Need of Dalit movement

The Dalit Movement Today
The term “Dalit” has different meanings for different people. The most common use of the term is to define people who were once known as “untouchables”, seperated from the rest of society by the caste system. Navsarjan redefines the ideological context of the word to mean three things:
  • Someone who believes in equality
  • Practices equality in his or her life, and
  • Protests inequality wherever he or she sees it
This redefinition challenges Dalits to be more egalitarian in their own lives, both in terms of inter sub-caste discrimination and sexism; allows for the inclusion of Dalits from different religious backgrounds (Dalits who have converted to a different religion, but still suffer discrimination); and allows for the inclusion of people who are not from the “untouchable” castes, but still believe in values of equality.

A past passive participle of the Sanskrit root dal that means to crack or split, the word Dalit is today common across most Indian languages, meaning poor and oppressed people. As it refers to those who have been broken, ground down by those above them in a deliberate way, there is also clearly an inherent denial of pollution, karma and justified caste hierarchy to the word itself. Though use of the term Dalit in public discourse is of relatively recent origin – the 1960s – it is supposed to have been used first by Jotirao Phule (1827-1890) in his attempt to work for dalituthan, that is, the uplifting of the exploited sections of society.

While Dr. Ambedkar did not popularize the word Dalit, his philosophy has remained a key source in its emergence and popularity. Marathi literary figures and neo-Buddhists began to use the word in their writings and contributed to the literary initiatives in replacing Harijan (man of God) and achchuta (untouchable) with Dalit, in the 1970s. They expressed their anger, protest and aspiration through this new word, rejecting the Hindu caste system and objecting to Gandhi’s belief that caste Hindus’ “charitable spirit” would be enough to overcome Untouchability.

While the word “Dalit” stems from opposition to terms bestowed upon Dalits by the non-Dalits—terms that legitimised their discrimination and deprivation—it has today essentially emerged as a political category. Dalits in legal parlance are called Scheduled Castes (SCs), and are identified as such by the President of India under Article 341 of the Constitution.

This constitutional identity, however, is exclusive and fails to capture the true picture. Dalits who have converted from Hinduism to another religion no longer qualify as SCs, although their status in society often remains the same. Moreover, Dalit movements in contemporary India are not uniform and each articulates a particular identity, be they Christian Dalits, Neo-Buddhists or Muslim Dalits. Hence, Dalit should not be seen as a term just describing a caste community. Rather, it should be viewed as a symbol of change and liberation, as a progressive ideology, helping the Dalit movement to achieve its end results. Increasingly used as a suffix, Dalit is a part of the identity of a person that holds certain values—those pertaining to equality and humanism.

[An anti-caste movement led by the backward communities under the banner Praja Mitra Mandali launched a focused movement to bring pressure on the king of Mysore for reservation in recruitment and education. The Miller Committee was constituted by Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore in the year 1919. This committee's findings provided a fact based report on the actual situation of overrepresentation of brahmins in education and government positions and the non-representations of other communities. The report was based on the caste-wise demographic and English literacy data from the census 1911. Its recommendations included scholarships for backward classes, relaxation of age limit for public service appointments and changes in the merit-based examinations.

Wadiyar championed many progressive endeavors such as compulsory education for women, but the strong measures he took to ensure educational, employment and political representation of the backward communities was met with stiff resistance from his own Dewan, Visvesvaraya, who was strongly opposed to the idea of reservations. Visvesvaraya rejected the recommendations of the Miller report, Wadiyar overruled his objections, leading to the former's resignation.

The Miller report laid the foundation for proportionate representation of all citizens of Mysore in education and government jobs. This report became the blueprint for subsequent policies and is one of the important documents referenced by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar while framing the policies for proportionate representation to depressed classes at the national level.~ Round Table India]

Miller Committee Report: Report of the Committee Appointed to Consider Steps Necessary for the Adequate Representation of Communities in the Public Service

1. Our committee was constituted under Government Order No. E. A. G. 308, dated 23rd August 1918, in which it was desired that a report should be submitted to the Government in two months from the date of the order. We held meetings on the 3rd September 1918, 11th and 12th March and 24th and 25th June 1919. At the first meeting it was due to the length of time required for their compilation that an extension of the period allotted to our deliberations had to be obtained. After the meetings in March at which some members of the Committee were absent, it became necessary to circulate a draft of the resolutions arrived at those meetings, and this produced some fresh suggestions and opinions, it then became necessary to hold another meeting and this could not be held before June owing to the absence of the President of the Committee from the State. Our best thanks are due to the Government for the information supplied to us. The tables containing the information are printed at the end of this report as appendices.

2. Terms of reference:- The Government Order states that there is at present a large preponderance of the Brahmin Community in the public service, and that it is the desire of the Government that the other communities in the State should be adequately represented therein. Our committee was appointed to investigate and report on the question as to what steps should be taken to encourage the members of the important communities other than the Brahmin Community to seek employment under the Government in larger numbers. The specific questions we are required to consider are the following.

(1) Changes needed, if any, in the existing rules of recruitment in the public service.

(2) Special Facilities to encourage higher and professional education among member of the backward communities.

(3) Any other special measures which may be taken to increase the representation of the backward communities in the public services, without materially affecting efficiency, due regard being paid also to the general good accruing to the State by a wider diffusion of education and a leading of increased status which, it is expected, will thereby be produced in the backward communities.

3. Definition of Backward communities:- By backward communities, we understand generally those castes or communities coming under a general head of caste or community as enumerated in the Census Report of 1911, which contain less than 5 percent of literates in English. The Indian Christian, Mudaliar and Pillay communities are also included for certain purposes in the backward communities by view of Government Order No-89-10-90-Edn. 96-1-1, dated 8th May 1917, and Government letter No. 3919-Edn. 42 17, dated 13th October 1917. It will thus be seen that the term backward classes is recognized to include all the communities in the State other than the Brahmin. The Europeans and Anglo-Indians who have English for their mother-tongue will of course be excluded by that fact.

We have in these circumstances dealt with the matters referred to us in accordance with this classification. The European and Anglo-Indian servants of the State are few in number and do not materially affect the questions under consideration. For practical purposes, therefore we divide the communities into two groups only Brahmins and Others, but in fixing the proportion of appointments between the Brahmin and the other castes, it seems to us that the appointments held by European and Anglo-Indians should be excluded from the total number of appointments, and that the remaining appointments alone should form the basis for the distribution.

It will be understood therefore that in the report when we use the expression backward classes, we mean all communities other than Brahmins and Europeans and Anglo Indians. A third class included in the 'backward classes' is the 'depressed classes' to them we refer in particular in some places, and include them in general among the backward classes.

4. Recommendations include menial and inferior services:- We assume, having regard to the third paragraph of Government Order No. 1069-1118-E. A. G. 247, dated 25th September 1918, that the menial and inferior services are not to be taken into account in compiling the returns of appointments given to backward communities and our recommendations do not refer to these branches of the service.

5. No need to justify our recommendations:- From the returns of the Government Order dated 23rd August 1918, our task appears to be to suggest some suitable means by which the object of the Government to secure larger representation of the backward communities in the service of the Government may be effected without materially affecting the efficiency of the service, remembering at the same time that the efficiency of the service as is ordinarily understood is not the only end in the view, but that due regard should also be paid to the general efficiency of the State as measured by the social and educational results of a proper distribution of high offices among the different communities. We refrain from discussing the causes which have led to the existing preponderances of Brahmins in the services, or the effect of this preponderance on the services and the people of the State, because we understand from the order that the Government are convinced of the necessity of making a change in this respect and no arguments of ours are necessary to support that conviction.

6. What is 'adequate' representation:- proceeding then on the basis that in the distribution of the public offices of the State, the communities other than the Brahmin are not adequately represented, we have first to arrive at a conclusion what is 'adequate' representation. The Census Report of 1911 shows that the Brahmins number 1,94,570 out of a total population of 57,01,579. The depressed classes viz. the Panchamas, Madigas, etc. form a population of 10,43,807 (vide G.O. dated: 8th May 1917). Even if we exclude the depressed classes who may not be expected to enter the superior service in any numbers for some years to come, the Brahmins from only 1-22nd of the rest of the population. These figures doubtless indicate that there is room for a considerable diminution in the representation of the Brahmin community in the public services. We recognize that population is not the only factor to be taken into consideration, and that one important factor is the maintenance of the efficiency of the services. Efficiency, however, is not to be measured solely or even mainly by academic qualifications and it will not be denied that there are many important branches of the administration in which other qualities such as sympathy, honesty of purpose, energy and common sense go as far to make an efficient officer as literary superiority. We do not wish to suggest that the Brahmin community is deficient in these qualities, but it cannot and does not claim a greater share of them than other communities, while its superiority at present in the capacity to obtain academic distinctions can hardly be questioned.

Again under the present system of Government, the officers of the Government in the higher grades of the service have necessarily much influence in shaping the policy of the administration, and the efficiency of the services viewed as machines for securing the even and uniform progress of the State, is likely to be increased by the presence, in their ranks, of officers of different communities. And viewed from the point of view of the services themselves, it is likely that their efficiency will be advanced by promoting a greater feeling of equality among officers and by relieving those who are in the minority of the feeling that their interests are likely to suffer at the hands of the majority. For the fact cannot be ignored that an officer in the exercise of his duty of making appointments and promotions finds it easier to see the values of his own community than those of others.

We think that a large increase in the proportion of officers drawn from communities other than the Brahmin may safely be advocated without any fear that the efficiency of the service as a whole will thereby be materially reduced. We recognize that this increase cannot be suddenly made without risk of dislocation of the Administration or injustice to present incumbents of offices, and after giving good deal of consideration and discussion to the matter, we have determined in to recommend to the Government to fix a period of seven years within which to reach what, for the time, may be regarded as adequate representation. If by the end of this period not more than half of the higher appointments, administrative and ministerial, be held by Brahmin and not more than one –third of the subordinate appointments, we think, that the question of adequate representation will be answered for the time.

Our colleague, Mr. Ranga Iyengar, is of opinion that it is undesirable to fix any definite proportion, and that it must be left to the Government to see that the increase in the representation is fair and adequate according to their own views of adequacy, but the majority of us think that the hands of the Government will be strengthened if a minimum be fixed up to which they can require all dispensers of official patronage to work. Without it, we fear that the object in view is less likely to be gained in a reasonable time. Mr. Ranga Iyengar, agrees with the rest of us that if any period and any proportion have to be fixed, those which we are suggesting are reasonable and suitable.

7. Representation to be general in all grades:- We think it essential that the distribution of the proportion fixed should be made equally in all grades and departments of the service, and we believe that the best, if not the only way to secure the continuance of a proper representation of those which are not Brahmin, in the highest offices. If that is done, there is little fear that inequalities will be allowed to recur in the lower ranks, and what inequalities there may be will soon adjust themselves. Moreover we are of opinion that the proportion is maintained in the grade of Assistant Commissioners it should be maintained also among the officers of those grades serving in the Secretariat, and it should be maintained among Heads of Departments and Secretaries to the Government and we venture to think it should be the rule to maintain it in the Executive Council itself.

By the higher appointments to which we recommend the application of the rule of equality in seven years, we mean, those whether executive or ministerial, which carry a salary classed as Rs. 50-100 or a higher salary. The lower appointments to which we propose the rule of 2/3 and 1/3 within seven, years are those below that grade and also especially the subordinate executive grades whether the pay reaches or does not reach Rs. 100, offices such as those of Police and Excise Inspectors, Shekdars and the lower executive officers in such departments as the Agricultural, Public Works and Co-operative Departments it is these officers who come most frequently in contact in their Official capacity with all classes of the people of the State and from the point of view of general administration it seems desirable that in these grades a full representation of all important communities should be found.

8. Unnecessary to provide for separate representation for each individual community:- It is not necessary at the present stage, to complicate the problem by taking each separate community into consideration and trying to adjust its claims, nor could we do so satisfactorily with the information at our disposal. For the present, it can be seen from what is happening in Southern India, in spite of the numerical and communal disparities of the different communities, still from the point of common interests to be achieved, these communities fall roughly into three groups, 1) the Brahmins, 2) Other Caste Hindus, Mahomedans and Indian Christians, and 3) the depressed classes. These may be taken as unitary groups for the purposes of our report, as they are for other purposes.

In regard to the depressed classes we have suggested measures elsewhere in the body of the report by which their interests can be promoted and here we need say only that we are emphatically of opinion that those among them who are qualified by education for the higher grades of service should, for the present be preferred by to others when they are available. In respect of the other two groups, we desire as mentioned above the establishment of equality within the next seven years, which still leaves the Brahmins in a position of undoubted advantage. The future will have to determine itself on lines which we trust will be equitable and will lead to a more harmonious and uniform developments of all classes. We believe that our proposals represent a fair and adequate representation to which it will be possible to work up in the case of the backward classes within the period of seven years. We regard the period as the maximum to be permitted and the proportion as the minimum to be achieved in the period.

9. The above is our principal recommendation and may here be repeated. Within a period of not more than seven years not less than one-half of the higher and two-thirds of the lower appointments in each grade of the service and so far possible in each office are to be held by members of communities other than the Brahmin community, preference being given to duly qualified candidates of the depressed classes when such are available.

10. Measures to achieve this end:- We now discuss particular means to be adopted by the Government to reduce the disparity between the representation of the Brahmin and the other classes in the service and to bring about the equalization within the fixed period. The measures which the Government Order shows are at present adopted with a view to ensure the larger employment in the public service of persons belonging to the backward communities are:

(i) the grant of exemption from qualifying educational tests.

(ii) Preferential selection in the case of equal or nearly equal qualifications.

(iii) Relaxation of the severity of prescribed tests, and

(iv) Requiring the selection of a minimum proportion of the backward classes in making appointments.

11. The statements appended in Part – III of this report show that these rules and measures, though not without value, have not as they are worked, fulfilled the purpose they were expected to serve. The reservation of a fixed or of the appointments as in the case of Probationers, etc., may not achieve the object of equalizing the representation of communities and may even produce contrary effect. We need only take two instances to show how the reservation of a fixed proportion of appointments intended to equalize the representation has in its working borne out the above assertion. Firstly the order passed during the Commission days in 1874 and reiterated without any modification in Circular No. 2138-98 dated 21st January 1895, during the time of Mr. V.P. Madhava Rao, reserved 10th of the appointments in the grades of Inspectors, Sub–Inspectors, Head constables and other Hindus. In Spite of this long-standing order, we find from a table in the appendices about the officers in the Police Department that in 1918, out of 361 Officers, 191 were Brahmins, Secondly, since 1914 though the number of men nominated by Government to the grade of Assistant Commissioner was increased with a view to increase the representation of backward classes in the civil service, the number of men selected through the Mysore Civil Service Examination has also been raised, and in the result the backward classes continue relatively where they were. Again till 1914 the number of men promoted to Assistant Commissionerships was 3 or 4 each year. But since 1915, this number has gone up to 10 or more each year and there is a large preponderance of Brahmin among them. If we take Statement II in the appendices and calculate the percentage of non-Brahmin appointments to the total number of appointments in each grade during the year 1916, 1917, and 1918 we find that the results obtained have not shown any progressive reduction of the inequality each year, but on the other hand have actually aggregated it year as will be clearly proved from the following table.

Taking the class of appointments carrying a salary of Rs. 50 to 100, it will be seen that the percentage of members of backward communities to the total men in service in that grade in 1916 was 32 which was reduced to 28 in 1917 and further reduced to 26 in 1918. In the grade of Rs. 250 to 450, the corresponding percentage was 31 in 1916 which reduced to 22 in 1971 and it was 24 in 1918. We beg to draw attention in this connection to the practice recently adopted in Madras of appointing men from different communities for the post of the Deputy Tahsildar on lines approaching the proportion basis which has a real tendency to equalize the representation. In our view, the right course is to take the existing proportion of Brahmins to other communities in each grade of appointments together with the percentage of those communities to the total number of appointments in each grade and reserve as many appointments in that grade as may be necessary to secure a progressive reduction of inequality in each year and vary it each year according to circumstances in order to attain the goal which we have recommended. We see that there will be difficulty in the way of applying a similar rule in the case of promotions, but we do not think the difficulties are insurmountable.


12. Special educational facilities:- Having dealt with the matter referred to us in some of its general aspects, we now propose to discuss the three questions stated in paragraph 3 of the Government Order. Education being the basic principle which tends to the harmonious equalization of the representation of the different communities in public service, we propose to take up first for consideration the second question which refers to 'special facilities to encourage higher and professional education among members of backward communities.'

13. Primary education:- So far as primary education is concerned, our recommendations relate to the depressed classes in particular and to the other backward classes in general. We fully support the recent policy of Government declaring that the pupils belonging to the depressed classes should be freely admitted into all schools and that grants should be refused to such schools as decline to admit them. At the same time we believe that for the rapid expansion of education among these classes, a system of special schools also should be developed. Great sympathy and care are required from the teachers, if results of any value are to be expected. A system of special Panchama schools with the teachers drawn from the Panchamas and a special Inspectorate seems to us to be necessary to secure speedy results. We deem it important that the Head of the Education Department and the supervising agency generally should be selected with reference to their sympathies and general attitude towards the depressed classes. A large extension of the system of distributing small scholarships or doles will be useful to overcome to some extent the reluctance of most of the parents to spare their children to attend schools which they are unable to do in their present condition. Such an extension should cover both the number and value of scholarships. We also recommend the establishment in each district of an institute like the Central Panchama Institute in Mysore with boarding and special facilities for general and industrial education.

As for the other backward classes we recommend a wider expansion of primary education by the establishment of more schools with competent and better paid teachers and by the strengthening of the supervising staff. This is an obvious recommendation and the Government are alive to the importance of the question, the main difficulty in the way of adopting it is the question of the provision of the necessary funds. As to this we think that in the provision of funds for education and in making education free, preference may be given to those kinds of education which are resorted to by the backward communities even at the risk of stinting for a time the requirements of higher education.

14. Secondary education:-As regards secondary education, we are anxious to see an early increase in the number of Lower Secondary Schools of the Anglo Vernacular type. We prefer this type to the purely vernacular type and we think that schools of the latter type might well be converted so as to make English a compulsory subject in order to give equal opportunities to the rural as well as to the urban population.

We are of opinion that all secondary schools and colleges should be remodeled on a sort of polytechnic basis, so that those whose special aptitudes lie in that study of manual arts may be enabled to reach the stages of higher education with the assistance of their special aptitudes, and that proficiency in the studies certified by a diploma or degree might properly serve as a passport to the Government services. We cannot of course set out here details of a scheme of this kind, but we think that if preferred as a part of the scheme of general education, it would serve as a stimulus to members of the backward classes to pursue their studies into the regions of higher education, and that the efficiency of the general administration would be increased by admixture of officers with some practical acquaintance with the difficulties and requirements of many of the people with whom they have to deal, officers who may be expected to render perhaps greater help in the material development of the country than university graduates in arts and theoretical sciences.

15. Fair proportion of teachers to be of the backward classes:- It is necessary to have in all the secondary schools and indeed in all schools where the number of teachers is more than two, a fair proportion of teachers recruited from the backward classes so as to ensure for their pupils a sympathetic treatment. This goal, can, we think, be reached without any delay and without impairing departmental efficiency either by giving preference to qualified teachers of the backward classes or, should there be an insufficient number of these, by exempting temporarily members of these classes from the stringent operation of the rules restricting recruitment to natives of Mysore, And it might be worth-while, we think, to grant special or extra allowances to teachers of the backward classes, which should not be less than what is allowed in case of Malnad service. We think it is essential that the rule that a proportion of the Inspectors of Schools shall be of the backward classes be rigorously enforced, and these officials might also be given similar allowances, In calculation this proportion, the Inspectorate employed for the Hindustani schools should be excluded as in the case of European and Anglo-Indian officers and the remaining appointments should be distributed among Brahmins and other classes.

16. Distribution of general scholarships:- The question of the distribution of the scholarships other than those awarded by competition for merit both in schools and colleges is important in considering the facilities for the higher education of the backward classes. Besides the scholarships reserved for backward classes, there are general scholarships in the University colleges and secondary schools, technical scholarships and scholarships awarded for qualifying for some of the departments. Such as Forest, Public Works, etc. As regards the first class, i.e., backward class scholarships, we think that the amount of Rs, 85,000 out of the some lakh of rupees granted for students in the University Entrance Classes, High Schools and Secondary Schools is insufficient and requires to be doubled at least. As regards the general scholarships, there seems to be now a danger of the failure to recognize the fact that the backward classes are entitled to have their adequate and fair share of those scholarships in addition to the special scholarships reserved for them. On account of the existence of the backward class scholarships, there seems to be a tendency in practice to regard them as the only kind of scholarships to which those classes are entitled, and to exclude students of these classes completely in the University grade and largely in the other grader from the benefits of a distribution of these general scholarships. It must, we think, be made clear by the Government that the special scholarships are not to be taken into consideration as having any bearing on the distribution of general scholarships except in so far as to prevent one student from getting two scholarships. For the better distribution of scholarships we recommend the appointment of representative sub-committees similar to those created in paragraph 2 of the Government order of 31st May 1919, consisting of one or two educational officers and three non-officials representing important communities, not only for the special scholarships but also to allot the general scholarships and free-studentships in all grades of education including the university. This method is, we think, preferable to leaving the matter entirely to educational officers or to the University Council. It may be found possible to reserve a certain number of the existing Indian and Foreign scholarships for the backward classes and we think it should be done. We would suggest that 2/3 the number be reserved for them for the next five years. If there are not sufficient number of candidates of those classes in any one year, the scholarship so left over may be awarded to Brahmin candidates. We think that advertisements for applicants for such scholarships ought not to demand, at any rate in the case of candidates of the backward classes with whom alone we are now concerned, educational qualification higher than those prescribed for admission to the course for which the scholarship is granted as is being done now in the case of scholarships to Dehra Dun (Forest Department Notification dated 17th February 1919) and foreign scholarships. Whatever be the selection finally made, it is not right, we think, by such advertisements, to exclude from candidates any one who is qualified for admission to a course is regulated. If the course is open say to graduates, the advertisement for candidates should not restrict application to those who have taken a degree with honours.

17. Distribution of seats in Schools and Colleges and Hostels:- A subject which we think requires the careful attention of the Government is the provision of sufficient accommodation for students of the backward classes in the existing Government schools and hostels. From Statement No.XVII, we see that out of 522 students accommodated in the Government hostels, 435 are Brahmins and only 87 of other classes. We recommend that preference be given to the backward class pupils for admission into such institutions. It is pointed out in the Government order of May 1917 that there is a great falling off in the number of students after reaching the Primary grade. This is in part due to the fact that they have to leave their villages to pursue their higher studies in towns and cities. We deem it essential that hostels should be constructed in all taluk headquarters to encourage parents to send their children from the village elementary schools to the secondary schools. It is also necessary that in all hostels there should be at least three separate kitchens, two for vegetarians and one for non-vegetarians with a view to meet the convenience of all communities. These may be provided as early as possible. In the Government hostels, a certain proportion of seats should be reserved for the backward class students, and we would fix it at not less than 50% unless the students forthcoming are less than that number. Private are communal hostels should receive the same grants as the Government hostels do. This would give an added stimulus to the philanthropy of public spirited persons and would go to satisfy a much needed want of the student community.

A matter which is of importance and as to which we believe there exists some dissatisfaction is the question of the allotment of seats in schools and colleges. The refusal to admit the backward class students to a high school or college class for want of accommodation is obviously a serious blow which may to an appreciable degree counteract any attraction towards higher education which the Government may provide. The discouragement caused to his community by the refusal to admit a backward class student is probably much higher in degree and more intense than would be caused to the Brahmin community by the rejection of a student of that class, and it is for this reason that the backward class students should receive a preferential treatment in this matter. We suggest that the claims of the backward communities should be satisfied first up to one-half of the number of seats available in each class or section thereof. And this should be done not over all the seats available as a whole but class by class to ensure that a member of the backward communities shall not unnecessarily be driven to study in a class which does not suit him. Such an even distribution is suggested as it has been represented to us that some students of the backward classes have had to seek admission to aided school in order to pursue studies in the mathematics and science sections, owing to refusal of admission to those sections in Government schools.

18. Hindustani schools:- The existing six Anglo-Hindustani schools in the province are certainly not enough to impart English education to Mussalmans. It is necessary that their number and efficiency should be increased without delay. The Government may also consider the advisability of opening Hindustani sections in some of the Taluk Anglo-Kannada schools, as an experimental measure, in places where an adequate number of Mahomedan boys are available to join the schools but where there is no Anglo-Hindustani school and may employ Hindustani knowing teachers on the staff of these institutions to teach boys in the Hindustani sections English and other subjects through the medium of their mother tongue. The addition to such Hindustani sections to selected Anglo-Kannada schools is likely to bring together Hindu and Mahomedan boys under one roof and under one management and would prove a very desirable means of giving education to Muslim boys side by side with their Hindu brethren. After all, Mussalman students are in need of this arrangement only in the Lower Secondary stage of English education.

19. Modification in the rules of recruitment:- We now pass on to question I in the Government, order, viz., the changes needed, if any, in the existing rules of recruitment to the public service.

20.(a) As regards qualification:- A perusal of the existing rules of recruitment, a copy of which is included in the appendices, suggests the following questions, viz., (1) whether a higher educational qualification than is necessary for the particular office has not been insisted upon in some of the offices, (2) whether an undue preference has not been shown to candidates possessing a knowledge of English greater than is actually necessary, (3) whether there has not been an unnecessary insistence on the B.A. degree qualification. (4) whether the competitive examination for the Civil Service is desirable when the educational development of all classes of the people is not uniform, and (5) whether too great prominence has not been given to literary education without sufficient regard to executive or technical efficiency or other qualities which go to make up a sympathetic and successful officer. The crux of the matter is the English language, It is true that the University degree marks a definite standard of general education apart from English, and it may well be that a University life has a good effect on the character and manners of our young men, but there seems to be no reason why the standard of general education attainable in the high schools, if they are properly organized and administered, should not be sufficient to justify the admission of young men to the services, to those at any rate which do not require special proficiency in any particular branch of knowledge, whether it be English or Science or Philosophy.

The University degree is doubtless a mark of value, and it operates as a standard which it is easy to fix, but it can hardly be said to be necessary when we consider the number of eminent statesmen and successful administrators whom we have had in Mysore and whom we may name Dewan C. Rangacharlu, Messer, Thumbu Chetty, C. Madaiah, C, Sreenivasiengarm K.Doraswami Iyer, Abdur Rahman and Dewan Bahadur K.P.Puttanna Chetty, C.I.E., etc., who though unprovided with university degrees, admittedly proved not less efficient than those who had secured such distinctions.

Most of the rules prescribing high educational qualification are of recent origin and we cannot but think they may have had some operation in excluding members of the backward classes from positions which they might have filled with credit to themselves and their community. We may here invite attention to the rules of recruitment for entry into the Excise Department for the post of anti Inspector as contained in pages 20 and 21 of the same rules in both of which cases a somewhat peculiar and as it seems to us, unnecessary preferential gradation is laid down, which we think ought to be abolished.

We think the Government should lay down a policy for each department of public service and fix the minimum of educational qualifications for entry into particular grades of appointments according to the nature of their functions; and leave the future promotions of officers to depend largely on their general and executive efficiency. That is to say an officer deserving to rise from a lower grade which he had entered with the minimum qualification, should not necessarily be required to equip himself with the qualification prescribed for the higher grade which he tries to enter but should secure his promotion in his turn if he seems to be fit for it, apart from prescribed tests. Officers in service may improve themselves and fit themselves for promotion though they may be unable to study for examinations or seek entrance to a University.

The next point of which we suggest the consideration is the desirability of making some classification of departments and appointments from the point of view of recruitment rules.

(1). The Educational Department and perhaps in a lesser degree the Judicial Department require an high standard of general and literary education in the officers entrusted with the execution of the duties of the department.

(2) The Revenue and Police Departments do not require so high a standard; in them energy, good sense and initiative are probably surer aids to success than scholarships.

(3) Practical and technical services such as the Forest, Agriculture, Mining, Electricity, Commerce and Industries, in which efficiency is probably better achieved by early apprenticeship and by training in the department itself under a thoroughly expert head than by a course of University training, and (4) for clerical and ministerial officers, the standard of general education need not be very high, and a knowledge of English, except in a few offices, need not be regarded as essential. We suggest that it may be possible to consider and remodel the rules of recruitment on these lines.

21. (b) As regards age at the time of appointment:- We consider also that in regards to candidates of the backward classes, the age limit for entry into service may, for the present, be raised from 25 to 28 years.

22. (c) Substituting competitive examination by a Board of Selection:- In regard to the selection of officers to the higher grades of services such as appointment of Assistant Commissioners and Munsiffs in which some are selected by a competitive examination, some others are nominated while the rest are promoted from subordinate service, we do not see why a Board of representative officers should not be able to select candidates without a competitive examination in the very subjects in which a University will have declared them to have passed.

Coupled with such educational qualification as may be prescribed, selection by a Board ought, if properly done, to secure the admission of suitable candidates, better than a purely literary competition like the present Civil Service Examination. A system of selection by a Board of special officers is, we believe, in force in Madras for the selection of Deputy Tahsildars in that Presidency, and the Committee appointed under Government Order No. G.9060-9102-G. M. 401-16-1, dated 2nd January 1917, is on these lines. We are therefore in favour of the abolition of all competitive examinations. It is desirable, at any rate at present and until education is more evenly distributed among the various communities, to revert altogether to the system of nomination, as experience during the last 20 years has shown that the only candidates selected through the Mysore Civil Service Examination who are not of the Brahmin community are three Indian Christians from outside the State. The competitive examination for the selection of Munsiffs may for the same reason be abolished. Provisionally until the competitive examinations are abolished, a larger proportion, say 2 out of 3, of the total number of appointments should be given to members of the backward classes by nominations. For example, if six appointments of Assistant Commissioners are to be made by direct recruitment, four of them should be filled by candidates from backward classes and the remaining two by the other class. If, however, one or more candidates of the backward classes obtain a rank in the competitive, examination, the number of candidates nominated from those classes may be reduced proportionately.

23. Substitution of English by the Vernacular in official correspondence in the districts:-In respect of the lower grades of appointment, it will, we believe, be found possible to reduce considerably the volume of English correspondence by extending the use of the vernacular, particularly in all District and Taluk offices, except when such correspondence is conducted directly with Government, and in such offices, a knowledge of Kannada and some departmental tests in Kannada such as Accounts, Revenue, Excise, Registration, Stamps, etc., seem to be quite sufficient The object is to permit a larger employment of clerks who are quite sufficiently educated in the Vernacular to perform all their duties efficiently without pursuing their studies in English to any large extent. Regarding the clerical staff of the District offices it may be sufficient to have a handwriting and dictation test like that of the Local Service Examinations to show how far the candidate is capable of dealing with the English correspondence.

We are of opinion that for the offices such as those of Sub-Registrar, Inspectors of Police and Excise and all appointments of higher status but which do not belong to the gazetted ranks of the service, the minimum qualification in English required by the present rules should be reduced, and that no higher general educational qualification than the S.S.L.C should be prescribed. In the case of Shekdars, the Lower Secondary certificate may be deemed to be a sufficient qualification.

24. Shanbhogs:- We have not overlooked the fact that there is one other class of public servants in which Brahmins preponderate or may even be said to have practically a monopoly at present, i.e., the Shanbhogs. We note, however, that these appointments are held by hereditary succession under the existing law and that legislative action will be necessary before a change can be effected.

25. Special proposal for Secretariats:- It will certainly tend to the better carrying out of the policy above sketched out if steps are taken to bring about equality in the Secretariats in three or five years instead of seven years. So much of the patronage passes through the Secretariats that this is important. The remark applies alike to Secretariat officers and Secretariat clerks.

26. Arrangements for review of progress:- To enable the people to gauge the progress made by the adoption of these reforms, it is desirable that the administration report of each year should show the proportion of Brahmins to all other classes in each grade of appointment together with number of appointments and the percentage of appointments given to the members of backward classes to the total number of appointments in each grade showing also how the principle of progressive reduction of the inequality in public service has worked during the particular year towards the attainment of the goal arrived at by these recommendations. The report may also publish what special facilities for education of the backward classes have been provided and how far they have helped the promotion of the even distribution of education in the State. It is desirable we think that a standing committee consisting of official and non-official gentlemen representing the classes for whose benefit these reforms are introduced. Should be appointed to watch the administration of the rules. And we would suggest that a Member of Council may be the President of the Committee.

It may be noted that the rules regarding the exclusion of outsiders were passed between the 9th of August 1913 and the 10th of May 1918 and the rules requiring higher educational qualifications which have in effect excluded from the public service those who are not of the Brahmin community, were also passed during the same period. Whatever the ideals of the authors of these rules may have been, they have in effect worked considerably to the detriment of the backward classes.

27. Appointment of outsiders in certain cases:- In this connection, we have considered the possibility that for a particular appointment which according to the scheme of proportionate representation, ought to go to a member of the backward classes, there may be no qualified candidate among the members of those classes. With the extension of education among them this contingently should become less and less probable, and even now, if our recommendations are accepted, can rarely occur in the case of the lower appointments. Should it secure when higher appointments are in question some of us are of opinion that it is better to invite applications from members of backward classes outside Mysore rather than to fill the vacancy by a member of another class. It is thought by those who take this view that not only will the attainment of our general aim of equality in seven years be promoted, but that it is desirable in the interests of the backward classes to secure in all grades of the service a leaven of officers of those classes who may naturally have grater sympathy and consideration for their subordinates of the backward classes than can be expected of officers of others classes. Another suggestion and one which might be applied all round is that those whom it is the fashion to style non-Mysoreans may be admitted to the Mysore services if they are educated in Mysore schools and colleges. It is said that students in Coorg, for instance, might be attracted by the proximity of the Mysore University to study there, if they could hope for admission to the service of government in Mysore, but might be deterred if they had not that hope, by the fear that a Mysore degree may not qualify them for admission to government service elsewhere. On these questions we have been unable to make an unanimous recommendation, but the view set out above has the support of all the members of the committee who represent the backward classes and so is entitled to the sympathetic consideration of the Government.

28. In regard to the third point which we are required to consider, namely, "any special measures which may be taken to increase the representation of the backward communities in the public service without materially affecting efficiency, due regard being paid also to the general good accruing to the State by a wider diffusion of education, and a feeling of increased status which, it is expected, will thereby be produced in backward communities," we have made certain recommendations in other parts of the report, such as the appointment of a standing committee, the publication of the results of our recommendations with regard to services and education, in the annual administration report and the exemption of non-Mysoreans of the backward classes temporarily from the rules of exclusion from higher offices.

29. Social legislation:-In addition to them, Messrs. Chennaiya, Kalami and Basavaiya desire that permissive social legislation such as is projected in British India on the lines of the Honourable Mr. Basu's Bill and the Honourable Mr. Patel's Bill should be passed in Mysore to enable the enlightened to enjoy civic and social freedom and to create an atmosphere of greater practical liberalism and unity. Mr. Srikantesvara Aiyar, Mr. Rangiengar and Mr. Muthanna consider that such a recommendation is irrelevant, as not coming within the terms of the reference to us, and others among us are not prepared to express any opinion as to the probable value of legislation of the kind proposed to the backward classes. If there is a demand for it, it will doubtless be considered apart from any question of its effect on the public services.

We desire to express our gratitude to the Government for having given us the opportunity of representing our views on the matters referred to us.







Subject to this note of qualification appended.

Note of Qualification by Rajasabhabhushana, Dewan Bahadur

C. Srikantesvara Aiyar

My own views being in entire accord with the principles enunciated in Government Proceedings No. E. A. G. 308, dated 23rd August 1918, the aspirations of the backward communities for a larger share in Government appointments of all grades and for further advancement in education have my warmest and most active sympathies. It is therefore with extreme regret that I have to qualify my assent to the Report, as it has eventually emerged. I have to do so, not because any of the important conclusions in it lack my hearty approval but because I cannot subscribe to many of the arguments by which it seeks to support its recommendations. I shall, therefore confine myself to stating the points in regard to which I regret to have to differ with the views of some of my colleagues.

2. Although I am fully conscious of the grave drawbacks of the system of recruitment for public service by means of competitive examinations, I am not for its total abolition in that it is the only effective safeguard against official jobbery. In a form modified to ensure more satisfactory, its continuance is, to my mind, indispensable.

3. Earmarking a certain number of appointments for members of the backward communities and filling them up by promotions from lower grades superseding better men for no fault except that of not belonging to the class of community for which the vacancy is earmarked, is not only incorrect in principle but also unworkable in practice without detriment to the purity and efficiency of public service as a whole. Further an undue lowering of educational qualifications as a means of securing a larger proportion of the backward classes for higher appointments is a retrograde step and is inconsistent with the objects for which we have established a University. One of the most powerful incentives to higher education will have thus been taken away.

4. The proposal of importing men merely for the purpose of increasing the representation of the backward communities is contrary to the spirit of the Government Order constituting our Committee. We have only to suggest steps for encouraging the members of such communities "in the State," to seek employment under Government in larger numbers. And it is difficult to understand how the bestowal of appointments on outsiders could be and encouragement to local citizens,

5. Shanbhogs do not come under the category of regular Government servants and any reference to them in this Report is irrelevant. Their appointment is governed by principles totally different from those obtaining in the case of the rest.

6. Social legislation is likewise a matter altogether outside the scope of this Committee's work.

7. Lastly, the recommendations as a whole tend to perpetuate the very evil that this order of Government is seeking to remove. It is the 'Preponderance' of a community in public service, with its consequences, that is sought to be checked. By lumping together all the backward classes, we but actively help the pushful ones among them to tread on the toes of the others. That this is not an imaginary piece of criticism is amply borne out by the facts and figures furnished by the reports of the Scholarship Committees of the backward classes, which we have but boldly to face. They bear incontestable testimony to the universal tendency to overlook the claims of the unrepresented or more backward communities. I am, therefore, strongly opposed to the lumping together of all such classes. Each of them should have its due share of attention paid to it separately, and its interests properly safeguarded.

8. Barring these exceptions, I generally agree to the recommendations in the report. Only, I should like to emphasize that whatever may be done for the advancement, of any community, the utmost care should be taken to see that the motive to better them is not impaired, the incentive to make themselves competent is not taken away.


Note of dissent by Rao Bahadur M.C Ranga Iyengar on the subject matter of the reference under G. O. No. E. A. G. 308, dated 23rd August 1918

1. I desire to express my cordial sympathy with the legitimate aspirations of not only the so-called backward communities but of all backward persons the community they may belong. In a progressive State like Mysore, the ideal conditions to be aimed at for attainment should be perfect harmony among all the subjects of the State, equal enjoyment of social and political privileges and equal opportunities for battering their moral, social and economic condition. Unfortunately for reasons which it is not necessary here to discuss, the rate of progress varies with each individual and with each class of individuals. Wise statesmanship consists in making earnest, continuous and intelligent efforts to uplift laggards without retarding the progress of those classes or persons who, having taken full advantage of the existing facilities, have risen and have demonstrated their capacity for rising yet higher. I recognize that the number of backward and depressed persons in the State is unduly large, that every effort should be made to enable them to rise higher and that no stigma or disability should attach to any person merely on the score of his caste. In the attempt to devise methods of remedying existing evils the effects should be distinguished from the causes and attention should be concentrated upon the elimination of the causes-the effects too being dealt with as far as practicable. In my opinion, the root cause of the present lamentable inequalities is the want of the right kind of education. Educate the people properly, and the evils will gradually vanish.

2. The Government rightly desire to ascertain and provide special facilities to encourage higher and professional education among the members of the backward communities. I take it that such education will be based upon natural aptitude, instinctive preference and social environment of the pupils, and shaped accordingly. No amount of money which the Government can set apart for this purpose will be too much. While expressing my general agreement in the recommendations made by the President of the Committee under question II, I regret to have to respectfully dissent from-

(a) The exclusion of the backward persons belonging to communities styled forward. The number of such persons is very large and they are as much entitled to participate in the benefits of a liberal and enlightened policy as their fellow-subjects designated as backward communities ;

(b) The inclusion of the pupils of the backward communities in the distribution of general scholarships (not merit scholarships), while special scholarships, substantial in value and generous in number are and are going to be, provided for them exclusively ;

(c) The principle of refusing grants to primary schools which decline to admit pupils of depressed classes;

(d) The recommendations for the compulsory appointment of local sub-committees for the distribution of the special and general scholarships and freeships depriving the heads of schools and colleges of their discretion and powers of discrimination in the matter. The delegation of the work to a sub-committee will not be satisfactory and it is not right to distrust the heads of the institutions. The local committee, if appointed, may advise the headmaster or principal. The grant of a scholarship or freeship depends upon considerations, such as poverty, character, fair progress and regular attendance. The teachers are the best judges of most of these points;

(e) The reservation for the backward classes of 2/3 of the number of Indian, Foreign and Technical scholarships. My objection is to the reservation of a definite proportion of scholarships of each of these kinds and earmarking them as exclusively for the backward communities. I do not object to every eligible student of a backward community being given a scholarship. In respect of industrial and commercial education and technical education, all the communities in the State are backward and there ought to be no discrimination of students by community in the allotment of such scholarships. The reservation of a definite proportion of scholarships for any particular community has an inevitable tendency to lead to the grant of scholarships to even ineligibles of the community, when there are more scholarships than eligible applicants. If however the ineligibles are excluded, the undisposed of scholarships will lapse even while quite eligible candidates of the so-called forward classes are forthcoming and are ready to benefit themselves and the State by successfully prosecuting their studies in British India or abroad. I would therefore submit that the number of such scholarships may be fixed and available for all communities, backward as well as forward, and that while awarding the scholarships, preference may be given to eligible candidates of backward communities. This will serve the purpose intended without denying the advantages to candidates of the forward classes. But if reservation of a proportion of scholarships is necessary, the proportion should be based not upon the relative strength of populations but upon the numbers of eligible applicants for scholarships belonging to the different communities. Such proportion will necessarily vary from year to year;

(f) The preferential admission into schools and colleges of the pupils of the backward communities. This presupposes that more students apply for admission that accommodation can be found for. The point I wish to emphasize is that in view of the general backwardness of the country, the government is under a moral, if not legal, obligation to find accommodation for every student applying for admission to a school or college. If for want of accommodation boys of the 'forward' communities are denied admission, it will lead to woeful waste of excellent material.

3. With the spread of education, the existing differences between class and class, individual and individual will gradually decrease, and no department of human activities will long continue to be more or less a monopoly of any particular class. If Government service was, until recently, chiefly manned by members of one community, the spheres of trade, agriculture, industry, etc., were being monopolized by the members of the so called backward communities. The former by reason of heredity, environment and purely literary education had to resort to the public service as their only means of earning a livelihood. The latter by reason of their heredity, environment and training, adopted the more lucrative vocations, grew wealthy and influential. The economic activities inaugurated in the State only a few years ago have already begun to bear fruit and we find today the barriers between the 'forward' and the 'backward' classes breaking down. Members of the 'forward' classes are readily taking to trade, agriculture, industry and other independent walks of life while those of the 'backward' classes are joining the public service in steadily increasing numbers. In the years to come, the general commingling with undoubtedly be more pronounced.

4. It may be that the sparseness of the 'backward' classes in the public service is due to the very limited spread of English education amongst them. I venture to submit that the real reason for the sparseness is that the members of the backward communities have been finding extremely profitable avocations ready to hand and have been taking them up in preference to a clerkship or other similar post under Government where they could only eke out a bare subsistence or a little more, with no small amount of drudgery. I cannot subscribe to the proposition that for securing the esteem of one's fellows and the feeling of increased status, service under Government is necessary. The claim of the backward classes for Government appointments ought to be pat on a broader and higher basis, viz., the right of every subject to serve the State in the capacity for which he is by nature and training best fitted. In order that he may exercise and enjoy such right he should be properly educated and suitable opportunities afforded. No one should be denied the benefits of such education and opportunities of serving the State Communities and individuals who are unwilling or unable to participate in the benefits of educations should be induced and encouraged to overcome their reluctance and difficulties and take their proper places in the economy of the State. To the subjects the Government owes the positive duty of affording every suitable educational facility and the negative duty of not debarring any subject on the ground of his case from choosing any occupation best suited to his lasts and capacity. "The patronage of the state must be regulated in the main by public competition and by the reward of merit; and the true law of progress is not the depression of the educational standard to humor the limitations of the individual, but the elevation of the individual to the level of modern competition." – Lord Curzon.

5. With these general observations, I proceed to offer my humble opinion on questions I and III of their reference.

(a) The public service ought not to be based upon communal or proportional representation of the different communities existing in the country. The service is designed primarily to be efficient in the discharge of public duties for the benefit of the country as a whole. The only considerations that ought to govern the selection of men for public service are :-

(1) Whether the applicant is a native of the country,

(2) Whether he possesses the necessary physical and intellectual qualifications, and

(3) Good character.

For posts for which eligible men cannot be found in any community within the State, importation from outside the State is justifiable but the men imported ought to be entertained in the service only for limited periods steps during such period being taken to train up suitable young men who are natives of the State to fill such posts.

The number of important communities in the State is more than 20. Each of these communities cannot be proportionately represented in the public service and in every grade and department of it consistently with efficiency. Such representation is not even thought of or encouraged in British India where conditions similar to ours obtain.

(b) No definite proportion of appointments should be allotted to the different communities. It seems to me, and I write subject to correction, that the idea underlying the recommendations of some members of the Committee is to gradually reduce the number of Brahmin employees and increase the number of non-Brahmin employees. The division of employees into Brahmin and non-Brahmin classes and the lumping together of all the non-Brahmin communities into one class is neither warranted by the reference nor is it just and equitable to each of the communities styled 'backward.' The services of the Brahmin community to the State and to the Royal House of Mysore have been graciously and publicly acknowledged and appreciated by His Highness the Maharaja so recently as September 1918 when a deputation of certain members of a few communities waited upon His Highness with a prayer for communal representation on local bodies. His Highness was pleased to advise all his subjects to live in mutual amity and concord, hoped that the Brahmins would extend sympathy and help to their less-advanced brethren and assured the public that the Brahmins would not be penalized for being educated and cultured. If communal representation is deprecated in the constitution of local bodies, how can communal representation be justified in filling up posts under the Government? In every department and in every grade of service, whether you take them singly or in combination, how can the posts be proportionately allotted to the different communities which number over twenty? If the non-Brahmin communities are all lumped together and a proportion of appointments is allotted to them as a whole, will not inequalities arise by reason of the over representation of the more vocal and the non-representation or under-representation of the less vocal 'backward' communities ? In this connection it will be useful and interesting to ascertain the effects on communal representation which have flowed from the operation of the twenty-five per cent rule.

(c) If communal representation in Government service is insisted upon then I submit that each of the important communities should have its adequate proportion of representatives; and in regard to the determination of what is adequate proportion, I agree that "the proportion of a community's successful candidates to its total candidates for service ought not to be less than the proportion of success to candidature achieved by another community."

(d) In determining the eligibility of a candidate for a Government post regard should be had for his being a native of Mysore, his good character, his physical fitness and for his having successfully passed the prescribed tests. The tests, I agree, should be of the minimum standard, just necessary for securing the required qualifications for an efficient discharge of duties. The tests should be the same for all candidates to whatever community they may belong. The English language should be insisted upon only in the case of those appointments in which the knowledge of the language is absolutely necessary. There should be no differentiation of equal and nearly equal qualifications with preferential rights for appointment of those possessing only nearly equal qualifications. Where the candidates are of equal merit, those of the 'backward' classes may be preferred until a satisfactory proportion of them are admitted into the service.

In granting promotions, passing the tests prescribed for the higher posts may not be insisted upon in every case, provided that in the opinion of the authority making the promotion, there are good reasons for exemption.

(e) I am strongly opposed to the abolition of the Mysore Civil Service and other competitive examinations and to making more appointment by nomination than by competition.

(f) I am not in favour of fixing a higher age limit for entry into Government service in the case of candidates of the 'backward' classes. The age limit is fixed for a variety of reasons conducive to efficiency.

(g) I emphatically protest against the recommendation that where eligible candidates of 'backward' communities are not available in the state men of 'backward' communities outside the State should be invited and given appointments in the State. This crude and unpatriotic proposal is made to surmount difficulties arising from the adoption of the recommended communal proportionate representation, and owes its formulation to the unworthy and undeserved distrust of the sympathy of the 'forward' communities. After a long and arduous struggle the benign Government have openly and repeatedly decided that as a rule no one should be appointed to a place in the Government service unless as in a native of Mysore.

On the question of the permissive Social Legislation I agree with Mr. Srikantesvara Aiyar.

In view of the importance of the questions offered by the Government and on account of the differences of opinion among the members of the committee on important points. I would beg to move that the Government may be respectfully requested to publish the reports of the Committee and invite public opinion thereon.

18th July 1919



1. Within a period of not more than seven years, not less than half of the higher, and two thirds of the lower appointments in each grade of the service and so far as possible in each office, are to be held by members of communities other than the Brahmin community, preference being given to duly qualified candidates of the depressed classes when such are available. (Para 9) :(Messrs. Srikantesvara Iyer and Ranga Iyengar disagree)

2. The right course to ensure the larger employment in the public service of persons belonging to backward communities is to take the existing proportion of Brahmins to other communities in each grade of appointments together with the percentage of those communities to the total numbers of appointments in each grade and reserve as many appointments in that grade as may be necessary to secure a progressive reduction of inequality in each year and vary it each year according to circumstances in order to attain the goal which has been recommended above. (Para 11). (Do do)


Primary Education – (among depressed classes).
1. A system of special Panchama schools with teachers drawn from the Panchamas, and a special inspectorate seems to be necessary. The Head of the Education department and the supervising agency generally should be selected with reference to their sympathies and general attitude towards the depressed classes. (Para 13).

(2). A large extension of the system of small scholarships or doles will be useful to overcome the reluctance of the parents to spare their children to attend schools which they are unable to do in their present condition. (Para 18).

(3) We also recommend the establishment in each district of an institution like the Central Panchama Institute in Mysore, with boarding and special facilities for general and industrial education. (Para 13).

Primary Education – (among other backward classes)
(4) For the other backward classes, we recommend a wider expansion of primary education by the establishment of more schools with competent and better paid teachers and by the strengthening of the supervising staff. (Para 13).

Secondary Education
(5) We are anxious to see an early increase in the number of Lower Secondary Schools of the Anglo-Vernacular type. Schools of the purely Vernacular type might well be converted so as to make English a compulsory subject in order to give equal opportunities to the rural as well as the urban population. (Para 14)

(6) All secondary schools and colleges should be remodeled on a sort of polytechnic basis so that those whose special aptitudes lie in the study of manual arts may be enabled to reach the stages of higher education with the assistance of their special aptitudes, and that proficiency in the studies certified by a diploma or degree might properly serve as a passport to the Government service. (Para 14).

(7) It is necessary to have a fair proportion of teachers recruited from the backward classes. (Para 15)

(8) Special or extra allowances to teachers of the backward classes may be given, not less than what is allowed in the case of Malnad service. (Para 15): (Mr. Ranga Iyengar disagree)

(9) A fair proportion of the inspectors of schools should be of the backward classes and these should also be given similar allowances. (Para 15)


(10) The amount of Rs. 85,000, out of the one lakh of rupees granted for students in University Entrance class, High Schools and Secondary Schools is insufficient and require to be doubled at least. (Para 16)

(11) The special scholarships should not be taken into consideration an having any bearing on the distribution of general scholarships except in so increase to prevent one student from getting two scholarships. (Para 16)

(12) For the better distribution of scholarships, we recommend the appointment of representative sub committees consisting of one or two educational officers and those non-officials representing important communities not only for special scholarships but also to allot general scholarships and free studentships in all grades of education including University. (Para 16)

(13) Two-thirds the number of existing Indian and Foreign scholarships should be reserved for backward classes for the next five years. (Para 16)


(14) Hostels should be constructed in all taluk headquarter towns and there should be at least three separate kitchens in all Hostels, two for vegetarians and one for non-vegetarians. (Para 17).

(15) In Government Hostels, a certain proportion (not less than 50 percent) of seats should be reserved for pupils of backward classes. (Para 17).

(16) Private or communal hostels should be given the same grants as Government Hostels. (Para 17)

(17) The claims of backward classes should be satisfied first up to one-half the number of seats available in cuch class or section in all schools and colleges. (Para 17).


(18) The number and efficiency of Anglo-Hindustan Schools should be increased. (Para 18)

(19) In places where an adequate number of Mahomedan boys is forthcoming to join the schools Hindustani sections may be opened in some Taluk Anglo-Kannada Schools. In others, Hindustani-knowing teachers may be employed on the staff. (Para 18)


(1) Government should lay down a policy for each department of the public service and fix the minimum educational qualifications for entry into particular grades of appointments according to the nature of their functions. (Para 20). (Mr Ranga Iyengar disgaree)

(2) In the case of candidates of the backward classes, the age limit for entry into the service may be raised from 25 to 28 years. (Para 21).

(3) All competitive examinations including Munsiffs' examination) should be abolished, and until this is done, a larger number of the appointments in the higher grades should be given to members of the backward communities by nomination. A board of representative officers may be appointed for the selection of candidates instead of the competitive examinations. (Para 22) (Messrs. Srikantesvara Iyer and Ranga Iyengar disagree)

(4) For non-gazetted appointments, no higher general educational qualifications than S.S.L.C should be prescribed, and Lower Secondary for Shekdars. (Para 23)

(5) Steps may be taken to bring out equality in the Secretariats in three or five years. (Para 25)

(6) The administration report of each year should show the proportion of Brahmins to all other classes in each grade of appointment, together with the number of appointments and the percentage of appointments given to members of backward classes to the total number of appointments in each grade showing also how the principle of progressive reduction of the inequality in public service has worked during the particular year. The report may also publish what special facilities for the education of backward classes have been provided and how far they have helped the promotion of even distribution of education in the State. (Para 26).

(7) A standing committee consisting of official and non-official gentlemen representing the classes for whose benefit the above reforms are introduced should be appointed to watch the administration of the rules. A Member of Council may be the president of the Committee.(Para 26) (Messrs. Srikantesvara Iyer and Ranga Iyengar disagree)

(8) Non-Mysoreans educated in Mysore Schools and Colleges may be admitted to the Mysore services.
Round Table India thanks Sridhar Gowda for sharing this report.
Image Courtesy: The Internet (Maharaja High School, Mysore)

EVM is Killing India’s Democracy
Written by Santosh Kumar

Election process is the sacred soul of a democracy. After India’s independence, voting rights were granted to all the adults irrespective of caste, creed, gender, religion etc., without any discrimination. Earlier the voting process were done using paper based ballots. The election process gradually became more prone to manipulation with violence and Booth capturing. Also, the counting process used to take days due to the large population size.
To increase the efficiency, reduce costs and eliminate chances of booth capturing, Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) were introduced. EVM was introduced in 1989 by the Election Commission in collaboration with Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). Presently, it is also manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited. The full scale usage of EVMs in all the State and Central elections started from 2004. The current EVM consists of buttons, memory chip, software program, electronic board and result display unit. Let us see what are the issues related to the EVM and how it can be manipulated or hacked to kill the democratic process.

1. Voting Input Stage - If someone presses a button, how will the person know the input is recorded for the desired candidate? It is only possible to verify the input vote, if the previous and new count is displayed for the voted candidate. This is not possible, so the voter just rely on the LED light and beeping sound. No one knows what is registered in the memory or the input is lost until the vote is counted.

2. Counting Method - Even if someone blindly assumes the vote is registered correctly and saved in the memory chip, how can one be sure that the counting of the votes are done correctly? Any mixture of total votes can be displayed at the result stage as no one has seen the software program to verify the methodology. The trial run can only test for few votes manually and not for lakhs of votes.

3. Result Display Stage - The display unit in the machine is connected to the memory. Even if someone blindly assumes that vote is registered correctly and counted correctly, there is no guarantee that resulting count is displayed correctly. Prof. J Alex Halderman[1] has already demonstrated that the display unit can be manipulated to show any random desired result irrespective of input votes.

4. Counting Manipulation - Assuming blindly that the vote input, counting software, display unit is correct, the counts can be changed at a later stage when the machines are kept in the strong room in various locations. Prof. J. Alex Halderman [1] has already demonstrated that this can be done in few seconds by using a simple device, using some money.

5. Recounting Verification - What if the election process is hacked at any stage by manipulating the machine at input, counting or display stage? Usually, in paper ballots recounting is done manually by paper and any mistake is corrected. But in the EVM system, no one can know what happened during the hacking and there is no trail proof left to correct the manipulation.

6. Who Owns the Software? - This may seems ridiculous that the software is not owned by the Election Commission. Election Commision claims that only 3-4 software engineers know about the software. This is so incredibly unbelievable, that the most sacred process of voting is left in the hands of few unknown software engineers and no Constitutional Body owns the software. This poses a serious security threat as this information can be leaked to organizations and destroy the soul of India’s democracy.

7. Machine Verification Process - Election Commission claims that the public and political parties are allowed to verify the machine before election process. But the most important point here is that the public or political party representative sdon’t have the technical capability to understand the hardware system and the software is anyway not accessible to anyone. How can a novice verify that 20 or 100 odd votes to different candidates are giving correct counting result. The problem with this verification is that a software program can behave very differently for 100 votes, 1000 votes and 10,000 votes with a single IF condition for various scenarios. And certainly no one in the public is doing simulation for 10 Lakh votes manually. Another problem is even if the machine and software works during the trial phase, no one can guarantee that it can not be hacked at later stage.

8. Public Scrutiny - Election Commission is not allowing the public to scrutinise the hardware and software of the EVM. Why? The Election Commission keeps on rhetorically saying that EVM is secured, but citizens are not blind followers and they have every right to question the system and process in democracy. If Election Commission is so confident about the machine, then why it is not allowing the public to scrutinise the machine?

9. International Experience - India is certainly not the most advanced country in the world in terms of technology and knowledge. India is unable to add printer to EVM for last 5 years. None of the advanced countries are using EVM for their voting process. Majority of states in USA have banned EVM without paper. Germany Supreme Court has banned EVM to make sure public understand the voting system.

10. If Internet Banking why not EVM? - Many people argue that the hard earned money are used on internet then why not technology based voting. There is fundamental difference, in the bank account every transaction is recorded and can be reviewed at later stage on print statement. Even if the bank account is hacked, the account holder will be able to verify the undesired transaction and hold someone accountable. But in EVM, the voter can not view the transaction statement and it is impossible to verify if the system was hacked during any stage of the process.
11. Why only some elections are hacked? - To understand the solution, I would suggest readers to watch oscar winning movie “The Imitation Game” based on a true story. To simplify the answer, a great mathematician Mr. Alan Turing from England used probability theory to use the hacking mechanism of German information system for only selected targets in favor of England during World War II. This allows the victim to trust the system and continue using the hacked system. So, even if a hacker knows how to hack EVM machine, he would hack EVM only on few strategic occasions to keep the trust alive in EVM system.

12. Cost and Efficiency - Lot of people argue that EVM saves cost of paper ballot and increases efficiency. However, this can not be any justification to allow the election process prone to manipulation. If a country can not afford cost of paper ballots with reliability, the country should not exist as democracy. Single day newspaper print across the country is sufficient for 5 years ballots. Also, increasing efficiency can not be any justification for reducing reliability in the system, which can dent the democratic soul of India.

13. Judiciary Response - Multiple representations have been given to Election Commission by various intellectuals and political parties. Delhi High Court and Supreme Court have heard the cases since 2010 and they have concluded that EVM is susceptible to hacking and manipulation. Asom Gana Parishad, Subramanian Swamy, Mr. Waman Meshram have reached out to the judiciary for making election process reliable and protect the soul of Democracy. Supreme Court in Oct 2013 judgement has ordered Election Commission to implement VVPAT (EVM with paper trail) in a phased manner with complete implementation by 2019. This Judicial response is completely inadequate after accepting that EVM can be tampered. When the soul of democracy is at stake, Supreme Court has given 6 years for attaching printer to EVM machine. Why paper ballot were not immediately ordered along with reelection till VVPAT are implemented? Still in 2017 UP, Punjab etc., assembly elections only few units with printers are used in trial run for the election. This proves the technological competency of Election Commission. What if Election Commission goes to Supreme Court seeking more time in 2019 for attaching printer in EVM. Can the democracy be allowed to be destroyed till printers are not attached to EVM?

I am wholeheartedly thankful to Coursera for allowing me take an advance course on “Securing Digital Democracy” by Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan.

For more information visit
[1] Securing Digital Democracy course by Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan
Santosh K is a technocrat with education from a top engineering institution.
Cartoon by Unnamati Syama Sundar.

Caste Atrocities and Government Accountability
Written by Santosh Kumar

Santosh Kumar
Rohith Chakravarti Vemula (30 January 1989 – 18 January 2016) was a PhD student at the Central University of Hyderabad and his suicide on 18 Jan 2016 sparked an outrage throughout India, highlighting the cases of systemic discrimination in educational campuses across India. Many cases of caste atrocities have been reported recently. One of them was that of a Dalit man killed in Ahmednagar in 2015 for keeping a mobile ringtone that had Ambedkar's praise. In another case, Dalit children were burnt alive in Faridabad, which a cabinet minister VK Singh compared with the death of dogs.
Similar to the protest in the case of Rohith Vemula, protests across Maharashtra took place in 2006 against the brutal killing and raping of a Dalit family in Khairlanji, Dist. Bhandara in Maharastra. The cases of Dalit atrocities are not very unusual in independent India. However, a nation-wide outrage and protest are reported in few cases only, particularly due to media apathy and systemic suppression of Dalits' Voice by the upper castes.

Further, there have been many cases of caste related violence which caused large resentment in Dalit communities against the Govt. Some of these cases include violence in Dharmapuri (Tamil Nadu) in Dec'12, killing of Dalits in Ramabai Colony (Maharashtra) in Jul'1997, killing of 6 Dalits in Melavalavu (Tamil Nadu) in Jun 1997, killing of 8 dalits in Tsunduru (Andhra Pradesh) in August' 1991 and the Dalit massacre in Karamchedu (Andhra Pradesh) in July'1985. Further, a series of massacres took place in Bihar in 1990s by Ranvir Sena (a Bhumiyar caste group) which included killing of 21 Dalits on 11 July 1996 in Bhatani Tola (Bhojpur, Bihar) and killing of 58 Dalits in Dec 1997 in Laxmanpur Bathe (Bihar).

Provision of safeguards for the marginalized
Historically, in pre-independence India, Dalits have faced brutal atrocities too. However, Independent India was created with an idea of representation in the governance for all the segments of society and to secure Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity for all citizens. Further, the architects of independent India, most notably Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, were aware of the shortcomings of independent India without any British presence.

On Friday, the 25th November 1949, a day before the Parliament adopted the Constitution of India, Dr B.R. Ambedkar himself admitted that he came to the Constituent Assembly to safeguard the interests of Scheduled Castes. He said, "I came into the Constituent Assembly with no greater aspiration than to safeguard the interests of the Scheduled Castes."

Among many provisions provided to safeguard the interest of SCs and STs, some are as follows:

The Constitution of India contains fundamental rights with Principles of equality; prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of caste, religion, sex, creed, place of birth; and abolishing untouchability with punishment by law. Further, the Constitution allows the state to make special provisions for providing positive discrimination to backward classes and also for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Moreover, the aspirations which could not be fulfilled immediately by the state, were included in Directive Principles of State Policy. This included the aim to promote the educational and economic interests of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections. Further, Constitutional remedy was provided to the citizens to move the Supreme Court for enforcement of fundamental rights. Additionally, the constitution also provided for reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Lok Sabha and State Legislatures.

There are three official wings of Indian democracy i.e. the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, which are called pillars of democracy; media being the fourth pillar without any official sanction. So, let's assess how the safeguards, planned earlier under the three pillars of democracy, have worked in case of Dalit atrocities, to avoid further occurrences. The executive is not directly elected, as it is elected by the majority of Lok Sabha members. Further, it has no mandatory SC/ST reservation. However, the decision making process is supposed to be democratic among Lok Sabha members with a consensus decision making process. Also, the executive is not sovereign, as all the decisions are expected to be scrutinised by the Parliament and further it is subject to judicial review. Additionally, as per the constitution, the executive with Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People i.e. Lok Sabha.

Regarding Judiciary, it is the custodian of the Indian Constitution and it is the heart and soul of the constitution with all legal remedies. However, it does not have any mandatory reservation for SC/ST and their decision-making process is not democratic, but guided by law. The trust on Indian Judiciary is very little for SC/STs because it has consistently failed to protect the fundamental rights of citizens and it has worked with very little SC/ST representation. Further, a Judge of Supreme Court can be removed by order of the President passed by two third majority in Parliament, which can regulate the procedure for investigation and proof of misbehaviour or incapacity of a Judge.

The third pillar is Legislature i.e. Parliament that has mandatory representation of SC/STs in proportion to their population in Lok Sabha only and the members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the citizens of India. The SC/ST reservation was initially envisioned for a period of 10 years and it can be abolished only with the support of SC/STs. It has been extended after every 10 years since then. Rajya Sabha is indirectly elected and it has no SC/ST reservation. Parliament is an institution with democratic decision-making process and it is sovereign, not absolute but subject to only judicial (which has little SC/ST representation) review.

So, for the SC/ST population, who are the worst sufferers of injustice from the upper caste in India, where can they look for constitutional remedy as envisaged by Dr. BR Ambedkar? The cases which are mentioned above, at the beginning of this article, have been for a long time, since brahminism has its sway over India. However, Babasaheb envisaged some remedies through constitutional means, as he never propagated the idea of revenge through violence.

The first place any victim of any caste injustice reaches out to is the executive. All the power of the Government is vested in the executive branch. Hence, victims of caste atrocities often reach out to the executive to get some support for Justice in the form of strict enforcement of law. However, executive has no reasons to act on any atrocity unless there is any fear of any disincentive in case of irresponsible behaviour. The executive is directly elected by the members of the Lok Sabha with the Prime Minister, heading the council of ministers, and it needs to prove the majority on the floor of the house.

However, there is no mandatory reservation of SC/ST in the executive branch of the government. The executive branch is not directly accountable to the citizens, as they are not directly elected, but they are indirectly accountable through Parliament. Executive, like any kingdom or autocracy, wants to enjoy the power till there is no threat to losing the power. Hence, to make the Government act on caste violence and make them accountable, the victim and people seeking justice try to reach out to the Parliament by approaching its elected members.
Next, let's take the case of the Judiciary, which is powerful but with very limited accountability. The Indian Judiciary has consistently failed to protect Human Rights as granted by the Constitution under the Fundamental rights. Further, Judiciary has no reservation for SC/ST and hence expectation of sensitivity, in the matter of atrocities, from Judiciary is unreasonable. This is especially true because the perpetrator of caste violence and Judges in the court, making the decision, often belong to the same upper castes. How can SC/STs trust the Judiciary, because the result has been no different from the earlier period of pre Independence India?

Let's take the last constitutional alternative i.e. Legislature or Parliament, left for the SC/ST victims of caste injustice. Parliament, being the sovereign (only bounded by Judicial review), has the maximum power. Further, the share of representation for SC/STs in Lok Sabha is at par with their population. Moreover, it has the power to take Executive and Judiciary on task for any wrong doing. Hence, the victims of caste injustice have highest expectation and maximum reach to the representative of their demographic constituency and/or to their community (SC/ST) representative.

The demographic constituency representative, where the victim is the voter, is directly accountable to any wrongdoing in his/her constituency and it's the duty of the representative to do whatever possible constitutionally to protect the interest of the constituency and its people. Moreover, the elected representative has to go back to the constituency for re-election after every 5 years. Additionally, the elected representatives from other constituencies also need to be re-elected after every 5 years from their respective constituencies. Hence, the other representatives must also satisfy the demands of various communities including SC/STs to get their support in the election.

The reservation for SC/STs provided in the Parliament by the Constitution ensures fair representation of the marginalised community. The clause that political reservation for SC/ST needs to be reviewed after every 10 years can be separately analysed. Given that political reservation continues till date, it is expected that the issue of caste discrimination (especially human massacres) must be raised in the Parliament by the people coming from similar social background i.e. SC/ST. Further, SC/ST representative must come together to bring accountability of the executive. Why are the governments not pulled down by withdrawing the support by the SC/ST representatives?

Where is the Government accountability?

The question that arises is: why after so many caste atrocities, the Government is not held accountable for its action or inaction to stop such atrocious incidences? Why the democratically elected Parliament members don't bring down the Government of India for various events of caste injustice?

Voices have been raised that what is the use of SC/ST representative elected as MP/MLA, if they are unable to raise their voice in the Parliament to highlight caste atrocity issues and make the government accountable. Many activists have gone up to the extent of demanding removal of reservation for SC/ST in the Parliament. But the author would like to argue that the same argument should be given to finish the representation on any (general) elected official as they have equally, or more so, failed to raise the caste atrocity issues in their own constituency or any other constituency (as other constituencies also have SC/ST people from the victim community). Why the elected representative SC/ST/others are failing to do their duties? Why are they unable to hold the Government accountable? There are many ways provided in the Lok Sabha procedures to hold the Executive accountable.

What can the elected SC/ST ministers, who are expected to be more sensitive to caste atrocities, do in case of caste atrocities? Yes, they can raise these questions in the parliament, but the Government in power can answer whatever way they want till there are no repercussions. Like the BJP ministers usually do, saying that so many cases happened during 50 years of Congress rule. If it is a Congress led Government, they usually reply that we are taking all necessary steps to resolve the situation, without doing absolutely anything. What do the BJP or Congress government do in case of excess pressure from public? They both create an enquiry committee of judges or senior retired officials, which takes decades to complete the report and even if it gets completed, it does get to see the light of day in Parliament. Further, whatever the final report says, after multiple extensions in timelines, it does not get implemented. That's the usual modus operandi of various Governments to save their position in power, without acting against the powerful upper castes. Where is the Government accountability?

The most important tool provided to any elected representative is to bring a no-confidence motion, without giving any reasons, against the Government. Any elected Lok Sabha member can bring a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, and it needs to be supported by 50 MPs, then every member can participate in the discussion within the Parliament followed by voting on the motion. Once a majority of the members vote against the Government, the Council of Minister must resign. No-confidence motion can only be brought in the house 6 months after any previous confidence or no-confidence motion.

This allows regular assessment of the Government as envisaged by the architects of Constitution in independent India, where Government will protect the rights of citizens. Thus, the government is always under fear of losing power i.e. confidence of Parliament and act immediately against caste atrocity cases without waiting for another 5 years for the next election.

As Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said on 4 Nov 1948 in the Constituent Assembly during the discussion on the Constitution drafting "The Daily assessment of responsibility which is not available under the American system it is felt far more effective than the periodic assessment and far more necessary in a country like India."

Now, why are the elected MPs from SC/ST/others unable to bring confidence against the Government in caste atrocity cases? It comes out that no-confidence motion has almost no meaning left in the Indian Parliamentary system. Let us look at the data for no-confidence motion since the first Lok Sabha.

Since, the first Lok Sabha election in 1952 till 2015, a total of 26 no-confidence motions have been brought in the Parliament against the Government. From 1952 to 1984, a period of 32 years, a total of 21 no confidence were brought in the Lok Sabha with a record 15 no-confidence motions against the Indira Gandhi Government. From 1985 to 2015, a period of 33 years, only 5 no-confidence motions were brought in the Parliament.

Among the 26 no-confidence motions, all others were decisively defeated except in 1979 when Morarji Desai resigned after an inconclusive debate. Many of the Governments fell in 1990s, due to lack of support in the confidence motion (different from no-confidence motion). Although, some no-confidence notices were bought during 2012 to 2014, it could not gather sufficient support of 50 MPs to put on vote as no-confidence motion.

The anti-defection law curtailing freedoms
So, why has the number of no-confidence motions reduced after 1985, even though the electoral mandate is much more fractured after 1985? The answer lies in the 52nd constitutional amendment better known as Anti-Defection Law or Dal badal kanoon, which added a tenth schedule in the constitution, which was passed in 1984. It enables disqualification of legislators on grounds of defection in case an MP either voluntarily resigned from his party or disobeyed the directives, in the form of whip issued by the party, on a vote. The decision of defection and disqualification shall be decided by the speaker of House.

This whip issuance, under the anti-defection law, needs profound probing in terms of freedom of expression and liberty of the elected MP. The rights of MPs in the Parliament have been given special safeguards, as none of the Courts including the Supreme Court can interfere on any statement or vote within the Parliament. How can an elected MP, regardless of party or community (SC/ST) which the member belongs to, exercise the freedom of expression in the Parliament under the anti-defection law? Can anyone bring a notice of no-confidence motion against the government and will any MP support no-confidence motion with their own wisdom, with the threat of losing their seat in the house under anti-defection law? What is the use of SC/ST reservation in the Lok Sabha, when they are not allowed to exercise their voting rights inside the Parliament? How can they represent and fight for the interests of SC/ST if they only have to follow the party mandate?

The anti-defection law negates the proportionate reservation of SC/STs in Lok Sabha, as the elected SC/ST members can not decide their own votes (against the party whip). So, the separation between Parliament and Executive, created by the original constitution, are fused by providing the authoritative power to the Political party which issues the whip. Now the elected MP and executive are only accountable to the Political party, because only the defiance to party whip can make them lose their positions. So, there is no accountability of the Executive towards the Parliament and it is only limited to verbal rhetoric, without any fear of losing their position till the party(ies) support them. The accountability is deferred to next election after 5 years. There is no space for individual freedom to vote with own individual wisdom for the elected MPs.

During the discussion in Constituent Assembly on 4th Nov 1948, the Chairman of Drafting Committee Dr. B.R. Ambedkar elaborated on the question as to which form of government i.e. Parliamentary or Presidential form Indian Constitution will provide. He said:

"Both systems of Government are of course democratic and the choice between the two is not very easy. A democratic executive must satisfy two conditions - (1) It must be a stable executive and (2) it must be a responsible executive. Unfortunately it has not been possible so far to devise a system which can ensure both in equal degree. You can have a system which can give you more stability but less responsibility or you can have a system which gives you more responsibility but less stability. The American and the Swiss systems give more stability but less responsibility. The British system on the other hand gives you more responsibility but less stability. The reason for this is obvious. The American Executive is a non-Parliamentary Executive which means that it is not dependent for its existence upon a majority in the Congress, while the British system is a Parliamentary Executive which means that it is not dependent for its existence up on a majority in the Congress, while the British system is a Parliamentary Executive which means that it is dependent upon a majority in Parliament. Being a non-Parliamentary Executive, the Congress of the United States cannot dismiss the Executive. A Parliamentary Government must resign the moment it loses the confidence of a majority of the members of Parliament. Looking at it from the point of view of responsibility, a non-Parliamentary Executive being independent of Parliament tends to be less responsible to the Legislature, while a Parliamentary Executive being more dependent upon a majority in Parliament become more responsible. The Parliamentary system differs from a non-Parliamentary system in as much as the former is more responsible than the latter but they also differ as to the time and agency for assessment of their responsibility. Under the non-Parliamentary system, such as the one that exists in the U.S.A., the assessment of the responsibility of the Executive is periodic. It takes place once in two years. It is done by the Electorate. In England, where the Parliamentary system prevails, the assessment of responsibility of the Executive is both daily and periodic. The daily assessment is done by members of Parliament, through questions, Resolutions, No-confidence motions, Adjournment motions and Debates on Addresses. Periodic assessment is done by the Electorate at the time of the election which may take place every five years or earlier. The Daily assessment of responsibility which is not available under the American system it is felt far more effective than the periodic assessment and far more necessary in a country like India. The Draft Constitution in recommending the Parliamentary system of Executive has preferred more responsibility to more stability."

So, the very purpose of the Parliamentary form of Government is negated by the anti-defection rule, as there is no accountability of Executive towards the Parliament on a daily basis. It directly implies that the citizens of India are electing an autocratic form of Government. This provision was inserted with the ulterior motives by the Rajiv Gandhi govt., because the depressed classes were asserting their rights in the post independence era.

After the first Lok Sabha, from 1951 to 1984, there were 21 No-confidence motion brought by the elected MPs, to make the Government accountable to the Parliament. The upper caste media called it a mode of corruption, however the question of corruption is not dealt by restricting the fundamentals of democracy. Corruption is a crime, which needs to be dealt by the Police and Judiciary by punishing the culprits, and it must not be given as reason to suppress democracy itself. If corruption is the bigger issue than democracy, then there should be an autocratic rule because the election process also involves money power.

Hence, if the people including SC/STs want Justice in Rohith Vemula suicide case, and many other cases of caste atrocities, by holding the respective Minister and if required Council of Ministers accountable, it is only possible by free and fair voting inside the Parliament to test the confidence in the Government of the day without the anti-defection law.
Santosh Kumar is an Engineering and Management graduate from top institutes..
Illustration by Unnamati Syama Sundar.

Even my children used to get assaulted: Chithralekha
Written by Eramangalathu Chitralekha

Eramangalathu Chitralekha
On the occasion of International Women's Day, Bahujan Students' Front salutes all Bahujan revolutionaries who fought for gender equity in the oppressive casteist patriarchal system. It is due to the efforts of these valiant souls that we are here today, enabled to pen these very lines.

We would like to share today the speech given by Bahujan activist Chithralekha from Kerala on 6.1.2017., in a programme conducted by Bahujan Students' Front in the University of Hyderabad to commemorate the 186th birth anniversary of Kranthi Jyothi Savitribai Phule.

(The speech was translated from Malayalam to English by Susan Joseph and Sandeep K, both research scholars at the University of Hyderabad.)

According to the Indian tradition, Goddess Saraswati is considered as the goddess of knowledge. But what has goddess Saraswati done for the upliftment of the oppressed people? Haven't she and her fellow gods been denying them their right to education? I am glad to attend this programme organised by the Bahujan Students' Front-HCU to commemorate the birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule who is the goddess of knowledge of the oppressed classes.

Savitribai Phule was India's first female teacher. At the age of ten, she got married to Jotiba Phule. Jotiba educated her. It was Savitribai Phule who established the first school for girls. On her way to the school, it was common for her to get harassed by the upper caste people. They pelted stones at her or flung cow dung at her. So she used to carry two sarees: one to wear on her way and one to wear at school. The discrimination I faced is similar to this. I would like to talk about the caste discrimination, the discrimination at workplace and the gender discrimination faced by me.

The Dalit, Adivasi and Muslim students still face backwardness in the field of education. The Najeeb incident at JNU and suicide of Rohith Vemula at HCU are examples. Students from these sections face economic and social insecurity. Even when I was a student, I used to face such discrimination. During such instances as standing in long queue for lunch at school and fetching water from wells in upper caste households, I used to face a lot of discrimination. The Savarna consciousness wishes to retain these even now. It is due to this mentality that I had to face so many assaults and I am still facing them.

I am an auto rickshaw driver. I took an auto in 2004. I was the first Dalit woman auto driver in Edatt, my native place. CITU- the trade union organisation of CPIM is the only union in the auto stand. The first thing I heard on reaching the auto stand was "a Pulachi (an untouchable) has come with her auto." It went on for some days. I had to wait for four months to get the parking number. When I reacted against this, they commented that the stand has become impure after a Pulachi's arrival; they also told me not to ride the auto anymore. On 11th October 2005, they brought a Namboothiri- a Malayali Brahmin- to perform the Vijaya Dashami puja. They demanded my auto be kept for the same. I did so. One driver tore my auto and damaged it. I gave a complaint to the union. In fact, I saw the person who did it and gave the complaint against him.

The union secretary refused to take action. So I had to file a complaint with the police. The Panchayat member, the CPIM local secretary, the union president and secretary were the culprits. They sent me back saying that they have charged a petty case. When I went to the auto stand the next day, the auto drivers dragged me out of the stand and pushed my auto away from the parking area saying "Who advised you to file the complaint? You should never touch the auto again." When I tried to put the vehicle back in its slot, one driver tried to run his auto over me saying "You will come back only if you are alive, right?" I moved away and was able to save my life sustaining only a minor injury on my foot. I could see the ineffectiveness of law and justice. My auto was burned on 31st December 2005. After that for around six months, I worked as a manual labourer and sometimes I went for fishing in the river or weaved mats.

I had been verbally and physically assaulted in public. Even my children used to get assaulted. Once I was taking my daughter to the hospital and they deflated my auto tyres and we were roughed up. (I was given an auto by the social activists). We were fed up with the continuous attacks. And when there was a case, it was we who used to be labelled as the culprits.

I filed a case. They also filed a case against me. But I was always charged with criminal cases. Even though the case against them was charged on the basis of the SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, it was charged in a way that they escaped easily. When they file my complaint, they simply write that the offenders called me by my caste name and refuse to write the phrase 'in a way the complainant felt humiliated.' So long as they do not write this phrase, the culprits will not be punished. Thus the culprits would be saved.

I was denied justice by the district authorities, the court and the police. When I was convinced that I would not get justice, I started a strike in front of the collectorate starting from October 2014 and it went on for 120 days. When I was assured of rehabilitation by the Chief Minister, I withdrew. When these promises were not kept, I again had to go for a strike in front of the Secretariat which lasted for 47 days. Then I was given assurance for five cents of land and money to construct a house and an order stating that the cases filed against me be cancelled. I got the land. But the LDF (Left Democratic Front) government that followed brought out an order cancelling the financial aid. I still face discrimination from the CPIM.

I attended the programme Chalo Rail Roko in Gujarat organised by Jignesh Mevani. But that struggle did not materialise as conceived due to certain assurance given by the Gujarat chief minister in a chat with Mevani over phone. I don't know what the organisers of the protest have achieved. The government always tries to suppress the uprisings of the oppressed classes. We should be able to counter this. Even struggles such as Chengara, Arippa and the 'Nilpu Samaram' (Stand In Protest) have sacrificed some relevant ideals for the vested interests of a few. The interesting thing is that those who are sacrificing such ideals are the most in the organisations for the backward classes.

When I thought of entering politics for the upliftment of backward classes, it was BSP's (Bahujan Samaj Party) name that came to my mind. I was its state vice-president and became a candidate for BSP in elections. But what I feel now is to stay away from active politics.

Students should come forward to intervene in favour of the oppressed classes. I stop here wishing you all the courage and strength to fight for social justice without vested interests.

BSF-HCU salutes you Chithra Lekha for your bravery. You are an inspiration to all oppressed peoples especially women. We wish you the best and extend our support in your struggle against casteist and patriarchal oppression. Jai Bheem!

Bahujan Students' Front - UoH
(All India SC ST OBC and Religious Minorities)

Brahminical Patriarchy and Social Media

Bhagyesha Kurane

Social media has become an integral part of our lives these days. There are various notions prevalent about whether one should use social media, and if at all it is to be used, then how. Some people view social media only as a tool to pass their time and beyond a certain limit, see any engagement as wastage of time. Many parents are wary of social media out of concern for their daughters who might be harassed by anti-social elements and hence warn them to stay away. At the same time, social media helps one to connect with many people whether we may know them personally or not and it is through such communication that exchange of thoughts takes place. I also joined social media thinking of exploring the possibility of whether this media can be used as a viable alternative option to traditional media. So I started communicating with people through media such as WhatsApp and Facebook. I have been using Facebook for the past six years now. While I think about social media as an alternative to traditional media, it also becomes imperative for me to discuss about safety and security of girls/women in detail. Of course, it is also related in the context of the recent Amar Khade incident.

First of all, we need to take into account that in our brahminical patriarchal society there are certain rules that girls are supposed to follow, as far as use of mobile phones is concerned. Many a times it is just out of necessity that a girl is allowed to use a mobile phone albeit with certain harsh restrictions. The reason being the caste based society considers the girl as the 'honour' of the family. So her parents fear that through mobile phone she may come in contact with someone and get emotionally involved, thus marrying the person out of her own volition and this can result in loss of 'honour' for the family. That's why parents try to limit the use of mobile phones as far as possible and hence check call records and other details on mobile phones. In such a situation, for many girls to be able to use and access social media freely itself becomes a daunting task. Defying traditional restrictions she tries to express herself through social media. But our brahminical patriarchal society looks at her as a form of readily available entertainment instead of looking at her as an individual human being. That's why, often, these girls have had to face sexual exploitation in the online world.

Misusing photos of the girls, using these photos to send vulgar messages and to tag girls in nude photos without their consent are some of the things which happen quite regularly on Facebook. Even on WhatsApp groups, jokes making fun of girls continue to circulate blatantly. But society trapped in the brahminical patriarchal mindset doesn't object to such indecent incidents. That is why such messages become viral through "likes" and "shares". As a neo Buddhist woman, when I look at these incidents I realize that in the social media it is the dalit adivasi women who have to face both caste based discrimination and patriarchy. Starting from the charge of 'child of reservations' I have to bear baseless stereotypes of 'girls are like this only'. The backlash experienced during the recent Samvidhan Morcha in Latur was dangerous when we were reminded as "you dalit adivasi women are doomed to be prostitutes.....and my father has not one but four mistresses....", all this is something which was said quite openly without any fear. When I observe these things, I realize that it is only the dalit and adivasi women who have to bear the brunt in this social order.

Basically being Ambedkarites, many of us girls use social media as an alternative media for spreading awareness and knowledge dissemination. The purpose is to stay up to date by staying in communication with professors, students, bureaucrats, intellectuals, writers and reading their articles, new research etc. The purpose is also to stay connected with people from small towns and have communication for exchange of thoughts. I must admit that this exercise has benefitted me a lot at a personal level. But while undertaking this journey one has to communicate with unknown people too and here one has to face many difficulties. Upon accepting the 'friend' request one gets immediately flooded with 'hi','hello' messages. Sometimes people do comment quite objectionably on women's sexuality. Just recently one of my Ambedkarite friends had to face a lot of trouble from one such self-proclaimed Ambedkarite man. Though she didn't know him personally she accepted his 'friend' request on Facebook thinking he shared similar ideology. But he tried to take advantage of the same.

For many of his friends, his behavior was quite shocking since this person used to talk quite vehemently on social issues and preach to people in a way. So when his act came into light, many thought his Facebook account may have been hacked. But later it was revealed he had similarly tried to harass other girls too. After observing this entire incident, I want to ask as to how are we going to deal with some of the self-claimed Ambedkarites if they end up harassing our Ambedkarite women? Many of my friends (women) have expressed their opinion that even earlier too this man had posted gender biased things and we didn't have much of a reaction from Ambedkarite youth then. Today many of them appear quite disturbed by this whole episode and I feel if they had taken a stand in the past at the right time, probably, we would not have seen this incident altogether.

I would like to highlight another important issue here, and that is credibility. Many tried to justify saying the account may have been hacked when this incident first came to light. When a couple of women complained against him, even then they said these are very small issues and tried to silence us by saying we have some bigger issues to handle. Some felt this was a useless discussion and some of them felt this was a personal fight. Now what are we supposed to assume here? Do you have less/low confidence on the women who come from dalit adivasi families from where you also come? Or do you feel a woman getting publicly humiliated sexually is an insignificant thing? How can you assume insult inflicted on women in public life so insignificant when these are the same women for whom Phule – Babasaheb fought their entire lives?

Finally, I only want to say that this whole incident must be understood in its entirety. We must learn the necessary lessons. Even girls do need to take necessary precaution while befriending boys. It is because our own thoughts may have changed, however the society at large remains in the same traditional mentality and this is what's being reflected in the social media.

Dalit, adivasi and other backward classes women have to fight on both the fronts i.e. caste and women's slavery while making efforts in building an egalitarian society. The strength of the morale does keep fluctuating while fighting at the two fronts simultaneously, which are family and society. It is only of late that women have managed to come out of patriarchal families and are able to think on their own. So we must ensure that we have dealings with them in cooperative and coordinated manner. For example, when these women take to the streets for their demands, we instead of criticising them as "what's the point in getting onto the streets" should have this at the back of mind that they have earned their right to come on the street too only after certain struggle and fight with their families and society. Their mistakes must be explained to them without belittling them, lest they may stop expressing themselves due to demoralization.

Babasaheb had said, "I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved." So the struggle of women in the society is everybody's struggle and each one of us will have to fight it, and this, you must remember.

This is the English version Bhagyesha's Marathi article, ब्राम्हणी पितृसत्ता आणि सोशल मीडिया published on Round Table India here. It was translated by Rahul Gaikwad.
Bhagyesha Kurane has a B.A. in political science from Fergusson College.

A short history of media as a tool of cultural hegemony
Written by Anshul Kumar

Anshul Kumar
"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past" ~ George Orwell in 1984.

Ever since the inception and evolution of mankind into a 'modern human' it has ever been the curiosity of the human mind to look around the surroundings in order to comprehend the esoteric and arcane nature of of 'human existence' and make sense out of 'everything' including 'nothing'. This idea of looking towards every other phenomenon from our frame of reference stems from the idea put forward by Daniel Kahneman, "the fact that inner workings of human mind have ever been irrational and it is the undying spirit of our 'grey cells' which makes us to give meanings to our existence and the 'cradle' of our very existence itself."

As put up by Engels in his 'dialectics of nature', he has hypothesised with astounding accuracy that the need for 'media' for 'exchange of information' has been there since the very beginning of human existence. He states that now that the humans were able to stand in an erect posture and walk around straight with their forearms not limited to aid them in perambulating, with the thumbs of their hands detached, the need arose as to how to communicate with fellow human beings and ask for succour in going about the 'bare necessities of life'. This made it possible the development of vocal cords to an extent, where in humans were able to generate sounds of certain frequencies which were something more than just mere gestures.

This was the advent of what will later be making 'man' the most gregarious creation of this 'cosmos'. Like many other things, gregariousness has proven to be a virtue of single largest importance for 'man'. Subsequently this unintelligible speech found its way into a more refined form of oral gestures paving way for the traditions 'oral traditions' of communication and preserving our present experiences which will later came to be known as 'our past'. The 'oral' medium of 'information exchange' was subject to getting lost into an oblivion during that epoch of humankind no such thing as a phonograph or any sound storing devices might have existed.

The only natural solution of this conundrum of archiving was 'rote learning and memorisation' of each and every bits and pieces of information more often than not forcefully and by attaching with it a sense of 'divinity' in order to avoid any mistake of losing out on anything important worth archiving. This was the first the first attempt to historicise 'our past' and the effective use of 'media' to subsequently pass on information to succeeding generations i.e. to say that it was a mode of 'information exchange' which was inherently hereditary. The best example of such a 'media' is the 'Vedic' way of life as envisioned by the 'brahmins' of South Asia who claimed for themselves and by themselves as the divinity itself on the Earth, who sprang out from the mouth of the creator himself, their lord, 'Brahma'.

As far as the 'Vedic' way of life in the Ganga Jamuna Doab has been comprehended, all it consisted and initially based upon was the 'personal narratives' of the priestly caste, 'the brahmins' in invoking and praising their 'Lords' for their own well being on the Earth. Namely these 'Lords' were 'Indra', 'Agni' and 'Soma' as these three are mentioned more numerously others in the 'Rig Veda'.

Now the question that can be asked is, how can one say that these 'hymns' praising the 'Lords' were acting as 'media'? And that too not just a form of media whose function was limited to dissemination of archived information, but acted more often as a 'sinister' way of manipulating and appropriating 'Indigenous' and 'Dravidian' cultures which were already in place prior to the establishment of a 'Vedic' order.

There are linguistic evidences to support this point of view of 'media' acting as an 'alternate' or even maybe the 'legal penal code' for the 'society as a whole' (society as a whole here takes into account the inhabitants who came directly into the folds of the chaturvarnya, and even those who were outside of this mode of 'social stratification' and were later collectively came to be known as the 'panchamas' or the fifth varna).

To quote Romila Thapar from one of her lectures presented via All India Radio, "It has been suggested, therefore that the later Vedic literature represents a cultural mingling of the speakers of the Indo-European language with those already settled in these areas. The linguistic evidence strongly suggests this idea. It is interesting that there are words of Dravidian origin in the Rig Veda."

Romila Thapar has cited and corroborated this fact from T Borrow's Sanskrit and MB Emanuel's Collected papers.

Why Romila Thapar refers to this phenomenon of linguistic similarity as mere 'cultural mingling' should be kept aside for the time being so as to restrict myself to the interplay of 'History' and 'Media' and hypothesise my claim that the personal narratives of the 'bhudevs' were indeed altogether a sinister act of manipulation and appropriation of indigenous and Dravidian cultures.

In one of the hymns of mandal IV of the Rig Veda is the mention of the conquest of Vritra by Indra. While Indra was personification of the 'Rain' i.e. to say 'available water resources', Vritra personified drought. Vritra is referred to as a 'demon-serpent king' who took control of the 'freshwater resources' on the top of a mountain and is later defeated by Indra. This hymn states that possession of 'water' by this demon-serpent king rendered it 'poisonous'.

Now if one looks at this description from a non-vedic lens and scrutinises it bit by bit, he or she can propose that the demon king represented some indigenous kingdom for whom freshwater was a natural resource essential for their survival and maybe it was Indra who unjustly seized that important resource from Vritra. This can also be construed from the fact that while in possession of Vritra, that resource was rendered poisonous. Here, poisonous may subtly connote the notions of purity and profanity, which have been inherent in vedic philosophy and have always been used to demean, subjugate and humiliate indigenous cultures. All this can be attributed to the effective use of 'media' to propagate 'cultural hegemony'.
Anshul Kumar is doing his First Year Bachelor in Arts at St Xavier's College, Mumbai. Originally from Delhi, his subjects here are Sociology, Ancient Indian Culture and Anthropology. He says he is a beginner in being an "Ambedkarite", he aims to be an academic and teach sociology.

On the Anxieties surrounding Dalit Muslim Unity
Written by Ambedkar Reading Group Delhi University

Published on 17 February 2017

Ambedkar Reading Group Delhi University
Recently we saw the coming together of Dalits and Muslims at the ground level, against a common enemy - the Hindu, Brahminical State and Culture - in many instances. It was a unification of lower caste groups and Muslims that we witnessed in the struggles of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) in University of Hyderabad (UoH) too. Such a combination was what irked the authorities in UoH, which led to the persecution and eventual suicide/institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. However, in spite of this, the intellectual discussions that are happening today seem to be writing off any Dalit-Muslim unity as an impossible and even undesirable political formation by pointing to the existence of caste among Muslims.

Caste is integral to the formation of almost all identity groups in India as it is foundational to the social and cultural fabric of India. Moreover, if we look at all marginalized and oppressed groups, it was the dominant caste/community among them that was involved in organizing the community.[ii] So, social stratification (on the basis of various factors including caste) is a reality for all minority groups including Muslims. Even Babasaheb Ambedkar wrote about this in his seminal work, Annihilation of Caste.[iii] However, all of the above articles, and much of the present day discussions use the category of caste to abandon the Muslim question and see it anew from within the ambit of a larger anti-caste location. We feel that there are serious problems with this political and theoretical move and this is what we want to problematize in this piece.

Even though caste exists among women, among Dalits, among many social groups in India, it does not lead to the dismantling of the politics of any of these groups. The woman question continues to remain as a powerful field employed in almost all spheres of life and culture, in spite of the assertive attack on it by many Bahujan women who feel excluded from the homogenizing category of 'woman.' In fact, these attacks are also often made from a renewed understanding of women and gender. Similarly, even if there are divisions among Dalits, and 'Maha Dalit' has already become an established category like the 'Pasmanda Muslim' and Maha Dalits have started asserting themselves, one does not sees the presence of this issue in any intellectual discourse. The national acceptance of the caste question is itself today mediated by the large-scale employment of the category of the Dalit, which is often posited as a very homogenous and easily recognizable category.

However, when it comes to the Muslim question, the existence of caste among Muslims is employed not towards a reassertion of a new and renewed Muslim politics that would be informed by an understanding of the reality of caste, but the well-established concept of caste is used to bombard the very category of the Muslim and to replace it with the notion of a collective wherein the Muslim is added in with the category of Dalits, Adivasis and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) as a caste category, and the issue of religion is discarded as needless and useless for any kind of contemporary analysis. This can be very clearly seen in these words of Khalid Anis Ansari:

"Since the express object of the pasmanda movement has been to raise the issue of caste-based exclusion of subordinate caste Muslims, it has stressed on caste-based solidarity across religions. As Ali Anwar, the founder of Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz, says: "There is a bond of pain between pasmanda Muslims and the pasmanda sections of other religions. This bond of pain is the supreme bond ... That is why we have to shake hands with the pasmanda sections of other religions."

In this article, after agreeing that "pasmanda Muslims share a widespread feeling of 'Muslimness' with the upper-caste Muslims," the reality of caste within this shared Muslimness makes Ansari move towards a position where he would rather focus on the Pasmanda Muslims' shared "experience of caste-based humiliation and disrespect with subordinated caste Hindus," even though he is well aware that this solidarity "is equally interrupted by the discourse around religious difference." So when face to face with an identity, which is complex in nature, whose religion based solidarity is broken by caste and caste based solidarity is broken by religion, Ansari chooses to focus on caste-based solidarity and discard the solidarity that is based on religion.[iv]

The best illustration of the political consequence of such a perspective is the Pasmanda Muslim position on the reservation for Muslims. Sub-group reservation is a demand by most identity groups today. OBC women, Maha Dalits and the Most Backward Classes are all demanding sub-quotas within the larger category as a way of better belonging to the very category that excludes them. However, in the case of Muslims, Pasmanda Muslims, in their own words "have consistently objected to the demand of reservation for the entire Muslim community dubbing it as a ploy by the hegemonic high caste Muslims to corner all the benefits."[v] Instead they seek reservations only within the established category of SC and OBC. In other words, Pasmanda politics, aims at preventing all new attempts by Muslim organizations to get reservations as a group.

Now we need to understand here that the draft Constitution of India did provide reservations for Muslims.[vi] It is through a very secular, savarna, liberal, nationalist politics that Muslims were cleverly pushed out of the ambit of reservations in India. It is the same nationalist process that put Dalits in the category of Hindus in the constitution. [vii] So now, if a politics is created in the name of caste, which will oppose any kind of assertion of Muslim politics/reservation, it is not difficult to see that this politics is framed within the same secular, savarna liberal process that pushed Muslims out of the ambit of reservation and made Dalits constitutionally Hindu.[viii] [ix] [x]

However, as it must be obvious, one can see that it is very difficult for a group, which is already feeling oppressed within a totality to first demand reservations for the totality of Muslims and then demand for sub-reservation within it. In fact, this is an impossibility in the present scenario. In other words, the demands of Pasmanda Muslims are created from a certain impossibility regarding the Muslim question in Caste Hindu India. However, and this is what we want to argue here, if we are to push towards a radical transformative politics, we need to understand how the 'caste among Muslim' discourse is actually reasserting this impossibility of the Muslim identity in a Caste Hindu India and thereby reasserting the ideology of the caste Hindu Nation.

Such an impossibility is automatically reproduced when most present day "caste among Muslims" discourses fail to distinguish between Hindu and Muslim social groups. In his Annihilation of Caste, Babasaheb Ambedkar reveals a greater insight about the same, which is very useful for thinking through these issues today. In this seminal work Ambedkar makes two major definitions about Hindu and Muslim social groups. About the Hindu society he says:

"Hindu Society as such does not exist. It is only a collection of castes. Each caste is conscious of its existence. Its survival is the be-all and end-all of its existence. Castes do not even form a federation. A caste has no feeling that it is affiliated to other castes, except when there is a Hindu-Muslim riot. On all other occasions each caste endeavors to segregate itself and to distinguish itself from other castes. (Annihilation of Caste, Dr B R Ambedkar)."

Here the argument is that Hindu society as such doesn't exist as it is just a group of castes and that this collection of castes can probably come together only in the face of the Muslim 'other.' That is, the presence of the Muslim can create an affiliation of castes, which is otherwise not there. Thinking along these lines, we can then argue that it is this affiliation in the face of the Muslim that creates Hindu unity or Hindu identity or Hinduism itself. This is the same reason why riots are needed whenever there is a need to manufacture such a Hindu Unity.

Now look at what Ambedkar has to say about Muslim and other minority groups in the same essay:

"If we apply these considerations to castes among Mohammedans, Sikhs, and Christians on the one hand, and to castes among Hindus on the other, you will find that caste among Non-Hindus is fundamentally different from caste among Hindus. First, the ties which consciously make the Hindus hold together are non-existent, while among Non- Hindus there are many that hold them together. The strength of a society depends upon the presence of points of contact, possibilities of interaction, between different groups which exist in it. These are what Carlyle calls "organic filaments"— i.e., the elastic threads which help to bring the disintegrating elements together and to reunite them. There is no integrating force among the Hindus to counteract the disintegration caused by caste. While among the Non-Hindus there are plenty of these organic filaments which bind them together."

The major argument put forward here is that in contrast to Hindu society, which does not have a binding factor due to the presence of caste, and which can come together only in the face of the 'other' of the threatening Muslim, in spite of the presence of caste, Muslim society is bound by "organic filaments" which "reunites" them even in the face of the disintegrating elements of caste.

Two important points can be deduced from Ambedkar's initial arguments about caste in Hindus and Non-Hindus. One is that there is something in non-Hindu community formations, which offers the possibility of transcending caste. Secondly, Hinduism in India is made possible when castes come together (even if momentarily) in the face of the Muslim 'other.' In fact, from the cow protection riots of the 1920s to the present day tensions between Hindus and Muslims there are deliberate attempts to make this coming together happen not only through the imposition of an hegemonic Brahminical culture on lower castes, but also through an attempt to bring all warring caste factions together as Hindu in the face of the threatening 'other' of the Muslim.

Hinduism in the Dalit Bahujan discourse is thought of as just another name for Brahminism, which is then imposed on different lower caste communities, who are forced, coerced, persuaded or seduced to adopt Brahminical culture so as to situate themselves as Hindu. Expanding on Ambedkar's argument and in the light of numerous historical incidents, we can make a different argument: Hinduism is not ONLY a category imposed on any single caste group (as is argued in Kancha Ilaiah's Why I am not a Hindu) through Brahminism, it is also a relational category that comes to different caste groups when they are organized to forget their caste nature temporarily in the face of the Muslim 'other'.

Without this expanded understanding of Hinduism, which not only talks of caste but also looks at its close connection to the reality of religion and the positioning of the Muslim as the 'other,' we cannot fully chart the realities of India in any of our analysis. For instance, if we do not do this, we cannot understand why the demolition of Babri Masjid was a fall out of the Mandal debate.[xi] We cannot also explain why in Gujarat, the riots for and against caste-based reservations in 1981 was transformed "very quickly into a gratuitous attack on the Muslim community, which had nothing to do with the reservation policy of the government."[xii] We will also not be able to make much of the fact that it was Narendra Modi, who was then in his capacity as a senior functionary of the RSS who engineered this attack on Muslims, when the issue was about caste-based reservations.[xiii]

So to repeat, it is not enough to say that there are different castes and that we are all forced/persuaded to identify as Hindus within the hegemonic category of Hindu, we also need to state that this category of the Hindu is created when lower castes are mobilized against the external threat of the Muslim. The constitutional definition of the Dalit as Hindu, exacerbates this process and gives constitutional weight to the inclusion of a major and resisting part of the lower castes – the Dalits - within the Hindu fold, thereby strengthening this otherwise lifeless category. It is this process of organizing different castes as Hindu within various national secular liberal discourses against the Muslim 'other' that we must term as Indian Ideology and we must point to this as that which sustains caste in India today, giving importance to both caste and religion in its making. Manusmriti or pre-independence anti-caste literature, which talks only about the different categories of caste, will not help us face this complex, modern, Hindu reality of caste in India.

However, it is not the same process that binds Muslim society in India. It is through the use of non-Hindu symbols, tropes, rituals, eating habits and knowledge production that Muslims have constituted themselves as a society in India. Taking forward Ambedkar's argument we can say that the religion of Islam provides "organic filaments" which guides the process of unification in Muslims, whether this be marred by caste or not. Thus in many ways, in spite of the presence of caste in this non-Hindu society, it still offers a possibility of resistance to the unification process that is happening under the ambit of Hinduism. In other words, Muslim unification is not only different from Hindu unification but it is also a unification that resists the cultural power of Hindu hegemony in India.

In the light of the above arguments a few things are clear. If the evidence of caste is being used to get to a situation where the 'Muslim community must be broken by caste" and a "supreme bond" will be created between lower caste Hindus and Muslims, we will still not find a way out of the impasse we are all in. In this kind of a scenario, the newly added Muslim will only aid the caste category, which i) any day can become affiliated to one another and turn against the Muslim as the 'other' and ii) which without unpacking its own location in the Hindu religion cannot really be fully annihilated. [xiv]

So the present trend of trying to delegitimize all Muslim politics in the name of caste should be more thoroughly interrogated. We should clearly identify that any debate that calls for an abandonment of Muslim politics is not only a way of managing Muslim politics in India, but also a way to maintain the status quo regarding caste Hindu Indian ideology. Moreover, in this time of extreme Islamophobia and the ascendancy of the Hindu right wing in India, one cannot but see the connection between this theoretical annihilation employing caste and the literal annihilation of Muslims that is being sought on the ground.

In fact, in the light of the above arguments, we have to seriously think about the denial of religion in our present day anti-caste discourses. Given the complex way in which caste and religion come together to create modern caste Hindu realities, we need to see that a denial of religion is a sure way of leaving Hinduism and thereby caste itself unquestioned. In fact, we need to think more about why it is easy for us to discard religion and create a politics based solely on the caste question. We feel this is because of the secular legitimacy that caste has gained today. This legitimacy is mainly gained by discarding the category of religion and focusing only on the hierarchies of caste, which does not actually interrogate the Caste Hindu Indian ideology discussed above. This is very similar to the legitimacy that gender has gained. Gender, even feminists agree, has taken over all fields.[xv] This is because though not similar to contemporary anti-caste politics and much more hegemonic and even more acceptable to the mainstream, the gender debate has also left the modern, Caste Hindu Indian edifice unquestioned.

However, Muslim politics as Faisal Devji himself says, has never been able to gain any legitimacy in India. The Left always claimed to be supportive to Muslim politics, but they also talk from within the binary of communalism/secularism and in the long run they include most Muslim groups within the 'communal' category.

More importantly, we must also note that many of the organizations today accused of having upper caste leadership have been banned numerous times, many others have been broken up and their members send to years of prison. Many important Muslim leaders have also spent decades in prison for daring to talk about Indian social issues from within the ambit of Islam. This clearly shows how persecuted and marginalized Muslim political organizations have been in India. Yet, a religiously oriented, non-secular, illiberal Muslim politics has existed and thrived (even as it has been oppressed and persecuted) in India and it has remained marginalized and this can be seen as having a potential to question every hegemonic category in India, including that of Hinduism, secularism and nationalism.

In other words, if Indian modernity, which became unofficially Hindu by including lower castes too within its fold, sees the Muslim as the 'other,' we should at least allow this "other" to be recognized and granted the right to political mobilization and assertion. Even if we are not ready to say that it is this 'other' which has the potential to break apart the hegemony of Caste Indian modernity, at least we should grant this much to this 'other.' If we are denying even this to the "other" we are doing nothing but asserting the "Self" of the Caste Hindu Nation against this "other."

In many ways, we also need to see that Islam has taken an oppositional position to modernity all over the world, and that is why it is seen as such a threat both inside and outside. We cannot refuse to see all this and talk as if the so-called Savarna Muslims are sharing monopoly of land and other material and cultural resources like the Savarna Hindus. In fact, as Shan Muhammed argued in an article on Round Table India, there is a theo-political potentiality of Islam and Muslim organizations, which cannot be dismissed by saying that all of them are being headed by upper caste Muslims.[xvi]

Most Islamic organizations and politics, embrace religion and often politics for them is subsumed within the ethical practices that religion demands from them. For them there is no sociality where they have no religion. In great contrast, contemporary anti-caste politics, in spite of its great impact and subversive potential, is very much part of a modern life-world. It has today become an extremely secular category, where moving far away from Ambedkarite thought, religion itself is dismissed as not important for annihilating caste. That too at a time when many subaltern groups are increasingly using conversion as a tool to move out of the caste system, just as Ambedkar had propagated. Given this, when there is a talk of Dalit-Muslim unity, the demand made on Muslim groups is to discard the issue of religion and subsume themselves within the secular, liberal caste category.

A note by Waseem RS, (published in Round Table India) which looks into the question of Muslim student politics within an anti-caste milieu, is a good illustration of this. Written from the vantage point of a Muslim student working alongside anti-caste politics, it clearly allows the question of religion to be subsumed within the larger cause. We can see this happening when we see that as part of trying to stand within a "politics of social justice"(in the face of assault from the Left) Waseem produces a profuse apology for the many shortcomings of Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO), the Muslim Student organization he belongs to, and is ready to debunk both its "founding narratives" and the founder Abul A'la Maududi himself ! In fact, the ideas in the note is shared by a good number of Muslim students working with new political formations in today's campuses and reflects the crisis of Muslim students' articulation of their politics and religion from the modern, secular vocabulary of anti-caste politics. [xvii]

We want to conclude by saying that we are highly critical of this apologetic and dismissive tone of the Muslim question, which is increasingly framing the debate about Dalit-Muslim unity. As we have already said, the location of Muslim movements and politics in India as the 'other' of Indian modernity has the potential to enrich and envision an anti-caste politics that could escape or offer an alternative to the powers of modernity, which in India is nothing other than caste. The coming together of Dalits, with a new understanding of the attempt to appropriate them into the Hindu religion, and Muslims, with a renewed understanding of caste/social stratification among them, in common platforms of struggles will alone lead to such an endeavor.

[i] At the end of 2016 we saw three different articles, one in 'The Hindu' and two in Round Table India, which addressed this issue. Two of these articles (Faizal Devji's 'Is a Dalit Muslim Unity' possible and 'Khalid Ansari: A Bahujan 'Third Space' Beyond Left and Right: Really?) vehemently opposed the very possibility of forming a Dalit Muslim unity. Both of these articles point to the evidence of caste among Muslims so as to demolish the very category of the Muslim and to subsume this religious identity within an identity of caste, in the name of anti-caste politics. In contrast, the third article by Waseem RS, which was written to ward off the leftist stereotyping of SIO as a Muslim right-wing organization, clearly stands for a Dalit Muslim politics. However, here too (as we shall see more clearly at the end of the essay) we can see the very same pressure to denounce various core aspects of Waseem's own Muslim student politics so as to make it worthy of belonging to a larger narrative of social justice or anti-caste politics in JNU. ("On the Orientalist Savarna Perception of equating SIO with ABVP," Round Table India)

[ii] In fact, one of the comments on Khalid Anis Ansari's article "Why BAPSA'S support to Muslim Right is problematic," where he talks of Savarna Muslims as being at the forefront of all Muslim movements, immediately points to the existence of a similar structure even among Dalits:

Honest Indian: "Basically the creamy layer in every community/ Castes automatically start behaving like advantageous class .... Look at the creamy layer of Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes who are not ready to leave their advantageous position after enjoying the facilities of quota for last 70 years in favour of their disadvantaged folks. Now, no Government, irrespective of any party, can dare to change this equation. The creamy layer of SC/ ST will never allow any Govt. to make any legislation to disband the creamy layer from taking advantages of reservation in order to give a passage to the disadvantaged SC/ ST who are left behind."

This argument is then extended to cover Ansari's own social location:

"I presume even Mr. Khalid Anis Ansari falls in the "savarna" group among all backward class of Muslims, being his advantaged status. Among all backward Muslims like, Ansari, Lohaar, Mochi, Mallah. Barhai, Nut,Mehtar, Raeen, Qassab, Bakkho, Shahjee, Faqeer and Khanabadosh etc, Ansaris are much more economically and socially developed. According to Mr. Khalid's parameter Ansaris as a caste may fall under "Savarna" category among the whole backward Muslim Castes whereas Mr. Khalid Anis Ansari himself appears certainly as " savarna" from among many disadvantaged Ansaris."

[iii] "Of these, there is one set which finds nothing peculiar nor odious in the Caste System of the Hindus. Such Hindus cite the case of Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians, and find comfort in the fact that they too have castes amongst them." Annihilation of Caste

[iv] Writing in The Hindu, Faisal Devji has a somewhat similar argument for Muslims:
"But to make a Muslim politics possible, the "Muslim community" has to be destroyed...the Muslim community must be broken by caste just as its Hindu version has been." ("Is a Dalit Muslim Unity Possible," Aug 31, 2016)

[v] Khalid Anis Ansari: Why BAPSA's support to Muslim Right is problematic, September 16, 2016, Two Circles,

[vi] According to the decision of the Minorities Sub-Committee, the draft Constitution of February 1948 reserved seats for Muslims in Parliament and State legislatures; however, this reservation was taken away by the Constituent Assembly in May 1949.

This was how Nehru responded to this:

"I think that doing away with this reservation business is not only a good thing in in itself, good for all concerned more especially or the minorities, but psychologically too it is a very good move for the nation and the world. It shows that we are really sincere about this business of having a secular democracy.

Patel also wrote about the same:

"Although the abolition of separate electorates had removed much of the poison from the body politic, the reservation of seats for religious communities, it was felt, did lead to a certain degree of separatism and was to that extent contrary to the conception of a secular democratic state.

Later he remarks that everyone should

"forget that there is anything like majority or minority in this country and that in India there is only one community."
(quoted in Shefali Jha, Secularism in the Constituent Assembly Debates, 1946-50)

[vii] See for a detailed treatment:
Shabnam Tejani, Indian Secularism: Social and Intellectual History; Rochana Bajpai , Debating Differences, and Marc Gallanter, Competing Inequalities; etc. for a critical assessment of the Muslim reservation issue.

[viii] THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA - VOLUME V, Wednesday, the 27th August 1947
Shri K. M. Munshi: The object of this amendment is to clarify the position of the so-called ,Scheduled Castes. The word 'minorities' so far as international treaties and international law is concerned, is only restricted to racial, linguistic and religious minorities. The Harijans, generally known as Scheduled Castes, are neither a racial minority nor a linguistic minority, not certainly a religious minority. Therefore in the interest of exact phraseology this amendment was found necessary. It was only, as members of the House will remember, when the Government of India Act was moved that the definition of 'minorities' was so extended by Sir Samuel Hoare as to include every minority which the Governor thought fit to consider as minority. This is a very very mischievous extension of the term and my amendment seeks to clarify the position that so far as the Scheduled Castes are concerned, they are not minorities in the strict meaning of the term; that the Harijans are part and parcel of Hindu community, and the safeguards are given to them to protect their rights only till they are completely absorbed in the Hindu Community.

Another reason is this. and I might mention that that reason is based on the decisions which have already been taken by this House. The distinction between Hindu Community other than Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Castes is the barrier of untouchability. Now, by the Fundamental. Rights which we have accepted, untouchability is prohibited by law and its practice is made a criminal offence under the law of the Federation. We have also accepted in the Fundamental Rights that no public place should be prohibited to anyone by reason of his birth. So far as the Federation is concerned, we have removed the artificial barrier between one section of the Hindu Community and the other.

In view of those facts, any safeguard as a minority, so far as the Scheduled Castes are Concerned, is illogical and will possibly prevent their complete absorption in the Hindu fold. I therefore submit that the amendment which I am moving clearly defines the position. (part 1)
[ix] Another example from the debate on the same day as above footnote:
"Mr. H. J. Khandekar: I am aware that every member of this House has great sympathy for Scheduled castes. I have heard many speeches. Many leaders sympathise with us, but that is of no use, if it is merely verbal. People say and I also affirm that we are a part and parcel of the Hindu community. If you oppose this amendment of mine, it will only mean that you are not prepared to give us anything more than what we are getting according to the 1941 census...Therefore, I request the Honourable Mover that he may accept my amendment and give to the Scheduled Castes rights according to 1931 census."

[x] This is how the THE CONSTITUTION (SCHEDULED CASTES) ORDER, 1950]1 (C.O.19) puts it :
" 4[3. Notwithstanding anything contained in paragraph 2, no person who professes a religion different from the Hindu [the Sikh or the Buddhist] religion shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste.]"
Please note that here the Sikh and Buddhist religion has also been subsumed under the category of Hindu.

[xi] See: "Babri Mosque Demolition: 
Why On December 6 ?" By Ashok Yadav, 21 February, 2009,

[xii] See: "The Social Engineering of Gujarat," Hemant Babu in Himal Mag, Vol 15, No: 5, May 2002
[xiii] "The Social Engineering of Gujarat," Hemant Babu in Himal Mag, Vol 15, No: 5, May 2002

[xiv] This is the most important message of Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste, which many of us are not even ready to discuss today:
"Caste may be bad. Caste may lead to conduct so gross as to be called man's inhumanity to man. All the same, it must be recognized that the Hindus observe Caste not because they are inhuman or wrong-headed. They observe Caste because they are deeply religious. People are not wrong in observing Caste. In my view, what is wrong is their religion, which has inculcated this notion of Caste. If this is correct, then obviously the enemy you must grapple with is not the people who observe Caste, but the Shastras which teach them this religion of Caste. Criticising and ridiculing people for not inter- dining or inter-marrying, or occasionally holding inter-caste dinners and celebrating inter-caste marriages, is a futile method of achieving the desired end. The real remedy is to destroy the belief in the sanctity of the Shastras. (the emphasis is ours)

[xv] "Suddenly 'women' are everywhere. Development experts name 'gender bias as the cause of poverty in the third world'; population planners declare their commitment to the empowerment of Indian women; economists speak of the feminisation of the Indian labour force."("Problems for a contemporary theory of gender", Susie Tharu, Tejaswini Niranjana)

[xvi] "Caste and Maududian antagonism: Thinking Muslim theo-politics", Shan Muhammed Shah, Round Table India, 19 September, 2016

[xvii] Another problem in Waseem's note is the way in which he is further compelled to present himself as a supporter of all contemporary struggles for social justice, including, gender and sexuality from an 'intersectional and entangled perspective.' What is erased here are two things: One, the very framework of certain contemporary movements for 'social justice' have developed themselves with Islam as their prime 'other' and have been used by others to demonize Muslim community – for instance Gender. Secondly, another thing that is forgotten here is that many Islam based readings in the recent years have provided a strong critique of these struggles for social justice and has refused to be pulled into the hegemony of the modern Hindu hegemony.
Ambedkar Reading Group Delhi University is a group of Dalit Adivasi Bahujan and Minority scholars located in Delhi University who have been reading anti-caste literature along with other seminal texts for the last 5 years.

Gandhi and the Structure of Dalit Everyday Life

Anilkumar PV

As a point of entry, let us focus on the indictment that Manabendra Nath Roy made in his 1938 book on fascism with regard to the form and content of Gandhian politics: he prophesied that if Gandhian politics continued the way it was practiced by MK Gandhi, it would, sooner or later, end up in fascism. Simple minded as we are, we may take the emergency declared and performed to perfection by Indira Gandhi, former prime minister of India, to be the high point of the manifestation of the political prophecy of Roy. Doing that would be stupidity of the highest order. The point is that it is not by equating Gandhism with Indira Gandhism that we should understand Roy's indictment because Indian National Congress, which was instrumental in openly displaying the fascistic content of the state, was a movement that, in Gandhi's eyes, had lost its relevance when India achieved independence and had to be liquidated then and there. So there is no point in making Gandhi responsible for the metastases and power-desires that were/are the characteristic marks of Indian National Congress in the post-independent era.

In order to understand the fascistic content of the politics represented by Gandhi, it is better to study "the structure of the everyday life", to use the subtitle of the French historian Fernand Braudel's ground-breaking work Civilization and Capitalism, that we the political beings are supposed and forced to live. The point is: there is a difference between the power exercised by people who occupy the positions of power and people who do not occupy power positions. The first one is naked, coercive and visible, whereas the second one is disguised, consent-driven, and invisible (yep, the very good old point our bad young foe Gramsci made, which I unashamedly repeat. But Eqbal Ahmad said that it is in the nature of "truth" to be repetitive!). The power exercised by people who are apparently outside the 'power points' of the hierarchical power-machine known as the nation-state by resorting to the logical and argumentative framework of those who are in power, is much more oppressive and clogging than the naked exercise of repressive and coercive power by power holders. In fact, the paper money of state power is backed strongly by the solid gold of beliefs, prejudices and practices of the tax-paying and politically correct citizens. It is such an exercise of disguised everyday-life power that the Malayalam poet and activist Sugathakumari and one of the known Gandhian thinkers in Keralam K Aravindakshan (also, a good old friend of mine, who helped me by lending the book Saraswathi Vijayam in 2000 when it was not available in the market) displayed in their article published in the Mathrubhoomi newspaper on August 27, 2014.

Both these writers, instead of confronting the logical frame of the criticism levelled against Gandhi by the activist author Arundhati Roy, play what the students of logic would call red herring strategies and evade the criticism altogether and, gesturing their solidarity with the state-sponsored historiography, are hell-bent on proving and establishing their version that Gandhi is a human being of the highest order. Theirs is emotional tear-jerking of the most garden variety. And there are people who may theorize on such tear-jerking as a genuine form of resistance that could not be reduced to the rigid conceptual categories of the rational discourse of Western modernity. We have thousands of pages of intellectual exercise running along this line from postcolonial Indian elites. Nandy is the supreme example of the Indian postcolonial elite who does celebrate the "inviolable core of Indiannness ", which refuses to lose its "soul" and internalize "the victor" (111). In fact, Nandy has produced a hermeneutic of the sort about the superiority of the Gandhian politics over other forms of nationalist assertions. To this kind of postcolonial discourse, which makes a festival out of the oriental difference, or Indian difference precisely, with the help of battle slogans and costumes borrowed from the West, I have to repeat what the Argentinean thinker Augusto Boal did in his The Theatre of the Oppressed to Aristotle's high-fi theory of tragedy: to remind the dead Aristotle and his admirers that Boal comes from a place where a spade is called a spade (you know, Eqbal Ahmad said that it is in the nature of "truth" to be repetitive. The thing Ahmad does not seem to have quite grasped is that to be repetitive is there in the nature of falsehood as well!)

So I must repeat Boal and remind people belonging to the ranks of Ashis Nandy that I come from a coastal village of Keralam where people can understand from the smell of fish curry whether the sardine that is cooked is good or rotten. We know this "inviolable core of Indianness" for what it is: it is the "genius" of India which has produced the caste system, a system quite peculiar to India in its brutality and inhumanity, and which goes on living in the soul of India, unchanged. It was to this core of Indian society that Gandhi clung unto death. The rest of his politics can be termed for what it is in simple language: political opportunism at its purest, which intellectual gymnasts like Nandy on the parallel bars of western modernity and Indian difference theorize in great style. We have no time for such gymnasts.

We must instead focus on the attempt by the two Malayali intellectuals to hero-worship Gandhi at a time when Gandhi is being questioned from various quarters. We want to directly tell them one thing: we have no problem in your creation of a "Gandhi myth" and the subsequent construction of a temple in the minds of the people. We have no problem in your constructing an idol for the contemporary people. They are legitimate gestures. But we have problem at the precise moment when you misunderstand that your political project is also the political project of people who are denied entry in temples, real or imagined temples, or people who have no interest in idol worship. You can misunderstand, but you cannot force your misunderstanding on others. That needs correction. And Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra offers you some thoughts for correction:

Ye venerate me; but what if your veneration should some day collapse? Take heed lest a statue crush you!

Ye say ye believe in Zarathustra? But of what account is Zarathustra! Ye are my believers; but of what account are all believers!

Ye had not sought yourselves: then did ye find me. So do all believers; therefore all belief is of so little account. (74)

The Indian middle class, which is afraid of engaging in direct confrontation, may think if this is the right way to deal with the piousness and non-violence of the worshippers of Gandhi. And the politically correct postcolonial Indian elite may find it almost difficult to understand why the name of Gandhi evokes so much anger in the minds of Dalits. After all, is not Gandhi a superstar of peace and non-violence for all seasons?

Okay, we concede that your apprehension about Dalit anger is understandable, but what we fail to understand is your inability to examine and analyse the very foundation of Gandhian piousness and non-violence. If you had done a little bit of homework, you would have understood what the violent foundation of Gandhian non-violence is. For example, let us examine the "greatest common factor (GCF)" of the people in Keralam who attacked and also unconditionally pardoned Arundhati Roy for her criticism of Gandhi. The GCF of these people is that they all belong to the upper strata of the caste hierarchy. And this GCF points to certain structural aspect of Gandhian politics. It must be borne in mind that no Dalit intellectual in Keralam has so far publicly criticized Roy for her criticism of Gandhi. Despite the fact that some Dalit intellectuals have rightly understood the Brahminical appropriative strategies that are at work in Arundhati Roy's introduction to Ambedkar's work Annihilation of Caste, they, it seems, have no problem with her criticism of Gandhi and Gandhian politics. These factors force us to be blunt: in truth, the politics of Gandhi, with all its piousness and non-violence, is basically and essentially the politics of the savarna.

If Dalit people and other victims of our social fabric do not feel inclined toward the non-violent theatre of the worshippers of Gandhi, there is no point in blaming them. The logical ground of this apprehension that Dalit people show toward the piousness that is put on show by savarna intellectuals and activists of Keralam, has already been explored by Malcolm X, the revolutionary African-American thinker and activist, in the context of racism. We all know that Malcolm X was for a long time, in the minds of the American white at least, infamous for a political position: white man as such is evil. This is what Slavoj Zizek's take on Malcolm X's position:

The meaning of this pronouncement is not that all whites are evil but rather that, because of the wrongs committed by white men against black people, evil pertains to the very universal notion of a white man. This, however, does not prevent me, an individual white man, from becoming 'good' by achieving awareness of the Evil that defines the very substance of my being, and by fully assuming this guilt and working to overcome it.

From this perspective, it is the unconscious reasoning that non-violence by savarna as such is evil that makes Dalits distrustful of the piousness and non-violence of the Gandhi's followers. In other words, the non-violent piousness of Gandhian politics is a luxury that only the savarna can afford. As for Dalits, the very name Gandhi evokes in their mind fear and anger. How else could a people perceive a Mahatma who forged them in the smithy of Hinduism and made them one of the best objects in his experiments with truths? If they lack that anger, it is not politics proper; it is not a politics of self affirmation; it is not a politics of the subject of truth. It is precisely because of this reason that Frantz Fanon in his celebrated The Wretched of the Earth construes violence as a collective psychoanalysis of the oppressed to overcome his/her inferiority of the body/mind complex structurally created by the technologies of colonial violence. This is what Eqbal Ahmad has to say about it:

The point about Fanon's chapter on violence, for example, in The Wretched, was massively misunderstood and distorted by the reviewers in the United States and also in Europe. They merely saw in it a celebration of violence, which it was not. What it was was an emphasis on the importance of resistance, of struggle in the discovery of one's own and the other's humanity, of coming into the fullness of a collective self. (44)

Only when a people stand straight with a feeling of anger toward a system which has made them inferior and also the object of the condescending politics of the upper caste Hindu that they can begin a politics which can dismantle that system. It is as plain as that. And those "pious" and "non-violent" poets and intellectuals who smother every Dalit voicing and are non-violently intolerant toward the politics of the other are, in reality, the foot-soldiers of the status-quo.

Another common factor discernible in the worshippers of Gandhi is the childlike "ignorance" that they manifest with regard to Ambedkar's work and the contemporary Dalit discourse. Only when we discern that this ignorance is not as accidental as it seems, but is structurally built into the system and in the minds of the intellectuals that we perceive the magnitude of metastases that untouchability has undergone. The Dalit intellectual Chandra Bhan Prasad provides the right perspective to understand the metastases. In his formulation, untouchability is not a social evil as it was understood by Gandhi. Rather it is a 'political doctrine of exclusion'. In other words, it is not a problem that could be solved once caste Hindus change their mindset, as Gandhi thought, and start touching Dalit skins. Untouchability as a political doctrine of exclusion would not be dissolved even if Gandhi cleaned the toilet of a Dalit.

As Ambedkar, the shrewd commentator and critic of Gandhi, realized such condescending political gestures that Gandhi played with regard to untouchable politics would make him the rightful candidate to the fascist tradition of Indian spiritualism. Is it not precisely what happened when he became the Mahatma at the cost of other's plight and the sole champion of the untouchable cause? He knew what was good for the nation and the untouchables. The only option that others had was venerate Gandhi for his humbleness and greatness. There was not an iota of space for others to question him. No wonder, even as powerful and uncompromising a leader as Ambedkar had to surrender to the Gandhian blackmailing of fast unto death (something Gandhi never tried with the sturdy Muhammad Ali Jinnah) when he decided to withdraw his demand for separate electorate for untouchables.

What is the paradigm shift that Prasad effects to our understanding of untouchability? His point is that one could practice untouchability even when one is opposed to it in principle. And this understanding is crucial. When historically the upper caste denied Dalits the entry into the citadels of financial, symbolic and cultural capitals with the ideological justification of 'impurity', what in effect happened was that Dalits were denied any possibility of upward mobility in the socio-political realm. These accumulated capitals in the hands of the upper caste and the void in the hands of the Dalits could only be settled through a thorough redistribution of wealth and re-evaluation of all values. The possibility of the politics of redistribution and re-evaluation is what was prevented when Gandhi packaged and sold untouchability in the form of 'social evil', which could be fought actively by a voluntary decision of the elite not to practice it! Ambedkar, thoroughly knowledgeable of the Gandhian elite class politics of paternalism, attacks it ruthlessly, which many Indian admirers of Gandhi are blissfully amnesiac of:

Mr Gandhi does not wish to hurt the propertied class. He is even opposed to a campaign against them. He has no passion for economic equality. Referring to the propertied class Mr Gandhi said quite recently that he does not wish to destroy the hen that lays the golden egg. His solution for the economic conflict between the owners and workers, between the rich and the poor, between landlords and tenants and between the employers and the employees is very simple. The owners need not deprive them of their property. All that they need to do is to declare themselves Trustees of the poor. Of course the trust is to be a voluntary one carrying only a spiritual obligation.

Untouchability, as Gandhi understood it, was prohibited when Indian constitution came into being, but untouchability, as Dalits understand it, is still prevalent in every nook and corner of India and other parts of the world to which the "soul" of India and the "inviolable core of Indianness" migrated. It is there at the level of the political power distribution; it is there in the realm of intellectual exercise; it is there at the level of distribution of wealth.

Untouchability is, at the bottom, a mindset of the savarna as well. The greatest proof of it is the article by the poet Sugathakumari. According to her, if we have hitherto not talked much about Ayyankali, the pioneering leader from Dalit community of Kerala modernity, the best way to resolve the issue is by talking more about Ayyankali and not by vilifying Gandhi. What a solution! Nowhere in her article has one encountered a sentence where she makes a soul-search about the reason why savarnas like her hitherto were silent about Ayyankali. In fact, it has not even appeared to her as a problem! Poor pious non-violent soul!

Why have they not talked about Ayyankali? Why is it that only Dalits have to talk about Ayyankali? Why is it that when Dalits and people sympathetic to Dalit cause talk about Ayyankali and as a consequence criticize Gandhi, the pious non-violent souls attack them in the most ruthless of manner? Well, you know the answer! That is untouchability in the new garbs.

If one wants to stick on to the myth that Gandhi was a Mahatma, one has to structurally erase Ayyankali from one's historiography. Otherwise, such myth-making is almost impossible to attain. If one sheds one's pious non-violent garb and ready to make an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with truth, one can easily perceive that it is not that easy to make Gandhi a Mahatma. If Sugathakumari cannot understand both Ayyankali, the so-called illiterate, who took two girls to the school for education when education was allowed to Dalits for the first time, and who created the organization named "Sadhujana Paripalana Sangham" (the organization for the welfare of the oppressed) and carried in his mind a broader politics of the oppressed, and the western educated Gandhi, who called Ayyankali the "Pulaya king" and gave him a narrow caste label, and who carried in his mind caste and king, that does not mean that Dalits will not understand both Ayyankali and Gandhi.

And there is also another instance, which debunks the Mahatma. It is the satyagraha orchestrated for the entry of untouchables to Vaikkom temple. Everyone knows about Gandhi's hypocritical role in it, but in the official historiography of Keralam and its school textbooks, it is a great event! And Gandhi's role is even greater! I do not want go into the details of it here. But I would point out two facts here with regard to temple entry proclamation in general: (1) temple entry was not there in the political agenda of Ayyankali and (2) even though he lived only a few miles away from the Sri Padmanabha temple and was alive for nearly six years after the temple had been open to the untouchables, he never cared to go there at least once!

This is an excerpt from the author's forthcoming book. Please don't repoduce without permission.
Anilkumar Payyappilly Vijayan is Assistant Professor of English at Government Victoria College, Palakkad, Kerala. He has a PhD in English from Kannur University. His doctoral dissertation titled "Untouchability of the Unconscious: Containment and Disfigurement of Dalit Identity in Malayalam Cinema" makes, with the help of Lacanian psychoanalysis, a methodological inquiry into the logical aspects of the construction of Dalit identity in Malayalam cinema.

Cartoon by Unnamati Syama Sundar.

Rejecting Victimhood, Reclaiming Resistance

Joint pamphlet by BAPSA, SIO, YFDA on the occasion of Rohith's Shahadat Din
[Distributed for 'Resistance March' against Institutionalized Brahmanism on 16 January 2017 in JNU, New Delhi]

The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the enforced disappearance of Najeeb Ahmad reveal that agents of Brahmanical Fascism in universities have selected students from marginalized communities as their targets. JNU right now is reeling under a conspiracy of saffronisation engineered by M. Jagdeesh Kumar and his Sanghi bosses. Students in JNU are resisting the attempts at crippling social inclusion in the admission and research programmes, but the threats to the life, liberty and dignity of personhood of students from marginalised communities show that Brahmanism is out to root out the very presence of Dalit and Muslim students from higher education.
Rohith Vemula suffered a sustained period of humiliation, which included eviction from hostel, termination of stipend allowances, exclusion from all public spaces of HCU, before he was forced to end his own life on January 17th, 2016. What was Rohith's 'crime'? He refused to accept Brahmanical hegemony in universities, he stood up to intimidation by the minions of fascism (ABVP), and he protested against the carceral state which sent Yakub Memon to the gallows. Rohith Vemula's humiliation should remind us that there are entrenched histories of casteism even in premier universities. These histories of subjugating students hailing from deprived backgrounds include systematically discriminating against them at the time of entering university, alienating them within the university, or even erasing their existence itself, as is the case of Najeeb Ahmad.

Najeeb was forcibly disappeared from JNU after a near fatal attack upon him on the night of 14th October, 2016. Najeeb was attacked by members of the ABVP on a conspiratorial excuse. It was alleged that Najeeb had attacked an ABVP member for wearing a sacred thread on his wrist when the latter went to his room for a campaign in the upcoming elections in Mahi-Mandavi hostel. This allegation by the ABVP is clearly a fabrication, intended to imply that Najeeb himself caused the attack upon him to happen. Let us not forget, the action-reaction formula for justifying the genocide of Muslims has been popularised by Narendra Modi during his tenure as Chief Minister in Gujarat 2002.

While the institutional murder of Rohith is intended to intimidate Dalit students into silence and acceptance of Brahmanical dominance in universities, the enforced disappearance of Najeeb is intended to prevent Muslim students from aspiring to study in universities like JNU. Both Radhika Vemula and Fatima Nafees have to face the double trauma, of witnessing the death and disappearance of Rohith and Najeeb while also negotiating for justice with the same state which unleashed violence on them.

The model of 'progressive politics' as it exists in university campuses like JNU is based upon a perpetual appropriation of the struggles of Dalit-Bahujan-Adivasi students. This model of appropriation is led by parliamentary Left parties, wherein the struggle of marginalised identities for existence and emancipation is always converted into a convenient leftist vocabulary which leaves the existing structures of Brahmanical power unchallenged and does not question how anti-minority, upper caste prejudices are retained herein. But if we are to believe in the power of the resistance of the marginalized communities, then we will not let Rohith and Najeeb become mere emblems of victimhood. The life and struggle of Rohith teach us the meaning of radical solidarity and courage even in the face of moribund exclusion, while Najeeb's brief presence in JNU should encourage other Muslim students to ensure that the vacuum left in JNU by disappearance does not become a permanent one. Let hundreds of Rohith and Najeeb arise to uphold the mantle of emancipation.

We need a new imagination of politics which can uphold the fight against Brahmanism, not as a progressive pretense, but as a reclamation of dignity and resistance by those who are historically marginalized.
Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association – BAPSA
Students Islamic Organisation of India – SIO
Youth Forum for Discussions and Welfare Activities – YFDA JNU
Dalit is one who believes in equality, who practices equality and who combats inequality.
Gujarat withdraws books with ‘anti-Hindu’ Ambedkar remarks

The book was distributed in schools as part of Dr Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations.
Written by Kumar Anand

The book, Rashtriya Mahapurush Bharat Ratna Dr B R Ambedkar, written in Gujarati by Dalit scholar P A Parmar, was selected by the state government’s Department of Social Justice & Empowerment.

The book was distributed in schools as part of Dr Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations. The government took the decision to withdraw the book after it found that the publisher had added the “22 vows” Ambedkar prescribed during the mass religious conversion of 1956, in which thousands of his followers shed Hinduism and embraced Buddhism.The Gujarat government has withdrawn a book on Dr B R Ambedkar that was distributed to students of Class VI-VIII in government primary schools across the state, reportedly because it contained “anti-Hindu” content.

The book, Rashtriya Mahapurush Bharat Ratna Dr B R Ambedkar, written in Gujarati by Dalit scholar P A Parmar, was selected by the state government’s Department of Social Justice & Empowerment — the same department that ordered the recall.

The department is leading the programme on the year-long celebrations, which started on Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, April 14, 2015. The book was distributed to students so they could prepare for a state-level quiz competition on Ambedkar.

Sources said the publisher, Ahmedabad-based Surya Prakashan, had already dispatched the books to district headquarters and they were being distributed to schools when an order to recall them was issued.

The government had got more than four lakh books printed, most of which had already been distributed. Dr Ambedkar had read out the 22 vows at a mass conversion ceremony in Nagpur on October 15, 1956. In the vows, Ambedkar stated that Hinduism was “based on inequality” and denounced Hindu deities and rituals.

Director, Scheduled Caste Welfare, Department of Social Justice & Empowerment, K D Kapadia said, “The publisher added some things in the book that were seen as sending a wrong message to the impressionable mind of primary school students, so the government decided to withdraw the book… Some matters pertaining to religious conversion that are there in the 22 vows of Dr Ambedkar were added by the publisher that were seen as going against the message of national integration. Government’s action will be in the interest of the public.”

When contacted, Parmar said the original edition of the book was 24 pages-long and did not contain the 22 vows. “The addition was made by the publisher, who did not discuss the matter with the writer,” Parmar said. “It was the publisher’s mistake to add Ambedkar’s 22 vows. The addition has caused controversy… The publisher said that since some pages were blank while going to print, he decided to print the vows without asking me. The changes in my book were not discussed with me, else I would have suggested the use of Baba Saheb’s pictures instead,” Parmar said.

Parmar and an official of the Social Justice & Empowerment department said the publishing was handled by Dharmesh Kothari of Surya Prakashan. When contacted, Kothari refused to comment on the matter.This is the story of two people who belonged to very different backgrounds but it was love that united them together. While Charlotte Von Schedvin was a blonde, blue-eyed young woman from Swedish nobility, PK Mahanandia was a poor art student from eastern India and an untouchable because of the country’s caste system.

Should Brahmins be removed and barred from temples and replaced by SC/ST people to provide justice to their merit less injustice meted out to rest of the communities?

Nishant Patil, I know about Indian Caste System

Written Sep 4, 2014

I would like to see a new system, in which, whoever has interests in Hinduism and its rituals would be appointed as a priest.

Brahmins has definitely considerable advantage as they are traditionally doing the job. However, providing an opportunity for all other castes will eventually leads to reduce the monopoly of Brahmins in this area.

This may again lead to demarcation of pure Brahmin and others who are performing as Brahmins. I don't think that the latter group will have that respect/authority than former.

Do anything but you can't give justice to SC/ST.

दलित-पुराण 1

कई मुद्दों पर लगातार हास्य और व्यंग के माध्यम से आपके सामने अपनी अल्प समझ रखता आ रहा हूँ. फेसबुक, संदेश और फोन पर लगातार प्रतिक्रिया मिली – अच्छा लगा. आज आपके सामने ‘दलित-पुराण’ पेश कर रहा हूँ. अगर इस विषय पर नहीं लिखता, तो संभवतः मेरे ऊपर पक्षपात का आरोप लगता. इसलिए इस विषय पर लिखना मेरे लिए अति आवश्यक है. इस दलित शब्द में अनुसूचित जाति, जनजाति और पिछड़ा वर्ग भी सम्मिलित है (‘पिछड़ा-पुराण’ अलग से भी लिखने का इरादा है). वैसे मैं न्यूट्रल नहीं हूँ, मेरी अपनी एक राजनीतिक समझ है और उसपर कायम भी रहता हूँ. बहरहाल पेश है;

सरकारी नौकरियों में आरक्षण की व्यवस्था, सामाजिक-राजनीतिक आन्दोलन और आर्थिक परिवर्तन ने इस वर्ग में एक बड़ा मध्यम वर्ग खड़ा किया. इस लेख में यह समझने का प्रयास है कि यह ‘मध्यम वर्ग’ अपने समाज और मुद्दों के बारे में कैसे सोचता है और समाज के मौलिक ढांचे में यदि कोई परिवर्तन नहीं आ रहा है तो इसके क्या कारण हैं. मैं समझता हूँ कि देश के अनुसूचित जाति, जनजाति और पिछड़ा वर्ग को जो भी अधिकार मिले हैं, वे सब बाबा साहब भीम राव अम्बेडकर के भगीरथ संघर्षों का ही नतीजा है. इसलिए उनके बारे में और ज्यादा अध्ययन करने की जरुरत है, उनकों समझने की जरुरत है – खासकर पिछड़े वर्ग के साथियों को. मुद्दे की गंभीरता और जरुरत को देखते हुए यहाँ बाबा साहब के कुछ विचार आपके सामने रखना जरुरी है:

“न्याय हमारे पक्ष में है इसलिए मुझे नहीं लगता कि हम अपनी लड़ाई हार सकते हैं. हमारे लिए यह संघर्ष संपत्ति या सत्ता के लिए नहीं है. हमारा संघर्ष अपने मानवीय व्यक्तित्व को पुनः प्राप्त करने के लिए है.”

“मानसिक स्वतंत्रता ही वास्तविक स्वतंत्रता है. एक व्यक्ति, जिसका मस्तिष्क स्वतंत्र नहीं है वह भले बेड़ियों में न हो, लेकिन गुलाम है. मस्तिष्क की स्वतंत्रता ही किसी के अस्तित्व का प्रमाण है.”

“स्वाभिमान जीवन का अत्यंत महत्वपुर्ण अंग है. स्वाभिमान के साथ जीने के लिए कठिनाइयों को हराना पड़ता है. केवल कठिन और अथक संघर्ष से ही शक्ति, दृढ़विश्वास और गौरव प्राप्त होता है.”

“जब मेरे प्यारे बेटे गंगाधर का बीमारी के कारण निधन हुआ, तब उसके मृतदेह को ढकने के लिए नए कपड़े लेने के लिए लोगों ने मुझसे पैसे मांगे, पर मेरे पास उतने भी पैसे नहीं थे तब मेरी पत्नी ने अपनी साड़ी का एक टुकड़ा फाड़ कर दिया ….और हम गंगाधर को शमशान ले गए. मैंने अपनी जिंदगी में गरीबी के जो दिन देखें हैं, वो भारत के किसी नेता ने नहीं देखे होंगे….फिर भी मैंने अपनी गरीबी के कारण कभी अपने आत्मसम्मान और आन्दोलन को कभी पीछे हटने नहीं दिया. ऐसी गरीबी में भी मैंने अपने आप को किसी के हाथों बिकने नहीं दिया.”

बाबा साहब के चार वक्तव्य हमने आपके सामने प्रस्तुत किए. इन्हें जरा गौर से देखिए और समझने की कोशिश कीजिए. बाबा साहब के इन वक्तव्यों में उनके जीवन के मूल दर्शन हैं – मानवीय अधिकारों की रक्षा, मानसिक स्वतंत्रता, आत्मसम्मान और स्वाभिमान, धन के प्रति मोह का त्याग और एक स्थितप्रज्ञ धनुर्धर की तरह अपने आन्दोलन से लगाव. आप सोंचे यदि बाबा साहब ने अपने आन्दोलन से थोड़े–बहुत भी समझौते किये होते तो आज उनके वंशज के पास कितने प्लॉट, बंगले, मॉल और न जाने क्या–क्या होते. लेकिन बाबा साहब ने चुना संघर्ष, न्याय, आत्मसम्मान और स्वाभिमान का रास्ता.

अब आइये, जरा देखें आज़ादी के बाद उभरे ‘दलित अभिजात’ वर्ग ने बाबा साहब के दर्शन और सिद्धांतों को कैसे पढ़ा, समझा और क्या किया.

बाबा साहब ने कहा था ‘शिक्षित बनो’ ‘संगठित हो’ ‘संघर्ष करो’. मैं कई बार सोचता हूँ की बाबा साहब के इस नारे के क्या मायने थे और लोगों ने क्या सीखा है. मुझे लगता है बाबा साहब को गलत पढ़ा गया है, जो कुछ इस तरह है; शिक्षित बनने का मतलब डिग्री लेकर नौकरी ढूँढना, और ज्यादातर समय जब इधर–उधर के कामों में फंस जाएँ तो संगठित होने की बात करना और संघर्ष करना. बाबा साहब के आन्दोलन को सिर्फ आरक्षण और नौकरी तक ही सीमित कर दिया और उनके मूल दर्शन कहीं न कहीं गौण कर दिए गए. बाबा साहब का यह मतलब नहीं था, उनके लिए शिक्षा, संगठन और संघर्ष का मतलब था ज्ञान की प्राप्ति जो गुलामी की जंजीरों को तोड़ सके और मानवता की प्राप्ति के लिए अग्रसर कर सके.

जहाँ तक दलितों के राजनीतिक वर्ग का सवाल है, महाराष्ट्र के RPI के बारे में मुझे ज्यादा कुछ नहीं कहना है, वह कितने खण्डों में विभक्त है आप सभी जानते है. अठावले महोदय कहाँ से ‘कहाँ’ पहुँच गये. उदित राज से थोड़ी बहुत उम्मीद थी. लेकिन एक सामाजिक राजनीतिक आन्दोलन से ज्यादा उन्हें व्यक्तिगत मुक्ति पसंद आयी और पहले वे रामराज से उदित राज हुए और अब तो ‘राज ही राज’ है – क्या गिला, शिकवा और शिकायत – पिछड़े प्रधानमंत्री के राज में सब ‘ठीक’ ही है! 90 के दशक में रामबिलास पासवान एक बड़े दलित नेता थे और समाज उनसे थोड़ा बहुत उम्मीद भी करता था. लेकिन अब हमें उनसे कोई शिकायत नहीं होनी चाहिए. उनका दलित प्रश्न, सामाजिक न्याय और धर्मनिरपेक्षता अब लोकसभा के 7-8 सीट पाने तक ही सीमित रह गया है – चार अपने परिवार के सदस्यों के लिए और तीन–चार उनके सवर्ण अंगरक्षकों के लिए. और सबसे महत्वपूर्ण – युवराज की ताजपोशी भी तो करनी है.

लगता है बाबा साहब की सही विरासत मान्यवर कांशी राम जी ने संभाली. उनके दो–तीन नारों से ही आप उनके दर्शन को समझ जायेंगे:

ब्राह्मण बनिया ठाकुर छोड़ | बाकी सब डी. एस. फोर ||

बसपा के तीन कप्तान दलित, पिछड़ा और मुसलमान

मंडल कमीशन लागू करो वर्ना कुर्सी खली करो.

कांशी राम की राजनीतिक शैली, विचारधारा और रणनीति पर बहस हो सकती है, आलोचना भी हो सकती है, लेकिन यह निर्विवाद है कि अस्मिता के प्रश्न पर आज़ाद भारत में या इससे पहले भी किसी ने इतना विशाल आन्दोलन नहीं चलाया.

थोड़ी सी चर्चा बहनजी के बारे में जरूरी है. बहनजी चार बार उत्तर प्रदेश की मुख्यमंत्री रहीं. उन्हें एक अच्छी–खासी राजनीतिक विरासत मिली, कुछ अच्छा काम भी हुआ. लेकिन ‘महाचाटुकार’, ‘महापुरुष’ श्री ‘मिश्रा’ ने बहन जी को बार बार यह समझाया कि ज्यादा लोगों से मत मिलिए, आपको खतरा है, लगता है बहन जी भी सहमत हो गईं और उन्होंने अपने ही लोगों से मिलना बन्द कर दिया. जिन लोगों ने आजीवन संघर्ष करके, लाठी डंडे खाकर भी बहन जी को इतना बड़ा नेता बनाया, उन्ही से बहन जी को दूर कर दिया गया. नतीज़ा सामने है – लोक सभा चुनाव में बहन जी का सूपरा साफ़ हो गया.

अब जरा इन दलित पिछड़ा ‘साहब’ लोगों के मनोवैज्ञानिक संसार को समझें. ‘साहब बनने के बाद ये कैसे सोचते हैं:
समाज में एक नई पहचान बनानी है और इसके लिए अब सभी से घुलना–मिलना जरूरी है. अब घुलमिल ही गये हैं तो फिर अपनी असली पहचान बताना सही नही होगा और भरसक प्रयास होगा कि जाति का पता किसी को न लग पाये और यदि पता लग जाये तो यह साबित करने की कोशिश होगी कि हम तो सूर्यवंशी या चंद्रवंशी रहे हैं. इतिहास की किसी घटना ने हमें इस वर्तमान स्थिति में पहुँचा दिया. शूद्र जैसा दीखता हूँ क्या? शूद्र (SC,ST,OBC) हूँ ही नही, शूद्र तो गाँव में होते है, अपने दम पर यहाँ तक पंहुचा हूँ. यदि कोई सवर्ण यह कहे कि आप तो दलित दिखते ही नहीं है तो इसे गाली न समझ कर कॉम्प्लीमेंट की तरह लेना.

बाबा साहब का अगर जिक्र नहीं करना, नहीं तो साथ काम करने वाले मिश्राजी, शर्मा जी, पाण्डेय जी और राय साहब बात नही करेंगे. इसलिए बाबा साहब का कोई जिक्र नही करना है और जहाँ तक हो सके दलित विरोधी बात करना और दलित विरोधी दिखना. समाज में नाम कमाने के लिए समय–समय पर ‘जागरण’करते रहना, जिससे धार्मिक दिखें और धर्म के आकाओं के गुड बुक्स में आ सकें. बालाजी, सिरडी, वैष्णोदेवी की यात्रा पर समय–समय पर जाते रहना, लेकिन गाँव के गरीब परिवारों से या फिर अपने पास की किसी बस्ती के पास से भी नही गुजरना. उनकी सहायता करके अपने मित्र मंडली में यह संदेश नही देना है कि वह स्वयं भी इसी समाज से आता है. अपने घर मे काली, दुर्गा, शंकर, गणेश का तो चित्र लगाना पर कभी भूल कर उन महापुरुषों का चित्र नही लगाना जिनकी बदौलत वह ‘सफलता’ के मुकाम तक पहुँचा है. नियमित व्रत रखना, जिससे अपने साथियों के न पूछने पर भी कह सके कि भले ही वह बाबा साहब की वजह से नौकरी कर रहा है, पर वह उसी का ‘सनातन’ धर्म मानता है. अगर यह सब भूल भी गया तो बीवी को मंदिर ले जाना नही भूलना और उससे व्रत जरुर रखवाना। जब भी पूजा पाठ या कर्मकांड की बारी आए, तब एक घोर कर्मकांडी सवर्ण से भी ज्यादा कर्मकांडी बनकर दिखाना, जिससे ये कर्मकांडी आका खुश रहें (यह अकारण नहीं है कि कुछ लोग बाबा साहब को हिन्दू बनाने में लगे हुए हैं और कुछ दिन इंतज़ार कीजिए उन्हें ‘विष्णु’ का अवतार भी बना देंगे).

हर वर्ष धार्मिक कार्यक्रम आयोजित करना और उसमें अपने कर्मकांडी दोस्तों को जरूर आमंत्रित करना. अपने बच्चों को शुरू से ही धार्मिक बनाने पर बल देना, कोई मित्र घर आए तो बच्चों से कहना, “बेटा अंकल को सरस्वती वंदना सुनाओ” और यह सुनकर स्वर्गिक आनंद की अनुभूति करना. बच्चों को बाबा साहब के सिद्धांतों से दूर रखना और उन्हें सख्त हिदायत देना कि शर्मा जी, वर्मा जी, पाण्डेय जी या राय साहब के बच्चों से ही दोस्ती करनी है, न कि किसी गरीब या दलित के बच्चे से. अपने इतिहास की अब बात नही करना, इसलिए अपना सरनेम परिवर्तन करके, शर्मा, वर्मा या भारद्वाज लगा लेना. वीकएंड पर बच्चों के साथ क्वालिटी टाइम बिताना – मॉल्स में, PVR पर और इसके द्वारा उन्हें यह एहसास करना कि वह ‘साहब’ का बच्चा है.

आरक्षण के समय आन्दोलन करने की आवश्यकता महसूस नहीं करना, क्योंकि जमीनी स्तर पर SC,ST,OBC लड़ ही रहे है, हाँ प्रमोशन में आरक्षण मिलेगा तो लेने में कोताही नहीं बरतना – कास्ट सर्टिफिकेट लेकर सबसे आगे रहना. इसमे क्या हर्ज है? जब कभी हेरा–फेरी करते पकड़ा जाए, तब जरूर कहना कि मैं तो दलित हूँ, इसलिए मुझे फंसाया जा रहा है. इसके अलावे कभी किसी गरीब दलित की मदद नहीं करना. जब कभी सिर्फ दलितों के बीच रहें तो बाबा साहब और अन्य महापुरुषों की चर्चा अवश्य करना और लोगों से कहना भी कि व्यवस्था जातिवादी है, हमलोगों के साथ हर कदम भेदभाव होता है – न तो भारत सरकार में कोई सेक्रेटरी है, न तो कोई वाइस चांसलर और न ही कोई अन्य बड़े पदों पर. घड़ियाली आंसू बहाते रहना – हर अन्याय को लेकर. लेकिन यदि कोई दलित साथी इन मुद्दों को लेकर संघर्ष करे, तो उसकी कोई मदद नहीं करनी है. इतना ही नहीं, हर मुमकिन कोशिश करना जिससे कि आन्दोलन तबाह हो जाये. यह सब करने से ‘बड़े साहब’ खुश हो जायेंगे और कुछ न कुछ दे ही देंगे– भाई, पत्नी, रिश्तेदारों की भी नौकरी तो लगानी है. अरे, कुछ नहीं तो ‘बड़े साहब’ के साथ दिखने से ही आनंद और खुशी का एहसास करना.

अपना व्यक्तिगत स्वार्थ पूरा करने के लिए – बड़े से बड़े आन्दोलन को ख़त्म करने के लिए भीतरघात करना और बड़े साहब यदि आन्दोलन कुचलने कि बात करें तो लपक कर कहना कि सर आप रहने दीजिए मैं खुद काफी हूँ इसे कुचलने के लिए. आन्दोलन के वक़्त केकड़े की तरह एक दूसरे की टांग पकड़े रहना या फिर चौमिन स्टाइल में एक दूसरे के साथ लिपटे रहना, ताकि दूसरा आगे न निकल जाए.

और सबसे महत्वपूर्ण बात – अपने फायेदे के लिए साहबों के पैर नहीं, जूतों को चाट-चाट कर इतना चमका देंगे कि जूतों की चमक के सामने पूर्णिमा की चांदनी भी शरमा जाए और यदि चौबीस कैरट का हीरा सामने आए तो जूतों की चमक देखकर शर्म से कोयला बन जाये. और यदि चिपकू बनना हो तो ऐसा कि Fevicol भी पानी भरे.

हाँ, बेटे की शादी घोड़ी, तलवार, बैंड-बाजा और पूरे आडम्बर तथा कर्मकांड के साथ करना, जिससे कि दिखे की वह किसी ‘सनातनी हिन्दू’ या ‘बड़े साहब’ से कम नहीं है. दहेज़ भी बड़े साहब की तरह ही लेना, कोई कसर बाकी न रह जाए. यदि कोई सामंती सवर्ण दुर्व्यवहार करके घोड़े से उतार दे तब चिल्लाना ….अन्याय हो गया दलित पर. यदि बेटी कि शादी हो तो भविष्य निधि के पैसे निकाल कर और कम पड़े तो ब्याज पर क़र्ज़ लेकर पूरी शान शौकत दिखाना. कोई कमी न रह जाए और हाँ, ब्राह्मण महाराज को नाराज नहीं करना – दिल खोलकर दान दक्षिणा देना.
‘अभिजात’ दलित मनोविज्ञान को लेकर ये हमारे कुछ व्यतिगत विचार हैं, जो मैंने आपसे साझा किए. आपके आस–पास ऐसे बहुत सारे ‘महानुभाव’ मिल जायेंगे. यदि कुछ और विशेषताएं दिखें तो साझा जरुर करें, मेरा ज्ञानवर्धन होगा.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental .
अभिजात दलित समाज का कड़वा सच:
 दीवाली बजट Min ₹10,000
नवरात्रि बजट ₹ 2000
होली बजट ₹ 5000
सत्यनारायण कथा बजट ₹ 3000
मंदिर में दान ₹ 1000
तीर्थ यात्रा बजट ₹ 2500
खुद कपडे फैशन में ₹ 10000

अंबेडकर जयंती पर
1) टाइम नहीं
2) पैसा नहीं
3) शर्म आती है
4)₹ 10 चन्दा

दलित प्रतिरोध का गुजरात माडल और ब्राह्मणवाद के अंत की शुरुआत

Published: Wednesday, 20 July 2016
Written by संजय जोठे

गुजरात के गौ भक्तों ने दलितों का जो अपमान किया है और जिस तरह से उन्हें सरे आम मारा पीटा है वह अपने आप में बहुत सूचक है. उसकी प्रतिक्रया में पूरे गुजरात के दलित समुदाय में जो एक तरह का अहिंसक आन्दोलन छिड़ गया है वह भी बहुत सूचक है. इन दो घटनाओं और इनके आतंरिक संबंधों सहित इन घटनाओं के पीछे छुपे मनोविज्ञान और समाजशास्त्र को उसके पूरे विस्तार में समझने का समय अब आ गया है. अब निश्चित ही घोषणा की जा सकती है कि ब्राह्मणवाद के दिन पूरे हुए और इतिहास का चक्र घूमकर एक नए भविष्य की तरफ बढ़ चला है. यह घटना एक बड़े परिवर्तन का प्रस्थान बिंदु बन चुकी है. भारत में इतिहास का चक्र बहुत धीरे धीरे घूमता है क्योंकि ब्राह्मणवादी पुराणों और धर्मशास्त्रों के सम्मोहन ने इसकी राह में हमेशा से रोड़े अटकाए हैं. उस सबके बावजूद समय को और समाज को आगे बढ़ने से कभी नहीं रोका जा सकता और आज जो कुछ गुजरात में हो रहा है वह बहुत साफ़ साफ़ हमें बतला रहा है कि पश्चिमी शिक्षा और अंबेडकरवादी मशाल की रोशनी में समय एक ख़ास दिशा में परिपक्व हो चुका है. अब राजनीति भी उसके पीछे घिसटती हुई आ जायेगी. जो राजनेता, धार्मिक सांस्कृतिक संगठन, संस्थाएं, मीडिया और समूह इन घटनाओं को हमेशा दबाती आयीं हैं या खुद ही इन घटनाओं को अंजाम देती आयी हैं वे संगठन समूह और राजनेता भी सार्वजनिक रूप से आंसू बहाने और भाईचारे की अपील करने के लिए मजबूर हो रहे हैं. दो दिन में बहुत सारे नाटक शुरू होंगे जिन्हें समय और इतिहास हमेशा नोट करके रखेगा.

गुजरात के गौ भक्तों और दलितों के मन को एकसाथ समझने की कोशिश करते हैं. ये गौभक्त असल में ब्राह्मणवादी संस्कारों में भीगे हुए वे नौजवान हैं जो अपने दिमाग में एक ख़ास तरह के धर्म, संस्कृति और राष्ट्रवाद की व्याख्या लिए घूमते हैं. इन तीन शब्दों में भी अगर केन्द्रीय बिंदु खोजा जाए तो वो इनका धर्म है. इनका धर्म वर्णाश्रम धर्म है. हिन्दू धर्म जैसी कोई चीज दुनिया में नहीं है यह सरकार और सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने भी मान लिया है और डॉ. अंबेडकर ने तो हिन्दू धर्म को धर्म नहीं बल्कि विशुद्ध राजनीति सिद्ध कर ही दिया है. अब गौर से देखें तो इस वर्णाश्रम धर्म में वर्ण और उसके घिनौने रूप अर्थात “जाति व्यवस्था” का पालन करना ही वास्तविक धर्म है. हिन्दुओं के शास्त्रों में भारत के धर्म और धार्मिक अनुशासन को वर्णाश्रम धर्म ही कहा गया है. इस अर्थ में यह एक सामाजिक नियंत्रण का सबसे शक्तिशाली उपाय है. जाति स्वयं अपने आप में सामाजिक व्यवहारों को नियंत्रित करने का उपाय है. विवाह और व्यवसाय जैसे दो सबसे महत्वपूर्ण सामाजिक व्यवहारों को एकदम लोहे की दीवारों में कैद करने के लिए ही जाति की उत्पत्ति हुई है और आज भी यही इस व्यवस्था का सबसे बड़ा उपयोग है जिसे ब्राह्मणवादी विचारधारा बरकरार रखना चाहती है. ये दुनिया के ज्ञात इतिहास में सबसे लंबा और सबसे घिनौना दमन है जो आज भी पूरी ठसक के साथ जारी है और सबसे बुरी बात ये है कि समाज का बड़ा हिस्सा इसे इतनी गहराई से आत्मसात कर चुका है कि उसे इसमें कोई बुराई ही नजर नहीं आती. उनके लिए यह एक स्वीकृत बात है कि ये तो जीवन का अनिवार्य अंग है इसमें आश्चर्य कैसा? उन्हें आतंकवाद पर आश्चर्य होता है, बलात्कार पर आश्चर्य होता है दंगों पर आश्चर्य होता है लेकिन छुआछूत और जातीय भेदभाव पर कोई आश्चर्य नहीं होता, जैसे कि यह रोजाना पानी पीने खाना खाने जैसी कोई प्राकृतिक और सहज बात है.

जातिगत भेदभाव और उत्पीडन को समझने के लिए कुछ बड़े नामों की बात करते हैं. स्वामी विवेकानंद का ब्राह्मणवादी हिन्दू बहुत सम्मान करते हैं लेकिन बहुत लोग नहीं जानते कि खुद विवेकानंद जातिगत भेदभाव के बड़े शिकार बने रहे थे. उन्होंने खुद लिखा है कि “समाज सुधारकों की पत्रिका में मैंने देखा कि मुझे शुद्र बताया गया है और चुनौती दी गयी है कि शूद्र सन्यासी कैसे हो सकता है?” इस बात को आगे बढाते हुए विवेकानंद अपना संबंध चित्रगुप्त से जोड़ते हैं और स्वयं को कायस्थ सिद्ध करते हुए अपने प्रति ब्राह्मणों की घृणा को कम करने की कोशिश करते हैं. स्वामी विवेकानंद को यह तक कहना पड़ा था कि “मुझे नीच जाति वालों के प्रति उच्च जाति वालों के अत्याचारों के कैसे-कैसे अनुभव मिले हैं. क्या वह धर्म है जो गरीबों के दुःख दूर नहीं कर सकता? क्या तुम समझते हो कि हमारा धर्म, धर्म कहलाने के लायक है? हमारा धर्म सिर्फ ‘छुओ मत’ में है, जिस देश में लाखों मनुष्य महुए के फूल से पेट भरते हैं, जहां दस-बीस लाख साधू और दस-एक करोड़ ब्राह्मण इन गरीबों का रक्त चूसते हैं, पर उनके सुधार का रत्ती भर प्रयास नहीं करते, वह धर्म है या शैतान का नंगा नाच?”.दूसरा उदाहरण शिवाजी महाराज का है. उन्होंने अपने महान शौर्य से जिस हिन्दवी राज की स्थापना की उसकी शुरुआत के पहले दिन ही उन्हें भयानक रूप से अपमानित होना पड़ा था. महाराष्ट्रीय ब्राह्मणों ने उन्हें शूद्र बताकर उनका राजतिलक करने से साफ़ इनकार कर दिया. इसके बाद बहुत कोशिशों के बाद बहुत धन देने पर बनारस के पंडित गागा भट्ट को बुलाया गया और उन्होंने शिवाजी महाराज का संबंध मेवाड़ के सिसोदिया राजवंश से बताकर उन्हें क्षत्रिय सिद्ध किया और तब जाकर उनका राजतिलक वैदिक रीति से हुआ. मस्तराम कपूर ने अपनी किताब “नैतिक लोकतंत्र की तलाश” में लिखा है कि पचास हजार ब्राह्मणों को चार महीने तक भोजन और स्वर्ण मुद्राओं से परिपूर्ण करने के बाद भी उनके ब्राह्मण मंत्री उन्हें शूद्र मानते रहे. इसी कड़ी में रविन्द्रनाथ टैगोर भी हैं जो पिछड़ी जाति से आते हैं जिन्हें बंगाल में नामशुद्र कहा जाता है, रविन्द्रनाथ को इसी वजह से पुरी के जगन्नाथ मंदिर में जाने से रोक दिया गया था. यहाँ स्वामी विवेकानंद, शिवाजी महाराज और महाकवि रविन्द्रनाथ के शूद्र होने या न होने पर कोई स्पष्ट निर्णय नहीं दिया जा रहा है लेकिन उन्हें उनके समय में किसी भी भांति पिछड़ा या नीचा जरुर माना गया है इसलिए उनके उदाहरण बहुत प्रासंगिक हैं.

ये तीन उदाहरण देखिये आपको ब्राह्मणवाद का घमंड और शूद्रों की मजबूरी एक साथ नजर आएगी. और शूद्र कितना भी शूरवीर और ज्ञानी हो उसका स्वयं में कोई मूल्य नहीं है. उसका मूल्य तभी है जबकि किसी तरह उसका सम्बन्ध इस देश के वर्णाश्रम धर्म की स्वीकृत व्यवस्था के अनुरूप किसी कुल, वर्ण या परम्परा से न जुड़ जाए. यहाँ इंसान नहीं जातियां तौली जाती हैं. इसीलिये डॉ. अंबेडकर ने इस धर्म को त्यागने का निर्णय लिया था और आज की घटनाएँ बताती हैं कि उनका निर्णय कितना सही था और दलितों को भविष्य में क्या करना है.

गुजरात में दलितों पर जो जुल्म हो रहा है उसे इस तरह के इतिहास की निरन्तरता में देखिये, गुजरात के दलितों का दमन एक देशव्यापी घटना का उदाहरण मात्र है. सब जानते हैं कि ज़िंदा गाय की खाल नहीं उतारी जा सकती. अगर चर्मकार समुदाय के युवक बुलाये जाने पर किसी गाय की खाल उतार रहे थे तो ये हर दृष्टि से एक निरापद व्यवहार था. पहली बात तो ये कि वर्णाश्रम धर्म ने जो भूमिका उनके लिए तय की वे उसका पालन कर रहे थे. दूसरी बात ये कि वे गाय की ह्त्या नहीं कर रहे थे, पहले ही मर चुकी गाय उन्हें दी गयी थी. अब इस निरापद से व्यवहार में गौ भक्त हिन्दुओं द्वारा एक महापाप को खोजकर इन दलितों पर चढ़ाई कर देना और इसे एक सार्वजनिक रूप दे देना एक गजब की बात है. इसका मतलब ये हुआ कि ये गौभक्त इतने सुनिश्चित रूप से यह जानते हैं कि उनके द्वारा इन दलितों को सार्वजनिक रूप से पुलीस थाने के सामने पीटने पर भी न तो समाज कुछ बोलेगा और ना क़ानून कुछ करेगा. इस बात को ठीक से समझिये, यही असली मुद्दा है. उन गौभक्तों को यह भरोसा है कि उनके इस कारनामे को वृहत्तर समाज से सहमति मिलेगी और पुलिस भी उनका विरोध नहीं करेगी. यहीं इस बात पर भी गौर कीजिये कि पीटे जाते हुए उन दलितों ने डरते हुए हाथ जोड़े थे और इन लोगों से माफी भी माँगी थी. इसका अर्थ ये निकलता है कि उन दलित युवकों को भी पक्का पता है कि आसपास खड़ी भीड़ या पुलिस को उनसे कोई सहानुभूति नहीं मिलने वाली है और उन्हें उनसे अपने हक़ की बात करने का कोई अधिकार नहीं है. इसीलिये वे भी माफ़ी मांगने के लिए मारने वालों से मुखातिब हैं आसपास के लोगों से नहीं. ये सब इस घटना के विडिओ में साफ़ नजर आता है. इससे ऐसा लगता है जैसे कि यह दो अलग अलग राष्ट्रीयताओं के या दो अलग अलग धर्मों के लोगों का संघर्ष है जिसमे एकदूसरे के लिए भयानक घृणा और अविश्वास कूट कूट कर भरा हुआ है. यह घटना एक समाज के दो गुटों के बीच घट रही घटना नजर नहीं आती यहाँ एक गहरा मनोवैज्ञानिक विभाजन साफ़ नजर आता है और सिद्ध करता है कि भारतीय भीड़ किसी भी अर्थ में आज तक एक सभ्य समाज नहीं बन पायी है. राष्ट्र या देश होने की बात तो अभी बहुत दूर है.

अब इस मार पीट और अपमान की प्रतिक्रया जिस ढंग से हुई है वह और भी ज्यादा रोचक और महत्वपूर्ण है. दलितों ने बाबा साहेब अंबेडकर की रक्तहीन सामाजिक क्रांति की सलाह को मानकर अपनी पहली प्रतिक्रया दर्ज कराई है. उन्होंने विरोध प्रदर्शन का जो संकेत चुना है वो वर्णाश्रम धर्म की मूल मान्यताओं पर चोट करते हुए इस तथाकथित हिन्दू धर्म के पूरे ढाँचे को ही सवालों के दायरे में ले आता है. मृत गायों के अवशेष सार्वजनिक रूप से हिन्दू समाज के हवाले करना अपने आप में बहुत गहरा और सुविचारित जवाब है, जिन लोगों ने इसकी कल्पना की है उनकी बुद्धिमानी की तारीफ़ करनी होगी. इस उपाय की आंतरिक संरचना बहुत गजब की है और इसमें इस समाज को झकझोरने की बड़ी ताकत है. इसमें इस तथाकथित हिन्दू धर्म के मूल पाखण्ड और शातिर षड्यंत्र को एकदम से बेनकाब करने की शक्ति छुपी हुई है. इस उपाय में जो सवाल उठाया गया है वो ये है कि अगर गाय हिन्दुओं के लिए पवित्र है, या उनकी माता है तो वो ही अपनी माता का क्रियाकर्म करें और उसे ठिकाने लगाएं. गौहत्या को पाप घोषित करने के पीछे जो सांस्कृतिक प्रेस्क्रिप्शन है उसी से यह सलाह भी निकलती है कि गाय एक परम सम्मानित जीव है जिसकी कीमत शूद्र समझे जाने वाले इंसानों से भी अधिक है. इस दशा में पवित्र हिन्दुओं का पहला कर्तव्य है कि वे अपनी परम पवित्र माता को अपमान और दुर्गति से बचाते हुए उसका अंतिम संस्कार अपने हाथों से करके सुपुत्र होने का प्रमाण दें. दलितों द्वारा हिन्दुओं को गौमाता का जिम्मेदार सपूत होने का यह आग्रह एक बहुत भयानक पहल है और एक ऐसा प्रश्न है जिसका उत्तर सोचते हुए ब्राह्मणवाद की मूल संरचना का पोस्टमार्टम अपने आप हो जाएगा और उसमे छुपे कैंसर का बढ़िया निदान भी हो जाएगा.

जैसे ही गौमाता के क्रियाकर्म से ब्राह्मणवादी पल्ला झाडेंगे वैसे ही उनका सनातन पाखण्ड बेनकाब हो जाएगा. जब पर्दा हटेगा तो ये साफ़ नजर आयेगा कि गाय वास्तव में हिन्दुओं के लिए पवित्र है ही नहीं यह तो सिर्फ दलितों और मुसलमानों को दबाये रखने का एक उपकरण मात्र है. अगर हिन्दुओं के सभी गुरु मिलकर भी हिन्दुओं को समझाने की कोशिश करें कि सब लोग अपनी अपनी गायों का क्रियाकर्म अपने हाथ से करें, तब भी उनकी बात कोई नहीं सुनेगा और फिर से सिद्ध होगा कि हिन्दू असल में ऐसी भीड़ हैं जिनको किसी एक बात पर सहमत होना आता ही नहीं और जिसके पास कोई प्राकृतिक नैतिकता या मानवता बोध या न्यायबोध नहीं है. वैसे भी हिन्दुओं के सामने गायें प्लास्टिक और गंदगी खाती रहती हैं इस स्थति को बदलने की उनमे कोई प्रेरणा कभी रही ही नहीं इससे सिद्ध होता है कि ये मुद्दा धर्म का मुद्दा नहीं है और उनका धर्म भी स्वयं में धर्म नहीं है. इस घटना के बाद हिन्दुओं के गाय के प्रति व्यवहार पर सवालों की बारिश होने लगेगी और उनके तथाकथित धर्म के श्रेष्ठ इतिहास और उसकी आधारभूत संरचना ही कटघरे में खड़ी हो जायेगी.

दलितों ने इतनी सूझ बूझ से प्रतिक्रिया देकर इस सड़े हुए समाज की सडांध को एकदम चौराहे पर ला पटका है. वे मरी हुई गायों के अवशेष सामने नहीं ला रहे हैं बल्कि इस मरे हुए और जीवाश्म बन चुके धर्म और संस्कृति के अवशेष सबके सामने ला रहे हैं. अंतर्राष्ट्रीय समुदाय को भी अब पता चल ही जाएगा कि योग और वेदान्त की बात करने वाले इस समाज में असल में जमीन पर चल क्या रहा है. इस आन्दोलन का परिणाम दूरगामी होगा. गुजरात अपने जिन तथाकथित माडलों के लिए जाना जाता है वे माडल अब बहुत पीछे छूट जायेंगे. दलित प्रतिरोध का ये गुजरात माडल ही भारतीय समाज क्रांति की संभावना को गुजराती दलितों द्वारा दी गयी एक वास्तविक देन साबित होगा. यह बात आज हम सबको नोट करके रख लेनी चाहिए.

संजय जोठे फोर्ड फाउंडेशन इंटरनेशनल फेलो हैं और लीड इंडिया फेलो हैं। मूलतः मध्यप्रदेेश से हैं। समाज कार्य में देवी अहिल्या विश्वविद्यालय से एम् ए के बाद ब्रिटेन की ससेक्स यूनिवर्सिटी से अंतरराष्ट्रीय विकास में M.A. हैं और वर्तमान में TISS मुम्बई से पीएचडी कर रहे हैं। सामाजिक विकास के मुद्दों सहित पर पिछले 14 वर्षों से विभिन्न संस्थाओं के साथ कार्यरत है। ज्योतिबा फुले पर इनकी एक किताब प्रकाशित हो चुकी है, और एक अन्य किताब प्रकाशनाधीन है। विभिन्न पत्र पत्रिकाओं और ब्लॉग्स में बहुजन समाज और दलित विमर्श के मुद्दों पर शोध आधारित लेखन में संलग्न हैं।

Photo credit : from Facebook wall of Dilip Mandal

Celebrate Chhath Parv as Chhath BABA not Chhathi Maiya

सत्य, सत्याग्रह, शूद्र, दलित और भारतीय नैतिकता
Written by Sanjay Jothe

सामाजिक राजनीतिक आन्दोलनों में एक लंबे समय से "आत्मपीड़क सत्याग्रह" प्रचलन में बने हुए हैं. ऐसे भूख हड़ताल, उपोषण, आमरण अनशन जैसे तरीकों से समाज के एक बड़े वर्ग को झकझोरने में सफलता भी मिलती आई है. ये तकनीकें और "टूल" सफल भी रहे हैं और उनकी सफलताओं से जन्मी असफलताओं को हमने खूब भोगा भी है. पूना पैक्ट की प्रष्ठभूमि में किया गया आमरण अनशन, या भारत की आजादी की रात फैले दुनिया के सबसे बड़े धार्मिक दंगे को शांत करने के लिए किया गया अनशन हो या पूर्वी पश्चिमी पाकिस्तान की तरफ बलात भेजे जा रहे अल्पसंख्यकों की चिंता से उभरा अनशन की धमकी हो, गांधी जी ने अनेकों अवसरों पर अनशन और उपोषण को एक नैतिक उपाय या उपकरण की तरह इस्तेमाल किया है और उनके सदपरिणामों और दुष्परिणामों ने मिलकर ही उस समाज की रचना की है जिसमे बैठकर हम इन पंक्तियों को लिख या पढ़ रहे हैं.

निश्चित ही साधन शुद्धि की बात करने वाले गांधीजी का आग्रह जिसे वे "सत्याग्रह" कहते रहे थे, एक शक्तिशाली रचना थी जिसमे समाज की "प्रचलित नैतिकता" को सम्मोहित करने और झकझोर देने की बड़ी ताकत थी. एक "अधनंगे हिन्दू संत" की छवि गढ़ने में उन्होंने जो सचेतन निवेश किया था जिसकी सफलता ने उन्हें एक ख़ास उंचाई तक पहुँचाया था, उस उंचाई पर साधन की शुद्धता की बहस में साध्य की शुद्धता की बहस को एकदम से विमर्ष से गायब कर देने में सफल हो सके थे. हालाँकि अंबेडकर जैसे लोगों ने साध्य की शुद्धता पर साधन, साध्य और शुद्धता जैसे शब्दों की महिमा को अस्वीकार करते हुए बड़े तार्किक प्रहार किये थे लेकिन उन प्रहारों का असर उतना नहीं हुआ जितना होना चाहिए था. ये असर हो भी नहीं सकता था, और ये विवशता आज भी जस की तस बनी हुई है. या कहें कि ये विवशता अब कहीं अधिक बढ़ गयी है, आज धर्मप्रेम, राष्ट्रप्रेम, राष्ट्रभक्ति और राष्ट्रवाद की परिभाषाएं जिस अर्थ में बदली हैं और 'गांधी के रामराज्य' पर 'रामराज्यवादियों का गांधी' जिस तरह हावी हो चुका है उस हालत में अब साधन या साध्य शुद्धि की बहस में अब गांधी खुद भी आ जाएँ तो वे भी निराश होकर लौट जायेंगे.

सत्याग्रह का यह सत्य और ये साधन शुद्धि क्या है? आइये इसमें प्रवेष करते हैं. गांधीजी जिस ढंग की नैतिकता और शुचिता को समाज मनोविज्ञान के बदलाव के एक उपकरण की तरह इस्तेमाल करते हैं वह एक ख़ास तरह की प्रष्ठभूमि से आती है. असल में वे शुद्ध साधन से शुद्ध साध्य तक नहीं पहुँच रहे हैं बल्कि शुद्ध साध्य की अपनी विशिष्ट कल्पना से किसी शुद्ध साधन को 'बेक प्रोजेक्शन' की तरह निर्मित कर रहे हैं. सरल भाषा में कहें तो वे पहले एक अहिंसक, नैतिक, धर्मप्राण, हिन्दू अर्थ के रामराज्य की कल्पना करते हैं और उसे साकार करने के लिए जो भी करणीय है उसे "शुद्ध साधन" की तरह प्रचारित और प्रयोग करने लगते हैं. ऐसे प्रयासों को वे धर्म, अहिंसा मोक्ष और नैतिकता की इबारत में ऐसे बांधते हैं कि साधन शुद्धि ही एकमात्र बहस बन जाती है. और बहुत सावधानी से साध्य की शुद्धि की कोई बहस उभरने ही नहीं दी जाती. वे साध्य को बिना शर्त शुद्ध और सर्वहितकारी मानकर ही चलते हैं. इसमें सर्व और हित की उनकी अपनी विशिष्ट परिभाषाएं भी शामिल हैं जिनकी निर्मिती और संशोधनों का अधिकार उन्ही के पास सुरक्षित होता है. विनोबा या कन्हैयालाल मुंशी जैसे पट्टशिष्य तक उस परिभाषा में कोई बदलाव नहीं कर सकते.

सर्वोदय की कल्पना उन्होंने जिस विचार के साथ जोड़ी वह भी जान्ने योग्य है. रस्किन बांड से गांधी खासे प्रभावित थे, उन्ही की एक पुस्तक का गांधीजी ने गुजराती में 'सर्वोदय' के नाम से अनुवाद किया था. उनके लिए सर्वोदय का अर्थ था सबका उदय, या कहें सबका विकास, अब इस सर्वोदय को वे जिस रूप में पेश करते हैं उस अर्थ में सर्वोदय भारत का पुराना आदर्श है रहा है जिसमे भारत के उपनिषदों और धर्मशास्त्रों के पवित्र वाक्य "सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः" 'सर्व खल्विदं ब्रह्म', 'वसुधैव कुटुंबकम', अथवा 'सोऽहम्‌' और 'तत्त्वमसि' आदि शामिल हैं. हालाँकि हम देख चुके हैं कि इस देश में जिस दौर में इन महावाक्यों की महिमा अपने शिखर पर थी उसी दौर में मानवता के खिलाफ सबसे बड़े षड्यंत्र इसी देश में इन्ही महावाक्यों को जपने वाले लोगों ने रचे थे. सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्मम हो या सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः हो उसमे इस्तेमाल किया गया यह शब्द "सर्व" असल में कुछ ख़ास "टर्म्स एक कंडीशंस" के साथ 'अप्लाय' होता था. इस सर्व में शूद्र और अतिशूद्रों सहित स्वयं सवर्ण द्विजों की स्त्रीयां भी शामिल न थीं. ऐसे महावाक्यों के सर्जकों के दौर में समाज में भी इन नैतिक मूल्यों का जनमानस में कोई प्रभाव नहीं हुआ था, छुआछूत, स्त्री दमन, शिक्षा से वंचित करना आदि धर्माग्यायें मजे से चलती रही. ऐसे में आज हम यह कल्पना करें कि वे ही पुराने नैतिक मूल्य हमारे समाज में यूरोपीय अर्थ के लोकतंत्र, समाजवाद और 'सर्वोदय' को आज संभव बना सकते हैं तो शायद हम गलत उम्मीद कर रहे हैं.

अब हमारे लिए यह जानना भी जरूरी है कि ऐसे साध्य और उससे जन्मे ये साधन आते कहाँ से हैं? ये एक ख़ास तरह के धर्मदर्शन और तात्विक मान्यता से आते हैं जो व्यक्ति, व्यक्तित्व, समाज, धर्म, जीवन और जीवन के आत्यंतिक लक्ष्यों सहित इन लक्ष्यों के सन्दर्भ में व्यक्तियों के करणीय को एक विशेष रंग में रंगता है. इन रंगों को उभारने वाले सारे साधन "शुद्ध" हैं और इन रंगों को चौती देने वाले या इनसे "तार्किक कंट्रास्ट" पैदा करने वाले साधन "अशुद्ध" हैं. उदाहरण के लिए किसी भी समाज की प्रचलित नैतिकता में एक संत या परोपकारी व्यक्ति का भूख से मर जाना पूरे समाज के लिए एक भारी बदनामी और चिंता का विषय बन जाता है. वहीं एक अज्ञात व्यक्ति का भूख से मर जाना किसी को दुखी नहीं करता या एक अपराधी, राष्ट्रद्रोही, या धर्मनिन्द्क सिद्ध कर दिए गये व्यक्ति को भूखों मार देना पूरे समाज को खुश भी कर सकता है.

सत्याग्रह के सत्य की अगर बात करें तो वह भी बड़ा खतरनाक है. भारतीय वैदिक धारणा या उपनिषदिक धारणा में सत्य एक ऐसा फिक्स्ड पॉइंट है जिसके बारे में सैधांतिक रूप से (कथनी में) यह बात फैलाई गयी है कि इस "एक" सत्य की तरफ अनंत रास्ते जा सकते हैं और जिसकी अनंत व्याख्याएं हो सकती हैं. असल में यह एक परमात्मा की धारणा का ही विस्तार है. लेकिन व्यवहार में (करनी) में देखें तो इस तथाकथित सत्य तक पहुँचने के लिए अनंत मार्ग नहीं हैं मार्ग एक ही है और उस पर चलने वाले चुनिन्दा लोग भी विशेष परमिट लेकर ही चलते आये हैं. उस मार्ग में नास्तिक, अनीश्वरवादी, वेदविरोधी या विधर्मी को चलने का कोई अधिकार नहीं है. हाँ ये अलग बात है कि इन श्रेणियों से आने वाले बुद्ध, महावीर, गोरख और कबीर जैसे लोगों ने वैदिक, औपनिषदिक या हिन्दू परिभाषाओं कि चिंता न करते हुए इतनी महिमा प्रदर्शित की कि बाद के वैदिकों हिन्दुओं ने इन व्यक्तियों को भी अपनी सनातन षड्यंत्रकारी "सर्वसमावेशी" खोल में निगल लिया. इस तरह ऊपर ऊपर दिखता है कि ये सर्वसमावेशी खोल सबको सत्यान्वेषण की एक सी सुविधा या अनुमति देती है लेकिन हकीकत में ये होता नहीं है.

अब मूल मुद्दे पर आते हुए अगर हम देखें कि इस मुल्क में सत्य, नैतिकता और आग्रह की ये परिभाषाएं हैं तो "सत्याग्रह" का क्या अर्थ और परिणाम हो सकता है? सत्य की परिभाषा और लोकमानस में उसकी स्वीकृति एक ख़ास रंग में रंगी हुई है. एक आस्तिक धर्मभीरु और रुढ़िवादी अर्थ का सत्य ही हमारे लोकमानस में स्वीकृत है. आजकल इस धर्मभीरुता के गर्भ से जन्मा राष्ट्रवाद और देशप्रेम इस एक ख़ास किस्म की नैतिकता को आकार दे रहा है जिसमे न केवल राजनीतिक सामाजिक शुचिता की परिभाषाएं तेजी से बदल रही हैं बल्कि स्वयं नैतिकता कि परिभाषा भी अब बड़े अनैतिक अर्थों में होने लगी है.

अब मूल रूप से प्रश्न ये है कि आजकल सामाजिक राजनीतिक कार्यकर्ताओं और मुक्तिकामियों में जिस तरह से सत्याग्रह प्रचलित हो रहा है उसे किस नजर से देखा जाये? उसकी सफलता असफलता सहित उसकी व्यावहारिकता और अव्यावहारिकता को किस ढंग से देखा जाए? क्या ये कार्यकर्ता ये मानकर चल रहे हैं कि समाज इतना नैतिक है कि उनके भूखे रहने पर उसे तकलीफ होगी? क्या वे ये मानकर चल रहे हैं कि उन्होंने गांधी या विनोबा की तरह अधनंगे फकीर की छवि गढ़ने में पर्याप्त 'निवेश' कर लिया है? क्या वे ये मानकर चल रहे हैं कि जिस नैतिकता या सामूहिक शुभ को वे सम्मान देते हैं जनता भी उसे उसी तरह सम्मान दे पा रही है? और इन सबसे बड़ा प्रश्न ये कि ये साध्य, साधन, शुचिता आदि का ये सौंदर्यशास्त्र जिस सांस्कृतिक प्रष्ठभूमि में जन्मा है क्या वह संस्कृति और उसका अतीत आजकल के लोकतांत्रिक या समाजवादी आदर्शों के साथ कम्पेटिबल है?

इन सभी प्रश्नों का एक ही उत्तर है – "नहीं". न तो हमारे आज के मुक्तिकामियों ने अपनी धार्मिक अर्थ की फकीराना या शहीदाना छवि निर्माण के लिए पर्याप्त निवेश किया है (कई लोग तो करना भी नहीं चाहेंगे) न ही सामान्य जन मानस में एक पवित्र पुरुष या नैतिक पुरुष के रूप में अपनी छवि स्थापित की है और ना ही संस्कृति या नैतिकता की परिभाषाओं से आने वाले पारम्परिक करणीयों का उहोने पालन किया है. ऐसे में वे किस अधिकार से जनता को या सरकार को नैतिक बल से झुकाना चाहते हैं? ऐसी कौनसी नैतिकता उन्होंने इस जनता में या सरकार में देख ली है? इसका भी यही उत्तर है कि जनता की नैतिकता भी कंडीशंड की जा चुकी है. ऐसी जनता की नैतिकता से उम्मीद रखकर क्या अपनी जान भूखहडताल में दांव पर लगाना समझदारी है? हरगिज नहीं. न तो सरकारें इस योग्य हैं कि उनके आगे नैतिकता का या सत्य का आग्रह किया जा सके और न ही जनता इस योग्य रह गयी है कि उससे नैतिकता का कोई आग्रह किया जा सके. लेकिन यह जानते हुए भी हमारे मुक्तिकामी किस उम्मीद में भूख हड़ताल पर बैठ जाते हैं? निश्चित ही वे संविधान, विधि और कानून द्वारा बनाये गये नियमों से परिभाषित अधिकारों को हासिल करने की उम्मीद में "व्यवस्था" के सामने उम्मीद लगाए बैठे हैं. अब गौर कीजिये इस बिंदु पर वे समाज की नैतिकता से नहीं बल्कि "व्यवस्था के अनुशासन" से उम्मीद कर रहे हैं. इस क्रम में वे व्यवस्था को "अव्यवस्था फ़ैल जाने का भय" दिखाते हुए समाज की नैतिकता के सक्रिय होकर अचानक सड़कों पर उतर आने की झूठी उम्मीद कर रहे हैं. ठीक से देखा जाए तो बस इस दूसरी उम्मीद में ही सारी भूल हो रही है. पहली उम्मीद तक कोई खराबी नहीं है.

सरल शब्दों में कहें तो गांधी या विनोबा की तरह पारम्परिक संत या फकीर या ब्रह्मचारी या अणुव्रती की तरह स्थापित हुए बिना आप इस देश की जनता की नैतिकता को न तो ललकार सकते हैं न ही उससे कोई उम्मीद कर सकते हैं. इसीलिये अंबेडकर ने कभी भारतीय समाज की नैतिकता को ललकारने का वैसा प्रयास नहीं किया जैसा गांधी करते रहे थे. अंबेडकर जानते थे कि इस धर्मभीरु समाज की पाखंडी नैतिकता ही असली समस्या है, जिस नैतिकता ने भारत को सडाया है उससे क्या आग्रह करना? या यूँ कहें कि जहर के कुवें से अपने लोगों के लिए ही पीने का पानी मांगना अंबेडकर कैसे स्वीकार करेंगे? इस सच्चाई को आज के सामाजिक क्रान्तिक्रारियों पर लागू करके देखिये. वे एक दोमुही और असमंजस की स्थिति में फंसे हैं. एक तरफ वे लोकतंत्र, धर्मनिरपेक्षता, संविधान आदि के आदर्शों की छाँव में बुनी गयी लेकिन धर्मभीरुओं/ धार्मिक षडयंत्रकारियों द्वारा चलाई जा रही व्यवस्था से कोई आग्रह कर रहे हैं और दूसरी तरफ इस "सत्याग्रह" के लिए उस जनता के आक्रोश से भी उम्मीद लगाए बैठे हैं जिसके लिए 'सत्य' 'नैतिकता' 'शुचिता' 'आग्रह' सहित इन सबके प्रति 'अधिकार' की परिभाषाएं क्रान्ति विरोधी और बदलाव विरोधी परिभाषाएं हैं. ऐसे में न तो ये व्यवस्था उनकी सुनेगी और न ये जनता उनकी मौत पर आंदोलित होगी. रोहित वेमुला की मौत पर भारत की आम जनता ने कितने आंसू बहाए ये बताने की जरूरत नहीं है. ये ऐसा ही है जैसे आप एक खूंखार धर्मगुरु के घर के सामने धरना देकर बैठ जाएँ और उसी धर्मगुरु के प्रवचनों पर कीर्तन करने वाली जनता से उम्मीद करें कि वो जनता आपकी भूख हड़ताल या गिरती सेहत से प्रभावित होकर अपने धर्मगुरु के खिलाफ सड़कों पर उतर आये. अगर आप ऐसी उम्मीद कर रहे हैं तो आप आत्महत्या कर रहे हैं. ये व्यर्थ की भावुकता भी है और रणनीतिक अपरिपक्वता भी है.

ऐसे में क्या किया जा सकता है? क्या उपाय है? इसका एक ही उत्तर है कि जिस समाज की अनैतिकता ने इस व्यवस्था को जन्म दिया है या संविधान और कानून को ठीक ढंग से अमल में आने से रोका है उस नैतिकता से उम्मीद छोड़ दीजिये. व्यवस्था से शिकायत है तो 'शिकायत निवारण की जो विधिसम्मत व्यवस्था' है उसे अमल में लाइए. जनांदोलन और जनजागरण के लिए सड़कों पर "ज़िंदा" उतरिये, "लाश की तरह" आप एक ही बार शोभायात्रा निकाल सकते हैं. इससे काम आसान नहीं बल्कि मुश्किल होता है. ऐसे भावुक शहीदों का वही जहरीली नैतिकता कैसा दुरूपयोग करती है ये हम भगत सिंह और विवेकानन्द के जीवन से सीख सकते हैं. शहीद या विक्टिम बनने के अपने फायदे हैं लेकिन वे फायदे एक नैतिक समाज में एक सभ्य समाज में ही संभव हैं. भारत जैसे अनैतिक और असभ्य समाज में सिर्फ उन्ही लोगों का सत्याग्रह सफल हो सकता है जिनका सत्य धर्मान्ध व्यवस्था के सत्य की परछाई की तरह जन्मा हो. लेकिन अगर आप पश्चिमी मूल्यों से प्रेरित समाजवादी, लोकतांत्रिक, सेक्युलर और सहज मानवीय नैतिकता से भरी व्यवस्था के लिए संघर्षरत हैं तो आपको धर्मान्धों, गांधीवादियों, सर्वोदयवादियों और राष्ट्रवादियों के ढंग के सत्याग्रह और आत्मपीडन से बचना चाहिए.
संजय जोठे फोर्ड फाउंडेशन इंटरनेशनल फेलो हैं और लीड इंडिया फेलो हैं। मूलतः मध्यप्रदेेश से हैं। समाज कार्य में देवी अहिल्या विश्वविद्यालय से एम् ए के बाद ब्रिटेन की ससेक्स यूनिवर्सिटी से अंतरराष्ट्रीय विकास में M.A. हैं और वर्तमान में TISS मुम्बई से पीएचडी कर रहे हैं। सामाजिक विकास के मुद्दों सहित पर पिछले 14 वर्षों से विभिन्न संस्थाओं के साथ कार्यरत है। ज्योतिबा फुले पर इनकी एक किताब प्रकाशित हो चुकी है, और एक अन्य किताब प्रकाशनाधीन है। विभिन्न पत्र पत्रिकाओं और ब्लॉग्स में बहुजन समाज और दलित विमर्श के मुद्दों पर शोध आधारित लेखन में संलग्न हैं।

*Illustration courtesy: Unnamati Syama Sundar.

हिन्दू भगवानो को परेशान मत कीजिये, रविदास बुद्ध कबीर से मार्गदर्शन लीजिये
Written by Sanjay Jotheay Jothe

परम संत रविदास का नाम ही एक अमृत की बूँद के जैसा है. जैसे भेदभाव, छुआछूत और शोषण से भरे धर्म के रेगिस्तान में अपनेपन, समानता और भाईचारे की छाँव मिल जाए. जैसे कि प्यास से तडपते हुए आदमी को ठंडा पानी मिल जाए. ऐसे हैं संत रविदास. इनकी जितनी तारीफ़ की जाए सो कम है. जो लोग रविदास को प्रेम करते हैं उन्हें बहुत सोच समझकर उनकी तारीफ़ करनी चाहिए. निंदा कैसी भी करनी हो कीजिये लेकिन तारीफ़ बहुत जान समझकर की जानी चाहिए. ये बात हमारे दलित युवाओं को बहुत गहराई से समझनी चाहिए. इसीलिये इस लेख में मैं संत रविदास को उनके असली रूप में सामने लाऊंगा ताकि संत रविदास को हिन्दू या ब्राह्मण सिद्ध करने के षड्यंत्र को बेनकाब किया जा सके.

हमारे दलित और आदिवासी युवाओं को यह बात ध्यान में रखनी चाहिए कि दलित और मूलनिवासी संतों को जबरदस्ती ब्राह्मण या हिन्दू साबित करने का काम इस देश में चलता आया है. उससे बचकर रहना चाहिए इसी में दलित और मूलनिवासी समाज की भलाई है. हमारे महापुरुष हमारे अपने हैं वे हमारी जाति में हमारे गरीब समाज में पैदा हुए थे. उन्होंने वही भेदभाव और अपमान सहा है जो हमारे बाप दादों ने हजारों साल तक सहा है. ऐसे में कोई ये कहे कि रविदास पिछले जन्म में ब्राह्मण थे तो इसका सीधा मतलब ये है कि वो आदमी हमसे हमारे महापुरुष को और हमारे बाप दादों की विरासत को चुराने आया है. उसे तुरंत अपने घर मोहल्ले और गाँव से बाहर निकाल दीजिये. वो हमारे संतों को खत्म करने आया है उससे हमें कोई बात नहीं करनी चाहिए.

हमारे दलित युवाओं पर बहुत बड़ी जिम्मेदारी है. हम सब जानते हैं कि संत रविदास, संत कबीर और बाबा साहेब अंबेडकर किस तरह से जिन्दगी भर सताए गए थे. इसके बावजूद उन्होंने जो काम किया है उसके कारण वे इतिहास में अमर हो गए हैं. उन्होंने हिन्दू धर्म के छुआछूत और पाखण्ड पर जो चोट की है उसे हमें याद रखना चाहिए. लेकिन दुःख की बात ये है कि हमारे युवा इनके बारे में ज्यादा नहीं जानते हैं. अंबेडकर के बारे में भी हमारे युवाओं में पढने की ललक नही है इसीलिये अंबेडकर के नाम पर राजनीति करने वाले लोग अपनी मनमानी कर लेते हैं. हमें अंबेडकर रविदास और कबीर को राजनीति से बाहर निकालकर पढ़ना चाहिए. हमारे घरों में बच्चों और औरतों को कबीर, रविदास और अंबेडकर को पढ़ाना समझाना चाहिए. फालतू की पुराण और भगवानों की कथाओं से अपने बच्चों और औरतों को बचाना चाहिए. ये अब बहुत जरुरी होता जा रहा है. अगर हमने ऐसा नहीं किया तो जिस तरह से कबीर का ब्राह्मणीकरण हुआ है उसी तरह रविदास और अंबेडकर का भी बुरा हाल हो सकता है.

ब्राह्मणवादियों ने ये कहानियां फैला रखी हैं कि संत रविदास एक दुसरे ब्राह्मण संत रामानंद के शिष्य थे. ये एकदम झूठी बात है. कबीर और रविदास दोनों ही रामानंद के शिष्य नहीं थे. आधुनिक रिसर्च ये बतलाती है कि ऐसे किसी रामानंद ने न तो कोई किताब लिखी है न उनके बारे में ऐतिहासिक या साहित्यिक जगत में कोई रिकार्ड उपलब्ध है. अब ये बड़ी मजाक की बात है कि सैकड़ों किताबें लिखने वाले कबीर और रविदास के गुरु में भी कुछ तो काबिलियत होनी चाहिए ना? कबीर या रविदास अगर किसी आदमी को गुरु बनाएंगे तो उस गुरु की भी कुछ किताबें या कुछ उपदेश तो मिलने चाहिए. लेकिन रामानन्द के नाम से ऐसा कुछ नहीं मिलता. इसका सीधा मतलब है कि रविदास और कबीर को हिन्दू और ब्राह्मण सिद्ध करने के लिए ही ये खेल रचा गया है.

ऐसा ही खेल भगवान बुद्ध के लिए रचा गया था. बुद्ध की शिक्षाओं ने इस देश के पाखंडी धर्म को बहुत हद तक उखाड़ फेंका था. बाद में चालबाज ब्राह्मणों ने बुद्ध को विष्णु का अवतार घोषित कर दिया और बुद्ध के भक्तों को भ्रमित करके वापस भेदभाव और जाती व्यवस्था के अन्दर खींच लिया. यही खेल अब रविदास कबीर और अंबेडकर के साथ चल रहा है. इससे हमें बचना होगा और अपने महापुरुषों को भी बचाना होगा.

अक्सर हमारे बहुजन समाज के भाई बहन न तो अपनी संख्या की शक्ति समझते हैं न अपनी परम्पराओं और महापुरुषों की शक्ति समझते हैं. भारत के अछूत, दलित, मूलनिवासी और शूद्र (जिन्हें ओबीसी) कहा जाता है – वे सब के सब एक ही हैं. उन्हें बांटकर आपस में लडवाया जाता है. दलित समाज के लोग और मूलनिवासी या आदिवासी लोग असल में हिन्दू हैं ही नहीं. वे हिन्दुओं की वर्ण व्यवस्था से बाहर के लोग हैं. हिन्दुओं के चार वर्ण होते हैं. उसमे आखिरी वर्ण शूद्र है. शूद्र का मतलब होता है सेवा करने वाले लोग. जितने भी लोग किसान, कुम्हार, बढई, जुलाहे, रंगरेज, लोहार, धोबी, चरवाहे, पशुपालक, दूध बेचने वाले हैं वे सब के सब शूद्र है.

इसीलिये यादव, अहीर सहित वे सभी लोग जो अपनी मेहनत से कुछ उपजाते हैं वे इस देश में शूद्र माने गए हैं. उन्हें ऊँची जाति के लोगों के शास्त्र पढने और मंदिरों में जाने की इजाजत नहीं है. ऊँची जाति के लोग वे होते हैं जो मेहनत करने वालों की कमाई खाकर निठल्ले बैठे रहते हैं या उनकी उपजाई फसलों का व्यापार और दलाली करते हैं. सबसे ऊँची जाति वो मानी जाति है जो न कुछ अनाज पैदा करती है न व्यापार करती है बल्कि जो तोता मैना की कहानियों जैसी धर्म की कहानियां सुनाकर या श्राद्ध आदि के उलटे सीधे पूजा पाठ करवाकर गरीबों से दक्षिणा मांगती हैं.

शूद्र होना सम्मान की बात है. शूद्र अपनी मेहनत से अनाज उगाता है, पशु चराता है, लकड़ी लोहे या कपडे के सामान बनाता है. लेकिन शूद्रों या मेहनत करने वालों को इस देश में नीच कहा गया है. काम करने वालों को कमीन कहा जाता है. इस देश में कमीन एक गाली है. सोचिये जब शूद्रों की ये हालत है तो दल्तिओं और आदिवासियों की क्या हालत होगी? असल में दलित और आदिवासी इन शूद्रों से भी नीचे माने जाते हैं. ये एक तरह से पांचवे वर्ण कहे जाते हैं जो अन्त्यज कहलाता है. ये हिन्दुओं के ही वर्ण होते हैं. इसलिए पांचवे वर्ण या अन्त्यज का मतलब हुआ कि दलित और मूलनिवासी वे लोग हैं जो हिन्दू धर्म से बाहर हैं.

इसीलिये हिन्दुओं के महान धर्मगुरु और क़ानून निर्माता महर्षि मनु ने शूद्रों और अछूतों को शास्त्र पढने की और मंदिरों में प्रवेश करने की इजाजत नहीं दी है. आज के शंकराचार्य भी यही कहते हैं कि दलितों को हिन्दुओं क मंदिरों में जाने की इजाजत नहीं है. हमारे दलित भाई बहन इस बात से नाराज होते हैं. ये गलत बात है. दलितों को हिन्दुओं की इज्जत करनी चाहिए. हिन्दुओं का अपना धर्म है उनके अपने मंदिर हैं वे जिसे चाहें उसे अपने मंदिर में घुसने दें और जिसे चाहे उसे मना करके रोक दें. जैसे हमारे घर में रसोई होती है हम अपनी मर्जी से उसमे किसी को आने देंगे. हर कोई उसमे नहीं घुस सकता. इसी तरह मुसलामानों को हक़ है कि वे अपनी मस्जिद में किसे घुसने देंगे और किसे नहीं. लेकिन हमारे भोले भाले दलित और आदिवासी लोग नहीं समझते कि उनके घुसने से हिन्दू मंदिर और उनका भगवान् अपवित्र हो जाता है. हमें उनकी इस बात को समझना चाहिए, हमें उन्हें दुःख नहीं देना चाहिए और उनके मंदिर में नहीं जाना चाहिए. हमारे अपने देवी देवता हैं, हमारा अपना अलग धर्म है और हमारे अपने महापुरुष और उनके शास्त्र हैं. हम अपने महापुरुष और अपने मंदिर को छोड़कर दूसरों के मन्दिर में क्यों जाएँ? यह बात सबको समझनी चाहिए.

संत रविदास हमारे अपने हैं. वे चमार जाति में पैदा हुए और उसी जाति में मरे. वे न तो पिछले जन्म के ब्राह्मण थे और न किसी ब्राह्मण गुरु के शिष्य थे. उन्होंने जिस तरह की भक्ति की उसका राम या कृष्ण से कोई संबंध नहीं है. वे सीधे सीधे भगवान् बुद्ध की परम्परा में हैं. वे जिस तरह की क्रान्ति की और समाज में छुआछूत मिटाने की बात कर रहे थे वो बात हिन्दू धर्म में कहीं नहीं होती है. वो बात सिर्फ जैनों और बौद्धों में होती आयी है. जैनों के भगवान् महावीर और बौद्धों के भगवान् बुद्ध – ये दो लोग हुए हैं जिन्होंने छुआछूत, जाती व्यवस्था, वर्ण व्यवस्था और वेदों का विरोध किया है. इसीलिये बौद्धों को इस देश से ख़त्म कर दिया गया और जैन लोग हिन्दुओं से समझौता करके ज़िंदा बचे हुए हैं.

लेकिन हमारे लिए ऐसी कोई मजबूरी नहीं है. हम न तो हमारे महापुरुष की चोरी होने देंगे न ही उसके नाम या काम के साथ किसी तरह का कोई समझौता होने देंगे. हम रविदास को चमारों के संत ही कहेंगे. वे बहुत बड़े क्रांतिकारी हैं. उन्हें उनके मूल रूप में ही समझेंगे और अपने लोगों को समझायेंगे. वे जिस तरह की भक्ति कर रहे हैं उसको ठीक से समझना चाहिए. उसी से समझ में आयेगा कि उनकी असली विचारधारा क्या है और वे क्या हासिल करना चाहते थे.

हिन्दू धर्म में इश्वर की कल्पना सगुण और साकार रूप में की गयी है. हिन्दू चाहे जो कहें जितनी भी निराकार ब्रह्म की बात करें लेकिन उनकी सौ प्रतिशत भीड़ मूर्तियों और मंदिरों से ही संचालित होती है. उनके इश्वर के न सिर्फ नाम और शरीर होते हैं बल्कि उनका इश्वर युद्ध भी करता है प्रसन्न होता है और नाराज होकर श्राप देता है. वो इश्वर बहुत विलासिता का जीवन जीता है और गरीब अछूतों और स्त्रीयों को अपने मंदिर में आने की इजाजत नहीं देता है.
इसी कारण गरीबों और अछूतों के संत गोरखनाथ, कबीर, रविदास, नानक, नामदेव जैसे संतों ने इश्वर को निर्गुण कहकर पूजा है. हमारे संत रविदास ने भी जिस इश्वर को माना है वो इश्वर दुनिया बनाने वाला या चलाने वाला कोई कलेक्टर नहीं है. बल्कि वह प्रकृति की सबसे बड़ी शक्ति है जिससे सब कुछ बनता है और सब कुछ उसी में विलीन हो जाता है. ये एक वैज्ञानिक बात है कोई अंधविश्वास नहीं है.

रविदास का इश्वर भेदभाव नहीं करता. वो कुदरत या प्रकृति का ही रूप है. जैसे सूरज की धुप सबको बराबर मिलती है. उसकी नजर में कोई उंचा नीचा नहीं होता. रविदास का वो इश्वर सबको एक जैसा प्यार करता है और जाति और छुआछूत को नहीं मानता है. कबीर की तरह रविदास भी निर्गुण को मानते हैं. निर्गुण का मतलब होता है जिसका कोई गुण न हो. इसका सरल भाषा में मतलब ये है कि ऐसे इश्वर का न कोई नाम है, न रंग है, न जाति है, न वर्ण है, न उसके हाथ में कोई हथियार हैं, न कोई धन दौलत है. वह न पुरुष है न स्त्री है.

इसे ठीक से समझिये. इस इश्वर का कोई एक ठिकाना भी नहीं है, कोई मन्दिर नही है. इसीलिये अछूतों और महिलाओं को जब आर्य और ब्राह्मणों ने इश्वर की भक्ति करने से रोका और अपने मंदिरों से बाहर निकाला तो उन महिलाओं और अछूतों ने अपने ही ढंग से निर्गुण की भक्ति शुरू कर दी. जिन महिलाओं को और जिन अछूतों को मंदिर जाने से रोका गया उन्होंने कहा कि आप अपना भेदभाव करने वाला भगवान् अपने मंदिर में रखो हम अपने निर्गुण भगवान् को अपने दिल में रखते हैं. हम जहां हैं वहीं हमारा इश्वर है.

इस तरह अछूत संतों और महिलाओं ने पहली बार दुनिया को ये बात सिखाई कि इश्वर या भगवान् किसी मूर्ती या मन्दिर में नहीं होता है बल्कि जहां जहां सच्चा और साफ़ दिल है वहीं इश्वर मौजूद है. ऐसे ईश्वर को किसी तरह की रिश्वत या चढ़ावा देने की जरूरत नहीं है. इसे मुर्गा बकरा गाय या भैंस की या नारियल मिठाई आदि की चढ़ावे की जरूरत नहीं है. उसको ढूँढने की भी जरूरत नहीं है. वो सबके दिल में मौजूद है. उसके नाम पर न लड़ने की जरूरत है न अंध विश्वासी होकर निकम्मे अनपढ़ की तरह बैठने की जरूरत है.

संत रविदास खुद बहुत काम करते थे. मेवाड़ की रानी मीरा उनकी शिष्या थी अन्य रजवाड़े भी उनके भक्त थे लेकिन वे किसी से एक पैसा भी नहीं लेते थे. वे कबीर की तरह अपना गुजारा अपनी मेहनत से चलाते थे. इसी तरह हमें भी करना चाहिए. अपने बच्चों को वैज्ञानिक शिक्षा देकर इंग्लिश और कम्प्यूटर सहित पश्चिमी शिक्षा देकर कमाने के लायक बनाना चाहिए. संस्कृत, योग या धर्म की अन्धविश्वासी और बेकार की शिक्षाओं से हमारे बच्चों को बचाना चाहिए. निठल्ले बेरोजगार बैठकर समय खराब न करके संत कबीर और रविदास की तरह लगातार मेहनत और भक्ति दोनों एक साथ करनी चाहिए.

लेकिन आजकल जिस तरह से संत कबीर और रविदास को स्कूलों कालेजों में पढ़ाया जाता है उससे बचने की जरूरत है. अक्सर ही इन संतों को केवल और केवल भक्त बनाकर पेश किया जाता है. ये नहीं बतलाया जाता है कि ये बहुत अच्छे कारीगर और कुशल शिल्पी भी थे. ये बहुत ही अच्छे जूते और अच्छे कपडे बनाते थे. ये दोनों ही बहुत सुन्दर कलाकार भी थे. वे दिन भर निठल्ले बैठकर सिर्फ भक्ति भजन में ही नहीं लगे रहते थे. उनका काम ही उनकी भक्ति थी. जो लोग ये कहते हैं कि वे रात दिन राम नाम की भक्ति में लीन रहते थे वे लोग झूठ बोलते हैं. वे कबीर और रविदास को ऐसा आलसी भक्त बनाकर असल में दलितों और आदिवासियों को आलसी बनाना चाहते हैं ताकि उनकी वोटों की राजनीति और धर्म का धंधा चलता रहे. लेकिन हमारे पढ़े लिखे दलित भाई बहनों को इस चालबाजी में अब नहीं फसेंगे. वे अपनी समझदारी से इस चालबाजी से बच निकलेंगे.

हमारे युवाओं का सबसे पहला और सबसे बड़ा कर्त्तव्य ये है कि वे संत रविदास को एक क्रांतिकारी और समाज सुधारक की तरह समझें. उन्हें सिर्फ भक्ति भजन करने वाला आलसी न समझें. वे न भक्त हैं न आलसी हैं ना ही या भिखारी हैं. वे कर्मठ और वैज्ञानिक सोच वाले क्रांतिकारी सुधारक हैं जो समाज को बदलना चाहते थे. संत रविदास को एक क्रांतिकारी की तरह ही समझना चाहिए. उन्होंने जो काम किये और जिस तरह से धर्म और इश्वर की व्याख्या की वो सब समाज में छाये हुए छुआछूत को खत्म करने के लिए था. वे समाज में बराबरी और प्रेम बढाने का काम कर रहे थे. उनके नाम पर हमें भी यह कसम खानी चाहिए कि हम भी समाज में प्रेम और भाईचारा बढ़ाएंगे. हम इस छुआछूत और भेदभाव से भरे धर्म और सगुण भगवान् की गुलामी छोड़कर निर्गुण भगवान में भरोसा रखेंगे.

हमें यह कसम खानी चाहिए कि हम रविदास, कबीर और अंबेडकर की तरह उच्च शिक्षित और ज्ञानवान बनेंगे और अपनी मेहनत से अपना भविष्य बनायेंगे. हम किसी दुसरे के धर्म में या मंदिर में नहीं घुसेंगे. हमारे अपने संत महापुरुष देवी देवता और हमारा अपना धर्म है हम उसका पालन करेंगे. हम हिन्दुओं के मंदिर में घुसकर उनके भगवान को दुःख नहीं पहुंचाएंगे.
Sanjay Jothe is a Lead India Fellow, with an M.A.Development Studies,(I.D.S. University of Sussex U.K.), PhD. Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, India.

विदेशों में बुद्ध और कबीर क्यों, राम और तुलसी क्यों नहीं?
Written by Sanjay Jothe

संजय जोठे (Sanjay Jothe)

सनातनी षड्यंत्रकार जब अध्यात्म और धर्म की व्याख्या करते हैं तब वे चर्चा और प्रचार के लिए अपने पवित्र पुरुषों को नहीं चुनते। वे उन्हें तहखानों में सुरक्षित रखते हैं। धर्म प्रचार शास्त्रार्थ आदि के लिए वे आदि शंकर या तुलसीदास को नहीं चुनते बल्कि वे बुद्ध, गोरख, रविदास और कबीर को चुनते हैं। मैं यहां आदि शंकर या तुलसी का अपमान नहीं कर रहा हूँ, जिन लोगों को उनकी शिक्षा और उनका अनुशासन अच्छा लगता है वे बेशक उसमे प्रसन्न रहें। उन्हें शुभकामनायें।

लेकिन मजा ये है कि आधुनिक विज्ञान, विज्ञानवाद, आधुनिकता और पश्चिमी सभ्यता के सामने स्वयं को पिछड़ा और अन्धविश्वासी अनुभव करते हुए और उनका सामना करते हुए ये भारतीय पंडित और बाबा लोग शंकर या तुलसी को सामने नहीं करेंगे, वे बुद्ध और कबीर को सामने करेंगे, उनपर अपना दावा करेंगे। वही बुद्ध और कबीर - जिन्हें इन महानुभावों ने खुद ही मिटा डालना चाहा था अपनी जमीन पर।

ये ठीक वही चाल है जिसमे भक्तमंडली दंगों के समय दलितों आदिवासियों को लड़ने मरने के लिए आगे कर देती है। भारतीय दार्शनिक गुरु और साहित्यकार भी हमेशा से यही करते आये हैं। वे ग्लोबल आधुनिकता की लड़ाई में शंकर, तुलसी आदि को बचाकर रखेंगे और बुद्ध, कबीर, गोरख रविदास को आगे कर देंगे। फिर लड़ाई खत्म होते ही शंकर, तुलसी को वापस निकाल लेंगे और बुद्ध कबीर गोरख इत्यादि को फिर से इतिहास में दफन कर देंगे। ये पुरानी लीला है इस देश की। इसीलिये यहां कुछ नहीं बदलता। "यही बात है कि हस्ती मिटती नहीं हमारी"। और जब पुराना मिटता नहीं तो नया बनता नहीं, और हम सुधरते नहीं।

पिछले सौ सालो का प्रतिशील भारतीय आध्यामिक साहित्य या हिंदी साहित्य देखिये। खासकर वो साहित्य जो पश्चिमी लोगों से सम्पर्क के बाद उनसे बराबरी करने के लिए लिखा गया है। उनके सामने महान बनने के लिए शंकर और तुलसी की बजाय बुद्ध और कबीर और संतों पर ही फोकस किया गया है और इन क्रांतिकारियों ने वैदिक पाखण्ड का जो विरोध किया है उसकी व्याख्या ऐसे की गयी है जैसे कि कबीर गोरख रविदास और बुद्ध भारत के मुख्यधारा के धर्म और धार्मिक विमर्श के वाहक हैं। इस तरह ये पश्चिमी समाज के सामने कबीर और बुद्ध की क्रान्ति की मशाल में अपने सनातन अंधकार को छुपाते रहे हैं।

और सत्तर के दशक तक आते आते तो हद्द ही हो गयी। ओशो और उनकी नकल मारने वाले बाबाओं ने तो बुद्ध और कबीर के मुंह से पूरा वेदांत ही बुलवा लिया। उसके बाद परिणाम सामने है। आजकल के जीवित बाबा बुद्ध और कबीर के संपूर्ण ब्राह्मणीकरण के प्रति इतने आश्वस्त हो गए हैं कि वे अब इनको बाईपास करके पतंजलि, आदियोगी सहित सीधे मिथकों को चर्चा में लाने लगे हैं। मिथकों के अन्धविश्वास की स्वीकृति का कुल मतलब ये है कि जनमानस से बुद्ध गोरख रविदास और कबीर पूरी तरह पोंछ डाले गए हैं। ये ओशो स्टाइल बाबाओं की गजब की सफलता है।

बुद्ध पुनर्जन्म, आत्मा, आत्म और परमात्मा को नकारते हैं लेकिन ओशो ने बुद्ध की व्याख्या करते हुए सम्यक स्मृति अर्थात सम्मासति को आत्मस्मरण कहा जो एकदम गलत अनुवाद है। बुद्ध के शून्य और शंकर के पूर्ण को एक ही कहा जो सरासर साजिश है। असल में पश्चिम के सामने भारत की सामाजिक नैतिकता और धर्म बहुत दरिद्र नजर आते हैं। ऐसे में पश्चिम के सामने स्वयं को महान साबित करने का भारतीय बाबाओं के पास एक ही उपाय है और वो हैं बुद्ध। इसीलिये भारत के राजनेता और बाबा लोग पश्चिम में बुद्ध का नाम जपते हैं और भारत लौटते ही वेदांत गाने लगते हैं।
Image courtesy: The Internet

अपना मीडिया : वक्त की जरूरत
Written by दिनेश अमिनमन्तु

दिनेश अमिनमन्तु
[यह भाषण "मीडिया में दलित प्रोफेशनल की सहभागिता", दिनेश अमिनमन्तु द्वारा कन्नड़ में दिया गया था। जो कर्नाटक SC/ST एडिटर एसोसिएशन द्वारा बाबासाहेब की १२५ जयंती के अवसर पे हुए 18th जुलाई 2016 के कार्यक्रम का हैं. ]

अगर मुझसे कोई भारतीय मीडिया में मेरे रोल मॉडल के बारे में पूछे तो मेरा जवाब डॉ बाबा साहेब आंबेडकर हैं। ऐसा मैं पहले भी कई दफा कह चुका हूं और आज भी यही कहूंगा। बाबा साहेब आंबेडकर को संविधान निर्माता, दलित नेता या और भी कई पहचान के साथ जोड़ कर जाना जाता है। लेकिन इन सबके साथ शायद हम यह भूल जाते हैं कि वे एक पत्रकार भी थे। 1920 में उन्होंने ‘मूकनायक ’ अख़बार की शुरुआत की। गणेश कदम अंग्रेजी से कन्नड़ में एक किताब का अनुवाद कर चुके हैं, जिसमें 'मूकनायक ' के संपादकीय को छापा गया है। यह किताब धनवाड़ में रिलीज की गई थी। 'मूकनायक ' संपादकीय में एक वक्तव्य है: ‘मुझमे कोई रुकावट नहीं होनी चाहिए। मैं बिना किसी हिचकिचाहट के बोलूंगा। जो व्यक्ति बोलता नहीं है, उसकी भावनाओं को कोई नहीं समझ सकता। अगर आप बोलने में हिचकिचाते हों तो आपकी प्रगति मुश्किल है।' 1873 में ज्योतिबा फुले ने सत्यसोधक समाज का निर्माण किया और 1877 में 'दीनबंधु' की शुरुआत की। मेरे खयाल से यह दलित पत्रकारिता के इतिहास की शुरुआत थी। उसके बाद शिवराम जनाब काम्बले ने ‘सोमवंश क्षत्रिय’ अख़बार शुरू किया।

बाबा साहेब आंबेडकर 1916 में कोलंबिया विश्वविद्यालय और लंदन स्कूल ऑफ़ इकोनॉमिक्स में पढ़ाई पूरी करने के बाद भारत लौटे, तो उन्होंने 'मूकनायक ' अख़बार की शुरू किया। बाबा साहेब द्वारा चलाए गए अखबारों के नामों में दलित आन्दोलन के अलग-अलग चरण झलकती हैं। पहला, 'मूकनायक भारत', दूसरा 'बहिष्कृत भारत' और तीसरा 'जनता' जो बाद में 'प्रबुद्ध भारत' बना। एक पत्रकार के रूप में बाबा साहेब आंबेकर ने हजारों पन्ने और लेख लिखे। इस मोर्चे पर उन्हें गांधी के एक बड़े प्रतिद्वंदी के तौर पर देखा जा सकता है।। गांधी ने 'हरिजन' या 'यंग इंडिया' का संपादन किया था, यह लोग जानते हैं, लेकिन बाबा साहेब ने जो अखबार चलाए उन पर कोई बात या चर्चा नहीं होती है। जहां तक मैं जानता हूं, 'मूकनायक ' संपादकीय के गद्यांश हिंदी और मराठी में छापे गए हैं, लेकिन कन्नड़ में ज्यादा नहीं छपे हैं। सरकार द्वारा हाल ही में प्रकाशित पच्चीस खंडों में इन अखबारों का कोई उल्लेख मैंने नहीं देखा है। अगर हम 'मूकनायक ' के संपादकीय को पढ़ें तो हम उस समय के राजनीतिक, सामाजिक और ऐतिहासिक माहौल और यथार्थ को देख पाने में कामयाब होते हैं।

1916 में जब डॉ आंबेडकर कोलंबिया विश्वविद्यालय में पढ़ाई पूरी होने के बाद अपने विदाई समारोह में खाना खा रहे थे तब उनके बैच के साथियों ने उनसे कहा कि 'आप बुकर टी वाशिंगटन की तरह बन सकते हैं, जिन्होंने काले लोगों की भलाई के लिए कड़ी मेहनत की थी।' हो सकता है कि डॉ आंबेडकर भी इस पर विचार कर रहे थे, लेकिन उस वक्त उन्होंने कहा कि फिलहाल मुझे नहीं पता। हालांकि उन्हें यह पहले से पता था कि अखबार या मीडिया सामाजिक बदलाव के लिए एक उपकरण थे। यही कारण है कि उन्होंने अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता को इतना महत्व दिया है।

जब 'प्रजावाणी' अखबार का एक दलित संस्करण लाया गया तो वहां इससे न केवल राज्य में, बल्कि देश भर में उत्साह का माहौल था। मुझे गर्व है कि मैं भी उस खुशी में शामिल था और उस प्रेरणादायी कोशिशों के बीच एक जिज्ञासु की तरह साथ था। रॉबिन जेफरी की पुस्तक 'भारत की समाचार पत्र क्रांति: पूंजीवाद, प्रौद्योगिकी और भारतीय भाषा प्रेस, 1977-1999' सन 2000 में प्रकाशित हुई थी। इस किताब के मुताबिक भारतीय मीडिया में दलित समुदाय की नुमाइंदगी लगभग नहीं के बराबर थी। 1996 में एक वॉशिंगटन पोस्ट संवाददाता केनेथ जे कूपर ने भारतीय मीडिया में कुछ दलित संवाददाताओं को खोजने की कोशिश की और इस मसले पर एक शोध किया था। 'प्रजावाणी' के संपादक ने दिल्ली में रॉबिन जेफरी का भाषण सुना था और एक दलित संपादक के साथ कम से कम एक दिन के लिए एक दलित संस्करण लाने का फैसला किया था।

उस समय कुछ और सर्वेक्षण भी किए गए थे। इन सर्वेक्षणों के मुताबिक भारतीय मुख्यधारा के मीडिया में दलित समुदाय से एक भी संपादक नहीं था और न ही निर्णय लेने वाले लोगों में दलित प्रतिनिधित्व था। जब दलितों को मीडिया में अवसर देने की बात का उल्लेख किया गया तो मेरे सामने यह प्रतिक्रिया कि - 'ओह।।। दलितों को मीडिया में भी आरक्षण चाहिए!' जरूरत आत्मनिरीक्षण करने की थी और रॉबिन जेफरी, केनेथ कूपर और अन्य लोगों ने ऐसा किया। आज जिस तरह से मीडिया सिद्धारमैया सरकार की प्रति व्यवहार कर रहा है, उसी तरह से मीडिया ने उत्तर प्रदेश में बसपा सरकार से व्यवहार किया है।

आज भी कन्नड़ मीडिया में दलितों का जरूरी प्रतिनिधित्व नहीं है। हमने अब तक केवल दो वरिष्ठ पत्रकार देखे हैं- शिवाजी गणेशन और डी उमापथय। शिवाजी गणेशन एक सहायक संपादक के रूप में सेवानिवृत्त हुए। हम सभी चाहते हैं कि जब उमापथय सेवानिवृत्त होगें, तो वे एक संपादक रूप में रिटायर हों। हमें नहीं पता कि यह कभी होगा या नहीं, लेकिन यह क्यों नहीं हो रहा है? अगर आप भारत में 100 महत्त्वपूर्ण कवियों की सूची बनाएं तो उनमें से अधिकतर दलित होंगे। आप 100 महत्वपूर्ण कन्नड़ कवियों की सूची लें, तो भी बहुमत दलितों का होगा। लेकिन आप 100 प्रमुख पत्रकारों की सूची लें, वहां आपको दलित पत्रकार नहीं के बराबर मिलेंगे। पत्रकार को मुख्य रूप से लेखन कौशल की आवश्यकता होती है। यह रॉकेट विज्ञान नहीं है। तो फिर क्यों कोई दलित पत्रकार अगर कहीं दिखते भी हैं तो वे केवल छोटे समाचार पत्रों में? हमारे रविकुमार (एन रविकुमार, संपादक, शिमोगा टेलेक्स अखबार) किसी भी मुख्यधारा के मीडिया के आउटलेट में काम करने के योग्य है। वे मेरे दोस्त हैं और मुझे उनकी शैली पता है। लेकिन उन्हें मुख्यधारा के मीडिया के लिए लिखने का अवसर नहीं मिला है। मैं दलित समुदाय से 50 अन्य पत्रकारों को जानता हूं। ऐसा क्यों है कि वे मुख्यधारा के अखबारों में लिखने या नौकरियां खोजने में नाकाम रहे हैं?

आप पता लगाने के लिए चाहते हैं 'क्यों?' अगर हां, तो आपको अमेरिका की 1970 के दशक की स्थिति को देखने की जरूरत है। 1978 में समाचार संपादकों की अमेरिकन सोसायटी ने मीडिया में अश्वेत और जातीय अल्पसंख्यकों (बीएमई) के प्रतिनिधित्व की जांच करने के लिए एक जनगणना की थी। हालांकि अश्वेत और जातीय अल्पसंख्यक कुल आबादी का 36 प्रतिशत थे, जबकि मीडिया में उनका प्रतिनिधित्व सिर्फ चार प्रतिशत था। कम प्रतिनिधित्व के कारणों का विश्लेषण करने के बाद उन्होंने इसका कारण पता करने और उसका हल निकालने के लिए एक परियोजना शुरू की। उन्होंने सन 2000 तक काले और जातीय अल्पसंख्यकों का प्रतिनिधित्व बीस प्रतिशत तक करने का फैसला किया। इस लक्ष्य को हासिल करने के लिए अश्वेत और जातीय अल्पसंख्यकों के छात्रों के लिए प्रशिक्षण कार्यशालाएं आयोजित की गईं, भेदभाव की अघोषित नीति की पहचान करने के लिए कदम उठाए गए और विशेष भर्तियां की गईं।

और 2010 में इसी तरह की जनगणना के बाद बीएमई का प्रतिनिधित्व चौदह प्रतिशत तक पहुंचा पाया गया। अब उनके पास 2020 तक का लक्ष्य है।

यह दलितों का भारतीय मीडिया में प्रतिनिधित्व सुनिश्चित करने का एक सही मॉडल है। दलितों के प्रतिनिधित्व को जानने के लिए मीडिया के भीतर एक जनगणना करने की आवश्यकता है। यह सर्वेक्षण कर्नाटक में भी किए जाने की जरूरत है। (इलेक्ट्रॉनिक, रेडियो और प्रिंट) मीडिया में किस प्रकार के पद दलितों के पास है? अगर नहीं हैं, तो क्यों? इसका उपाय क्या है? एक आकलन और जनगणना इन सवालों पर की जानी चाहिए।

मैं प्रतिनिधित्व के लिए दलितों के लिए नौकरियां सुरक्षित करने के लिए नहीं कह रहा हूं। हमें स्पष्ट रूप से यह समझने की जरूरत है। ऐसा नहीं है कि दलितों में कुछ नौकरियां सुरक्षित होगी एक बार प्रतिनिधित्व होने के बाद। यह देखा गया है एक मीडिया आउटलेट पूरा करने के लिए हर समुदाय के अनुभव को व्यक्त करने की जरूरत होती है। अन्यथा मीडिया का आउटलेट पूरा नहीं होगा। मीडिया दुनिया भर के विविध समुदायों के संगत अनुभवों और कहानियों को प्रकाशित-प्रसारित करने का मंच है। इसलिए इसमें सभी वंचित समुदायों के प्रतिनिधित्व की जरूरत है। अगर यह नहीं हो पाता है तो वंचित वर्गों को हावी तबकों की बातों की न कोई उपयोगिता होगी, न उन्हें वे बातें समझ में आएंगी।

इस देश में हर 16 मिनट में दलितों पर अत्याचार की एक घटना होती है। हर दिन चार दलित महिलाओं के साथ बलात्कार हो रहा है, हर सप्ताह 16 दलितों को बेरहमी से मारा जा रहा है। अगर आप राष्ट्रीय अपराध ब्यूरो के आंकड़ों पर एक नज़र डालें तो जिस साल निर्भया बलात्कार कांड हुआ, उसी साल 1,270 दलित महिलाओं के साथ बलात्कार हुआ। उसी सप्ताह हरियाणा में दो दलित महिलाओं के साथ भी बलात्कार हुआ था। उनके बारे में कहां खबरें आईं? जब इतनी बड़ी तादाद में गंभीरत अत्याचार हो रहा था तो वे खबरें दुनिया के सामने क्यों नहीं आईं? खासतौर पर इसलिए दलितों, अल्पसंख्यकों और निचली जातियों को मीडिया में प्रवेश करना चाहिए, क्योंकि उन्हें इस दुनिया का अनुभव है। उदाहरण के लिए कम्बलपली की घटना एक साधारण रिपोर्टर के लिए महज एक कहानी बन कर रह जाती है। पत्रकार जगह का दौरा करेंगे, इस घटना की रिपोर्ट करते हुए इसे एक 'रक्त-स्नान' कहेगे, दुनिया के बताएंगे कि सिर काट रहे थे, लोग बहुत बुरी तरह रो रहे थे...! इसी तरह के तमाम विवरण।

बाबा साहेब आंबेडकर को 'मूकनायक ' अख़बार शुरू करना पड़ा, क्योंकि दूसरे तमाम अखबारों में दलितों की आवाज नहीं मिलती थी। जब सब स्वतंत्रता आंदोलन में शामिल थे, डॉ आंबेडकर ने अपने विद्रोही विचारों को देश और दुनिया के सामने पेश किया और आश्वस्त स्वर में कहा कि सामाजिक स्वतंत्रता को राजनीतिक स्वतंत्रता से पहले लाने की जरूरत है। किसी ने नहीं सुना और अब परिणामों का हम सब सामना कर रहे हैं। राजनीतिक स्वतंत्रता अब एक तमाशा बन गया है। एक दूरदर्शी के रूप में डॉ आंबेडकर ने उतने साल पहले ही आर्थिक और सामाजिक स्वतंत्रता के बिना राजनीतिक स्वतंत्रता की स्थिति के बारे में चेतावनी दी थी। उस समय किसी ने वह आवाज नहीं सुनी। यहां तक कि 'एक वोट एक मूल्य' भी किसी के द्वारा समझा नहीं गया था। लेकिन अब हम समझ रहे हैं। अडानी और अंबानी के वोट की तुलना गरीब बोर्गोवड़ा से नहीं की जा सकती है। आज इस मुद्दे को और अधिक गंभीर रूप से दिखाया जा रहा है, क्योंकि कॉरपोरेट्स ने मीडिया में प्रवेश किया है। इस देश में 82,000 समाचार पत्र, लगभग 120 टेलीविजन समाचार चैनल और 1,200 रेडियो स्टेशन हैं। लेकिन इस सबका मालिकाना केवल एक सौ लोगों तक सीमित है।

आज मीडिया पाठकों, दर्शकों या श्रोताओं को नहीं चाहता। इसे चलाने वाले संभावित खरीदार चाहते हैं। वे अपने अखबारों या चैनलों में जिस टीवी, फ्रिज, कपड़े और अन्य उत्पादों के विज्ञापन चला रहे हैं, उसके लिए सुरक्षा की जरूरत है। इसका मतलब यह है कि वे संभावित खरीदारों की तलाश में हैं और आम दर्शक या पाठक के लिए कोई चिंता नहीं है। वजह यह है कि मीडिया बिना आउटलेट विज्ञापन के नहीं चलाया जा सकता। प्रेस परिषद के पूर्व अध्यक्ष मार्कंडेय काटजू एक सीधे बोलने वाले व्यक्ति हैं। उन्होंने कहा था- 'अगर ऐश्वर्या राय शादी करती है, उसका अपने पति के साथ विवाद है, ससुराल वालों को छोड़ देती है तो यह एक मुख्य पृष्ठ पर खबर बनती है। टीवी चैनलों पर तो यह एक ब्रेकिंग न्यूज़ होगी। लेकिन अगर एक गरीब मां से पैदा बच्चा कुपोषण से मर जाता है तो यह खबर अंदर के पन्नों पर क्यों होती है? ऐसा क्यों है?

वे दरअसल पत्रकार नहीं, बल्कि जज हैं। वे निर्णय देना जानते हैं। मैं एक पत्रकार हूं और इस सवाल का जवाब दे सकता हूं। वे अगर ऐश्वर्या राय के रोने, हंसने, विवाद या संबंधित समाचार की रिपोर्टिंग कर रहे हैं तो इससे उन 25-30 उत्पादों की बिक्री में वे मदद कर रहे हैं, जिनके लिए ऐश्वर्या राय मॉडलिंग या ब्रांड एंबेसडर के रूप में काम करती हैं। इसी तरह, सचिन तेंदुलकर, विराट कोहली और महेंद्र सिंह धोनी मीडिया पर खुद को दिखाने के लिए ही आते हैं। वे जानते हैं कि दर्शकों-पाठकों के भीतर उनके द्वारा प्रचारित उत्पादों की याद ठहर जाएगी। यही खेल है। कुपोषण की वजह से एक गरीब मां के एक बच्चे की मौत के खबर पहले पन्ने पर दी, तो लोग क्या सोचेंगे? हमें इसे सुबह-सुबह पढ़ने की क्या जरूरत है? दरअसल, हम इतने संवेदनहीन हो गए हैं। यही वास्तविकता है। मैं यह बहुत साफ शब्दों में कह रहा हूं कि मालिकों के खिलाफ कहीं कोई शिकायत नहीं होगी। अखबारों के मालिकों को इस जाल में अनजाने में फंसा दिया गया है।

दरअसल, समस्या वर्तमान मीडिया के बिजनेस मॉडल में है। 100 करोड़ रुपए निवेश करने के बाद एक समाचार चैनल विज्ञापन के बिना नहीं चलाया जा सकता। आप उन लोगों या संस्थानों की खबर कैसे लिख सकते हैं, अगर आप उनके विज्ञापन पर निर्भर कर रहे हैं? कैसे एक आवाज दलितों, अल्पसंख्यकों और गरीबों के लिए उठाया जा सकता है? मुझे इसका हल पता नहीं है। रिलायंस के अनिल अंबानी समूह ने अपने चैनलों में पांच से दस हजार करोड़ रुपये का निवेश किया है। अब उन्होंने ईटीवी, सीएनएन, आईबीएन, 50 अन्य चैनलों और विभिन्न प्रकाशनों को खरीदा है। बिड़ला समूह ने इंडिया टुडे को खरीद लिया है। ग्रीन टेक ने एनडीटीवी में निवेश किया है और कंपनियों की मीडिया बोर्डों पर स्थिति है। एक ऐसी ही स्थिति बड़े अखबारों के सभी के साथ मौजूद है। यह अभी तो 'हिंदू' में है, लेकिन अखबार में हुआ है। कैसे जल्दी से चीजें बदल रही हैं - बहुत समय पहले, प्रजावाणी राज्यसभा में पत्रकार कुलदीप नैयर को एक बोर्ड का सदस्य बना दिया गया है।

मीडिया के आउटलेट का कारपोरेटीकरण यानी निगमीकरण इस हद तक पहुंच चुका है कि कंपनियों के शेयरों के बजाय विज्ञापन और पैसे के लिए पैसे इन्वेस्ट किए जा रहे हैं, शेयरों की बिक्री का जा रही है। इस क्रॉस स्वामित्व के बारे में चर्चाएं हो रही हैं, अन्य उद्योग मालिकों, मीडिया और मीडिया में लोगों को अन्य व्यावसायिक हितों का मालिक बनाया जा रहा है। भारतीय दूरसंचार नियामक प्राधिकरण (TRAI) ने इस पर एक लंबी रिपोर्ट पेश कर दी है। इसकी केंद्र सरकार द्वारा समीक्षा की जा रही है। भारत जैसे समाज में बहुलता और विविधता रखने के लिए बस व्यावसायिक हितों पर ध्यान केंद्रित नहीं करना चाहिए। TRAI की रिपोर्ट में कहा गया है कि मीडिया की निहित इच्छा का उल्लंघन किया गया है।

लेकिन आज स्थिति अलग है। कॉरपोरेट पहले से ही मीडिया में घुसपैठ कर चुके हैं। यही वजह है कि पत्रकारिता आज एक व्यापर बन चुका है। मीडिया मालिक इस तरह के एक जाल में फंस चुके हैं। भले ही वे जानबूझ कर अपने समर्थकों का समर्थन करें। आज एक व्यक्ति 25-30 करोड़ रुपए निवेश करके एक अच्छी मंशा के साथ एक चैनल शुरू करता है। कुछ महीने के भीतर मालिक एक ज्योतिषी को चैनल में बुलाता है घाटे को कवर करने के लिए। यह आज की स्थिति है। जिन मीडिया आउटलेट को कम निवेश की आवश्यकता है, वे इसका समाधान कर सकते हैं। आज कई लोग लंकेश को याद करते हैं। हालांकि वर्तमान समय में शायद ऐसा सम्भव नहीं हो पाता। जब लंकेश पत्रिका को एक रुपए में बेचा जा रहा था तो प्रजावाणी 1.5 रुपए में बेची जाती थी।

'लंकेश' पत्रिका की मौजूदा कीमत 1.5 रुपए और 'प्रजावाणी' की 4.50 रुपए है। लंकेश घाटे को गौरी अन्य प्रकाशन से मिले राजस्व से पूरा कर रही है। हालांकि लंकेश पेपर अब भी घाटे में चल रहा है। विज्ञापन के बिना एक अखबार को चलाना असंभव है। ये सभी छोटे समाचार पत्रों की दुर्दशा है। इस देश में एक उत्पाद है, जिसका बिक्री मूल्य उत्पादन लागत से भी कम है। अपने घाटे विज्ञापन के जरिए कवर किया जाना है। जब यह स्थिति है तो वफादारी विज्ञापनदाताओं के लिए होगी या दलितों के हितों के लिए लड़ने वालों के लिए? ऐसे में अपने आपको बचाए रखना बहुत मुश्किल काम है।

आगे और ब्योरे के लिए मेरे पास और अधिक अनुभव हैं। रघुराम शेट्टी ने बदलाव के मकसद से ‘मुंगारु’ अखबार शुरू किया था। हम नारे के साथ सड़क पर उतरे और लोगों के पास गए- 'चलो, लोगों की शक्ति को सोच की बरसात से बदला जाए।' उन दिनों यह एक उदार इरादे से शुरू किया गया था। बाद में क्या हुआ? कुछ महीने के भीतर परिसंचरण की कमी हुई। एक बीमार प्रतिस्पर्धा को रोका नहीं जा सका। वह कन्नड़ की पहली पब्लिक लिमिटेड कंपनी थी। उसे इस कल्पना के साथ या शुरू किया गया था कि पाठक भी इसमें शेयरधारक हों। अगर वह सफल रहा होता तो आज दक्षिण कन्नड़ हिंदुत्व की प्रयोगशाला के लिए एक स्कूल नहीं बन पाता। 'मुंगारु' को बचाया नहीं जा सका।

'मुंगारु' जैसा अखबार शुरू करना असंभव तो नहीं है, लेकिन समय के साथ सब कुछ बदल गया है। आज दलित और अल्पसंख्यक समुदाय के कुछ लोगों के पास पैसा है। समाजशास्त्री सामाजिक पूंजी के बारे में बात करते हैं और ऐसा किया जा सकता है। केएन गुरुस्वामी शराब के ठेकेदार थे। अगर वे उसी उद्योग में काम करते तो बहुत सारा पैसा कमा सकते थे। उन दिनों शूद्रों का एक भी अखबार नहीं था और उन्होंने 'प्रजावाणी' शुरू किया। लेकिन इसने दस साल तक घाटा उठाया। ऐसा नहीं है कि आज वहां पैसे वाले लोग नहीं है। Ahinda (दलित, बहुजन और अल्पसंख्यक) समुदाय के लोग हैं, जिनके पास सौ से पांच करोड़ रुपए हैं और देश की एक हजार एकड़ जमीन है। लेकिन क्या मीडिया में निवेश करने में कोई रुचि है? एक विडंबना यह भी है कि अगर वे ऐसा करते भी हैं तो प्रभारी व्यक्ति Ahinda समुदाय से नहीं होगा। अगर आप पूछें, तो जवाब होगा कि बहुत ज्यादा संख्या में अखबार चलाने की जरूरत है।

मीडिया के रवैए को एक उदाहरण से समझा जा सकता है। विश्वनाथ प्रताप सिंह ने मंडल आयोग की रिपोर्ट को लागू किया। ऐसा करते ही वे मीडिया के लिए दुश्मन बन गए। Ahinda समुदाय के समर्थन में बोलने के लिए उसी समुदाय से होने की जरूरत नहीं है। लेकिन अगर कोई ऐसा करता हैं तो उनकी आवाज को मुंह बंद करने का काम शुरू होता है। हरित क्रांति के अग्रदूत बाबू जगजीवन राम को आज याद नहीं किया जाता। वे पहले भारत-पाक युद्ध के दौरान रक्षा मंत्री थे। कोई भी उन्हें याद नहीं कर रहा है।

यही सारी वजहें हैं कि अब दलित स्वामित्व वाले टीवी चैनलों को शुरू किए जाने की जरूरत है। आज छोटे अखबार और मासिक पत्रिकाएं मौजूद हैं। लेकिन डॉ आंबेडकर की इच्छाओं को मूर्त रूप देने के लिए एक मुख्यधारा का अखबार शुरू किया जा सकता है।

अमेरिका में, 'आबनूस', 'शिकागो डिफेंडर' और इसी तरह के अखबार अश्वेतों द्वारा चलाए जा रहे हैं। भारत के दलितों और अमेरिका के अश्वेतों के बीच अंतर इतना है कि काले समुदाय के भीतर कोई आंतरिक विभाजन या फूट नहीं है और अमेरिका की केवल एक ही भाषा है। अश्वेतों की तरह हम दलितों के बीच भी लोगों ने प्रगति की है और क्रय शक्ति है। आज इस समुदाय में बड़ी तादाद में ऐसे उपभोक्ता हैं, जिनमें वस्तुओं की खरीदने की क्षमता है। दलितों को भी टूथ पेस्ट का उपयोग करना पड़ता है। कल अगर दलितों का एक पेपर शुरू होता है तो टूथपेस्ट निर्माताओं को विज्ञापन देना पड़ेगा।

दूसरी ओर, सरकार को हस्तक्षेप करना चहिए, ताकि मीडिया पूरी तरह कॉर्पोरेट सेक्टर के हाथ में न जा पाए। (हालांकि ऐसा लगभग हो चुका है! -सं.) लेकिन इस देश में निजी क्षेत्र को विकसित करने के लिए सरकारों ने सब्सिडी और समर्थन दे दिया है। गुजरात सरकार नैनो कार कारखाने के लिए 0.1 प्रतिशत ब्याज पर ऋण दिया है। पंजाब सरकार ने एक रिफाइनरी शुरू करने के लिए 0.1 प्रतिशत की दर पर लक्ष्मी मित्तल को 1,250 करोड़ दिए। वहां इस तरह एक लंबी सूची है। इस बारे में अगर हम पी साईनाथ से पूछें तो वे हमें एक बड़ी सूची दे सकते हैं। हमें लगता है कि 2.5 लाख करोड़ रुपए की सब्सिडी किसानों को देना बहुत बड़ी बात है। कॉरपोरेट सेक्टर 36 लाख करोड़ कर-लाभ प्राप्त करता है। रिलायंस का वार्षिक राजस्व 2.5 लाख करोड़ है, जबकि कर्नाटक सरकार का एक लाख बीस हजार करोड़ रुपए ही है। जो विजय माल्या ने किया है, उसके बारे में हम सभी जानते हैं। लेकिन उसी बैंक क्षेत्र से पांच या दस हजार रुपए उधार लेने वाले आत्महत्या कर रहे हैं। माल्या देश की हजारों करोड़ रुपए डुबाने के बाद विदेश में मजे ले रहा है। यह भारत की हकीकत है।

जाहिर है, अगर अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता के सही अर्थ को बचाना है, मीडिया समाज के लिए एक आवश्यकता है। सभी समुदायों के अनुभवों को बिना किसी बाधा के जाहिर किए जाने की आवश्यकता है, तो कम ब्याज वाले ऋण मीडिया के क्षेत्र में लोगों को दिए जाने चाहिए। मीडिया तुलना अगर अन्य क्षेत्रों के साथ की जाएगी तो यह प्रतिस्पर्धा नहीं कर पाएगा। नैनो कार कारखाने 0.1 प्रतिशत की ब्याज दर पर ऋण दिया जा सकता है, तो क्यों नहीं इसी हिसाब के फार्मूले पर एक अखबार शुरु किया जाए?

विचार के लिए एक जरूरी पहलू यह भी है कि उद्योगपतियों का सीधे मीडिया का नियंत्रण अपने हाथ में लेना बहुत खतरनाक है। नोम चोमस्की इसे 'विनिर्माण सहमति' कहते हैं। आज चैनल बताते हैं कि अट्ठानबे प्रतिशत लोग सरकार के खिलाफ हैं और महज दो प्रतिशत समर्थन में है। अगर यह सच है तो दलित उद्यमियों को अपना मीडिया शुरू करने की दिशा में सोचना चाहिए। खासतौर पर जब बाबासाहेब आंबेडकर की 125वीं जयंती मनाई जा रही हो तो इस ओर गंभीरता से सोचने की जरूरत है। अगर संभव हो तो डॉ आंबेडकर के अखबार के संपादकीय को कन्नड़ (और दूसरी भारतीय भाषाओं में भी -सं.) में अनुवाद किया जाए।

यह भाषण Round Table India, kannad में 28 July 2016 को प्रकाशित हुआ था : ""
हिंदी अनुवाद : हरीश परिहार, स्वतन्त्र लेखक व टिप्पणीकार

अस्मिता की राजनीति या न्याय की लड़ाई
यप्रकाश फाकिर

अम्बेडकर , पेरियार, ललई यादव, कयूम अंसारी जैसे दलित बहुजन नेता इसी सवर्णवादी समझ से जूझते हुए दलित बहुजन प्रश्न को सियासी दायरे में लाने में सफल रहे और १९९० के बाद का साइलेंट इन्कलाब मुमकिन हो सका. अब सवर्ण राजनीति के बाएं और दायें दोनों बाजू के धड़े इस क्रांति को उल्ट देना चाहते हैं. इसके लिए दक्षिण पंथी लोगो ने धर्म का सहारा लिया है तो वामपंथी लोगो ने धर्म में तब्दील कर दिए गये मार्क्सवाद को जरिया बनाया है.

इतिहासकार आदित्य मुखर्जी ने अपने एक लेख में एरिक होब्सबम जैसे पश्चिमी इतिहासकारों पर उनके यूरो-केन्द्रित होने का आरोप लगाया है और काल विभाजन के समय बीसवीं शताब्दी को अतिवाद का युग मानने को एशिया के दृष्टिकोण से त्रासदी होने के रूप में पहचाना है. उनका मत सही भी है . मगर मुश्किल तब पेश आती है जब वे खुद के लिखे इतिहास को ब्राह्मण-सवर्ण केन्द्रित होने की नोटिस नही ले पाते. दलित आन्दोलन को वे और उनके गुरु बिपन चन्द्र महज अस्मिता की राजनीति कह कर ख़ारिज करते हैं. वे भारतीय राष्ट्र नाम के अपनी निर्मिती से किसी भी अन्य राजनीतिक दावे को ख़ारिज करने की कोशिश करते है जो उनके भारत राष्ट्र के सवर्ण कल्पना से अलग हो .

अपने हितो को भारत राष्ट्र के रूप में पेश करने की यह रणनीति संघ परिवार से अलग नहीं है सिवाय इसके की ये तमाम सवर्ण प्रगतिशील साहित्यकार अपने तर्को में बाहरी तौर पर ज्यादा प्रतिभा और विद्वता का परिचय देते हैं. ये ब्रिटिश शोषण-उत्पीड़न के विरुद्ध जिन तर्कों को पेश करते है और जिन न्याय और बराबरी के मूल्यों का हवाला देते हैं दलितों, पसमांदा मुसलमानों, औरतों आदि निचले तबके के लोगो के सन्दर्भ में उन्ही मूल्यों के खिलाफ ब्रिटिश उपनिवेशवादी तर्कों से लैश हो जाते हैं. मसलन ब्रिटिश लोग भारत पर अपने शासन को मेरिट के आधार और नस्ली श्रेष्ठता के आधार पर सही ठहराते है तो ये उसका विरोध करते हैं मगर मंडल कमीशन और आरक्षण का विरोध करते हुए उन्हीं उपनिवेशवादी मेरिटवादी तर्को का सहारा लेते हैं. आंद्रे और बिपन चन्द्र जैसे लोग ऐसे कुतर्को के अगुआ हैं.

दलितों बहुजनों को न्याय के समान मूल्यों का अधिकारी होने से रोकने के लिए इनके पास राष्ट्र का तर्क है. राष्ट्र होने के नाते ‘इंडिया’ या भारत पर जो घटित है वह राष्ट्र का विशेषाधिकार है. न्याय के वही तकाजे दलित बहुजन को उपलब्ध नही. न्याय और बराबरी का मुद्दा सवर्ण राष्ट्र की कल्पना अर्थात इंडिया से जुडकर बड़ा राजनीतिक प्रश्न है मगर बराबरी का वही मुद्दा दलित बहुजन के प्रसंग में सामाजिक है ,और इसलिए कमतर महत्व का है. इसलिए इसे राजनीतिक महत्व के हित में टाल दिया जाना चाहिए या दोयम दर्जे का समझा जाना चाहिए. दलित विरोधी तर्को का यह सिलसिला दलितों बहुजनों के शोषण-उत्पीड़न के आन्दोलन, राजनीतिक आन्दोलन को महज अस्मिता की राजनीति कह कर ख़ारिज कर देने में होती है.

जिस तरह भारत की आज़ादी की तारीख सिर्फ भारतीय पहचान के लिए आन्दोलन नही थी. यह उपनिवेशवाद के खिलाफ, शोषण उत्पीड़न के खिलाफ आन्दोलन था. इसी तरह दलित बहुजन का आन्दोलन शोषण उत्पीड़न और राजनीतिक भागीदारी के लिए आन्दोलन है.

दलित आन्दोलन को अस्मितावादी कहना एक बड़ा ही विरोधाभासी मामला है. पहचान की राजनीति सांस्कृतिक होती है. इसमें भूगोल इतिहास के कारण उत्पन्न सांस्कृतिक भेद मुख्य भूमिका में होता है. पहनावे से लेकर जन्म मरण के संस्कारो के अंतर से पहचान के अंतर जन्म लेते है. इसलिए यह मूलतः ब्यौरे (details) के बारे में होता है. यह मानवीय उत्स (human essence ) के बारे में नहीं होता. इसलिए अस्तित्ववादी दर्शन पहचान की राजनीति से जुदा है (existence precedes essence-J P Sartre ) जबकि essence पर जोर देने वाली राजनीति मार्क्सवाद से. वह essence आर्थिक रूप से निर्धारित वर्ग है. ऐसी स्थिति में दलित आन्दोलन पर एक साथ essentialist और अस्मितावादी होने का आरोप लगाना शरारतपूर्ण ही नहीं, अहमकाना भी है. दलित बहुजन या हाशिये के लोगो का कोई भी आन्दोलन न्याय और बराबरी के मूल्यों पर आधरित है. अस्मिता उसका मूल आधार नहीं है. यह उत्पीड़क वर्ग के लोगो द्वारा गढ़ा गया शब्द है. इसे पहचान की राजनीति के रूप में चिन्हित करने के फायदे उत्पीड़क के लिए यह है कि तब यह राजनीतिक प्रश्न नहीं रह जाता और यह सांस्कृतिक समस्या के रूप में रेडयुस हो जाता है. और चूँकि सांस्कृतिक प्रश्न इतने महत्पूर्ण नही है और वे व्यापक मुक्ति के प्रश्न के प्रत्यय मात्र है इसलिए उन्हें टाल दिया जाना चाहिए.

अम्बेडकर , पेरियार, ललई यादव, कयूम अंसारी जैसे दलित बहुजन नेता इसी सवर्णवादी समझ से जूझते हुए दलित बहुजन प्रश्न को सियासी दायरे में लाने में सफल रहे और १९९० के बाद का साइलेंट इन्कलाब मुमकिन हो सका. अब सवर्ण राजनीति के बाएं और दायें दोनों बाजू के धड़े इस क्रांति को उल्ट देना चाहते हैं. इसके लिए दक्षिण पंथी लोगो ने धर्म का सहारा लिया है तो वामपंथी लोगो ने धर्म में तब्दील कर दिए गये मार्क्सवाद को जरिया बनाया है

दलितों बहुजनों के हितो पर दक्षिण पंथी हमला कमजोर है क्योंकि यह धर्म के अफीम जैसे हो सकने के शक्ति और लोगो के कम पढ़े लिखे और कम जागरूक होने पर आधारित है. इससे एक औसत आधुनिक शिक्षा से निपटा जा सकता है.यह सत्ता के पारम्परिक औज़ारो को काम में लाता है.यह या तो बेवकूफ बनाता है या लालची. बेवकूफी के द्वारा एक बहुत बड़ी आबादी को काबू में लाया जा सकता है लेकिन बहुत देर तक नहीं. वही लालच को देर तक काम में लाया जा सकता है लेकिन यह बहुत बड़ी आबादी के लिए मुमकिन नहीं. उदित राज, रामविलास गिने चुने ही हैं .

ब्राह्मण शोधकर्ता : निधिन शोभना द्वारा चित्रण

इसके बरक्स वामपंथी सवर्ण दलित बहुजन पर ज्यादा पावरफुल हमला करता है. फिलहाल उसने ये हमले और तेज कर दिए हैं. इसका पहला चरण बजरंग बिहारी तिवारी, बदरी नारायण तिवारी, अभय कुमार दूबे जैसो का प्राच्यवादी (orientalist)प्रोजेक्ट है. जैसे प्राच्यवादी उपनिवेशवादी लोगो ने एशियाई समाजों का कीटविज्ञानी की तरह इस समाज को नियंत्रित करने के उद्देश्य से अध्ययन किया सवर्ण भी दलित समाज का अध्ययन कर रहे. तमाम विश्व विद्यालयों में दलित अध्ययन केंद्र खुल चुके है जैसे कभी एशियाटिक सोसाइटी खुली थी. सिर्फ दलित बहुजनों को भ्रष्ट मानने वाले आशीष नंदी के इन चेलो का उद्देश्य दलित आन्दोलन और दलित लेखन साहित्य वैचारिकी आदि को subvert करना और नियंत्रित करके नष्ट और dilute कर देना है जैसा एक समय शंकराचार्य ने बौद्ध आन्दोलन के साथ किया.

इस मकसद के लिए सवर्ण हितो के घनघोर योद्धा ये साहित्यकार वर्ग बनाम जाति या सहानुभूति बनाम स्वानुभूति जैसे बखेड़ा खड़ा करते है और अपनी इस सवर्ण –ब्राह्मण problematization में दलितों को भी हिस्सा लेने, वक्त बर्बाद करने और भटकाने की कोशिश करते हैं. मेरिट के सवाल को अगर दक्षिण पंथी सड़क पर उछाल रहा होता है तो उसकी सैद्धांतिकी गढ़ उसे समाज में वैज्ञानिक मान्यता देने का काम बिपन चन्द्रा जैसा सवर्ण इतिहासकार कर रहा होता है. ये और इनके उतराधिकारी वामपंथी दलित बहुजन को नेतृत्व देने से इंकार करने के हज़ार बहाने इस पूरी प्रक्रिया में ढूंढते हैं. ये पियरी बोर्दू जैसे समाज वैज्ञानिक बौद्धिकों को पढ़ाते है, उसपर तमाम metaphysical चर्चा चलाते हैं लेकिन उसके सोशल कैपिटल के सिद्धांतो को तथाकथित मेरिट के गढ़ंत को विखंडित करने के लिए इस्तेमाल नही करते. मेरिट की परिभाषा किस तरह उत्पीड़क की देवी डेल्फी बनाती है जहाँ प्रोलेतारिअत को प्लेबियन से हमेशा हार जाना है.

एक मोटा उदाहरण सिविल सेवा के परीक्षा का है. इसके सामान्य अध्ययन के पाठ्यक्रम में गाँधी नेहरु टैगोर भरे पड़े हैं. एक सवर्ण बचपन से ही इनका गुणगान सुनते हुए बड़ा होता है. मेरे जैसा छोटी जाति का आदमी आल्हा उदल और पचड़ा सुनते हुए बड़ा होता है. जिस तरह के उत्तर पर प्राप्तांक मिलते है वह सवर्ण प्रतियोगी के मानस और कथन से हू ब हू मिलता है लेकिन छोटी जाति के प्रतियोगी के लिए वह अपने दुश्मन विचारों को सेलिब्रेट करना है. इस तरह मेरिट को इस तरह से गढ़ा गया है कि आटोमेटिक सवर्ण ही मेरिट वाला साबित हो. जैसे गोरे रंग को सुन्दरता का पैमाना बनाने से काले स्वयमेव असुन्दर ठहरेंगे. ऐसे में आत्मनिषेध ही छोटी जाति के प्रतियोगी के लिए सफलता और मेरिट की शर्त बन जाता है. वह खुद को मिटा कर जितना ही सवर्ण जैसा बनता जाता है सफलता की उसकी संभावना उतनी ही बढती है. इस तरह एक संरचनात्मक पक्षपात हमेशा छोटी जाति के विरुद्ध काम करता है. उसे सवर्ण जैसा होने के लिए बाध्य किया जाता है. उसे स्कूलों में संस्कृत पढाई जाती है. एक बार संस्कृत से उसे वंचित कर और संस्कृत के सोशल कैपिटल पर अकुंठ ब्राह्मण वर्चस्व कायम कर उसपर संस्कृत थोपने के यह रणनीति घिनौनी सवर्ण राजनीति का ज्वलंत उधाहरण है और मेरिट के पीछे का रहस्य है.

इस तरह दलित बहुजन राजनीति सिर्फ पहचान की राजनीति नहीं है यह वामपंथी और दक्षिणपंथी दोनों सवर्ण धडो के हमले के खिलाफ, उनके वर्चस्व के खिलाफ न्याय और बराबरी की लड़ाई है.
लेखक, जयप्रकाश फाकिर ,मूलतः बिहार के सिवान से है और कोलकता में भारत सरकार में अधिकारी के रूप में कार्यरत हैं । वह स्त्री ,दलित जैसे subaltern मुद्दों पर लिखते हैं और उनकी कहानियां, कवितायेँ हिंदी और अंग्रेजी में प्रकाशित हो चुकी हैं ।

मनीषा मशाल
दलित महिलाओं की आवाज को किसी भी कीमत पर उठाने के लिए कटिबद्ध हूँ. क्योंकि यदि हम इन स्वरों को बाहर नहीं आने देंगे, तो हम इस दुःख को समाप्त करने के उपाय नहीं खोज सकते.

क्या यह बहुत कठिन होगा? हाँ. मुझें अनेकों चुनौतियों, जोखिमों और धमकियों का सामना भी करना होगा. परन्तु मुझे किसी का भी भय नहीं है. मैं एक भयपूर्ण और दुर्बल जीवन जीना नहीं चाहती और अपनी मुक्ति के लिए मैं अपने उत्पीड़कों पर निर्भर नहीं होना चाहती, मैं आत्मनिर्भर होना चाहती हूँ और मुझे एक आन्दोलन की आवश्यकता है किसी वार्षिक रिपोर्ट की नहीं।

अब चाहे कुछ भी हो, हमे परिवर्तन लाना ही होगा। हमारे पास कोई विकल्प नहीं है. मैं अब जाति-आधारित यौन-हिंसा का अंत चाहती हूँ और यह सुनिश्चित करना चाहती हूँ की किसी और दलित बहन के जीवन को इस अंधकार में न झोंका जाये. क्योंकि केवल इस प्रकार के अपराध ही हमें पीड़ित नहीं बनाते अपितु समाज का ढांचा हमारी छवि को इस प्रकार से गढ़ता है कि दलित महिलाओं को किसी भी क्षेत्र में अपने भाग्य निर्माण के लिए संघर्ष करने के लिए स्वयं अग्रणी रूप में खड़ा होना ही पड़ता है.

हमारे परिवर्तन के दृष्टिकोण को जातिवाद सीमित कर देता. यह हमे उस समय मूक बना देता है, जब हम आवाज उठा सकते हैं. क्योंकि यह हमें तब अपने उस सामर्थ्य के प्रति संशकित कर देता है जो हमें यथास्तिथि बनाये रखने के विपरीत परिवर्तन करा सकता है. क्योंकि समाज उस दलित महिला को मान्यता नहीं देगा जो न्याय के लिए संघर्ष करती है. हम बहुत अधिक भयंकर हैं.

इसी लिए मैं प्रश्न करती हूँ की एक दलित महिला का समाज में क्या स्थान है? समाज ने हमारे पंख क्यों काटे हैं? दलित महिलाओं के संघर्ष और दलित स्वाभिमान यात्रा के एक संस्थापक और अग्रिणी होने के कारण मैं अपनी मुक्ति केही एक अंग के रूप मैं इन प्रश्नों को उठाती हूँ.

एक वाल्मीकि महिला के रूप में जब मैं अपने जीवन पर दृष्टिपात करती हूँ, तो उसमे कुछ स्थानों पर मैं अपने आप को पाती हूँ. भले ही मैंने शिक्षा प्राप्त की है, यात्रायें की है, और नेतृत्व की स्तिथि में हूँ, फिर भी मेरे प्रति भेदभाव किया जाता है, मेरे महत्व को कम आँका जाता है और मुझे स्वर्ण जाति के लोगों और उन अन्य दलित लोगों द्वारा एक और ठेल दिया जाता है जो अपने से नीची जाति के सदस्यों की अंग्रेजी और जातिवादी सुविधाओं की ओर ध्यान नहीं देते हैं. यदि मैं इस प्रकार से संघर्ष करती हूँ तो आप कल्पना कीजिये कि अन्य ग्रामीण दलित महिलाएं किस संघर्ष से गुजरती हैं?

हमारी व्यवस्था और वर्तमान प्रवाह उत्तरजीवी लोगों को कोई सुरक्षा प्रदान नहीं करता है. मैं एक ऐसे केंद्र का स्वप्न देखती हूँ जिस में हिंसा का कोई स्थान न हो, जो सुरक्षा प्रदान करता हो, जो हमारी महिलाओं को वित्तीय सहायता प्रदान करता हो...मेरा स्वप्न अपनी बहनों को एक नवीन संसार प्रदान करने का है जो सुरक्षा से भरपूर हो.

भले ही हमारी बालिकाएं सशक्त हैं परन्तु उनके पास सुरक्षित स्थान नहीं है. मैं यह जानना चाहती हूँ कि क्या बचे हुए लोगों के लिए सरकार की कोई ऐसी योजनायें या नीतियाँ हैं? यदि हाँ, तो वे कौन से लोग हैं? उन तक इन योजनाओं को कौन पहुंचाता है? क्या यह कोई गैर सरकारी संस्था (NGO) है? या कोई सरकारी एजेंसी है?

मैं इन सभी उत्तरजीवी लोगों को नेतृत्व की स्तिथि में देखना चाहती हूँ.

मेरा विश्वास है, जो लोग इन अत्याचारों के विरुद्ध खड़े हुए हैं...वही वास्तिवक नेता हैं.

हमारे आन्दोलन के सफल न होने का कारण है कि मूल स्तर पर कार्य कर रहे कार्यकर्ताओं का अनुभव इस आन्दोलन को सही रूप में नहीं चला पा रहा है. जब कभी मूल स्तर पर दलित महिलाओं के नेतृत्व की आवाज उठती है, एक पूरी व्यवस्था उसे दबाने पर लग जाती है. क्योंकि हम उपयुक्त रूप से शिक्षित नहीं हैं, हम अंग्रेजी नहीं बोल सकते, हम दिल्ली में नहीं रहते हैं. इसके स्थान पर राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर उठने वाली आवाजें उन लोगों की हैं जो सरकार के हित में कार्य करते हैं या गैर सरकारी संस्थाओं के अंग्रेजी भाषाई नेता हैं. ये वे आवाजें हैं, जिन्हें राजनेता प्रधानता देते हैं और उन्हें वरीयता देने के चक्कर में हम अस्तित्वहीन जातियों को सशक्त करने के स्थान पर सुविधावन लोगों के हाथों में शक्ति दे देते हैं.

ऐसी गैर-सरकारी संस्थाओं के केन्द्रीय कार्यालयों में कार्यरत लोगों के रवैये से तंग आ चुकी हूँ. यद्यपि हम ही वे लोग हैं जो मूल स्तर पर कार्य करने का जोखिम उठाते हैं, परन्तु कुछ अन्य लोग जो धन प्रदान करने वालों को और उच्च जाती के सरकारी अफसरों को अधिक स्वीकार्य हैं, वे सशक्त बन जाते हैं.

मूल स्तर पर कार्य करने वाली दलित महिलाएं तो इस समस्या से जूझती ही हैं, बहन मायावती, जो एक बड़ी नेता हैं और राजनेता भी हैं, उसे भी जातिवादी लोगों का दंश झेलना पड़ता है. लोगों ने उसे भी संसद में अपमानित और नीचा दिखाने में कोई कसर नहीं छोड़ी है. जिस प्रकार से उसे सार्वजनिक रूप से उसकी वैश्या से तुलना कर के उसे अपमानित किया गया था, क्या उसी प्रकार से वे किसी दबंग समुदाय के बारे में कर सकते हैं?

हमारा संघर्ष केवल किसी गांव या किसी नगर, किसी जिले या किसी राज्य तक सीमित नहीं है...अपितु यह सम्पूर्ण देश की दलित महिलाओं का संघर्ष है. हमे दासता की बेड़ियों को तोडना ही होगा और उसके लिए हमे राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर महिलाओं के नेतृत्व में चलाये जाने वाले एक सशक्त आन्दोलन की आवश्यकता है.

वर्तमान परिस्तिथियों में मुझे ऐसा होता हुआ नहीं दिख रहा है.

मूल स्तर पर दलित महिलाओं के नेतृत्व के बिना हमारा आन्दोलन निर्बल है क्योंकि हम उन कथाओं को और उस नेतृत्व को खोते जा रहे हैं जो इस बदलाव के शीर्ष पर हो सकते हैं. एक चिकित्सक किसी रोग का उपचार कैसे कर सकता है, यदि उसे इसके उपचार की औषधि का पता ही नहीं है. केवल वही लोग जिन्होंने समस्या को स्वयं जिया है, वही लोग इसका नेतृत्व कर सकते हैं, इसके अतिरिक्त कुछ भी केवल खानापूर्ति है और समस्या ज्यों की त्यों रहेगी.

इसके परिणाम स्वरूप मूल स्तर पर हमारे पास दलित महिलाओं का नेतृत्व है ही नहीं.

इसके पीछे कई कारण हैं. जब महिलाएं अपने इन दुःख और दर्द से भरे अनुभवों से, कष्टप्रद स्तिथियों से बच निकलती हैं और इन आंदोलनों में अपनी भागीदारी के लिए आगे आती हैं, तो उन्हें उसके लिए उपयुक्त स्थान और भूमिका नहीं मिलती है. केवल उनके साक्ष्यों का उपयोग किया जाता है और वे महिलाएं और उनका परिवार उस कष्ट झेलता ही रहता है. हमें यह भी भलीभांति विदित है कि हम सरकार से कोई अपेक्षा नहीं कर सकते.

मैं यहाँ यह कहना चाहती हूँ, दलित महिला के दुःख के स्तर और जो व्यापक संघर्ष वह कर रही है, उसे कोई गैर-सरकारी संस्था या निजी संस्था आगे नहीं ले जा सकती. इस संघर्ष को अब एक व्यापक राजनैतिक स्तर पर ले जाना होगा.

क्या हम ऐसी सरकार से कोई आशा रख सकते हैं जो मेरे जैसी एक दलित महिला को सदैव एक पीड़ित, अशिक्षित और बलात्कार पीडिता के रूप में ही देखते हैं.

भारतीय आँखों में, मेरे लिए केवल एक ही विकल्प है: मर जाना. एक दलित महिला इसी प्रकार की एक प्रयोज्य है.
इस प्रकार की सुलभता उन स्थानों पर भी देखी जा सकती है, जहाँ मेरे जैसे लोग परिवर्तन लाने की और प्रत्येक के लिए एक नया संसार निर्मित करने की आशा में बैठे हैं.

दलित महिलाओं और दलित परिवारों को एक सशक्त और प्रत्यक्ष आन्दोलन की आवश्यकता है. इसीलिए मैं हरियाणा कार्यालय छोड़ रही हूँ और दलित महिला के अधिकारों का एक ऐसा आन्दोलन प्रारम्भ कर रही हूँ, जो गैर-सरकारी संस्थाओं के प्रतिमान से आगे जाता है. अपने संघर्ष को आगे ले जाने के लिए हमें नई रणनीतियों की आवश्यकता है. यदि हम केवल सरकार से वार्ता कर रहे हैं या सौदेबाजी कर रहे हैं तो न्याय की लड़ाई नहीं लड़ सकते और जाति आधारित यौन हिंसा का कोई अंत नहीं होगा.

दलित महिलाओं की आवाज को किसी भी कीमत पर उठाने के लिए कटिबद्ध हूँ. क्योंकि यदि हम इन स्वरों को बाहर नहीं आने देंगे, तो हम इस दुःख को समाप्त करने के उपाय नहीं खोज सकते.

क्या यह बहुत कठिन होगा? हाँ. मुझें अनेकों चुनौतियों, जोखिमों और धमकियों का सामना भी करना होगा. परन्तु मुझे किसी का भी भय नहीं है. मैं एक भयपूर्ण और दुर्बल जीवन जीना नहीं चाहती और अपनी मुक्ति के लिए मैं अपने उत्पीड़कों पर निर्भर नहीं होना चाहती, मैं आत्मनिर्भर होना चाहती हूँ और मुझे एक आन्दोलन की आवश्यकता है किसी वार्षिक रिपोर्ट की नहीं।

दलित महिलाओं को अब पहले से कहीं अधिक लड़ना पड़ेगा और वह लड़ेगी. और इस कटिबद्धता में मैं यह जोडती हूँ कि किसी भी कीमत पर:

मैं एक पीडिता की मौत नहीं मरना चाहती, मैं एक नेता के रूप में जीना चाहती हूँ और आप सब को आवाहन करती हूँ कि मेरा साथ आयें।

जय भीम – और दलित महिला संघर्ष.
मनीषा मशाल एक तेज-तर्रार महिला संगठक ,चिंतक वक्ता और आंदोलन गायक हैं । वह इस समय हरयाणा में स्वाभीमान समाज की संस्थापक हैं । उन्होंने कुरुक्षेत्र विश्वविद्यालय से महिला अध्ययन में मास्टर डिग्री की है ।

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

Written by संजय जोठे

इस देश में भेदभाव और शोषण से भरी परम्पराओं का विरोध करने वाले अनेक विचारक और क्रांतिकारी हुए हैं जिनके बारे में हमें बार-बार पढ़ना और समझना चाहिए. दुर्भाग्य से इस देश के शोषक वर्गों के षड्यंत्र के कारण इन क्रांतिकारियों का जीवन परिचय और समग्र कर्तृत्व छुपाकर रखा जाता है. हमारी अनेकों पीढियां इसी षड्यंत्र में जीती आयीं हैं. किसी देश के उद्भट विचारकों और क्रान्तिकारियों को इस भाँती छुपाकर रखने, या अनुपलब्ध बनाए रखने में ना तो देश का हित है और ना समाज का हित है. हाँ घटिया राजनीति का कोई तात्कालिक हित अवश्य हो सकता है.

ऐसे ही हिंदी पट्टी में अदृशय बना दिए गए एक विचारक और क्रांतिकारी हैं रामास्वामी पेरियार, जो द्रविड़ और दलित आन्दोलनों के सन्दर्भ में याद किये जाते हैं. दलित और द्रविड़ शब्द की युति में बांधकर उनके मौलिक दान को नकारने का या कम करके आंकने का काम आज तक होता आया है. ये एक बहुत पुराना षड्यंत्र है, जो लीक से “ज्यादा हटकर” चलने वाले क्रांतिकारियों के साथ इस देश में सत्ता और समाज के ठेकेदारों ने हमेशा किया है. यूं तो भगत सिंह और आजाद भी क्रांतिकारी हैं और लीक से “थोडा हटकर” चलते हैं, वे अपनी क्रान्ति की प्रस्तावनाओं में इस देश की समाज व्यवस्था की पूरी सडांध को बेनकाब नहीं करते हुए क्रान्ति का मार्ग बनाते हैं, इसलिए थोड़े सुरक्षित मालूम पड़ते हैं. इसीलिए वे सबको स्वीकृत हैं, और सबके आदर्श बन जाते हैं. उनकी क्रान्ति, और दान निस्संदेह अतुलनीय है, और वे परम सम्मान के अधिकारी भी हैं, लेकिन सम्मान और लोकप्रियता की दौड़ में पिछड़ जाने वाले या जबरदस्ती किसी परदे के पीछे छिपा दिए गये अन्य क्रान्तिकारियों पर भी व्यापक विचार होना चाहिए.

ऐसे लीक से “बहुत ज्यादा हटकर” चलने वाले रामास्वामी पेरियार जैसे क्रांतिकारियों की सभी बातों से हम सहमत हों ये कतई आवश्यक नहीं है, लेकिन उनके विचार की प्रक्रिया और एक नए समाज के बारे में उनकी मौलिक मान्यताओं को हमें नि:संकोच सबसे साझा करना चाहिए, और उस पर खुली चर्चा के अवसर निर्मित करने चाहिए. जहां तक समत्व और सम्मान से जीने का प्रश्न है, वहां तक उनके विचारों को बहुत आसानी से अपनाया जा सकता है. हालाँकि भाषाई या प्रजातीय अलगाव और एक अलग राष्ट्र की मांग के अतिवाद के बारे में उनके प्रस्ताव के सम्बन्ध में हमेशा ही सहमत नहीं हुआ जा सकता. इसके बावजूद उनके व्यक्तित्व और कृतित्व से कुछ बहुत महत्वपूर्ण शिक्षाएं ली जा सकती हैं.

रामास्वामी का जन्म १७ सितम्बर १८७९ को मद्रास प्रेसिड़ेंसी के इरोड नामक कसबे में एक धनी व्यापारी नायकर परिवार में हुआ. बहुत शुरुआती जिन्दगी में ही उन्होंने जाति, धर्म और प्रजाति (रेस) के आधार पर होने वाले भेदभाव और शोषण को करीब से देखा. वे खुद भी इन कुरीतियों के शिकार हुए और इन्ही के कारण भेदभाव के खिलाफ उनके मन में क्रांतिकारी विचार जन्मे. उनकी औपचारिक शिक्षा १८८४ में छः वर्ष की अवस्था में आरम्भ हुई, और पांचवी कक्षा तक की पढ़ाई के बाद अध्ययन छोड़कर उन्हें अपने पिता के व्यवसाय में शामिल होना पडा. तब उनकी अवस्था १२ वर्ष की थी. उनका विवाह १८९८ में उन्नीस वर्ष की अवस्था में १३ वर्ष की नागम्माल से हुआ, अपनी पत्नी को भी उन्होंने अपने विचारों में दीक्षित किया और पुरानी रूढ़ियों से आजाद कराया. उनकी एक पुत्री जो इस विवाह से जन्मी थी वो मात्र पांच माह की अवस्था में गुजर गयी. उसके बाद उनकी कोई संतान नहीं हुई. दुर्भाग्य से उनका दाम्पत्य भी अधिक लंबा न रहा, और जल्द ही नागम्माल की मृत्यु हो गई. बहुत बाद के वर्षों में १९४८ में पेरियार ने दूसरा विवाह किया, जब वे ७४ वर्ष के थे और मनिम्माल २६ वर्ष की थीं. उनकी दूसरी पत्नी का उनके काम को आगे बढाने में खासा योगदान रहा है.

पेरियार की मात्रभाषा कन्नड़ थी, लेकिन तमिल और तेलुगु पर भी उन्हें खासा अधिकार था. बचपन से ही वे अपने परिवार में वैष्णव संतों के उपदेश और प्रवचन सुनते आये थे, और धर्म के आधार पर होने वाले शोषण और भेदभाव के मूल कारणों को उन धार्मिक सिद्धांतों में उन्होंने बहुत पहले ही ढूंढ निकाला था. बहुत आरम्भ से ही वे उन ढकोसलों का उपहास उड़ाया करते थे और स्वयं के लिए एक तर्कशील (रेशनल) पद्धति का आविष्कार उन्होंने कर लिया था. ये तर्कशीलता आजीवन उनके साथ रही.

यह तर्कशीलता और बेबाकी उनके लिए मुसीबत भी बनी, १९०४ में अपने पिता से अनबन के चलते उन्होंने घर त्याग दिया और १९०४ में वे विजयवाड़ा, हैदराबाद, कोल्काता और काशी के अपने प्रसिद्ध प्रवास पर निकल पड़े. इसी क्रम में काशी में उनके साथ एक भयानक अपमानजनक वाकया हुआ जिसके कारण उनकी सोच पूरी तरह बदल गयी, और हम जिस क्रांतिकारी पेरियार को जानते हैं उसका जन्म हुआ.

अपने काशी प्रवास के दौरान, प्रसिद्ध काशी विश्वनाथ मंदिर में उन्होंने बहुत सारे पाखण्ड और भेदभाव देखे. उस समय न उनके पास पैसे थे ना कोई ठिकाना ही था, भ्रमण के दौरान उन्होंने मुफ्त भोजन पाने के लिए एक ब्राह्मण धर्मशाला का रुख किया. लेकिन वे खुद ब्राह्मण न थे सो एक जनेऊ धारण करके उन्होंने भोजन पाने का प्रयास किया. किन्तु द्वारपाल ने उन्हें अपमानित करके सड़क की ओर धकेल दिया. इस अपमान और भूख से परेशान युवा पेरियार को बहुत दुःख हुआ और अंततः उन्हें सड़क किनारे पडी जूठी पत्तलों से भोजन चुनना पडा.

इस भांति भोजन करते हुए उनकी नजर धर्मशाला की दीवार पर पडी जहां लिखा था कि एक दक्षिणी गैर ब्राह्मण धनिक ने इस धर्मशाला का निर्माण करवाया है, तब उनका खून खौल उठा और वे सोचने लगे कि उस द्रविड़ सज्जन के दान से बनी धर्मशाला में भी अगर उनका अपमान होता है, तो ऐसा धर्म और ऐसा समाज किसी भी सम्मान का अधिकारी नहीं हो सकता. ये ठीक वैसी ही घटना है जैसी ज्योतिबा फूले और आंबेडकर के साथ उनके जीवन में होती है. वर्ण या जाति के आधार पर इस भेदभाव ने उन्हें अंदर तक हिलाकर रख दिया था. तभी वे एक निर्णय लेते हैं कि इस धर्म को त्यागकर एक नास्तिक की भांति आजीवन संघर्ष करेंगे और धर्म, जाति, लिंग, भाषा और प्रजाति के आधार पर चल रहे भेदभाव को उखाड़ फेकेंगे.

इस घटना के बाद उन्होंने एक धनिक व्यापारी होते हुए भी पूरा जीवन गरीबों और मजलूमों की सेवा में लगाया. उनकी सेवाभावना इतनी प्रगाढ़ थी कि अपने गाँव में फैले प्लेग के दौर में बीमारों की सहायता के लिए उन्होंने अपने जीवन की भी चिंता न की. और अन्य धनिकों को प्रेरित कर प्लेग पीड़ितों के लिए धन जुटाया और उनकी मदद की. उनकी इन विशेषताओं को बड़ा सम्मान मिला और उनकी मानवता के प्रति निष्ठा और समर्पण देखते हुए उन्हें ब्रिटिश सरकार ने मानद मजिस्ट्रेट भी बनाया. इसी तरह वे कई अन्य महत्वपूर्ण पदों पर भी रहे और एक व्यापक ढंग से समाज और समाज की समस्याओं को बहुत नजदीक से देख पाए. इस यात्रा में उनके कई विद्वान् और क्रांतिकारी मित्र बने और कई मार्गों से उन्होंने देश में जमे हुए भेदभाव को उखाड़ने का प्रयास किया.

एक उल्लेखनीय प्रसंग जो उनकी एक और विशेषता जाहिर करता है वो ये है कि सामाजिक ढकोसलों को नकारते हुए उन्होंने अपनी बाल-विधवा बहन का पुनर्विवाह कराया, जो उस समाज में उस समय के लिए एक बड़ी बात थी.

आगे उन्होंने जो आन्दोलन खड़े किये और एक भेदभाव रहित समाज की रचना के प्रयास किये उनमे वाईकोम सत्याग्रह (१९२४-२५), आत्मसम्मान आन्दोलन (१९२५) प्रमुख रहे. वर्ष १९२९-३२ के दौरान उन्हें यूरोप और रशिया भ्रमण के अवसर मिले और एक नयी राजनीति और समाज निर्माण की उनकी समझ में व्यापकता आई. जस्टिस पार्टी और आगे चलकर द्रविड़ कषगम पार्टी की स्थापना (१९४४) इसी का नतीजा थी. दक्षिण भारत की राजनीति में एक नयी इबारत लिखते हुए उन्होंने भाषा, धर्म, वर्ण, जाति और लिंग के आधार पर हो रहे भेदभाव को उखाड़ फेंकने के लिए जन-संगठन और व्यापक जन-जागरण किया, भारत के इतिहास में इस काम की मिसाल ढूंढना मुश्किल है.

अंतिम रूप से हम उनसे क्या सीख सकते हैं? ये एक बड़ा सवाल है. निश्चित ही उनकी सारी प्रस्तावनाओं को जस का तस नहीं लिया जा सकता, लेकिन जिन मूल्यों के आधार पर उन्होंने संघर्ष किया वे मूल्य ग्रहण करने योग्य हैं. बहुत स्पष्ट शब्दों में कहें तो इस देश में ब्राह्मणवाद से जन्मे भेदभाव का विरोध ही उनके कर्तृत्व की चालिका शक्ति थी. ब्राह्मण और अ-ब्राह्मण में जैसा भेद और शोषण है, वो उन्हें मंजूर न था. ठीक इसी तरह दलित और महिलाओं का शोषण भी उन्हें स्वीकार नहीं था. इसीलिये वे एक सशक्त दलित राजनीति के पर्याय बन गए. तमिल भाषा और द्रविड़ प्रजाति के सम्मान पर अतिआग्रह से जन्मे उनके स्वर विशेष रूप से अलगाववादी कहे जा सकते हैं. इनसे सहमत या असहमत हुआ जा सकता है. किन्तु अगर किसी भी आधार पर शोषण और दमन बना रहे और शोषक समाज इससे बाहर जाने का रास्ता न देता हो, तो अलगाव एक सहज चुनाव बन ही जाता है. हालाँकि आज के समय में भाषा, जाति या प्रजाति के आधार पर अलग देश या अलग धर्म मांगना - दोनों ही किसी समस्या का समाधान नहीं हो सकते. फिर भी अलगाव की संभावना शोषक और शोषित दोनों को एक नए और परस्पर सम्मानजनक विकल्प पर सहमति बनाने का अवसर देती है.