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Dnyanajyoti Savitribai Phule - II

 

Prof. Hari Narke

Continued from here.

(This is the second part of his essay 'Dnyanajyoti Savitribai Phule', published in the NCERT booklet on the 'Savitribai Phule First Memorial Lecture' in 2008. You can read the first part here)

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In 1877, Maharashtra was facing a severe drought. It was not possible for Savitribai and Jotirao, who were always keen to help in the face of adversity, to stay inactive, and more so, during such times the couple collected funds, going from village to village. They started the 'Victoria Balashram' in Dhankawadi with the aid of friends like Dr Shivappa where one thousand poor and needy were given meals everyday. Savitribai, with the help of her friends, would cook all this food herself. At the same time, 'epoch-making thinkers' of Maharashtra like Vishnushastri Chiplunkar were engrossed in writing essays on the deteriorating condition of the grammar of Marathi language.

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Dr Ambedkar Remembers the Poona Pact in an Interview on the BBC

 

Transcribed by: Prakash Holayar, Chamarajanagar

Dr Ambedkar was extensively interviewed by the BBC radio in New Delhi in 1955 on a range of topics including his memories of Gandhi, Round Table Conferences, Poona Pact and how political independence was obtained. A portion of the interview related to the famous Poona Pact, transcribed (as faithfully as possible) from the audio record, is reproduced here:

 

 

BBC: Coming back to the ‘Poona Pact’, Can you remember all of what Gandhi said to you and what you said to him?

BRA: Oh! I know it very well, the British government had, in the original award which MacDonald had given, had accepted my suggestion. I said look at the Hindus, (they) want there should be a common electorate so that there may be no separatist feeling between the Scheduled Caste and the Hindu. We think if we have a common electorate we would be submerged and the nominees of Scheduled Castes who would be elected would be really slaves of the Hindus not independent people. Now, I told Mr Ramsay MacDonald this is a sort of a thing that he might do! Give us a separate electorate and also give us a second vote in the general election so that Gandhi cannot say that “we are separated” in point of election.

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Dnyanajyoti Savitribai Phule - I

 

Prof. Hari Narke

(This is the first part of his essay 'Dnyanajyoti Savitribai Phule', published in the NCERT booklet on the 'Savitribai Phule First Memorial Lecture' in 2008)

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"More than Jotirao, his wife deserves praise. No matter how much we praise her, it would not be enough. How can one describe her stature? She cooperated with her husband completely and along with him, faced all the trials and tribulations that came their way. It is difficult to find such a sacrificing woman even among the highly educated women from upper castes. The couple spent their entire lifetime working for people."

– Narayan Mahadev alias Mama Paramanand (31st July 1890)

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D. C. Ahir is No More

K. C. Sulekh

The renowned author of more than dozen published works on Buddhism and Dr. Ambedkar, Mr. DC Ahir is no more. He breathed his last at his Janakpuri residence of Delhi on 12th July after protracted illness (learnt through my talk on phone with his son Nirmal). Born in 1928 at his native place Baath (Jalandhar), he settled in Delhi as an employee in the central govt. service and retired as Director to the Govt. of India in 1986.

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A Tribute to Respected D. C. Ahir

(Renowned Buddhist scholar and Ambedkarite thinker D. C. Ahir passed away on 12th July, 2012)

Ronki Ram

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D. C. Ahir was one of the few Punjabi Ambedkarites who had the honour of sitting in the company of Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar at his residence in Delhi. That was the time when a large number of educated young men from Doaba Punjab made a bee line to Delhi for the purpose of seeking government jobs over there and to offer themselves for the mission of Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar. Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar was a Messiah for them. Following the clarion call of his beloved Master (Babasaheb), D.C. Ahir embraced Buddhism and opted for not to take any advantage from the system of caste reservation while keeping himself outside the Hindu fold. He earned all promotions in his job without counting on the policy of reservation. He especially emphasised on this point in one of my conversations with him at the residence of Mr. K. C. Sulekh at Chandigarh.

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Bhagana's Dalits and Caste Atrocities in Haryana

Public Meeting on Bhagana's Dalits and Caste Atrocities in Haryana

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AIBSF/UDSF

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Dalits from Bhagana village (Haryana) have reached Delhi covering a 200 km journey on foot in this sweltering summer heat, half naked, as a protest against the Khap Panchayat of Bhagana Jats. They have sat on a Dharna at Jantar Mantar, in the hope that the government will intervene on the matter and render them justice. Dalits of Bhagana are the victims of the notorious Khap, which has not only grabbed the land of Dalits but also imposed a complete social boycott on them. Not just this, the Jats have built a wall on the street to prevent Dalits from going to their fields, and also did not let their cattle drink water in the public pond. They openly started harassing the Dalit women. For few days, the Dalits faced the situation and later approached the district administration for relief. To live in the village in this dangerous situation was very painful, but approaching the administration turned out to be a futile effort. Therefore all the 126 Dalit families, along with all their belongings and cattle, moved to the Mini Secretariat of Hisar district and started their protest demonstration which is going on for the last two months.

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Memorial Addressed To The Education Commission

 

[Jotiba Phule's deposition before the Education Commission in 1881 (also known as the Hunter Commission) is reproduced here from the book, Selected Writings of Jotirao Phule; this extract is recorded between pages 140-145 in Education Commission, Bombay, Vol II, Calcutta, 1884 - Round Table India]

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My experience in educational matters is principally confined to Poona and the surrounding villages. About 25 years ago, the missionaries had established a female school at Poona, but no indigenous school for girls existed at the time. I, therefore, was induced, about the year 1854[1], to establish such a school, and in which I and my wife worked together for many years. After some time I placed this school under the management of a committee of educated natives. Under their auspices two more schools were opened in different parts of the town. A year after the institution of the female schools, I also established an indigenous mixed school for the lower classes, especially the Mahars and Mangs. Two more schools for these classes were subsequently added, Sir Erskine Perry, the president of the late Educational Board, and Mr. Lumsdain, the then Secretary to Government, visited the female schools and were much pleased with the movement set on foot, and presented me with a pair of shawls. I continued to work in them for nearly 9 to 10 years, but owing to circumstances, which it is needless here to detail, I seceded from the work. These female schools still exist, having been made over by the committee to the Educational Department under the management of Mrs. Mitchell. A school for the lower classes, Mahars and Mangs, also exists at the present day, but not in a satisfactory condition. I have also been a teacher for some years in a mission female boarding school. My principal experience was gained in connection with these schools. I devoted some attention also to the primary education available in this Presidency and have had some opportunities of forming an opinion as to the system and personnel employed in the lower schools of the Educational Department. I wrote some years ago a Marathi pamphlet exposing the religious practices of the Brahmins and incidentally among other matters, adverted therein to the present: system of education, which by providing ampler funds for higher education tended to educate Brahmins and the higher classes only, and to leave the masses wallowing in ignorance and poverty. I summarised the views expressed in the book in an English preface attached thereto, portions of which I reproduce here so far as they relate to the present enquiry:

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