THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS TALKS AGAINST CASTEIST HEGEMONY IN SOUTH ASIA

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS TALKS AGAINST CASTEIST HEGEMONY IN SOUTH ASIA

Thursday, April 24, 2014

क्या सच में फिल्मी सितारों में है वोट पाने का दम?

क्या सच में फिल्मी सितारों में है वोट पाने का दम?


एक्सकैलिबर स्टीवेंस विश्वास



आज जैसा एक रिवाज सा हो गया है कि फिल्मी सितारों को राजनीति में मुफ्त में बुलाया जा रहा है। यही नहीं,दीर्घकालीन संसदीय अनुभववाले राजनेताओं के विरुद्ध फिल्म कलाकारों को उतारकर बाजी पलटने का खेल इधर खूब जम रहा है।


राजीव गांधी ने कभी अपने मित्र और बालीवूड के सर्वकालीन सुपरस्टार अमिताभ बच्चन को मैदान में उतारकर धुरंधर राजनेता हेमवतीनदन को इलाहाबाद में उनके गढ़ में शिकस्त दी थी। अब बंगाल की मुख्यमंत्री और तृणमूल कांग्रेस सुप्रीमो ने हारी हुई तमाम सीटों पर फिल्म स्टार और तमाम तरह के पेज थ्री लोगों पर दांव लगाया है।


वयोवृद्ध माकपा के नेता वासुदेव आचार्य के मुकाबले बांकुड़ा के आदिवासी बहुल संसदीय क्षेत्र में बीते दिनों की फ्लाप हिरोइन मुनमुन सेन को उतारा गया है तो बहरमपुर में केंद्रीय मंत्री अधीर चौधरी के किले को ढहाने के लिए विख्यात रवींद्र संगीत गायक इंद्रनील सेन तो मालदह में गनीखां की विरासत के साथ लड़ रही मौसम बेनजीर नूर के खिलाफ लोकप्रिय बैंड भूमि के मुख्य गायक सौमित्र को उतारा है दीदी ने।इन तीनों सीटों को जीतने की सबसे बड़ी चुनौती है दीदी के सामने।


पिछले चुनावों में वीरभूम और कृष्णनगर जैसी सख्त सीटों के लिए बांग्ला फिल्मों की मशहूर जोड़ी तापस पाल और शताब्दी राय को मैदान में उतारकर मोर्चा फतह किया था दीदी ने।लेकिन वीरभूम से शताब्दी राय और कृष्णनगर से तापसपाल सांसद बनने के बाद लोकसभा में उन्होंने एक भी सवाल नहीं उठाया। उल्टे शारदा फर्जीवाड़ा मामले में शताब्दी का नाम उछला। रफा दफा समझा जा रहा यह मामला फिर चर्चा में है,लेकिन शताब्दी और तापस दोनों मैदान में हैं।इसी बीच दीदी ने बालीवूड में अब भी धूम मचा रहे मिथुन चक्रवर्ती को भी सांसद बना दिया।


इनके अलावा दीदी ने मेदिनीपुर से फिल्मस्टार संध्या राय और इसी जिले के घाटाल से बांग्ला फिल्मों के मौजूदा सुपरस्टार को उतारकर वाम किलों को निर्णायक तौर पर ध्वस्त करने की रणनीति बनायी है।


मशहूर गायक कबीर सुमन के बागी बन जाने और राज्यसभा में भेजे गये परिवर्तनपंथी सांसद कुणाल घोष के शारदा मामले में जेल में बंद हो जाने के कड़वे अनुभव के बावजूद ममता बनर्जी राज्यसभा में लगभग सारे के सारे अराजनीतिक लोगों को भेजा तो लोकसभा के लिए भी रंगकर्मी अर्पिता घोष तक को उन्होंने मैदान में उतार दिया है।हावड़ा से मशहूर फुटबालर प्रसून बनर्जी तो दार्जिलिंग से भी फुटबालर बाइचुंग भूटिया मैदान में हैं।प्रसून तो हावड़ा से संसदीय उपचुनाव भी जीत चुके हैं।


इसीतरह भाजपा ने भी बंगाल में मशहूर संगीतकार बप्पी लाहिड़ी को श्रीरामपुर में और मशहूर गायक बाबुल सुप्रिय को आसनसोल में मैदान में उतारा है।बारासात में उनकी बाजी जादूगर पीसी सरकार है तो हुगली में भगवा पत्रकार चंदन मित्र।बीते दिनों के खलनायक निमू भौमिकभाजपा उम्मीदवार हैं तो हावड़ा में प्रसून के मुकाबले भाजपा ने बांग्ला फिल्मों के पुराने हीरो जार्ज बेकर को मैदान में उतारा है।


बंगाल तक यह प्रयोग सीमाबद्ध नहीं है।तृणमूल ने बीते दिनों के बालीवूड के चाकलेटी हीरो विश्वजीत को दिल्ली की चुनावी जंग में उतार दिया है तो रायबरेली में उनकी उम्मीद एक टीवी एंकर से है।


उत्तरप्रदेश की राजनीति में अमर सिंह को श्रेय जाता है बालीवूड को ले आने का । जया बच्चन से लेकर जयाप्रदा तक वहां जनता की जनप्रतिनिधि हैं।


भगवे खेमे में धर्मेंद्र, हेमा मालिनी, शत्रुघ्नसिन्हा से लेकर विनोदखन्ना तक तमाम स्टार सांसद बन गये।क्रिकेट खिलाड़ी नवजोत सिंह  सिद्धू तक सांसद बन गये। अबकी दफा धर्मेंद्र और सिद्धू मैदान में नहीं है तो किरण खेर लड़ रही हैं। टीवी सीरियल के राम,सीता और रावण तीनों सांसद बने तो कृष्ण भी।लोकप्रिय बहू तुलसी अबकी दफा राहुल गांधी के मुकाबले में हैं।भारत सुंदरी गुल पनाग चंडीगढ़ से मजबूत दालवे के साथ किरण के मुकाबले हैं। ओलंपिंक रजत पदक विजेता राज्यवर्द्धन राठौर भी भाजपा उम्मीदवार हैं


तमाम राजनीतिक दलों में उद्योगपतियों,फिल्मस्टारों और पत्रकारों को राजनेताओं के मुकाबले तरजीह दी जा रही है।भाजपा और कांग्रेस में तो होड़ मची है।भोजपुरी फिल्मों के मनोज तिवारी भजपा उम्मीदवार हैं तो रविकिशन कांगेस के। नगमा मेरठ में लड़ रही हैं।मोहम्मद अजहरुद्दीन और मोहम्मद कैफ कांग्रेस के उम्मीदवार हैं।ऐसा पहले दक्षिण भारत में ही होता रहा है और अब सर्वत्र राजनेता हाशिये पर धकेले जा रहे हैं और सेलिब्रेटी मैदान में हैं।


परिवर्तन के वायदे के साथ देशभर में भाजपा और कांग्रेस दोनों को खारिज करने वाली आम आदमी पार्टी ने जनांदलनों के तमाम चेहरों को मैदान में उतारा है। इनमें से दो सौ करोड़पति भी हैं।कवि साहित्यकार पत्रकार सब आप का मोर्चा संभाले हुए हैं।


दूसरी तरफ राजनीति को संस्थागत कुलनतंत्र बनाने का अभियान जारी है।अगंभीर लोगों को नीति निर्धरक बनाकर कैसा संस्थाकरण हो रहा है,यह समझ से बाहर है।


गौरतलब है कि भारत में अब मौजूदा राष्ट्रपति प्रणव मुखर्जी जंगीपुर से लोकसभा चुनाव जीतने से पहले तक इंदिरा गांदी के जमाने से मनमोहन मंत्रिमंडल तक में लंबे समय तक मंत्री रहे राज्यसभा सदस्यता की बदौलत।तो मनमोहन सिंह दस साल तक राज्य सदस्य बतौर देश के प्रधानमंत्री बने रहे।


केंद्र और राज्य सरकारों में अर्थशास्त्रियों,न्यायविदों और दूसरे विशेषज्ञों को मंत्री बनाने के लिए सांसद विधायक बनाने की दलील तो समझी जा सकती है।अशोक सेन और मनमोहन सिंह से राजनीतिक कवायद की उम्मीद नहीं की जा सकती,जिन्होंने देश के इतिहास में विशिष्ट भूमिका अदा की है।


लेकिन अब राजनीति में जो अतिथि चमकदार लोग आ रहे हैं,उनकी अबतक कोई संसदीय भूमिका नजर नहीं आयी है।अपना पेशा छोड़कर ये संसद और विधानसभाओं में गैरहाजिर रहने और कोई सवाल न पूछने, सांसद विधायक कोटे की रकम खर्च न करने औरएकबार चुनाव जीतने के बाद अगले चुनाव तक अपने मतदाताओं से न मिलने का रिकार्ड बनाने के लिए ही मशहूर है।सुभीधे,संकट और चुनौती के मद्देनजर इनके चुनाव क्षेत्र भी अक्सर बदल दिये जाते हैं।


सत्तादल या किसी  मजबूत राजनीतिक दल के समर्थन के बिना जनता में बेहद लोकप्रिय होने के बावजूद उनका कभी कोई वोटबैंक रहा है या नहीं,ऐसा शोध अभी तक नहीं हुआ है लेकिन इस चुनाव के बाद ऐेसे शोध की बड़ी प्रासंगिकता होगी।क्योंकि विज्ञापनी माडल और खबरों की तस्वीर बतौर यह वर्ग राजनेताओं की सामाजिक राजनीतिक भूमिका को सिरे से खारिज करके अगंभीर संस्थागत कुलानतंत्र की जमीन तेजी से तैयार करने में लगा है।


गौरतलब है कि कभी वह वक्त भी रहा है जब अपने वक्त के सुपरस्टार राजेश खन्ना और शर्मिला टैगोर तक को चुनाव मैदान में शिकस्त मिली थी।भारतीय क्रिकेट को जीत की राह बताने वाले नवाब पटौदी को भी मतदाताओं ने घास नही डाली।


जाहिर है कि वक्त यकीनन बदल गया है।बाहुबलि से लेकर अरबपति तक हमारे भाग्यविधाता है और विज्ञापनों के माडल माध्यमों के बजाय सीधे संसद और विधानसभाओं से प्रोडक्ट लंाच कर रहे हैं और हम कृतकृतार्थ हैं मुक्तबाजारी इस कायाकल्प से।


By the ruling class, for the ruling class

By the ruling class, for the ruling class


ANAND TELTUMBDE

The electoral system in its current avatar is not serving India's democracy

In the next few weeks the gigantic exercise of conducting elections in India will be over. The nation will pat itself on the back for being crowned yet again the world's greatest functional democracy while most people will get back to their struggle for survival. The long dance of democracy would come to an end, leaving the elected representatives to do the business of recovering their huge investments. A fortune is spent to conduct elections in India, rivalled only by the United States (it is said that in this election, Indian politicians would spend upwards of $5 billion as against $7 billion spent in the 2012 U.S. presidential election). All kinds of intrigues and foul play come into motion for acquiring money to fight elections. By any logic, these amounts can only be raised through plutocracy and crime. That being closer to the truth, one wonders whether this process of election needs to be probed for being at the centre of what ails India.

Trajectory of corruption

In a liberal framework, direct democracy is not possible. Elections are meant to get peoples' representatives to operationalise democracy. Peoples' choices however are restricted to the candidates put up by political parties, and to some independents, most of whom contest to help the electoral arithmetic of the main political parties as dummy candidates. This results in the same set of people getting elected election after election without any evidence of performance. The entire process has a kind of barrier of entry. For instance, the official expenditure allowed for a candidate for the Lok Sabha election is Rs.70 lakh that only mainstream political parties can afford. The actual investment is several times more. If this is the quantum of risk capital one invests in elections, there should be a theoretical return on this investment. Since there is none, it inevitably manifests itself as growing corruption. This has turned politics into a big ticket business with unrivalled returns. The elected leader becomes a feudal lord and the constituency his fiefdom, fortified by musclemen and money power.

The data on politicians who participate in elections are in the public domain, thanks to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), that picks it up from their affidavits filed with the Election Commission and presents them in a manner that is comprehensible. These self-sworn data, likely to be a gross understatement, nonetheless reveal the rapidly growing number of crorepatis among these representatives. In the 15th Lok Sabha election, there were 1,249 crorepati candidates, of whom over 300 reached Parliament. The crime record closely correlates with their riches, and both exist across parties. The parliamentarians with criminal cases belonging to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the two main political parties, were 24 and 29 in 2004 respectively, which went up to 44 each in 2009. These are the so-called representatives of the people, a vast majority of whom live off Rs.20 a day!

More interesting is the incredible growth of their wealth before every election. The analysis by ADR and National Election Watch (NEW) has found that the wealth of 304 re-contesting MPs had grown by 289 per cent. These rates are almost unheard of even in the corporate world. A person of average calibre, ostensibly in service of poor people, outbeats the best of fund managers. In an ordinary case, such evidence would alarm the income tax and anti-corruption authorities; but the political connections of these worthies provide them immunity from such mundane risks. There are no prizes for guessing the sources of wealth here when it is known that the entire machinery works for corporate houses and other moneybags in the name of the people.

Method of election

When India became independent, the biggest challenge the new rulers faced was in fulfilling the aspirations of the people — the aspirations they helped build during the freedom struggle. These were further amplified by developments such as the dazzling progress made by the post-revolution USSR, the welfarist ethos of the post-War world, and the ongoing revolution in neighbouring China. The communal flare-up in the wake of the transfer of power, the integration of nearly 600 political fragments in the form of princely states within India, the communist-led armed struggles in certain pockets in the country, and the awakening of the lower castes collectively posed a formidable challenge to the new rulers. The republican constitution they created reflected these aspirations. However in real terms, the Congress Party that assumed the reins of power, represented the interests of the bourgeoisie and had to skilfully promote them. This tension between the need to appear addressing peoples' aspirations — but in reality furthering the interests of capital — necessarily showed up in a series of its deceitful acts. Launching Five-Year Plans to display socialist orientation but clandestinely adopting the Bombay Plan created by the then eight top capitalists of the country, or to initiate land reforms but ensuring that they remained throttled so as to create a class of rich farmers as an ally in the vast countryside, or to push the Green Revolution to spread capitalist relations in countryside in the name of removing hunger, are just a few examples. It was politically imperative to adopt such a method for operating democracy to ensure that they remained in full control of power.

The First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) type of election system (in which the winner is the person with most votes) was chosen as a means to fortify the political power of the ruling classes. This system as such was inherited from the colonial regime like all other former colonies of the British Empire. But there was nothing that could have prevented India to discard it for the one better suited to its specific situation. The rulers ignored these considerations and rather focussed on their own interests which would be best served by this system. Most of the evils that we find ourselves engulfed in today stem from the FPTP system. A single winner in elections with such extraordinarily diverse polity could not come without the support of the majority party. It followed that most interest groups would be forced to come to terms with the majority party, paving ways for co-option and other manipulations. The diversity of interests in the country may still throw up many parties, which could only aggravate the inherently competitive FPTP elections. That in turn would only mean increasingly huge expenditure, to be met by big businesses, and the use of existing fault lines like caste, community and religion. It necessarily evolved into an oligopolistic power structure of all ruling classes, irrespective of parties, fortified by multilayered defences such as the police and the military.

Another model

Was there no alternative to FPTP? The diverse polity would point to a different model of election, say, the Proportional Representation (PR) system, which is followed in most European democracies and many others that have had far superior democratic records. While there are many practical variants of the PR system, essentially it entails voting for parties or social groups (rather than for individuals), that get representation in proportion to their share of votes. For example, Dalits in India are 17 per cent but being in the minority in every constituency, one of them would never get elected independently in the FPTP system; not even from the so-called reserved constituencies. The PR system would assure them their share in Parliament and legislatures and may even create a centripetal force to expand their constituency. What is euphemistically called bahujan today was possible to be created through this process. The social identities would make way for class consciousness and impart class orientation to the entire politics. There would be no cut-throat competition as every interest group would be reasonably assured of its share of representation. The competition would then shift to the ring of Parliament to shape the policies in the interests of the majority of the people. In the FPTP system, once the elections are over, there is no motivation for debate in Parliament on policy content. The most material policies of the government that impacted people (such as the imposition of Emergency and the neoliberal economic reforms) were never discussed in Parliament.

The theoretical fallacy in the FPTP elections that the elected representatives hardly enjoy consent of even half the voters is overcome in the PR system that ensures most interest groups their due share of representation. The intense competition of the FPTP elections leading to huge resource expenditure and consequent rise of corruption would also be eliminated in the PR system. Most importantly, in the context of India, it would curb the vile motives in the ruling classes to divide people on the lines of caste and community.

For instance, there would not be any need for the reserved constituencies for Dalits and hence even the Dalit tag, thereby eliminating the salience of castes from politics. Although, no system may prevent the black sheep being black, the PR system would surely eliminate the structural spaces by promising them their dues. Dalits lamented for years the Gandhian blackmail in the Poona Pact but did not understand that it was pivoted on the FPTP system. It would lose its relevance in the PR system. The same could even be extended to any need of preserving caste identities and vexatious problems they have created.

Indeed, India would hugely gain. But then, what will happen to the ruling class?

(Anand Teltumbde is a civil rights activist with Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai.)

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/by-the-ruling-class-for-the-ruling-class/article5938087.ece

चुनावी भगवान- हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद के कड़े विरोधी थे अंबेडकर

मोदी, आज चुनावी मजबूरियों के चलते उत्तरप्रदेश और बिहार में अपनी जाति का प्रचार करते घूम रहे हैं जबकि गुजरात में उनकी राजनीति और उनके पितृसंगठन आरएसएस की विचारधारा में सामाजिक न्याय की स्थापना के लक्ष्य के लिए कोई स्थान नहीं है।

चुनावी भगवान- हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद के कड़े विरोधी थे अंबेडकर


राम पुनियानी

पत्रकार अरूण शौरी, एनडीए सरकार में मंत्री थे। वे न केवल भाजपा के सदस्य थे वरन् उसके प्रमुख विचारक भी थे। उन्होंने अनेक पुस्तकें लिखी हैं, जिनमें से कई अल्पसंख्यकों और दलितों के विरूद्ध हैं। ऐसी ही एक पुस्तक, जिसका आमजनों, विशेषकर दलितों, ने जमकर विरोध किया था, वह थी 'वर्शिपिंग फाल्स गॉड्स' (नकली भगवानों की आराधना)। इस पुस्तक में उन्होंने अंबेडकर के प्रति आरएसएस-भाजपा के दृष्टिकोण को प्रगट किया है। इस बहुत मोटी पुस्तक में उन्होंने अंबेडकर की विचारधारा व प्रजातांत्रिक मूल्यों की स्थापना के लिए उनके द्वारा चलाए गए आंदोलन और सामाजिक न्याय के उनके संघर्ष की कड़ी आलोचना की है। आज, लगभग 15 साल बाद, एक ओर रामविलास पासवान, उदित राज व रामदास अठावले जैसे दलित नेता, अपने व्यक्तिगत स्वार्थों की पूर्ति की खातिर, भाजपा की गोद में जा बैठे हैं वहीं दूसरी ओर, भाजपा के प्रधानमंत्री पद के उम्मीदवार नरेन्द्र मोदी, दलितों को भाजपा की ओर आकर्षित करने के लिए हर संभव प्रयास कर रहे हैं। यह अलग बात है कि वे अपनी आदत के अनुसार, लगातार झूठ बोल रहे हैं, घटनाओं को तोड़-मरोड़ रहे हैं और दलितों की भलाई के लिए जो कुछ नहीं हो सका या नहीं किया गया, उसके लिए अपने राजनैतिक विरोधियों को दोषी ठहरा रहे हैं।

गत् 14 अप्रैल (2014) को हमने देखा कि प्रधानमंत्री बनने के इच्छुक नरेन्द्र मोदी, नीली जैकेट पहनकर, भारत के संविधान निर्माता को अपनी श्रद्धांजलि अर्पित कर रहे हैं। उस दिन अंबेडकर जयन्ती थी। बाबासाहब के चित्र के समक्ष सर झुकाकर अपनी श्रद्धा व्यक्त करने के बाद उन्होंने कहा कि अंबेडकर जैसे व्यक्तियों के कारण ही वे और उनके जैसे अन्य लोग समाज में आगे बढ़ सके हैं। आरएसएस कभी अपने या भाजपा के नेताओं की जाति की बात नहीं करता। उसका जोर केवल हिंदुत्व पर रहता है। परंतु मोदी, कम से कम उत्तरप्रदेश और बिहार में, अपनी जाति का ढोल जमकर पीट रहे हैं। जहां तक जातिगत पदानुक्रम का सवाल है, आरएसएस, यथास्थिति बनाए रखना चाहता है। मोदी जो कुछ कर रहे हैं, उससे यह साफ है कि हमारे देश में जातिवादी राजनीति की जड़ें बहुत गहरी हैं और उन पार्टियों को भी जातिवादी राजनीति करनी पड़ रही है, जो कि जाति के नाम पर राजनीति को गलत ठहराते आ रहे थे। चुनाव आते ही वे अपनी पुरानी बातें भूलकर जाति के कार्ड को खेलने में जुट गए हैं। यहां हमें एक बात समझनी होगी। और वह यह कि कई बार नीची जाति का दलित व्यक्ति भी ऐसी मानसिकता या विचारधारा का हो सकता है जो उसकी जाति के हितों के विपरीत हो। इसी तरह, कई बार, ऊँची जातियों के व्यक्ति भी सामाजिक न्याय और जाति के उन्मूलन के पक्षधर हो सकते हैं। अंबेडकर के कई अनुयायी ऊँची जातियों से थे। मोदी, आज चुनावी मजबूरियों के चलते उत्तरप्रदेश और बिहार में अपनी जाति का प्रचार करते घूम रहे हैं जबकि गुजरात में उनकी राजनीति और उनके पितृसंगठन आरएसएस की विचारधारा में सामाजिक न्याय की स्थापना के लक्ष्य के लिए कोई स्थान नहीं है।

एक ओर मोदी अपनी जाति का ढिंढोरा पीट रहे हैं वहीं दूसरी ओर गुजरात में उनकी नीतियां केवल और केवल बड़े उद्योगपतियों को लाभ पहुंचाने वाली रही हैं। समाज के इन वर्गों की भलाई के लिए केन्द्र सरकार द्वारा शुरू की गई योजनाओं को गुजरात में या तो लागू ही नहीं किया जा रहा है या फिर आधे अधूरे ढंग से लागू किया जा रहा है। योजना आयोग के निर्देशों के विपरीत, मोदी सरकार ने अनुसूचित जातियों व जनजातियों के लिए सबप्लान के संबंध में एक भी बैठक आयोजित नहीं की। गुजरात में अनुसूचित जातियों व जनजातियों के लिए आरक्षित 27,900 पद खाली हैं। इसका एक कारण यह अजीब नीति है की किसी भी जिले में खाली पद पर केवल उसी जिले के रहवासी की नियुक्ति हो सकती है। अहमदाबाद, जहां से नरेन्द्र मोदी विधानसभा के लिए चुने गए हैं, में अनुसूचित जाति के 3,125 विद्यार्थियों को छात्रवृत्ति नहीं मिली है। स्वतंत्र सर्वेक्षण बताते हैं कि गुजरात के कम से कम 1600 गांवों में आज भी अछूत प्रथा व्याप्त है व दलितों को मंदिरों में प्रवेश नहीं करने दिया जाता।

अहमदाबाद के विभिन्न हिस्सों के दलित, 13 अप्रैल को इकट्ठा हुए और उन्होंने ''गुजरात सरकार के बहुप्रचारित विकास मॉडल'' का जमकर विरोध किया। उनका दावा है कि गुजरात सरकार ने दलितों का जीवन बेहतर बनाने के लिए कुछ भी नहीं किया है।

आंदोलनरत दलितों द्वारा सौंपे गए ज्ञापन में कहा गया है, ''मुख्यमंत्री नरेन्द्र मोदी विकास के एकतरफा मॉडल का प्रचार करते आ रहे हैं, जिसमें दलित अधिकारों के लिए कोई स्थान नहीं है। सरकार ने दलितों की बजाय उद्योगपतियों को जमीनें दी हैं…हमने दलितोंआदिवासियों व अन्य पिछड़े वर्गों के लिए लैंड सीलिंग एक्ट के तहत् जमीन दिए जाने की मांग की है। हमने यह मांग भी की है कि सिर पर मैला ढोने की प्रथा और अनुबंध के आधार पर नौकरियां देने की व्यवस्था को समाप्त किया जाना चाहिए।''

यहां यह दिलचस्प है कि अपनी पुस्तक कर्मयोग में मोदी ने वाल्मीकियों द्वारा हाथ से मैला साफ करने को ''आध्यात्मिक अनुभव'' बताया है। यह भी महत्वपूर्ण है कि गुजरात में अनुसूचित जाति, जनजाति (अत्याचार निवारण) अधिनियम के अंतर्गत दोष सिद्धि की दर मात्र 4 प्रतिशत है। यद्यपि इस अधिनियम के तहत् प्रकरण चलाने के लिए हर जिले में विशेष न्यायालयों की स्थापना का प्रावधान है तथापि सरकार ने इन न्यायालयों की स्थापना आज तक नहीं की है।

झूठ बोलने के अभ्यस्त मोदी ने एक आमसभा में कहा कि कांग्रेस सरकारों ने बाबासाहब की उपेक्षा की और भाजपा सरकार ने उन्हें भारत रत्न दिया। आमसभाओं में आने वाले लोग शायद ही कभी किसी वक्ता के झूठ का खुलकर प्रतिरोध करते हैं। परंतु मोदी के इस झूठ का मीडिया ने भी पर्दाफाश करने का प्रयास नहीं किया। सच यह है कि केन्द्र में भाजपा की पहली सरकार सन् 1996 में बनी थी और मात्र 13 दिनों में धराशायी हो गई थी। डाक्टर अंबेडकर को सन् 1990 में विश्वनाथप्रताप सिंह सरकार द्वारा मरणोपरांत भारत रत्न से विभूषित किया गया था और संसद में उनकी मूर्ति का अनावरण भी हुआ था। व्ही.पी. सिंह सरकार ने ही मंडल आयोग की सिफारिशों को लागू किया था और यह भी एक तरह से बाबा साहब को श्रद्धांजलि थी। सच तो यह है कि भाजपा का उन मूल्यों से कभी कोई लेना ही नहीं रहा, जिनके प्रति बाबा साहब प्रतिबद्ध थे। इनमें शामिल हैं भारतीय संविधान के मूल्य, स्वतंत्रता, समानता, बंधुत्व व भारतीय राष्ट्रवाद की मूल अवधारणाएं। मोदी ने हाल में कहा था कि उनका जन्म एक हिन्दू के रूप में हुआ था और वे राष्ट्रवादी हैं इसलिए वे हिन्दू  राष्ट्रवादी हैं। अंबेडकर हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद के कड़े विरोधी थे।अपनी स्थापना के समय से ही आरएसएस, मनुस्मृति का हामी रहा है और उसका तो यहां तक कहना था कि जब हमारे पास मनुस्मृति मौजूद है तो हमें अपना संविधान बनाने के लिए इतना समय और ऊर्जा खर्च करने की क्या आवश्यकता है।

जहां तक सामाजिक न्याय से जुड़े मुद्दों का सवाल है, दलित मानवाधिकार कार्यकर्ता, गांधीजी और कांग्रेस के आलोचक रहे हैं। उनकी आलोचना पूरी तरह से निराधार भी नहीं है। परंतु यह आश्चर्य की बात है कि वे हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद की उस राजनीति का तनिक भी विरोध नहीं करते जो डाक्टर अंबेडकर के मूल्यों के खिलाफ है और जो सामाजिक न्याय की असली विरोधी है। हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद व आरएसएस की इसी राजनीति का प्रतिनिधित्व मोदी करते हैं। मोदी जिस राजनीति का प्रतिनिधित्व करते हैं उसने मंडल आयोग की सिफारिशों को लागू करने और इसी तरह के अन्य कदमों का प्रत्यक्ष या परोक्ष रूप से विरोध किया था। चुनावी राजनीति, राजनैतिक दलों और नेताओं से कुछ भी करवाने में सक्षम है, यहां तक कि नेता ऐसी बातें कहने लगते हैं जो उनकी मूल विचारधारा के खिलाफ हैं। ''अंबेडकर-पूजक नरेन्द्र मोदी'' इसी का उदाहरण है।

(मूल अंग्रेजी से हिन्दी रूपांतरण अमरीश हरदेनिया)

(लेखक आई.आई.टी. मुंबई में पढ़ाते थे और सन् २००७ के नेशनल कम्यूनल हार्मोनी एवार्ड से सम्मानित हैं।)

About The Author

Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. He is involved with human rights activities from last two decades.He is associated with various secular and democratic initiatives like All India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism and ANHAD.

Know Your NaMo- Dalits In Search of ‘Gujarat Model’

Know Your NaMo- Dalits In Search of 'Gujarat Model'

Know Your NaMo- Dalits In Search of 'Gujarat Model'

HASTAKSHEP

Know Your NaMo


Dalits In Search of 'Gujarat Model'

- Subhash Gatade

 Narendra Modi, the Pracharak who wants to become PM, is a man of many contradictions.

He promises to end corruption but does not appoint a Lokyukta for more than a decade, retains ministers in his cabinet convicted by the courts for their acts of commission and ommission.

He lectures the world about women's rights glossing over the fact that he has quietly abandoned his wife, even refused to acknowledge his marital status.

He tells people that he has also been a 'victim of untouchability' but does not stop glorifying 'manual scavenging' and presents it as 'spiritual experience' in his book 'Karmyog'.

He prophesises that '21 st century would a Dalit century' in a public meeting but immediately dashes to Tamilnadu to forge an electoral lliance with a party which draws strength from organised violence against dalits.

It is true that for layperson the great hiatus between what Modi claims and what he does is not clear. Thanks to the corporate controlled media which has consistently avoided any scrutiny of his ideas and actions and his long association with RSS – the Hindu Supremacist organisation – a very sanitised image of him is slowly being normalised.

It is high time that the real Modi is made to 'stand up'.

In the following pages our attempt is not to undertake this task which is being taken up by more and more capable people with renewed energy and vigour, rather our aim is modest. We intend to look at the state of Gujarat itself and see for oneself situation of dalits in a 'Vibrant Gujarat' led by him since last 13 years, a question which has largely remained unanswered all these years.

1.

Not A Single Rupee Since 2001 To Build Ambedkar's Statue

A recent meeting organised in Ahmedabad where Dalits from different parts of the city came together to  speak out against the "much-touted development model of the Gujarat government" tried to break the conspiracy of silence around this issue.  A memorandum, bearing thumb impressions in blood of more than 1,000 dalits, was sent to the state's chief secretary. The memorandum titled 'Ek Awaz, Ek Morcha' highlights the dalit community's anguish against the state government's policies. Accusing the state's development model of being discriminatory in nature, especially against marginalized communities like dalits, it claimed that the Gujarat government has failed to provide a proper model for transformation of dalit lives.

Jignesh Mewani, a social activist, speaking on the occasion lambasted the government for propagating a lopsided development model which largely ignores dalit rights. Exposing the government which has given land to industries at throwaway prices instead of dalits who deserve it more, the memorandum has demanded land for dalits, tribals and OBCs under the Land Sealing Act and an official ban on manual scavenging and an end to the policy of giving jobs on contract.

Definitely one cannot expect that Narendra Modi or his fellow Sangh Pracharaks who are effectively handling the campaign would sit up and take notice of this memorandum when they want us to believe that 'Better Days Lie Ahead'. Hence it would be opportune here to look into newsclippings here and there and see for oneself how this model is unfolding itself in the lives of Dalits themselves.

Perhaps a tour of dalit locality of Padra in Vadodara – the same place from where Narendra Modi is contesting the elections for the Parliament – could be a good entry point.

A statue of Ambedkar stands relegated to Dalit quarters here.

It was 17 years ago, that the civic body had allowed its erection at a prominent place in the city but dominant caste groups scuttled the move by installing a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in its place. The prevailing situation speaks a lot about the continued discrimination faced by the community in Gujarat. And it is not at all concealed. In every lane in Padra, one finds a footpath but there is none in the dalit area. Experience of untouchability in private homes and anganwadis is common. Socially, signs of discrimination are visible in skewed development activity.

Onanother plane, dalits of Padra could be considered 'lucky' ones from their community, as they can at least lay claim on Ambedkar's statue. Official reply to a RTI query tells us that since 2001, Gujarat government didn't allocate a single rupee to build statue in Dr Ambedkar's memory:

Kirit Rathod, a senior activist of the Navsarjan Trust, Ahmedabad, – which has done a pioneering study on the widespread prevalence of Untouchability in Gujarat villages – had filed an RTI application to find out what exactly has the Gujarat government done to build Ambedkar Bhawans in each of the 225 talukas of Gujarat, as also all the 26 districts. In fact Gujarat government had made a big announcement to that effect way back in 2007, with an eye of the then state assembly polls in order to woo Dalit votes. The information sought by Kirit Rathod included how many of the Ambedkar Bhawans were constructed between 2001 and 2014, as also the amount spent for constructing the Bhawans. And the reply received by Rathod on April 9, 2014, was shocking to say the least. Forget 225 talukas and 26 districts, till date only 12 such Bhawans have been constructed so far.   As for constructing statues in the memory of Dr Ambedkar, the Gujarat government told Rathod in the RTI reply, "No provision was made in the budget for the construction of statues."

This piece of information is significant, as the reply has come at a time when the Gujarat government has decided to build the world's highest statue, 182 metres high, in the memory of Sardar Patel at the cost of Rs 3,000 crore.

Asfar as denigration of Ambedkar in 'Modirashtra' is concerned, there is nothing surprising about it. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it is the essence of the weltanshauung (world view) of RSS. A trip down memory lane tells us how it had consistently opposed the very idea of a new Constitution for a newly independent India and had instead proposed that Manusmriti the same edict which has denied any human right to a majority of people – dalits, women and OBC'. – be accepted as independent India's very own Constitution. One can refer to the debates that took place then when Dr Ambedkar was made Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution and the way Hindutva right reacted at various levels. As an aside it may be added here that when attempts were made under the stewardship of Ambekdar and Nehru to grant limited rights to Hindu women in matters of inheritance and monogamy in the form of 'Hindu Code Bill' all these self proclaimed champions of Hindu interests had opposed it with vehemence.

It is rightly said that the constitution drafted by Dr Ambedkar – with due help and support and consultations with other members of the drafting committee – had formally ended few thousand year old 'rule' by Manu. As it is clear left to themselves the Sanghis would have resurrected Manusmriti to a higher pedestal.

When Uma Bharati became Chief Minister of MP for a brief while she extolled Manusmriti on the floor of the house while enacting a law banning slaughter of cow.According to analysts it was the first time in independent India that Manusmriti was valorised while making law. It is now history how around twenty years back when  another Pracharak – cum BJP leader named Bhairon Singh Shekhawat – was holding reins of power in Rajasthan,, a statue of Manu in the Jaipur highcourt premises was installed without any semblance of opposition from the people in power. As a sidestory it may be added here that a statue of Ambekdar which was sitting there earlier was quietly shifted to a non-descript place.Dalit groups and other democratic rights organisations have organised movements to protest this valorisation of Manu but to no avail.

Denial of dalit rights or their stigmatisation is not limited at the level of statues or symbols. It rather overwhelms the material world.

2. Public Hearing of Private Grief

…27 of the 30 complaints that were addressed to the commission spoke of indifference of police officials towards dalits.These issues were raised immediately after NHRC chairman KG Balakrishnan praised status of scheduled castes (SC) in Gujarat. He said the state's schemes for development of the marginalised are working well and penetration of education among scheduled caste and scheduled tribes has reached 70%.Almost all dalits and their leaders present in the audience were not in agreement with this statement. [DNA, http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-dalits-demur-complain-against-gujarat-police-1688975]

Justice Balakrishnan, retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, and at present Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)  found himself out of his wits, when in a "open hearing" session on issues related to dalit atrocities in the state held in the city of Ahmedabad, capital of Gujarat, he heard stories of ongoing discrimination, deprivation and exclusion faced by the dalits. (14-15 May 2012) Contrary to his initial remarks while inaugurating the programme – wherein he had lauded the state government for its 'innovative schemes for the upliftment of dalits – the lifeworlds of the dalits presented a completely different picture. It also appeared that in its hurry to hold this open hearing, the commission had not done its homework properly. A cursory glance at its own 2009 report would have made it clear to it that it had declared that Gujarat accounted for 3,813 complaints of human rights violation of the total of 94,559 cases from across the country, which was less than only Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. (Indian Express, 20 th March 2009).

Complaints of non-cooperation of police in filing complaints, apathy of the government officials, lack of rehabilitation, poured in from dalits who had converged from different parts of Gujarat. A village official, Suresh Jadav resident of Kundla village near Sanand, a dalit himself, narrated how he faced social boycott after a temple was built in his village in 2009. According to him like everyone else from the village they had contributed for the temple which was built on common land, but when the temple started functioning he was not allowed to offer puja and when he protested, his family faced social boycottt.

In April a dalit family of Tajpur village of Sabarkantha district, 100 km from Ahmedabad, was targeted by other communities when it tried to take out a marriage procession. Despite police protection, the procession was attacked and stoned. "When it came to filing complaints, the local police sided with the upper castes," said dalit activist Sanjay Parmar.

Arepresentative of Navsarjan, a voluntary organisation shared their survey of 1,589 villages wherein they found that of these 98 per cent of the villages still practise untouchability. While the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, mandates a special court and a special public prosecutor to deal with atrocity cases, but the state government says that it does not have any money for this.

A suspended deputy superintendent of police, SK Makwan, told the judges how he was hounded by his seniors when he conducted inquiries into more that 1,000 cases of atrocities against dalits when he was posted as Deputy Superintendent of Police (atrocity) in Banaskantha district in 2006 and he was prevented from doing his duty or catch the accused.

A mere perusal of the newspaper reports focussing on the open hearing made it clear that the NHRC had to bite its words to really convey what it heard from victims and also do a lot of explaining over its claims that '..[f]uture of the SC community seems to be fairly good in Gujarat as compared to many other states."

The fact that the commission received more than 100 complaints on alleged police atrocities, particularly the police refusing to register their complaints, or showing total inaction in pursuing the cases after registering the complaints was definitely not good news for the powers that be although on its part it promptly refuted few of the complaints, but the damage to its well built image was already done. It was revealed that at least 77 villages in Gujarat have been forced to migrate due to social boycotts and the state has a very – low conviction rate – in atrocity cases in the state.

Close watchers of the situation would vouch that it was not for the first time that the plight of dalits and the seconday status 'enjoyed' by them in the model 'Hindu Rashtra' had come out in the open.

3. Atrocious Ignorance of a Chief Minister

On 16 April, 2004, a question was asked to chief minister Modi in Gujarat legislative assembly: "Honorable chief minister [Home] may oblige us to tell, is it true that the DSP is responsible for the appointment of an officer not below the rank of DySP as investigating officer in the offenses under atrocities act? The answer of our chief minister was shocking. He said: "No, but there is a provision under rule 7 (1) of SC/ST act, 1995 to appoint officers not above the rank of DySP to inquire into all cases booked under atrocities act. It is not the responsibility of DSP."

"The officer not above the rank of DySP" means he may be a PSI or PI and in most of the atrocities cases courts acquit the accused because the investigation officer is either PSI or PI.

(http://dalitrightsgujarat.blogspot.in/2012/11/atrocious-ignorance-of-chief-minister.html)

The Gujarat Earthquake in the year 2001 and the consequent relief and rehabilitation programme was an eyeopener to the outside world regarding the deep seated caste bias in the Gujarati community apart from the much talked about bias against the minorities.The organised genocide of Muslims in the year 2002 at the behest of the Sangh Parivar organisations which was aided and abetted by the people in power was another occasion when the travails and tribulations of the dalits came under further scrutiny.

One of the chief arenas where denial of justice to dalits is overtly visible is the legal arena. One finds that the rate of of conviction of cases under the Prevention of Atrocity Act against SC/ST in Gujarat  is mere 2.5 per cent while rate of acquittal is 97.5 per cent. A 23 page confidential report submitted by the state Social Justice Department to the State Chief Secretary and legal departments provides glaring examples of 'mishandling of cases registered under Prevention of Atrocities Act against SC/ST. (Express, Sep 15, 2006).

The report provides details of how cases are not investigated properly by the police and the hostile role played by public prosecutors during time of trials.

- Act clearly stipulates that offence which are registered under this act cannot be investigated by an officer below the rank of DySP but more than 4,000 such cases have been investigated by Police Inspector or Police Sub Inspector.

- Acquittal of the perpetrator because victim not identified as member of SC or ST community. Reason, not attaching caste certificate of the victim with the case papers

- Public prosecutors false claims before the courts that act has been modified by the state government altough it is known that it is a central act

- Granting of anticipatory bails although there is no such provision in the act. Interestingly the Parliamentary Committee on SC and ST affairs had also expressed concern over such anticipatory bails granted 'in atrocity cases in the state of Gujarat'.

In fact a detailed and systematic study of 400 judgements done by Vajibhai Patel, Secretary of Council for Social Justice (March  2005, Year 11, No.106, www.sabrang.com) compelled the government to work on this 23 page report. This report tells us that utterly negligent police investigation at both the higher and lower levels coupled with a distinctly hostile role played by the public prosecutors is the main reason for the collapse of cases filed under the atrocities act. It is worth noting that Patel has meticulously documented these judgements delivered under this act since April 1, 1995 in the Special Atrocity Courts set up in 16 districts of the state. The study also blasts the common perception that the inefficacy of this law is due to false complaints being lodged or compromises between the parties, in actuality it is a complicit State that has rendered the Act toothless.

The National Crime Records Bureau had made an observation few years back which went unnoticed then. Coming to atrocities against Dalits, Gujarat ranks third in the country after U.P. and Bihar. (Asian Age, 11 April 2003) It's earlier record also revealed a distrubing picture of the 'Vibrant Gujarat'. According to its 1998 report, the total no of atrocities against dalits in the country were 25,617. Of these, 8894 cases were registered in Gujarat alone.

Butwhen it came to taking steps to check offences against the SCs and STs the BJP(Bharatiya Janata Party)  led government in the state did nothing. The special dalit courts envisaged in all districts under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 were still not a reality. Out of 26 districts of Gujarat, only 10 have been provided with special courts, although none of these 10 courts accord special status to dalit issues, according to Dalit activists. (same ref.)

The 'Report on Prevention of Atrocities against SCs' prepared by NHRC ( 2004) had presented details of the way in which the 'civil society' presents itself vis-a-vis dalits —

-civil society becomes a distinct beneficiary of caste based order and it helps perpetuate the existing unequal social reactions and frustrates attempts to democratize the society because through the customary arrangements the dominant classes are assured of social control over people who can continue to abide by their commands without any protest.

- In fact it represents the deep divide in social values, where people themselves wish to enjoy all rigths and privileges which a democratic liberal society offers them but are vehemently opposed to their being granted to the scheduled castes.

- Civil society effectively undermines the authority of the state by obstructing the effectuation of rights and entitlements to all citizens and attempting to perpetuate caste based inequalities, indignities and violence against SCs.

- Civil society reflects a deep seated ambivalence between obscurantism and modernity

The absence of justice despite the longwinding legal machinery and plethora of laws reflects how the society at large views the dalits and has scant regard for its rights. viz.It is evident in the way in which dalits are denied burial places, or compelled to live in modern ghettos or denied benefits of affirmative action programmes .

5. Schools of Discrimination

Some teachers force children from lower castes and minority religions to clean toilets and sit separately from their classmates as part of "persistent" discrimination in classrooms, a rights group said on Tuesday.

Human Rights Watch said pupils from marginalised communities often dropped out of schooland started working as labourers rather than face continued humiliation at the hands of teachers and principals.

The 77-page study on schools was compiled through interviews with more than 160 teachers, principals, parents and students in four states which have large populations of low-caste poor, indigenous tribals and Muslims.

(http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/children-suffer-discrimination-in-classroom-report/article1-1210953.aspx)

  Whatis common between all the non-granted schools in Gujarat whose numbers hovers around 3255 according to the website of the Gujarat State Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board. A close study of these schools may reveal many similarities but the foremost thing over which they seem to be united is to violate the statutroy provisions of the Education act 1972. None of them follow these provisions of the Education act while it is mandatory for such schools to adhere to norm. End result, only handful of teachers from the scheduled communities in all these schools

Under the provisions of the education act – 1972, it is mandatory for all the granted and non-granted schools to abide by the reservation policy while making recruitments. And the rule says that if any school is found to be violating its provisions then its registration can be cancelled. Experience shows that the rule is openly flouted by the non-granted schools. Interestingly the state government has no qualms in accepting that they can't compel the schools to do it as they are not given any aid.

A report in Indian Express ( Vadodara, May 26, 2008) shared a big expose about this ongoing scam where 'Government looks the other way as schools flout recruitment norms for teachers.' According to the social justice and empowerment department, which is supposed to supervise the implementation of the reservation policy, the simple reason for the statutory provisions of the act being not implemented is the absence of a roster reservation act.

Question naturally arises why the state has still not deemed it necessary to take effective steps to stop such malpractice

In fact, a Right To Information (RTI) application filed by a leading social worker of Gujarat enquiring about the no of teachers who have been recruited by the non-granted schools under the reservation policy, led to this expose of details.Expressing concern over the state of affairs, the social worker demanded two things :

-Cancelling the registration of errant schools and

- punishing the officers who have been responsible for getting the policy implemented.

It needs no underlining that his demand was pushed under the carpet.

It is common knowledge that while seats reserved for class IV employees are duly filled with eligible candidates, once you move up the hierarchy one finds non-fulfillment of quota meant for them.

6. Ghettos nontheless

The 'apartheid of a different kind' practised against the dalits is very much visible in the urban life at various levels. For a dalit finding a house in mixed localities is nearly impossible.

The general experience is that if a Dalit approaches a upper caste builder for accommodation, s/he is either directly discouraged or tacitly denied.It is immaterial even if the Dalit belongs to a sound economic background. For the builders and real estate agents, selling property to even one Dalit family in a society becomes detrimental to sales.

Perhapsit is a marker of the deeply entrenched Varna/caste mindset, which has supposedly received new lease of life after the 2002 carnage, one witnesses a unique trend in Ahmedabad where "only Dalit residential societies – around 300 of them" have come up in recent years. In a study done by the Express reporter he emphasised that it ".. not a matter of choice, but of compulsion." (A Dalit ? Go find a Dalit society, D P Bhattacharya Ahmedabad, June 17, 2007)"

"Even if a Dalit can afford a flat in areas dominated by the upper castes, they are often denied by the builders or the seller," retired IAS officer P K Valera, who lives in one such Dalit society in Ramdevnagar, says. Some social scientists say the alienation started since 1982, after the anti-reservation agitation, but agree that the caste and class distinctions have become more serious in recent years. This trend can be seen not only in the walled city but also in the posh areas of west Ahmedabad like Satellite, Vastrapur, Bodakdev, Ambavadi. Socio-political scientist Achyut Yagnik says,

"There are more than 300 Dalit societies in the city. In Chandkheda alone, there are 200 societies, most of which have come up after the 2002 riots when people moved out from Gomtipur, Bapunagar and Dani limda area. You will find construction contractors who only build Dalit societies."

If the live dalits have no place of dignity in 'Hindu Rashtra', one can just imagine the status of the dead.

It was the year 2001 when Naresh Solanki's two and half year old nephew died. The aggrieved family from Hooda village Palanpur block of Banaskantha district went and buried him in the community burial grounds. No sooner they reached home came the news that a Patel community member from the village had literally exhumed the body of the child with a tractor.For the powerful patels who had encroached on some part of land next to the burial ground had felt offended with the burial.

It has been more than eleven years that the incident took place, the dalits of Hooda village are still waiting for allotment of some land for burial from the collector and the village panchayat since then, but to no avail.It was only last year that one community elder died the dalits had to carry his body to another village, where fortunately Dalits there had a separate graveyard. .

But can it be said that the problem of no land even for burials is limited to Hooda or it is a statewide phenomenon. A report carried by 'Mail Today' in the first week of Feb, 2009 had thrown light on the issue. It tells us that dalits are not allowed to use common burial grounds and are often forced to use a part of waste land near the villages as burial grounds. Absence of any legal entitlement forces them to be pushed out of such lands by dominant upper castes.

A survey conducted by Gujarat Rajya Grampanchayat Samajik Nyay Samiti Manch found out that

 '[o]ut of 657 villages in Gujarat, 397 villages do not have any designated land alloted for burial for dalits. Out of the 260 villages where land has been formally allotted, 94 have seen encroachments by the dominant castes and in 26 villages it is a lowlying area and therefore the ground gets waterlogged.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that when the question of burying the deads comes up, dalits share a strange commonality with the Muslims. Muslims share similar predicament when they find their graveyards getting encroached by the dominant classes.

7. AMBEDKAR'S PROGNOSIS

One can go on belching out statistics about Dalit's situation as it exists in the first 'Hindu Rashtra' in Secular- Democratic India. Definitely our aim here is not to present a data bank on this theme.

Our main concern is to bring forth the situation of the Dalits in Gujarat as it exists today and bring forth their continued marginalization

We also want to raise the question that why the near secondary status granted to the dalits has not become an important issue in the anti-communal movement?

Thirdly, we also want to understand why a section of dalits still feels enamoured about Hindutva, can it be said to be sign of its upward mobility within the Hindu religion or it is a marker of the hatred it had accumulated vis-a-vis the minority communities  and is getting ready to play out the Hindutva agenda on its own also.

It needs to be emphasised here that all over Gujarat one finds thousands and thousands of boards put at prominent places by one of the affiliates of the Sangh Parivar that 'you are entering this or that locality of Hindu Rashtra' which is completely illegal and an open proclamation of 'secession' from the rest of the society.

At this juncture one thinks of Ambedkar's prognosis vis-a-vis Hindu Rajya. In his book 'Pakistan or Partition of India, page 358) written before partition of India, he clearly prophesises :

"If Hindu Raj becomes a reality then it would be greatest menace to this country. Whatever may Hindus say, actually it does not make a difference that Hinduism is a danger to Independence, Equality and Brotherhood. Thus it is an enemy of democracy. We should make all out efforts to stop Hindu Raj from becoming a reality." ( Pakistan or Partition of India, Page 358)

Is anybody listening ?

About The Author

Subhash Gatade is a well known journalist, left-wing thinker andhuman rights activist. He has been writing for the popular media and a variety of journals and websites on issues of history and politics, human right violations and state repression, communalism and caste, violence against dalits and minorities, religious sectarianism and neo-liberalism, and a host of other issues that analyse and hold a mirror to South asian society in the past three decades. He is an important chronicler of our times, whose writings are as much a comment on the mainstream media in this region as on the issues he writes about. Subhash Gatade is very well known despite having been published very little in the mainstream media, and is highly respected by scholars and social activists. He writes in both English and Hindi, which makes his role as public intellectual very significant. He edits Sandhan, a Hindi journal, and is author of Pahad Se Uncha Admi, a book on Dasrath Majhi for children, and Nathuram Godse's Heirs: The Menace of Terrorism in India.