The Roll of Dalit intellectuals in the Social and Economic Development
( Easy was written for reading at Jallander in intellectual persons meet on Dated 4-1-2013)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Jai Bhim, Jai Gurudev, Jai Bharat.
At the out set let me express my heartfelt gratitude’s to the organizers of this important meet to day. It is an important occasion when all have gathered here to ponder over the problems blocking the roadway to progress of the Dalit Samaj and to find ways and means to over come man made hurdles in achieving our goals. The topic chosen it self explains the intensions, concerns and deep sense of responsibility of the educated Dalit lot to find swiftly the way out. I am greatly indebted for the efforts of Mr. J.RChouhan, who is solely responsible for my visit to your city and providing me the opportunity to meet you all. He won my heart in his very first meeting when we both gathered in DD studio Jammu to deliver a joint talk on 6th Dec.2012 on the life and mission of Bharat Ratana Baba Sahib Dr B.R. Ambedkar. I thank Mr. Chouhan from the core of my heart; he has made arrangements of my transport to your meet as well.
To day’s topic for discussion as you all know is “The roll of intellectuals for Social and Economic Development”. So to begin with first I must define intellect and intellectuals so as their wordly meaning are made explicitly clear.
As per the English dictionary “Intellect” is defined as the power or faculty of mind by which one knows or understands as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills, the under standing , the faculty of thinking ,reasoning, understanding and acquiring knowledge. In common terms it is Budhi, Budhimata and Akal. Where as an Intellectual is an individual who engages himself or her self in intellect pursuit, to pursue an effort to overtake or capture. In the common terms it is known as Bhudhiman, Akalmand, Budhijivi, Mansik, and Boddicwadi.
Normally an educated person has better intellect development chances but many with out university and college degrees has done wonders in the world. Every educated person cannot be an intellectual, he or she may or may not be an intellectual. Where as a little percentage of individuals with out any formal education have proved highly intellectuals doing wonders in spiritual, social, cultural, art, craft, skilled jobs and economic spheres. A few such highly intellectuals like Guru Ravidas(1414-1532) Sadguru Kabir Sahib(1398-1518),Nam Dev(1270-1350),Guru Nanak(1469-1539) and his successors in line of gurugadi , Sant Chokhamela, Sant Savitamali Sant Sain, Gora, Sadna, Dhanna,Sheed Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh, Mata Savitribai Phuley,Mata Ramabai Ambedkar, Jesus Christ, Hazrat Mohd, and many more did wonders by their philosophies, theories and sermons and heroic pursuits.
But even then education is an important ingredient to sharpen intellect and help it grow The education in turn is dependent on economic conditions of the person. Education is said to the Third Eye of an individual with out which real progress in modern times is not possible.
Since the Brahminical dharma or Chaturvarnadharma is rooted on the un-natural division of its members. The Brahmins also called Bhudevas(gods on the earth) assumed dominating position in this division. They devised different methods to keep all other castes under their command by assigning them inferior positions. Chaturvarnadharma Division into Priests (Brahmins), Rulers and warriors (Khaitrays), Commoners (Vaishyas) and Servants or slaves (Shudras,Asuras ) was proclaimed to be done as per the will of God, the universe creator. The first three were also called twice born. The different duties so assigned were attributed as Godly act. The Shudras or slaves were assigned the lowest and dirtiest jobs. Service to the other three castes as slaves duly purchased with out paying any price .The rules made in pre historic times for then Shudras are still strictly applicable to present day Shudras ,Ati Shudras. These rules received legal sanctions as per Brahminical laws declaring them to be as per the express will God.
To keep Shudras permanently under Brahmins authority all their means of progress were completely choked by their masters. The right of education, economic pursuits, social justice were denied to shudras as proclaimed in Dharam Shasta’s. The Manusmriti or Manaavdharmasastra supposed to be written first BCE( Before common era) was said to be as per godly legal authority. It assigned Shudras (chapter 1:91) duty (service) to other three superior castes as their Dharma.
Manusmriti (chapter 1:101) laid down the Priest eats, wears, and gives what is his own, all others live through the priest’s mercy, making clear that every thing on earth belongs to Brahmins. They were declared Bhudevas( Gods on earth)
Manusmriti (chapter 10:96) If a man of the lower caste makes money by indulging in superior caste duties, the king should confiscate his wealth and immediately banish him. This way all efforts of a shudra to earn money were blocked permanently.
Manusmriti (chapter 8:267) corporal or death penalty was devised for a shudras for shouting at a ruler, where as superior caste persons were to be let off only after paying a monetary fine with minimum fine amount for the priests.
The basics of economic growth of the Shudras was blocked through Manusmriti (chapter 10:129) which laid that a shudras shall not own any wealth even if he has the ability to do so , for a wealthy servant shall annoy a priest or Brahmin .
Manusmriti (chapter 8:416) proclaims that a wife, a son, a slave (Shudra) owns no property, whatever they have belongs to the man to whom they belong.
Still more stringent law made legalized .Manusmriti (chapter 8:417)says A Brahmin can take over property of a shudras since nothing belongs to him. To further degrade the position of the Shudras the Bhagwat Geeta another religiously high placed scripture lays in( Chapter 9:32) a woman ,a Vaishya and a shudras are born out of curse or their past bad deeds.
Ramacaritamanasa ( Hindi-Geeta Press) writes
Listen o’ Gandharava to what I tell you. I cannot tolerate an enemy of Brahmins” Page 737
He who without guile in thought, word and deed does service to the Brahmins (the very fond Gods on Earth) wins over Brahma, Siva, Myself(Sri ram) and all other Divinities. Page 737
A drum, a rustic, a sudra, a beast and a woman all these require beating as their right. Page 855
One can quote hundreds of such partial Brahminical laws sanctioning stringent punishments for shudras and immunity to Brahmins for similar acts.
If a shudra listens to a religious scripture,his tongue be cut and boiling metal be put in hear ears.
When Baba Sahib Dr B.R. Ambedkar was asked to briefly describe the contents of Hindu scriptures. He is said to have replied that these books contain primarily two things. One stories of Raja Maharajas, Kings and warriors and secondly abuses to we poor shudras. Dr Ambedkar considering Manusmriti a curse for Dalits, so burnt it in full public view in 1927.
My narrations so far are to show how systematically the basic cannons of progress were blocked for shudras our for-fathers for centuries.
Now I shall briefly try to explain how the things changed so that we know the future guide lines for social and economic development of our people.
With the coming of the Christian missionaries from end of 16th century it made dramatic change in the life prospects of Dalits. Although they came with the motto of spreading their religious faith by converting caste Hindus. They also started Anglo Vernacular Schools. Charter Act 1813 permitted the missionaries to work in the Indian territories of the East India Company with a view to educate the masses. Madras Presidency compiled data between 1823-25 there were 12498 schools with 1,88, 000 students with complete control of Brahmins ( 60to75%) others from khatriyas and Vaishya castes. But teachers wee all Brahmins. The school books carried reading materials from Vedas, Puranas , Smrities and Epics
In 1837, English was made the language of the administration and in 1844 lower administrative post were thrown open to the Indian. The missionaries opened many schools in rural areas also with permission to all to take admission in these schools. The Christian missionaries found that caste system in India was the biggest block in spread of education and their faith. So they started giving stress in spreading education and speeding the education reforms.
This gave impetus for Hindu religious reformists also to start schools with Dalit student intake. Some government aided schools for the deprived sections of Hindus were also established. But the main hurdle was due to the facts that all teachers were Brahmins and their religious orthodoxy prevented them to teach untouchable students. The religious hard liner parents and students were not ready to accommodate untouchable students in the schools. In 1931 when government decided to admit Dalit students in all government aided schools the caste Hindus withdrew their wards from these aided schools. Even the Congress leaders with Hindu Religious hard lining attitudes supported Caste Hindu. So despite all educational efforts in Madras Presidency the percentage of Dalit literacy beyond primary stage remained less than 1% from 1901 to 1931. In 1905 only Brahmins were teachers who were committed to orthodox behavior .When Government started aided schools for Dalits, school inspectors tried to escape entering Since all teachers Dalit Basti schools for taking examinations for fear of getting polluted. It is on record that a Brahmin inspector called Dalit students out side the Basti territory and checked note books fron a height of over ten feet. But now to seek votes all non Dalit leaders not only come to Dalit houses but even take tea or meals with them.( Much more such information can be seen in the book
With the coming of Christian missionaries and opening schools for all castes, Dalits got most benefited. School education produced great Dalit Social visionaries like Mahatama Jyotiba Phuley(1827-1890)and Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar(1891-1956) and many more, who took to the Dalit empowerment programmers in a big way. The education widened their vision and in turn vision of their followers. Many struggles were launched and won on the social front. With the adoption of Dr B.R. Ambedkar written Constitution for free India equality of opportunity with equal civil Rights along with their with safeguards mechanism for the deprived sections of the society. Equality before law was made fundamental right and adult franchise opened flood gates of denied opportunities for education and economic developments. The results are apparent.( Much more such information can be seen in the book “Writing Dalit History and other essays by Yagati Chinna Rao ,Kanishaka Publishing, Distributors ,Ansari Road Darya Ganj N.Delhi-2)
As regards the poor economic conditions of the untouchables, although tons of currency, gold, silver and precious stones are stored in the temple strong safes, but not even a single penny was available for the Dalit cause. When in 1020 Mohamed Gazni plundered the Somnath temple in Gujrat a chain of gold weighing 200 mounds ( One maund is equivalent to 82.286 pounds or 40 seers or 30.70 kilograms) with a bell was found hung in a corner. He took away 98,300 some say 88,000 misquals ( Bars) of gold out of idols alone 200 silver idols so heavy that they could not be weighed with out breaking them. Not even one hundredth of wealth he got from Somnath temple was possessed by any Indian king. On invading Nagarkot temple the invader was paid by Brahmins 700,000gold dinars,700 maunds of gold and silver vessels, 200 maunds of pure gold, and 2000maunds of unpurified silver besides 20 mounds of various jewels, as fine. The present treasuries of the religious institutions and worship place carry also similar treasuries. Recently treasures worth $20 billion were found in Padmanabhaswamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Six vaults piled with gold and jewels have been discovered in the temple that belonged to Travancore royalty. There were sacks of diamonds and tonnes of gold coins and jewellery that were lying untouched for hundreds of years. This makes the temple the richest in India. The Tirupati temple, this is the second richest pilgrim located at Andhra Pradesh. More than 60,000 devotees visit this temple every day and treasures of more than Rs 650 crore is stored in the temple. This brings this temple under the list of richest temples of India. The Shirdi temple of Saibaba is the third richest in India. millions of devotees visit it everyday. The temple has gold and silver jewellery worth approximately Rs 32 crore and silver coins worth more than Rs 6 lakh. The temple gets donations worth Rs 350 crore every year. Similar riches are held in other Hindu temples with lacs of priests remain in attendance to deities of the temples.( for more details see “History of Hindu Imperialism by Swami Dhanma Theeratha New edition from the Dalit Book Trust Essel Mansion,Arya Samaj Road N Delhi-5) .
It is due to sacrifices, suffering and struggles by our illiterate visionary fore fathers and intellectuals, we are now counted as humans with access to all human rights under the sun. But the loosing upper castes under command of Brahmins are more united than the receiving Dalits. Dalits are trying to prove much more strict religious followers than the original one. This was the same religion which kept blocked all our progress for centuries and made us slaves.
So far we have deliberated upon historical factors. Let us now ponder over present day scenarios.
When Dr Ambedkar cursed his literate followers, he was more than hundred percent correct. But he had not said any word against illiterates and intellectuals. He knew that his people one day shall get transformed from illiterates to literates and literates into intellectuals. Then they shall rise above their personnel prejudices and gains taking collective community wellbeing more important than individual progress. Our peoples started treading on the progressive ladder, may be a small minority in mid Twentieth century .Within a span of 50-60 years some microscopic changes have also taken place. Due to the education system in place then majority had access to government schools which were reasonably well maintained. All high and low got admission in the same schools. Our people worked hard with many maintaining themselves on one meal a day, no roof on the head, no economic support but still produced Dalit persons who became proud residents of the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Raj Bhawans , crowned the highest seat of Indian judiciary(CJI) and many other prestigious seats of power as central Ministers, Chief Ministers of states, vice chancellors and professors of universities, engineers ,doctors. But alas for the Dalit suppressors it proved bitter pill to swallow.. High caste people are not prepared to share power with any body else particularly Dalits. They want to enjoy the fruits of 100% reservation on elite posts and places as Manu’s Laws despite being in numerical minority having 15% ( Brahmins—2%; Khatriyas—3% and Vaishyas-10%) in Indian population figures. But this upper caste Hindus 15% population is having85% of Indian wealth leaving 52% OBC with 9%, 22.5 % SC& STs with2% and 10.50% Religious Miniroties with 4% of country wealth.( Source :- Bhartiya Muleniwasi Sangathan) They are devising new methods and means to keep occupying permanently the seat of political power, the key to all powers. Besides using their ever green law of divide and rule, they have presently monopolized the educational, economic, social and religious system organs. Again they are the masters of their fate and denial of rightful place to others. Despite the sharp eyes and teeth of Indian constitutions to see and test their mischief they are playing their mischief.. As they have occupied the controlling mechanism. They are busy in devising methods to dismantle even Baba Sahib’s Constitutional provisions and safe guards for common masses. Now it is time of the real test of the Dalit intellectuals to safe guard their collective interests so as not to fall back in the Dark Age of old religious traps which was courageously challenged by our elders. But how to do so? For this we shall have to count our short comings and work harks to over come them. We will have to re- draw our new progressive road map and devise routes to achieve it. The task is difficult but a must for our survival.
The biggest monster blocking our progressive road is our disunity. We Dalits have been divided in to over 4000 caste sub divisions ( S/C’s; S/T’s and OBC’ s ) each thinking superior to the other. This devil is surviving on the theory that each caste thinks superior to the next in line. We shall have to tame this demon and use our collective strength in occupying the constitutional seat of power by constitutional means. As late Shri Kanshi Ram said “Jiski jitni Sakhya Bhari us ski utni sanjedari” meaning the share in power should be judged by the numerical head count. If we have suffered collectively now we should work hard to capture the seat of power collectively. This is the golden rule for the democracy to succeed.
Means of education are being systematically made to drift away from Dalit hands. We have to put the barriers against this drift. All our efforts should be to give quality education to our children. Our first priority should go to get quality education. Health and quality education to all our children should be our goals. Our teaching fraternity shall have to come out of their personnel comforts to share their educational expertise and help our youth to open their THIRED EYE. Dr Ambedkar was a great supporter of women education, small family and healthy wife and husband relations. Try to achieve these ideals. Enhanced school and college fees should not worry us, so scarify other priorities for education. Those of us who have finances should open educational institutions may be collectively. Read old Dalit emancipation history, Dalit emancipators, glories of Dalit heroes, Dalit warriors, social religious and political men of substance. Then disburse your knowledge among your Dalit brethren. Many of our Dalits have left the habit of reading, which is bad for our health. Follow Dr. Ambedkar’s saying “Time is knowledge and knowledge is money”. School and college academic study has limited aim of achieving employment. After employment social, history, politica Science, religion, general knowledge, writing, delivering lectures on general topics should be our aim. Taking part in TV, radio discussions and attending conferences, debates should be continued. Purchasing quality books and read them with open mind is an extremely good habit, we should adopt it.
We have suffered on account of lack of resources because of denial of money earning professions. Leaving aside prejudices of higher castes as it shall continue. We have constitutional rights to occupy any official chair if we strive hard to qualify for it . So we have to find avenues to achieve our high goals. Those of us who fail to achieve high goals, should go far technical trainings in ITI’s and should quickly settle on jobs befitting to his or her abilities and qualifications. In modern days skilled and unskilled menial jobs are in great demands as very less persons are there to do these jobs willingly. Do not hesitate to adopt clean small jobs. The earning means adopted by our elders to make us occupy high official positions can still be perused by those who do not qualify to have an office jobs. There are examples where peons working in District Magistrates offices have educated their sons to be District Magistrates in their service time. Skilled laborers’ are in great demands so get engaged less qualified personnel’s in Plumbing, Electric repairing, house electrification jobs, tailoring, shoe making, computer maintenance jobs, typing, drafting, petition writing, carpenters, welders , painters, stamp venders, tabas, restaurants, tea stalls, daily workers etc. Banking institutions provide finances and subsidies for such jobs as well. Help our persons to obtain bank loans to start their self help jobs. Our people should maintain a list of Dalit officers, employees so as to approach them in times of need. Maintain a good rapport with them. Call them to our parties, marriages, and religious functions and honour them suitable in full public view. Our advocates, our Bank Managers, BDO’s. Doctors, Engineers, Thana Munshies, sepoys , Thanadars, peons, clerks, pharmaceuticals, compounders, and municipality employees are important persons and can render great helps. We do not need to support a wrong doers but our legitimate works should not suffer on account of curtail able delays. Silent help is worth more than making noises for small things. Frame good opinions about our own employees and workers. Avail benefits of the scholarship, subsidies, housing schemes, old age and family pension’s schemes. Dalit employees should try to get such benefits to deserving Dalit men and women on merits. Do not dispose off properties unnecessarily reserve them for your coming generations. Be watch full during admission to different technical and higher studies institutions so as to get quota as per norms. In case of deliberate scuttling or denials move courts for redresses. Get Court stays if necessary, do not compromise on your constitutional rights. Dalit intellectuals should keep a watch on recruitments too. A strong compain should be launched to get reservation in private sector which controls nears Eight Crores employment potential against only two Crores under government schemes and departments.
Dalit entrepreneurs should establish their own industries and business houses, Give preference to the Dalit skilled and unskilled personnel’s in employments as per merit.
Once we earn money save it. Do not waste it in unnecessary parties, dowries, rituals, rites, thirath yatras, worshipping dead, bhandars, jagratas, and orthodox religion offerings. But Dalit religious and social organizations engaged in Dalit education and other welfare schemes need be given financial support. Save by curtailing wastage of money Resort to giving cash, Cash FD’s in gifts on birthdays, marriages, retirement parties so that the money is not wasted. Drinking, smoking, gutka chewing and other intoxicants be avoided. Such dirty habits not only drains your resources but makes you sick too. We have reached the present stage with the suffering of our elders. They did not have money still cared for us. Let us always remember their sacrifices and use our intellect for the progress of coming generations. No family can be classifies as progressed till it maintains the family progress for at least three generations. Many of us are still in second generation so do not rest .Every Dalit educated person owes a lot to every other individual, rich or poor ,educated or illiterate because their mere presence in the states and country enhances the monetary allotments for their welfare schemes. We should vote all as per our conscious. But maintain good will with politicians too because present system gives them lot of powers. Get government funds utilized for your wellbeing. Adopt constitutional means. Avoid small irritants. Follow the golden rule “Unity hath strength”. Involving intelligence rather than emotions or instinct is a great saying follows it. But a word of causation, we have to maintain good will in the society, honour spirit of follow feeling, universal brotherhood and adopt peaceful but, constitutional means to achieve of goals.
Before winding up discussion I want to quote from Dr Ambedkar saying “The good things of this earth do not fall from heaven. Every progress has it bill of costs and only those who pay for it will have that progress”.
Once again I thank you all for providing me am opportunity to meet you all to listen me with apt attention. I extent my apologies for any harsh saying which might have hurt any body’s feeling.
Jai Bhim, Jai Gurudev, Jai Bharat.
Dated 4-1-2013 Jammu