Tag Archives: MookNayak

Newspapers started by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar


Newspapers started by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar – Mooknayak (Mute Hero – 1920), Bahishkrut Bharat (India Ostracized – 1927), Janata (Masses – 1930) and Prabudhha Bharat (An Awakened India – 1956).

Newspapers

 

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26th June (1927) in Dalit History – Bahishkrit Bharat newspaper announcement


26 June 1927 in Dalit History: Bahishkrit Bharat newspaper announced that those members of the Depressed classes who wanted to wash out the stigma of polluters of Mahad water tank (called Chowdar tank) and who wanted to denounce assaults on their representatives should enlist themselves at office of Bahishkrit Hitakarni Sabha in Bombay[1] (present Mumbai)

This was the time of post-Mahad agitation for the right of drinking water from a public source. Following the agitation on 20 March 1927, the orthodox, reactionary Hindus at Mahad, purified the ‘Chowdar Tank’ using a mixture of cow-dung, cow-urine, curd and water in 108 earthern pots dipped in the tank in the midst of air-rendering Mantras uttered by Brahmin priests. The orthodox Hindu is a strange fossil of humanity. To him blind irrational tradition is greater than truth. Time and tide have no effect upon his mind !

The news of the so-called purification of the Chowdar Tank lacerated the hearts of the Depressed Classes, and so deep was the on Dr. Ambedkar’s heart that he was indignant and decided to launch a satyagraha struggle for the vindication of his people’s rights. Some feared that this ‘impatient’ remedy was worse than the disease. Dr. Ambedkar, in a mood of righteous indignation, replied that mere spread of education and exposition of the scriptures would not be able to root out that age-long disease. The disease, he said, was deep-rooted and merely dressing it with bandages of knowledge or ingenious schemes would not cure it. Deadly diseases required drastic remedies.

The non-Brahmin leaders of Maharashtra, Javalkar and Jedhe, declared their whole-hearted support for the proposed struggle on condition that all the Brahmins should be weeded out from it, that the struggle should be non-violent and that it should be staged on a mass scale after convening a conference at Mahad in this connection. Dr. Ambedkar replied that the view that all Brahmins were the enemies of the Untouchables was erroneous. What he hated was the men who were possessed with the spirit of Brahminism – the idea of high-caste and low-caste – which implanted the idea of pollution and inequality. He said that a non-Brahmin filled with such ideas of highness and lowness, was as repellent to him as a Brahmin free from this spirit and sense of these privileges and unjust power, was welcome to him.

Accordingly, it was announced on 26 June 1927 in Bahishkrit Bharat newspaper that those members of the Depressed classes who wanted to wash out the stigma of polluters attached to their whole class by the Mahad hindus by their act of purification of the tank, and who wanted to denounce the act of assaults committed on their representatives should enlist themselves at office of Bahishkrit Hitakarni Sabha in Bombay (presently Mumbai). It was declared that the satyagraha struggle was to be launched under the auspices of the said institution.

In case you missed previous days’ Dalit-History posts, check these –

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6th May in Dalit History – Death anniversary of Shahu Maharaj – A Bahujan Revolutionary


Sahuji Maharaj

Sahuji Maharaj

The Bahujan Samaj owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Bahujan Revolutionary CHHATRAPATI SHAHU MAHARAJ who was the ruler of Kolhapur state in Maharashtra from 1884 to 1922. He was born on 26/6/1874. Maharaj of Kolhapur wanted to exterminate the stifling and strangulating structures of caste system and untouchability which are the immoral institutions created by the brahminical class. By undertaking the responsibilities of the “Satya Sodhak Samaj movement” which was started by RASTRAPITHA JOTIBA PHULE, Shahu Maharaj toiled untiringly to uplift the Bahujan Samaj. He cautioned the Bahujan Samaj by showing the flagrant injustice happened to them by the despotic rule carried by the brahminical gluttons who seized hegemony in every sphere. Shahu Maharaj proposed communal representation and he viewed it as one of the weapon of liberation for the Bahujan Samaj. Writing to Lord Sydenham, Ex- Governor of Bombay in 1918, he said “the principle that majorities have no need of separate representation doesn’t hold good in a province where a selfish minority is likely to get the power, which is sure to be used to hold the majority (Bahujan Samaj) in perpetual vassalage.” Shahu Maharaj instigated many programs in order to liberate the Bahujan Samaj from the cloak of brahminical hegemony. The programs are as follows:

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4th February in Dalit History – Dr. Ambedkar met Gandhi in Yervada Jail


04 Feb 1889: Phules adopted son, Dr.Yashwant was married to Radha the daughter of Sasane.

The Satyashodhak Samaj (The Truth-Seekerís Society) was established on 24 September 1873, and Savitribai was an extremely dedicated and passionate activist of the Samaj. The Samaj undertook the programme of arranging marriages without a priest, without dowry and at minimum costs. The first such marriage was arranged on 25 December 1873. Later, this movement spread across the newly emerging nation. The first report of the Samaj proudly notes that Savitribai was the inspiration behind this revolutionary initiative of a constructive revolt to reject 21 centuries old religious traditions. The marriage of Radha, daughter of Savitribaiís friend Bajubai Gyanoba Nimbankar and activist Sitram Jabaji Aalhat was the first‘Satyashodhaki’ marriage. Savitribai herself bore all the expenses on this historic occasion. This method of marriage, similar to a registered marriage, is still prevalent in many parts of India. These marriages were opposed by priests and ‘bhatjis’ (Brahmans) all over the country and they also went to court on this matter. Savitribai and Jotirao had to face severe difficulties but that did not deter them from their path. On 4 February 1889, at the age of 16, they also got their adopted son married in this manner. This was the first inter-caste marriage in modern India. The Satyashodhak marriage required the bridegroom to take an oath of giving education and equal rights to women. The ‘mangalashtake’ (the Mantras chanted at the time of the wedding) were to be sung by the bride and the bridegroom themselves, and these were in the form of pledges made by the bride and the groom to each other. Yeshwant was married to Radha (this is another Radha) alias Laxmi, daughter of Satyashodhak Samaj leader Gyanoba Krishnaji Sasane in this manner. To ensure that they got better acquainted with each other and with each other’s likes and dislikes, Savitribai had made Radha stay in the Phule household even before the marriage took place. She also made provisions for Radha’s education.[1] 

04 February 1933: Dr. Ambedkar met Gandhi in Yervada Jail[2].

Dr. Ambedkar was accompanied by S N Shivtarkar, Dolas, Upsaham, Kowly, Ghorpade and Keshavrao Jedhe. In a happy mood Gandhi got up and welcomed the visitors.

After a while, the conversation turned to the question of temple entry. Gandhi requested Dr. Ambedkar to lend this support to the Dr. Subbarayan’s Bill and that of Ranga Iyer.  Dr. Ambedkar flatly refused to have anything to do with Subbaraya’s Bill, since the Bill did not condemn untouchability as a sin. It only said that if a referendum favored the temple entry, temples should be thrown open to the Depressed Classes, but nothing of the right to worship the deity in the temples. He told Gandhi that the Depressed Classes did not want to be Shudras in the order of the caste system and added that he honestly could not call himself a Hindu. Why, he asked, he should be proud of the religion which condemned him to be a degraded position. If that system was to continue, he had no use of the benefits of the temple entry. Gandhi said that according to him, the caste system was not a bad system. He continued: “Let the touchable Hindus have an opportunity to expiate their sins and purify Hinduism. Do not be indifferent to this question. If the reformation takes place, the Untouchables would rise in society.” Dr. Ambedkar differed from Gandhi. He was convinced that if the Untouchables made progress in the economic, educational and political filed, temple entry would follow automatically.

531

Discussing the propriety of two Bills – Dr. Subbarayan’s Bill and Ranga Iyer’s Bill.

Dr. Ambedkar: The one-paragraph Bill (Dr. Subbarayan’s Bill) is a very simple one. It’s fair point lies in admitting that this custom is immoral. There is no such admission in the second Bill (Ranga Iyer’s).

M K Gandhi: No, it is there in its preamble.

Dr. Ambedkar: But it is not clear…. I also think that the two Bills do not go together…

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MookNayak and Bahishkrit Bharat – Rare Pictures


Dr. Ambedkar started the newspaper MookNayak, or the Mute Hero, to give voice to untouchables in the society and share their problems. This was 1920, and no newspaper at that time was devoted to untouchables.

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This image is a masthead of the first edition of MookNayak

Mookanayak (1920) and Bahishkrit Bharat (1927) were two Marathi journals edited by Dr Ambedkar

Mookanayak (1920) and Bahishkrit Bharat (1927) were two Marathi journals edited by Dr Ambedkar

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