April 2008
    May »
Mayawathi casts spell on Karnataka, Cong worries
Filed under: Political News
Posted by: @ 6:33 am

Bangalore: She may not be a very common face in Karnataka, but UP Chief Minister Mayawati’s maya is catching on.

The Bahujan Samaj Party plans to contest in all the 224 constituencies this election and Mayawati will be going on four campaign tours across Karnataka.

Last time she visited the state in December, she gathered huge crowds.

BSP National General Secretary, PGR Sindhia says, “After Mayawati became CM, I’ve found even upper caste communities - Vokkaligas, Veerashaivas, Brahmins - are favouring the BSP. Once against BSP, now they’re not hostile anymore.”

The BSP has never won a single seat in Karnataka in the past. But the party is seen as a threat to Congress prospects.

Most analysts say that in the last elections the Congress lost nearly 40 seats because the BSP spilt the Dalit vote.

The Congress is on the defensive.

“All votes that BSP gets is not Congress votes alone. There are the independent votes, the BJP votes other parties too. That does not mean, one political party contesting as a candidate they can defeat Congress alone. They can defeat other parties too,” says AICC Secretary, Vayalar Ravi

Agrees Karnataka Congress President, Mallikarjuna Kharge, “There’s no question of gaining more. Either they may retain that base or it will be reduced further.”

The BSP on its part is looking at Karnataka to get a foothold in the south.

Earlier Karnataka has always seen a three-cornered battle between the Congress, the BJP and the JD(S).

But the BSP factor could now add a new dimension - splitting votes and even leading to another hung Assembly.

Politics has proved time and again in this state that king-makers can be more powerful than kings themselves.

comments (0)
The Tikait Treatment
Filed under: Columns
Posted by: @ 1:41 pm

By Ravikiran Shinde

18 April, 2008

Jat leader Mahendra Singh Tikait finally surrendered meekly before the court after resisting arrest by UP Police. The dust has finally settled two weeks after his castiest remarks but it has raised a serious question. How ‘normal’ is the casteist abuse in day to day life of Dalits? If a chief minister can be abused publicly, what does it speak of common Dalits?

Here’s the UP recap. A 73-year old farmers’ leader Tikait stuns everyone when he abuses UP chief minister Mayawati by her caste in a public rally and attracts punishment under the SC/ST (prevention) Act. All Political parties barring CPM’s Brinda Karat either keep mum or support Tikait. Home minister of State Jaiswal supports Tikait on this issue. No condemnation of Tikait comes from Congress or the BJP.

The stage was set for the UP CM to act vengeance treating this as a personal matter. But she did not do a Jayalalitha to handcuff the ageing leader from his home in the wee hours. Instead, she followed the shrewd strategy. When BKU leader defied arrest in Sisauli, she surrounded the village with police. Faced with a pressure cooker situation, Mr. Tikait apologized for his comments calling Mayawati ‘child-like’ before surrendering.

Mayawati finally prevailed by sending right message across but what about the common Dalits who face overt and covert abuse day in and day out? Whether it is in the movies, literature, TV serials or friends circle?

Let me keep the violence and rapes on the lower castes out of the scope of this article and focus on the “soft” abuse. Ask a Dalit and he/she will tell you how prevalent it is. Scheduled castes’ names are still referred as a symbol of evil. The insult is often a sugar coated bitter pill and is so subtle, only a lower caste person will be able to identify it. The Marathi movies and plays regularly use a dialogue “Chandal-chaukadi” to denote group of four bad guys. Chambhar chaukashya (ill inquiries) is prevalent in Marathi conversation. “Mahar-wada” - the outskirts where Mahars still live - is used by the middle and upper castes to imply filthy conditions.

And then there is palpable abuse. The entire ‘elite class’ of India invariably uses words like Chandal, Bhangi, Chamar to indicate anything that is evil, unpleasant or waste. Most of them are unaware their act might result in arrest. I recall one of my well educated friends using the word “Bhangi” to tease and vex his upper-caste Hindu friend for being useless. When I confronted him on the usage of the word, he felt apologetic. But not all abusers are apologetic. The abusers have become smarter. Instead of hurling abuse straight at someone of lower caste, they use lower caste names to denote platitudes for a third person who is normally not in the conversation. But a modern India also witnessed a castiest Manager M.K Hathi of Air India abusing the aspiring hostess from Scheduled castes and tribes by commenting that untouchable’s girls were unsuitable to become air hostesses (Indian Express, 19th Feb 2004).

Students in top institutions admitted under reservation are referred by an abusive word “scheddu” (short form of Scheduled Caste) in top educational institutions in India. Those in the Government jobs are privately pronounced as “son-in-laws” of the Government. In a shocking report submitted to the union government on caste apartheid in AIIMS- India’s premier institute, the Sukhdeo Thorat committee has found that each and every Dalit student in the institute has been a victim of caste-based ragging, abuse and isolation (The Telegraph, 7th May 2007).

Worst of all these, in villages, the abuse is blunt, straight forward and directed at Dalits in full public view and often resulting in physical assault. This is precisely what Tikait calls “just a normal village-talk” while defending his abusive hurls. The famous Kherlanji Dalit massacre is a perfect case.

Shame, our education does not teach the social necessities of respecting every human being – particularly the lower caste who had faced discrimination for centuries. Ironically, it is the professionals – the higher echelon of the society – who are the leading culprits hurling caste abuses that seem to come natural to them.

‘Harijan’ which is considered by Dalits as an insulting connotation is now banned by government of UP and Orissa. The Indian constitution recognizes SC and ST and not harijan and yet the government documents, police reports and even News media reports use this word adding insult to the injury.

It is about time we closely look at not just the law and its strict enforcement but the general awareness about caste abuse. More such high profile Tikaits’ getting ‘treated’ will really help this cause.

comments (0)
117th Birth Anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar celebrated
Filed under: Social News
Posted by: @ 6:50 am

14th April 2008 was the 117th Birth Anniversary of Bhimrao Dr. B.R.Ambedkar. The day is celebrated as ‘Muktiparva’ (festival of liberation) by Dalits all over the country and elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands of Dalits spontaneously assemble at the Parliament House in New Delhi, Mumbai, Nagpur and elsewhere to pay their tributes to Dr. Ambedkar, who championed the cause of Dalits and the marginalized. As the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution, entrusted with the task of drafting the Constitution of free India, he ensured that the constitution guarantees equality to each citizen of India and abolished untouchability. This made social equality a fundamental right, which was denied to Dalits since centuries.


Dalits understand the importance of the Constitution and each year on this day, they have been converging in huge numbers at the Parliament since the last over half a century. However, the event goes by and large un-noticed and un-reported by the National media, both government owned and privately run. This includes newspapers and the electronic media. While there are huge full page advertisements regarding the programme issued by the government in National dailies, the reporting if at all there is; regarding the event, are a measly couple of lines. These reports mainly talk about the commemoration paid to Dr. Ambedkar by the Prime Minister and other VIPs. There is an absolute blackout of the peoples’ event that goes on concurrently at the Parliament House and its vicinity.


The convergence of the huge mass of humanity is spontaneous. Hundreds of thousands of Dalits reach the Parliament, by their own efforts. No one tells them to come nor sponsors their travel etc. to reach the venue. This kind of spontaneous expression of solidarity, reverence and oneness is not witnessed for any other mass leader in India. Parliament Street in New Delhi resembles a ‘mela’ venue on the 14th of April each year. It is also an occasion for Dalits, activists, writers and others to meet, express solidarity, have cultural programmes, buy Dalit memorabilia and literature.


The National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR) presents the first ever video report on the event, giving glimpses of the event. This is what the media should have presented before you, but the ‘free’ Indian media remains shackled by corporate interests and sees no ‘news value’ of an event of celebration of liberation of the oppressed.


In the evening, NACDOR organized ‘1000 Lights of Dignity’ at the National Memorial of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, at 26 Alipur Road, Civil Lines, Delhi. Dr. Ambedkar breathed his last here and after a long struggle by Dalit groups, the Government established the memorial at this venue, after acquiring the same from a prominent corporate house paying a hefty compensation in cash and real estate.


The video report on both the events can be seen at:
comments (0)
Representation Through Reservation
Filed under: Columns
Posted by: @ 1:13 pm

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing”- Albert Einstein


The History of Reservations:

Caste Based Reservation in < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />India Started in 2nd Century BC. In Manusmriti -the law book of Brahmins all the laws were based on Caste and no Merit was ever considered. It divided people into High and Low Castes on the basis of their birth and not on the basis of Merit. Wealth, Political power, Spiritual leadership, Education, Ownership of Land, Trade and all lucrative aspects were reserved purely to the higher castes.

The Concept:

The correct term used for reservation in the Indian Constitution is Representation. Those who have benefited from reservation and are enjoying the fruits of reservation must first of all understand the true meaning of reservation. It is not given to anyone in his individual capacity. It is given to individual as a representative of the underprivileged community. The beneficiaries of reservations are in turn expected to help their communities to come up. Reservation is a democratic principle to provide representation to the castes hitherto remained unrepresented in the governance of the country.

Justice Reddy observed “While we agree that competitive skill is relevant in higher posts, we do not think it is necessary to be apologetic about reservation in posts, higher or lower, so long as the minimum requirements are satisfied.”On the other hand, we have to be apologetic that there still exists a need for reservation.”

Article16 (4) is not a poverty alleviation programme. Its singular aim is to redistribute power to those who have been kept out of the state apparatus so as to end their educational, social and economic backwardness and this class is not less than 77 ½ % of the population of the country.

-Justice P.B.Sawant.

The Intellectual Class:

Dr Ambedkar Said “In every country the   intellectual class is the most influential class. The masses are largely imitative and follow the intellectual class. There is no exaggeration in saying that the entire destination of the country depends upon its intellectual class. If the intellectual class is honest and independent, it can be trusted to take the initiative and give a proper lead when a crisis arises. Similarly an intellectual class may be a band of high-souled persons, ready to help, ready to emancipate erring humanity or it may easily be a gang of crooks or a body of advocates of narrow clique from which it draws its support.

Is the Intellectual Class doing this Work?


After thorough analysis, it is observed that this intellectual class does not take active part in any such activity of change of system. Not only that, it is also observed that this intellectual class looks at the society, to which it belongs with contempt and keep themselves away from it. Dr. Ambedkar had experienced this, at the fag end of his life and therefore on 18 March 1956 at Ramlila Ground, Agra he said with a heavy heart that, “The educated people have betrayed me. I was thinking that after education they will serve their society. But I find that a crowd of clerks had gathered around me, who are engaged in filling their belly“. This heart burning is a proof that educated and intellectual class is alienated from the society and is going away from its brotherhood. Because of this reason, atrocities and discrimination have increased on the people living in villages. The class, who was expected to lead the society, became the most obedient servant of the government, and the movement was left for half hearted and immature people.

What the Intellectual Class Should Do?

The ethos of privatisation and the excuse of global competition, superimposed on the traditional caste prejudice, will never allow reservations to happen, any more.

Dr Ambedkar had said during a debate in parliament on the question of efficiency of governance by the system of reservation that “A representative government is better than an efficient government”

He added this on the upper castes: “It is your claim to equality which hurts them. They want to maintain the status quo. If you continue to accept your lowly status ungrudgingly, continue to remain dirty, filthy, backward, ignorant, poor and disunited, they will allow you to live in peace. The moment you start to raise your level, the conflict starts.”

Those arguing against reservation must understand that 50 years of affirmative action is nothing as compared to 3000 years of subjugation. Those crying foul over Merit know very well that there is not enough fruit in the garden hence those who are already in want to keep out those who are already out.

Those responsible for implementing the policy of Reservation must undoubtedly understand that “Reservation is neither a policy matter, a political gimmick nor a matter of Charity. It is a Constitutional Obligation”

In a country like India where power, wealth and opportunities are the monopoly of microscopically small and scandalously over privileged community, political Revolution is the only Panacea as pointed by even Dr Ambedkar.

While the atrocities on SC-ST’s keep on rising and recorded as if they are the performance parameters of some blue chip company, While those who want to finish the whole idea of Reservation are working overtime, round the clock 365 days a year, the complacent beneficiaries are busy watching their favourite TV shows or criticizing the serious activists of the movement accusing them of selfish interests.

Dr B. R. Ambedkar had said on Tuesday July 31st 1956;  at his residence 26 Alipur Road, New Delhi at 05-50P.M. to his Personal secretary Mr. Nanak Chand Rattu…Tell my people Nanak Chand. “You people do not know what is troubling me and what makes me so sad. The first worry to my mind is that I have not been able to fulfill my life’s mission. I wanted to see my people a governing class in my lifetime, sharing the political power in terms of equality with other communities. I am now almost crippled and prostrate with illness. Whatever I have been able to achieve is being enjoyed by the educated few, who with their deceitful performances have proved to be the worthless lot, with no sympathies for their downtrodden brethren. They have surpassed my imagination; they live for themselves and their personal gains. Not one of them is prepared to do the social work. They are treading the path of their ruination. I now wanted to divert my attention towards the vast illiterate masses in the villages that continue to suffer and remained almost unchanged economically. But life seems short.…My lieutenants, in whom I had full faith and confidence to run the movement, are fighting among themselves for leadership and power, unmindful of the heavy responsibility that is going to fall upon them… Any how I have done a lot in spite of the abuses hurled at me from all sides and I will continue to do so till my death.”

So saying, with tears rolling down his cheeks, he looked at me and I had also no alternative but to look at him with tears in my eyes. …And with a pained expression on his countenance whispered: “Take courage, don’t get upset. Life is to come to an end one day or the other.” After a little pause, wiping his tears, raising his hand a little above his glowing eyes, he said: “Tell my people Nanak Chand: Whatever I have done, I have been able to do after passing through crushing miseries and endless troubles all my life fighting with my opponents. With great difficulty, I have brought this caravan where it is seen today. Let the Caravan march on and further on despite the hurdles, pitfalls and difficulties that may come in its way. If my people, my lieutenants are not able to take the caravan ahead, they should leave it where it is seen today, but in no circumstances should they allow the Caravan to go back?”

Jaibhim and Regards

Abhay Madhukar Dongre                                                  


Some Information has been taken in verbatim from the articles of following. I express my acknowledgements to them.

1)     Questions and Answers on Reservation- Shri Jayant Ramteke

2)     Shri Abhijeet Kumar N-Secretary General- ITSEWA.

3)     Last Few Years of B.R .Ambedkar - Nanak Chand Rattu.

4)     Writings and Speeches- Dr B.R.Ambedkar


comments (0)
BSP sweeps by-polls in UP
Filed under: Political News
Posted by: @ 6:31 am

The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party has won the by-elections to all five constituencies, two Lok Sabha and three Vidhan Sabha seats, which went to polls on April 12.

BSP candidate Bhismshankar alias Kushal Tiwari won the Khalilababad Lok Sabha seat by a margin of over 64,000 votes, trouncing his nearest rival Bhalchandra Yadav of Samajwadi Party, election office sources said here.

BSP nominee Akbar Ahmad Dampi won the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat defeating his nearest rival Ramakant Yadav of BJP by a margin of over 53,000 votes.

Brij Singh secured the Colonelganj Assembly seat defeating her nearest rival SP’s Yogesh Pratap Singh won by a margin of over 9,000  votes. Rajni Tiwari won Bilgram Assembly seat by over 38,000 votes, defeating SP candidate Vishram Singh.

BSP leader Rajpal Tyagi won the Moradnagar Assembly seat by a comfortable margin, defeating the Rastriya Lok Dal candidate.

In the Lok Sabha by-polls for the Betul-Harda seat, Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Hemant Khandelwal defeated his Congress rival Sukhdev Panse by a margin of over 35,440 votes.

“After the 12th and final round of counting, Khandelwal defeated Panse by a margin of over 35,440 votes,” said Arun Bhatt, Returning Officer and District Magistrate of Betul.

While Khandelwal secured 3,006,74 votes, his nearest rival Congress Party’s Panse got 2,65,234 votes, sources said, adding that a total of 6,56,049 voters had exercised their franchise for the April 12 by-polls. BJP has retained the seat fifth time in a row.

In a surprise outcome, Samajwadi Party candidate Dr Suneelam, considered a tough contender, lost his deposit securing only 21,698 votes. He was placed fourth.

An independent MLA, Rewa Ram, secured a surprise third position, but lost his deposit along with other candidates.

The by poll was necessitated following the death of BJP Member of Parliament Vijay Khandelwal, whose son won the by polls today.

comments (0)
Ambedkar now bigger than Mahatma Gandhi
Filed under: Political News
Posted by: @ 8:57 am

New Delhi: In a little park in South Delhi, the statue of Dr Ambedkar looks benevolently over the tired.

Ambedkar Nagar is where most of Delhi’s Dalits live. For those who live in this area named after India’s most famous ‘untouchable’, there is no doubt that he stands on a pedestal. In fact, for many, Dr B R Amedkar has acquired a status that rivals the father of the nation, or perhaps even bigger.

“He is just like Gandhiji,” said an Amedkar Nagar resident.

The Father of Dalits is currently topping the popularity charts across India.

While he may not be as chic as the Mahatma to be worn on a mug or a key chain, he’s still definitely in, as role model for the common man who is, today, fighting for assertion and an identity.

It is, perhaps, because of this that every time a statue of Ambedkar is vandalized, emotions run high, why lakhs of people turn up for his death anniversary, why more and more statues of him are being erected and more are commissioned to dot roads and highways.

“There is huge demand for statues of Amedkar,” says idol-maker Rajkaran Viskarma. “No one asks me to make statues of Gandhiji.”

Today Dr Ambedkar gets as many hits on Google as Gandhi. The spread of English education among the backward may has made him an even bigger icon. Kanshiram and Mayawati have also contributed to his deification.

YouTube has hundreds of videos dedicated to Ambedkar, as does Gandhi. He shares screen space with the Mahatma for India’s tourism campaigns and has an enviable following in online communities. Books on him, which would earlier gather dust, are now being printed in other languages to make him more accessible. India has found a new hero.

“Ambedkar may not be an international figure like Gandhi – not as yet – but I think he has the potential to get there soon,” said writer and social thinker, Purushottam Aggarwal.

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar’s call for social justice has a lot more takers today and many would say that his idea of a society based on liberty, equality and fraternity is relevant now than ever before.

The Mahatma may be the Father of the Nation, but Babasaheb is possibly the architect of a new India.

With inputs from Abhishek Patni

comments (0)
BSP to contest 224 seats - release list of candidates
Filed under: Political News
Posted by: @ 8:25 am

BANGALORE, April 14, 2008: The BSP national general secretary PGR Sindhia has stated that his party will contest for all 224 seats in the state in the elections to be held for the state assembly in May. The list he released at the capital is as follows.

N. Mahesh -Kollegal, (SC) 

Shamsuddin M. Patil Ganihar -Sindhagi,

Vaijanath Suryavamshi- Aurad-(SC),

Sridhar Kalaveer -Sakleshpur (SC),

R. Muniyappa-Mahadevapura(SC),

M. Muniyappa-Devananalli (SC),

Jigani Shankar -Anekal(SC),

Parimala Nagappa -Hanuru,

V. Srinivasan -Pulikeshinagar(SC),

Sayyad Zulfikar Hashmi-Bidar,

Mundargi Nagaraj -Hagaribommanahalli(SC),

Sayyad Roshan Mullah -Shiggaon,

Chandrakantha Gaddagi -Gulburga Rural (SC),

D. Shobha Bellary Hubli-Dharwad East (SC),

Babusaheb Kasimnavar -Kalghatgi,

Umesh Hegade -Yellapura,

Panduranga Swamy -Holalkere,

Venkatesh Nayak –Molakalmuru (ST),

Varaprasad (Mandya),

R. Manjunath (Bangalore South),

J. Jayappa -Shikaripura,

M.V. Kotresh -Soraba,

A. Appayyanna -Byatarayanapura,

Vishwanath. C -Mahalakshmi Layout,

G. Bette Gowda -Yeshwanthpur,

A. Papanna -BTM Layout,

M.S. Mukram -Channapatna,

Obanna Poojar-Chellakere(ST),

H.J. Kantharaju-Hiriyur,

Mohan Kumar -Hosadurga,

Umesh -Turuvekere,

Lingaraju -Tiptur,

D. Muralidhar-Koratagere,

V. Narayanaswamy-Bangarapet(SC),

R.S. Kumar -Malur,


H. Narayanappa –Mulabagilu (SC),

N. Muniswamy-Chintamani,

Suresh –KGF(SC),

Murugan -Gandhinagar,

S.K. Sajid Ahmed-Hebbal,

K.P. Narasimharaju-Shantinagar(SC),

Venkatesh -Bommanahalli,

Vivek Menon-Sarvajnanagar,

Srinivasa Murthy -Chamarajanagar,

Nisarga Nagaraju -Malleswaram,

K.V. Srinivasappa -Rajajinagar,

Hennur Srinivas-Pavagada(SC),

Guruppaji -T. Narasipura

Mahadevappa -Nanjangud

Mr. Sindhia said the party will not have a manifesto for this election instead it would publish an appeal given to the people of Karnataka by the BSP supremo Mayawathi which would be printed in four different languages in ten lakh copies and circulated among the people of Karnataka.

Our Correspondent

comments (0)