(The Annual meet of D.I.E.T was held on 5th May, 2012, in Hyderabad. We thank Sujatha Surepally for sharing this report on the event)
Dalit Information and Education Trust's (DIET) Annual meet was held on 5th May, 2012 at Hotel Grand plaza, Nampally, Hyderabad. It was a memorable event. Though it was titled as 'Book Reviews and Felicitations', there was much more to describe, feel proud about at the meet, and to celebrate our own people's contribution to dalit literature, criticism, rediscovering Ambedkar etc. A culmination of different views and perspectives, bundles of experiences, thoughts of different generations, the agonies and strategies of building movements for dignity. It presented a rare opportunity, and indeed was a marvelous day.
The venue was filled with living legends like Kathi Padma Rao, K.S. Chalam, literary flame B.S. Ramulu on one side; and Gogu Shyamala, who struggled for seven years to bring out Sada Laxmi's biography 'Nene Balanni', the writer Y. B. Satyanarayana, architect of his father's story ('Being a Dalit'), and the visionary 'My father Balaiah' book, which was widely reviewed in national and international circles; well- known academicians, K.Y. Ratnam, Prof. Mallesham, Prof. Bhanghya Bhukya, Prof. Gundemeda Nagaraju, powerful telangana Dalit writer Nandi Yellaiah (of 'Kakka' fame), and multi talented Atluri Sudhakar, Gavarraju and the key organiser Panthukala Srinivas, scholars from EFLU, HCU, Osmania, Satavahana Unviersities. ..endless list, one could find people from different walks of life, all aspiring to have an empowered society of their own, corruption-free, intellectually bestowed knowledge etc.
The Telangana bright stars, new generation literary icons, Pasunoori Ravinder and the Mulanivasi Voice, a powerful force among Bahujan Community Dr. Jilukara Srinivas, the Indian/Madiga Michael Jackson Sharat Naliganti (singer of 'Beef is the secret of my energy'), Swaroop, Shanker Sampangi--, many invisible hands made this programme a grand success. It was an historical landmark in dalit history and discourse in this globalized world, where we are anxiously searching who is friend or foe, where are our true brothers and identities.
After a long period, different from routine, boring mainstream political debates and tiring speeches, taking part in this annual meet was really refreshing, a breather perhaps, encouraging and very inspiring too. Exciting moments to listen to all the experiences of Karamchedu movement from Kathi Padma Rao, his excellent book review on Gogu Shyamala's book 'Nene Balanni', and Shri.K.S. Chalam's review of Kathi Padma Rao's book 'Ambedkar Tatva Sastram', his analysis on caste and education. Dr. Jilukara Srinivas also reviewed the same book and his views on Ambedkarism, the need for Ambedkarism as methodology, was very thought provoking. Prof. K.Y. Ratnam and Prof. Bhangya Bhukya reviewed Y.B. Satyanarayana's book 'My father Balaiah'. They both took all of us to Balaiah's period, his life in Colonial period and Nizam's Rule, what it used to be being a dalit in those days was portrayed very well. It is not only just a Dalit's life story but a Madiga, Telangana life, which is more important in present context to analyse. Dalit stories are not fiction based, artificial; they always give you real pictures, life experience, they are the only sources for us to explore ourselves, find our roots.
Last but not the least, 'Potham: Mulanivasi Critique' by Dr. Jilukara Srinivas, was released; felt privileged to be there, to preside over the session, say a few words about DIET, about the event and my dear freind Dr. Julukara Srinivas. The book is his collection of powerful essays published earlier. Mr. Pasunoori Ravinder, an excellent speaker and strong Telangana Dalit writer, reviewed it. The book basically raises many questions perhaps one may not feel comfortable in reading. He articulated excellently the current dynamics happening in Indian Society, Muslim, Hindutva, upper caste thoughts and writers. Each one of us must read all the books released in this function, they speak volumes of our lives and community.
Some friends did not turn up as they were not invited personally or were not given chance on the dais, the DIET is trying to break all the pseudo myths and formalities we acquired over a period. It is entering into the new era of depressed classes lives (we were requested to not to use the term Dalit), this forum's agenda is to refresh ourselves, acquire knowledge and contribute to the society, building our strengths to compete with the globalised, hinduised world. One has to shed all the egos, their backgrounds to come in to this forum. It's running on its own, with fair, plain, intellectual, young minds, who are not corrupt yet. We have to take it for so long, make our people strong and rejuvenate ourselves.
Sorry for taking much time and talking of only good things, praising. Yes, I couldnt resist myself, I wanted to share all my happiness with the forum members. Please come and join, share your experiences, this is our forum, we must make a better place for ourselves, our future.
I was also suggesting to have a two or three day residential programme so that we can have plenty of time for discussion on various current issues. We will design the programme and speakers. All the friends, who are interested, please come forward with your suggestions too, we may plan it in the month of June or July, 2012. Hopefully, many forum members will have holidays during that time.