Why are we afraid of the caste census?

 

Bhanwar Meghwanshi

The entire debate is centred on removing the caste column in the census questionnaire while the real problem is caste itself. Why is no one talking about annihilating caste?

caste census bhanwar meghwanshi

Caste census:Crucial for identification of weakers sections of society. Photo: AP

In rural India, even today, the first words uttered by way of introduction when two persons meet are — "what is your caste....?"; a piece of information people seem most enthusiastic to elicit from each other before anything else. Political parties have caste-based cells and caste arithmetic becomes the basis on which tickets are allotted. Every caste recognises jati panchayats, has its mahasabhas and often, caste-based armed forces (senas) are constituted. Thousands of publications are brought out across the country to invoke caste sentiments in people. Whether Haridwar or Pushkar, the bathing ghats are segregated on the lines of caste. Who can offer archana in temples, bridegrooms of which caste can sit on the horse — caste governs even such specifics practised till date in our country. Even today, khap panchayats based on castes, sub-castes and further, gotras,flourish and decree inhuman decisions.

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The representation gap

 

Christophe Jaffrelot, Gilles Verniers

Decline in number of OBC MPs shows that the classic tropes of backward class politics — quotas and simple descriptive representation — no longer work.

The 2014 Lok Sabha elections produced an assembly where many voices can hardly be heard. The representation of Muslims, for instance, is at a historical low, with less than 4 per cent of the seats. But there are other groups that have also suffered a sharp decline in representation. OBCs, who over the last 25 years have dominated the political scene in the Hindi-speaking belt, are a case in point.

Since the late 1980s, one of the most significant trends in Indian politics has been the gradual decline of upper-caste representation in the Lok Sabha, and the concomitant rise of OBCs. This phenomenon was essentially due to the decline of the Congress — a party dominated by upper castes — and to the rise of regional parties, primarily supported by large, dominant OBC groups. In 1989, the proportion of OBCs in the Lok Sabha had jumped from 11 per cent to 21 per cent, and continued to grow in the post-Mandal phase until 2004, when it peaked at 26 per cent. In parallel, the representation of upper castes persistently fell, from 49 per cent in 1984 to 37 per cent in 1989 and 34 per cent in 2004. The gap between OBCs and upper caste MPs returned from the Hindi-speaking belt had never been so small. The 2009 general elections marked a reversal of that trend, as upper caste representation shot up to 43 per cent, and the share of OBCs fell to 18 per cent.

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Another Khairlanji: Rajasthan's Nagaur district is the new dalit slaughterhouse

 

Bhanwar Meghwanshi and Janani Sridharan

The following is a detailed account of the happenings leading to and on the 14th of May 2015 at village Dangawas, describing an attack by the powerful Jats on dalits – murdering 4 of them by the use of tractors, molesting their women, seriously injuring several others and setting to fire their homes. This report has been prepared after intensive fact finding exercises. Currently Rajasthan is seeing several protests and demands of an independent CBI inquiry and compensation for the affected dalits families of what is perhaps the most serious and massive attack on Dalits in recent history, reminding one of the Khairlanji massacre.

nagaur 3

Less than 250 km away from the capital city of Jaipur, the Jat - dominated Nagaur is home to several recent Dalit atrocities. If one were to examine the kind of atrocities perpetrated in the last year alone, one's heart would scream out. It is hard to believe that independent India is host to such crimes today. Such brutality and cruelty of unimaginable proportions inflicted by one community on another might even put terrorist groups to shame! Is this even possible in a democratic state? Apparently yes, with the political and administrative system that initially refused to even take notice of the happenings.

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Fact Finding Report on Javkhede Khalsa

 

Sujit Nikalje

History of Ahmednagar

Ahmednagar district is in Maharashtra, about 120 km northeast of Pune and 120 km from Aurangabad. Ahmednagar gets its name from Ahmed Nizam Shah, who founded the town in 1494 on the site of a more ancient city, Bhingar. The district was created after the defeat of the Maratha Confederacy in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818 when most of the Peshwa's domains were annexed to British India. The district remained part of the Central division of Bombay Presidency until India's independence in 1947, when it became part of Bombay State, and in 1960 the new state of Maharashtra.

Ahmednagar is a relatively small town and lacks the development witnessed in nearby cities of western Maharashtra such as Mumbai, Pune and Aurangabad. Ahmednagar is home to 19 sugar factories and is also the birthplace of the cooperative movement. Due to scarce rainfall, Ahmednagar often suffers from drought. Marathi is the primary language for daily-life communication. 

The total population of the District as per the 2011 census is 45,43,080. The Scheduled Caste Population as per the 2001 Census Data is 4,85,000 which is 12% of the total population, and as per 2011 census it has increased by 1%.

Atrocity Cases in Ahmednagar district

There has been a steep rise in the number of atrocity cases in Maharashtra. The brutal massacres in Khairlanji in 2006 and in Sonai village of Ahmednagar district in January 2013, where three Dalit boys were hacked to death by members of dominant castes, are indicators of the increased intensity. In the triple murder of Dalit youths in Sonai, one of them was supposed to have had a love affair with a Maratha girl. Then recently, in Kharda on 28th April 2014, again in Ahmednagar district, a Dalit boy named Nitin Aage (17) was killed by members of dominant castes, just on the suspicion of a love affair. The dominant caste people pulled him out from his school in broad daylight, beat him up brutally and then lynched him.

There are other recent cases like that of Manoj Kasab, a Sarpanch from the Matang community (the third largest in population among the Scheduled Castes in the state), who was killed by members of the dominant castes. Apart from these killings, many Dalits also face incidents of ostracization to the detriment of their livelihoods, physical assaults and humiliation on an almost daily basis from the dominant castes.

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Preliminary fact finding report on the inhuman murder of Dalits in Ahmednagar

 

Dalit Atyachar Virodhi Kruti Samiti

(Report released on 30th October 2014, at a press conference in Mumbai)

 Preliminary fact finding report on the inhuman murders of Dalits on 20 October 2014 at Jawakhede (Khalsa), Taluka Pathardi, District Ahmednagar.

javkhede massacre

 On 20th October 2014, in Jawakhede (Khalsa), Taluka Pathardi, District Ahmednagar, the entire family comprising the father, mother and a son, of Buddhist faith, was killed brutally.

On 27th October 2014, the Dalit Atyachar Virodhi Kruti Samiti sent a committee to Jawakhede village on a fact-finding mission to probe these murders. The said committee comprised of Subodh More (social activist and freelance journalist), Jatin Desai (senior journalist), Feroze Mithiborwala (social activist), Uttam Jagirdar (social activist), Sudhakar Kashyap (correspondent of IBN Lokmat), Anjan Veldurkar (activist), Vinod Shinde (activist), Professor Ranganath Pathare (senior literary person from Ahmednagar), Bela Sakhare (Nagpur), Keshav Waghmare (social activist from Pune).

Jawakhede village is at a distance of 62 kms from Ahmednagar, with a population of about 3000 people. A majority of the population belongs to Maratha and Vanjari caste; while the Dalit, Muslim and Christians live in minority. About 30 households belong to the Buddhist community.

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Kambalapalli Carnage

 

Written By

 Oruvingal Sreedharan
 &
R. Muniyappa

Published by

 Babasaheb Dr.B.R. Ambedkar Adhyayana Kendra, Bangalore-9

Dedicated
to
late Sriramappa and other Six Dalits who were burnt alive at Kambalapalli

We sincerely acknowledge the support given by the following DSS/BSP activists for bringing out this small booklet

O. Rajanna, N. Shivanna, Krishna Chinthamani, Dr.L. Hanumanthaiah, Marasandra Muniyappa

 ~

Will history repeat itself?

 On 26th January 1950, India will be an Independent country (Cheers). What would happen to her independence? Will she maintain her independence or will she lose it again? This is the first thought that comes to my mind. It is not that India was never an independent country. The point is that she once lost the independence she had. Will she lose it a second time? It is this thought which makes me most anxious for the future. What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of her own people...

Will history repeat itself? It is this thought which fills me with anxiety. This anxiety is deepened by the realization of the fact that in addition to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds, we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds. Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost for ever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood. (Cheers).

~ Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
in the Constituent Assembly
On 25th November 1949.

~

 Kambalapalli Carnage

 Burning Alive of 7 Dalits - Genesis

Kolar is one of the 27 Districts of Karnataka State in India. There are 11 Taluks and 12 Assembly Constituencies out of which 3 are reserved for Scheduled Castes. There are 2 Parliament seats in Kolar district - Kolar and Chickaballapur. Kolar seat is reserved for Scheduled Castes and K.H. Muniyappa, a Scheduled Caste is the sitting Member of Parliament. Chowdareddy has been elected from Chinthamani Assembly seat, where the carnage took place.

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Another 'Dharmapuri' in Theni district: Dalit colony attacked for inter-caste marriage

 

தமிழ்வாணன், VCK - Theni District Secretary

April 9th.

Melmangalam village, near Periyakulam, Theni district.

A Dalit youth Suresh (30) eloped with a caste hindu girl Muthulatchumi (25) on 30th March, 2014. Fearing for their life, it is said they fled to Kerala. No complaint was pressed by the girl's family, instead the caste hindu village heads threatened Dalits, asking for return of the girl. Dalits denied any knowledge of their whereabouts.

theni 1

 

On 6th April, 2014, Theni Lok Sabha candidate of DMK Muthuramalingam visited the area for campaign. Caste hindus gathered in hundreds for the campaign meet. After the meet, the gathering including ADMK supporters started attacking the Dalit colony nearby. They burnt automobiles, looted the houses and set fire to them. Caste hindu women too participated in the attack along with their men. 3 Dalit men sustained injuries from sickle attack, 1 women was injured in the ear and 6 Dalits were hospitalised. 10 houses, 3 shops and a temple were burnt down.

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