that contained Dr. Ambedkar’s hitherto unpublished work, “Riddles in Hinduism” (volume no 4) in October 1987. In this, he made a rational and dispassionate analysis, from the standpoint of social justice, of the life stories of Hindu deities. The work also had a section (appendix 1) which was called “the Riddle of Ram and Krishna”.
The Shiv Sena party in Mahatashtra pounced on “Riddles”, branded it as an intolerable insult to Hindu religion and Hindu deities and demanded a ban on its publication. It held a huge demonstration in Mumbai on 15 January 1988 and began disturbances all over the state, abusing Dr. Ambedkar and widening caste-communal divisions. It was only after an even larger counter-demonstration by all Dalit groups that was led by Prakash Ambedkar (grandson of Dr. Amebdkar) on 5 February 1988 that the publication could further proceed with a note from Government that it does not concur with the views expressed in the chapter on Ram and Krishna.
It is worthy to note that as per Nanak Chand Rattu, Dr. Ambedkar had planned to write a separate book on “Riddle of Rama and Krishna”. Compilation of material under different headings in the form of rough notes, written in small note books and loose sheets, some typed extracts, markings and references put together in file covers and paper bags, under different headings, indicated his ambition to bring out the following books one after the other – (i) Buddha and His Dhamma, (ii) Buddha and Karl Marx, (iii) Revolution and Counter-revolution in Ancient India, (iv) Riddles in Hinduism, (v) Riddle of Rama and Krishna, (vi) Riddle of Trimurti and (vii) Riddle of Woman.