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Dalits In News,Nov.27

by udaya — last modified 2007-11-28 20:03

Scavenging, a spiritual experience for Dalits: Modi, The Dalit question, Madiga threatens self-immolation .

IBN Live
Scavenging, a spiritual experience for Dalits: Modi
Ashok Bagriya / CNN-IBN 
Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has found a new way to woo a section of Gujarat's harijan community by legitimising the illegal act of scavenging and incorporating it into his concept of Gujarati asmita (pride).
In a recent book written by him and published by the state information department Modi says, "Scavenging must have been a spiritual experience for the Valmiki caste".
The book titled Karmayog is yet to hit the stands.
In the book, he goes on to say, "At some point in time somebody must have got enlightenment in scavenging. They must have thought that it is their duty to work for the happiness of the entire society and the Gods."
Not surprisingly, the Dalits are not impressed. Modi's remarks have not gone down well with the Dalit vote bank and have the makings of yet another controversy.
A scavenger, Bhanubhai, says, "That is not true. Who says that we enjoy cleaning work? We do it because we don't have a choice. If our boys were educated and intelligent and if they were given other opportunities, they would not do this work."
This issue is likely to be brought up in the Parliament on Monday.
Gujarat's eight per cent Dalit population has traditionally voted for the Congress, with a section of them having drifted to the BJP only in the last decade. Modi's detractors are hoping that his remarks, inspired by manuwadi wisdom, will once again trigger a shift in the Dalit voting pattern.
Sociologist Gaurang Jani says, "They (Dalits) want to enhance their status. To enhance their status, they are changing their names, their rituals and even their customs. In this direction, even in Gujarat, there are some castes that are changing their names, particularly the Bhangis."
The Dalit question
DALITH PIRACHINAI MUNNOKKIA PATHAI: D. Raja; Translated from the English original Dalit Question —The Way Forward by N. Muthumogan; New Century Book House (P) Limited, 41-B, SIDCO Industrial Estate, Ambathur, Chennai-600098. Rs. 35.
THE DALIT question is perhaps as old as Hindu society. It has its origin in the birth-based, graded caste system that was put in place thousands of years ago. The system, sanctified by Vedic texts, divided the society into four caste-class groups (Chathurvarnas). A section of the society was excluded from this stratification to do odd jobs for the others. These segregated people are the Dalits. They have been discriminated against, denied access to education, natural resources, public facilities and places of worship, forced to work free or for low wages under degrading conditions, and subjected to social oppression and economic exploitation. Besides they have to face brutal attacks, physical and verbal, their women are raped and their houses burnt, by the people of higher castes often with state connivance.
Historians, sociologists and political thinkers across the globe have studied the plight of these victims of prejudice and its implications for the society at large. Raja looks at Dalit issues from a Marxist perspective. He shows how the social, national, and working class movements could not do much to end social oppression and economic inequality. The deep divide in society, he notes, has only helped the landlord-bourgeoisie classes to continue their exploitation. He agrees with B.R. Ambedkar's perception that a classless society is impossible without a casteless society and stresses the need to intensify class struggles of the toiling people "in a comprehensive way" against both social oppression and economic discrimination. Translated by Muthumohan the booklet is eminently readable.
Andhra Cafe
Madiga threatens self-immolation
Updated: 11-27-2007
HYDERABAD : In an unexpected turn of events, the public meeting of physically-challenged people on Monday at Nizam College grounds ended with Madiga eservation Porata Samiti (MRPS) leader Manda Krishna Madiga issuing an ultimatum to government threatening self-immolation and resorted to dharna at Babu Jagjivan Ram  statue.
He Madiga suddenly sat on dharna as soon as the meeting ended in the evening. Tension prevailed at the place as Manda Krishna holding kerosene bottles in hands threatened self-immolation along with hundreds of activists near the statue. Large number of police personnel were deployed to control the situation. Madiga issued an ultimatum to the government to accept the demands of the 50 lakhs physically challenged in the state by 10 am on Tuesday. He warned that they would continue the protest till their demands are met.
"The state government should accept 12 demands immediately. These include increase of pension to Rs 1,500, enhancing budget to Rs 300 crore and increase reservations from three to seven per cent," he said. Earlier, various political leaders including Bandaru Dattatreya (BJP), N Jayaprakash Narayan (Lok Satta), Chada Venkat Reddy (CPI), BC leader R. Krishnaiah, former advocate general S. Ramachandra Rao and Seetharamulu (CPM) addressed the meeting and expressed support to the demands of the physically challenged.
It may be mentioned that the High Court on Sunday directed the city police commissioner to permit Vikalangula Hakkula Porata Samiti (struggle committee for physically disabled) to conduct a public meeting at Nizam College Grounds on Monday.
The court directed the police commissioner not to impose restriction on number of participants for the meeting. The court asked the petitioner to give an undertaking to  complete the meeting before 6 pm. But the meeting went up beyond the permitted time and Krishna Madiga sat at the statue. "As the situation is sensitive, we are trying to convince the activists to withdraw protest. We are taking all measures to ensure that the situation won't flare up. We are hopeful that the issue will be resolved by mid-night", said Deputy Police Commissioner (Central Zone) S.Md.Iqbal.


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