Tag Archives: politics

Basis and Significance of Reservation


In the recent debates on reservation some people have suggested that let us now give reservation to so-called upper castes according to percentage of their population. I do not agree with this argument. I think those who are mooting this idea are doing in frustration or out of their ignorance about the logic and basis of reservation. By even mooting this idea we dilute the principles of reservation and spread the idea that reservation can be granted to anyone. One should not forget and misunderstand the logic of reservation. There are very significant, fundamental and structural principles on the basis of which this reservation was conceded to SC, STs and to some OBCs after intense debates in the constituent assembly and centuries of movements by SCs, STs, and OBCs. Few of them were:

  1. They have faced thousands of years of exclusion and discrimination and were not accepted as even human beings.

  2. This exclusion and discrimination of thousands of years was cumulative in nature, that is, it was not in one aspect of life but it was in most of the spheres, for instance in social, economic, political, educational, religious, residential, occupational, etc.

  3. The founding fathers of the Indian nation thought that even after these people were accorded human rights enshrined in the democratic constitution of India and there will be penal provisions according to Indian Penal Code one will not be able to obliterate this exclusion and discrimination against these people and there should be some special provisions for them in the realm of Politics, Bureaucracy, and Education.

  4. There is an element of social justice in the reservation of SCs, STs, and OBCs. It involves historical corrective of injustices done to SCs and STS.

  5. There was no time limit fixed for reservation for SC and STs in Bureaucratic Jobs and in Educational Institutions. Only political reservation under article 330 and 332 of Indian Constitution, which reserves seats in Lok Sabha and in Vidhan Sabhas of different States were for 10 years. However, these reservations have been given new life with different amendments.

  6. The most important point is ‘Reservation for SCs and STs’ is directly connected with the issue of representation. It was because they did not have any representation in any sphere of life, that is, in social, economic, political, educational, etc. sphere for thousands of years and therefore they were supposed to get representation in these Institutions.

  7. Therefore, reservation is not poverty alleviation programme. The founding fathers of nation did not think to remove poverty of scheduled caste persons through reservations. In fact there are so many poverty alleviation programmes begin run in India. One such programme is MNREGA, the other is Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojna etc. They always thought to grant SCs and STs Self-representation through reservation.

In the light of the above we cannot concede reservation to Upper Castes. Second we cannot concede reservations on economic basis.

By – Prof. Vivek Kumar, JNU

2 Comments

Filed under Caste Discrimination, Casteism, Constitution of India, Dr B R Ambedkar, Equal Rights, Latest, Reservation

Saheb Kanshi Ram Ji’s Messages from 16th Jan, 1998 Speech at Roshan Ground, Hoshiarpur, Punjab


Roshan Ground, Hoshiarpur, Punjab, Lok Sabha Elections, 16th Jan 1998

  • Community that doesn’t have representation in the political power, that community is dead.
  • We don’t want social justice, we want social transformation. Social justice depends on the person in the power. Suppose at one time, some good leader comes to power and people get social justice and are happy but when bad leader comes to power it turns into injustice again. So, we want whole social transformation.
  • Till the time we won’t be successful in politics and not able to have power in our hands,  the social and economic transformation is not possible. Political power is the key to success.
  • We don’t want anyone’s share in power or posts but we also don’t want to leave or lose our share.
  • Dalit movement hasn’t picked up yet in Punjab. Even Dalits have not become ready to lead the movement, when will Bahujans become ready?
  • To get the power, there is a need of mass movement, converting that mass movement into votes, then converting votes into seats, further converting the seats into [power at] states, and lastly converting the [power at] states into [power at] center. This is the mission and aim for us. We are still failures at organising mass movement, especially in Punjab. I would urge the people to leave behind the laziness and start working for the movement.

1 2 3 4

 

5 Social Transformation

You can listen the speech (in Punjabi) from here..

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Behan Mayawati, BSP, Caste Discrimination, Casteism, Dr B R Ambedkar, Latest, Saheb Kanshi Ram

Times of India covered Dr. Ambedkar Caravan among Round Table India, NACDOR, APSC and Dalit Camera


Few months back, Al Jazeera show on Dalit History had mentioned comments from the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Caravan. Today, Times of India covered about Dr. Ambedkar Caravan. Read from here –

In recent months, racial violence has been foregrounded in the US, with the Charleston incident in which nine black church-goers were gunned down and other incidents of police brutality that are no longer possible to deny. And all of a sudden, Black Twitter has become a preoccupation with the US media, reminding it of its own evasions.

Hashtags around race like #icantbreathe #Blacklivesmatter found their way into many feeds, pushed themselves into wider view, and forced a reckoning. The LA Times recently even assigned a reporter to cover Black Twitter, while acknowledging that “it is so much more complicated than that”.

African-American struggles have inspired and tactically informed anti-caste activism. But could Dalit-Bahujan Twitter exert a similar force, in India?

Take Round Table India, a forum of writers that aims for “an informed Ambedkar age” and sees caste as the primary fissure in Indian society. They aggregate news on politics, society and culture, they comment and critique, and try to be a hub for Dalit-Bahujan voices. ‘Unlike mainstream media, we aren’t casteist – we have many upper castes writing, at least as much as their share in the population,” says Naren Bedide, one of the founders.

It’s only half a joke. The media is scandalously unrepresentative – in 1996, Pioneer journalist B N Uniyal found that he hadn’t met a single Dalit journalist in his entire working life. In 2006, a Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) study found that 90% of the decision-makers at English newspapers and 79% of TV journalists were upper-caste.

In other words, the media frames national events, but does not include most of the nation. It speaks with near-unanimity on IIT’s “standards” when it pushes out Dalit students; it misreports caste-based violence as “farmers’ clashes” or lovers’ quarrels when it reports them at all; and it often misses the real import of events. “When others interpret the world for you, can you change it?” is the question that drives Round Table India. “We don’t have, and don’t expect access in the media. It’s a conscious decision to build spaces of our own,” says Bedide. As he sees it, it is a structural conflict, and one can’t use the tools of savarnas, like mainstream media, to dismantle their edifice of hierarchy.

There are blogs like Atrocities News that wrenched attention to the Khairlanji killings and continue to document caste-based attacks. But there are also blogs with entirely different missions, Facebook and Twitter accounts, mailing lists and Whatsapp groups – and to club them all together as Dalit social media flattens their diversity. Shared Mirror, for instance, is a platform for Dalit poetry, translated and new. Savari, a space by Adivasi, Bahujan and Dalit women, speaks with its own distinctive voice.

There are forums dedicated to history and to challenging narratives and erasures, like Dr Ambedkar’s Caravan, which has over 500 articles so far. In April, activists across the board celebrated Dalit History Month, creatively resisting the attempt to reduce Dalit history solely to one of atrocity. This was, again, a nod to Black History Month. Hashtags like #Dalitlivesmatter are often used to galvanize others.

TOI

Twitter, though, is still a hostile medium, say many of these writers. “It is full of either Internet Hindus or Congressis and left-liberals, there is no understanding of other issues,” says Bedide. Facebook, which nurtures more like-minded groups and longer conversations, is more useful, says Ashok Bharti, chairman of the National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR). “If any incident happens anywhere, it is on my Facebook page in five minutes. It’s better than a wire service, though the stories are often raw,” he says.

“Dalits are still untouchable on social media; if I post anything about Dr Ambedkar or Dalit history in a general forum, I get blocked in a few minutes,” says Pardeep Attri of Ambedkar’s Caravan.

Of course, there is no unified Dalit social media, any more than there is a single Dalit politics across the country, fragmented as it is by sub-caste, region, gender, class and ideological preference. And yet, social media offers something new. Dalit Camera, a YouTube channel, records life “from untouchable eyes”. Bathran Ravichandran, who founded it, says that social media, with the many perspectives it offers, has “broadened the views and values” of Dalit activists around the country. Social media only supplements, in a small way, the grassroots work that goes on around the country, he says.

Others are skeptical of the reach and representativeness of social media Dalit voices. Political analyst and activist Anand Teltumbde describes them as “a small fraction of Dalits, who just talk to each other”. According to him, a sharpened sense of caste and sub-caste identity makes it harder to make common cause with others, and only props up their elite adversaries.

Meanwhile, groups like NACDOR prefer to engage with mainstream media and institutions, and use social media for direct access and advocacy. So does the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) at IIT Madras, which has a vocal social media presence. Akhil Bharathan of APSC thinks that caste, as an all-encompassing framework of oppression, also compels one outwards, to think of gender, class, and minority justice, and to form alliances. While these voices may now be a “counterpublic”, drowned out in the din of powerful interest groups, the “ultimate aim is to be the public,” says Bharathan.

Source – TOI

Leave a comment

Filed under Dalit History, Dr B R Ambedkar, Good News, Latest, Today in Dalit History

15 books every Dalit must read


Books written by Baba Saheb Ambedkar are must read for every Dalit-Bahujan. You can download those books from here. Apart from these books, here is the list of few more books, which every Dalit must read.

1. Kanshiram – Leader of the Dalits (English) by Narayan Badri

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

2. Behenji : A Political Biography of Mayawati (English) by Ajoy Bose

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

3. Why I am not a Hindu (English) by Kancha Ilaiah

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

4. Buffalo Nationalism (English) by Kancha Ilaiah

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

5. Ambedkar : Towards an Enlightened India (English) by Gail Omvedt

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

6. Dr Ambedkar And Untouchability : Analysing And Fighting Caste (English) by Christophe Jaffrelot

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

7. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (English) by Dhananjay Kheer

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

8. The Essential Writings of B. R. Ambedkar (English) by Rodrigues Valerian 

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

9. Understanding Caste: From Buddha to Ambedkar and Beyond (English) by Gail Omvedt

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

10. Dalit Visions (English) by  Gail Omvedt

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

11. Buddhism in India Challenging : Brahmanism and Caste : Challenging Brahmanism and Caste (English) by  Gail Omvedt

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

12. Ambedkar : Awakening Indias Social Conscience (English) by Narendra Jadhav

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

13. India’s Silent Revolution (English) by Christophe Jaffrelot

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

14. Defying the Odds : The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs (English) by Chandra Bhan Prasad ,Devesh Kapur , D. Shyam Babu

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

15. Civility Against Caste : Dalit Politics and Citizenship in Western India (English) by Christophe Jaffrelot

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

Do you have any other good book in mind? Please let us know in the comments.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Books, Dalit History, Dr B R Ambedkar, Latest

What can a ‘sincere’ Dalit do?


My final words of advice to you are Educate, Agitate and Organize; have faith in yourself. With justice on our side I do not see how we can lose our battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of the human personality – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

On my last article, “What can a ‘sincere’ upper caste person do?“, I received many emails, most of them labelling me as casteist, asking me what a Dalit should do? I have heard these type of questions many a times from my friends, confused with what they should do, how they can contribute, where they should contribute and I suppose these and many questions come to the minds of Dalits who really want to contribute to the community. Though, I am not an expert or maybe not as experienced as many are, but I would try to reply with all my capacity – on things I feel should change immediately. But before that let me make one thing clear: that Dalits usually don’t have many options so many of the things that I would be talking about in this article may sound impractical to many Dalits, but still I believe we must do our best. Also, here in this article, I am not talking about our illiterate brothers and sisters but about the highly educated ones, who are pretending to be asleep.

Let me start with Dalit women. When I was researching for my article ‘India and Prostitution – My thoughts and experiences‘ – most of the women working as sex-slaves are from lower castes. Not that I didn’t know all these facts but after meeting many people I almost went into depression. On one occasion, I even met the sole survivor of ‘Khairlanji killings’ and I’ll never be able to forget the Khairlanji massacre. In states like Madhya Pradesh almost 100% women working as sex slaves are from the lower castes. Dalit woman is most the disrespected, unprotected, and neglected person in India. We must learn to respect and protect our women. We must believe that if upper caste men demand respect or do ‘whatever’ to protect their women then we must also do ‘everything’ to respect and protect our women.

cropped-n81-1080x420.jpg

Stop fighting in the name of Dr. Ambedkar– Dalits, in the name of Ambedkar, are fighting to prove that they are the real ‘Karva Pullers’ of Dr. Ambedkar, but everyone knows that the reality lies somewhere else. Remember what Dr Ambedkar said:

“With great difficulty, I have brought this caravan where it is seen today. Let the caravan march on and further on despite the hurdles, pitfalls and difficulties that may come in its way. If my people, my lieutenants are not able to take the caravan ahead, they should leave it where it is seen today, but in no circumstances they should allow the caravan to go back.”

Dalits are divided into countless organisations, societies and parties etc but till now we have not been able to achieve anything remarkable. I agree, we need as many organisations as we can have and neither am I denying the impact these organisations might have been able to make in their own spheres but we must agree we really need one major organisation which will work for Dalits at all India level. When in need we must support every organisation and must forget our differences or petty benefits.

Start a national level newspaper/magazine – as I said above, there are many organisations, societies and parties working for Dalits, the same is true with magazines. Since childhood, I have been reading many magazines published by various Dalit organisations/publishers, and since childhood I have wondered why there can’t be a single national level newspaper or magazine? There are about a hundred small Dalit magazines published every month. We always make a noise when Dr. Ambedkar is ranked below Gandhi by some manuwadi newspaper or magazine, but why don’t we think bigger and unite all these Dalit magazine publishers and bring out one single magazine? We can do many more things apart from releasing our own ranking.

I am not saying that these existing magazine publishers should stop publishing but I want them to start working on a national level magazine or newspaper along with the existing ones. I believe it would be easy if we can unite at least one magazine publisher from each state and ask them to contribute one article for the national level magazine. In this way, we can easily bring out one national level magazine and challenge the hegemony of manuwadi media. One reason I see behind the defeat of BSP in the last assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh is because no media was established by Behan Mayawati in 5 years; and on the other hand, the corrupt SAD-BJP government of Punjab won the elections because SAD has a stronghold in the media – it started two new channels in Punjab and holds major shares in Punjabi newspapers. So, what are we thinking about or waiting for? Don’t tell me we don’t have resources or money, if we can operate separately, we surely can operate united.

The book ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, published in 1852 and authored by Harriet Beecher, was the second bestselling book of the 19th century, next only to the Bible. This anti-slavery novel had actually intensified the sectional conflict that finally led to the American civil war and ultimately resulted in the abolition of slavery under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. The book’s impact was so great that it is said that when Abraham Lincoln met author Stowe at the start of the Civil war, he commented, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.” Believe it or not, this is the power of the ‘pen’. Start writing, write your mind. Start writing whatever comes to your mind and one day you will surely be able to make a difference. Create blogs, prepare e-mail lists, websites, SMS, create videos, do each and everything that you can to raise the Dalit voice. Internet gives us many opportunities to promote Buddhist values, understanding and insights on the global scale. Use Internet wisely. Round Table India is a great initiative, one step towards making people aware and everyone must support the Round Table India team.

You have been stripped off your true history, your culture, and everything. So, what are you afraid of? Dalits weren’t Hindus or Dalits didn’t use to go to temples. Our festivals, our Gods, our eating habits, our lifestyle and each and everything were different. Who stripped you of all these? Do you have to visit temples to get all these back? I seriously doubt that. How many of us seriously follow the 22 vows administered by Dr. Ambedkar? I feel ashamed when I see many of my Buddhist friends from Maharashtra visiting the Shirdi Sai temple. Whenever I visit my friends’ homes, no doubt I always see Dr. Ambedkar’s pictures there but along with that I always find some idol or picture of one of the 33 crore fake Gods. And I could never understand why they are not able to come out of slavery or why they could never change their mindset even after 55 years of conversion. Stop visiting temples– why don’t Dalits understand that money donated by you at temples is used against you?And follow the 22 vows administered by Dr. Ambedkar.

I can keep on writing on this topic (such as: if you can, teach someone, inspire someone, start a school, start library, start a scholarship for Dalit students, adopt Dalit students etc) but I don’t want to make this article long. So, I will end it with a few more final words.

Don’t tell me that all this is impossible to be done. When you are ready to die at the  warfront fighting with unknown persons, what happens to you when you have to fight with the known enemy? What happens to Dalits when their own mothers and sisters are stripped naked in the streets and in broad daylight? Doesn’t your blood boil with anger? Unite. Take time out of your busy lives, encourage others in their strife, encourage Dalit students for higher studies & create such a system which will give legal and financial aid to Dalits. More importantly, take time to listen to what they have to say, share positive thoughts, give them confidence, and bring the best out of you. You surely can make a difference. If you can’t do any of the above, don’t do anything, just read what Dr. Ambedkar said, read the rich history of Dalit ideals. Selfless devotion, dedication with enthusiasm and an assertive mass movement will lay the foundation of the Dalit movement.

P.S. – This article was originally posted at Round Table India. Please spread the message, Like the post and share it with your friends.

7 Comments

Filed under Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar, Equal Rights

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on Indian currency and RBI


Today, I got stumbled upon news that RBI is considering national iconsfor Indian currency. The name of Dr. B R Ambedkar has been recommended for Indian currency. It reminded me of the time of my childhood, when first time in my life I had seen the Rs. 1 coin with Dr. Ambedkar’s photo on it. I was filled with the joy and kept that coin in the closet, never to lose it. I know this is not only with me but millions other Dalits also want to see Dr. Ambedkar on Indian currency and experience same joy. Few years back, I even came in contact with family who had actually provided RBI the picture of Dr Ambedkar for Rs. 1 coin. It was wonderful feeling knowing the journey and I’m sure almost same feeling evokes in Dalits when they see picture of Dr. Ambedkar on coins. I’ll say if any person deserves to be on Indian currency then that person should be Dr. Ambedkar. Nobody else deserves that place on Indian currency. We must make sure RBI don’t forget Dr. Ambedkar’s name in later stage. So, I request everyone in capacity to make our voice reach higher authorities that we love Dr. Ambedkar more than any other icon in India so we want Dr Ambedkar’s picture on Indian currency.

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

Dr Ambedkar’s Role in the Formation of Reserve Bank of India

Did you know Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came into picture according to the guidelines laid down by Dr Ambedkar? RBI was conceptualized as per the guidelines, working style and outlook presented by Dr Ambedkar in front of the Hilton Young Commission. When this commission came to India under the name of “Royal Commission on Indian Currency & Finance”, each and every member of this commission were holding Dr Ambedkar’s book named “The Problem of the Rupee – Its origin and its solution.” 

(The legislative assembly passed this under the name of RBI act 1934, its need, working style and its outlook was presented by Dr Ambedkar in-front of Hilton Young Commission. Read, “Evidence before the Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance” and “The Problem of the Rupee – Its origin and its solution.”)

Now, walking through the streets of India, on most of the “State Bank of India’s” (SBI’s) street hoardings it shows Rabindranath Tagore as “The banker to this nation”, as if Rabindranath Tagore is the brand ambassador of SBI!

What hurts many of us is the picture of Mr. Gandhi on the Indian currency. We need to ask everyone what’s the contribution of these two leaders (Rabindranath Tagore and Mr. Gandhi) towards Indian currency, finance and economics, and who deserves to be there on the signposts or on Indian currency?

If a man with God’s name on his tongue and a sword under his armpit deserved the appellation of a Mahatma, then Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a Mahatma.    – Babasaheb Ambedkar

Writing about who deserves the place on Indian currency reminds me of a Hollywood movie “Do the Right Thing” directed a way back in 1989 by Spike Lee. Movie revolves around the demand of Afro-Americans to place some pictures of black heroes on the “Wall of Fame” in a pizza shop (where all pictures are of Italian heroes as pizza shop owner is from Italy and very proud of that) as the pizzeria is situated in a black neighbourhood and sells pizza to black people.

At the end of the struggle Afro-Americans succeeded to have a picture of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, shaking hands on the “Wall of Fame.”

 (excerpts from article “Why weren’t we told?”)

P.S. Please spread the message, Like the post and share it with your friends. We want picture of Dr Ambedkar on Indian currency!

115 Comments

Filed under Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar, Equal Rights, India