Tag Archives: Mahad Satyagraha

Poem on Mahad Satyagraha


Mahad Satyagraha Haat

In the motionless alleys

Outside the village gates

You came and thundered

Everyone started

Brushed of the dust and woke up

You walked forward

Holding flaming urn

All the merchants of darkness were fear struck

You kept on walking

With everyone following

You stopped at the bank of the pond

And gave us life …

~~

‘Haat’ in Marathi means ‘hands’.

Poem is written by Arjun Dangle, one of the founding members of the Dalit Panther Party.

Check also – 

Dr Ambedkar Mahad Satyagraha

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Filed under Caste Discrimination, Casteism, Dalit, Dr B R Ambedkar, Equal Rights, Poems

Mahad Satyagraha – Times when Untouchables revolted


[Excerpt from Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s writings ‘Essays on Untouchables and Untouchability’, Chapter 2, titled – ‘The Revolt of the Untouchables]

The movement of the Untouchables against the injustice of the Hindu Social Order has a long history behind it, especially in Maharashtra. This history falls into two stages. The first stage was marked by petitions and protests. The second stage is marked by open revolt in the form of direct action against the Hindu Established Order. This change of attitude was due to two circumstances. In the first place it was due to the realisation that the petitions and protests had failed to move the Hindus. In the second place Governments had declared that all public utilities and public institutions are open to all citizens including the Untouchables. The right to wear any kind of clothes or ornaments are some of the rights which the British Indian Law gives to the Untouchables along with the rest. To these were added the rights to the use of public utilities and institutions, such as wells, schools, buses, trams. Railways, Public offices, etc., were now put beyond the pale of doubt. But owing to the opposition of the Hindus the Untouchables cannot make any use of them. It is to meet the situation, the Untouchables decided to change the methods and to direct action to redress their wrongs. This change took place about 1920.

Read also – 20th March in Dalit History – Mahad Satyagraha

Mahad Satyagraha

Of such attempts at direct action only few can be mentioned so as to give an idea of the revolt of the Untouchables against the Hindu Social Order. Of the attempts made to vindicate the right to use the public roads, it is enough to mention one, most noteworthy attempt in this behalf was that made by the Untouchables of Travencore State in 1924 to obtain the use of the roads which skirted the temple at Vaikorn. These roads were public roads maintained by the State for the use of everybody, but on account of their proximity to the temple building, the Untouchables were not allowed to use certain sections, which skirted the temple too closely. Ultimately as a result of Satyagraha, the temple compound was enlarged and the road was realigned so that there the Untouchables even if they used it were no longer within the polluting distance of the temple.

Watch also – Mahad Satyagraha – A clip from Babasaheb Ambedkar’s movie

Of the attempts made to vindicate the right to take water from the public watering places, it is enough to mention the case of the Chawdar Tank.

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Mahad Satyagraha – A clip from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Movie


20th March is the day of dignity for entire dalits of India. This is the day, we broke the religious boundaries and touched the water. Water was mere reason, it was the fight for self respect, the passion of proving ourselves, the war for water, the struggle for existence, the fire of revolution, and finally we step forward towards our rights on 20th March 1927. Lets celebrate the 82nd anniversary of war of water.

Read also – Mahad Satyagraha – Times when Untouchables revolted

Hindus:

Hindus & Hinduism have a cruel history on the pages of India, they have been practicing the Hindu culture, where kindness was far away from this religion. All Hindus not only Brahmins, but also Maratha, Vaani, Teli, Kunabhi everybody from higher caste used to exploit Dalits (Untouchables).

Ban On Water:

Can you imagine how horrible is that a community was banned to have a drinking water from public lake or dam. My God! It was bloody behaviour of all Hindus (Not only Brahmins) to banned the Dalits from drinking water. These Hindus used to go for bathing, laundry, washing in the lake water, but Dalits were not allowed to take a drinking water from any lake, well, or any public water source. This is not the story of couple of days or centuries, this is the story of millions of years. Still you can see the same situation in rural area of India, the Komati Samaaj staying in Sironcha, they still follow this kind of belief.

Read also – 20th March in Dalit History – Mahad Satyagraha

Statue of DR. B.R. Ambedkar at Chavdar Tale Mahad

Statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar at Chavdar Tale Mahad

Chavdar Tale (Tasty Lake):

March 20, 1927 the day Dalits finally touched the water of Chavdar Tale with the association of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at Mahad in the Raigad district of the Konkan region of Maharashtra. The main organizer of this movement was R B More, introduced Dr. Ambedkar and his other colleagues like Anantrao Chitre, Bapu Sahasrabuddhe and Sitaram Shivtarkar. On 19th March 1927 Dr. Ambedkar gave an erupting kind of speech. People just went with electrifying energy and flame out with the intention to throw out the slavery of thousands of year. On the next day 20th March 1927 In this satyagraha, thousands of Dalits for the first time drank water from the lake that for centuries had been set aside only for caste Hindus.

Purification of Chavdar Tale (Tasty Lake) :

After the water of lake was drank by Dalits, all Hindus from entire India raised the voice against Dr. Ambedkar and even many Hindus threatened him to kill. The Hindus came to foolish conclusion that the water of Chavdar lake had been polluted by the touch of Dalits. They threw the water purification program, and you will be shock by hearing that ‘Urine of Cow had been drizzled in the entire water to purify the water of lake’

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20th March in Dalit History – Mahad Satyagraha


Mahad Satyagraha was a satyagraha led by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on 20 March 1927 to allow untouchables to use water in a public tank in Mahad (currently in Kolba district), Maharasthra, India. The day (20 March) observed as Social Empowerment day in India.

Check also – Mahad Satyagraha – A clip from Babasaheb Ambedkar’s movie [Video]

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Eighty eight years ago, on March 20, 1927, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar led the Mahad satyagraha – for drinking water from the Cavdar tank at Mahad.  This was the “foundational struggle” of the dalit movement, a movement for water – and for caste annihilation.

Read also – Mahad Satyagraha – Times when Untouchables revolted

In his statement at the time, Dr. Ambedkar put the movement in the broadest possible context.  Why do we fight, he asked.  It is not simply for drinking water; drinking the water will not give us very much.  It is not even a matter of only of our human rights, though we fight to establish the right to drink water.  But our goal is no less than that of the French Revolution.  This was fought for the reconstruction of society, for the eradication of the old society based on feudal inequality and the establishment of a new society based on liberty, equality and fraternity.  Similarly, we want to end the old inhuman caste society based on inequality and reconstruct the world, reconstruct society on the basis of liberty, equality and fraternity.  This is our goal!

And so dalits went to drink the water at Mahad.  They were met with ferocious repression: at attack by caste Hindus followed.  The dalits retreated, came back several months later on December 25 for a renewed struggle, and since the collector had given an injunction against any further  attempt, Ambedkar decided to honor this and instead burned the Manusmriti.  A fitting climax to the first battle of dalit liberation! (Source – Gail Omvedt’s Blog)

Flyer published before Mahad Satyagraha in 1927

Flyer published before Mahad Satyagraha in 1927

mahad chavdar tal satyagrah-dr bhimrao ramji ambedkar

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