Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Introduction to DYCHE, my book

The psychology of truth and political realism

The social  agenda argued in the Dyche treatise reflect the rightful claim of the Dalit people in the whole context of political realism in Indian society. It thus raises many corrective points which shall serve as basis for reconstructing Indian nationalism imbibing the richness and history of Indian culture emerging from two great civilizations, the Adijan and the Adivasi psyche. On other merits why the authors still retrace deeper reasons and causality of the deprivation of the Dalit despite their years in working at the Dalit Panchayat stand mainly on two grounds:
(1) The quest for truth and justice is everybody’s business and they must be consistently projected at all levels of Indian social and political life, that is, from the federation of the states of India down to the smallest political unit, the Gram Panchayat.
(2) For India to regenerate itself from false realities to a higher plane of human development— addressing the issue of social justice as a function of truth in order to attain harmony.

We can find the essence of political realism in the confused psyche of Zarathustra who, in Friedrich Nietzche’s (1844-900) articulation more than two centuries ago, cited the relativity of the values of man. He calls it trans-valuation of values. Peoples of different breed would look at reality differently, where good in one place is considered shameful and ridiculous in another, of evil in one place but adorned in purple honour in another, a world where even wise men fails to discern why wickedness and folly abound when earthly life is too short compared with eternity. This is what may be inferred as incongruity of political realism and thus hides the truth upon us.  

The Dyche treatise therefore brings to light the essence of good and evil held in every Indian psyche , their causes and effects, their real meanings and the appropriate conduct man and institutions should adopt to establish consistency. As Zarathustra contends that all choices of value are for self-preservation and the nutshell  of human existence, Dyche recognizes the iniquitous  relationship between the Hindu and the Dalit and recommends corrective measures against long held misinterpretation of  Indian psyche as purely of Hindu genesis and the rest are mere peripherals and indigenous.

In the evolution of Indian civilization, the Dalit is downgraded from its sublime role to insignificant level but like an ember dimly lit and barely seen in the dark pages of history, the Dalit cause is the unquenchable fire of Indian nationalism and not as a spring for developing inferiority complex. I thus hold that any form of underestimation of the Dalit issue is subjective and unreal. For this cause, ‘prophets’ or any activist must face the common risk of being rejected in his own country since the object of this discourse is laid down at the sole judgment of a people who acted as accessories and accomplices.

The merit of scientific valuation as a measure of truth
Only in scientific valuation of events can we raise the spectre of truth of Dyche. I found in this book that the injury committed against the Dalit psyche is a systemic offence. And therefore, other uncommon sense which could expose the collective guilt may build anxieties and insecurities over time and cause economic and political discomfort over a large portion of the population. It is otherwise called unfounded fears. It is expected that any struggle for liberation is political in nature which inevitably would result in the reconfiguration of values, and redistribution of power and resources of society. Again, it is therefore a demand of conscience to use scientific valuation of the social system for which India operates.

The approach of fellows Raj and Jyothi is most appropriate. The reason is both practical and tactical. Even those who are opposed and less caring to the Dalit cause can now be transformed into a disciple of truth. The clear and logical ordering of scientific proof and reason will present undisputable facts and avoid what may be termed as psychological dislocation, aside from questions of authority, and fallacious stereotyping of personal motives that may be thrown against the authors by the adversaries of truth.

Two sample analogies of political realism 
In the parable found in Plato’s Republic, it cites the peril of one who works for liberation. It tells a story of human beings bound together in shackles in their entire lives inside a dark cave. By nature’s order, one connecting chain was corroded which loosens one prisoner. He escaped from the cave. One day, the freeman returned to the prisoners he left behind to tell the truth there is light at the end of the tunnel and outside is a real world better than dark cave and chains. Hearing the freeman telling strange stories, the prisoners became anxious and restless and they strangulated the freeman to death. They murdered him for subversion and heresy-for propagating the value of freedom!

I again cite an analogy regarding the interplay of the psycho-physiological frame. This is when the ‘gods and goddesses’ enjoy their past time.

Human beings, sans reasons, are like tadpoles in a deep well. Tadpoles know two realities. One reality below is an enclosed dark water-filled earth which is their habitat. The second reality above is a white firmament of light corresponding to the size of the opening of the mouth of the well. The mouth of the well serves as the trap for unthinking insects who usually served as free meals for this colony of amphibians. This is the truth and reality tadpoles live. Any claim contrary to their existential consciousness is therefore ‘nontadpolism’. Certainly, even if tadpoles metamorphosed into the biggest specie of frogs, like the Hawaiian frogs, they would still have little frog brains! This incontrovertible reality is acceptable to the frog kingdom (but not to human beings not unless mankind prefer to think and act like a frog and then sounds like a frog).

Against smaller brains are bigger brains.  The truth is having bigger brains would not necessarily mean wider consciousness. In fact, a whale has a larger brain than humans but nature keeps him as a whale forever. If god is foolish and put a whale brain to a human head, its size won’t fit, and Brahmin, for instance, will forever complain against heaven for physical discomfort having a smaller head and a bigger brain! But the good book says god’s foolishness is wiser than man’s wisdom. To go further and explore reality, a big head does not guarantee it contains a bigger brain or a higher intelligence to discern the truth. Worse, a big head could instead be an illness- a hydrocephalus! What a misfortune! But what if Lord Brahma, Allah or Yahweh, gifted the tadpoles with reason, not on humans, and at same time, all creatures are granted by god the power of choice? All things being equal, I for one would choose to be a tadpole rather than a Brahmin!

What I am driving here is that truth is never determined in quantifiable terms or used as a negotiable instrument by the strong against the weak. To draw a parallel argument ascribing to Indian political reality, its so-called democratic society is not about the rule of majority. It is more real if it is a rule of just, compassionate and reasonable people.

The psychology of truth therefore is not directly proportional to the number of people who believe one thing is real and the other is unreal, making truth relative, dependent on the trappings of power and level of social acceptability. To follow that line of argument would make China more truthful than India because it has a larger population.  Deficiency in facts, information, and intellectual capacity are all averse to the psychology of truth and political reality. These conditions likewise affect governance, the enforcement of law and order as well as in the administration of justice.

Dyche-effect of a felony committed in silence
Dyche, a wounded psyche, is a condition where there remains an opportunity for healing. The treatise raises a new problem in social science what would be the most appropriate technical term to describe a condition where a society is enclosed in a nutshell of concocted belief systems but embraced them as real and the truth? What is the effect? I explore one nearest technical term that would ascribe to the phenomena—artificial institutions. Dyche accounts an Indian society that subsists under the shadows of artificial institutions strongly supported by effective symbols and social instruments to stimulate the five senses. It sets sacred places for pilgrimage, rituals, public holidays and religious festivities, built great edifice for worship, inspired philosophical and literary works, paintings, music and arts, epics, legends, tales and folklores, accepted false testimonies of divinity as real, and within such divinities, established structures of power and authority, bestowed privileges, granted rewards and material benefits, promulgated ordinances for control and regulation and for imposition of punishment.

Then I looked at the principles of jurisprudence and policy making. There is one Latin and one English phrase, respectively,  which says ‘void ab initio’, and  “null and void’ ,  which means non-existent from the very beginning, and ‘voidable’. We use these phrases in statutory construction as a qualifier, a modifying clause or a predicate immediately preceding the subject describing the nature and effects of an act. It rejects acts that impose legal obligations to the parties concerned which are not enforceable or actionable since the basis is non-existent, foolish, illegal, immoral, against reason and human experience, inherently evil, that is , void, none at all, nothing. The logic is derivative of the dogma that ‘a mortal man cannot create something out of nothing’.  If a person insists that such non-existent matter exists and imposes it on others as real objects and actionable for some reason, such wanton imposition is considered a felony. It is considered a felony because it will be injurious against other person’s rights, security and future benefits. Voidable acts are those acts which could be considered legal but to continue holding them would create injury to parties concerned and must be declared dissolved.

I mentioned the above principles as relevant to the psychology of truth and political reality. The strongest argument of the Dyche is that it convicts Indian society to have evolved itself from fiction and felonious past now valued as Indian institutions. What then, by analogy, if at sudden calamity, the water of the well dried up? What would the tadpoles do? Hurried themselves up to become frogs?  It is indeed a felony committed in silence that even from such ‘untruthful reality’, the caste forces discriminated, oppressed and exploited the Dalits to serve its own purposes and exclude them from the benefits thereof. Such past and present iniquitous symbols served the political cause for the separation of East Pakistan and West (Bangladesh) from India, same reason why Kashmir is now being torn apart by the violence of the unreal.

At individual level, the normal psychology of a person is he/she would never choose the untrue and the artificial for the rest of his/her life. At social level, the untrue and the artificial psyche collects unjust behaviours which cause injury to others. The normal reaction is rebellion and separatism. Dyche makes clear to mind it cannot found truth  within piles of lies, fiction and misrepresentation of facts and India must be liberated from the invasive instrumentalist-utilitarian ethos of the modern world.

The unique dimension of the Dalit
The downtrodden way of life of the Dalits shares parallel stories in many parts of the globe. The remnants of Apache, Inca and Aztec civilizations of continental North and South America, the aborigines and pygmies in southeast Asia and Africa, who are now relegated to ‘politically stipulated resettlement areas and smaller territories called ancestral domain’, suffer similar wounds. The re-allocation of spaces for such races were not benevolent acts by established powers but as policy of restitutions to appease their collective guilt knowing fully well that their forefathers acted unjustly against them.
It is in this psychic level that the conscience is most vulnerable. For instance, when  Aetas  (tiny Filipinos with black skin and curly hair, the white colonizers called them Negritos, the aborigines of the Philippines) and Badjaos  (Muslim sea gypsies) from the South,  roam in urban centres during holiday seasons begging for alms, the conscience of Christians helplessly wanders and wonders. The natural habitats of these people are already gone where once they lived in peace. These Filipino Dalita or maralita [1] learned to eat American hamburgers and Italian pasta. They hold thousand reasons to be anywhere in this land. Their ancestors were here long before the brown Indo-Polynesian and Malayan race, and of people from yellow Mongolian race, occupied the fertile plains. In essence, the black Aetas and Muslim gypsies rest in every Filipino soul. Just like the Incas as the real South Americans, the Apaches as the real North Americans, the Aztecs as the real Mexicans, and the Dalits as the real Indians. In sum, the reality we know is not what the Cartesian world alleged (Rene Descartes’ ‘Cogito ergo sum’) which does not necessarily mean that just because ‘it is what we think, it is what we are’.

If Dyche will prick the conscience of India, it is a political reality that cannot be avoided. The Dalit issue strikes the heart of class antagonism which has the power to create conflict or a revolution. Dalit as a social construct provides us a clear distinction between the privileged Indian and the less privileged, the landed and the landless, the affluent Indian family who reside in flush villages and mansions as against those who are homeless, sleeping in sidewalks, occupying public parks and are living in rural and urban ghettos.  I found this study as firmly dialectical.  It also means that the light carrying the Dyche treatise is not passing through a prism that will convert such light into a variant of hues and colours. The Dalit struggle universalises the symbolism of struggle between good and evil. This dialectical thesis can be reinterpreted to take the form of another being. He was called by Adam Smith as the `invisible hand’. But this is the same hand that dominates poor nations under the so-called globalization, the hand that exploit the workers, and the hand that destroys the environment in the pursuit of profit.

Many nation-states believe they exist because of some divine providence. So does the caste based Indian State. Divine providence is a ridiculous political thought if it has driven society to believe that one is born a slave and the other is a master because it is of some divine will or karma. The Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions tolerated slavery and the divine rights of kings in the middle ages making monarchs corrupt while denying people the idea of their divine rights to revolt. What we see and felt over the years is an India which is yet to come to terms with its past, behaving as if life itself is only reserved to the favourite children of the gods. The contemptuous smirk from the face of an indifferent and passive stare from a stranger thrown to a destitute Dalit slashes a wound that hurt the spirit of whole humanity… forever.  It is samsara, the ripples that create an eternal wave of imbalance in the cosmos.

Dyche is the first step
Dyche presents a worldview of the Dalit cause in its real form and substance. It is not a view that focuses alone on the weaknesses of India but desires strong resolve to rectify said weaknesses, that the Indian nation should not remain standing on faulty premises.
Are there applicable models? What could be the appropriate directions?

I look at the depths of the Tao for any redeeming value to the Dalit struggle but I found the same to be inadequate to undo what has been done, to cure what has been wounded, by doing nothing, and to just let events take their own course. I also cannot take solace with Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of passive resistance as contemporary course of action for it will leave us with false hopes, hoping that those who inflict pain and injury will, at one time, finally see and realize the gory portraits of their violence, hoping again it will bother the conscience of the offender.

I tried to revisit one Chinese-sounding word similar to Tao. Its Mao, the great helmsman of China, who inspired many revolutionaries and others to become despicable monsters like Pol Pot of Khmer Rouge who murdered his own people on behalf of his utopian dream.  Completely opposite to the peaceful Taoist, Maoist tactics and strategies were effective in conquering state power, but like his fascist enemies, Mao’s liberating armies (People’s Liberation Army and Red Guards) left the world a trail of graveyards for suspected ‘bourgeoisie, landlords, capitalist-roaders and counter-revolutionaries’. Indeed, absolute liberation happened. The dead victims of communist revolution are now free from any form of oppression.

Again, I tried to re-examine that controversial cat of comrade Deng Shiao Ping. Deng’s revisionism contend that “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice”. Deng’s  cat, which in reality is neither coloured black nor white but ‘psychedelic ’, did not attain the communist dream of a worker’s paradise but it did catch a lot of ‘mouse, rodents, and good in intellectual piracy’. Deng’s cat likewise killed hundreds of democracy protesters in Tienannmen Square in 1989, supported one-party dictatorship, curtailed Tibetans of their right to self-determination, and violated human rights.  The Chinese deep state did not whither but instead grew into a humungous leviathan. All of the above Chinese models appeared to be hao shiao and a di shiao shiao (ask a Chinese what these means and he will tell you they are not good words).

India cannot adopt the cat model for the liberation of the Dalit. A peace-loving people can only afford to shout at the top of their voices hoping to reach the dwellings of the man-made gods—‘Brahmin India, heal our wounds and restore our freedom!

The incremental versus the radical approach
The Dyche discourse recommends the incremental approach to achieving the objectives of liberation. This allows empiricism to dictate the contents of issues involved and stakeholders’ participation in negotiations and public debate. Lessons have been learned that moderation gives opportunity for antagonistic forces to rethink and evaluate the course of action when crises arise. As a matter of principle, the objective world must not be replaced by the subjectivity of the human mind, which has the tendency to abuse and to have less regard to excess, to drift towards anarchy and nihilism. Noble intentions could be easily replaced by the instinctive choice between convenience and hardship. This tendency is commonly seen in the capacity of the self, especially if one is motivated by deceit and arrogance and the quantity of material rewards, to invent myths. What more if filial affinity, partisan and religious considerations influence the valuation of choices?

The case of a confused Indian
Here is an allegory of a person indicating three distinct cultures, Hindu, Muslim and Christian representing modern India. He is a patient brought to a diagnostic centre to find out his real illness.

“Swamy Haffizullah Cordero was once a young and healthy Indian Dalit.  His thoughts were pure and he saw the world with innocence. He never knew god. Thereafter, he attended school, finished banking and finance, studied Sanskrit, religion and philosophy, arts and culture, ate junk food at fast food restaurants, learned break dancing and struts, read smut magazines, voted corrupt politicians into office, and enjoyed viewing pornography in the internet. He was then exposed to the invasive nature of modernity and narcissistic culture, craved for the good life, and employed in a Brahmin company, a subsidiary of a foreign multinational firm. In his solitude, he began to wonder what he could be. He decided to practice yoga, then converted to Islam because it allows polygamy. But he abhorred too much of prayers. He shifted to Christianity. One day, he was brought to the clinic feverish and experiencing some hallucinations. He had fasted several days imitating his Lord Jesus Christ who fasted forty days. The physician found no symptoms of any illness in him so he just injected him with water. One noon time, Hafizullah stared sheepishly outside the window of the hospital and saw an image of a person walking at a distance. The parallax or heat wave created optical illusion, distorting the actual image. He thought the person walking was an angel. Haffizullah now has a very lucrative profession—convincing the poor that he received revelations from god. The physician knew fully well his illusions and hallucinations were just effects of starvation”.

The Risks of Psychological Dislocation
Curing wounds requires certain period for recovery but the ‘Indian patient’ need be exposed to the rigorous clash of antagonistic forces within the political realms.   We have read the psychological dislocation of the prisoners in Plato’s Republic. The risk of psychological dislocation is best exemplified by the relationship between Lord Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot found in the gospel of Matthew. Judas Iscariot represents the confused political activist. His confusion became a frustration, a psychological problem encountered by the apostles of Christ who were mostly unlettered Galilean fisher folk, except for tax collector Matthew. The disciples would normally react in disbelief over certain strange doctrine and parables like the ‘destruction of the temple and be rebuilt after three days’. (Unlike Raj and Jyothi who wanted to reconstruct India within their lifetime). Frustration was followed by contempt, and finally treachery. Judas Iscariot exchanged the life and liberty of his Teacher for thirty pieces of silver paid by the Pharisee (teachers of the Mosaic Law).

The derivation of benefits of liberation is uncertain. Although Jesus Christ was thought of as the most popular political figure who could rally the Israelites against Roman bondage, he was talking liberation and the promise of a new kingship in an absolutely different perspective. It was not liberation from socio-economic and political depravity of a vanquished race but transferring to earth the unfinished business in heaven between good and evil. As the story goes, both characters suffered ignominy till death, Christ was nailed to a wooden cross, and Judas, hanged himself in a tree, all because of fears and uncertainty among believers to the cause of liberation. 

The Adversary
Dyche discourse may incidentally draw us to the left side of the political spectrum by drawing Neo-Marxist alternatives but they could be better choices than concocted belief systems and complements Gandhian socialism invoked in the preamble of Indian constitution. India today, considered as the biggest democracy in the world, has to cut the Gordian knot that firmly holdws the liberties of its citizens. The struggle to be waged by men of goodwill is complex since the adversary is both visible and invisible. Even if the ways of this adversary are known, his true nature is yet to be exposed to the world. We cannot just be stoning him in the pillar like when Muslims perform Haj.  The adversary is a great one who inflicted wounds not only against flesh but against the spirit.

Where Indians are, there we see and feel his presence, the same transcendental and omniscient being. He also manifests himself in many forms and substance. He is not just an artistic concept of a divine being called Satan stumbled under the foot of Archangel Michael, nor of the mythical demon Arihman, subtle and oppressive, and his violence is embedded in human nature. Call him the mark of the beast. Call him the caste. He could be nuclear fission, or enriched uranium whose physical properties contain the capacity to obliterate Pakistan or India in fraction of a second. The adversary represents the negative essence of life, who can be found in a nuclear physicist or in Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers, in a Shudra or a Brahmin, enslaving the soul, substituting rational spaces of the human brain with irrational impulses and aggressive behaviour.

No social legislations can ever reduce the power of an invisible adversary of the good self. The power of the state has no match over the corrupted power of the collective minds.  The attributes of a corrupted mind could be no other than the dissolution of the boundaries between right and wrong, the separation of the soul and the Brahman. As such, just as  Hindu belief systems is represented by a hierarchy of gods and goddesses, the caste belief system even created conditions for Dalit  to  seek  the lesser  gods to  worship. If philosopher Adi Sankara’s teachings dealt with the concept of unity of the soul and the Brahman, a god without attributes, such earthly manifestations of godliness is full of human shenanigans and discriminatory practices.   But the legends of the gods are coated with ethical purity and humility. For instance, when Lord Vishnu appeared to philosopher Adi Sankara on his way of worship to Viswanath Temple, he manifested himself as an untouchable, not as a noble man. The same with Lord Jesus Christ who was born in a manger, or the process of purification of Siddharta (Gautama Buddha) and Prophet Muhammad over their quest for liberation (jivanmukta). None of them implied affluence as basis for achieving benediction and approval from god. The psycho-social implication of such legend is that even a god chooses the more sublime and profound representation in the lowly temporal creature to manifest his everlasting true self (Atman Hinduism).

Political Exorcism of the Indian Psyche
On what kind of specific rituals to exorcise or liberate the corrupted Indian psyche is the main problem encountered in this study. We cannot even avoid raising the dilemma exhibited by those who have arrived at correct diagnosis but still find difficulty in the choices of instruments for interventions.

Those who took courage to stand before the Dalit cause must maintain the congruence between political prescriptions and the quantum of space the Indian state must allocate for the Dalit cause. Dr. Ambedkar, the exponent of Dalit’s welfare during India’s struggle for independence from British imperial rule,  crafted principles under the Indian Constitution based on his approximation of good (call it justice and equity) located somewhere between the ideal and real. Thus, we read in the basic law with a series of approximation of rights and obligations under a catchall provisions referred thereat as “scheduled  castes”. Dr. Ambedkar is just one of the voices in the wilderness.

The Indian State does not create rights
Constitutions and states do not create rights. They merely recognize those rights, being inherent in every human being, and inalienable. But the Indian state alienated those rights. Human rights become a chattel subjected to the commerce of man. They have to be negotiated in the political realms so that those rights are respected.

Proven enough, any form of enumeration of rights between classes or castes is an implicit recognition of the social divide. The Dalit became creatures of the Indian state who have no right to taste the icing of the cake and the cake itself but only the crumbs that fall from the table of the master race. In short, the Dalit is a human being treated lesser in state from the Brahmin. Between two standards, of superior-inferior dichotomy, the balance of justice will always tilt in favour of the stronger. If you have this condition tolerated over time, the right to life, liberty and property, will be no longer subject to due process or equal protection of the law but subjected to traditional parameters of the caste. As a matter of fact, the Indian state may have declared ‘untouchability’ as illegal, but a law is only a good law when it is faithfully enforced and observed. Acting beyond the intention of the law is lawlessness. Can we say therefore that the Indian caste system is inherently evil and lawless? It is so. Caste dominance therefore is anarchy.

The Dyche contentions reiterate the classic philosophy of Rosseau’s  (1712-1778) Discourse on Inequality and Social Contract. The Dalit travails as a people confirm that power in society is only valid as long as it exists for the good of the community. Any undertakings which bind us to the social body are obligatory because they are mutual. Corollary to that frame, the Dalit certainly does not exist for India neither they owe their existence to India. On the contrary, India exists because the Dalits exist.

The  objective of political exorcism
Therefore, the objective of liberation, which I hereby call political exorcism, should not be construed as subverting the basic law but to use the law to protect the rights of the Dalits and promulgate the obligations of the Indian state. Logically, this struggle cannot be equated to demolishing the constitution so as to come up with a re-allocation of rights. Foremost is the recognition of the federal character of Indian body politic and Dalits as one part of that great body, orderly functioning according to its own natural use and meaning. This federal way of life is expressed by the great Mahatma Gandhi who quipped “I want the winds of all the world’s culture to blow freely through my house, but I don’t want to be blown away by them”.

In this scientific discourse, we demystify all forms of belief systems that tend to create classes of people. We prove that beyond the realms of genetics and physiology, inequality is nothing but subjective interpretation of the world and egotism. The first   obstacle to liberation is to be misunderstood by the powers within state institutions.

Incarceration of the human spirit not only debases the humanity of the oppressed but the oppressor himself. Hindu philosophy incarcerated the mind within the labyrinth of cosmic phenomena and human folly, flavoured with endless rationalisations and epic tales of a plethora of gods and goddesses ascribed with human attributes.  We begin with measuring the quantum of space in the individual consciousness and re-examine how enlightenment and goodwill can be transformed into a culture of oneness. It searches in the Dalit psyche the true Indian spirit, the Adijan psyche, the psyche that is still uncorrupted and pure, we thought of and in the future, will provide the strength against the onslaught of  corrosive thinking in the modern  ages. This is not advocating some sort of going backward and embracing fundamentalism. If Brahmanism and Islamism somehow influenced some Indians to appear suffering from psychosis (like desecrating temples of worship just to manifest their fury against the other), it is more erratic to carry on with a wounded psyche attributed to vengeful gods.

We have to be clear in our motives and interpretation. We must be conscious that it is in numerous theological strands and rituals that entangled the Dalit soul to their present destitute condition, who are even deprived to find solace and contentment in the worship of their gods, in participating in the revelry of religious festivals and in receiving benedictions from the idols of the gods in sacred Hindu temples.

Discarding Superstition
Since not one Indian mortal today can claim he is a re-incarnate of Lord Shiva or sure that he has ascended to heaven and come back with tangible instruments we could use as basis for judging one thing is ‘divine’ and the other is mundane.

The dwelling of the gods I mentioned earlier is a metaphor addressed to the tangible ‘human agents of divine beings’, whoever they are, and whatever self-designations or appointments they held in both heaven and earth. The Dalits would care less on the rambunctious ideological superiority of the Indian political and economic elite.

Dalit’s idea of a country is simply expressed in three general principles: (1) they need a land where they can build their homes, grow their food and raise a family; (2) they want a community provided with basic services; and (3) they deserve to be accorded with equal opportunity in all spheres of human activity.  

Citing scientific evaluation as the guiding light, Dalitism no longer stands as a socio-cultural, economic and political bargain against the State but as an inherent claim against the Indian birthright. The idea of reconstruction is not limited to the demolition of corroded structures of ‘old India’ but includes psychic cleansing (not ethnic cleansing). Effecting change would not be calling all the gods to intervene. All the holy Scriptures sold in the market suggest that the transcendental and omnipotent Brahma, Allah or Yahweh is not a dumb deity but a great rational supreme being. There is nothing objectionable even if more than eight hundred million Hindus would claim that all incidents of fairness and prosperity down here on earth, or in India in particular, were bound in heaven and predestined to happen. But contrary to “what is ought to be”, or social behaviour and effects of behaviours that are inherently wrong (mala in se) is therefore an unacceptable reality.

Besides, freedom includes the right to freely express even the most irritable, ridiculous and stupid idea. In libertarian-democracy, the political system India adopted, does not deny the opportunity for the wretched and the damned to likewise elect their representatives in the parliament

The Purpose of Reconstruction
This treatise aims to completely burn the invisible curtain between two peoples separated by myths, tradition and ignorance. Thus, as a methodology, two trajectories are analysed, that is, one is earthly (rational approach) and the other is heavenly. The epistemology of the word ‘reconstruct’ simply means to rebuild and restore.  We have reason to value restoration because something has been destroyed (the old foundations of the house were infected with termites and foundations need to be refurbished and improved) It carries the notion of optimising the utilitarian value of the Adijan and Adivasi psyche, and consequently expand the space in our human consciousness the rational and transcendental dimensions of social relationship.

For other cultures, material prosperity and modern technology acquired behaviours that are more associated with extreme competition of scarce resources and satisfaction of the ego. [2]  This self-centred focus nurtures unbridled psychological dysfunction like greed and violence, and when it its exhibited by people of influence and power, with an unyielding pride and arrogance, we are sure that the political risk for promoting the interest of the poor simultaneously increases, and the formula for the struggle would shift from peaceful negotiation to violent confrontation. But opting for the violent struggle yielded less desirable political realities in contemporary times when clash of religious values has made life and liberty the sacrificial lamb. When insecurity abounds, government has to invent faces of terror curtailing the same rights. Some will seek refuge in crooked philosophy to justify their crimes and dismiss their victims as lesser beings, infidels, or creatures subject to the karmic cyclical motion of the universe, or the will of Allah.

Our purpose is to safeguard the weak against the strong as a requisite to peace and harmony. Safeguard against whom? Against the instrumentalities of the state, against religion and its institutions. One should not read Karl Marx to understand that government is an agency for oppression and religion is an opium. The government is not a place inhabited by holy men and women but bundles of irrational human beings who usually equate public interests with their personal interests.  Religion likewise created an Indian way of life that sedate the minds into docile submission to fate and created social institutions characterised by dominance of the elitist, oppressive, and exploitative structures and processes.

The role of mediators
Face with this reality, the need for greater amplification of collective efforts by social activists and political philosophers is demanded. Moreover, India has a population reaching more than a billion people and approximately 180 million citizens belonging to the scheduled castes (Dalit). This poses considerable stress on state resources, both at present and in the future. Managing such a huge population under a federated political structure makes the village level or Panchayat Raj a distant satellite community where power configurations rest in the dominant caste rather than the law. Without direct interventions from civil society, people’s organizations, and donor agencies who will provide complementary developmental programs, the poor will remain debased of their existence, an affront to the very conscience of the state. It would not be a justifiable social virtue that the Dalit shall be contend with their profound role as the “the salt of the earth” nor find pride by Mahatma Gandhi’s exaltation of the untouchables as Harijan or children of God.

The ideals  set forth in the Indian constitution which stand as the social  contract between  people and the state, must exhibit the corresponding conversion of such divine ideals into pragmatic application  of  social virtues, ‘that all are created under the law’ , and not to mean ‘there are those who are created more equal than the others’. It is not by hurting others  in order to heal the wounds within the self’ but to strengthen the link between the temporal and cosmic realities.

Concluding Remarks
There are two locations for which the Dyche will achieve its objective. One is winning at the institutional level, influencing public policies and decisions involving proprietary rights, public investments, enjoyment of the national patrimony and utilization of natural resources, access to basic services like education, health, housing, and social security. The other locus of this struggle is in the mind. It is by changing perceptions and discarding deeply-rooted values that are proven to be inimical to the harmonious relationship between neighbours, between human beings and the cosmic reality.

I made reference from the Sermon of the Mount of Lord Jesus Christ, when he brought hope and consolation to a vanquished people occupied and corrupted by imperial Rome and the church (Pharisees and Sadducees).

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” and “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:3 & 5)

This exaltation of the psychological inferiority and gentleness of a people is a prerequisite to acquiring a place in heaven and on earth. Spiritual deprivation could be the worst  kind of  violence.

 This would require huge amount of efforts and resources but there are many ways in attaining the objectives. This can be explained by going back to the classics. Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) philology tells about the will to power and self-mastery. He laid down some good starting points. Thus,

It is necessary to understand the world as a life formed without a model. It can only be understood by correct methodology. It is a demand of conscience. Therefore, one is to avoid getting entangled with many faulty assumptions and causality. We are to test a single unit until final conclusion (even up to the point of absurdity), taking will as our only hypothesis. Every will effects on other will, and all mechanical happenings as they are activated by some energy, are will power, assuming we are able to trace back all organic functions of this will to power including the solutions to generational problems. The world seen from within and a world defined according to its intelligible character is will to power.
To apply such principle is to empower the Dalit, one must be driven by strong motives. It would require self actualization or the will to truth. Everything will bend and accommodate itself according to that will if one is on the side of truth.

We are to recognize political realism that the order of life is for the weaker to serve the stronger and the weaker to be master over someone still weaker than him[3].  This state of nature is governed by instinct. But man is a rational being and therefore his tempered civility is what differentiates himself from the beasts.  However, we cannot be Taoists, sit idly, and wait for tempered individuals to give us the paradise we want. We have to act decisively and convincingly.

The psychology of truth serves as the conscientious frame of political reality where one individual will draw his/her power to empower the Dalit. The independence movement started by Dr. Ambedkar had sown the seed of emancipation from the bondage of long held social, economic and political discrimination against the Dalit people but the vine and branches are yet to bear the exact fruit of liberation.
There is none nobler than those who toil in the night ensuring that the torch of freedom keeps burning. Icarus was not held back against his will to fly towards the sun even if the fire will melt him to oblivion. The guard of the lighthouse makes sure it is lighted every night to guide the sailors home.

Prof. Nestor  F. Gotis, Philippines
[1] Dalita is a Tagalog-Pilipino phrase which has its Sanskrit origin Dalit. Dalita means miserable situation, unhappy and maralita means poor and destitute.
[2] The specimen on how far ego can go Is seen for instance in multi-millionaires in Abu Dhabi, (United Arab Emirates), who build air-conditioned carport just for their Rolls Royce, Ferrari and other model sports cars. It is reflective of a civilization where machines are humanised and humans are converted as machines, or dispensable objects.
[3] In business  world, there is a metaphor what we call the “the big fish eating the smaller fish and in chain of sizes”  where in the food chain, the smallest fish  like the krill exist to serve the big appetite of the whale sharks. In business, we call them predators and their marketing tactic is by using predatory prices, which should be regulated by law.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Democracy and Corruption

M C Raj

Indian democracy is going through turmoil at the moment. There is a hype created about corruption in the country. Young people have come on to the streets in an apparent bid to save India from corruption. The government of India has shown visible signs of panic and makes apparent mistakes in its strategy to contain the hype around corruptions. There is a need to understand a few dimensions surrounding the fight against corruption in India.

It may look that there was no such corruption earlier in India. Such uniqueness to the present struggle against corruption has been created mainly because of the personalities who are spearheading the present battle in the streets. The ‘General’ is known to be a Gandhian and that lends a lot of credibility to the struggle. Ultimately one may witness in many corners of India a strenuous effort to project Hazare as the new messiah who will save India from corruption. There is a danger in this personalization that the issue of corruption may easily be pushed to periphery and Hazare will be pushed to the centre-stage. Around Hazare there are some inevitable others who are always present at any publicity -galvanizing event in India. Why did Hazare arise in the horizon capitalizing on the issue of corruption? We shall not go back into his personal history, as we have no intention to personalize any struggle.

Indian leaders in general are very wary of highlighting any issues that will capture negative international attention. For example Indian rulers of all parties have tried their best to prevent any international media attention to the issues of untouchability and caste inequality. Yet the issue of corruption has been allowed to be blown up at a time when India is gaining an image of Asian economic giant and even being a donor country. There must be a purpose behind this attempt to put India on bad spot.  The timing is a strong indication. Already in the period of India Gandhi corruption became a serious issue and she sealed the issue by proclaiming that corruption was a universal phenomenon. From then on India has never run short of corrupt practices.

The recent proceedings in the parliament of India have repeatedly shown that there is a strong effort to put governance by Congress in a bad spot. The BJP has been stalling the parliament proceedings through undue pressure tactics and has taken recourse to also personal vilification of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. Without going into the merits and de-merits of BJP effort to disrupt parliament functioning, one may conclude that the present effort is part of a continuum and not a suddenly spruced up issue. This time around the effort has been to make the government make as many mistakes as possible and withdraw from governance so that the old BJP regime may re-capture power. Politics is about capturing power.

Sushma Swaraj speaking in the parliament in defence of RSS support to Hazare is a strong indicator of background players in the present orchestration. ABVP, the student wing of RSS/BJP has vandalized Christian educational institutions in seeking support for Hazare. In many places of India Muslims and Christians have been targeted in public speeches as if they do not belong to India. It is also very difficult to accept that Hazare praised Narendra Modi of Gujarat accidentally focusing only on the development model. The hurry and the spontaneity in such adulation of a highly questionable Chief Minister of Gujarat is a very strong indicator to a certain loyalty and behind the scene motivation for the crusade against corruption. That putting the UPA government on a spot is an international agenda of the BJP/RSS brigade does not need much explanation.

The dialectics of anti-corruption has received a severe body blow by the proposition of a Jan Lokpal Bill. Even many opposition parties in India have decried the weakness of the UPA government in yielding to such pressure tactics by Hazare to outsmart the parliament of India by going on a fast unto death in order to push his personal agenda of an ombudsman outside of parliament. This effort has to be placed in the larger context of the country where Hindutva forces have resentment about the present constitution. They would rather govern the country outside of the constitution through Hindu Scriptures, if possible, or through revision of the constitution. The caste governance of villages where legally elected Dalit Presidents and members of Panchayats are attacked and brutally killed bears ample evidence to the existing violent resentment against the inclusive nature of Indian constitution. The way provisions for reserved seats have been subverted by all political parties in India from the time of Independence is an additional evidence of the endeavour to subvert the spirit of the constitution. Jan Lokpal will fit perfectly into such a trajectory. The opposition parties in India could have easily taken up the issue in the parliament and fought tooth and nail within the parliament for including the office of the Prime Minister and judges in the government approved Lokpal Bill.   It is prudish on the part of Hazare to burn the Bill prepared by the Government even before it was taken up for discussion in the Parliament. A supposedly immature India seems to have blindly followed someone who either cares a damn for the parliament of India or is guided by a highly moralistic arrogance. It leaves conscientious citizens of India with a bitter question as to how much of pro-India content is visible in the present street battle led by Hazare & Co.

Many intellectuals and writers who initially supported Hazare in the first phase of his struggle wrote a strong letter disapproving his statements and methods of protest. There is substance in this symbolic protest of the intelligentsia in India. It clearly indicates that while they are against corruption they do not approve of an engineered struggle against corruption, especially if the engineering is done by proven communal elements in the country.

Any pro-India agenda focusing on non-corrupt governance has many other concerns to address instead of trying to catch it by the tail and turn it around to change its direction. The issue of corruption is one of the many issues that concern governance of the country with the value premises enshrined in the constitution of India. Communalism has been a terrible form of onslaught against constitutional governance in India from the time of Ram Janma Bhoomi Movement violently led by Advani and his cronies. Treatment of Dalits as untouchables all over the country and atrocities perpetrated on them when they take recourse to constitutional and legal provisions must put to shame any party that imagines to govern this country through its constitution. The way Congress party has blindly taken recourse to Globalization, deprivation of the poor of their natural resources in the name of development is much more serious than the issue of corruption. The way India is bulldozing her small neighbours in Asia and is implicitly colonizing many African countries needs a serious analysis and positioning by Indian intelligentsia. The way subsequent governments in India have browbeaten UN mechanisms is a matter of grave concern in Indian governance. Electoral malpractices and violence are serious issues of governance that deserve immediate attention. Our electoral system itself is a legacy that India has borrowed from the British. While most countries in the world are shifting their electoral systems to one or other form of proportional representation system, India is still blindly holding on to the First Past The Post system. This is highly indicative of a callousness that exists in those who are responsible for governance. Many countries in the world have tackled the issue of corruption by changing their electoral system and by refurbishing their instruments and mechanisms of governance.

That such a serious issues in governance in India have been relegated to peripheries and that just one issue of corruption has been taken up as the most damaging issue in Indian democracy is a strong indicator of the existence of a hidden agenda behind this hype. Whose agenda are the citizens and young people of India are fulfilling is a serious question. Are they taking the bull by the horn or by the tail? Only time will tell. But by then there may be another generation of India that could be trampled upon. Let us hope that this will not happen and that good sense will prevail.   

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Short Introduction to My Novel RAACHI
M C Raj
This novel is based on the true story of a Dalit but written in realistic fiction style. It is about a Dalit belonging to the Unseeable people in India. The hero of the novel, RAACHI is the son of totally illiterate parents and their family lives below poverty line. Through sheer hard work RAACHI self-actualizes himself. He discovers his latent strength and transforms himself into an excellent human being. Life is not easy for a Dalit in India and it starts for him already from the first year in school where the caste students nickname him “Kakapee”. It means the shit of a crow. This novel is a saga of how RAACHI with his Kakapee identity slowly transforms himself into a human being. In this process of self-actualization he also transforms many situations in the lives of Dalit people. The story ends with the hero going to the US on one of his many international lecture trips and on his return the plane in which he travels nosedives into the earth. Down under the earth he encounters the spirits of the ancestors of indigenous communities and merges with them. His energy waves cannot remain in the womb of Mother Earth and he comes out as waves and fills all those who are in a resurgence to establish dignity and peace on earth.
The first chapter starts with a bang. It is a success story of RAACHI and his indomitable wife Deepa who together declare this Millennium as the Ambedkar Era. It is achieved through heavy odds including threats to their life from caste forces. But the Dalit people stand solidly with the duo and make the event a grand success. This leads to a flashback on the origins of the hero. His unseeable ancestry is traced also scientifically to give a picture of what it means to the international readers. His family is helped by European missionaries in a leprosy hospital and the family converts itself to Christianity. He also develops compulsive anger and many other compulsions that operate subconsciously in him. The sisters in the hospital motivate and help him to join the seminary. He faces caste discrimination in the school as well as in the seminary. He puts up a stiff challenge through his enormous potential and energy level. He excels in studies, sports, music and drama.
He is promoted to distant places for his studies and joins an Ashram. With contemplation and reading he becomes a philosopher of sorts and gains international recognition already at a young age. He is sent to Kerala for his theology studies where he become familiar with Marxism. His worldview becomes radical and his interpretation of the Bible becomes controversial. He becomes a priest but within six months obtains permission from Rome to live in a slum, works and earns his living and does his secular studies. He becomes very popular among the slum people but is haunted by Church authorities as they see his new existence as a judgment on them. The Church bans him.
Against formidable odds RAACHI marries Deepa, a woman with radical views. Together they start a Dalit Movement and establish a saga of success. But local politicians and some international forces are up against them. He takes on the mighty international groups and both of them march ahead with their achievements for the removal of untouchability practices in their area of operation. They create new models of rights and dignity. In this whole process RAACHI becomes a prolific writer and philosopher. His many sexual encounters that are narrated in the novel will provide a juicy stuff to the readers.
After a course in Thailand he begins to develop his personality in a very positive way and works on himself consistently to remove all his compulsive anger and subconscious operations in him. He becomes very positive and creative. RAACHI and Deepa become very popular among Dalit people and create the first ever Dalit Ashram in India. He is also invited to the Netherlands to address a large public gathering with the Prime Minister. He is featured in the Newsweek magazine. The way he turns all his difficulties into great opportunities for his people is a real treat for those who are struggling in their lives.
It is in his attempt to establish solidarity for dignity and peace that he merges with the cosmos and assumes a new form of life.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Note on Electoral Reforms

Two Page Note on CERI

India’s present electoral system is the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system. In this system any candidate who gains more votes than others is declared winner. It need not be a majority vote. Generally candidates with less than 20% of votes get elected in this system. Parties with about 25% of seats capture power.

In FPTP only one candidate can be elected from one constituency. This means that a vast majority of voters are left without any representation.

Since a candidate can win with about 25 % of votes more muscle and money power, violence and caste/communal hatred are promoted at the time of elections. 

FPTP is good for countries with two party system. India has already come to multiparty system and to the era of coalition politics. Therefore, India is badly in need of changing its electoral system.

Percentage of votes and percentage of seats are not proportionate in FPTP. Parties with less percentage of votes gain more percentage of seats and come to power. On the other hand parties with more percentage of votes gain less percentage of seats. This is an electoral anomaly in Indian democracy.

FPTP allows dominant parties to retain power without giving true representation to minorities such as Dalits, Adivasi/Tribal people, religious, ethnic and other minorities.

Proportionate Electoral System, also known as PR system guarantees that the percentage of votes and percentage of seats are the same in the Parliament and in Assemblies.

PR system has multimember constituencies. This means three or four members can be elected from the same constituency. Thus representatives of many communities can be elected from one constituency providing representation to different parties. Votes will not be wasted.

¨     Only a party or a coalition that gains more than 50% of votes and seats can come to power in this system. It is suited for countries with multiparty system and coalition politics. India fits the bill perfectly.

¨   PR system promotes inner party democracy and reduces corruption and violence. Since many candidates can be elected from the same constituency it does not promote hatred at the time of election. it creates a win-win situation in electoral politics.

¨    Most democracies in the world have shifted to Proportionate Electoral System already. More countries are already in the process of transforming their electoral systems towards proportionate electoral system.

¨    Countries that have adopted PR system have proved that they can contain corruption, electoral malpractices, violence, communalism and dominant rule by a small coterie of the most powerful.

¨   India is badly in need of electoral reform to bring about proportionate electoral system to prevent disintegration, corruption and violence and to prevent the rule of a dominant minority group/party.

What is holding you back?
Not for me, not for you but for India

 Join this Campaign

The Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI) was initiated in India and in Nepal to promote genuine democratic participation in India and Nepal through the proportionate electoral system.

It has active presence in more than 15 States and recently has stepped into 7 more States.

It has Political Parties, All India Organizations, People’s Movements and International Solidarity Groups in its fold. It is strongly supported by Dalits, Adivasi/Tribal people, Women, religious minorities, sexual minorities, Indigenous Peoples of the world etc.

CERI promotes the Campaign through International, national, state, regional and district level conferences, publications, media, trainings and signature campaigns.

Join the Campaign! Collect as many signatures as you can to reach the target of ten million signatures.

Take Leadership by organizing small meetings and conference at your level.

Contact the Campaign Coordinator at:

Tumkur 572102
Mobile: (0)9845144893 – M C Raj

Inclusive Governance

M C Raj

In the recent past Indian media is full of reports of unlimited corruption in India at all levels. Today we have received a report about a huge corruption by the BJP government in Karnataka. Recently a gentleman called Anna Hazare went on a fast unto death against corruption in the central government. He is a Gandhian and therefore, when he went on a fast almost the whole country stood with him in its fight against corruption. The Government of India was in jitters. It called for negotiations with Hazare and agreed to set up a committee including him to bring about a Bill against corruption in the Indian Parliament. People who supported him were happy. But the next day of this announcement Hazare made a statement praising Narendra Modi who is the Chief Minister in Gujarat. He belongs to the BJP and has been accused of killing minorities. Some people who supported Hazare withdrew their support because of this Hindu communal colour. It is quite justified, as there are strong indications that Hazare was set up by the RSS and the Hindu Party BJP. One of the persons who stood with Hazare is Swami Agnivesh who is known for his radical stand in favour of the poor. But I have always stood against him, as I know that he is an upholder of caste system in India. He has written in support of Varna system, which is the same as caste system. All these joined hands with fascist communal forces in India and are fighting against corruption. If they win it will mean that BJP will come to power.

The same BJP is ruling party in Karnataka and the Chief Minister of Karnataka is found to have amassed wealth along with many of his ministers. It is daylight robbery of the resources of the people of Karnataka and the BJP party is not taking any action against a corrupt Chief Minister of their own party. Many people in India do not feel that corruption is an evil. Some decades ago Indira Gandhi justified corruption saying that it is a universal phenomenon. 

When this is going on, the Sunday Guardian from Delhi has written an article about the anti-corruption struggle of Anna Hazare. Before publishing this article they interviewed me. The reason is simple. Anna Hazare was also speaking against electoral reforms as his next step. He says that Indian electoral system is full of corruption and wants to reform the Indian electoral system. But his reform will aim at only removing corruption and violence so that people may still have the present electoral system and not change it at all. Our present First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system is a British legacy. Most Indians think that what is good for Britain is also good for India. This is a slavish mentality. The Editor of the Magazine knows that our Organization has started also a national campaign for electoral reforms in India known as CERI. This campaign is supported by Misereor. This is a huge campaign that has spread into more than 20 States in India.

I did a research on the proportionate electoral system of Germany and wrote a book on the Political Theory and Praxis of Dalits. With this book as the foundation we started CERI with active support from Misereor and also Bread for the World. Our approach to electoral reforms in India is that proportionate electoral system will address effectively the question of communal violence and corruption in India. We are not saying that proportionate electoral system is the remedy for all the problems that India faces. But it is definitely one of the best answers that we have. We are focused on governance of the country with the participation of the citizens of India. You will be surprised to know that there are two members of Parliament in India now who won their seat with less than 10% of votes. The present Parliament of India has only 5 members who got more than 50% of votes. Parties with less than 30% of votes come to power in India because of FPTP electoral system. This means we have a lot of wasted votes in our democracy. It is very important that Indian reforms her electoral system first to bring about lasting changes in her governance of the country. I also made researches in Norway and New Zealand to see how the Dalit people and other minorities in India can find their right place in her representative democracy. 

Our campaign has grown very fast. Now we are organizing a Workshop of electoral systems experts of the world in the month of October 2011. This Workshop will have many eminent scholars from all over the world. We are organizing it in Berlin. The German Dalit Solidarity Platform has joined hands with our Campaign as a strong supporter. This is a big mission that we have taken up in India in the best interest of inclusive democracy. Instead of crying over what others are doing to us we are now ready to take up leadership to take the country in new paths of inclusive governance. This way we hope to bring the Dalits, Adivasi/Tribal people, women, minorities and most backward castes communities in India into the Instruments and Mechanisms of governance.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI)

Hans Magnusson
Dalit Solidarity Network-Sweden

Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI)

The Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India known as CERI constitutes a new political alternative involving a change of the electoral system, which may offer the prospect for Dalits and other suppressed groups to acquire a substantial number of mandates representatives in the Parliament. It carries a strong belief of the possibility of sustaining democracy through electoral means.  

It was launched on the initiative of REDS (Rural Education for Development Society, Tumkur in the state of Karnataka) at the International Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 8th-10th October, 2008. The CERI Manifesto was adopted in Kathmandu on 18th-20th November, 2009 by the CERI Core Team. The release of CERI Manifesto was preceded by a panel organized by CERI in the Civil Society Summit in Bangalore on 25 January, 2010.

The CERI Manifesto takes as a point of departure that India is a composition of a multiform of identities shaped by religion, caste, language, region, and culture. The challenge for Indian democracy as is underlined in the Manifesto is to materialize the fundamental responsibility to make legitimate and legal space available to all the multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual, and multi-religious communities dwelling within the borders of India. B.R. Ambedkar gave voice to this challenge as he at the time for the drafting of the Indian Constitution declared: “I am of the opinion that in believing we are a nation, we are cherishing a great illusion. How people divided into several thousands of castes can be a nation? The sooner we realize that we are not yet a nation in the social and psychological sense of the word the better for us … In the country you find really two nations – a ruling nation and a nation which is a subject nation”[1].

The Manifesto further points out that India has traditionally been a hierarchical society at which indigenous communities are isolated and made outcaste by dominant forces, which also are controlling the sources of their livelihood. The Majoritarian Electoral System (MES) as applied in India through the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system with an emphasize on producing a solid majority and by this granting stability to the political system does not, it is argued, live up to the claim of realizing the criterions of justice, equality, inclusiveness and the representation of all social groups in the political decision making process.  It is pointed out that subsequent elections in India since independent have shown that candidates with even less than 10 % votes in a given electoral constituency can win the seat. And, in the 2009 general elections to the Indian Parliament, 145 out of 573 elected members won with less than 20 % votes. 

The Manifest also rejects the reserved seats system as a means of bringing about a righteous representation. This system, being the outcome of the Poona Pact between Ambedkar and Gandhi, although creating a clear reservation quota has not fostered the emergence of well-articulated policies for minorities. Rather, it is argued, the candidates are totally dependent on the party establishment for being nominated. So being they are also depending on them in formulating policies for the respective minority groups they are representing; exercising independent thinking may lead to a situation at which their political future will be put at risk. So, it is argued, reservation within the Majoritarian Electoral System has only become a handy tool in the hands of the dominant parties to politically neutralize Dalit and Adivasi leadership. The conclusion is that when actual representation is removed from the praxis of democracy, it is bound to be a failure.

The Manifesto also recalls that Ambedkar in 1955 changed his position on Separate Electorates for Dalits arguing that there was no need for separate electorates and reserved seats; what was needed was an electoral system with multimember constituencies.

The alternative system, the Proportionate Electoral System (PES), involving a broader representation would, it is asserted, be more equipped to realizing the criterions of justice, equality, and inclusiveness. The democratic ideal for the Campaign is a ´bipolarity of power, adding power as participation´, involving a distribution of power, allowing “participation of all citizens in the instruments and mechanisms of governance at all levels. Such participation in decision making should ensure proportional democratic space for all people so that no one group becomes the absolute owner of material and spiritual values”. To ascertain this, the aim of the Campaign is to make possible and ensure the participation of all communities in governance, and check all tendencies to usurp dominant and brutal power by some caste groups in India.  

Another argument put forward is that the prevalent electoral system does not respond to the vast change of the political landscape that has taken place in the last few decades. India has seen the emergence of a rather large number of local parties with the ability to attract a lot of votes in their respective regions. This indicates that India has ultimately arrived at the era of coalition politics and, it is argued, that the MES in India consequently has lost its major advantage.

The CERI Campaign has since its start carried out a wide range of activities in India and abroad, which is accounted for in the CERI Annual Report of Activities 2009-2010. 

 State Conferences have been organized in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Orissa, Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, Rajasthan and district level conferences have been held in the states of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, and Rajasthan. In Maharashtra, the Chapter of CERI made use of the opportunity of huge gathering of Dalits on the Death Anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar. They hired a stall and printed pamphlets about CERI to be distributed. More than thirty thousand people visited the stall of CERI and collected the materials. Interest to join the CERI Campaign has also been shown in the states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh.

At the Karnataka conference many preparatory meetings were organized with the involvement of those who attended the CERI Day deliberations in Bangalore. At the end of the State Conference a Press Release was made that made a good coverage in the Bangalore Press. Since REDS has an established position and name in Karnataka the Campaign has moved ´leaps and bounds´ in the State. The Booshakthi Vedike involving the Network of REDS in Karnataka and the Dalit Panchayat Movement planned to move ahead pressurizing the governments at the State and at the Centre to bring about Proportionate Electoral System in India. All the Coordinators in 11 Districts of Karnataka met together on 15 December 2009 to specifically discuss about consolidating the CERI Campaign in their respective Districts just as Tumkur District was moving ahead with its own plans. Later they joined all the Coordinators of the Dalit Panchayat Movement in an elaborate planning for three days. After long discussions the entire group decided to organize huge public rallies in all the Taluks of Tumkur District and mobilize one hundred thousand signatures for electoral reforms and another hundred thousand signatures for five acres of land to each Dalit family. 

The CERI Kathmandu Conference took place on 21st-22nd November, 2009. Special guests were Shri Neelambar Acharya, the President of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution of Nepal and Mr. Neel Kanth Uprety, the Chief Election Commissioner of Nepal.  Dr. Anne Sullivan, Head of the Maori Department in the University of Auckland, a Political Scientist was the Keynote Speaker. Dr. Asta Balto, Sami University College, Kautokeino, Norway, was invited to speak on the history and culture of the Sami people as a necessary prelude to understanding the Electoral System of Norway, particularly in reference to the Sami Parliament. Dr. Joe Saglie from the Social Research Institute in Oslo presented an overview of the Norwegian electoral system.

Jyothi and M.C. Raj of REDS visited New Zealand for looking into the electoral system in New Zealand with special reference to the Maori people. New Zealand changed their electoral system into the proportionate electoral system in 1993. Academicians, elected members and traditional leaders of the Maori community interacted with Jyothi and M. C. Raj. The first two days were spent in Auckland University. This was a gathering of Professors from the University. With them was also Raymond Miller, who has written a book on the Electoral System of New Zealand. There was also Harald Gaski, a Professor in Tromso University of Sapmi (Sami Land) in Norway.

The research finding of their study in Norway on the Sami Parliament is coming out as a novel. M.C. Raj has written this novel and the agreement for publication has already been made with the Raider Publications in the US who have also their office in Nagpur in India. The President of Sami Parliament has written the Preface to the novel.

CERI has also registered the public support of many political parties in India. One of the biggest collaborations they have managed to work out is with the All India Milli Council. This is an official organ of the Muslim community in India with a strong national presence. The General Secretary of the All India Milli Council has given a clarion call in a public meeting in the United Theological College in Bangalore to collect ten million signatures for Proportionate Electoral System and present the same to the President of India as early as possible.  

CERI has now got seriously involved in the formation of the World Parliament of the Indigenous People. The Sami Parliament, the Dalit Parliament, the possible Maori Parliament and the planned North Eastern Parliament, the Native Americans, and the indigenous people of Greenland, Canada will come to Booshakthi Kendra, Tunkur, in January 2011 for the first ever historic Round Table Conference in preparation of the World Parliament of the Indigenous People. 

[1] Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI) for Proportional Representation; the Manifesto adopted in Kathmandu on 18th-20th November, 2009 and released in Bangalore on 25th January, 2010; The Manifesto is built on the discussions held at the CERI International Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 8th-10th October, 2008.
M.C. Ray and Jyothi (2007); Dalitocracy, The Theory and Praxis of Dalit Politics; Ambedkar Resource Center, Tumkur, Karnataka, India;