Remembering Bitter Truths on the way to Udupi

 

Dr C S Dwarakanath

diwakarnathJignesh Mevani, a young dalit leader who has inspired many across the country with his protests against the flogging of Dalits in Una, Gujarat, along with Lolaksha, a dalit intellectual from Karnataka and myself were travelling from Mangalore Airport to Udupi for the valedictory event of the Udupi Chalo Rally which was inspired by the Una protests. Jignesh was speaking enthusiastically, matching his youth. He told us about the helplessness of the 6.9% dalits in Gujarat and the policies against them by the state and Central BJP Government. I was impressed with Jignesh's preparation before his visit to Karnataka as he was aware of atrocities on Dalits, Muslims and Bahujans by the Bajrang Dal, Sangh Parivar and other 'cow terrorists' in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Chickmagalur. My respect grew for this young lad for his commitment to Dalit identity at a time when so-called Dalit leaders, who have lost self-respect, are joining Manuvadi parties.

"You have raised your voice against the BJP who are the ruling party in both the Central Government and in the state of Gujarat. The atrocities on Dalits, Muslims and Bahujans in Karnataka state is done by the people of Sangh Parivar but the Congress Government is in power here. Law and order is the responsibility of the state Government, so who will you speak against if the Government here is not controlling the atrocities satisfactorily and thereby, indirectly, helping the Sangh Parivar?'' I asked Jignesh. He started thinking about this.

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Parched and Feminism: Are All Women's Stories the Same?

 

Asha Singh

asha singh 1In the past few days, I have noticed that a few of my Dalit-Bahujan friends are engaged in an uncritical celebration of Leena Yadav's feature film titled 'Parched'. I would like to talk about Parched, based on the content of the film and the interview of the Director conducted by National Dastak.i

The film tries to tell us stories of three supposedly unmarked 'rural women' named 'Lajjo', 'Bijli' and 'Rani'. Lajjo is childless, Rani is a widow and Bijli is a dancer and sex worker.

Leena Yadav in her interview points out that the idea for her film can be traced back to Tannishtha Chatterjee's experience of acting in the feature film titled 'Road movie'. In this film, Tannishtha found out that 'rural women' have frank conversations on sex. Leena tries to capture this 'characteristic' of rural women through Parched.

Further, she adds that the lives of these unmarked 'rural women' are similar (even identical) to her own life. In fact, she claims that her non-Indian friends residing in UK and London also have similar stories. In short, undifferentiated rural and urban women across the globe face patriarchy in similar terms, according to the filmmaker.

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Is one sufficiently patriotic only if one is a Hindu cow-vigilante?

 

Vinod Kumar

vinod kumar jnuHindutva cultural nationalism is at its peak today. So the day is not far when India becomes a country like Hitler's Germany or Mussolini's Italy. We have all witnessed how the cow-vigilantes are promoted by the VHP, RSS and its political outfit, the BJP. People from oppressed communities across the country are being butchered, lynched, tortured and harassed, apparently for consuming or selling beef. A few months ago, four Dalits were beaten up by cow-vigilantes in Una town of Gujarat. Out of political compulsion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shed crocodile tears, saying things like "Shoot me but don't target Dalits" and "Cow-vigilantes are doing business in the name of cow protection". Later, he was criticized for these statements by people like Pravin Togadia. Togadia claimed that cow-vigilantes sacrificed their life for cow protection while Modi never cared about it. After this, Modi did not give out a single statement regarding the Una issue. Of course, by their very nature, Indian society and culture have been suppressive and have oppressed certain communities for centuries, but in today's so-called independent and democratic India, they operate in very sophisticated ways.

Cow-vigilantes are working very strategically in Muslim and Dalit localities. For instance, in Delhi, some institutions associated with Sangh Parivar can be found near the Qutb Minar, and the walls are replete with slogans like, "Gaay Hamari Mata Hai, Isko Rashtriya Pashu Banana Hai". Near Jama Mosque, a BMS (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh) office can be seen, surrounded by many temples. In this way, some or the other kind of surveillance by the Sangh Parivar can be found in almost all Muslim and Dalit localities. Sanghis are playing multiple roles; working everywhere as militia and as agents of the intelligentsia in different forms against the oppressed of the country.

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India, That is Bharat!

 

Adv. Mahendra Jadhav

adv mahendra jadhav1When the BJP government came to power in the name of 'Development' and 'Vikas', we all believed that the dark phase of scams and corruption of the Congress government would fade away, thanks to the glorious statements of the so-called 'modern statesman of the century'! As a common man, I too felt that as a party, the BJP should be given a fair chance, since the democratic nature of our Constitution speaks about a change in the government every five years. But regrettably, except controversies, we Indians have not seen any promises of development being fulfilled. Every day, new issues, communal tensions, caste killings, lynching innocent people for eating/carrying a certain food with them, religious abhorrence, religious impositions/sanctions on the oppressed classes and minorities have become the norm of the day. Nationalism and patriotism are being defined in a way as to facilitate certain ideologies. Students are being killed, scholars are threatened and thinkers are abused and killed in broad daylight. It's not that these confrontations were not happening during the past government - atrocities on oppressed people and minorities have been happening since centuries - but the way in which these atrocities have become unbridled and open in the last two years has raised apprehensions as to where this great nation is heading!

We have seen several social, educational, political and ideological controversies in the past few months such as Pune's FTII students' issue, IIT Madras issue, Mohammed Akhlakh's lynching in UP, Rohith Vemula's suicide case in Hyderabad Central University which rocked the nation, Kanhaiya Kumar issue at JNU, Jadavpur University, Una lynching and many more. In all these, we have seen the rise of 'Nationalists/Patriots' all of a sudden. It is fine to love and respect our country and also feel a duty to protect its dignity as enshrined under Article.51A (a to k) in part IVA of the Constitution of India. However, it does not mean that someone should impose their pseudo-nationalist feelings on others by force and undue influence, just for the sake of the fake feeling that one is more nationalist than others. As common people, we love our country and we do not need to be certified by anyone!

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फिल्म पार्च्ड और स्त्रीवाद: क्या सब औरतों की कहानी एक है?

 

 आशा सिंह

asha singh 1कई दिनों से देख रही हूँ कि हमारे दलित-बहुजन साथी लीना यादव की फिल्म Parched की तारीफ कर रहे हैं  मेरे इस आलेख का आधार इस फिल्म की विषयवस्तु और इसके निर्देशक का साक्षात्कार है (देखें National Dastak, You Tube)i

फिल्म लज्जो, बिजली, रानी नामक तीन तथाकथित 'ग्रामीण' महिला किरदारों की कहानी है लज्जो 'बाँझ' है, रानी 'विधवा' है और बिजली 'डांसर व सेक्स वर्कर' है लीना यादव कहती हैं कि उन्हें इस फिल्म को बनाने का आईडिया तन्निष्ठा चटर्जी की 'रोड मूवी' के अनुभव से आता है, जहाँ उन्होंने पाया कि गाँव की महिलाएं सेक्स पर खुल कर बात करती हैं लीना 'रूरल वीमेन' की ये 'ख़ासियत' अपनी फिल्म के माध्यम से दुनिया के सामने लाना चाहती हैं वे ये भी कहती हैं कि 'गाँव' की महिलाओं की ज़िन्दगी और उनकी ख़ुद की ज़िन्दगी की कहानी एक जैसी है यहाँ तक कि उन्होंने 'रूरल वीमेन' की कहानी को अपने विदेशी मित्रों को भेजा और लन्दन व न्यूयॉर्क में भी ऐसी ही कहानियां पाई गयीं लब्बोलुआब यह कि पितृसत्ता की मार दुनिया भर की औरतें (शहरी और ग्रामीण) समान रूप से झेलती हैं

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ಅಪರಾಧಿ ಗುರುತಿನ ಪೊರೆ ಕಳಚುತ್ತಿರುವ ಗಂಟಿಚೋರರು

 

ಡಾ. ಅರುಣ್ ಜೋಳದಕೂಡ್ಲಿಗಿ (Dr Arun Joladkudligi)

ಈಚೆಗೆ ನಾನು ಕೈಗೊಂಡ ಸಂಶೋಧನಾ ಕೃತಿ 'ಗಂಟಿಚೋರ ಸಮುದಾಯ' ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಡಾ.ಬಿ.ಆರ್.ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಸಂಶೋಧನ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಯಿಂದ ಪ್ರಕಟವಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಈ ಸಂಶೋಧನೆಯ ಸಂಕ್ಷಿಪ್ತ ಫಲಿತಗಳನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸುವೆ.

ಸ್ವತಂತ್ರ್ಯ ಬಂದು 69 ವರ್ಷವಾದರೂ ಕೆಲವು ಚಿಕ್ಕಪುಟ್ಟ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳ ಸಮಗ್ರ ಮಾಹಿತಿ ಅಲಭ್ಯವಾಗಿದೆ. ಹೀಗೆ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳ ಸರಿಯಾದ ಮಾಹಿತಿಗಳೇ ಅಲಭ್ಯವಾದಾಗ ಸರಕಾರ ಅಥವಾ ಪ್ರಭುತ್ವಗಳು ಕೈಗೊಳ್ಳುವ ಜನಕಲ್ಯಾಣದ ಯೋಜನೆಗಳು ದಿಕ್ಕು ತಪ್ಪುವ ಸಾಧ್ಯತೆ ಇರುತ್ತದೆ. ಇಂದು ಬದಲಾದ ಕಾಲಘಟ್ಟದ ಸೆಳೆತಕ್ಕೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿ ಅಲ್ಪಸಂಖ್ಯಾತ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳು ತಬ್ಬಲಿತನವನ್ನು ಅನುಭವಿಸುತ್ತಾ ಅನಾಥ ಪ್ರಜ್ಞೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬದುಕುತ್ತಿವೆ. ಇಂತಹ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳು ಪ್ರಜಾಪ್ರಭುತ್ವದ ಬಗೆಗೆ ಭರವಸೆ ಇಲ್ಲದೆ ತಮ್ಮ ಪಾಡಿನ ಬದುಕೇ ನಿಜವೇನೋ ಎನ್ನುವ ಸ್ಥಿತಿಗೂ ಬಂದಿವೆ. ಹಾಗಾಗಿ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಪರೋಕ್ಷವಾಗಿ ಪ್ರಜಾಪ್ರಭುತ್ವ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆಯ ಬಗೆಗೆ ಜನರಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಸ ಭರವಸೆ ಮೂಡಿಸುವ ಭಾಗವೂ ಆಗಿದೆ.

gantichor3

(ಬಾಗಲಕೋಟೆ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಯ ಮಹಾಲಿಂಗಪುರದ ಬಳಿ ಹೊಲದಲ್ಲಿ ವಾಸವಾಗಿರುವ ಗಂಟಿಚೋರ ಸಮುದಾಯದ ಕುಟುಂಬದ ಚಿತ್ರ.)

ಈ ಹಿನ್ನೆಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂತಹ ತಬ್ಬಲಿ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳ ಆತ್ಮವಿಶ್ವಾಸವನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸುವ ಮತ್ತು ಅವರಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಸ ಚೈತನ್ಯವನ್ನು ತುಂಬುವಂತೆ ಸಮುದಾಯ ಅಧ್ಯಯನಗಳು ನಡೆಯಬೇಕಾಗಿದೆ. ಅಂತೆಯೇ ನಾವು ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳನ್ನು ಎದುರಾಗುವಾಗ ಹುಟ್ಟುವ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳೂ ಬದಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಆಧುನಿಕ ಶ್ರೇಣೀಕರಣದ ತರತಮದ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆಗಳಿಗೆ ಪುರಕವಾಗಿ ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳಲ್ಲೂ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಶೈಕ್ಷಣಿಕ ಸ್ಥಿತಿಗತಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಹಲಬಗೆಯ ಏರಿಳಿತಗಳು ಸಂಭವಿಸಿದೆ. ಹಾಗಾಗಿ ಇಂದು ಸಮುದಾಯಗಳನ್ನು ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಮಾಡುವವರು ಅವನ್ನು ಏಕರೂಪಿ ಆಕೃತಿಯನ್ನಾಗಿ ನೋಡುವಂತಿಲ್ಲ. ಯಾವೊಂದು ಸಂಗತಿಯನ್ನು ಇಡೀ ಸಮುದಾಯಕ್ಕೆ ಅನ್ವಯಿಸಿ ದುಂಡಾಗಿ ಗ್ರಹಿಸುವಂತಿಲ್ಲ.

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War: Win Win Time for the Ruling Class

 

Vikas Bagde

vikas bagdeTo unite a diverse mass, one must create an external enemy, so that by considering such an enemy as a severe threat to their interests, those diverse people can be united. After that, it becomes very easy for a ruler to keep control of them and divert all their attention from any local or basic problem, by pointing fingers at the 'enemy'. This is a classic strategy; you can find this arrangement everywhere in the world. For example, to unite Hindus, Muslims are the enemy, for India, Pakistan is the enemy, for development of the country, reservation is an enemy and for 'global peace' (that revolves around oil), a certain group of people and countries are the enemy. Even though these are external 'enemies' that have nothing to do with the real problems of the people, such a thought is nevertheless propagated and used according to the requirement of the rulers.

'If you have the media in hand, you can create any great hero or villain'. The Executive, Legislature, Judiciary and Media are said to be the four pillars necessary for any 'democratic country'. Out of all these, media has a very crucial role to play since it can instantly impact a huge number of people. It is evident that anyone can be made into a hero or a villain, based on the interests of media establishments and their allied rulers; whether it is M.K. Gandhi, Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru or others. Media can incite communal violence or rioting, can build a movement in thin air, can suppress the voices of very large groups, suppress movements that pose a danger to hegemony and supremacy, create a war-like situation and run a war room in the studio, create a hostile environment against any person, group or country, mobilize the masses over non-existent events, and fool the people with artificial debates.

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आत्मसम्मान के नाम एक विमर्श: कश्मीर

 
 
पुष्पेंद्र जौहर
 
pushpसितम्बर 2010 में कश्मीर के रहने वाले एक ख़ास मित्र मुझसे हिजबुल मुजाहिदीन जैसे स्थानीय मिलिटेंट संघठनो द्वारा युवा कश्मीरियों की हाल में की गयी भर्ती के नतीजों पर चर्चा कर रहे थे। शुरूआती दिनों से लेकर 1990 में अपनी पराकाष्ठा तक पहुंची मिलिटेंसी की पृष्ठभूमि में हो रही उस चर्चा में उनका निष्कर्ष था कि भले ही इससे मिलिटेंट संगठनों में कुछ और लोगों की भर्ती हो और वे मारे भी जाएं, मगर ये सब भी 1990 का वो दौर नहीं ला सकता जब ये मिलिटेंसी अपने चरम पर था। उनका मानना था कि कश्मीर का बढ़ता हुआ मध्यम वर्ग मिलिटेंसी के अनिश्चित परिणामों के मद्देनज़र उसकी पुनरावृत्ति नहीं चाहता है। उनके अनुसार भारत सरकार कश्मीर का 'प्रबंधन' बहुत अच्छा कर रही है। मैंने यही सवाल हाल ही में फिर उनसे पूछा तो उन्होंने बताया कि वो किस तरह एक सहकर्मी के बेटे को मिलिटेंसी से दूर करने में प्रयासरत हैं।
 
अपने दोस्त से पिछले वर्ष हुई वार्ता के कुछ दिनों बाद मैं युवाओं का इंटरव्यू लेने श्रीनगर के केंद्र नौहट्टा (जो शहर-ए-खास के नाम से भी जाना जाता है) पहुंचा और वहाँ ये जानना चाहा कि लोग इस बढ़ती हुई मिलिटेंसी को कैसे देखते हैं। हिज्बुल मुजाहिदीन के प्रख्यात एरिया कमांडर बुरहान वानी उन लोगों में से एक था जिसके बारे में मैं पिछले डेढ़ साल से पढ़ रहा था। तमाम स्थानीय अखबारों में उसके बारे में पढ़ने के अलावा मैंने विभिन्न क्षेत्रों से आए कश्मीरियों से वानी और उसके सहयोगियों के प्रति उनकी राय भी जानना चाही। इस क्षेत्र (नौहट्टा) को चुनने की खास वजह थी। यहाँ मेरे आने से एक हफ्ते पहले एक मस्जिद की दीवार पर एरिया कमांडर बुरहान मुज़फ्फर वानी की बड़ी सी तस्वीर लगाई गयी थी।

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डॉ. अंबेडकर का बहुमूल्य मशवरा - सिखों के सवैशासन के अधिकार पर

 

सरदार अजमेर सिंह

यह लेख सरदार अजमेर सिंह की किताब 'बीसवीं सदी की सिख राजनीती - एक गुलामी से दूसरी गुलामी तक'  से लिया गया है ।

s ajmer singh

पंजाब के विभाजन के बाद पूरबी पंजाब में अलग अलग वर्गों की जनसँख्या के अनुपात में खासी तब्दीली आ गई थी। पश्चिमी पंजाब और उत्तर पश्चिमी सरहदी इलाके की हिन्दू और सिख जनसँख्या को अपने घर-बार छोड़, काफ़िलों के रूप में सरहद पार करने के लिए मजबूर होना पड़ा। इधर, पूरबी पंजाब में मुस्लिम जनसँख्या पश्चिमी पंजाब में तब्दील हो गई। लायलपुर, मिंटगुमरी और शेखुपुरा से उजड़े सिख परिवार ज्यादाकर जालंधर डिवीज़न में अपने पुश्तैनी जिलों में आ बसे। पाकिस्तान से उजड़ी हिन्दू जनसँख्या के बड़े हिस्से घग्गर (एक नदी का नाम) पार इलाकों में जा टिके। आबादी के इस तबादले ने हिन्दू और सिख, दोनों भाईचारों की पोजीशन को मुख्य रूप से प्रभावित किया। पूरबी पंजाब की कुल एक करोड़ पच्चीस लाख की आबादी में हिंदुओं की जनसँख्या 62 फ़ीसदी तक जा पहुंची जबकि सिखों की 35 फ़ीसदी के करीब हो गई। यूं हिन्दू वर्ग को इतिहास में पहली बार पंजाब में बहुसँख्या नसीब हो गई। साथ ही, इतिहास में पहली बार सिख भाईचारे को एक संगठित इलाके (रावी और घग्गर के बीच के हिस्से) में अपनी बहुसँख्या हासिल हो गई।

बेशक़ पंजाब के बंटवारे के साथ सिख कौम को, जान-माल के हिसाब से बेहिसाब नुक्सान झेलना पड़ा लेकिन इस तबाही ने उसकी राजनितिक संयोग के जो नए दर खोले, उसका सही अनुमान डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जैसा प्रतिभाशील मन ही लगा सकता था। फरवरी 1948 में जब एक सिख डेपुटेशन ने बंटवारे के चलते सिख कौम को झेलनी पड़ रही मुश्किलों से डॉ. अंबेडकर को अवगत करवाने के लिए विशेष मुलाक़ात की तब सिख मुलाकातियों की बात सुनने के बाद डॉ. अंबेडकर ने जो गंभीर और गहरा जवाब दिया वह यूं था :

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Vegetarians only

 

Sky Baaba

skybaaba 2aHe sat on a throne
and made my Dalits sit on the ground
told my Adivasis to stay at his feet
we folded our hands and stood,
bringing palms together was all he ever taught my people;
changing religion was a rebellion
my people stood shoulder to shoulder
and entered mosques and churches;

The above excerpt from Sky Baaba's Telugu poem 'Muslim Wadalu' delineates the three distinct strains of thought - which indicate a history of powerlessness, brotherhood born of slavery and labour and subordination and pride in resistance - which run through his poetry and other writings. Elements of quintessential Bahujanvad. Sky Baaba's literary journey marks not just two decades of protest against Hindutva – the first decade marked by the Babri Masjid and the second by the Gujarat riots – but also two decades of political conscientization of the bahujan masses against the ruling classes.

S. K. Yousuf Baaba, who writes under the pen name Sky Baaba, is a prolific poet, writer, essayist and activist and is one of the chief initiators of the literary movement in Telugu called "Muslimvaada Sahityam". He has been instrumental in anthologizing much of this writing. He has been the driving force behind many collective literary efforts, Zalzala - Muslimvaada Kavitvam, Azaan (poetry collection on the Gujarat genocide) etc. He has edited three anthologies of Telugu Muslim writings— Watan (a collection of Muslim short stories); Jagne Ki Raat (2005) a collection of poetry; Mulki (2005), short stories and essays along with Vemula Yellaiah and; Alaava -Muslim Cultural Poetry (2006), a collection of poetry which he edited with his partner, Shahjahana. He has so far put together three anthologies of his own poetry Chaand Taara ( 2009), Jago-jagao (2009), Quit Telangana (2010) and Dimmisa (2011) and one collection of short stories titled Adhure: Muslim Kadhalu (2011) besides Jakhmi Awaz (2012) a collection of his poetry & writings on Telangana.

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Caste and the Aporias of Muslim Theo-Politics

 

This is the second part of the three-part series 'Dialogue with BAPSA'. Please read the first part here

Khalid Anis Ansari

khalidIn the context of the dialogue with BAPSA on its problematic association with the Muslim Right, as exemplified by Jamaat's student wing SIO, I feel the argument on Muslim theo-politics and caste advanced by Muhammed Shah (Shan) in Round Table India is particularly interesting. Let me paraphrase the argument here. Shah's basic contention is that contemporary bahujan anti-caste politics, despite being extremely critical, can broadly be located within modernity—or to be more precise Indian modernity—itself. And since modernity, especially its privileging of the philosophy of secularism and the emphasis on the state form, has an ethical deficit it is almost impossible for anti-caste discourses to activate forms of radical sociality that can annihilate or abolish the caste self. In his view since caste has a metaphysical origin what is required to abolish it is a counter-metaphysics that transcends Indian modernity. In this pursuit he advances the idea of Muslim 'theo-politics', inspired by the transcendental-theological perspective developed by Maududi, which instantiates an ethical dimension in the understanding of caste and ensures emancipation by deconstructing caste selves. The Zanj Slave Revolt in Iraq (869-883 AD) and the Mappilla Riots that occurred in Kerala during 18th-19th century are further offered as historical evidence for the abolition of hierarchical selves inspired by an Islamic ethical ethos.

I see a number of issues with this argument. Firstly, conceptually speaking the argument is symptomatic of the 'ethical turn' in contemporary theory which is arguably attempting to displace the political. Since the social is deeply divided, the 'political' refers to the ineradicable dimension of antagonism and radical negativity whereas 'politics' refers to practices, discourses and institutions that seek to establish order or organize human co-existence in a social field criss-crossed by power. In this sense every identity and social order, the subject of politics, is contingent and a product of particular power configuration (or hegemony) that may be ruptured anytime by the political. Now one may posit that the political constitutes Islamism's blind spot because the latter has to exhibit fidelity to the idea of 'revelation' (event) and an objectively defined 'community (ummah)' in achieving any consensus on social matters. One may argue with some force that this revelation-community referential point, despite hermeneutical latitude, is eminently receptive to non-negotiable moral values and essentialist forms of identification.

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Balmikis in Education: A Study of Exclusion and Discrimination

 

Anju Devi

anju deviBalmiki community is highly discriminated by this society since long. Despite the various government programs which are aimed at the development of this community, discrimination and exclusion continues to be important factors in the low educational status of such marginalised communities. Within a broader discourse of educational attainment of the marginalised communities, a study was undertaken to explore evidence based understanding of the status and challenges of education of the children of the households engaged in 'unclean occupations' and the causes and consequences of exclusion and discrimination in education.

The study was undertaken in Rajasthan. In Rajasthan, two cities (Alwar and Jaipur) were selected to identify households associated or engaged in 'unclean occupations' in order to examine the educational status of their children. The survey covered around 500 households and as many as 3500 children.

I have done this survey in three parts, which comprises of parents, children and schools. We talked to them and found out that the main problem in Balmiki society stems from their occupation which is mostly related to cleaning jobs. Most of them belong to poor families. The main occupations among Balmiki community includes picking garbage, manual scavenging, working in houses as cleaners, pig rearing and daily wage labor. Due to caste stigma they are unable to change their occupation; few of them tried but failed. People of other castes do not purchase items from their shops. Almost 20% people drink alcohol during the day. Like most Indian families, the decisions were mostly taken by the men. Balmiki bastis face water problem and they draw water from hand pumps. There is no health facility in their area, and the only facility that is available is electricity. There are Primary and Middle schools but the children do not get any school funded scholarship. There are many castes including Balmiki, Brahman, Gupta, Saini, Jain, Meena, Gujjar, Chamar and kori. Every caste group has its own temple for worshipping.

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