Tag Archives: Untouchable
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on behalf of the Bahishkrita Hitakarini Sabha (Depressed Classes Institute of Bombay) raised issues concerning the state of education of the Depressed Classes in the Bombay presidency in front of Simon Commission (Indian Statutory Commission) on 29th May 1928 at Damodar Hall Parel, Bombay.
Full text of the same is available here.
The following photos are of the road named after Dr. Ambedkar in New Jersey City, USA. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar avenue on Tonnele and Pavonia intersection. Perhaps this is the first road outside India that is named after Dr. Ambedkar.
Photos Credit – Sanghapali Aruna Lohitakshi
On 15th May, 1936 Babasaheb Ambedkar published Annihilation Of Caste book. Dr. Ambedkar was scheduled to deliver this speech to a conference in Lahore, but could not. The conference organizers cancelled his invitation as they felt the contents of the speech were too radical for the time. Dr. Ambedkar later released the speech in written format, and it became one of his most famous work – title, ‘Annihilation of Caste’. In this work, Dr. Ambedkar discussed the problems in ending the caste system in India, and how those problems could be countered.
If you’d like to read the text, Columbia University in the City of New York has designed a special e-text format of the speech for easy readability and cross-referencing at http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/projects/mmt/ambedkar/web/index.html
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.
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.
Watch a short documentary on the same incident.
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.
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.
Today in Dalit History we focus on Purna Malavath, an Adivasi girl from Telangana, and Anand Kumar, a Dalit boy from Khammam, who in a historic feat for Indian mountaineering became two of the youngest climbers to scale Mount Everest.
13-year old Purna, along with 16-year old Anand, reached the world’s highest peak after an exhausting 52-day expedition up the Tibetan side of the mountain, known to be the most difficult route. On reaching the peak, Purna and Anand unfurled not just India’s flag, but a picture of our leader Dr. B.R Ambedkar. At a time when Dalit children in India are systematically marginalized, excluded, and deprived of educational opportunities, Purna’s and Anand’s victories are truly epic. Their achievement is testament to the potential every Dalit child possesses, and if provided with resources, will accomplish what they aspire to.
On their victory, Purna said, “The aim of my expedition was to inspire young people and students from my kind of background. For a tribal like me, opportunities are very rare and I was looking for one opportunity where I could prove my caliber”. During tough times of the expedition, Purna narrates that she kept herself motivated, by thinking of her parents, whose words, “you can change your life if you put your mind to it” kept her going.
Purna’s parents are agricultural laborers from Telangana; her co-climber Anand’s father is a cycle mechanic. “My father is my hero. He never once complained about his work at the cycle shop and always encouraged me to work hard, no matter how big or small the task,” says Anand.
The journey for both of them began at the Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions. Purna and Anand was selected from a group of more than 100 students who were sent for training to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling. In preparation for the Everest climb, they trained in the mountains of Darjeeling and Ladakh.
In June 2014, Purna and Anand were recognized for their achievement by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights in association with the All India Dalit Rights Federation, the Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion, AP Bhavan Employees’ Welfare & Cultural Association, and AP Bhavan SC/ST Welfare Association.
“We believe that if Dalit children are given equal opportunities, they can excel anywhere. They only need support to utilize these opportunities effectively”, said Beena Pallical, National Coordinator for Campaigns, NCDHR. “We dream of an India where every child’s potential is realised so that they can be where Poorna is today. At the top”, added Annie Namala of the Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion.