Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Welcome to my Blog


I have started my blog Dalitashram for interactions with you. Please use it. As my first blog I post the following success story for you.

Final Assault

We are gloating over our success quite legitimately. It is a pity. But there are not many options. The moment we give our news to the press they keep it aside. The only reason is that we are Tamilians and not Kannadigas. There is also a lot of stomach burning at the way we are designing success after success. This time it is very big. Really big! A lot of Dalit organizations all over the country are crying over what the caste people are doing to Dalits, keep blaming others and indulge in eternal analysis of Dalit situation. The same analysis of caste society keeps coming in the last twenty years. Very little alternative is being developed. Dalit history has not moved much beyond mere rhetoric.

Here in Tumkur we have set up many models of success. We have indulged in rhetoric. But we were very careful not to stop with that. Many of our so called friends, instead of looking at the methodology of success have only invented excuses not to follow the hard way that we have treaded. Some have said that it is a miracle, taking place in Tumkur and that only Raj and Jyothi can do this. It is the easiest way to escape from their own responsibility. There is also a subversive NGO mindset that tries positively to undermine our efforts by creating false stories.

Today is a very big day in the history of Tumkur District and in Dalit history. Today is the most significant one in the celebration of Maramma festival where free caste labour is formally perpetuated. The festival is taking place in many places simultaneously including big Taluk Headquarters where thousands and thousands of people assemble. But a small team of our Dalit leaders in the Dalit Panchayat Movement headed by a frail looking Jayamma, a tall Gangalakshamamma, a young Kiran, a simple Srinivas, a charismatic Narayanappa, a transformed Kambanna and a host of others decided to take on mighty powers in the District. They went in a delegation to all the bureaucrats of the government. Jayamma occasionally took her mobile and called up the Superintendent of Police directly asking him to take action. We had to insist that she should do everything as a team. It went well.

The other day the District Collector called for a meeting of all Dalit leaders in the District belonging to all organizations. Very unusually they decided to keep quiet when the Collector praised Jayamma and our Organization for doing this unimaginable battle against the caste forces tacitly supported by politicians. It was different. Usually they oppose anything that we do. This time they maintained a strategic silence. Their silence is our biggest support. If they keep quiet that is enough for us. 

As we were going to the office this morning we could see many big vans of police moving from Tumkur city. We knew where they were going. They went to Sira town where a Circle Inspector of police (a close friend of ours) was killed in a public protest of the caste people. The police had to take their precaution. Now it is a woman circle inspector who means business and is a strong supporter of ours. 

We are receiving phone calls from all our leaders informing us that police are everywhere all over the District, wherever the festival is being celebrated. In many places we already managed to stop it. But today is very special. Jayamma and Kiran are right in the midst of a huge village where politicians came to us a few days back and said that only in that village we should allow the sacrifice of buffalo to take place. We refused. We can be very sharp, we can be very blunt.  

This is history, a very big history. Nothing like this has happened in Dalit history. We declared this millennium as Ambedkar Era in Tumkur in 2000 and have never looked back in our success story. Prakash Ambedkar came to Tumkur to make the declaration. This Tumkur model has to be seriously looked at by Dalit leadership in India to develop workable alternatives for Dalit liberation. They should not focus on personalities of Raj and Jyothi at least till we die. Yes, we have had our opportunities in life for our education. But we are also from a very strong Dalit background. That we speak and write good English need not stand against us. It is the result of our hard work from childhood.

Both of us, Raj and Jyothi have reached a stage in life where we feel that we have achieved more than what ordinary Dalits can achieve in their lifetime. We are happy to have put in place local Dalit leadership that has created history for Dalits. Now we are also happy that very soon our people will see solar lamps in their homes instead of carbon emitting kerosene lamps. We shall be implementing our CDM Gold Standard Photovoltaic lamp VER project with Bread for the World and Misereor as our Partners. The partnership has been already signed. We appreciate them much.

We are very happy to see our people walking in dignity and pride. It is not so much our leaders who call us by phone. It is our people in the villages who call us and feel very proud about themselves. Nothing else gives us this much of happiness. We are very proud of our people and are ready to do anything that we can till the very end of our life to see that this dignity and freedom that they enjoy also translates itself into economic equality. We are very sure that the Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India that we have started, when it succeeds, will bring them the political power to achieve their economic empowerment and make them enter into level playing fields on their own terms and conditions.

Jyothi and Raj

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