Thursday, December 15, 2011

[ZESTCaste] In this village, untouchability is passe

In this village, untouchability is passe
Padmini Sivarajah, TNN Dec 14, 2011, 06.48AM IST

MADURAI: The Sivaganga district administration has awarded the
Tamarakki south panchayat for successfully overcoming the social evil
of untouchability. The Rs 2 lakh award will be used for the
infrastructure development of the village.

There are 527 families as of today in this village in the Sivaganga
union. Out of these, 124 families belong to adi-dravidar community
while the rest are non-dalits and living in perfect harmony, according
to a survey. Unlike many villages in this vicinity where
untouchability is still very prevalent, all communities enjoy equal
rights here.

For the award, the district administration carries out inspections to
ensure if adi-dravidars are treated equally in hotels and teashops,
where untouchability can be very prevalent through the 'double
tumbler' system, if any. Equal worshipping rights at village temples,
collection of water in taps and water bodies and renting of houses to
different castes without discrimination are the major points taken
into consideration to see if a village qualifies for the award.

A Ayyanar, the panchayat president, who is into his successful fourth
term after administering the village for the past 20 years said that
untouchability had never existed in their village to the best of his
knowledge. "We see all people as equals before god and all communities
participate in the village festival and offer prayers simultaneously,"
he said. Also, on any family occasion invitations are extended to the
entire village where everyone participates in the preparations.

"If at all someone is not invited, it may be due to a family feud or
simple quarrel and never a caste-based issue," said Rajathi, a

N Elappan, a villager says that it is heartening to see the harmony
among the dalits and non-dalits in their village. "We call each other
'mama' and 'machan', something that you will never see adi-dravidar's
addressing the other communities' in many villages," he said. He adds
that teashops are places where they have daily gatherings and that
their relationships have also helped to strengthen the ties among
school children.

Subbramani, another villager says that he is confident that their
village is an example for others. "When a need arises, the non-dalits
are always ready to extend a helping hand and even rent their homes to
us," he said. The panchayat president days that their strong ties
within the village go with them to the grave because they have only
one cemetery to bury or cremate their dead, beyond caste and creed.

Ayyanar received the cash award from the Sivaganga district collector
V Rajaraman on Tuesday. This cash award would be utilised for
providing infrastructure facilities like drinking water taps,
streetlights and renovation of school buildings.

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