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How is the Present-Day Woman Oppressed?

 

Sweta Yadav

sweta yadavI have been a student of journalism; technically speaking, I hold a degree in Journalism and consequently have worked in many media houses, but had to resign every time. Sometimes because of the caste based prejudices, other times for not wanting to undermine my principles. In some of these places I also had a good working environment and a good salary but even in those places, many male coworkers and bosses treated me like a sexual object they were lusting after.

Believe it or not, but even today, men find it difficult to accept that there is world where a woman is not just a body, where women are not only successful but prove themselves as competitive co-workers. I remember that at one of these places I was undergoing such an experience and had become emotionally perturbed. Seeing my condition, a woman coworker, in an attempt to counsel me said, "Compromise, you have to lose something to gain something; if you want to live in Delhi and create a name for yourself in this bustling crowd you will have to compromise." My response was, "To lose something doesn't mean to lose dignity and conscience. And as far as recognition goes, the worst would be that I'll be one among the crowd ... that is acceptable to me! But I will never make any such compromise where I lose my dignified life itself!"

And all this was at a place where the culture was considered highly feminist. Here it is important to mention that in the whole organization, I was the only woman who came from the Dalit-Bahujan community. Many of you might disagree and many might get upset. Some might also say, "all this is talk from a bygone era. Where does this happen these days?" You may disagree with both the points I am raising: caste discrimination and gender discrimination. You can deny the existence of both. Please do. But in my eyes, your denial is an act of running away from reality, nothing else!

The greatest risk of sharing personal experiences on a public portal is that you become exposed to a lot of criticism. There is also the risk of character assassination. Not just that, people will bestow you with thousands of unsolicited advice on handling the situation: why didn't you do this, why didn't you complain to the police, you should have hit him back, if you didn't say anything back then why do it now, what did you do at the moment, etc. My intention is not to enumerate what I did or did not do. I'm writing today because there is no fear in me any more. So I thought of sharing with you the discrimination I endured for my caste identity and gender identity. Sometimes even if it isn't our own fault we end up blaming ourselves for it and even punishing ourselves for somebody else's fault.

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If You Can’t Help One Pulaya Woman, What of the Entire SC Community?

Chitralekha E 

 

chitra

To,

 

The Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala

 

Complaint submitted by Chitralekha, Kunjimangalam Village, Edat

 

Sir,

 

I am an auto driver belonging to a Scheduled caste community.  I and my family sat on strike (Raapakal samaram) for 122 days outside the Kannur collectorate protesting the casteism and violence that the CPI(M) has unleashed on us for the last 10 years. The district administration could not accept the demands we put forward. Later, after a meeting with the Honourable Chief Minister, he instructed the District Collector to allocate us a 5-cent plot of land in any panchayat near Kannur town. The sketch, plan and the land records of the plot identified for us were made available to us. Thereafter, we ended our strike. Although a year has passed since our demands were accepted, there has been no action whatsoever on the promises that were made. Meanwhile, based on a fake report by CPI(M)-affiliated government employees, the Honourable Chief Minister himself made the  baseless remark that I own acres of land in Edat. I understand this as part of an approach of untouchability practised by the government towards people of the Scheduled Caste communities. Apart from the land granted to my grandmother by the government as ‘hutment-dwelling’ (kudikidappu) rights, the report made by the Honourable District Collector has nowhere mentioned any ‘acres of land’ owned by me. 

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बाबरी से दादरी तक

Sweta Yadav

sweta

आज़ाद भारत जी हाँ आज़ाद भारत! सिर्फ आज़ाद ही नहीं बल्कि दुनिया का सबसे बड़ा लोकतान्त्रिक देश | लोकतंत्र का जश्न मानते हुए भारत के नागरिकों को लगभग 68 वर्ष गुजर चुके हैं लेकिन आज भी कुछ सवाल जस का तस हमारे सामने मुह बाए खड़े है | समानता का अधिकार देता हमारा संविधान यह सुनिश्चित करता है की इस देश में रहने वाला प्रत्येक नागरिक एक समान है सभी को सम्मानित जीवन जीने का अधिकार है और किसी भी कारण से यह अधिकार यहाँ के नागरिकों से कोई भी छीन नहीं सकता और यदि कोई भी ऐसा करने का प्रयास करता है तो वह दंड का अधिकारी माना जाएगा तथा उसके लिए संविधान सजा का प्रावधान करता है| भारतीय संविधान की सबसे बड़ी खासियत है, यह एक शब्द जिसे हम “समानता” कहते हैं| यदि इस शब्द को आइन से अलग कर दिया जाए तो हमारा संविधान प्राण विहीन हो जाता है| कुछ शब्द सुनने में जितने अच्छे लगते है उतना ही मुश्किल होता है उन्हें सहजता से जीवन में उतारना कुछ इसी तरह का शब्द है समानता | भारत विभिन्नताओं का देश है यहाँ अलग – अलग जाति, धर्म, बोली और संस्कृति के लोग रहते हैं जिन्हें किसी एक लीक में बांधना मुश्किल है | इतिहास गवाह है की जब-जब इस तरह की कोशिश हुई है तब-तब देश में अशांति फैली है| कुछ ऐसा ही हुआ अयोध्या में | अयोध्या एक लम्बे समय से विवाद का विषय रहा है जिसमें मंदिर -मस्जिद का मुद्दा विवाद का विषय है| भारत में मुस्लिम समुदाय अलप्संख्यक समुदाय है| जिसे कुछ तथाकथित हिंदुत्ववादी लोग इस देश का नहीं मानते हैं और बार-बार उन्हें नुकसान पहुचाने की कोशिश करते हैं| दरअसल यह ब्राह्मणवादी व्यवस्था के वह अभिजात्य लोग हैं जो किसी भी सूरत में अपने वर्चस्व को खोना नहीं चाहते | अपना वर्चस्व कायम रखने के लिए यह किसी भी प्रकार का हथकंडा अपनाने से नहीं चूकते| अपनी स्वार्थ पूर्ति के लिए यह धर्म, राजनीति, समाज, भाषा सभी का इस्तेमाल करते हैं |

6 दिसम्बर 1992 को विवादित स्थल पर कार सेवकों के नाम से बड़ी संख्या में भीड़ इकट्ठी होती है और जय श्री राम और हर-हर महादेव के नारे के साथ देखते ही देखते बाबरी मस्जिद को मलबे में तब्दील कर देती है| आखिर कौन लोग थे यह, कहाँ से आई थी इतनी बड़ी संख्या में भीड़ जो धर्म के नाम पर कुछ भी कर गुजरने को तैयार हो गई| और सबसे बड़ी बात इस विध्वंस के लिए 6 दिसम्बर का ही दिन क्यों चुना गया? इन सवालों के जवाब जानने के लिए हमें भारत की सामजिक संरचना को समझना होगा| भारत में जाति एक बहुत बड़ा मुद्दा है जिसे किसी भी सूरत में नकारा नहीं जा सकता ब्राह्मणवादी शक्तियों को यह किसी भी सूरत में स्वीकार नहीं की निचली समझी जाने वाली जातियों को बराबरी का दर्जा दिया जाए | सवर्ण जातियों के लिए शुद्र का मतलब इन्सान नहीं बल्कि जानवरों से भी बदतर स्थिति का एक ऐसा तबका जो उनके मुलाजिम बन कर रहें | ब्राहमणी सत्ता  के लिए दूसरा सबसे बड़ा खतरा मुसलमान हैं | ब्राह्मणवादी यह कभी नहीं चाहते की इस देश में अल्पसंख्यक और ओबीसी, एससी, एसटी एक हो क्योंकि वह जानते हैं की अगर ये एक साथ मिल गए तो यह बहुसंख्यक की स्थिति में हो जायेंगे, जो की यह अभी भी हैं | इनके एक हो जाने की स्थिति में ब्राह्मणवादी वर्चस्व का सत्ता और समाज में सर्वोपरी बने रहना मुश्किल होगा | जिसके लिए इन्होने विवादित ढाँचे को गिराने का विकल्प चुना | चूँकि 6 दिसंबर डॉ. भीमराव आंबेडकर का परानिर्वाण दिवस है इसलिए इन तत्वों ने इस दिन का चुनाव किया और धर्म के नाम पर हिंदुत्व के नाम पर ओबीसी और दलित लोगों को बाबरी मस्जिद के विध्वंस में शामिल किया | ऐसा कर के इन्होने एक पंथ दो काज किया पहला तो यह की मुस्लिम समाज और ओबीसी समाज में एक दूरी पैदा की और दूसरा यह की इसके लिए 6 दिसम्बर का दिन चुना जिसे दलित बाबा साहब के परानिर्वाण दिवस के रूप में मानते थे उसे बदल कर शौर्य दिवस का रूप देने की कोशिश की | इस विध्वंस के पीछे देश की एक बड़ी राजनितिक पार्टी और उसके सहयोगी दलों का खुला हाथ रहा इतना ही नहीं जिस समय यह शर्मनाक घटना घटी उस वक्त उत्तर प्रदेश में यही पार्टी सत्ता में रही | और आज केंद्र में यही पार्टी पूर्ण बहुमत के साथ सत्ता में है |

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Caste can be destroyed only through caste war: V. T. Rajshekar

 

V.T. Rajshekar

(Dalit Voice)

In the past 68 years that India has been independent, we have spent all our time quarreling. Something is seriously going wrong with country's uppercaste rulers. They are in terrible confusion. They are afraid of their own shadows. This ruling class or caste may be small in numbers (less than 15 percent of Indian population) but they are no ordinary people. They not only control the country's entire, property and privileges but they also control the brains of the rest of 85% of the population. They own & run the mass media, write books, produce films & serials, manage educational institutions, hospitals, industries etc. They only are the most educated. In sum, they set values.

vt rajshekar

 With gods in their pocket & sacred scriptures on the tip of their tongue they can make & unmake things. Inspite of enjoying such a privileged position, why are this people are in such a terrible confusion?

Because the confusion is reservation.

Uppercaste rulers who are in charge of implementing the constitutional provisions of reservation to SC/STs have sabotaged the whole thing.

In every government office, government educational institutions, a varitable war is going on today between the 'non-reserved category' employees & 'reserved employees' who are nick named 'government brahmins'. Though the public services form a small part & the private sector doesn't have any reservations for SC/STs, the upper caste rulers have converted the reservation issue into a " national crisis ".

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Forget the Raj. Who’ll say sorry for millennia of abuse of dalits?

 

Surendra Kumar

With his rousing speech at Oxford Union, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has silenced his detractors. Ironically, his own party seeks his silence. Obviously, they don't take his gift of gab and exceptional oratorical skills seriously. What a pity.

What a huge difference a single speech can make! Shashi Tharoor's 15-minute stirring intervention at Oxford Union on July 14 was by far the most passionate, incisive and scathing critique in recent times of 200 years of British colonial rule in India. It has touched the right chord, both in India and abroad, cutting across generations. So, Tharoor, who has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons for the last two years, has suddenly become the darling of Indians, especially the Twitterati. Nearly a million Netizens "liked" his speech in less than 48 hours.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly applauded his oratory, as did many MPs from different political parties. With a huge sixer, Shashi has silenced his detractors. Ironically, his own party seeks his silence. Obviously they don't take his exceptional oratorical skills seriously. What a pity.

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Have savarna feminists rejected markers of caste and patriarchy?

 

T. Sowjanya

sowjiA dalit woman colleague of mine came to the university campus wearing a mangalsutra one day and this forms the context for my discussion. An upper-caste feminist professor was a little inquisitive about the reason for wearing the mangalsutra. In a lighter mood, the dalit woman professor responded, "My parents-in-law came to visit me. They insist..." The mainstream feminist said that, "we fought such a great struggle against mangalsutra way back! And you still wear it?!" The dalit professor felt offended by this comment since it implied she was somehow a "lesser" feminist. She realized that the mainstream feminists' construction of their body is hegemonic in many ways in that it leads to the exclusion of lower-caste/class women studying and working in the urban universities.

It is not uncommon to find in the urban universities, many upper-caste feminists clad in ethnic, handloom clothing (either a kurti or saree), wearing terracotta/wooden/metal jewelry and a crimson red bindi on the forehead. This construction of upper-caste feminist body is partly a post-modern assertion of native culture by upholding the aboriginal skills of weaving and jewelry making. Mangalsutra is opposed by many feminists since it is a signifier of marital status of Hindu women. At the same time, it symbolically conveys that the woman is the property of her husband. Hence, the feminists' rejection of mangalsutra is a rejection of a manifestation of patriarchy in the name of tradition. But the question here is whether the mainstream feminists have rejected all forms of patriarchy. A bindi on the forehead is a marker of Hindu woman. Constructing Hindu woman figure as the Indian/native woman figure leads to the exclusion of other women. Similarly, many feminists have neither rejected bindi nor the religious/caste position that comes from the patriarchal family structures.

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