Sunday, January 8, 2017

January Month Importance in Dalit History

January Month Importance  in Dalit History
 January the first month of year  in Christian Era  has  stored many memories of the Dalit History. The following are a few such memorable days of January which carry special significance for Dalits.
12-01-1598                                                    Jijabai Jyanti
                             Revered Jijabai was  the worthy mother of Shiva Ji the Great , founder of the Maratha Empire. Jijabai was born on January 12, 1598 as the daughter of Lakhojirao Jadhav of Deulgaon near Sindkhed in present-day Buldhana district of Maharashtra State. Her mother's name was Mhalsabai. As per the customs of that age, Jijabai was married at an early age to Shahaji Raje Bhonsle, son of Maloji Bhonsle of Verul village, a military commander serving under the Adil Shahi sultans of Bijapur Sultanate in present-day Karnataka. The wedding was held in Sindkhed on 5 Nov 1605, when Jijabai was eight years old; her husband was hardly twelve years old, and she was his first wife. As per custom, Jijabai remained with her parents for several years before joining her husband. Jijabai bore Shahaji as many as eight children, six daughters and two sons. All the daughters died in infancy and only the two sons, Sambhaji and Shivaji, reached adulthood. In 1630, three years after Shivaji's birth, Shahaji re-married  withTukabai, daughter of Sardar Bajirao Mohite Pongwadikar of Bijapur, who was Shahaji's close friend and, like him, also a commander serving the sultan of Bijapur. Jijabai was a very pious and intelligent woman with great vision for independent kingdom. She inspired Shivaji by telling stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Balaraja. Inspired by her, Shivaji took the Oath of Independence (SWARAJYA) in the fort temple of lord Raireshwar in 1645 when he was 17. In Shivaji's impeccable, spotless character and courage, Jijabai's contribution is enormous. She died soon after coronation of Shivaji on June 17, 1674. Shivaji was heartbroken by her death.
1-1-1818          Bhima Koregaon Vijay Divas
                         This battle took place on January 1st, 1818, near the banks of Bhima River in Koregaon (north-west of Pune) between few hundred(just 500 of them) Mahar soldiers from the British regiment of a Bombay Native Light Infantry and the Peshwa army that constituted 20,000 horsemen and 8,000 infantry soldiers. After marching down for more than 27 miles, from Shirur to Bhima Koregaon without food and water, the untouchable warriors fought the Peshwas army for next 12 hours and by the end of the day defeated them completely. It was an attempt by the untouchables of Maharashtra to break the shackles of the age-old caste order. The saga of the bravery of Mahar soldiers was commemorated by the British in 1851, when they erected a Pillar (Vijay Stambh) at Koregaon inscribing the names of 22 Mahar soldiers who were martyred in this battle. The pillar still stands today reminding all of us about the bravery of our forefathers and as an inspiration for our struggle against caste-system. Baba Saheb Dr.B.R.Ambedkar used to visit Koregaon every year on 1st January to pay homage to the untouchable soldiers and to exhort Dalits to show similar courage and determination to end Brahminism from the entire country. On 1st January, 1927, he organised a big convention in Koregaon and brought the memories of bravery of the untouchable soldiers in public knowledge.  Baba Saheb was against Brahminical thinking based on the division of labourers in the disguise of division of labour.
 3-1-1831                    Revolutionary  Mata Savitribai Phuley  the first woman teacher in  Indiawas born on this day.
                       She broke the age old practice of denying education to womenfolk by Brahminical thought.  Under the guidance of her husband she took to teaching and so opened on 1st January 1848 first ever school for girls in Pune facing orthodox Hindu ordeal.They opened 18 schools  some co education. They also opened first ever orphanage to help sexually exploited  widows and cared their illegitimate children. She passed
 14-01-1886     Mangu Ram, Magowalia known popularly as Babu Mangu Ram Chaudhry, was born in Muggowal, Hoshiarpur district.  An Indian Dalit  freedom fighter and politician from Punjab was associated with the Ghadar Party. He was founder of the Adi Dharma Samaj.

 29-01-, 1904     Shri J.N.Mandal was born He was First Law and Labour  Minister of Pakistan.He presided briefly the constitution Drafting Committee of Pakistan. He single handily  got Elected Dr. Ambedkar  from Bengal with the support of Scheduled Caste and Muslim members. There after  Dr. Ambedkar became a member of Constituent Assembly of India. Subsequently Dr. Ambedkar was selected as the chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, thanks to the vision of Shri J.N. Mandal.
6-01-1904                Hardas Laxmanrao Nagrale (6th January 1904– 12th January 1939), popularly known as Babu L.N. Hardas.was a Dalit leader and social reformer in India. He was an ardent follower of Dr. Ambedkar and was pioneer of the practice of exchanging the greeting Jai Bhim amongst the Dalits. He was also a prominent labour leader in the Central Province and was the general secretary of the Independent Labour Party in the province.
  5-1-1905                           Dr.Bhadant Anand Koshalayan Jyanti
                         Dr. Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan was a Buddhist monk, Scholar, Traveller and a prolific writer from India. He is considered as one of the great activists of Buddhism of the 20th century. He was influenced by Great Buddhist Scholar, Social Reformer Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan and Dr. Ambedkar. He  was born Harnam Das on January 5, 1905 in Sohana Village of Ambala District in Punjab. He did B.A from National College in Lahore. His travels took him to different parts of World for promoting Buddhism just like his mentor Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan. He devoted his full life to serve Buddhism. He always wanted to have experience of traveling far distances across many countries and discover new things. His aim was to continue the tradition started by his inspirations.He contributed a lot to Indian Travel Literature and Hindi. He loved Hindi as a child loves his mother and supported it in many ways. He worked for Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag, Rastrabhasha Prachar Samiti, Vardha etc.
January  1909                      Choudhary Sadhu Ram was born
        Sadhu Ram later known as  Choudhary Sadhu Ram Mastere, a Punjabi Dalit leader was born to a well known (Chamar) Shri Jawahar Mal of Village Domeli in Kapurthala in January 1909.  As a child Sadhu Ram was admitted in the Khalasa High School Domeli. On achieving adulthood Shri Sadhu Ram established his good business. From the very childhood Sadhu Ram decided to work for the welfare of his community. The condition of the Dalits in those days was no good and majority of them worked as farm labour for Land holders at minimum wages. These poor Dalits were under age-old debt of the local Banias (Business men and money lenders). Poverty, illiteracy and hate were forced upon them by manmade religious norms. So Sadhu Ram decided to dedicate his life to remove these manmade miseries and free his brethren from the centuries old slur. Later he prefixed his surname as “Choudhary” meaning village headman, landlord, Local leader, Chieftain or foreman. He worked with Mangoram Magowalia for establishment of Ad-Dharam in 1926. To put this movement on the firm footing its aims and objectives were to establish a separate religious identity for untouchables other than Hindus on the Philosophy of Dalit Saints particularly Guru Ravidas. Discrimination on account of castes was discarded saying it was manmade as God created every one equal. Sikh way of worship was adopted declaring following of the Hindu religious books likes Shastri, Spiritless, Prams and Vedas as sin.  Jai Guru Dev was adopted as a wish for greeting. Later he broke away from Ad Dharma and joined Dr.Ambedkar’s movement SCF. Again Master Sadhu Ram broke away from SCF and joined Indian National Congress in 1946. He met Babu Jagjivan Ram, who was a prominent Congress leader with nearness to Mahatma Gandhi. Babu Jagjivan Ram and other Dalit leaders had established in 1935, a pro-Congress Dalit organization named “All India Depressed Classes League”. Master Sadhu Ram joined this organization and was made convener of PEPSU State in 1954. Master Sadhu Ram was nominated by Congress Party in 1952 for General Election to contest his first election from Phagwara (G and SC) constituency for the PEPSU Legislative Assembly and got elected. He was made Deputy Home Minister for PEPSU. This opened the destiny doors for Master Sadhu Ram. In the second general elections held in 1957 he got elected in Lok Sabha from Jallandhar (G and SC) constituency. He got elected in 1962, 1967 and1971 for the Lok Sabha from Phillaur (R) constituency. Master Sadhu Ram continued serving in different capacities till he expired on 1st August, 1975. He shall be long remembered for his good work for the welfare of his people. Although he broke away from Dr. Ambedkar politically, but he continued to keep his ideals as his guide.
    1 -1- 1918     Madam Dani Shantabai  was born
                      She was a Mahar Republician leader was born  in  a hut on out skirts of Nasik in Maharashtra, on 1st January 1918 to revered Shri Dhanaji Dani. Her father was a devotional religious singer. To earn his livelihood he was engaged as the milk seller and owned  twelve buffalows. Miss Dani Shantabai as a child was brought in a poise religious atmosphere. She was teacher by profession and passed her teacher’s training examination from Nasik. After passing her matriculation from Pune she got the job of a teacher in Vinchur school of Nasik district in Maharashtra.  Since she was engrossed in social work for the upliftment of her Dalit Samaj, so she resigned from her job and became a whole timer social activist.  For devoting her full time for the Dalit uplift she did not marry.  In Pune she came in contact with Dada sahib Gaikwad a committed activist of the Scheduled Caste Federation (SCF). B.K. Gaikwad took her to Dr. Ambedkar. She was so influenced by the work of both these Dalit emancipators along with their team that she joined SFC on the day of its formation at Nagpur on 18-19 July, 1942 by Dr. Ambedkar.  Due to her dedication and commitment for the upliftment of the Dalits, in 1943 she was elected as President of SCF Nasik district unit. She was among the members of RPI (The Republican Party of India) when this party was launched on 3rd November, 1957after the death of Dr. Ambedkar. Her mentor Dada Sahib B.K. Gaikwad was made president of the new political party. She also participated in the second conference of SCF at Kanpur in 1945 and got the unique honor of presiding over the SCF Women’s conference held there at the same time. She accompanied P.N. Rajbhoj to Raipur to bring Satnami Dalits to main stream of Dalit empowerment movement. But being misunderstood both were arrested as agents of Nizam of Hyderabad. Both were lodged in Jabalpur jail for three months. She was also jailed  in Yarwada  jail Pune in 1946 for leading a black flag demonstration against Poona Pact( 1932).
In her long association with Dalit leaders, Dr. Ambedkar, P.N. Rajbhoj, Madam N.Shivraj, Dada Sahib B.K Gaikwad, Mrs Gitabai B.Gaikwad, Dada Sahib Roham, Sh. Lalingkar, Miss Londhe, she did a remarkable work for the empowerment of the Dalits. She got converted to Buddhism along with others in 1956 and propagated it in Maharashtra. She passed away in 2001 at an age of 83 years.Her life was a saga of journey of struggle.  She shall be long remembered for struggle to achieve goals of Dalit empowerment.
    31 -01-,1920           Mooknayak Fortnight news paper launched by Baba Sahib.For this paper  Shatarpati  Sahu J Maharaj donated   Rs 2500/-
 15-01-1929                        Morter Luther King a great Liberator of Black was born.
                                   In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, "l Have a Dream", he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.
 6 January 1929:  -   First All Assam Depressed Classes Conference.
            The conference was presided by Rai Saheb Senapati Sonadhar Das. The conference raised the    demand for separate electorate for the Depressed Classes.
18-1-1934               Dr. Ambedkar delivered speech in Gokhale Institute Pune which was later published  in a book form     titled  Ranade, Gandhi, Jinah.
6 -01-1939:        Dr. Ambedkar addressed a big meeting of agriculturists at Mahad (Raigad district of Maharashtra) where he impressed upon the audience that the Congress Ministry had failed to mitigate their woes[3].
He said that the Premier Kher (Pirme Minister of Bombay) was simply a figure head; and he described the other Ministers of the Provincial Government as dogs at the door of Sardar Patel. Referring to the boastful statement of Sardar Patel, which he had made at a reception given to Kher in Gujarat, to the effect that they welcomed Kher as a devotee of Gandhi and not as Premier Kher, otherwise thet would have sent him back unceremoniously, Dr. Ambedkar said that he would wreak vengeance on Patel for this dire insult inflicted upon a Maharashtrian. If Patel dared insult him in this manner, he added, he would thrash him. This was no a soliloquy; this was a public speech! It was a natural outburst of anger sprung from a strong mind which was consitenet with its contempt for the Congress leaders’ rude mentality, and determinied to show its superiority. The above outburst is also a sequale to the immediate past incidents. In September 1938, the Industrial Disputes Bill was taken up by the Bombay Legislative Assembly. Dr. Ambedkar and Jamnadas Mehta opposed the Bill tooth and nail. Ambedkar described Bill as bad, bloody and bloodthirsty inasmuch as it made a strike under certain circumstances illegal and affected the right of the labourer to strike. Ambedkar stated that according to him strike was a civil wrong and not a crime, and making a man serve against his will was nothing less than making him a slave. He continued that the Bill ought to have been called ‘the Worker’ “Civil Liberties Suspension Act”. Ambedkar then teased the Government by saying that it was a Government, which claimed to be elected on labour votes; but it did not stand by its election pledges. It was a democracy, he added, that was enslaving the working class, and therefore it was a mockery of democracy. But the Congress Ministry was determined to pass the Bill, which they ultimately did despite massive rally at Kamgar Maidan (on 6 & 7 November) and strike (on 7 November) were organized by Independent Labour Party. Also on 25 December, Swami Sahajanand, the Peasant leader from Uttar Pradesh, saw Dr. Ambedkar at his residence in Bombay and had a talk with him about the labour problem in Bombay and the agrarian reforms in general. He tried to persuade Ambedkar to join the Congress to form a united front against imperialism.
6 -01-1940:                          Periyar met Dr. Ambedkar in Mumbai
                    By 10.00 a.m, Periyar arrived at Dadar station with his colleagues (Justice T. A. V. Nathan, P. Balasubramaniam – Editor of Sunday observer, the mouth piece of Justice Party, C. A. Annadurai, the General Secretary of Justice Party, T. P. S. Ponnappan and C. Panjatcharam). He was given a reception and taken by a decorated coach fitted with two white horses! Evening, he met Dr. Ambedkar and latter took the former to his residence. Both discussed on various social and political issues from 9.00 to 10.30 p.m.
30 J—01--1944:      All India Schdeuled Caste Federation Conference was held at Kanpur under the chairperson-ship of N Shivraj.This was the second such conference of the federation and it went on till the next day i.e. 31 January 1944.
6 January 1949:    Dr. Ambedkar wrote to Pune Collector to purchase land to set up a University inTalegaon
                               The Pune Mirror newspaper dated 4 August 2011reported:
 Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s dream of setting up a university in Talegaon remains unfulfilled to this day. Inspired by the universities of Nalanda and Takshila, Dr, Ambedkar had bought 87 acres of land and a bungalow at Talegaon and Wadgaon in Pune district of Maharashtra. Today, all that remains of the dream is one plot of land and the Vishwaratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Smarak Samiti is struggling to find enough land to build a memorial.
 “Ambedkar held meetings with Sant Gadge Baba and Acharya P K Atre in Talegaon. Ambedkar first purchased 65 acres of land at Harneshwar Tekdi at a price of Rs 16,000 and later, he purchased 22 acres at Wadgaon.”
26-1-1950    Constitution of Free India came into force, granting  equality before Law
5-1-1952       Dr.Ambedkar lost Parlimentary election from Bombay
12-1-1953      Osmania University conferred on Dr.Ambedkar honorary D.Lit.Degree.
15-01-1956                                 Behan Mayavati was born
                                 Behan Mayawati, a four-time Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, is chief of Bahujan Samaj Party which is, at present, main opposition party in the Assembly of Uttar Pradesh. She is leading BSP in the UP  Vidhan Sabha elections scheduled to be held in Febuary-March in 2017.                                    
1-1-1979           Mandal Commission was formed-
                            The Mandal Commission was established in India 1-1-1979 by the Janata Party government under Prime Minister Morarji Desai with a mandate to "identify the socially or educationally backward."  It was constituted as per the mandate under article 340( Appointment of a commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes in India every 10 years) for the purpose of Articles 15( Prohibition of Discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth) and 16( Equality of opportunity in public employment).   It was headed by Indian parliamentarian B.P. Mandal to consider the question of seat reservations and quotas for people to redress caste discrimination, and used eleven social, economic, and educational indicators to determine backwardness. In 1980, the commission's report affirmed the affirmative action practice under Indian law whereby members of backward castes though they were also uppercast (known as Other Backward Classes (OBC), Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST)) were given exclusive access to a certain portion of government Jobs and slots in public universities, and recommended changes to these quotas, increasing them by 27% to 50%. Mobilization on caste lines had followed the political empowerment of ordinary citizens by the constitution of free India that allowed common people to politically assert themselves through the right to vote. The commission estimated that 54% of the total population (excluding SCs and STs), belonging to 3,743 different castes and communities, were ‘backward’ The number of backward castes in Central list of OBCs has now increased to 5,013 (without the figures for most of the Union Territories) in 2006 as per National Commission for Backward Classes.
7 Jan 1998: Manyawar Kanshi Ram addressed a conference of Dalits at the Roshan Ground at Hoshiarpur, Punjab[2]
Mr. Kanshi Ram, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo said that social transformation and ecomonic emancipation of Dalits could only be possible through power. Social justice alone was not required for Dalits. They could survive only if they shared power in the country, He said the main aim of his life was social and economic reforms of Dalits. He said that he had succeeded in uniting the Dalits and that was why a Dalit lady, Ms. Mayawati, became the Chief Minister of UP the largest state in the country. He said he would now concentrate on making a person from Gujjar community a Chief Minister of Rajasthan and an Adivasi a Chief Minister of Punjab. Mr. Romesh Dogra, Congress MLA from Dasuya, Mr. Naresh Thakur, former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and Mr. Ram Rattan, general secretary, District Congress Committee, Hoshiarpur shared also the dias with the BSP 
30 January 2000: Press release by Manyawar Kanshi Ram on the review of constitution.
The press release was on the backdrop of the Warning given by the President of India (K R Narayananan) to the Nation and Government while speaking in the Central Hall of Parliament on 27 January 2000, the 50 year of framing of Indian Constitution. He had advised the Government of India not to go in for a review of the Constitution, but to study and analyse the way the successive Governments were working to implement the Constitution and various provisions there in. The Government of India was headed by A B Vajpayee (Bhartiya Janta Party). The press release by Manyawar Kanshi Ram (Bahujan Samaj Party) is as follows:“I welcome the warning sounded by the President about the Government’s move to Review the Constitution.  It is strange that instead of clearly identifying the areas where Review or Amendment is needed, the Government is keeping everything under the cloak of secrecy, by proposing a Review of the whole Constitution.
The Constitution of India as drafted by Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, although not fully accepted still, reflected the aspirations and hopes of the vast millions, who were made to live degraded sub human lives for centuries.  As a result of the change in the Political and Social Scenario brought by the Constitution, the shackles of the old social system have weakened, and now there is tremendous awareness and awakening in the Bahujan Samaj.  In fact, the political instability which has been witnessed in the last few years is the result of social mobility and dynamism of the Weaker Sections which has been generated by the constitutional framework.  The political stability of yester years, was the result of not strong popular base of the political parties, but the strict political control exercised by the socially dominant groups over the Bahujan Samaj.
6 January 2010: Public interest litigation from the All India Christian Federation (AICF) was filed with the Supreme Court of India seeking reservations for all Dalits irrespective of their religious faith.
The PIL (WP Civil # 579/2009) sought reservation for converted Dalits of all faiths on the same footing as extended to Scheduled Castes following Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan and Justice B. S. Chauhan issued a notice to the Ministry of Social Justice and Ministry of Minority Affairs for its response on the implementation of the recommendation of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) headed by former Chief Justice of India Rangnath Misra.
Senior advocate K. K. Venugopal and D. Vidyanandam submitted the recent statement by Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid that the report of NCRLM was not made public and there was a difference between the manifesto of Congress party and the recommendation by the Commission was an attempt to defeat the claims of converts.
Mr. Venugopal said the Centre had referred the NCRLM report to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes which also supported the reported recommendation for 15 per cent (10 per cent for Muslims and 5 per cent for others) reservation without disturbing 50 per cent ceiling set by the Supreme Court.
The PIL said paragraph three of the Presidential order of 1950 under Article 341 of the Constitution, which empowers the President to specify Scheduled Castes, was coming in the way of extending the benefits of reservation to Dalit converts and was upheld by the NCRLM’s seven-member committee. It sought striking down of paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 on the grounds that it is ultra vires of the Constitution. The NCRLM has prepared its report after visiting various states and among the terms of reference was to examine whether the Scheduled Caste converts suffer from social disabilities like untouchability even after embracing Christianity. The Ranganath Mishra Commission earlier declared that non-inclusion of Dalit Christians and Muslims in the SC ambit was a discrimination based on religion and goes against the Constitution of India. After a brief hearing, the Bench tagged the petition with other PILs on the issue which has been pending since 2004.The Centre had in January 2008 told the apex court that it would study the report of Misra commission which examined the issue of granting Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians for extending benefits of reservation to them.
The NGO had also submitted that it was the right time that the court should strike down the order requiring all Dalits to belong to a particular religion if they were to avail the SC reservation benefits as it goes beyond the mandate of Article 341(1) and violates the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
All India United Christians Movement for Equal Rights, had said the Congress Government had in 1996 brought a Bill in Lok Sabha to amend para three of the “Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950” for extending reservation benefits to Dalit Christians. There are about 20 million dalit Christians.
The PIL had claimed social standings of Dalits even after converting to Christianity has not changed and they have to face discrimination in churches also.
The demand for granting Scheduled Castes status to the Dalit Christians has been opposed in several quarters, including the SC/ST Commission which contended that they cannot enjoy two rights – that is of minority and SCs.
Citing a 2005 ruling of the apex court, in which it was said even if a tribal converted to Christianity, he or she could still avail reservation benefits as his/her status as ST remained unchanged, PIL had said the same law should be applicable to Dalits after their conversion.

 [1] Bhakta Das, A Glimpse of Scheduled Castes in Assam, book p 26. 1986
[2] Kshirsagar R K, Dalit Movement in India and Its Leaders, 1857-1956, book page 384-385. 1994
[3] Dhananjay Keer, Dr. Ambedkar: Life and Mission book, Pg 318
[4] K V Ramakrishna Rao, The Historic Meeting of Ambedkar, Jinnah and Periyar, A paper presented during the 21st session of South Indian History Congress held at Madurai Kamaraj University from 18 to 20 January 2001 and published in the proceedings, pp.128-136
[5] Nitin Brahme, Pune Mirror, Newspaper dated 4 August 2011
[6] The Hindu, Newspaper
  7)  The Pune Mirror newspaper dated 4 August 2011     
8) Dr.Ambedkar and His Associates by Er.H.R.Phonsa
9) Chamarjati Ka Goravshali Etihas by Satnam Singh
10) Bharat Main Dalit Jagaran aur Uskey Agardoot By  Mata Prashad( Former Governor Arnuchal Pradesh)

No comments:

Post a Comment