🔷🔹🔷 అంబేద్కరిజం – స్టేట్ సోషలిజం 🔷🔹🔷 భారత సమాజంలో తెరముందు కనిపించే ఎన్నో సామాజిక రుగ్మతలకు మూలాలు, తెరవెనుక వేల సంవత్సరాలుగా కొన్ని కుల సమూహాల ఆర్థిక ప్రయోజనాలు, రాజకీయ ఆధిపత్యంతో ముడిపడి ఉన్నాయి. ప్రస్తుతం దేశాన్ని శాసిస్తున్న బ్రాహ్మణ వ్యవస్థ తీరును అర్థం చేసుకోవడానికి కేవలం సామాజిక కోణాన్నే కాకుండా, ఆర్థిక కోణాన్ని కూడా పరిగణించాల్సిన అవసరం ఉంది.. కులనిర్మూలన, రాజకీయ అధికారం ఇత్యాది అంశాలతో పాటు ఆర్థిక – రాజకీయ లక్ష్యాలను నిర్ధేశించే ఉద్దేశంతో బాబాసాహెబ్ ప్రతిపాదించిన “స్టేట్ సోషలిజాన్ని” అధ్యయనం చేయకపోతే “అంబేద్కరిజం” అసమగ్రంగా మిగిలిపోతుందని గుర్తించాలి..
✿ స్టేట్ సోషలిజం – ప్రస్తుత ప్రాముఖ్యత ✿
☞ SC, ST, BCలు సైద్ధాంతిక సారూప్యతతో ఐక్యం అవుతూ రాజకీయ శక్తిగా అవతరించే దిశగా అడుగేస్తున్న ఈ తరుణంలో నిర్థిష్టమైన లక్ష్యాలపై అవగాహన ఏర్పరచుకునేందుకు స్టేట్ సోషలిజం ఉపయోగపడుతుంది..
— ప్రజాస్వామ్య వ్యవస్థలో రాజకీయ అధికారం తాత్కాలికమైనది అనే విషయం గుర్తుంచుకోవాలి., కేవలం రాజకీయ అధికారం సాధించడంతోనే తరతరాల సమస్యలకు పరిష్కారం కాలేవు అనే విషయాన్ని అర్థం చేసుకోవాలి.. కానీ లక్ష్యాలను సాధించేందుకు రాజకీయ అధికారం ఒక ప్రముఖమైన వనరుగా ఉపయోగించుకో గలగాలంటే లక్ష్యాల పట్ల అవగాహన అత్యవసరం..
☞ ఆర్థిక పోరాటాలు – సామాజిక ఉద్యమాల ఉమ్మడి ప్రణాళికను సూచించే, కమ్యూనిస్టు – అంబేద్కరిస్టుల కలయిక మీద చర్చ జరుగుతున్న సమయంలో, అసలు అంబేద్కరిజం అంటే పూర్తి అవగాహన కలిగి ఉండకపోతే, “మళ్ళింపు శక్తుల” కుట్రలకు బలయ్యే ప్రమాదం ఉంది..
— నిజానికి అంబేద్కరిజం అంటే కేవలం సామాజిక అంశాలపై మాత్రమే ఉద్యమం కాదు.. ఆర్థిక అంశాల పట్ల, ఉద్యమ స్వరూపాల పట్ల కమ్యూనిజం కంటే అంబేద్కరిస్టు సిద్ధాంతానికే విస్తృతమైన పరిజ్ఞానం ఉంది.. భారతదేశ ఆర్థిక వ్యవస్థ మీద బాబాసాహెబ్ అంబేద్కర్ చేసినంత అధ్యయనం, చేసినన్ని సూత్రీకరణలూ, ఏ కమ్యూనిస్టు సిద్ధాంతకర్తా చేయలేదనే విషయం కమ్యూనిస్టులు కూడా కాదనలేని నిర్వివాదాంశమే..
— కాబట్టి అంబేద్కరిస్టుకు ఆర్థిక ఉద్యమాల సైద్ధాంతిక నిర్మాణం కోసం కమ్యూనిస్టుల మీద ఆధారపడాల్సిన అవసరం ఏమాత్రం లేకపోగా, భారతీయ సమాజానికి కమ్యూనిజాన్ని అన్వయించుకునేందుకు కమ్యునిస్టులకే అంబేద్కరిస్టు సిద్ధాంతం సహాయం చేయగలదు.. ఏదేమైనా లాల్-నీల్ కలయిక పరస్పర సహకారంతో ముందుకువెళ్ళడం ప్రయోజనకరమే అయినప్పటికీ, కమ్యూనిస్టులతో గత అనుభవాల దృష్ట్యా జాగ్రత్తగా వ్యవహరించడమే మంచిది ..
☞ నయా ఆర్థిక సంస్కరణలలో భాగంగా “లిబరలైజేషన్” “ప్రైవేటైజేషన్”, “గ్లోబలైజేషన్” (LPG) పేరుతో ప్రభుత్వాలను నడుపుతున్న శక్తుల ప్రోద్బలంతో, ప్రభుత్వాలే దళారులుగా వ్యవహరిస్తూ, సంపదలో ప్రజల భాగాన్ని కొన్ని కులాలకు దోచిపెట్టడం జరుగుతుంది.. ఈ సమయంలో 80% బాధితులకు న్యాయం చేసే సమ్మిళిత ప్రగతి సాధించి, ఆర్థిక సమానత్వం నెలకొల్పడానికి స్టేట్ సోషలిజం నిజమైన ప్రత్యామ్నాయం..
✿ స్టేట్ సోషలిజం – నిర్వచనం ✿
— దేశ సంపద, ఆర్థిక సామాజిక వనరులు, పారిపాలనా యంత్రాంగం ఇత్యాది అంశాలు, వ్యక్తుల చేతులలో కాక మొత్తం వ్యవస్థ చేత నడిపించబడుతూ ప్రజాబద్ధంగా ఉండాలని సోషలిజం చెబుతుంది..
— ప్రజాస్వామ్య వ్యవస్థలో, ప్రభుత్వాలు ప్రజల ప్రతినిధులే కాబట్టి పై అంశాలు ప్రభుత్వం ఆధీనంలో వ్యవహరించబడాలి.. దీనినే స్టేట్ సోషలిజంగా నిర్వచించబడినది..
✿ స్టేట్ సోషలిజం – బాబాసాహెబ్ అంబేద్కర్ ఆలోచనా విధానం ✿
☞ బాబాసాహెబ్ 1946లో రాజ్యాంగ పరిషత్తుకు సమర్పించిన “స్టేట్స్ అండ్ మైనారిటీస్”(States and Minorities) మెమొరాండం ద్వారా “స్టేట్ సోషలిజం” ప్రధాన విధానాలను తెలియజెప్పారు..
☞ ఈనాడు “మానవ హక్కులు”గా వ్యవహరించబడుతున్న అంశాలు ఆ రాతప్రతి నుండి గ్రహించినవే.. ప్రజలకు హక్కులు ఇస్తూనే వాటి ఫరిధులు, అవసరమైన విధివిధానాలు నిర్దేశించే అధికారం ప్రభుత్వాలకు ఇవ్వబడింది., అంతే కాక ప్రభుత్వ విధానాలు ప్రాధమిక హక్కులను హరించే క్రమంలో వాటి మీద సుప్రీంకోర్టు అజమాయిషీ కల్పించడం జరిగింది..
☞ సామాజిక దురాచారాలను, రుగ్మతలను తొలగించగలగడం ప్రభుత్వ యంత్రాంగాల ద్వారానే సాధ్యం అని బాబాసాహెబ్ బలంగా నమ్మారు.. ప్రజాస్వామ్యంలో అత్యధిక జనాభా యొక్క ప్రయోజనాల కోసమే ప్రభుత్వాలు నడపబడతాయని భావించారు., కానీ వేల ఏండ్ల బ్రాహ్మణత్వ ప్రభావం అంత తేలికగా పోదని భావించి, దానికి పరిష్కారంగా సోషలిస్టు భావనలు ప్రభుత్వాల, చట్టాల ఫరిధికి వదలకుండా రాజ్యాంగబద్ధం చేసే ప్రయత్నం చేసారు..
☞ వేలయేండ్లుగా సంపద హక్కు నిరాకరించబడి, నిరంతరం దోపిడీకి పీడనకూ గురైన ప్రజలకు సంపదలో సమన్యాయం చేయకుండా కేవలం ఓటుహక్కు కల్పించడంతో ఒరిగేదేమీ లేదని బాబాసాహెబ్ అభిప్రాయ పడ్డారు.. స్టేట్ సోషలిజం ద్వారా సంపద, వనరులలో సమానమైన వాటాను, న్యాయమైన హక్కుగా కల్పించేందుకు రాజ్యాంగ రచన ద్వారా కృషి చేసే ఆలోచన చేసారు.. ఆయన చేసిన సూచనలు కొన్ని ..
— ముఖ్యమైన, నిర్ణయాత్మక పరిశ్రమలు ప్రభుత్వ ఆధీనంలోనే నడవాలి.. ప్రాముఖ్యత లేని పరిశ్రమలు కూడా ప్రభుత్వ ఆధ్వర్యంలో గానీ లేక ప్రభుత్వం అజమాయిషీ గల సంస్థల ద్వారా కాని నడపాలి..
— భీమా రంగం మీద పూర్తి ప్రభుత్వ అజమాయిషీ కలిగి ఉండి, అది సమాజంలో అట్టడుగు స్థాయి ప్రజల వరకూ ప్రయోజనాలు విస్తరించ గలిగే విధమైన సమర్థత కలిగి ఉండాలి..
— వ్యవసాయంపై ప్రభుత్వం పూర్తిగా బాధ్యత తీసుకోవాలి.. వ్యవసాయ భూమిని యూనిట్లుగా చేసి, ఉమ్మడి సహకార ప్రణాళికను రూపొందించి.. కుల మత వర్ణాలకు అతీతంగా యూనిట్లు కేటాయించాలి..
— ప్రభుత్వం వ్యవసాయానికి కావలసిన సౌకర్యాలు సమకూర్చే బాధ్యత తీసుకోవాలి.. మొత్తం వ్యవహారంలో ప్రభుత్వం ముఖ్య పాత్ర పోషించాలి..
– ఈ పద్ధతి వలన భూస్వాములు ఉండరు, కౌలుదారులూ ఉండరు, భూమిలేని రైతు కూలీలు ఉండరు.. కాబట్టి కష్టానికి తగిన ప్రతిఫలం శ్రామికులకే దక్కుతుందని బాబాసాహెబ్ అభిప్రాయం వ్యక్తం చేసారు..
బాబాసాహెబ్ ప్రతిపాదనలను వల్లభాయ్ పటేల్, జె.బి కృపలానీ అంగీకరించకపోవడంతో నెహ్రూ రాజేంద్రప్రసాద్ లకు కలగజేసుకోవలసిందిగా బాబాసాహెబ్ కోరగా వారు కూడా కొన్ని అంశాలను మాత్రమే ఆమోదించడం జరిగింది..
✿ స్టేట్ సోషలిజం – మార్క్సిజం – వ్యత్యాసాలు ✿
1. మార్క్సిజం ముఖ్యంగా వర్గ పోరాటాలనే గుర్తిస్తుంది., ప్రభుత్వ యంత్రాంగాలైన పాలన వ్యవస్థ, రాజకీయ నాయకులు, పోలీసు వంటివన్నీ పెట్టుబడిదారీవర్గాల సహచరులుగానే గుర్తిస్తుంది.. కాబట్టి ప్రభుత్వాలను కూడా వర్గశత్రువుగా భావిస్తుంది,, ప్రభుత్వ వ్యవస్థ అంతాన్నే కోరుకుంటుంది., అంతిమంగా ఒక నియంత ఆధ్వర్యంలో, ప్రభుత్వ యంత్రాంగాల అజమాయిషీ లేని శ్రామికుల అధికార స్థాపనకు పూనుకుంటుంది..
— స్టేట్ సోషలిజం ప్రజాస్వామ్యాన్ని కోరుకుంటుంది., సామాజిక రుగ్మతలు, ఆర్థిక వ్యత్యాసాలు దూరం చేయగలిగేందుకు ప్రభుత్వాల అవసరాన్ని గుర్తిస్తుంది., కాబట్టి ప్రభుత్వ వ్యవస్థ అంతం కావాలని కోరుకోదు., సోషలిజాన్ని అమలు చేసే బాధ్యత ప్రభుత్వం మీద ఉంచుతుంది..
2. సామాజిక మార్పు, శ్రామిక వర్గాలకు న్యాయం రక్తపాతం ద్వారానే సాధ్యం అని కమ్యూనిజం నమ్మితే, శ్రామికుల బాధితుల కలయికతో ప్రజాస్వామ్య బద్ధంగా ప్రభుత్వాల ఏర్పాటు ద్వారా చట్టాల రూపకల్పన ద్వారానే మార్పు సాధ్యం అని స్టేట్ సోషలిజం ప్రవచిస్తుంది..
3. అధికార వికేంద్రీకరణ జరిగి బలహీన పాలనా యంత్రాంగాలు ఏర్పడడం వలన ప్రజలు శక్తివంతులౌతారని కమ్యూనిజం నమ్ముతుంది.. ఎం.ఎన్.రాయ్ వంటివారైతే ర్యాడికల్ డెమక్రసీ పేరుతో కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వాలు పూర్తిగా నిర్విర్యం అయ్యి, బలమైన స్థానిక పాలనా వ్యవస్థలు ప్రజల కమిటీల రూపంలో రావాలని వాదిస్తాడు.. ఇవన్నీ భారతదేశన్ని నిర్విర్య పరిచేవే., స్థానికంగా ఆర్థికంగా బలమైన కులాల చేతుల్లో పెత్తనం పెట్టే సిద్ధాంతాలే., గాంధీ కూడా ఇదే వాదాన్ని “గ్రామ స్వరాజ్యా”ల పేరుతో ప్రతిపాదించాడు.. ఇప్పటి ఖాఫ్ పంచాయితీల ఆగడాలు చూస్తే ఇవి ఎంత ప్రమాదకరమైన ప్రతిపాదనలో అర్థం అవ్వాలి..
— బాబాసాహెబ్ సూత్రీకరణ, అధికార కేంద్రీకరణ ద్వారా బలమైన కేంద్రాలను తయారు చేస్తూనే, స్టేట్ సోషలిజాన్ని నియతృత్వం ద్వారా కాకుండా ప్రజాస్వామ్యం ద్వారా అమలు చేయడం వలన వికేంద్రీకరణకు అవకాశం ఇచ్చి రెండింటినీ సమతుల్యం చేయవచ్చుని నిర్వచించింది
✌☞ పై విషయాలు గమనిస్తే భారతదేశ సామాజిక భౌగోళిక, భౌతిక పరిస్థితులకు మార్క్సిజం కంటే స్టేట్ సోషలిజమే సరైనదని అర్థం అవుతుంది..
✿ స్టేట్ సోషలిజం – అంబేద్కరిస్టు ఉద్యమ సంఘాల పాత్ర ✿
☆ అంబేద్కరిస్టు సంస్థలు సామాజిక అంశాలతో పాటు అంబేద్కర్ ఆలోచనా విధానం నుండి ఆర్ధిక – రాజకీయ సూత్రాలను కూడా విస్తృతంగా అధ్యయనం చేసి, భవిష్యత్తు ప్రణాళికలు రూపొందించుకోవాల్సి ఉంది..
☆ లక్ష్యాల నిర్దేశంలో “స్టేట్ సోషలిజం” ప్రాముఖ్యత గుర్తించకపోతే పూర్తి స్థాయి విజయం సాధించలేమని గమనించాలి..
☆ సామాజిక ఉద్యమాలను పూర్తి స్థాయిలో నిర్వహించకుండా రాజకీయ ఉద్యమాల వైపు పయనించే విషయంలో సైద్ధాంతిక తప్పిదాలకు తావు లేకండా, ఉద్యమాల దిశానిర్దేశం కోసం బాబాసాహెబ్ సిద్ధాంతాల సహాయం తీసుకోవడంలో నిర్లక్ష్యం వహించకూడదు..
☆ అంబేద్కరిస్టు సంస్థలు పరస్పర సహకారంతో ఒక ఉమ్మడి ప్రణాళిక రూపొందించుకుంటే మరింత ఉపయోగకరం..
Who’s Bojja Tharakam? New generation may search on Google, but he do not have a Wikipedia page. But if you want to know about him, ask Karamchedu Dalit massacre victims, Tsunduru Dalit massacre victims, so many others. The rape victims, victims of state violence, victims of atrocities. Each one victim will tell the story of Bojja Tharakam equivalent to thousands pages of Wikipedia. He was a great promise for marginalised communities of telugu states. A lawyer, who roared against atrocities on Dalits, a leader, poet, orator, activist and a democratic partner of a great author Vijaya Bharathi. Son of another great leader and Dr.B.R.Ambedkar contemporary Bojja Appalaswamy. I should reveal it here. Bojja Tharakam was only one lawyer who asked Dalit victims who are facing rapes and killings everyday to retaliate against the perpetrators and assured that he will fight their cases and free them.Salutes Bojja Tharakam sir! Jai Bhim! Rest in power! We will continue the struggle!
Karthik Navayan Battula
UNTOUCHABILITY AND THE UNTOUCHABLES
Testimony given by Bhagwan Das, Chairman, All India Samata Sainik Dal, and Ambedkar Mission society. In the 36th Session of Commission on Human rights Sub-Commission on Prevention Of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, held at Geneva in August 1983
I am grateful to the chairman of the sub-committee for granting me an opportunity to present the case of the Untouchables living in India and the neighbouring countries who came under the influence of Hindu religion and culture. I am giving this testimony on behalf of Secretary General (Dr. Homer A. Jack) World Conference on religion and Peace (WCRP). I also speak on behalf of various Untouchables and Buddhist organisations of India namely All India Samata Sainik Dal (Volunteers for equality) an organisation founded by Dr. Bheem Rao Ambedkar, Indian Buddhist council, Ambedkar Mission Society. Ambedkar Mission Incorporated (Canada) and Dr. Ambedkar Mission Society, Bedford, UK.
I take this opportunity to mention here that WCRP in its first conference held at Kyoto, Japan in 1970 discussed the problem of discrimination including the practice of untouchability. In its third conference held at Princeton (USA) the problem of the Untouchables in India and Burakumin of Japan was discussed and mentioned in the declaration. In the Asian Conference of Religion and Peace (II) held at New Delhi the problem of Untouchability and discrimination against the Buddhist converts was taken up and recommendations made in the declaration issued at the end of conference. Human rights Commission of ACRP decided to set up an office at New Delhi and an office is now functioning at New Delhi with the help of the Japanese Committee of WCRP under the title Asian Centre for Human Rights.
Untouchability is a phenomenon peculiar to Hinduism and it is an integral part of their religion. It took birth in India and it’s from India that this abominable practice spread to other religions and countries. No religion in India is free from this contamination; not even those who loudly preach from house tops the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man.
Hindu society is divided vertically and horizontally on the basis of caste. Christianity and Islam have allowed caste to exist in their society. Lower caste Christians especially in Southern states of India are meted out discriminatory treatment in the matter of burial in the cemeteries, appointment of parishnors, priests etc., and matrimony. Upper caste Christians seldom marry a girl from the lower caste Christians. Islamic society is also modelled on the pattern of Hindu society. It is divide into three or four groups namely ‘Ashraf’ upper caste, Moghuls, Turks Afghans etc., ‘Ajalaf’ converts from upper castes of Hindus and at the lowest rung of ladders sit the lowly ‘Arzal’, butchers, tanners, shoemakers, sweepers. scavengers etc.
Sikhs who claim to be more progressive and egalitarian but unfortunately even they have not been able to keep their society free from caste system and untouchability. Even in a country like Britain they rigidly follow caste system and practise untouchability and discrimination against the Untouchables (Ramdaasia and Mazhbis) living in England. A ‘jat’ Sikh shuns the company of the Untouchables and avoids going to the pubs patronised by the Balmikis and Ravidasis-two untouchable castes of Punjab. An upper caste Sikh (Jat, Khatri, Arora,-trading communities of Punjab never misses an opportunity if he can offend an Untouchable by referring to his caste.
Untouchables in various countries
Nepal is predominantly Hindu state and 89% people either return their religion as Hinduism or are registered as Hindus in the census. Barely 7% of the Nepalese are Buddhists. Proselytization is prohibited. Hindu society is divided into as many as 59 castes and several artisan and other castes such as Paura (sweepers and scavengers), Damais (smiths), Sarakis (leather workers) goldsmiths in hilly regions are treated as Untouchables. Even though there is free education, very few among those castes can take the benefit owing to the practice of untouchability. In the Nepalese Panjyat (Panchyat) not more than one or two members of this community can get elected owing to the deep rooted prejudices against these people whose only fault is that perform useful duties. Their exact number is not known because unlike India Nepal census reports don not register caste. Owing to the fear of dominating upper castes Hindus, even Buddhists avoid contact with the Untouchables in Nepal. These communities suffer from numerous disabilities arising from untouchability. So far as I have been able to ascertain they have not been able to organise themselves for struggling against discrimination. Those who can in contact with these people were mulcted by the authorities and only paying the fine and performing some ceremonies they could be readmitted in the society.
Pakistan with 97% of its population owning Islam as their religion is divided into numerous castes, tribes etc., Hindus constitute about 2% of the population and are listed as caste Hindus (296,837) and Scheduled Castes (603,369). Scheduled Castes is the statutory title given under the government of India Act 1935 to the Untouchables. Most of them earn their livelihood as sweepers, scavengers, cobblers, weavers, etc.. Muslims also treat them as Untouchables like Hindus throughout the World. Pakistan also has a Christian population numbering about 908,000. Christians are divided into three groups, Europeans and Anglo-Pakistanis, Eurasians like Goanese, converts from upper castes of Hindus and Muslims and people belonging to upper stratum of society. At the bottom sit the most despised sweepers and scavengers who are known as ‘Christian Punjabis Sweepers’ (CPS). They are the descendents of the members of Chuhra community, traditional sweepers, who embraced Christianity to escape the tyranny of Hinduism and the stigma of untouchability but the partitioning of the country compelled them to revert to the traditional occupation of sweeping and scavenging. Although they are economically better than the rural workers so far as the wages are concerned but they are compelled to live in segregated localities and are treated as untouchables. Like their counterparts in India, CPS are the most despised people in Pakistan. They suffer from numerous disabilities arising from untouchability.
Sri Lanka is predominantly Buddhist (population 8,537,000, 67.3%) with Hindu constituting the second largest religious group (2,239,000) divided into clean and unclean castes. Among the Sinhalese, Goyigama is the highest caste and those engaged in occupations like butchers, drum-beaters. Toddy tappers, sweeping, etc. are considered ‘hina jati hina sippi’ people. Discrimination in the matter of marriage is practised among the Sinhalese. Siame Nikaya, a Buddhist sect does not admit the members of the lower castes as Bhikkhus but the other two Nikayas admit men belonging to the lower castes if they desire to join the order. But among the Tamilians, caste system is rigidly followed and untouchability practised in the Jaffana area which is predominantly Hindu (Tamalian). Society is divided into two major groups, namely clean castes and unclean castes. Among the unclean castes are included Palla (potter), Seneer (weaver), Parriyar, Kadaiyan (lime burner), Chikkalyan (leather worker and sweeper), Vunnan (washer man) and Thurumba etc. Upper castes (Vellala, Brahmin, Chetty etc.) treat them as Untouchables. Present conflict has temporarily obliterated the differences but after the trouble has subsided caste feelings revive.
Bangla Desh is predominantly Muslim (80%) with 4,926,448 (20%0 Hindus divided into two groups namely caste Hindus (Brahmin, Kayasthas, Baidyas etc.) and Namoshudras, Kaibartas, Hadis, Moschis, etc.). Many of the Muslims are converts from among the Untouchables and Buddhists. Yet discriminatory treatment is meted out to the untouchables in Bangla Desh. Our informants have stated that the Hindus of upper castes are treated as equals but the lower castes are discriminated in the matter of housing, employment etc.
All these countries were part of greater India until 1947 and were influenced by Hindu religion in the matter of rituals and customs.
Untouchability in India
Untouchability has not been defined by the sociologist or the legislators. At the time of discussion on ‘Untouchability Offences Act’ in Parliament when a question was raised about definition, the law minister said, ‘There is no need to define untouchability. Everybody knows it’. He was trying to avoid definition but he was telling the truth that everybody knows whom to avoid, whom to persecute. Untouchability is deeply embedded in the minds of Hindus and regulates their behaviour with other people. Stratification of society and restrictions on inter-marriage between different classes or groups are not unknown in other societies or cultures but to use the words of Dr. G.S. Ghurye, a renowned sociologist, “Hindu system is unique only in this that it alone classified some groups as untouchable and unapproachable.” Other religious groups only copied them. Since Hindus treated the scavengers, sweepers, cobblers, basket makers, weavers etc. as untouchables, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs also treated them as lowly, despised, degraded people. Since untouchability had religious sanction behind it, all efforts made by social reformers failed. Hindus avoided the discussion and foreigners did not want to take up the cause of the untouchables for fear of antagonising the Hindus. They were also taken in by the propaganda carried out by the followers of Gandhiji. Dr. Ambedkar had rightly observed, “The old orthodox Hindu doesn’t think that there is anything wrong in the observance of untouchability. To him it is normal, natural thing. As such it neither calls for expiation nor explanation. The new modern Hindu realises the wrong but he is ashamed to discuss it in public for fear of letting the foreigner know that Hindu civilisation can be guilty of such a vicious and infamous system or social code as evidenced by untouchability.”
Mass conversion of Untouchables to Christianity and Islam and growing importance of number in the politics of India coupled with criticism of Hindu society by Western writers, sociologists, travellers etc., led Hindus to introduce certain changes in their social system. While they wanted to remove untouchability, they did not want Hinduism and caste system to suffer in any way because Hinduism is sustained by caste system. If caste system goes, Hinduism cannot survive for long. On the other hand Hindus have developed a vested interest in Untouchability and caste system. More than 75% population of India is illiterate and people sincerely believe that caste is god-made and there is no hope or scope for change. Any laws made by man are interference in the God’s work. Hindu law makers had made elaborate laws and rules to keep Untouchables in degraded condition perpetually. Economic measures were adopted to perpetuate degradation, segregation and poverty. Laws were framed and strictly enforced to keep them divided, dispirited, poor, ignorant, illiterate and physically weak. They were not allowed to acquire wealth; higher interest was charged on loans; good, wholesome, nutritious food proscribed so that they may not grow strong. Right to bear arms was denied so they may never revolt. Low wages and excessive work was prescribed so they may have no leisure. Identity marks and symbols were prescribed so that even by mistake pure Hindus may not eat ot drink with them. This system was rigidly followed by the Hindus for centuries. Even Muslims did not disturb it. British especially after the sepoy mutiny of 1857 for fear of antagonising the Hindus tried to maintain those laws and enforce them through courts of law.
Progressive Western educated Hindus however felt uneasy and promised to bring about changes after attaining independence. Accordingly provisions were incorporated in the constitution abolishing untouchability and certain ameliorative provisions such as reservation in legislature, services of Union Government and states, educational institutions etc. Untouchables were subjected to some inhuman laws like forced labour in rural area. A provision to abolish slavery of this kind was made in the constitution but the law was enacted in 1976. Millions of Rupees were provided for the economic upliftment of the Untouchables in the Five Year Plans.
In spite of these laws the Untouchables suffer from numerous disabilities especially in smaller towns and villages of India. Untouchables don not have well in thousands of villages and upper caste people do not allow them to dig wells. Untouchables have to beg for water from a distance lest their shadow should pollute the upper caste Hindus. Sometime the water pipes are laid and stopped a few yards short of the Untouchable locality. The present writer struggled for seven years to get a public hydrant installed in a village of Himachal Pradesh while every Minister or even the Chief Minister announced that water had been provided.
If the Untouchables demand higher wages in villages, the caste Hindus pour filth or kerosene in the wells so as to starve them of water. Untouchability is widely practised. A mild and harmless law which was neither educative nor awarded deterrent punishment was enacted in 1955 under the title ‘Untouchable Offences Act, 1955’. This proved to be ineffective. This law was amended and passed as Protection of Civil Liberties Act 1976 containing a provision of minimum punishment. Owing to illiteracy of Untouchables majority of whom live in the rural areas, very few cases are reported and a very small number reaches the courts of law. Untouchability in worst form is practised in the Hindi region but the largest number of cases is registered in the state where the Scheduled castes people are awakened and better organised.
Of all the countries where untouchability is practised India has the best of laws and the most generous provisions in her constitution. British had introduced quota system with a view to giving share in administration to all religious groups and other minorities. Untouchables were however denied a share on the plea that there were no educated men available. Through the efforts of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar undisputed leader of the Untouchables ‘reservation in services’ was introduced in respect of the Untouchables also in 1943 during the vicerolty of Lord Linlithgow. Later o provision was made in respect of the Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes but reservation in favour of other minorities was abolished. During the early years there was little resistance because very few qualified people were available to fill up the reserved seats. Resistance was offered by non-implementation of government orders, or by declaring that suitable candidate was not available or if available ‘not found suitable’ and also through courts of law by filing writ petition. Since 1974 organise resistance is being offered by the upper caste employees who have enjoying monopoly of all government jobs. Private sector does not employ the Scheduled Caste people, excepting in the lowly, low paid and degrading situations. Table below gives some idea of the success in the part of the opponents of the reservation:
Reservation given in
Class 1 = 4.95% Class 11 = 8.54%
Class 111=13.44% Class 1V = 19.46%
Discriminatory treatment is being meted out to the Scheduled Caste people in the matter of recognition of their unions on the plea that it is the policy of the government that ‘communal’ organisations of employees will not be recognised. On the other hand organisations of the Hindu employees who are opposed to the reservation have the support and blessing of administration as well as the political parties, especially of those who have their base among the middle classes of Hindus.
Scheduled Castes (statutory title of the Untouchables) is an artificially created minority under the constitution. Names of castes can be deleted or added by the president. Pressure is mounting now through press to delete the names of more awakened and better organised castes. Majority of the Untouchables (about 76%) live in 568,000 villages of India. In some places they are allotted land by the government. Dr. Ambedkar demanded nationalisation of land with collectivisation of allotment on cooperative basis. The government favoured the creation of small holdings and peasant proprietors. Fragmentation of land is non-productive but the untouchable farmers who never owned land because of the laws prohibiting possession of land in some states desire to own land. The landholding dominating upper castes do everything possible in their means to obstruct distribution of land. Even if land is allotted, the upper caste landlords do not allow the Untouchables to take the fruit of their labour. If Untouchables demand higher wages or even the minimum wages prescribed by the Government, the upper caste landlords indulge in murders, torture, arson. Rape etc. to terrorise the poor ignorant untouchables. Thousands of men are employed as bonded labourers and kept away from the cities, police etc. Hundreds of women are forced into superstition by exploiting their ignorance, poverty and superstitious beliefs and sold into the brothels of Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Kanpur and Delhi.
Untouchables are becoming increasingly convinced that the Hindus hate them not because they perform unpleasant duties but because their religion teaches them to hate certain castes. Many embraced Christianity and Islam. Dr. Ambedkar who saw no hope of Hinduism reforming itself exhorted his people to renounce Hinduism and embrace Buddhism which he had revived in 1956. Millions of people responded to his call and embraced Buddhism. Government of India immediately issued order that if an Untouchable renounce Hinduism and embrace any religion other than Sikhism he will become disentitled to concessions and grants allowed to the Scheduled Castes. When a few hundred Untouchables in Madras embraced Islam because the Hindus harassed and humiliated them and did not allow them even to wear shoes or loin cloth which went below the knee cap, Hindu militant organisations turned riotous and burnt the huts of Untouchables and molested their women. Even Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi forgetting that she was the head of a secular government showed concern and delivered speeches discouraging the conversion of Untouchables. Some states have enacted laws making conversion difficult. Those renouncing Hinduism have to obtain a certificate from the Magistrate that the person desiring conversion to Islam or Christianity is doing it voluntarily. Police is dominated by the upper landholding castes of Hindus and is generally hostile towards the Untouchables. Indian Penal code contains certain provisions under which police have power to arrest and detain a person if he has no ostentatious means of livelihood. This in a country where majority of the people have no employment, house or shelter of any kind. Police abuses its powers especially against the Untouchables and many people are killed or incapacitated through torture in police custody.
Hinduism have closed the doors of armed forces to the Untouchables for ever. Untouchables were admitted to the armed forces of Islam after embracing Islam which many did. During early decades of their rule, British recruited Untouchables in their armies but after sometime they began to close the doors especially in central India and Bengal under pressure from the high castes of Hindus. They introduced the pernicious theory of ‘martial races and non-martial races’. Later on they disbanded the Untouchable armies and raise class regiments recruiting men belonging to upper castes. Indian government has not completely abolished the class regiments and has officially removed the ban on recruitment. But Government have not taken any measure to change the mode of recruitment. Recruiting officers, mostly belonging to peasant castes owing to to deep rooted prejudices based on caste and their medical; officers invariably ask a man’s caste and reject him on medical grounds. Untouchables have little share in army (0.44% in officers cadre and 10.62% in other ranks), 7.63% in other ranks of navy and 0.156% in officers cadre and 2.568% in other ranks.
Untouchables have the equal right to vote and contest elections. 79 seats are reserved in the House of the People (Lok Sabha) out of the total number of 542. Out of a total strength of 3997 members in the state legislatures and Union Territories 540 belong to the Scheduled Castes. On paper the number appears to be very impressive but owing to the election system of the country it is the majority community which elects the representatives of the candidates. In the rural areas the Untouchables can not exercise their right to vote freely and independently. Very often police protection has to be provided. After the election heavy price has to be paid tb the Untouchables if the members of higher castes owning land feel that they did not get the support of the support of the Untouchables.
Violation in Villages
Scheduled castes in the rural areas demand land, better wages, right to wear dress according to their liking, assert the rights granted under the constitution. Hindus on the hand want to maintain status quo in all fields. Tensions arise and often result in confrontation. Landlords have raised armies of trained men released from army and police to terrorise the Untouchables landless labourers. Police protects the strong against the poor. Government through its machinery and religious policies strengthens casteism and superstition because it helps the ruling classes. Leaders of struggle are picked up and either involved in false criminal cases or murdered by the police in encounters. Men, women and children have been massacred and burnt alive whenever they put up resistance against oppression. Men have been killed for offering Ganges water in a shrine. A man was killed in Aligarh (UP) for affixing the word Chauhan to his name. Women’s toes were crushed for wearing rings. Man was killed for twirling moustaches. In Meenakshipuram where mass conversion to Islam took place, men were not allowed to sit beside the upper caste men in the state buses, nor allowed to walk through the streets; women were punished for wearing sandals. In Kafalta 11 persons were done to death for crime of riding a horse in marriage procession and for using palanquin. The incidents of violence in the villages have been showing an upward trend for the last five years:
Year No. of incidents of atrocities
Recent figures are not available but the Home Minister Mr. N.R. Laskar during the last session stated that the number was showing an increase but during the Monsoon session of last week, he said that number of incidents has fallen considerably. Figures furnished by the Government do not represent the fact. These represent only a tip of the iceberg because many of the cases remain unreported. Untouchables feel very insecure owing to the growing resentment against the declared policies and programmes of the government which are very rarely accompanied by implementation. Bureaucracy is being blamed for non-implementation but is the government which lacks the political will to take action against those who flout the government authority.
This weakness is evident from the fact that even a simple and harmless demand by the Scheduled caste legislators in the Parliament to have a portrait installed in the Central Hall of Parliament where Dr. Ambedkar played a very important and historical role both as a member of the Executive Councillor in the Viceroys Executive Council (1942-46) and as first Law Minister and Chairman of the Constitution Drafting committee (1947-51). Government have been resisting this demand on some pretext or the other. Similarly in recognition of the great services rendered by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the field of education a unanimous decision was taken in the Maharashtra Assembly to change the name of Marathawada University to Ambedkar University. This university came into existence chiefly owing to the establishment of three colleges by Dr. Ambedkar in the most backward region of Marathawada of Maharashtra. Orthodox Hindus in the region felt offended and instigated the illiterate and ignorant villagers that now ‘Ambedkar’ an Untouchable will enter your houses in the form of degrees and diploma certificates and you will have to repeat his name. As a result many houses of Buddhist converts were looted. Women molested, old men insulted, buildings demolished or set on fire and some people killed. Hundreds of men were forced to leave their villages and seek shelter in the towns, railway platforms, footpaths etc. Government could not implement its decision and the oppressor won the field. Untouchables and Buddhists continue the agitation with unshaken determination.
In spite of the that Indian Constitution has the most liberal provision, Government have failed to implement its own declared programmes and policies for the removal of untouchability and upliftment of the deprived and disadvantaged section of society. Prejudices can not be removed merely through legislation. Religious policy of the government is discriminatory and is based in favour of Hinduism and Sikhism and prejudicial to the religions like Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Government in accord with the wishes of the orthodox Hindus has used coercive measures to check the conversion of Untouchables to Buddhism lest they should unite and organise themselves for struggle. Present policy of the government appears to be based on the tenets of Hinduism. Methods may have changed but the aim of the Hindu law makers and religious leaders have not changed. Anything which the untouchables consider good for then is vehemently resisted and opposed. Whatever goes to make them week, dispirited, disunited and dependent is encouraged.
- A commission should be set up to investigate and submit a report on the practice of Untouchability in the countries wherever it is practised.
- Action should be taken against countries and institutions who encourage this practice an the name of religion and custom.
- Government should be asked to eliminate discrimination against the despised and segregated groups in the matter of freedom of religion.
- To set up a commission to monitor the activities of government and religious groups in the countries where untouchability is practised.
- Governments of the countries where the Hindus and Sikhs have migrated and practise untouchability and discrimination against the Untouchables should be approached to enact laws to discourage this practice.
- A separate office should be set up to receive cases of untouchability and disability and the states concerned should be asked to report what measures they have taken to eliminate discrimination in their respective countries.
We, the Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance, Asian Rationalists, AWAAZ South Asia Network, Bhagwan Valmik Mandirs (Bedford, Birmingham, Coventry, Oxford, Southall, Wolverhampton), Dr Ambedkar Buddhist organisation Birmingham UK, Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK, IndiaMattersUK, India Workers Association GB, Indian Scheduled Caste Welfare Association UK, Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha (Bedford, Derby), Shri Guru Ravidass Cultural Association Darlaston, The Monitoring Group, strongly condemn the increasing violence against Dalits and minorities in India.
We also condemn the rise in the so-called ‘cow vigilantism’ in a country paradoxically the top exporter of beef in the world1, the rise in ‘Hindu nationalism’ and the failure of the authorities to provide legal justice and redress to victims and to eradicate Caste-based discrimination. We stand in solidarity with protests in Una, Gujarat and around the world including the UK and the USA against these rising atrocities.
Today we have submitted a Joint Statement to the UK Government asking them to call on the Government of India to take stern action against the perpetrators and prosecute government and police officials responsible for aiding and abetting these criminals, and to implement the laws that outlaw Untouchablity and the laws aimed at helping uplift Dalits and Scheduled Tribes.
We have also submitted a Joint Statement to the United Nations High Commissioner (UN HC) for Human Rights and UN Secretary General, asking them to intervene and send a team immediately to investigate the situation on the ground in Una, Gujarat and look into Caste-based discrimination in India. Both Navi Pillay2 the previous UN HC, and the current HC, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein have both highlighted the need to tackle Caste-based inequality3.
Our specific calls to the Government of India are that they must:
- Take swift and robust action against the dominant caste perpetrators violating the human rights of Dalits and minorities
- Conduct an open and transparent investigation under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 and prosecute those Government and police officials who are found to have aided and abetted criminals
iii. Robustly implement the Special Courts and Exclusive Special Courts mandated in the SC ST Act, 2015 for speedy trials
- Take swift action to deal with the unacceptable shortage of judges that is impacting negatively on access to justice 4
- Fully implement the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP) and the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) and discharge the allocation of funds due to Dalits for their upliftment. Ensure there is full transparency and accountability in the expenditure of the funds that is not only focused on ‘survival’ schemes like food, hostels etc, but also allocated for skill development for modern jobs that will help the social and economic mobility of Dalits and Scheduled Tribes.
Notes to Editors: More background information on next page.
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On 11 July, four Dalit men were partly stripped, tied to a car and subjected to what was nothing short of a public flogging captured on film by cow vigilantes for skinning a dead cow in Una, Gujarat. This raised memories of historical accounts of public floggings of Black slaves in America. In Gujarat and other states in India, the Dalit community involved in traditional jobs are now being targeted by the dominant caste groups under the guise of cow protection and Hindu nationalism. Caste apartheid and economic factors already force Dalits into descent-based occupations that include cleaning of the dead animal carcasses, tanning of leather, bonded labour and manual scavenging. When Dalits assert their human rights to an education or to better jobs, the dominant caste groups are finding new ways to terrorize them including public floggings, harassing families, rape and punishment rape, stripping Dalit women and parading them naked in the streets, and social exclusion in villages5. PhD student Rohit Vemula’s suicide in Hyderabad this January is but one of most prominent of many examples.
The Government promises of uplifting the Dalits and Scheduled Castes by way of a legally mandated Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP) and the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) funds are failing. According to the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), only a third of the already truncated funds are allocated to Dalits and SCs – ‘Two thirds are non-targeted and notional allocations ‘retro-budgeting’ i.e. funds spent on some scheme that covers the whole population and then claims are made that that it must have benefited dalits and adivasis too.’6 The RSS and Hindutva extremists have free reign under successive Governments but visibly more so under the current Indian Government, threatening secularism in India and promoting an unhealthy form of nationalism. The fundamental right to choose one’s faith, what one eats or wears, who one marries and the freedom of speech are rapidly being eroded. The Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen at this June’s Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK’s Conference summed up the political environment in India. He said “one issue that keeps coming up in India is people being branded as anti-national for not toeing a particular line” “I would say Caste is anti-national because it ‘divides the nation.”7 There is clear evidence that atrocities against Dalits continue to increase. According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have reported the highest rates against Scheduled Castes show an almost 40% increase of crime against Dalits all over India between 2011 and 2014.8 In 2015, Gujarat reported the highest crime rate against Dalits up a staggering 163.3% (6,655 cases) followed by Chhattisgarh at 91.9% (3,008 cases). UP reported the most number of cases of crime against Dalits at 8,946. Sexual assaults against women and rape are top crimes against scheduled castes. It’s a form of control society that is honour-based. These crime figures are just the tip of the iceberg. Many crimes are not reported. Many that are reported to the authorities are not processed by officials and the police. As a result they do not feature in the official records. We will continue to monitor such atrocities and demand justice for the victims of Caste oppression.
Press Release 9-8-2016 Hyderabad The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that those police personnel who participated in the alleged encounter killing of Mohd. Nayeemuddin near Shadnagar in Mahbubnagar district on August 8, 2016 be booked under relevant provisions of the IPC including murder. The investigation into the case must be conducted by an agency as independent as possible of the Telangana and AP police. The version of the police that Nayeemuddin died in an exchange of fire with the police and that the police only retaliated and fired in self-defence leading to his death, cannot be the last word in the matter. While we hold absolutely no brief for Mohd. Nayeemuddin, we wish to make the point that whether his death is the result of a genuine exchange of fire or an extra-judicial killing by the police has to be determined in a court of law. The court is the proper authority to decide upon the veracity or otherwise of the police version. It will not do for the police to simply put out an ‘encounter’ story and wash their hands of the matter. Mohd. Nayeemuddin was possibly the most notorious and vicious of the criminal counter-insurgent gangs that operated and terrorised society with total impunity since over two decades. It is an open secret that these gangs, and Nayeemuddin in particular, enjoyed State patronage. His is the most glaring case of the State managing to co-opt militants who had earlier worked in Naxalite parties and then encouraged to form paramilitary gangs. He was allowed to operate as a virtual don, settling private land and business disputes with the undisguised use of violence, making a fortune for himself and his associates with the police benignly looking on and perhaps even taking a share of the gains. These armed gangs would also regularly issue threatening and abusive statements in the Press demanding of activists of various democratic organisations that they forthwith give up their activity. There is very little doubt that it was Nayeemuddin’s gang that killed T. Purushotham of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) on 23-11-2000 in Hyderabad, and Md. Azam Ali of the same organisation at Nalgonda on 18-2-2001. Nayeemuddin personally participated in the kidnapping of Dr G. Lakshman, then President of APCLC, on 6-11-2003 in the aftermath of the near-fatal attack on the then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu near Tirupati on 1-10-2003 by the Peoples War. Dr. Lakshman was tortured and forced to deny the kidnapping and the torture. Nayeemuddin’s outfit would also regularly issue threatening and abusive statements in the Press demanding of activists of various democratic organisations that they forthwith give up their activity. We believe that successive governments’ had ample chance all these years to arrest this gangster but chose not to do so. This is because he was doing the State’s bidding and there was close nexus between several high ranking policemen and Nayeemuddin. We recall that complete disarming of these killer gangs was one of the demands raised during the six month period in the later half of the year 2004 when there was a cease-fire between the police and the Maoists and some attempt at a dialogue was made. However, nothing happened. The HRF, in particular late K Balagopal, has time and again pointed out that such criminal gangs, actively abetted by the State, should have no place in a civilised society. We have consistently campaigned against the phenomenon of private gangs operating in the name of ‘Tigers’ and ‘Cobras’ and killing people with impunity in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. We have, along with other rights organisations across the country, pointed to the dangers of the State deliberately encouraging private militias and standing silently by as they committed murders and forced activists of democratic organisations by public threats to resign and become inactive. HRF also demands that a comprehensive enquiry be held to unearth facts of the nexus between such criminal gangs and the police. VS Krishna S Jeevan Kumar (HRF general secretary, TS&AP) (HRF president, TS&AP)