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Updated: April 14, 2013 03:26 IST

Let's help realise the vision of Ambedkar for Dalits

Anurodh Lalit Jain
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Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Action, not just offering flowers, will be the real tribute

As the nation pays tribute to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on his 122 birth anniversary (April 14), one would realise that much more remains to be done to achieve his aim of social equality for the suppressed classes. A principal architect in drafting the Constitution, he made significant efforts at giving political rights and social freedom to Dalits. However, till date, members of Schedule Castes continue to face caste biases.

Dr. Ambedkar had a first-hand experience of untouchability in school, where he was segregated from caste Hindus. He was allowed to drink water from vessel only if it was poured from a height by the peon. In his biography, he spoke of school days when he would not drink water as very often the peon intentionally became unavailable.

Even today, there are instances where Dalit children are made to sit separately for the mid-day meal. Also, in some places students belonging to caste Hindus refuse to eat the food cooked by the ‘lower caste’ people. In a few districts of Madhya Pradesh, Dalit children are reportedly served food from a distance. Such caste biases in school will not only deprive these children of education but also fill their minds with pessimism about society at a tender age. Dr. Ambedkar throughout his life advised Dalits to get educated before agitating for their rights.

Data from the House listing & Housing Census 2011 highlight the continued injustice done to Dalits through the demeaning practice of manual scavenging. These workers collect human excreta with their brooms and tinplate and carry it for disposal. This work division continues based upon the traditional Hindu social order, which assigns to the Dalits the dirty, mean jobs. Dr. Ambedkar said that “in India, a man is not a scavenger because of his work. He is a scavenger because of his birth irrespective of the question whether he does scavenging or not.”

A depressing fact as revealed in the 2011 census data on households is that an estimated 8 lakh people are traditionally engaged in manual removal of night soil — a great embarrassment to the State governments that are still in denial mode. Dr. Ambedkar’s efforts to root out such caste biases were perceived to be advanced by Mayawati, who eventually became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. However, the census data show that Uttar Pradesh continues to have the dubious distinction of leading the list with approximately 3.2 lakh people still involved in manually removing human waste.

The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act in 1993 has provision for punishment, including fine, for employing scavengers or constructing dry toilets. However, manual scavengers are continued to be employed to this day by municipalities, the Railways and defence establishments. The UPA government, on the advice of the National Advisory Council, has recognised manual scavenging as a social problem rather than as a sanitation issue and is looking for ways to stop the abhorrent practice.

Dr. Ambedkar is considered the messiah for his efforts to bring equal opportunity and social justice to the marginalised communities. A real tribute to the great leader would be to continue with his efforts of empowering the Scheduled Castes and helping them overcome the vicious cycle of caste and cultural barrier, rather than merely offering flowers to his statue on his birth and death anniversaries.

(The writer is a social healthcare analyst. His email: anurodhj@gmail.com)

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the author had bring the heart touched , humanistic and real perspective
with beautiful explanation despite belonging to Jain community had a
very well understanding of the plight of society on true issue what
people only can feel but comparatively difficult for them to make other
understand. and in my view these thought on dr.b.r.ambedkarji by the
author should be bring in notice to above level of political society so
that not only consideration as vote bank but for upliftment and
development of society and 'our India' at large.

from:  arpit
Posted on: Apr 15, 2013 at 12:40 IST

Good effort by author to highlight problem of manual scavengers. However
even today dalits face discrimination. There are thousands of villages
where dalits are not allowed to fetch water from public wells. There are
thousands of temples across nation where dalits are denied entry in
temples. Atrocities on dalits are on rise across the nation.
Reservations have helped them but number of who get benefited is very
low. Dalits needs to follow Ambedkar in true sense and get best possible
education and not to forget to help guide and support others.

from:  santosh
Posted on: Apr 14, 2013 at 16:12 IST

People like Mayawati and Yadavs grow on the exploitation of the eternal truth that unless they have the Dalits they will never succeed in politics. It is also chastened by the policy that in each and every sector we have sectarian or political loyalties playing the game and notching up demand for reservation on every occassion. So to say that Ambedkar was a visionary may be politically correct. But the constitution he has so vividly worked to assemble is not the panacea of the ills that Ambedkar's successors potray. As far as I am concerned as long as we preach differently at home and our practices need to be reconsidered, no one wins.

from:  Azad Hindustani
Posted on: Apr 14, 2013 at 15:47 IST

Yes,i totally agree to the fact that these practices should be refrained by the people themselves and as correctly said it is more of a social problem than a sanitation problem.And i think it can be vanished from our society by creating a social awareness among the people who are actually committing it and also by providing education to the deprived classes so that they can fight for their rights and be equal to others.

from:  ASHISH CHAWLA
Posted on: Apr 14, 2013 at 11:44 IST

The one and only problem is economical inequality in the society.

from:  ravi kumar v
Posted on: Apr 14, 2013 at 11:35 IST

The way to uplift the so called lower class people (there is no one
really who is upper or lower in God's eyes) is to provide education.
That after 60 years of independence these still persists is a
testament to the bad governance of this country. Despite offering
quotas to the rich among the downtrodden our politics is based on
perpetuating the class differences. There is no real effort to
eliminate the inequality in real terms and no punishment to those that
perpetuates the evil. We are continuing the tradition of the British
by dividing people. It is time we give education and skills training
to the downtrodden. The backward Muslims of Bihar when they reach
Dharavi slum manages to get enough skills to become someone that the
US newspapers praise as creating wealth to the nation. It is shameful
that we do not provide it in Bihar itself. Ramanujam Institute of
Bihar has shown that backward clss people can compete on merit. It is
our Govt. that has failed in uplifting the dalits.

from:  S.Balakrishnan
Posted on: Apr 14, 2013 at 09:43 IST

Discrimination will continue to exist as long as the mind set of the people is not getting changed ,to change stringent law is required as in the US of A ,here in our country people who are well educated are discriminating people on basis of language,sex,caste,creed,colour.
Discrimination or forcing people to do any inhuman act should be punished severely & it should be seen that this is implemented and followed stringently . It is high time that we teach kids from the early age in school that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated & since school plays a important role we should see all school irrespective of what board they are affiliated should have value based education & education authorities should inspect schools at regular intervals to see that they are teaching human values at the highest level & for the parents also to be educated to see that the kid learns to respect people irrespective on basis of language,sex,caste,creed,colour.

from:  karthikeyan m s
Posted on: Apr 14, 2013 at 08:25 IST
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