[《The ban on Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle in IIT Madras, the Rohith Vemula
episode, the persistent decrease in budget provisions for Dalits, be it
scholarships or component plan, the curb on reservations in universities,
the cow game that jeopardised nutritional security of poor Dalits and made
them prey to cow vigilante goons, and galloping rise in atrocity numbers
which zoomed from 39,000 in 2013 to 47,000 in 2014. The foul-mouthed
references of ministers and persistent injustice being done to youth
leaders like Chandrashekhar Azad of Bhim Army cannot pass unregistered.》]

https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/the-interviews-blog/unless-dalits-build-bridges-with-oppressed-people-across-castes-there-is-no-future-for-dalit-politics/

‘Unless Dalits build bridges with oppressed people across castes, there is
no future for Dalit politics’

April 9, 2018, 2:00 AM IST

TOI Q&A in The Interviews Blog | Edit Page, India, Q&A | TOI

Civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde has worked extensively on Dalit
issues. Currently he teaches big data analytics at Goa Institute of
Management. In a conversation with Sugandha Indulkar he analyses the
fallout of Supreme Court’s verdict on the SC/ST Act:

*Supreme Court said that people who were agitating had not read the verdict
properly and were misled by vested interests. What is your opinion?*

This is absolutely misleading. The judgment of the Supreme Court was in
response to a simple appeal of a high official, who was given anticipatory
bail by the Bombay high court, to quash the case. If Supreme Court found
merit, it could quash the case. But where was the question of seeing the
generalised misuse of the Atrocities Act by Dalits and taking up cudgels
for those who perpetrate crime? This was totally unwarranted.

It invoked Articles 14 and 21, but the entire legislation in favour of the
weaker sections is the constitutional exception to these Articles. Such a
bland reading of the Constitution is astonishing. Dalit reaction to it is
not engineered by any ‘vested interest’ or misreading but entirely
justified.

*What factors have triggered Dalit anger?*

Dalit anger which manifested in the all-India strike on April 2 is an
accumulated anger. It is an outcome of what the present government has done
over the last four years. Misled by their leaders, Dalit community voted in
large numbers for BJP in the last elections. PM Modi thought that by
showing his bhakti to Babasaheb Ambedkar he could fool Dalits. Yes, it took
some time for Dalits to realise what was going on.

The ban on Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle in IIT Madras, the Rohith Vemula
episode, the persistent decrease in budget provisions for Dalits, be it
scholarships or component plan, the curb on reservations in universities,
the cow game that jeopardised nutritional security of poor Dalits and made
them prey to cow vigilante goons, and galloping rise in atrocity numbers
which zoomed from 39,000 in 2013 to 47,000 in 2014. The foul-mouthed
references of ministers and persistent injustice being done to youth
leaders like Chandrashekhar Azad of Bhim Army cannot pass unregistered.

Anger does not mean violence. Dalits do not resort to violence unprovoked.
The very fact that violence happened in only BJP-ruled states, indicates
some sinister plan. Provoke them to indulge in violence and gun them down
so they would never dare to do it again. Ten people have lost their lives
and only violence of Dalits gets projected.

*Where is contemporary Dalit politics headed?*

Independent Dalit politics was nipped in the bud. As a result Dalit
politics remained divorced from the issues of Dalit masses. But now young
Dalits are coming forth, realising the follies of the past. They are
articulating their views confidently. It is being realised that caste
politics and reservations aren’t getting them anywhere. They are disuniting
them further. Unless Dalits build bridges with oppressed people across
castes without using that poisonous term ‘caste’, there is no future for
Dalit politics.

*Do you agree Dalits who are well educated are disconnected from the rest?*

This was bound to happen. Over the last seven decades, because of
reservations and other things, a class has come up among Dalits whose
umbilical cord with the Dalit masses snapped long back. Their behaviour is
like Trishanku, not being able to fully merge with their class on account
of caste barriers and not being able to fully identify with the labouring
masses of Dalits.

The seeds of it were in the Dalit movement from the beginning itself.
Babasaheb Ambedkar at the fag end of his life realised that whatever he had
done benefitted only a small section of educated and urban Dalits and he
could not do anything for the vast majority of rural Dalits. He expressed
this to his followers and asked them to undertake a land struggle. It was
on his prompt that three glorious land struggles took place, first in 1953
itself and thereafter in 1959 and 1964-65.

*How do you situate Dalit politics in the larger context of Indian
politics?*

It is just rent seeking from mainstream politicians by brokering Dalit
interests. Dalit leaders keep chanting Ambedkar and keep Dalit masses in
limbo.

*Is BJP anti-Dalit?*

BJP is definitely anti-Dalit. Their ideological antecedents make a virtue
of the Indian past, which clearly makes it anti-Dalit. Although for its
political needs it cannot give free expression to its anti-Dalit self, its
actions have proved this in ample measure.

*What needs to be done to resolve the matter?*

What do common people need for dignified living? They need quality
education, healthcare, security of livelihood and a social climate of
fraternity. Politicians have been playing people against one another in the
name of caste, religion and so on just to perpetuate their class-caste
rule. So, this kind of politics must stop if India has to have a future.


-- 
Peace Is Doable

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