Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 26.01.13
Ashis Nandy blames OBCs, SCs, STs for corruption menace in the country - CNN IBN
NHRC to hold open hearing on atrocities to Dalits - Newstrack
Not for Ram or Buddha But for Man: Kancha Illaiah at JLF - Out Look
Cast aside caste in choosing life partners: Aidwa - The Hindu
Ashis Nandy blames OBCs, SCs, STs for corruption menace in the country
Books News, Updated Jan 26, 2013 at 01:59pm IST
New Delhi: Sociologist and p olitical psychologist Ashis Nandy on Saturday made a controversial statement at the Jaipur Literature Festival claiming that Dalits and other backward castes were responsible for the corruption in the Indian society today.
"It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBC and the Scheduled Caste sections, and now the Scheduled Tribes," he said. "The maximum amount of corruption these days is by Dalits, the backward and the oppressed classes," he added.
Sources said that the Jaipur Police Commissioner has sought an explanation from the organisers of the festival.
The remark has triggered a row, with political parties slamming the sociologist. Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, "I don't know why he has said it. But no one approves such statements." BJP leader Najma Heptullah said, "It is wrong on his part to do so. I don't want to comment about corruption being conducted by the SC, ST or the Dalits. It's very wrong to pass such a comment."
Dalit writer Chandrabhan Prasad said, "Has there been a survey or a data or any evidence that proves OBC and SC/ST are more corrupt? If there is no such survey or evidence then such statements should not be passed. That means he is misusing his intellectual power, like others have misused their power."
NHRC to hold open hearing on atrocities to Dalits
Mumbai, Jan 25 (IANS) A delegation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), headed by its chairman Justice (retd.) K.G. Balakrishnan, will hear over 550 cases of atrocities faced by the Scheduled Castes at an open hearing in Nagpur from Monday, an official said.
"The delegation will be hearing 571 cases over four days in Nagpur. These are related to atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and the problems faced by them in seeking justice from state government agencies," an official said.
NHRC members Justice B.C. Patel, Satyabrata Pal, A.K. Garg and other senior officers of the commission will be part of the delegation, the official added.
The rights panel had invited complaints for the open hearing and received around 1,400 complaints. Of these, 571 were short-listed for calling reports from the authorities and will be taken up during the open hearing.
"The commission has also identified 29 cases that would be taken up during interaction with the officers of the state government at a meeting in Mumbai on Jan 31. These mainly comprise complaints on denial of benefits of social welfare schemes, police inaction, malpractice of revenue authorities, non-payment of retirement benefits, forcible dispossession of SCs from their lands among others," the official said.
Prior to this, the NHRC has held four open hearings of complaints on atrocities against the Scheduled Castes in Odisha, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.
According to the official, the commission has decided to hold such open hearings to reach out to the Dalits and hear their complaints about violations of their rights by the public authorities.
"The decision is based on the recommendations given by retired bureaucrat K.B. Saxena, in his report commissioned by the NHRC, on the continuing problems faced by the Scheduled Castes," the official said.
Not for Ram or Buddha But for Man: Kancha Illaiah at JLF
Nivedita Kapoor | Jaipur | Jan 25, 2013
Coming down heavily on the caste structure in Hindu religion, author Kancha Ilaiah today advocated adopting the Buddha's ideology as a way to achieve secularism in the country, generating a lively debate among the fellow panelists at the Jaipur Literature Festival here.
He outlined his vision for India saying that, "What I want is neither a Ram Rajya or a Buddha Rajya, but in fact a Lok Rajya."
Religious conversion, caste structure within religions and position of dalits after conversion were the main talking points of the session titled "God as a Political Philospoher: Dalit Perspectives on Buddhism," where Ilaiah engaged with author Ajay Navaria and poet Nirupama Dutt.
"A dalit who converts to Christianity can become a pastor or be an equal in the mosque or can touch the Guru Granth Sahib. But he can do none of this in Hinduism. He cannot become anything," Ilaiah said.
"No dalit can become a priest in a Hindu temple," said the author of "Why I am not a Hindu" who also pointed out that Buddhism has always advocated the ideas of equality, abolition of caste structure, notion of justice and women's rights.
However, fellow author and panelist Ajay Navaria, whose collection of stories "Unclaimed Terrain" translated into English has recently been published, disagreed over the issue of the benefits accruing to dalits from conversion and the adoption of Buddhism as the main religion.
"Conversion does not solve any problem. In fact, there is a category in administration of a 'New Buddhist' where a person's original caste is mentioned in brackets even after adopting another religion," he argued, questioning then the purpose of going through conversion.
"I am not here to advocate Hinduism. But the dalits can go into any religion but their identity is that of an untouchable. They are not liberated even there," Navaria said, adding "Religion cannot solve the problem."
Furthering his argument, poet Nirupama Dutt highlighted the problem of caste structures within religions. Dutt, who hails from Punjab, drew attention to the phenomenon of Gurudwaras being based on caste.
"Today one can find separate Gurudwaras for Sikh Jats, Kabir panthis and the tanners," she said.
"While Sikhism does not recognize caste, just like in the case of Islam, the situation of the ground is very different from the one visualised in scriptures," added Dutt.
Drawing attention to the ground realities in countries where religion forms the basis of law, Navaria said the country would not become secular and discrimination-free just by adopting Buddhism. "I don't like religion based systems because they end liberty...No religion is detached from caste," he added.
Even as the panelists disagreed on various issues, they did agree on one thing, that the aim should be that of a caste-free society. "I don't agree that caste cannot be abolished or that equality cannot come to India," Ilaiah said.
Cast aside caste in choosing life partners: Aidwa
Plans to organise more anti-caste marriages in future
Seventy-three couples hailing from a mix of castes and classes, who braved all odds and caste prejudices in particular to enter into inter-caste marriages, converged here on Thursday.
The conference, organised by the All India Democratic Women's Association to felicitate them, threw light on the changing dynamics of caste and its overarching effects.
To give fillip to the occasion, an anti-caste marriage was conducted at the conference, in which a Scheduled Caste girl from Virudhunagar got married to a boy from an intermediate caste from the same district amid loud applause from the audience.
Speaking on the occasion, Aidwa's national president, Subashini Ali, said that caste had become the biggest identity marker which resulted in the rejection of women's rights.
Political mobilisation on the basis of caste reduced the rights of women and was always anti-women in character.
It not only reinforced inequality among the toiling classes but also on gender.
Ms. Ali pointed out that the couples who broke caste barriers were the ones fighting for the creation of a modern India.
She further said that anti-caste marriages not only broke caste barriers but also market hegemony which influenced the people into believing that having big weddings was fad.
She asked the youth to cross the 'Lakshman Rekha' of caste and choose their life partners.
She said that being modern was not representative in the form of an outlook in the corporeal sense but in the perception to possess values that supported democracy and equality.
"The period during the national movement and before Independence was more progressive ensuring participation of women in the public sphere than the present."
"Today we talk about globalisation and India becoming a modern super power but on the other hand, on the social front, issues related to caste and community are curtailing the independence of women. In the land of EVR Periyar and Marxist B. Srinivasa Rao, it is disheartening to see Pattali Makkal Katchi's S. Ramadoss, who used to speak about social justice, spewing caste venom to keep his slipping vote bank intact."
D. Ravikumar, general secretary, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, said that when the world was on a progressive path, certain "antisocial" elements were pulling the State backwards.
Mr. Ravikumar felt that the Movement for All Communities, floated by Dr. Ramadoss, was akin to khap panchayats in Northern States.
Aidwa's national secretary, U. Vasuki, said that they had plans to organise such events in future to promote anti-caste marriages.
T.K. Rengarajan, MP, K. Balabharathi, MLA, Tamil writer Su. Venkatesan, and S.K. Ponnuthai, district secretary, Aidwa, were among the others who spoke.
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.