Represent Dalits responsibly
Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Lakhs of Dalits are migrating to towns and cities in search of work
from districts like Mahboobnagar
The Assembly session is in progress and almost 17 days have been
wasted. The Governor has addressed both the Houses and the State
budget has also been introduced. Some serious issues are to be
There was a serious debate on liquor syndicates, but, well before the
start of the Assembly session, the Centre for Dalit Studies (CDS)
conducted a round table conference with political parties to discuss
implementation of Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub Plan
(TSP) in the Assembly at least for two days.
The CDS team requested all party floor leaders to take up the issue in
the Business Advisory Council (BAC) for an exclusive discussion on the
sub plans at least for two days. All floor leaders readily agreed to
move the issue in the BAC. It is learnt that the issue was raised by
some floor leaders but they did not get any assurance from the
There are about 47 legislators from SC communities; a majority of them
are not in a position to respond properly to the issue. Recently, the
HMTV and The Hans India jointly organized a special live discussion on
the sub plans; only eight legislators attended, though many had been
Many of them are perhaps not well aware of dalit issues and SC/ST sub
plans though they are well educated. They are not greatly interested
in the issue.
Reservations in education, employment and political system have been
achieved due to Dr B R Ambedkar's philosophy and consistent efforts
for eradication of untouchability.
Thus the foundation was laid by Dr Ambedkar for political reservations
which our people are enjoying. But Dr Ambedkar wanted to see
representatives of untouchables elected through their votes alone.
That was accepted by the then British government, but Mahatma Gandhi
opposed it. Ambedkar disagreed with Mahatma Gandhi.
Then Mahatma Gandhi sat on fast unto death against this proposal and
Ambedkar was forced to accept Gandhi's view. Thus, political
reservation came into existence in place of separate electorates. Due
to this system, people under the direct control of dominant castes are
They may not win elections if they work only for the Scheduled Castes,
some MPs and MLAs argue. But, this would be shirking their social
responsibility. Dr Ambedkar's struggle for political representation to
SCs meant that they should make the legislature as a platform for
finding solutions to problems of those sections. Unfortunately it is
There is no benefit from this system other than a few SCs getting
elected and enjoying positions. The lethargic attitude of the elected
representatives is one of the reasons for persistence of dalit issues.
Atrocities on dalits are increasing day by day. They don't have food,
shelter or clothes. Earlier, though the wages were low, at least they
used to get work. Now, even that work is not available. Lakhs of
dalits are migrating to towns and cities in search of work from
districts like Mahboobnagar. The welfare schemes introduced for dalits
some 30 years back are now missing.
Today, we can see many doctors and engineers belonging to dalit
communities. They are from very poor families. After they get a seat
in medicine, the government should help them complete the course. But,
today dalit students of medical colleges face numerous problems.
Recently, a student from Nalgonda, who had got admission in medicine
in Kakatiya Medical College, Warangal, met me and narrated his story.
The scholarship released by the government was enough only to pay the
college fee; he has to pay additionally from his pocket towards mess
charges, room rent, etc, which is beyond his family's financial
capacity; he expressed his inability to continue the studies.
He also revealed that his father was an agricultural labourer and his
brother worked in a private company with a petty salary; efforts to
get a bank loan to meet the hostel expenditure had failed due to the
negligent attitude of the banks towards poor people.
This is the story not only of that particular student; this is the
story of students from poor dalit families in the State. Besides, many
university students have been deprived of education in the name of
various fees which is beyond their capacities.
Earlier, these hostels produced many bright students. But, today they
are in a pathetic condition; there have been instances of students not
getting their meal due to non-release of allotted funds to the hostels
on time. And after they have crossed all these hurdles and completed
their studies, they do not get employment.
About six lakh dalit youth registered with employment exchanges and
waiting for jobs.
A recent disturbing development is that a majority of the raids
conducted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on employees are found
to be against dalits. Does corruption prevail in the entire society or
only among dalits?
Millions of dalits living in villages are in utter poverty even
without a square meal a day. Even half of the atrocities on dalit
women are not coming to light. There does not seem to be life or
security for dalits in villages. There is no education in schools. If
at all educated, there is no employment. If employment is there, there
is no security for them. This is the condition of one crore twenty
lakh dalits in the State.
Therefore, all the 47 dalit MLAs should unite and raise their voice
for the voiceless dalits. The elected representatives may not bring
any revolution in dalit life, but even a few changes would be most
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