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In Conversation With Mr Bhagwan Das

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 The Roundtable team express their deep condolences over the passing away of Bhagwan Das, this morning in New Delhi. His tall legacy as an Ambedkarite and Buddhist will continue to guide our efforts in our struggle against caste. 

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[Mr Bhagwan Das is one of the most reputed scholar on Ambedkarism and the issue of Human Rights of Scheduled Castes. Widely traveled, Mr Bhagwan Das has spoken at various national & international platforms on the conditions of Dalits in India and what is the best way of their emancipation. In freewheeling conversation with Vidya Bhushan Rawat, he speak of the state of Dalit movement as well as political parties in India.--Vidya Bhushan Rawat.]

 
 

Please tell us about your childhood? Being son of a sweeper, what hurdles and obstacles you faced with and how did your father react to them? 

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Fragrance of Peace: Irom Sarmila


Zubaan BooksA collection of Irom Sarmila's poems, translated into English from Meiteilon. Published on the tenth anniversary of Sarmila's hunger fast for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, a draconian law that allows the army unfettered powers in areas that are considered politically "sensitive" or "disturbed".

All proceeds from the sale of this book will go towards supporting Sarmila's campaign.


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Dr. Jitendra Jatav: Our Students Must Become More Ambitious

Dr. Jitendra Kumar Jatav is currently working as Wildlife Veterinary Officer in Madhav National Park, Shivpuri. He is a well known wildlife expert and wildlife rescuer and has been nominated for many national and state level awards for wildlife conservation. He has also featured in many documentaries on International Wildlife TV channels.

Dr. Jatav, could you please tell us about your back ground?

I was born in Gwalior district, MP in 1973. My father is working as an artist in state’s Agriculture Department. My mother is a house wife and we are one sister and three brothers. Sister got married just after her higher secondary whereas both my brothers are polytechnic diploma holders and work in private firms.

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Quota for SCs in private sector demanded

HYDERABAD: The National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC) will pursue the long-pending issue of providing reservation to SCs in private sector with the Centre, commission chairman P L Punia said on Wednesday.

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States diverting funds meant for Dalits’ welfare

The Delhi government may have invited sharp criticism over the diversion of R744 crore funds meant for Scheduled Castes’ — or Dalits’ — welfare to the Commonwealth Games over five years, but many states have routinely been guilty of flouting norms when it comes to earmarking funds for Dalits.

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Sathyam Babu and Ayesha Meera Nyaya Porata Committee’s first meeting will be held on 14th Sept.

 

Karthik Navayan 

The first meeting of 'Sathyam Babu and Ayesha Meera Nyaya Porata Committee' (formed by Dalit, Muslim, Human Rights and other people’s organizations to achieve justice for both victims) will be held on September 14th in the Progressive Media Services premises, Hyderaguda, Hyderabad at 3 p.m. 

Ayesha Meera, a B. Pharmacy student was raped and brutally murdered on the night of 27th December, 2007, in a private Women’s Hostel in Ibrahimpatnam, Kothur2 (Village and Mandal) of Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh.

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Opportunities for Dalit and Adivasi Students for Higher Education in World’s Premier Educational Ins

INSIGHT FOUNDATION

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Insight Study Circle Meeting  held on 22 August 2010 (Sunday) at  Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. A report on Opportunities for Dalit and Adivasi Students for Higher Education in World’s Premier Educational Institutions

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CBI: Different strokes for different folks

by Abraham Thomas

The CBI’s handling of cases involving Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad has exposed the varied yardsticks adopted by the probe agency in dealing with these political heavyweights.To start with, all three leaders faced Disproportion Asset cases in which the assessment of the Income Tax department was key to their prosecution. While in case of Lalu and Mulayam, the CBI turned a blind eye to I-T department’s relief to them, in case of Mayawati, the agency claimed that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal’s (ITAT) clean chit to her was based on “assumptions” and that it had sufficient evidence to prosecute the BSP chief.

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Caste Census and Indian Muslims A rejoinder to Abusaleh Shariff : by Khalid Anis Ansari

 

Khalid Anis Ansari

In a recent piece Mr. Abusaleh Shariff (‘Casting the Caste Net’, Indian Express, 23 August 2010) has attempted an imaginative intervention in the debate around the caste census. While he enters the debate both in his ‘professional’ capacity as a renowned economist/demographer (to ‘discuss alternatives for collecting caste data’) and as a ‘communitarian’ (to ‘highlight implications for the Muslim community’), it is not really apparent which is having the upper hand in his articulation.

Also, when he indicates that ‘Muslims are considered a caste-less community’ it is not obvious which body of sociological knowledge he is alluding to and by whom are they considered so.This is moreover amazing given the fact that now organised lower caste Muslim movements, employing the trope of dalit-pasmanda, are quite conspicuous in the public sphere, at least in North India. With each passing day the hegemony of ashraf (upper caste) sections within Muslims is being increasingly interrogated by the ajlaf (shudra) and arzal (dalit) sections and the demands for democratisation within the community resonate louder than ever before.

But let me revert back to his main arguments first. To start with he advocates an ‘open-ended question method’ for the upcoming census wherein the informants’ response to their caste-names can be filled in and codified later. This will enable us to get the actual numbers for each caste. However, he posits that this method should be applied only for the OBCs and not for the SC/STs as updated codified lists are already available for the latter. He further casts doubts on whether such a method will be actually adopted for this census and speculates that the social, economic and educational data that the census would return may not be adequate for classifying any particular caste as backward or forward.

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New vistas for deprived students

 

Urvashi Sarkar

The need to highlight positive stories of Dalits and adivasis and the desire to spread awareness about higher education abroad prompted the Insight Foundation to organise an interactive discussion on opportunities for Dalit and adivasi students here on Sunday.Discussions centred mainly on universities in the United States and the United Kingdom.

 Rama Devi, a first-generation educated person in her family who completed a Master's degree in human rights from the University of London, said that her decision to study further was influenced by the subtle and direct discrimination she experienced as well as the inability of many Dalit women to articulate themselves in English causing Dalit men to represent them in most forums.

 Ms. Devi, an International Ford Fellow, said a major hurdle faced by students from marginalised communities was the language proficiency test. “A minimum of six months preparation is needed to crack the language tests,” she added.

Plenty of scholarships were available for Indian students and “surprisingly there is little competition for them”, Ms. Devi said, explaining this was because of lack of awareness of scholarships. Choosing the right university for study, contacting previous scholarship holders and creating a peer support group in the university was also important.

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Adi Dharam World Mission Objects to Amrit Bani

OUTLOOK

Adi Dharam World Mission, a Dalit body today extended support to radical Sikh organisation, Damdami Taksal Bhindrawale, and declared that newly-floated Ravidasia dharm was a conspiracy to drive a wedge between Adidharm samaj and the Sikh community.Kishan Pal Sood, President Adi Dharam World Mission, today told newsmen here that Amrit Bani, new granth of Ravidasia dharma, was not a complete granth but an extract of Guru Ravidas hymns from the holy Guru Granth Sahib.

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A History of the Untouchables: The Buraku and the Dalit

 by Katelyn Coyle

The Buraku of Japan and the Dalit of India remain the lowest caste of their respective countries. Experiencing more than just poverty and low status, the Buraku and the Dalit have been described as being lower than human, filthy, and contaminated. Members of these castes are considered to be the untouchables. Highly discriminated against, the untouchables remain outcastes, even in modern society. Both the history of the caste systems in Japan and India, andmodern reformation movements must be discussed to fully grasp the current situation of the Dalits and the Buraku.

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