JAIPUR: Leading sociologists, academicians, thinkers and activists here have expressed concern over what they perceive as “lack of determination and positive attitude” for implementation of government programmes for welfare and empowerment of Dalits.
No affirmative action for Dalits would be meaningful unless accompanied by honesty and integrity, empathy, compassion and recognition of the fact of societal biases and prejudices still working with full force against them, said the sociologists participating in a national seminar on “Dalits, India and globalisation” here earlier this week.
The two-day seminar was organised at Rajasthan University by its Social Sciences Research Centre in association with Janodaya Sansthan of the Academy of Political Technologies, Jaipur. Inaugurating the seminar, Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission chairperson Justice N. K. Jain said government schemes for Dalits should be implemented in a manner that extends the benefits to the target groups without snags. “For this, the executing authorities should be sensitive to the plight of Dalits,” he added.
Noted Hindi man of letters Ved Vyas held the communalism espoused by certain political parties responsible for discrimination against Dalits. He said Dalits, who were invariably exploited during communal riots, were never given a position of equality by the religious leaders of higher castes.
While the gradual loss of livelihood among Dalits in the wake of globalisation was a matter of concern for several participants, academicians H.S. Sharma and Som Dev said social harmony could be a stepping stone towards Dalits’ empowerment and the real cause would only be served by a complete transformation in the mindset of higher castes. Rajasthan University V-C N. K. Jain said practical difficulties encountered in implementation of schemes for Dalits should be identified and resolved. Ramamoorti Meena of Janodaya Sansthan threw light on the negligible presence of Dalits in higher education and heavy dropouts in schools. Former Rajasthan High Court judges Panachand Jain and I. S. Israni said the Constitutional provisions for giving equal rights to Dalits and removal of untouchability could be implemented if the true spirit of egalitarianism was evolved among those in power. Social Sciences Research Centre Director B. M. Sharma said the centre would shortly prepare a comprehensive report highlighting the distressing impact of globalisation on Dalits on the basis of the views of participants for submission to the Union and State governments.