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Jai Bhim Comrade – Documentary

May 12, 2014 2 comments

Jai Bhim Comrade, shot over 14 years, follows the music of protest of Maharashtra’s dalits. India’s Dalit (oppressed) castes were abhorred as “untouchables”. It captures the brutal reality of oppression against dalits and people’s struggle. In 1997, a statue of Dr. Ambedkar in a Dalit Rambai colony in Mumbai was desecrated with a garland of footwear. As residents came onto the street, police fired resulting in the death of 10 residents.[1] Vilas Ghogre a poet and singer, hung himself in protest. Through poems and songs, it covers that moment and goes on to explore events that unfolded in the aftermath. (Synopsis from Wikipedia)

Watch the full documentary from -

Jai Bhim Comrade

Happy Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti

April 14, 2014 5 comments

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Shame for India: Ambedkar belongings in poor condition

May 17, 2013 5 comments

Shame on Indian Governments that all of them failed to preserve belongings of Dr. Ambedkar and other great Dalit leaders. Is it done intentionally? I believe so. All this is happening according to plan so that Dalit-Bahujans don’t get inspiration from their own history and smash the upper caste hegemony.

Friends please come forward to preserve Dr. Ambedkar belongings and Dalit heritage!

 

Movie Review – Just the Wind

May 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Last day, I watched Hungarian movie named “Just the Wind” (Csak a szél). I’ve been waiting to watch this movie for long time and finally my friend from Hungary managed to get the movie for me. Just the Wind was Hungary’s nomination for 85th Academy Awards.

You’ll easily get absorbed into the movie and will start having feeling of closeness to the characters. There will not be a single instance where you’ll try to blink! The movie is based on the Romani killings those took place in 2008 and 2009 in parts of Hungary.

Just the Wind portraits last day in the life of one Romani family, which consists of mother, two children, grandfather and father living in Canada, in a small Hungarian village, in which as the day breaks news spread quickly of the murder of another Romani family. Movie represents the anxiousness, desperation to survive and fears with which Romani people live. To escape death and fears, mother works at two different cleaning jobs so that she can save enough money to get out of the country and be with her husband living in Canada. Anna (Girl child) understands the necessity of attending the school and Rio (boy child) instead of going school just keep on roaming in forest and  keep on enjoying video games at neighbours’ place.

Just the Wind – Wind of Racism

Just the Wind – Wind of Racism

In the movie it is shown, the culprits of murders of neighbour Romani family are not found and even police is not showing much interest in finding the culprits, rather policemen make racist comments and tries to justify killings.

In one scene, when Anna is waiting for bus to go to school, just because of hatred towards Romani people, white bus driver is shown to drive a few extra meters because he did not stop the bus at the exact spot where she was waiting. There is also a scene when suspicious black car follows the Rio and he completely gets scared and stops and tries to hide behind the bushes. He brings out his frustration and anger a little later when he is in the deep forest, running alone, cutting himself an aisle through the undergrowth. It seems to be something like a shout of despair, an outcry against the overwhelming menace. It is also shown that for his family, Rio is preparing for secret bunker in forest in case things got worse.

In another scene, as mother is passing through the white people’s neighbourhood, she is stopped by some white goons and they tried to molest her. There are many hearts touching scene in the movie that tried to explain the day to day life struggle of Romani people.

With desperation and fear day ends and family is in bed, holding on dreams to survive and escape to Canada pretty soon. Just then there is some noise outside and mother says, it’s Just the Wind and with this comment one may think all ends well with the family but Rio wakes up and sees the perpetrators coming and he shouts loudly and runs.  But all the members of the family are killed – just because they are Romani – just because of racism.

Wind of Racism just like Wind of Casteism is still blowing heavily and don’t know how many more lives will these two will take before stopping. Caste virus is not gone so is the race virus. The movie is inspired by real life racist attacks and is breathless escalation of events. One can easily relate the lives of Romani people and Dalits of India, almost same happens in India, Dalits suffer on day to day basis, Dalits’ dreams are shattered and not many care.

Movie raises many questions on the way we treat people from other race, other caste, look different or other religion. After watching the movie, I was lost into the thoughts of lives of Romani people; I was devastated with the suffering that Romani people undergo because of racism. All this made me cry. I’ve been at Sajokaza (Hungary) in year 2009 and worked with Jai Bhim Network, organization that works for Romani people. So, I could relate many things in movie what I had experienced at Sajokaza. It’s nicely directed movie and is must watch for people who believe in equality and humanity.

You can watch the movie from this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfWFEtemRNk

Ghetto Democracy

April 25, 2013 4 comments

 They say – in ghettos

Filthy people live,

Drug dealers settle drug deals,

Prostitutes sell their bodies,

Obnoxious people, infected with crime,

  Live like cockroaches.

Ghettos,

Full of trash, garbage of rich people,

Gutters overflowing into streets,

Dirty huts, broken panes,

Filthy mattress, torn tents,

Muddy roads, like passes of rats,

Graffiti on bumpy road-sides, “Be your own light”.

Ghettos,

Pregnant teenager girls, babies sold,

Cheap booze, men beat women,

No money, no food,

Empty bellies, babies crying of hunger,

Someone caught, trying to steal food.  Read more…

Where is the our share?

March 11, 2013 3 comments

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I get this picture in the email today and thought I must share it with everyone.

Isn’t it true? Years after year, Dalits have been denied of their rights, their dignity. They are kept at the lowest rung. Years after year, Governments have betrayed Dalits and Dalits’ trust. Now is the time to wake up and make our community aware of the discrimination Dalits’ facing in all the spheres. Unless we unite and raise voice against injustices, nothing is going to happen, wake up!!

 

Best wishes for The New Year 2013 from Sakya hostels children

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment

Greetings with love and compassion!

On behalf of all of us at the Sakya Hostel, we want to express our sincere gratitude for your continuing support of our mission and wish you a joy-filled and successful new year. As we mark our seventh year of existence, we are excited about the progress we have made in such a short time. The Sakya Hostel was initiated by Sakya Group and NTI Alumni Tamil Nadu along with the support of Karuna trust UK, Jambudvipa trust Pune, TBMSG Nagpur. Currently, the Sakya Hostel is run by the Visuddhaloka Welfare Association, which is registered under Societies Act, Government of Tamil Nadu. Visuddhaloka, Chennai. 2012 was another great year for Sakya hostel, and we thank you for making it possible!

Please Support

Please Support

At present, 21 boys and 28 girls are served by Sakya hostel.  The children, who stay in the hostel, attend the nearby Government school. Some of our children, having graduated from high school, have joined engineering colleges and technical institutes. The hostel was initiated in response to the 2005 Tsunami-hit Dalit (Scheduled Caste/ so-called “Untouchable”) children who were discriminated against by the local and international relief and rehabilitation efforts. While admitting children, the special attention was given to the children who are orphans, children of single parents, families affected by domestic violence and alcoholism, those of landless laborers and children from the poorest of the poor families. Sakya Hostel was started with a motive to uplift the children who have come from the Dalit community, who have been deprived of education for centuries due to caste-based discrimination. Apart from Dalit students, the hostel also accommodates a few children from other categories who are economically marginalized.  The children are from different districts in all over the state of Tamil Nadu. Since all students are from the marginalized sections of the society, they don’t have proper care and protection in terms of family support, health, education and legal rights. The hostel is trying to provide all aspects of social life to them, including their psychological needs. The hostel tries to ensure that they attain strong physical and mental wellness. The hostel aspires to remove all disadvantages of the children, which they have faced in their respective villages. Through the children, who benefit from the hostel, their communities are also empowered. So far the hostel has produced 2 Engineers, 1 Diploma Graduates, 4 Technical Graduates, 1 Nurse and 2 Teachers. Currently 1 student is pursuing Post- Graduation in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and 3 students are pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees. These achievements would not have been possible if these students had remained in their respective villages. Obviously they are the role models for their communities of empowerment through education. Through benefiting the students, the hostel plays a major role in the empowerment of all marginalized sections of the society in general, and Dalits in particular.

As we look forward to 2013, we are excited about our plans to purchase our hostel building. For this project the hostel is mainly focused on raising funds through individual donors. Local funds are also raised through Sakya volunteers and well-wishers. And the hostel receives partial support from organizations such as The Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Scholarship, Jai Bhim International of The U.S., Marc Sauquet Foundation of Spain, The Asha Jtoti Community Welfare Society of Canada, and Citizens’ Run Trust of Chennai. Sakya Hostel has identified regular donors in local areas, who have pledged for the next five years to carry forward our work into the future.

We are asking for your generous contribution to Sakya Hostels, either through volunteering or by making a financial donation to support the costs of our hostel. Your support is greatly appreciated.

On behalf of everyone at Sakya Hostel, I extend my very best wishes to you and your family. I wish you good health and a very Happy New Year.

With all my metta,

S. Jayasridhar,

General Secretary – Visuddhaloka Welfare Association

Sakya Hostels, No. 12/95, Subramani Nagar, Manali New Town, Chennai – 600 103,

Tamil Nadu, India. Ph: + 91 9841 255 342 E- Mail: visuddhaloka@gmail.com

Upcoming movie: 500 The Battle of Koregaon

December 5, 2012 11 comments

From the director of movie Shudra – The Rising, another movie is going to come into picture, named 500 – The Battle of Koregaon.

You can check out the trailer of the movie from this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS1QDz0H6X8

It is a story of glorious victory of few hundred untouchable soldiers over numerically superior Peshwas army in the battle of Koregaon, fought on 1st January, 1818. I had written on it almost a year back, you can read about it at 1st January, 1818 – The Battle of Bhima Koregaon.

You can also check out the official page of the upcoming movie at http://sanjivjaiswal.com.tracs.in/?page_id=166

 

500 - The Battle of Bhima Koregaon

500 – The Battle of Bhima Koregaon

 

What can a ‘sincere’ Dalit do?

September 2, 2012 5 comments

My final words of advice to you are Educate, Agitate and Organize; have faith in yourself. With justice on our side I do not see how we can lose our battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of the human personality - Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

On my last article, “What can a ‘sincere’ upper caste person do?“, I received many emails, most of them labelling me as casteist, asking me what a Dalit should do? I have heard these type of questions many a times from my friends, confused with what they should do, how they can contribute, where they should contribute and I suppose these and many questions come to the minds of Dalits who really want to contribute to the community. Though, I am not an expert or maybe not as experienced as many are, but I would try to reply with all my capacity – on things I feel should change immediately. But before that let me make one thing clear: that Dalits usually don’t have many options so many of the things that I would be talking about in this article may sound impractical to many Dalits, but still I believe we must do our best. Also, here in this article, I am not talking about our illiterate brothers and sisters but about the highly educated ones, who are pretending to be asleep.

Let me start with Dalit women. When I was researching for my article ‘India and Prostitution – My thoughts and experiences‘ – most of the women working as sex-slaves are from lower castes. Not that I didn’t know all these facts but after meeting many people I almost went into depression. On one occasion, I even met the sole survivor of ‘Khairlanji killings’ and I’ll never be able to forget the Khairlanji massacre. In states like Madhya Pradesh almost 100% women working as sex slaves are from the lower castes. Dalit woman is most the disrespected, unprotected, and neglected person in India. We must learn to respect and protect our women. We must believe that if upper caste men demand respect or do ‘whatever’ to protect their women then we must also do ‘everything’ to respect and protect our women.

Stop fighting in the name of Dr. Ambedkar- Dalits, in the name of Ambedkar, are fighting to prove that they are the real ‘Karva Pullers’ of Dr. Ambedkar, but everyone knows that the reality lies somewhere else. Remember what Dr Ambedkar said:

“With great difficulty, I have brought this caravan where it is seen today. Let the caravan march on and further on despite the hurdles, pitfalls and difficulties that may come in its way. If my people, my lieutenants are not able to take the caravan ahead, they should leave it where it is seen today, but in no circumstances they should allow the caravan to go back.”

Dalits are divided into countless organisations, societies and parties etc but till now we have not been able to achieve anything remarkable. I agree, we need as many organisations as we can have and neither am I denying the impact these organisations might have been able to make in their own spheres but we must agree we really need one major organisation which will work for Dalits at all India level. When in need we must support every organisation and must forget our differences or petty benefits.

Start a national level newspaper/magazine – as I said above, there are many organisations, societies and parties working for Dalits, the same is true with magazines. Since childhood, I have been reading many magazines published by various Dalit organisations/publishers, and since childhood I have wondered why there can’t be a single national level newspaper or magazine? There are about a hundred small Dalit magazines published every month. We always make a noise when Dr. Ambedkar is ranked below Gandhi by some manuwadi newspaper or magazine, but why don’t we think bigger and unite all these Dalit magazine publishers and bring out one single magazine? We can do many more things apart from releasing our own ranking.

I am not saying that these existing magazine publishers should stop publishing but I want them to start working on a national level magazine or newspaper along with the existing ones. I believe it would be easy if we can unite at least one magazine publisher from each state and ask them to contribute one article for the national level magazine. In this way, we can easily bring out one national level magazine and challenge the hegemony of manuwadi media. One reason I see behind the defeat of BSP in the last assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh is because no media was established by Behan Mayawati in 5 years; and on the other hand, the corrupt SAD-BJP government of Punjab won the elections because SAD has a stronghold in the media – it started two new channels in Punjab and holds major shares in Punjabi newspapers. So, what are we thinking about or waiting for? Don’t tell me we don’t have resources or money, if we can operate separately, we surely can operate united.

The book ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, published in 1852 and authored by Harriet Beecher, was the second bestselling book of the 19th century, next only to the Bible. This anti-slavery novel had actually intensified the sectional conflict that finally led to the American civil war and ultimately resulted in the abolition of slavery under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. The book’s impact was so great that it is said that when Abraham Lincoln met author Stowe at the start of the Civil war, he commented, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.” Believe it or not, this is the power of the ‘pen’. Start writing, write your mind. Start writing whatever comes to your mind and one day you will surely be able to make a difference. Create blogs, prepare e-mail lists, websites, SMS, create videos, do each and everything that you can to raise the Dalit voice. Internet gives us many opportunities to promote Buddhist values, understanding and insights on the global scale. Use Internet wisely. Round Table India is a great initiative, one step towards making people aware and everyone must support the Round Table India team.

You have been stripped off your true history, your culture, and everything. So, what are you afraid of? Dalits weren’t Hindus or Dalits didn’t use to go to temples. Our festivals, our Gods, our eating habits, our lifestyle and each and everything were different. Who stripped you of all these? Do you have to visit temples to get all these back? I seriously doubt that. How many of us seriously follow the 22 vows administered by Dr. Ambedkar? I feel ashamed when I see many of my Buddhist friends from Maharashtra visiting the Shirdi Sai temple. Whenever I visit my friends’ homes, no doubt I always see Dr. Ambedkar’s pictures there but along with that I always find some idol or picture of one of the 33 crore fake Gods. And I could never understand why they are not able to come out of slavery or why they could never change their mindset even after 55 years of conversion. Stop visiting temples– why don’t Dalits understand that money donated by you at temples is used against you?And follow the 22 vows administered by Dr. Ambedkar.

I can keep on writing on this topic (such as: if you can, teach someone, inspire someone, start a school, start library, start a scholarship for Dalit students, adopt Dalit students etc) but I don’t want to make this article long. So, I will end it with a few more final words.

Don’t tell me that all this is impossible to be done. When you are ready to die at the  warfront fighting with unknown persons, what happens to you when you have to fight with the known enemy? What happens to Dalits when their own mothers and sisters are stripped naked in the streets and in broad daylight? Doesn’t your blood boil with anger? Unite. Take time out of your busy lives, encourage others in their strife, encourage Dalit students for higher studies & create such a system which will give legal and financial aid to Dalits. More importantly, take time to listen to what they have to say, share positive thoughts, give them confidence, and bring the best out of you. You surely can make a difference. If you can’t do any of the above, don’t do anything, just read what Dr. Ambedkar said, read the rich history of Dalit ideals. Selfless devotion, dedication with enthusiasm and an assertive mass movement will lay the foundation of the Dalit movement.

P.S. - This article was originally posted at Round Table India. Please spread the message, Like the post and share it with your friends.

Will Sikh Leaders install Hindu Gods in the Golden Temple?

August 21, 2012 11 comments

The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history, Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget even faster. The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. - Milan Kundera.

In the month June 2012, the Government of Punjab announced that it will set up a ‘cow memorial‘ at a factory site in Joga town, Mansa District, where recovery of cow carcasses had sparked off riots. And a day after announcing a ‘cow memorial’, the Badal Government further announced it will constitute a ‘cow commission‘  to ‘prevent cruelties against the holy animal’. Mr. Badal even made a visit to the factory where cow slaughter was supposedly taking place and instructed the DGP to look into the cases of cow slaughter with interest and thoroughly. Mr. Badal and his party members didn’t even have the time to pay a visit to the blanket factory at Jalandhar which collapsed in April 2012 and which left more than 10 people dead and 100s badly injured. Not even a single statement came in favor of dead or injured in the one of worst factory accidents of Punjab’s history. Was it because people working at that factory were poor and their lives were not as important as the lives of cows? And recently, when a madman at a Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara killed 6 people, Mr. Badal, CM of Punjab, decided to visit Wisconsin! Isn’t it strange that when in his home state, thousands Dalits are being tortured and when the crime rate against Dalits is going up day by day, he decided to visit Wisconsin to comfort Sikhs of Wisconsin? Is it because these people living abroad finance him and support his party during the election time and the poor Dalits don’t have as much money to donate? So Dalit voices are left unheard.

All these announcements didn’t come to me as surprise as I know who are working behind all these. For centuries, Hindu fundamentalists have always taken a keen interest in destroying Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. RSS’s ‘secret agenda‘,  (published by “New Age” weekly of Communist Party, dated 18th-24th June 2000, same was also reproduced by Aajka Surekh Bharat, Nagpur, Oct. 2000, P-44,) shows the same, ‘secret agenda’ in which it was advocated to members that they “teach false history, misguide minority communities, compel them to chant ‘Om’, divide Dalit unity, keep converting Dalits, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists into Hindus etc. There were 34 such points in that ‘secret agenda’, points which were against humanity, mankind & full of hatred. These days, Sikh organizations, Sikh temples etc are hijacked by Hindu fundamentalists and they are running these organizations as they want. Sikh leaders can be seen at Hindu functions, celebrating Hindu festivals, visiting Hindu temples and performing Hindu pujas. How can Dalits, who protected Sikhism at each and every step, trust such Sikh leaders who attend such Hindu functions where Sikhism is being ruined?

Read more…

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