Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 13.04.16

 

Dalit woman beaten to death in Ballia – Nyoooz

http://www.nyoooz.com/varanasi/425565/dalit-woman-beaten-to-death-in-ballia

A death widens caste rift, sparks water war – Nyoooz

http://www.nyoooz.com/aurangabad/425561/a-death-widens-caste-rift-sparks-water-war

Hunt on for men who attacked key witness – Nyoooz

http://www.nyoooz.com/thiruvananthapuram/425926/hunt-on-for-men-who-attacked-key-witness

Tea stall by Dalit to help fight discrimination – The times of india

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Tea-stall-by-Dalit-to-help-fight-discrimination/articleshow/51804201.cms

Dalith woman’s efforts to educate Muslim women in Mumbai – The siasat daily

http://www.siasat.com/news/dalith-womans-efforts-educate-muslim-women-mumbai-945321/

Tension in Jammu town after minor boy found dead – Nyoooz

http://www.nyoooz.com/jammu/424684/tension-in-jammu-town-after-minor-boy-found-dead

Dalit-centric channel set to hit the airwaves – The hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamilnadu2016/dalitcentric-channel-set-to-hit-the-airwaves/article8468638.ece

I wasn’t even taken once to a hospital, I was denied life saving drugs: Prof. Saibaba – The siasat daily

http://www.siasat.com/news/wasnt-even-taken-hospital-denied-life-saving-drugs-prof-saibaba-945419/

Casteism hinders India’s growth: Minister Prasad – Nyoooz

http://www.nyoooz.com/mysore/425974/casteism-hinders-indias-growth58-minister-prasad

How to be free of caste – The hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/how-to-be-free-of-caste-in-india/article8467518.ece

MP govt plans a comprehensive tribal policy, courtesy RSS – Nyoooz

http://www.nyoooz.com/bhopal/425538/mp-govt-plans-a-comprehensive-tribal-policy-courtesy-rss

District likely to get 373 new Panchayat Extension of Scheduled Areas villages – The times of india

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/District-likely-to-get-373-new-Panchayat-Extension-of-Scheduled-Areas-villages/articleshow/51800040.cms

Racism in India, ‘Cause You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet! – Bodahub

http://bodahub.com/unapologetic-racism-in-india/

For Gogu Shyamala, being Dalit and woman is survival, beyond victimhood and outside of it – The News Minute

http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/gogu-shyamala-being-dalit-and-woman-survival-beyond-victimhood-and-outside-it-41396

 

Nyoooz

Dalit woman beaten to death in Ballia

http://www.nyoooz.com/varanasi/425565/dalit-woman-beaten-to-death-in-ballia

Summary: VARANASI: Following the death of a Dalit woman, who was allegedly beaten by a youth, the police arrested the accused in Bhimpura area in Ballia district on Tuesday. The Bhimpura SO Suresh Singh told to TOI over phone that the arrested youth was sent to jail. According to reports, a teen age girl was allegedly teased by a local youth Teni on Monday. When girl’s mother Pushpa Devi went to his house to make a complaint, she was badly beaten by the accused. He was booked under sections 304, 354B, 504 of IPC, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and SC/ST Act.

Dalit woman beaten to death in Ballia

VARANASI: Following the death of a Dalit woman, who was allegedly beaten by a youth, the police arrested the accused in Bhimpura area in Ballia district on Tuesday. He was booked under sections 304, 354B, 504 of IPC, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and SC/ST Act. According to reports, a teen age girl was allegedly teased by a local youth Teni on Monday. When girl’s mother Pushpa Devi went to his house to make a complaint, she was badly beaten by the accused.

At night her condition started deteriorating due to some internal injuries. The family members took her to the hospital, but she died on the way.On Tuesday her husband lodged an FIR with the Bhimpura police station against Teni. Taking prompt action the police arrested the accused.

Nyoooz

A death widens caste rift, sparks water war

http://www.nyoooz.com/aurangabad/425561/a-death-widens-caste-rift-sparks-water-war

Summary: “But caste discrimination has been high perhaps because of the feudal legacy of the Nizam’s rule,” he said. Complaints about the lack of access to water for Dalits are on the rise, says Beed collector Navalkishore Ram. “We have been receiving complaints regarding the inequitable distribution of water in Dalit bastis, where the dominant caste is accused of taking a larger share of the water,” he said. It is 2% higher than the Dalit population of rural Maharashtra as a whole.In Bagh Pimpalgaon, the bone of contention is a water pipeline laid two years ago. “There was no water in the house; so Rajashree went to the well alone after school.

BEED: Bagh Pimpalgaon village still bears the scars of the death of a 10-year-old Dalit girl who fell headlong into a well in February. Rajashree Kamble, a fourth standard student, had leaned perilously far while trying to draw water. She dashed her head on the stone wall as she fell.”There was no water in the house; so Rajashree went to the well alone after school.

She usually went with her mother,” said her grandmother Indubai Kamble. The girl succumbed to her injuries after three days at home. “We couldn’t afford to hospitalise her,” Indubai said.The incident became a flashpoint in the rift between the Dalits and members of the dominant Dhangar caste in this village in droughtstruck Marathwada.

Nyoooz

Hunt on for men who attacked key witness

http://www.nyoooz.com/thiruvananthapuram/425926/hunt-on-for-men-who-attacked-key-witness

Summary: In the statement, state chairperson Seleena Prakkanam said that news being circulated connecting the incident with DHRM was part of a conspiracy by other political parties and police to rattle the party. All accused were members of the Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) and police suspect the involvement of the organization in the attack.However, on Tuesday, the DHRM state committee issued a statement washing their hands off the incident. Thiruvananthapuram: The probe to trace the attackers of 52-year-old Praseedan, one of the key witnesses in the sensational Varkala Sivaprasad murder case, is yet to make headway.Praseedan, a pick-up rickshaw driver was attacked by three sword-wielding attackers at his house on Sunday night, leaving him with a major head injury.Two weeks ago, seven accused in the Sivaprasad murder case were sentenced to life imprisonment by the court here.\

Thiruvananthapuram: The probe to trace the attackers of 52-year-old Praseedan, one of the key witnesses in the sensational Varkala Sivaprasad murder case, is yet to make headway.Praseedan, a pick-up rickshaw driver was attacked by three sword-wielding attackers at his house on Sunday night, leaving him with a major head injury.Two weeks ago, seven accused in the Sivaprasad murder case were sentenced to life imprisonment by the court here. All accused were members of the Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) and police suspect the involvement of the organization in the attack.However, on Tuesday, the DHRM state committee issued a statement washing their hands off the incident. In the statement, state chairperson Seleena Prakkanam said that news being circulated connecting the incident with DHRM was part of a conspiracy by other political parties and police to rattle the party.

The times of india

Tea stall by Dalit to help fight discrimination

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Tea-stall-by-Dalit-to-help-fight-discrimination/articleshow/51804201.cms

Lucknow: Chai, the binding beverage of India, is set to trigger a social change in Uttar Pradesh on the 125th birth anniversary of Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar. The Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Mahasabha (DBRAM) is helping a Dalit start a tea stall at its gate to call for complete social inclusion of marginalised dalit communities, particularly Valmikis and  Dhanuks.

“Those living in cities may not believe it but caste-based discrimination is a reality even today. The lines have blurred in urban areas to a significant level but in villages, people from highcaste do not drink water or eat food inside a Dalit’s home.The campaign aims to bring Dalits and Mahadalits in the mainstream,” said Laljee Nirmal, president of DBRAM.

“You may travel to any place in the state, but nowhere would you find a Dalit chaiwala or puriwala. That’s because of discrimination to wards the community which we intend to fight,” said Jugal Kisore Valmiki, chairperson of UP State Commission for Safai Workers. Valmiki will inaugurate the tea stall on Thursday .

While the first stall will be set up at the gate of the Mahasabha on Vidhan Sabha, more stalls will gradually be opened. Ram Naresh Chaudhury, a retired professor from the Deen Dayal Upadhaya University of Gorakhpur, and author of `Ambedkar And His Vision Of Social Justice’, believes that Valmikis faced discrimination because of the nature of their work-manual scavenging.

“Now that manual scavenging has been banned and a majority of them are not doing the so-called filthy work, it is important to shatter the stigma too. At the same time, the Valmiki brethren need alternatives to sustain their families. The campaign aims to address both things in one go,” he said.

Valmiki added that Ambedkar also belonged to the Valmiki community and his birthday was the best occasion to fight the stigma.

“In Maharashtra, Valmikis are known as Mahars and Babasaheb’s biography mentions that he belonged to the Mahar community . Since he is revered like god among Dalits and is equally respected among other castes, his birthday is a good time to spread a message against discrimination,” Valmiki said.

Political analyst and faculty member at University of Lucknow, Prof Rajesh Mis hra finds the development in the interest of democracy. “Chai and ‘chai pe charcha’ have always been a point of reference for group behaviour in India. A chaiwala becoming Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, added aspirational value to the phenomenon. This enlargement of public spheres is a must to nurture and nourish the democratic nature of the Indian republic,” he said.

However, he believes that Dalits would be able to benefit from this change only if the campaign travels to rural areas. Nirmal claimed that the humble beginning in Lucknow would spread across UP.

The siasat daily

Dalith woman’s efforts to educate Muslim women in Mumbai

http://www.siasat.com/news/dalith-womans-efforts-educate-muslim-women-mumbai-945321/

Mumbai: Sujatha, a dalit woman in Mumbai started imparting training to Muslim women in a one room school. Earlier, a school by name Bazm-e-Furquan was running in that room. Sujatha surveyed the area for two months. She persuaded Muslim women to come to the center for training. Out of 5000 women only 22 came forwards for training. Local residents, Shameeem Bhai, Bhola Bhai and Shahid Bhai came to her help. Later, Mr. Sudhender Kulkarni came to the center and encouraged her. A cultural program of children was organized to persuade people.

After training, she negotiated with a company for placement. The management of the company bluntly refused saying that they don’t provide job to Muslim women. When she asked the reason, she got the reply that the management have prohibited to employee Muslim women. When she told them to give it in writing, they said that they can’t do that. She continued her efforts, at last they agreed to employee 11 women. She took them to Kandi Velle. This was the first time that these women had come out of their houses for work. When they came back they were tired. They refused to go on the second day.

She talked to the management of Somia Hospital. They had recently stared the Dept. of Oncology. They gave job to 5 women. When they got the first salary, their joy had no bounds. Ameena Bibi has a daughter. She accumulate money and celebrated her daughter’s marriage. When she gave birth to a girl, she was sent out of the house by her husband. The girl lost her father. Her second marriage was not possible. Her mother used to cry seeing her. The girl showed interest in learning the work. When she got Rs. 8300 as her first salary, her mother started weeping with joy.

Sujatha says that she did not do anything for her but when she dies, there will be many persons to weep for her.

Nyoooz

Tension in Jammu town after minor boy found dead

http://www.nyoooz.com/jammu/424684/tension-in-jammu-town-after-minor-boy-found-dead

Summary: Tension prevailed in Basohli town of Jammu and Kashmir`s Kathua district after the body of a 14-year old boy was found in a school. Reports said the boy belonged to a Dalit family..

Tension prevailed in Basohli town of Jammu and Kashmir`s Kathua district after the body of a 14-year old boy was found in a school. The boy, identified as Karan Kumar, was found dead in the local higher secondary school at 10.30 p.

  1. on Monday, a senior police officer told IANS here, adding that he was a Class 8 student there. “Family members of the boy blocked Bani-Basohli road on Tuesday morning,” he said.

“An FIR has been lodged and investigations have started,” the officer added. Reports said the boy belonged to a Dalit family.

The hindu

Dalit-centric channel set to hit the airwaves

http://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamilnadu2016/dalitcentric-channel-set-to-hit-the-airwaves/article8468638.ece

In a State where almost all major political parties run a television channel, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), a prominent political party with a strong Dalit base will get its own 24×7 television channel on April 14.

The party’s general secretary, Ravi Kumar, confirmed on social media that the channel, Velichcham TV, would go on air as expected. “Velichcham TV, a Tamil television channel, will be on air from April 14, which happens to be 125{+t}{+h}birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar due to the unrelenting efforts of VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan,” he wrote.

The news has been welcomed by many at a time when caste violence has peaked. The channel, it is being said, will strive to present the Dalit perspective.

Panayur Babu, the VCK’s media co-ordinator who is involved in getting the channel up and running, said the channel would try to be objective and unbiased.

“No doubt that we will try to project the party’s perspective, but we will not tweak news reports to suit the party. It will also be a neutral entertainment channel.”

There are likely to be six bulletins a day while the other slots will be taken up entertainment programs.

Notably, every significant political party in the State has its own party organ — either a newspaper or a television channel; or in some instances, both. While the proximity of Sun TV and Kalaignar TV to the DMK family is well known, and Jaya TV speaks the AIADMK-tongue, the PMK started Makkal TV and Tamil Osai some years ago. DMDK leader Vijayakant, who was wooed by many parties looking for an electoral alliance, has his Captain TV to telecast party events.

And these are just the more prominent ones.

Senior journalist Gnani Sankaran said that it was time the Dalit community promoted its point of view in visual media as well.

“There have been several Dalit magazines. A television channel is a welcome move. They are going to use another medium to get their point across. Just like other parties push their point of view in the public domain, we will get to hear the Dalit perspective on various issues as well,” he said.

While many welcomed the move, some wondered if the channel would gain credibility after being identified as a party organ.

Dalit intellectuals nevertheless maintain that Velichcham TV would bring in much needed balance in the world of news.

“There is absolutely very little or no representation from backward classes, minorities or Dalits in the national media. That being the case, my hope is the Velichcham would fill in this gap. We need to get the Dalit perspective in the media,” said Punitha Pandian, editor, Dalit Murasu , adding that there was an urgent need to create a Dalit-centric public discourse.

“Despite their resources, Dravidian parties failed to set up a television house that took the Dravidian ideology to the people. The television channels set up by them either became mere party organs supporting a particular party or were run for purely commercial reasons. Thus, a television channel which will create a Dalit and anti-caste discourse is necessary. While there is a risk that this could become a party-mouth piece, this effort needs to be supported.

The siasat daily

I wasn’t even taken once to a hospital, I was denied life saving drugs: Prof. Saibaba

http://www.siasat.com/news/wasnt-even-taken-hospital-denied-life-saving-drugs-prof-saibaba-945419/

New Delhi: There is an all-pervasive oppression by the ruling class and we are confronting a bizarre reality now, said G. N. Saibaba, the Delhi University professor who was released on bail last week by a Supreme Court order on health grounds.

The 90 percent-disabled professor, who was arrested by the Maharashtra police in May 2014 for alleged links with Maoists, also said that those who raise questions against the ruling classes or fight for Adivasi rights are being projected as anti-nationals and put behind bars.

“We are not free to speak our mind in the present context and there is an all-pervasive kind of oppression. The threatening atmosphere is all around us and that’s the indication of fascism. All kinds of freedom are being restricted,” Saibaba told IANS in an interview here.

Though the wheelchair-bound professor was given bail by the Bombay High Court in June 2015, the Nagpur bench cancelled the bail in December .

Alleging that the conditions in the prison this time were harsher, Saibaba said the jail authorities had imposed strict regulations on the orders of the Maharashtra government. “Considering my deteriorating health, I wasn’t even taken once to a hospital. I was denied life saving drugs and during winter, not more than one blanket was allowed,” said Saibaba, who was kept in an cell meant for terrorists and Maoist rebels.

The Supreme Court, while giving bail to Saibaba, had pulled up the Maharashtra government for keeping him in jail for long. “The government counsel even argued that I might go underground or Maoist might take me away. It’ s a cruel joke,” he added.

Commenting on the Jawaharlal Nehru University row, Saibaba said that it’s a manifestation of the current regime’s anxiety on the growing awareness among students. “Teachers and students have raised some fundamental issues associated with most marginalised communities like dalits and adivasis. Whether its JNU, University of Hyderabad, NIT Srinagar or IIT Madras, these movements have a common thread,” he said adding that reservation had helped dalit students to join campuses and raise their voice against oppression.

Wading into the controversy over JNU students allegedly chanting slogans in favour of Pakistan, Saibaba said, “the students have no reasons to raise the slogan Pakistan Zindabad. Both countries are in the same boat and both are selling people’s labour, resources to imperialist forces,” he noted.

Denying any role in the JNU incident, he said that he had met student leader Kanhaiya Kumar only at some public meetings.”The Nagpur police even planted some stories in the press that I have organised the JNU event,” he said.

The professor, who has been teaching for 25 years, also felt that there is no legal definition for an anti-national and it’s a ploy to divert attention from the real issues. “No law in the country has defined an anti-national. There is a law for anti-state activities and sedition laws talk about anti-state (issues),” said Saibaba, adding that controversy on chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ is a non-issue. “These are artificially created issues which take away the space for real debates. It’s a bizarre reality we confront now,” he added.

He also felt that patriotism is preached by the ruling class which “mortgages the sovereignty of the country to imperialist” forces. “We don’t address patriotism when the ruling classes open the gates to imperialist countries to loot our natural resources. They are conducting genocide on adivasis, destroying the environment, giving away natural resources to the corporate houses in the name of foreign investment,” he alleged.

The students have given a wider meaning to the slogan azadi, he said. “Azadi is a symbolic slogan. It has acquired a wider meaning, and the students have highlighted each and every form of oppression, which has to be addressed separately and together.”

Flaying the fee hike in IITs, the professor said it was an attempt by the government to restrict the entry of students from marginalised sections to educational institutions.

Though health is his first priority now, Saibaba said that he will join back teaching soon.”As per the court order, I can join back teaching though the case is hanging on my head,” he said. The police allege that Saibaba was a CPI-Maoist worker, a charge that he denies. “It’s a fabricated case against me. And the truth will come out soon,” he says.

Nyoooz

Casteism hinders India’s growth: Minister Prasad

http://www.nyoooz.com/mysore/425974/casteism-hinders-indias-growth58-minister-prasad

Summary: Mysuru: The caste-based system is a major hindrance to the growth of India and it is pushing the society backwards, revenue minister V Srinivas Prasad said here on Tuesday.Instead of embracing the new, the society is still wallowing in the past when caste-based system dominated every human activity.

Deputy commissioner C Shikha, MLA MK Somashekar and MLA Vasu were present. Mayor B L Bhyrappa flagged off the procession. That explains why an upper caste girl who was in love with a Dalit youth was killed in Mandya, the minister said, adding people are behaving like wild animals now.Speaking after inaugurating the birth anniversary celebration of 10th century Vachana writer Devara Dasimayya, the minister said it is imperative that a humanity-oriented society should be created by dismantling the caste systems.Mandya incident is a case of casteism in practice in the state. It is here vachanas penned by Sharanas like Devara Dasimayya are important as they teach humanity values and broaden their thinking, Prasad said.The district administration, the department of Kannada and culture, and Devara Dasimayya Jayanti Utsav Samithi jointly organized the event at Kalamandira here.Dasimayya was a major vachankara and he wrote vachanas much before social revolutionary Basaveshwara started them, he stated.People from all sections of society should celebrate the Dasimayya’s birth anniversary, he stated.Karnataka Exhibition Authority chairman R Murthy, deputy mayor Vanitha Prasanna, Command Area Development Authority chairman C Dasegowda, former mayor Purushottam, among others were present.Earlier, the organizers held a procession from Balarama Gate of the Mysuru Palace.

Mysuru: The caste-based system is a major hindrance to the growth of India and it is pushing the society backwards, revenue minister V Srinivas Prasad said here on Tuesday.Instead of embracing the new, the society is still wallowing in the past when caste-based system dominated every human activity. That explains why an upper caste girl who was in love with a Dalit youth was killed in Mandya, the minister said, adding people are behaving like wild animals now.Speaking after inaugurating the birth anniversary celebration of 10th century Vachana writer Devara Dasimayya, the minister said it is imperative that a humanity-oriented society should be created by dismantling the caste systems.Mandya incident is a case of casteism in practice in the state. It is here vachanas penned by Sharanas like Devara Dasimayya are important as they teach humanity values and broaden their thinking, Prasad said.The district administration, the department of Kannada and culture, and Devara Dasimayya Jayanti Utsav Samithi jointly organized the event at Kalamandira here.Dasimayya was a major vachankara and he wrote vachanas much before social revolutionary Basaveshwara started them, he stated.People from all sections of society should celebrate the Dasimayya’s birth anniversary, he stated.Karnataka Exhibition Authority chairman R Murthy, deputy mayor Vanitha Prasanna, Command Area Development Authority chairman C Dasegowda, former mayor Purushottam, among others were present.Earlier, the organizers held a procession from Balarama Gate of the Mysuru PalaceMayor B L Bhyrappa flagged off the procession. Deputy commissioner C Shikha, MLA MK Somashekar and MLA Vasu were present.

The hindu

How to be free of caste

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/how-to-be-free-of-caste-in-india/article8467518.ece

This year, India has sponsored the observation of the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar at the United Nations for the first time. The Permanent Mission of India to the UN shall commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of the Dalit icon on April 13 at the UN headquarters, a day before his date of birth, with an international seminar on ‘Combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’. A note circulated by the Indian mission says that the “national icon” remains an inspiration for millions of Indians and proponents of equality and social justice across the globe. “Fittingly, although it’s a matter of coincidence, one can see the trace of Babasaheb’s radiant vision in the SDGs adopted by the UN General Assembly to eliminate poverty, hunger and socio-economic inequality by 2030.”

Juxtapose this with a recent report on caste-based discrimination by the United Nations Human Right Council’s Special Rapporteur for minority issues that has stung the Indian government, provoking it to raise questions about the lack of “seriousness of work” in the UN body and the special rapporteur’s mandate. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, would definitely not be pleased. Nor are the Dalit rights activists in India and abroad.

Precept and practice

This is the most recent example of India’s hypersensitivity on discussing the caste issue at any UN forum — the objections raised by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN in Geneva to the March 2016 report of Special Rapporteur Rita Izsák-Ndiaye of Hungary. Her report characterised caste-based discrimination as that based on “descent”, labour stratification, untouchability practices and forced endogamy and said that this was a “global phenomena” that impacted more than 250 million people worldwide — largely in India, but also in countries as diverse as Yemen, Japan and Mauritania. Her report cited India’s National Crime Records Bureau data to highlight that there were increasingatrocities against Scheduled Castes — an increase in reported crimes of 19 per cent in 2014 compared to the previous year. The report mentions that despite legislative prohibition of manual scavenging, the state has institutionalised the practice with “local governments and municipalities employing manual scavengers”.

Earlier, during the 2001 World Conference against Racism in Durban, when there was a major effort by Indian NGOs to include casteism on the agenda, the Indian government had vehemently opposed it. Ashok Bharti, chair of the National Confederation of Dalit and Adivasi Organisations, recently told a Web publication: “The whole government suffers from a mindset of the upper castes, that are victims of their own guilt and will therefore try to hide their faults.” He said that if the Indian government had done so well in supporting Dalits, “why have there been thousands of cases of atrocities in the past 25 years? How many perpetrators have been punished? If domestic pressures and remedies do not work, internationalisation was a viable option to seek improvement in the status of Dalits.”

The lesson from all this which India must learn is what the then UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Doudou Diène of Senegal, said a decade ago to the international conference on ‘Human Rights and Dignity of Dalit Women’ in November 2006 at The Hague: “You have to go beyond the law. You have to get to the identity constructions. How, over centuries, the Indian identity has been constructed. All forms of discrimination can be traced historically and intellectually. One of the key strategies of the racist, discriminating communities is to make us believe that discrimination is natural, that it is part of nature, and that you have to accept it. This is part of their ideological weapon and it is not true. Discrimination does not come from the cosmos. Caste-based discrimination can be retraced and deconstructed to combat it. Please engage in this ethical and intellectual strategy to uproot what is building and creating the culture and mentality of discrimination.”

Even 68 years after Independence, Dalits and Adivasis continue to face mind-boggling social discrimination and spine-chilling atrocities across the country. One in four Indians admits to practising caste untouchability in some form in their homes — this shocking fact has been revealed by a mega pan-India survey conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and University of Maryland, U.S. Indians belonging to virtually every religious and caste group, including Muslims, Christians, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, admit to practising untouchability, shows the India Human Development Survey (IHDS-II) of 2011-12. Mere tokenism and lip service will not do. India needs to jettison the centuries-old dehumanising baggage of caste stigma once and for all. It should have nothing to hide but see the reality as it is and confront the issues involved head-on.

Towards a transformation

If India has to move ahead to a caste-free nation, the need is for an all-embracing, inclusive pan-India social movement of social and cultural transformation. Ambedkar showed the way: “Turn in any direction you like, caste is the monster that crosses your path. You cannot have political reform, you cannot have economic reform, unless you kill this monster.” In fact, the Dalit political vision today not only encompasses the most oppressed, exploited and marginalised sections of the caste system but also other sections which took on the Brahminical hegemony in 1970s and 1980s — the backward castes and Adivasis. The Dalit political vision has now moved beyond the rhetoric of the Bahujan Samaj Party and the factions of the Republican Party and the decorative Dalit politicos in the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United) et al or even the low-caste-based Maoist organisations. New social movements like SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) in Gujarat, NBA (Narmada Bachao Andolan) in Madhya Pradesh and MKSS (Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan) in Rajasthan among others have fundamentally broadened the Dalit political vision.

The suicide of Rohith Vemula has exposed why attempts to co-opt Ambedkar as a ‘Hindu reformer’ cannot succeed due to inherent ideological contradictions. The challenge posed by the Ambedkar Students’ Association at the Hyderabad Central University to the Brahminical hegemony of Hindutva represented by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad is in the very logic of the Dalit political vision.

Now, integrating social and cultural transformation with an economic alternative is critical. Our tryst with destiny can go on and on. But let us grab this moment of truth. So that we can “redeem our pledge”, which has remained unredeemed for more than 68 years, to make conditions for the last men and women representing the Adivasis and Dalits, the marginalised and poor people of India to give unto themselves what is truly theirs. That is the challenge before the people of India.

Suhas Borker is Editor, Citizens First TV (CFTV), and Convener, Working Group on Alternative Strategies, New Delhi.

Nyoooz

MP govt plans a comprehensive tribal policy, courtesy RSS

http://www.nyoooz.com/bhopal/425538/mp-govt-plans-a-comprehensive-tribal-policy-courtesy-rss

Summary: ?Madhya Pradesh ?has largest tribal population in the country, with 20.27% of the total population ?and 46 tribal groups?, major chunk of which ?resides in the forest areas?. The BJP government is keen to focus on political issues too, keeping in mind party’s recent debacle in elections. which reflects in the growth parameters?.Tribal population in M.P. It emphasizes review of STs commission every ten years, so that it could recommend constitutionally defined vision for the tribals.The BJP plans to cover the entire tribal belt through its full-time workers, aiming for a massive political change. Most of the tribes are deprived of schemes from the mainstream development?

BHOPAL: In order to shed away the anti-dalit and anti-tribal tag, the Madhya Pradesh government is keen to implement a comprehensive policy on Dalits and tribals in the state, envisaged by its fountainhead organisation RSS, which advocates equal rights, check on displacement and implementation of anti-conversion laws in the interest of the community.Beginning with the tribals, the state has plans to frame guidelines on tribal affairs through RSS’ frontal organisation, Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, to shift its focus to the underprivileged, having a population of 1.51 crore, who still fail to enjoy the fruits of development.We have plans for a new tribal policy and the vision document released by our frontal organisation would help us in framing guidelines in the interest of tribal community in Madhya Pradesh”, said chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in the state.Off late, the government had developed a tribal sub-plan under the tribal welfare department, to monitor schemes implemented and integrated projects in the field. The BJP government is keen to focus on political issues too, keeping in mind party’s recent debacle in elections.?Madhya Pradesh ?has largest tribal population in the country, with 20.27% of the total population ?and 46 tribal groups?, major chunk of which ?resides in the forest areas?. Most of the tribes are deprived of schemes from the mainstream development? which reflects in the growth parameters?.Tribal population in M.P.

is mainly based on socio-economic development which should be improved by increasing agriculture production, more scholarships for students, skill development and proper health and nutrition for tribals”, said Prakash Kale, kshetriya pracharak of the parishad.He said, recent decisions taken by the Madhya Pradesh government to provide pattas, scholarships and financial support for foreign study to tribal students have shown good results, which is the main focus of the national tribal policy.The policy calls for some major changes which are under consideration for several years and need to be adopted expeditiously. It also calls for a committed administrative cadre for the tribals which could involve officers interested in and sensitive towards the tribals affairs.The policy also highlights major issues like implementation of ?Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA, which will cover scheduled areas which are not covered in the 73rd amendment or Panchayati Raj Act of the Indian Constitution. It was enacted on 24 December 1996 to enable gram sabhas to self govern their natural resources.It also calls to ensure that all states implement the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and grant land rights to tribals, to create a strong supportive legal framework that is crucial for the welfare of the tribals and protection of their cultural and natural environment.In future the state must ensure that displacement of tribals from their traditional lands is minimised and no displacement occurs without adequate consultations with the affected communities and without provision of full resettlement and rehabilitation facilities”, said a senior official of tribal department.The policy also focused on social and economic sector, which include agriculture, education, health, mining and minor forest produce in tribal areas.

The times of india

District likely to get 373 new Panchayat Extension of Scheduled Areas villages

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/District-likely-to-get-373-new-Panchayat-Extension-of-Scheduled-Areas-villages/articleshow/51800040.cms

Nashik: The district administration has cleared the way for creating 373 Panchayat Extension of Scheduled Areas (PESA) villages in the district to help the villagers establish their right on forest produce and also be eligible to get PESA funds.

Nashik district has in all 1044 villages under 570 group gram panchayats out of which 568 (54.4%) are PESA villages that receive direct funds from the state government for development without any intermediaries such as district administration or zilla parishad.

“The new PESA villages are being carved out from the existing ones because more than 50% of the population in these villagers have demanded a separate identity for themselves so that they get funds, expedite development and establish their rights over resources – like forest produce or fisheries etc.” a senior official from the collectorate informed.

“The concept of PESA village is that the gram sabha decides projects to be undertaken and the gram panchayat executes the same. The sarpanch has no role in the gram sabha that decides the works for the village, but has to execute what the gram sabha has demanded,” Vijay Ghote, from Adivasi Sangharsh Parishad, said.

The formation of new village will only promote better development of the tribals. 

“The new PESA villages have to meet certain criteria, which include clauses like, the group gram panchayat must be more than two kilometre away from the neighbouring village’s grampachayat, secondly more than 50% electors of the village must be in favour of getting a separate village status. Only in such cases the village is given the new recognition and the administration then begins direct interaction with the village for the funds and development,” Sanjay Tadvi, another activist said.

A senior officer from the collectorate pointed out that when identified under PESA, villagers have ownership of resources and rights including their rights over the forest, land and the water bodies, if available in the scheduled areas. In other words it helps in realisation of self-rule and self-reliance in these villages.

“This is important for the tribals that they get their share on the forest land and produce as per the law so that they get their living and hence the PESA. The separation is called for by the tribals in the condition that they village is unable to get due attention from villagers of the neighbouring village for whatever reasons,” the officer pointed out.

The PESA villages get five percent of Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) chalked out by the district administration and hence they are bound to get around Rs 20 to 30 lakh for their villages directly from the state government.

Bodahub

Racism in India, ‘Cause You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!

http://bodahub.com/unapologetic-racism-in-india/

Hollywood had its 2016 Oscar Awards amidst a boycott by many because of the lack of representation of the true racial diversity of America with the twitter refrain created by Washington DC-based lawyer turned writer April Regin, #OscarsSoWhite—in January 2015, to express her disappointment and mock the Academy. This year, when the list of nominees was released and the world saw that not one non-white individual had been nominated for an award, again, the hashtag came to the fore all over again. Let’s consider the outrage in the west in the backdrop of racism in India today.

It started with Jada Pinkett Smith getting outraged because Will Smith wasn’t nominated for his work in Concussion. Then Spike Lee posted a rant and declared he’d attend a Knicks game instead. Then Will Smith (Jada Pinkett Smith’s husband) also boycotted the event, as did George Clooney, Lupita Nyong’o, Mark Ruffalo, Al Sharpton, Tyrese Gibson, etc.

Reactions were varied—from fundraising events to boycotts—but it came to a head when Oscars host Chris Rock took the issue head on in his opening monologue. He made jokes about it, but the bottom line was clear: yes, Hollywood is racist, and rather than just say that, he explained how it was so.

“Hey, if you want black nominees every year, you need to just have black categories…You already do it with men and women. Think about it: There’s no real reason for there to be a man and a woman category in acting[…]It’s not track and field. You don’t have to separate ‘em. You know, Robert De Niro’s never said, I better slow this acting down, so Meryl Streep can catch up. No, not at all, man. If you want black people every year at the Oscars, just have black categories like Best Black Friend.”

His point is remarkable for the simplicity with which he makes it. Hollywood is racist, but it’s racist in that the majority of the movies made in Hollywood are on white themes and about white people. There’s no actual representation of the ethnic diversity of American society in the movies that it makes.

Racism in India, Brutal and In Your Face

In India, however, the commercial movie industry has plenty of racism—unapologetically so. Exceptions exist, but this is by far the norm. And we’re talking today about the norm, not the outliers.

The typical Indian commercial potboilers are supposed to have something for everyone—romance, drama, action, songs, fairly clichéd plots, some hamming, the usual dose of homophobia, and a lot of racism. Racism is different in different industries in India, which are split by language.

In Madras, or “Kollywood,” one sees a very bizarre and aspirational brand of racism—“Dravidian” (as the indigenous southerners insist on categorizing ourselves) roots mean that the hero being dark skinned is easily accepted, but the heroines are still required to be alabaster skinned. Very few of them can actually act, much less actually attempt to. In fact, heroines have precious little to do but advance the romance aspect of the 180-plus minutes of storyline, and sing and dance… and look pretty. This actually affects how movies are cast.

Of the top ten grossing Tamil movies of 2015, only 3 of them had actual Tamil heroines, and 2 of those were multi-starrers with more than one female protagonist—yeah, the others were “fairer” northeners.

Movie dialogues and lyrics make unashamed and open references to skin colour and “fairness” (possessing light skin) and it is something the audience laps up unquestioningly, and even identifies with. At the same time – the word for darker skin is actually the same as the word for black – and it is not at all unusual to see jokes being made at the blackness of the hero—or one of his close friends. The Indian equivalent of Yo’ Mama jokes begin with, “He’s so black that…”—and it’s considered ok.

Worse than the attitude that goes with feeling that way about darker skin is the attitude when confronted by disapproval of such “jokes.” One is castigated for being “too serious” or being hypersensitive.

In the Hindi industry, better known as Bollywood, the level of racism is even worse. Bollywood is the product of a more north-Indian attitude, where even the men are expected to be fair skinned.

While the heroines are generally still doing precious little in Hindi movies—much like their southern commercial cinema peers—the heroes are under tremendous pressure to turn up at their brightest best. In fact, there have been several instances of Bollywood celebrities speaking out about the attitude of racism in India. This has been happening for a few decades now.

With the kind of comments coming from second and third-generation actors (Rishi Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, and Sonam Kapoor), it shows a deeper problem that is not going away any time soon. Cinema is supposed to be almost a mirror of society—where it reflects and plays off the public’s needs and aspirations (though with the volume turned up to 11).

The point is, can a movie Industry or movie producers be found fault with if fairness creams are hot business in India (even men’s fairness creams)? When skin colour is an important adjective in an arranged marriage advertisement? When protecting one’s fairness is drilled into children at an early age?

Indian cinema has a rich history of blatantly obvious racism in dialogue, lyrics, casting—and is part of a larger problem of stereotyping if you extend the argument to LGBTs or portrayals of various communities—and the problem is terrible when considered in conjunction with the levels of insensitivity and low-brow laughs that they are written to raise.

One must also argue that cinema, with its reach, should show the way for a more tolerant and realistic world. However, Bollywood’s top stars openlyendorse fairness creams. It must be pointed out that some actors openly refuse to do so, and a couple even started movements that brought attention to the issue. But what one needs to remember is that like many of its problems, racism in India is not something anybody wants to do anything about.

If they did, it’s quite obvious that racist violence, especially like theterrifying attack on a Tanzanian woman in Bangalore, where she was stripped and beaten up by a mob because another African person, completely unconnected with her in every way and from a different nation than her had, earlier in the day, had an accident in the area she had happened to be driving through, in which someone had been killed. The racism didn’t end with the mob because when she went to the police station to make a complaint, the cops refused to help her until she brought the offending driver—who from the accident she knew nothing about to the police station. One of the cops even told her, “You all look alike.”

The reasons for this disgusting mindset are many and varied, but one can be sure that it comes down to some deep-rooted attitude and thought instilled by colonialism. The time spent under British rule was an indoctrination into the philosophy of white is right, which carries with it a certain devaluation of darker skin tones. We’re not whining about what happened in the past as an excuse for continuing with it, merely pointing it out in the hope that understanding why we feel that way will help us grow out of it—help us end attitudes of racism in India.

It is strangest still (or perhaps most appropriate) that all this contradiction has come to be in a land that celebrates and worships a pantheon of gods that contains several dusky deities

And you thought racism was illogical before?!

The News Minute

For Gogu Shyamala, being Dalit and woman is survival, beyond victimhood and outside of it

http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/gogu-shyamala-being-dalit-and-woman-survival-beyond-victimhood-and-outside-it-41396

She recognised caste discrimination for what it was, only as an adult

Nitin B.| Saturday, April 9, 2016 – 20:33

Jovial is the first word that comes to mind when one sees Gogu Shyamala. “This is my desk,” she says, with a welcoming smile, pointing at a table clustered with books, papers and other trivial items.

We are at the Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies in Hyderabad, where Shyamala is a senior fellow. Over a cup of tea, she talks about her childhood growing up in the Madiga wada in the 1970s, and her transition from the Left to an Ambedkarite position, her fiction writing, and what it means to be a Dalit feminist.

“I never realized that there was any discrimination as a kid. It was after growing up that I discovered it. We had a Madiga area to the east of the village where we all lived, away from the upper castes,” she says.

Shyamala grew up in Peddemul village in Telangana’s (then Andhra Pradesh) Ranga Reddy district. In the Acknowledgements at the end of her English translation of her book titled “Father may be an elephant and mother only a small basket, but…” Shyamala writes very simply, how her education was possible. She described the attitude in her village thus:

‘“If you get your children educated, who will slog for free in our fields?” Under such pressure from the karnam, reddy and other dora of the village, my eldest brother Ramachandrappa was forced into agricultural labour.’

(Karnam is Brahmin caste whose task it was be maintain land records, reddy is a landowning farming caste, dora is the most powerful landlord in the village is also the power centre)

However, she escaped this. Her parents, both agricultural labourers, insisted on sending her to school. She is the only one of her three siblings (including her oldest brother who died as a child) who obtained a higher education. She is all praise for her father, and says that she owes everything to him.

“School was the one place where everyone sat together. I remember sitting with a girl who was a reddy and neither of us had a problem. But I was never invited to her house, and she was never invited to mine,” she recalls.

The prejudice was always there, but she did not recognize it for what it was. “I had three bench mates — a Muslim, one BC girl and one upper caste girl, and we had all met once at the BC girl’s house, but the upper caste girl was swiftly taken back home on some pretext. The actual reason is obvious to me now,” she says.

“The politics started when my dad put me in a social welfare hostel (Tandur) to continue my schooling. I was one of the student leaders who used to protest for clean food and hostel facilities and things like that. It continued in college where I was an active student leader. I did it only for justice. Nothing else,” she says.

After completing her intermediate (Class 12), she could not immediately enroll in college on account of financial difficulties. Eventually, she obtained a degree in Sociology from BR Ambedkar Open University.

Around that time, she become an activist with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), but insists that she never let the politics overshadow the education. “It was a good change because I was no longer a Dalit. I was a comrade. We were all equal. But over time, I realized that the caste element still crept in. Children of the upper caste people were well shielded and could pull strings with the police if they were arrested. We on the other hand, were helpless.”

On August 6, 1991, eight Dalits in a small village called Tsundur in Andhra’s Guntur district were killed and several injured by upper caste people, in an incident now known as the ‘Tsundur’ or ‘Chundur’ massacre.

The police had filed charge-sheet against 219 people, of whom 33 died during the course of the trial and seven were let off due to lack of evidence.

“When the massacre happened, I was shocked. I saw all the authorities trying to spin the story and say that there were other elements that prompted the killing, while it was clearly caste-based. It also made me wonder how many isolated caste killings occurred, but were dismissed with some other reason. Tsundur was a bigger number, so people took notice. What about all the cases where just one individual was killed?” she asks.

It was at this point that Shyamala began to question the Left. “I slowly began to read Ambedkar and understood how deep-rooted caste was in Indian society. That’s also when I understood that communism may have removed religion, but the caste divide still existed. Even today, if you see any Dalit parliamentarians, it is only because of reservation,” she says.

When asked why the Left couldn’t get rid of the caste-divide, she says, “What America had was open slavery but our kind of slavery is much more closed. This is even more dangerous, and it is difficult to acknowledge the problem and tackle it.”

She says that the system was a continuous one, practices and attitudes passed on from one generation to another. Thus, she said that caste slurs were hurled at her father to such an extent, that the generation that followed still called him by the caste slur, but didn’t even realize its origin.

But suddenly, she chuckles. With a glint in her eye, she said: “I actually wrote a story where an upper caste boy who uses the slur gets into a fight with a Dalit boy as the latter feels insulted. During the fight, the Dalit boy explains the origins of the slur and the upper caste boy goes back home and tells his parents not to use it.”

This cheeky and defiant attitude, is very much a part of her stories. “There are two types of Dalit narratives that you will read and hear about. Either the person is a hero who fought all odds, or a victim. With my writing, I try to present them as normal people like everyone else, to try and battle the mainstream stereotype.”

In one of the stories, a young girl named Balamma, wary as she is of the village dora, is nonetheless not willing to put up with his nonsense. The story is named after Tataki, whom Valmiki calls a rakshasi, but whom Dalit discourse identifies as a Dalit woman who protected the forests and was killed by Rama.

These stories are drawn from her own life. “My book is entirely based on my experiences – things that I have seen, heard or felt. I do add a few elements here and there to brighten up the book, but the writing is largely from experience.”

In a strange way, one of the stories in the book could easily be applied to the discussions about students who avail of reservations, and which were heard after Rohith Vemula’s suicide. Bayi Talam (Bottom of the Well) raises questions about caste, privilege, and access to education. A group of teachers from Hyderabad happen to watch Dalit boys enthusiastically playing all kinds of games in the well. Taken aback by their intelligence, they wonder what caste these boys belong to, and how they might shine with an education. This between the teachers in the story is a study in attitudes and perceptions.

At the mention of Rohith’s suicide, the sign of a frown appears on Shyamala’s face.

“The purpose of universities is knowledge. Any person, irrespective of his background, can go to a university to learn. However, there is discrimination even here as most of the professors are upper caste and they aren’t empathetic to the background of a Dalit student,” she says.

As far as Rohith is concerned, we are losing a little focus of the main issue with all the incidents that followed and all the politicians going in and out of the campus. He was a student filled with hope and was pushed to commit suicide,” she adds.

The time is ticking and it is time for the last question. What is the biggest problem she faces as a self-identified Dalit feminist?

“Being a Dalit woman is hard. In the Tsundur massacre for example, all those widowed women from the killings did not have anyone to turn to. They raised their children, worked hard to feed them, and still had to go to court to fight the case. This lack of a support mechanism in the patriarchal system really makes it hard for them,” she says.

Even in everyday life, she says, women are stronger. “I remember (women) agricultural labourers who would gather together, make sure that all the work was done, and ensure that the landlords gave them every rupee they earned. I always saw them being bold and courageous. But, that does not deny the difficulties that they face living in a patriarchal society,” she says.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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