C.K Janu and M. Geethanandan
(Written in May 2003)
The Adivasi decision is to return to Muthanga. The Adivasis had become victims of untold brutalities. Yet there is no other way but to return. And the Adivasis have been made refugees in their homeland. There are the spirits of the dead in the forestlands of Muthanga. Not only Jogi, but also the bodies and souls of all those who had lived here as one with nature have merged irrevocably with the soil. None can separate them now. Anyone who enters Muthanga can see the scattered coins in front of the Sacred Temple at Thakarappady. There is also a splintered bamboo there. This was the hundi ( Coin collection box) of the Adivasis, smashed by the police officers and the goondas as though it was some part of the weaponry of the Adivasis. No one would pick up the coins. These coins representing the beliefs and dreams would still be there when they return....
Those Who See the Theyyam*....and Those Who Hear Also...
2-3 January 2003: Adivasis who commenced their journey from various villages from different parts of Wayanad district belonging to different communities assemble at Pulithookky and Thiruvannur colonies. Pulithookky is a colony ravaged by hunger deaths. Pulithookky has been in the news in full glare. Those who reached Pulithookky – the aged, the ailing, the women, the youth, those who stopped their formal studies, the infants – came for a new life.
Km Mayawati is having many qualities that makes her the Incomparable Lady. To my mind the greatest appears to be her Uncommon Courage. In one of the public meeting in the Ram Lila Ground of Delhi, she declared that she had decided to dedicate her entire life to the cause of the wretched people amongst whom she was born.
Education and Health are basic necessities for enlightenment of mind and social emancipation. Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, the father of India’s Social Revolution searched for causes of degradation of Shudras and Ati Shudras. His considered conclusion was that the root cause of degradation was ignorance born out of lack of education.
As a matter of fact the Caste System denied education to the Shudras and Ati Shudras. When Phule was sent school by his father, people of his own community condemned it and boycotted him for violating the custom. But equality of status is impossible without imparting to the oppressed a level of education and health equal to others in the society.
Education not only widens the mind and liberates if from outdated thoughts and practices, it enables a man to claim and occupy positions in life. It is the main instrument of empowerment. Education liberates one from most of the social barriers like Untouchability. Equal acceptability of the downtrodden in the society can surely be established by education. An illiterate man is a permanent destitute in a competitive society. Literacy improves ability to compete. It is a factor securing social justice and freedom from dependence.
Dalits should become rulers instead of being ruled. We must not be always at the receiving end, instead become the givers, Dalit Leader Mr. Kanshi Ram told the world dalits. It's long we have been ruled. It is long we have been taking. Now it is time we change the destiny to rule and give, he said. Mr. Kanshi Ram who is the Founder Prisident of Bahujan Samaj Party delivered a key-note address at the opening of the 1st World Dalit Convention 'A new vision towards a casteless society' at the Kuala Lampur Mines Resort City.
The two day convention held on 10th and 11th October 1998 was well attended by more than 700 delegates throughout the world including famous politicians noted leaders from dalit movement, champions of down-trodden, social reformers, renowned economists, famous educationists and great scholars.
Kanshi Ram was born in 1934 as a Raedasi Sikh, a community of Punjabi Chamars converted to Sikhism. The family had 4 or 5 acres of land, some of it inherited and the rest acquired through government allocation after Independence), a small landed background is characteristic of many Scheduled Caste legislators but remains a comparative rarity for Dalits in general. Kanshi Ram's father was himself 'slightly' literate, and he managed to educate all his four daughters and three sons. Kanshi Ram, the eldest, is the only graduate. He was given a reserved position in the Survey of India after completing his BSc degree, and in 1958 he transferred to the Department of Defence Production as a scientific assistant in a munitions factory in Poona.
Kanshi Ram's introduction to the political ideas of Ambedkar - he has never been attracted to Buddhism - was through his Mahar Buddhist colleague and friend at the munitions factory, D. K. Khaparde. Together the two of them began formulating ideas for an organisation to be built by educated employees from the Scheduled and Backward castes. Such an organisation would work against harassment and oppression by high-caste officers, and also enable the often inward-looking occupants of reserved postions to give something back to their own communities. So Kanshi Ram and Khaparde began to contact likely recruits in Poona. At about this time Kanshi Ram abandoned any thought of marriage, largely because it did not fit into a life he now wanted to dedicate to public con-cerns. He had also quite lost interest in his career, though he continued in the job until about 1971. He finally left after a severe conflict over the non-appointment of an apparently qualified Scheduled Caste young woman. During this conflict he had gone so far as to strike a senior official, and he did not even bother attending most of the ensuing disciplinary pro-ceedings. He had already made up his mind to become a full-time activist, and the movement was by then strong enough to meet his modest needs.