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Dalit Fighter

Eramangalathu Chithralekha    

Eramangalathu Chithralekha, a Dalit woman autorickshaw driver in Kerala, has never been one for conventions. Even two decades ago, as a child growing up in Payyannur in Kannur district, she simply couldn’t understand why she was not allowed to draw water from the public well. Chithralekha and her family had to rely on ‘upper castes’ to give them water. While her mother convinced herself that this was convenient—at least they were saved the headache of pulling up a heavy bucket filled with water—Chithralekha could never get used to it. In school, too, it stung when her classmates made fun of her for the so-called ‘favours’ they got from the government for being Dalits. Chithralekha, now an autorickshaw driver in her late thirties and the mother of two children, has consistently been intolerant of all the caste and moral codes imposed on her. This has, however, meant that life hasn’t been easy on her. She has no dearth of enemies, chief among them the local wing of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the CPM-affiliated trade union to which most autorickshaw drivers in Payyannur belong. She consistently faces harassment, her autorickshaw was burnt once, and she and her husband Shreeshkant have even faced physical violence thrice.
Talk to any local CPM man or make an enquiry at the local police station, they will offer a strange list of observations to rationalise what has happened with her and her husband over the past decade: Chithralekha is reckless, immoral and aggressive; she drinks alcohol and is rough with people; she is a ‘loose woman’, as is her mother; she does not know how to behave; and she is not feminine (because she talks loudly and laughs uproariously). The latest in this list of charges is that she and her husband are thieves. According to Circle Inspector of Police CA Abdul Rahim, Chithralekha is using her caste status as a weapon, threatening people that she would get them booked under the SC/ST Act. As far as this police officer is concerned, caste-based discrimination does not exist in the town.
Chithralekha’s life was quite typical of other families in her community till she got her autorickshaw. Her father abandoned his wife and three children when she was just five. Her mother, Narayani, took up all sorts of menial jobs to bring up her children and to send them to school. Chithralekha studied till Class X and then did a short-term course in nursing and midwifery. She married early, had two children and was abandoned by her husband when she was 22.
After that, she found it tough to continue with her nursing job as it involved a lot of night shifts and she didn’t want to leave her two children alone. So, she left nursing and decided to learn driving. Under the People’s Planning Programme of the then Left government, Chithralekha got trained to drive an autorickshaw and subsequently, in 2004, got her licence. She managed to buy an autorickshaw under the Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) scheme the same year. “I chose to buy an autorickshaw for two reasons. First, I could keep my work hours flexible and as per my convenience. Second, I didn’t have to work under anybody,” she says.
But that’s when the troubles began. At the autorickshaw stand, she was greeted with scornful comments on her caste identity. Chithralekha was not just a Dalit woman who had dared to enter a male domain, she had also broken caste codes by marrying a man from the Thiyya community. Her second husband Shreeshkant’s family were CPM loyalists and he himself was an active worker of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, the party’s youth wing. On the first night of the marriage, Shreeshkant was forcefully taken away by his relatives and party workers. They tried to persuade him to separate from Chithralekha and even beat him up for not yielding to their demands. “Since then, we have been ostracised by his relatives. Then, when I entered a profession where there was no woman till that day, this ostracisation was complete,” says Chithralekha.
“Initially, it was very difficult,” she adds. “It took three months to get a permit to drive the auto in Payyannur town. When I parked my auto in the stand, they would make another queue leaving space behind my vehicle to give passengers the impression that my auto did not belong to the queue and they should not board it.” It was not just her caste that created bitterness with CITU autorickshaw drivers. “They also had a problem with me for getting more trips. Being the only woman auto driver, Muslim families in the locality preferred to call me for family trips,” she explains.
The rift took a violent turn on 11 October 2005, the day after Navami puja. Chithralekha found that her autorickshaw’s windscreen had been broken and its hood ripped. “I knew the person who did that. When I questioned him, he turned violent and tried to run me over with his auto.” Chithralekha lodged a complaint with the police and he was arrested.
Infuriated, CITU autorickshaw drivers pasted posters against Chithralekha across town, filed a counter complaint against her that she was a drug addict, and launched a smear campaign that she was a drunkard and a sex worker. It turned worse. A few nights later, her autorickshaw was burnt down. Life almost came to a standstill. Chithralekha was then living in a locality dominated by the CPM. Most people there were of the ‘higher caste’ Maniyani community. The fury of local CITU workers spread across the place and Chithralekha and her family were forced to flee. “We shifted to Badakara [in Kozhikode district]; we rented a house there and attempted other menial jobs.” After some time, human rights activists in Kerala and beyond took up her case, and collected funds to buy her a new autorickshaw. In February 2008, the key of the vehicle was handed over to Chithralekha by CK Janu, a tribal leader and a prominent public figure in Kerala.
After this, Chithralekha and her husband returned to Payyannur, building their lives from scratch. In January 2010, though, they again faced violence while on their way to buy medicine for their son, who had been stung by a bee. “I was driving, Shreeshkant, our son and my brother were in the backseat. We parked the auto next to a chemist’s shop and Shreeshkant went to buy the medicine. A group of auto drivers asked me to remove my vehicle from that place. I tried to explain that I was only waiting for my husband to come back with medicine, but they refused to listen and insisted that I clear out. When I refused, the scene turned violent and I was attacked. Shreeshkant tried to resist, but he too got injured. Someone called the police, but the police were convinced that we were responsible for what had happened. They treated me like a criminal,” says Chithralekha.
The police and CITU insist that Chithralekha and her husband were drunk and tried to park the auto in violation of the queue. They say that they tried to take Chithralekha for a medical examination to check the presence of alcohol in her body, but she refused to cooperate. But Chithralekha counters that there was no attempt to find out whether her son had actually been stung by a bee and if they had gone there to buy medicine.
A fact-finding team of Dalit activists and academicians landed in Kannur over the issue. The report of the four-member team, including activist Gail Omvedt and Professor Nivedita Menon of JNU, which was published in, concluded that the ‘inability to tolerate this Dalit woman’s assertiveness, stubborn courage and confidence despite her caste and gender’ is the sole explanation of recurrent violence against her. This was not the first article written on Chithralekha; even before, there had been a series of articles on the untiring battle of a Dalit woman against caste oppression. I myself have written one such article in Tehelka in 2010. Chithralekha had become a point of discussion among activists, intellectuals and writers.
On 18 May 2013, there was more violence, this time at her home. Chithralekha, her husband and children were inside their house when their window panes were broken, resulting in her sustaining minor injuries. Apparently, this was the culmination of a quarrel between Chithralekha and her neighbours. There was an invitation event held in her neighbourhood, and vehicles were parked on the road leading to her house. Chithralekha asked them to get the cars out of the way as her husband wanted to take the autorickshaw out. This led to the altercation. One might argue that the violence was spontaneous, but it is worth wondering if a Dalit woman who refused to compromise despite facing frequent violence may already have become an object of caste hatred for many around.
When I met Chithralekha last week, I realised that her life continues to be as hard as ever. Her husband Shreeshkant had rat-bite fever and has been seriously ill since last year. He cannot drive his autorickshaw regularly. Chithralekha revealed that she had to sell her mobile phone since there was an acute shortage of money in the house. There is a huge coconut plantation adjacent Chithralekha’s house that belongs to a private company. Chithralekha collects the coconuts that fall in the plantation, and she and her grandmother, who lives with her, make mats with palm leaves. Despite all this, they struggle to make ends meet. Their house with two tiny rooms and a kitchen remains incomplete as they have been denied financial aid from the CPM-governed panchayat. She has also been excluded from local self-help groups. Besides, she cannot hope for employment under the NREGA simply because the CPM dominates Payyannur.
Chithralekha, in the meantime, knows she is something of a symbol of resistance and behaves accordingly. She knows activists and mediapersons are only interested in the story of an educated Dalit woman fighting a stiff battle against caste hegemony. She tells them only about those aspects of her life, never the one of an ordinary woman living on the margins.

Om Narain Shresth

'चमार रैप,' ये किस बदलाव की आहट है?

  • 3 सितंबर 2016

इमेज कॉपीरइट g kumar
कभी पहचान छुपाने वाली दलित जातियों में उसपर गर्व करने की पहल ज़ोर पकड़ रही है और धीरे-धीरे हुई शुरुआत ने समाज को साथ लेना शुरू कर दिया है.

जालंधर पंजाब के सबसे अधिक दलित आबादी वाले जिलों में से एक है और यहां बड़ी तादाद में मौजूद चमड़े का काम करने वाली जाति को - जिन्हें दलितों में गिना जाता है; अब अपनी जात बताने में शर्म नहीं.

जाति से जुड़े संगठनों ने अपने बैनर्स पर सबसे ऊपर लिखना शुरू कर दिया है 'गर्व से अपनी जाति के बारे में कहो.'

धीरे-धीरे एक पूरी पीढ़ी इस बात पर गर्व महसूस करने लगी और जो नाम एक अपमान के तौर पर उनकी तरफ 

उछाला जाता था, उसकी बाज़ी उन्होंने पलट दी.
हालात ये हैं कि अब बात होती है 'चमार रैप' की.

और, दलित परिवार में जन्मी 18 साल की गुरकंवल भारती - जो यूट्यूब और फ़ेसबुक पर गिन्नी माही के नाम से अधिक मशहूर हैं, आज चमार रैप क्वीन मानी जाती है.

हुंदे असले तो बध डेंजर चमार (हथियारों से अधिक खतरनाक हैं चमार), गिन्नी का ऐसा वीडियो है जिसे यूट्यूब के अलग-अलग चैनल्स पर लाखों की तादाद में हिट्स मिले हैं.

 गिन्नी माही अपने परिवार के साथ
रविदास समुदाय के परिवार से संबंधित गिन्नी का कहना है कि उसे अगर एक दमदार आवाज़ मिली है तो वह अपनी आवाज़ से ही लोगों को सामाजिक पिछड़ेपन से बाहर निकालने के लिए प्रयास करती रहेगी.

एक हज़ार से अधिक स्टेज शो और गायन कार्यक्रमों में हिस्सा ले चुकीं गिन्नी ने बीबीसी से बातचीत में कहा कि 11 साल की उम्र से गायन शुरू कर आज वह 22 से अधिक गीत रिकॉर्ड करवा चुकी है और उनके वीडियो भी बने हैं. वह अपने हर गीत में एक संदेश देना चाहती है और अब तक अपने लक्ष्य में सफल भी रही है.

गिन्नी ने बताया कि स्कूल और कॉलेज में भी उसे काफी सहयोग मिलता है. स्कूल और कॉलेज में टीचर्स उसे गायन में प्रोत्साहित करते हैं. सहपाठियों से भी प्रोत्साहन मिलता है. डेंजर चमार का आइडिया भी उसे एक स्टूडेंट से ही मिला था जो कि आज उसका सबसे हिट म्यूजिक वीडियो बन चुका है.

आसपास और गायन कार्यक्रमों में गायन करने के बाद अब गिन्नी को पंजाबी फिल्मों से भी ऑफ़र आने लगे हैं और जल्द ही वह पंजाबी फिल्मों में प्ले बैक सिंगिंग भी करती दिखेंगी. अभी तक अपने स्तर पर ही संगीत सीखने वाली गिन्नी अब संगीत की शिक्षा भी लेना चाहती है ताकि गायिकी में और सुधार ला सके.

गिन्नी के पिता राकेश माही का कहना है कि गिन्नी को मिली सफ़लता ने उनकी समुदाय के अन्य बच्चों को भी प्रेरित किया है और वे भी अब गायन में आना चाहते हैं. उनके आसपास के परिवारों में गिन्नी की सफलता के चर्चे हैं और बच्चे भी गिन्नी से लगातार उनके नए गीतों के बारे में पूछते रहते हैं.

समुदाय के कार्यक्रमों में भी गिन्नी को विशेष सम्मान मिल रहा है और गिन्नी को भी छोटी उम्र से ही ये सब अच्छा लगता है. हालांकि वह अभी भी अपनी पढ़ाई को प्राथमिकता देती है.

सिर्फ 18 साल की उम्र में गिन्नी राजनीतिक और सामाजिक तौर पर भी काफी जागरूक है और वह अच्छी तरह से जानती है कि बाबासाहब भीमराव अंबेडकर ने संविधान लिखा और संविधान में दलितों को आरक्षण देकर उनका सामाजिक उत्थान किया.

वह अपने गीतों में भी अपने आप को बाबा साहब की बेटी ही क़रार देती है. प्लस टू में 77 प्रतिशत अंक लेकर अब गिन्नी कॉलेज में पढ़ाई कर रही है और वह पंजाब और पूरे देश में दलितों के उत्थान के लिए काम करने के साथ ही बॉलीवुड में प्ले बैक सिंगर भी बनना चाहती है.

गर्व से कहो हम चमार हैं, पुत्त चमारा दें, की सोच को पूरे समाज तक पहुंचाने के लिए इस समुदाय के गायकों की एक पूरी पीढ़ी सक्रिय है जो कि चर्चे चमारा दें, डेंजर चमार आदि गीतों से अपने समाज को अपने पर गर्व करने के लिए प्रेरित कर रही है.

पंजाब में जिस तरह से ये जाति अपने आप को अपनी पहचान और गुरु रविदास और बाबा साहब पर गर्व करने के लिए प्रेरित कर रही है, उतना कोई नहीं कर पा रहा.

और, ये एक नए तरह का बदलाव है जो कि अब रफ़्तार पकड़ रही है.

Gopal Baba Walangkar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gopal Baba Walangkar, also known as Gopal Krishna, (ca. 1840-1900) is an early example of an activist working to release the untouchable people of India from their historic socio-economic oppression, and is generally considered to be the pioneer of that movement. He developed a racial theory to explain the oppression and also published the first journal targeted at the untouchable people.


Gopal Baba Walangkar was born into a family of the untouchable Mahar caste around 1840 at Ravdal, near Mahad in what is now Raigad district, Maharashtra. He was related to Ramabai, who in 1906 married the polymathic social reformer, B. R. Ambedkar. In 1886, after serving in the army, Walangkar settled at Dapoli and became influenced by another early social reformer, Jyotirao Phule, thus being a link between two of the most significant reform families of the period.
Walangkar was appointed to the local taluk board of Mahad in 1895, which displeased the members from the upper castes and caused considerable debate in newspapers. He died at Ravdal in 1900.


The Aryan invasion theory, since discredited, was in vogue at this time. Walangkar extended Phule's version of this racial theory, that the untouchable people of India were the indigenous inhabitants and that the Brahmin people were descended from Aryans who had invaded the country. Walangkar claimed that "high-caste people from the south were 'Australian–Semitic non-Aryans' and African negroes, that Chitpavan Brahmans were 'Barbary Jews', and that the high-caste Marathas' forebears were 'Turks'".
In 1888, Walangkar began publishing the monthly journal titled Vital-Vidhvansak (Destroyer of Brahmanical or Ceremonial Pollution), which was the first to have the untouchable people as its target audience. He also wrote articles for Marathi-language newspapers such as Sudharak and Deenbandhu, as well as composing couplets in Marathi that were intended to inspire the people.
Having read Hindu religious texts, Walangkar concluded that caste was contrived by the Aryan invaders to control the Anaryans (indigenous people). In 1889, he published Vital Viduvansan (Annihilation of Ceremonial Pollution), which protested the position of untouchables in society and raised consciousness regarding what those people should expect.He addressed this pamphlet, which was crafted as a collection of 26 questions, to the elites of Maharashtrian society. T. N. Valunjkar says that Walangkar "can be regarded as the first intellectual rebel from the dalit community to have launched a scathing criticism of the caste system and the position of dalits in it." Nonetheless, his criticism was intended to cause change through an appeal to those elites, rather than an opposition to them. It was an awareness-raising style, in the hope that the paternalist elements of society would take heed[6] but it also warned that the untouchables might leave India unless their situation improved. A further significant work, titled Hindu Dharma Darpan, appeared in 1894.
Walangkar also at once empowered the Mahars and diminished the influence of Brahmin priests by forming a group of Mahar astrologers to set the times for religious ceremonies, which was effectively the only service that Brahmins had been willing to perform for the caste.
Walangkar founded the Anarya Dosh-Parihar Mandali (Society for the Removal of Evils Among the Non-Aryans). Some sources say this took place in the same year that he left the army but Anand Teltumbde gives 1890 as the date and suggests it was connected with an issue relating to military recruitment. The Mahar were initially heavily recruited into British military units, but this process slowed after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Their recruitment was halted under Lord Kitchener in the early 1890s. Before the rebellion, Mahar regiments made up one-sixth of the Bombay units of the British East India Company but thereafter they were pensioned off and gradually removed from military service. Mahar recruitment reached its nadir in the early 1890s (sources differ as to exact year) when Kitchener halted the recruitment of untouchables in Maharashtra in favour of "martial races," such as the Marathas and other north-western communities. The Mahar community attempted to confront this block with a petition circulated among the Mahar, Chamar, and Mang former soldiers—all Marathi-speaking untouchables—but the movement was unable to organise and submit their petition. It was Walangkar, through the Anarya Dosh-Parihar Mandali, who attempted this petition.
Walangkar is generally considered to be the pioneer of the Dalit movement, despite the work of Harichand Thakur through his Matua organisation involving the Namasudra(Chandala) community in Bengal Presidency. Ambedkar himself believed Walangkar to be the progenitor.


By: Pianke Nubiyang



The earliest form of racism may have been introduced and practiced by wandering barbarians from Erasia, who spoke a variety of languages before the Black Aryan (Indo-Aryan) languages of India was taught to them. These barbarians were Caucasian for the most part, although there were Black chiefs among them, according to Chancellor Williams in his book, The Destruction of Black Civilization (Third World Press, Chicago; 1976).

Later, after the influence of the Black Davidians, Black Tartars and other Black Negroid and Australoid types who lived in Asia in ancient times (and who still do today), the barbarians learned various skills, including how to hitch horses to carriages and how to ride horses for purposes of war. These techniques learned from the Blacks of Asia was used to invade the ancient Black civilizations of the region. India was one of the first to be infiltrated, followed by other Black civilizations to the south, including Mesopotamia and Egypt. Between 2000 B.C. to about 1500 B.C., waves of the northern barbarians invaded India. All did not enter ancient India as an invasion force, since they were not militarily strong enough to defeat the mighty Black armies of the ancient Ethiopic Dravidian Indians. In fact, many barbarians came in trickles, looking for food and lodging in what was one of the greatest Black civilizations earth, and one of the most ancient.

Long before the infiltrations of the aliens, India’s wealth, culture, architecture, civilization was legendary. The ancient Indians belonged to the Kushsite African race, still numerious in a wide area of the globe, spread from India in the East to Senegal in the West. Of this group of ancient Blacks, the Naga People were and still are the largest subgroup of the Kushitic speaking branch of the Black African race. In fact, the Nagas still retain the title “Naga” in various forms throughout Africa and South Asia even today. There are many examples of the term "Naga” still being used to describe various groups in Africa and Asia, who are all of the Kushitic branch of he Black African race. For example, the Blacks of West Africa were called “Nugarmar-ta.” “Nagomina” is the name of a tribe from West Africa, who were part of a series of great civilizations which existed in the region before 1000 B.C. The “Naga,” are another group of people related to India’s Naga people, who live in various parts of East Africa and in the nation of Sudan, the original homeland of all Naga and other Kushitic Black peoples. The word “Nahas” is another word for “Nubian.” Names of tribes and nationalities such as “Nuer,” “Nuba,” “Nubian” are all related to the Naga tribes of India and South Asia. Long before the barbarians infiltrated India, the Blacks (Naga, Negrito, Negroid and all those belonging to the Negroid-Australoid Black race, as well as pure Negritic racial types ruled India as well as a substantial portion of Asia from Arabia to China and the South Pacific, as well as the Indian Ocean region. In India, the Blacks built one of the world’s most magnificient and glorious civilizations. This civilization had been developing since about 6000 years before Christ. The magnificent cities of Harrappa and Mohenjo-daro are two of the many cities built by these Blacks. These cities cover large regions of Northern India and Pakistan. Wayne Chandler explains in the book, African Presence in Early Asia (edt. by Ivan Van Sertima, Transaction Publishers, Newbruinswick, NJ; 1985, p. 83), “The Jewel in the Lotus: The Ethiopian Presence in the Indus Valley Civilization,” “Mohenjo-daro and Harrappa, the greatest examples of  Harrappan architecture were built between 3000 B.C. and 2500 B.C.; these masterpieces of Harappan city planning were the culmination of towns and villages which date from 6000 B.C. to 7000 B.C.”

India’s ancient original Blacks (and much of today’s Black Indians…Nagas…Black Dalits) belong to the same Negritic race of today. Even India’s Pygmy types such as the Andaman Islanders are related to the Pygmies of Africa. The connections between the Blacks of India and those of Africa are so close, that even the names given to the various Naga peoples of India and those of Africa are close in sound. For example groups in parts of Sudan are called Nagas, whereas in India, Black groups with racial features similar to the people of Sudan are also called Nagas. The languages spoken by the Nagas and other Dravidians such as Telegu, Malayalam, Kanada and others are related to the Kushite languages of East Africa, such as Gala and those spoken by the Nilotic peoples. Moreover, it seems that these languages spread far beyond India into Cambodia and South China in the

East to West Africa in the West. Kushitic speaking people migrated in both directions.


Racism against India’s ancient Blacks who founded the Indus Valley civilizations over four thousand years Before Christ, began after barbarians from Eurasia infiltrated the Indus Valley. These barbarians came from the northern parts of Eurasia and from the northwest and spread into northern India, some migrated to parts of Europe and theMiddle East, where they encountered more Black civilizations. The barbarians were not militarily stronger than the advanced and militarily superior Blacks of the Indus Valley. In fact, according to Drucilla Dungee Houston, in her book Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire (1985, p. 221) “An ancient treatise tells of the early Cushite element, that they adorned their dead with gifts, with rainment, and ornaments, imagining thereby that they shall attain the world to come. Their ornaments were bronze copper and gold. One non-Aryan chief described this race (the Blacks) as of fearful swiftness, unyielding in battle, in color like a dark blue cloud. This old type is represented today by the compact masses of the south. These Dravidians constitute forty-six millions (during the 1920′s; today however they are over 800 million Black Dalits, Tribals, Backward castes and Scheduled Castes). They represent the unmixed Cushite Type. All the rest of the blood of India is heavily mixed with this strain.” (D.D. Houston, Black Classics Press, Baltimore MD) When the barbarians infiltrated into India, they may not have invaded in a massive sweep, for surely, they would have been wiped out by the invincible Naga armies who were well equipped, strong and fierce as mentioned above. Yet, it seems that from the beginning, their objective was to take over the glorious lans of the Nagas and other Blacks of India. According to Al Bash-am, the Blacks of India were described by the invaders as “dark and illfavored, bull lipped, snub nosed woshippers of the phallus….they are rich in cattle and dwell in fortified places called pur.” It is interesting to note that the dwelling place of the Pharaoh was also called “Pur-o” from which them

name “pharaoh” originated. In his booklet, “Nagaloka: The Fractured and Forgotten Glory of the Bahujan Indians,” by M. Gopinath (April 14, 1998), he explains that the Aryans arrived in India about 2000 years B.C. In fact, their descendants still exist in India among the Bramins and Banias (Banias are among the Blackest of Blacks). These vagrant migrants (the ancient invaders) arrived in ancient India (Naga-mandla) looking for food and shelter. The Naga kings allowed them to settle in the Naga kingdoms, gave them food and allowed them to use the land for their wellbeing. Soon afterwards however, the Blacks were repaid by the barbarians with violence and the eventual takeover of their lands. Gopinath states clearly in the book, Nagaloka (April, 1998), that in Nagamandla, the Aryan aliens felt insecure, and feared that their positions would be lowered even more than they had been.

They began to devide and cause strife and discord among the Naga tribes, in order to gain a dominant foothold (sounds farmiliar?).

Their tricks brought about enmity between the various Naga kingdoms (people of West Africa, Sudan, and other parts of the world who continue to kill each other over the religious beliefs of others should take note). Gopinath’s point that the aliens felt “insecure in their positions,” clearly underscores the major point of this book, which is, those who claim to be “superior,” may actually feel inferior and therefore, they have devised racist and evil means to oppress others in order to keep themselves at the top. Gopinath states that many of these raids were led by these Aryan infiltrators, who helped destroy great cities such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. The result was the weakening of the Naga kings. Soon their kingdoms fell under the control of the barbarians. The caste system was introduced to further devide and controle the Black Naga people, while the Aryans established themselves at the very top, with full control over all the rest of the Naga people. In fact, the Aryans called themselves, “Bhoodevatas,” or “Gods of the Earth,” Gopinath explains, (Nagaloka, The fractured History and Forgotten Glory of the Bahujan Indians, compiled by M. Gopinath, Dalit Sahitya Sanghatane, Bangalore, India)


A large majority of the Naga People refused to be dragged into the evil, racist ‘varna’ or color and caste apartheid introduced by the barbarians. These Nagas fought the system and were classified as outcastes, napproachables, untouchables and unseeables. The color of skin of the Naga people being the glorious black complexion and  devine blessing by the sun, which they considered an honor, was considered repugnant to the albino colored
invaders. Thus, to touch a person classified as “untouchable” was considered repugnant by the albino colored invaders. The name “untouchable” also meant that the original Black Nagas were outside of the caste system and were (and still are) its greatest opponents and enemies. The barbarians who invaded India and introduced the “varna” or color and caste system which devided and graded the various Naga tribes and other Indians into various levels of power, had poluted some of the pure black Naga people, creating various strata of color ranging from fair to black skinned. In fact, their system was the world’s very first system of apartheid, Jim Crow and color racism. V.T. Rajshekar lists the levels of the racist caste system in his book, Dalit: The Back Untouchables of India (Clarity Press, Atlanta; 1987, p. 56) as: 

“The Bramin, 5 percent of Hindus; priestly caste The Kshatriya; 4 percent of Hindus; 
warrior caste The Vaishya; 2 percent of Hindus; merchant caste The Shudra; 45 percent of Hindus; lowest caste (street sweepers) India’s Black Dalits or Untouchables are outside of the caste system. They are the descendants of the original Black Naga and other Black tribes of Black African roots who were the first people on earth and who spread throughout the entire world in prehistoric times. As already mentioned, these are the Blacks who built Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, two of the major cities and urban complexes of the Indus Valley Civilizations, where many beartiful cities were built by the Nagas and other Blacks. According to Gopinath (April 14, 1998, pp. 9, 10), the barbarians introduced a disgraceful civilization, where drinking, free sex, gambling and other evil vices were practiced among them. Many rites of worship to invoke their gods were some of these functions. In due time, these practices began to influence others.  (4) Gopinath states that the Nagas were pushed to “poverty, ignorance, hunger and unemployment.” (p. 12). Due to these calamities, “robbery, looting, murder and prostitution which were unknown to the Nagamandala so far took birth. Drought, deforestation, crop failure, and such other natural imbalances started to surface. Farmers and businessmen were forced to pay more taxes to the government. Enraged by this unethical debauchery, the unbeaten Nagarajas waged wars against them. They attacked the yagas and yajans of the Aryan rulers. But these Nagas were so much demoralized and disunited that they could not launch an organized battle under one leadership against the Aryans. Making use of this failure on the part of the Nagas the Aryan rulers had managed to picture the rebellious Rakshasas, Asauras and Dhanavas as evil-minded “demons” and all those Aryan murders of rebel Nagarajas were hailed as incarnations of (avatharas of their god.” (Nagaloka: The Fractured History and Forgotten Glory of the Bahujan Indians; M. Gopinath; Dalit Sahitya Sanghatane, Bangalore, India). (5) The issues discussed by M. Gopinath brings to mind the common tricks used by the invaders to gain a foothold in India and to establish their racist devide and conquer caste system. These techniques are still being used today in all parts of the world where the descendants of these barbarians entered or gained control and domination over the past five hundred years. In most cases, however, the victims, who have been the original Black races of planet earth have refused to unite in order to eliminate all forms of oppression once and for all. Black against Black divisions designed to keep weakness and fragmentation alive and to promote destruction from outside forces continue to exist. In some cases these divisions continue to exist even after the original perpetrator has left the scene. In nations such as West and Eastern Africa, alien religions introduced by the enemies of Africans, have worked well in implementing the invaders’ “devide and conquer,” schemes. In many cases, Africans have allowed such religious concepts to be blindly followed by their people without examining the consequences on the original African culture and system of beliefs, which are more adaptable to the African way of thinking. For example, the idea of worshipping another human as a devine, supreme being is unacceptable to many Africans. Glory must be given to those African ancestors who refused to join the evil schemes of the conquerors, disguised as religious enlightenment and spiritual self-fulfillment. Glory must be given to those who fought against being forcibly converted and rejected beliefs which placed them in stratified, divided classes and castes. Many fled into inaccessable areas such as the mountains and forests in order to maintain their ancient way of live and reject the beliefs and tricks of the invaders. Those who remained near or among the barbarian invaders are today the most oppressed people on earth today.

V.T. Rajshekar explains in his essay, “The Black Untouchables of India,” African Presence in Early Asia, edt. by Ivan Van Sertima, (1993, p. 237), that the racist caste system is explained in the Rig Vedas. (6) On the other hand, according to Drucilla Dunjee Houston, the Vedas were originally Black Kushite literary works stolen and corrupted by the invaders, who added racist ideas to them. She explains in Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Kushite Empire: “5000 years ago we have shown there was no branch of the Aryan race that could have produced the Rig Veda. 5000 years ago, no Japhethic nation possessed blacksmiths, chariots, and the civilization the Rig Veda reveals.” 

According to Houston, the Kushites lived in the region of Hindu-Kush and the plains of India. They took Dravidian wives, she states, since they were probably of the same Black Kushite stock. Between 3000 to 4500 B.C., the Kushite father was represened as a priest of the family who conducted religious rites. The burning of widows was not practiced and women were held at high positions. Houston states that according to the Rig-Vedas, the ancient Kushites of India were blacksmiths, goldsmiths, coppersmiths, carpenters and husbandmen who practiced agriculture. Houston states (1985, p.218), “They fought from chariots as did all the Cushite nations. They settled down as husbandmen to till the fields. Unlike the modern Hindu they ate beef. They adored gods identical with those of Egypt, Chaldea and Ethiopia. Who were these people who 4500 B.C. possessed towns and built ships? Semites and Turanians had no such arts.” (D.D. Houston, Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire, Black Classics Press, Baltimore, MD.: 1985, p. 218)  (8) According to Houston, by the time the GrecoBactrian and Sythians entered India around 327- 544 A.D., the fairest districts (where the descendants of the fairskinned Aryans lived) in the northern parts of India were still owned by the Kushites. She points out that ruins built by the Kushites cn be found throughout Oudh and the northwestern provinces, where they reigned from the fifth to the eleventh centuries A.D. She underscores this important fact : “Some superficial interpretations of the Vedas attempt to make out the Dravidian Kushites as disturbers of sacrifices, lawless without gods, and without rites. This would not describe the Cushites anywhere in the world. To those who read the Rig-Veda intelligently and without the confusing glasses of prejudice, these mutilated and interpolated writings are but a description of the familiar traits and customs of Cushite Ethiopians. The Brahmins were probably a much later and intermixed branch of the inhabitants of Hindu-Kush. That they were intermixed we can tell by their cruelty. Full blooded Cushites were gentle. The fact thatthe Brahmins altered the Sanskrit writings to such great extent is proof itself that they were not the original authors of these works. They took over and appropriated much from Buddhism that would appeal to the masses when they found it otherwise impossible for them to sit in the saddle of the priesthood.” (p. 221) (9) Houston states that Brahminism (from the God Brahma, the first person in the trinity), “claims to be founded upon the Vedas, the sacred books of India, taken over by the Brahmins. They were not the creators of the writings, although today they are the custodians, interpretors and priests. They only attained this place after a bloody struggle with the native races. Upon the suppression of Buddhism, a line of apostles of Brahminism appeared, with a philosophy built upon the peculiar mysic, ascetic, teachings of Buddha. A mass of Hindu legends sprang up around them.” (p. 246) (10) Houston continues: “The Brahmins attempted to incorporate the pure worship of Buddha into their religion by making him an incarnatin of Vishnu. As time went on Brahmins added to and corrupted the Vedas to confirm their excessive pretentions. Brahminism is full of elements foreign to the Aryas. It worships gods that the did not bring to India and the traditions are borrowed from the darker race.” (p.246) Houston emphasized the activities of the people who brought Brahminism upon the Indian Cushites. They punished theft by cutting of hands and feet. One who defamed the Brahmins or the caste spirit they sought to force upon the people had their tongue torn out, red hot irons thrust into their mouth, or the lips cut off. (Antiquities of India, Barnett, p. 116, 122). Under their law, the husband could whip or kill his wife and confiscate her property.” Houston goes on further to explain that many of India’s ancient books were of Black Kushite origins, however the religious writings were corrupted by the invaders(or infiltrators, since they most likely they did not invade India but took advantage of weaknesses and calamities in order to infiltrate and occupy). For example, she quotes Dr. Stvenson who points out that the Brahmins’ religion could not supplant Buddhism completely, however many of the historical books were “destroyed, revised and interpolated.” These changes brought about two forms of the Veda writings, one pure and devotional and the other entirely opposite. (p.247). (11) The previous passages from Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire, by Drucilla Dunjee Houston, presents a clear idea of what the invading barbarians brought and imposed on the Black people of Kushite African origins as well as the Black Negroid-Australoid (Dravidian Blacks also of African origin). These Blacks were the originators of India’s gnificient civilizations long before the barbarians began to move into India. Among the most odious philosophers introduced to India by the aliens was the caste and “varna” or color consciousness system of racial, color and caste tratification. This system was based on the debasement of India’s original Black race. The system originally began as a skin color based caste system, with the lightest in skin color and closest in appearance to the invaders being at the top of the scale (similar to the racist system in the U.S. and South Africa), and the darkest being the Nagas and other indigenous Kushites and other Blacks being at the bottom. India’s Black Dalits or “Untouchables,” are outside of the caste system. They are the original Black (Naga and other Kushitic types) of India who spoke the Kushitic and Dravidian languages, both part of the Afro-Asiatic language family which was first spoken by the Black race of Eastern Africa and was later adopted by the Semites, in the same manner that English is being adopted by people worldwide, and is spoken by people worldwide as a primary language irrespective of race or ethnicity. These African originated languages are spoken in one form or another from West Africa all the way to Cambodia (where ancient Cushitic Blacks settled in ancient times). India’s Untouchables are the descendants of those who fought fierce battles against the invaders and infiltrators and refused to join the racist caste system, which was fused into religious teachings (as racism has  been fused into the bible and Christian teachings) by the invaders. The untouchables were therefore regarded as enemies and even before, they were lowered in status after a long series of wars which occurred between them and the invaders. Disunity was the primary cause of their being defeated (HEAR THIS PEOPLE). However, after years of suffering, they were united after the Buddha Dharma was introduced to them. M. Gopinath explains in his book, “Nagaloka: 

The Fractured History and Forgotten Glory of the Bahujan Indians, (April, 1998, p.13): 
 Gopinath states that among the kingdoms and rulers established by the Black Nagas were the Magadha Kingdom, ruled by Sisunag in Bihar, the Magadha Kingdom which became an empire ruled by Bimbisara, the fifth ruler of the Dynasty, Nanda, who killed King Bahananda of the Sisunaga Dynasty in 413 B.C. by an adventurer called Nanda, who began the Nanda Dynasty. In 322 B.C., Maurya Dynasty was founded. Emperor Asoka of the Maurya Dynasty, (known worldwide as one of India’s greatest emperors), became a Buddhist. He spread his rule throughout Asia, without having to conquer the lands through warfare. He spread Buddhism and eliminated the evil practices brought by the barbarians to India. These non-Naga practices included drinking alcohol excessively, gambling, sacrificing of animals and immoral behavior. The Naga nations and the entire Naga empires enjoyed peace, prosperity and progress after asoka made Buddhism the state religion. Due to this, the Aryans began to fume, plot and infiltrate the Bhuddist religion and organizations. By then, they had been reduced to a lower class, while the Nagas had regained their rightful place in control of the Naga’s lands and wealth. The Aryans were particularly angered by the ban on animal sacrifices. Asoka allowed them to gain a few positions, where they were treated fairly according to their performance. In due time, however, they plotted a coup, overthrew the Naga Mauran Dynasty and began what Gopinath states to be, “a bloodiest chapter in the history of mankind,” (p.19) carried out by a Samavedhi Sung Brahmin called Pushyamitra. They carried out a reign of terror on the Naga-Buddhists which lasted for many centuries killing many thousands of Naga-Buddhists, destroying their temples and turning them into  Aryan shrines for their own Gods. According to Gopinath, the Brahminical genocide did not eliminate all the Naga-Bhuddist kings. Many continued to rule a large part of India until the 1200′s A.D. They refused to be tricked by the Aryans and stood as a challenge to them. These final bulwalks of Naga resistance was finally crushed by foreigners invited to defeat the Naga-rajas. The Buddhist monasteries and religion was destroyed, and their kingdoms were taken over by the invaders. The barbarians did not even allow the Naga-Buddhists to be independant, or to earn a living, (sounds farmiliar, doesn’t it?). They passed laws to prevent their commercial activities and industriousness (reminds on of the schemes and laws passed against braiding Black folks hair by folks who have blonde hair). The Nagas became a stateless people in a few years after the above measures and oppressive moves against them. The Aryans were able to separate many of the Nagas into occupational groups (castes). A significant number refused to join into the scheme and they became the “Untouchables,” and lived separately from the invaders.


The history of the Glorious Black Naga People of India is a sad one indeed, particularly after the ursurping of power and control by the barbarian invaders who many believe and rightly know are in no way indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, but migrated from Russia and parts of North-Eastern Europe. Still, knowing the history of one of the worlds oldest civilized people, the Kushite branch of the Black race, to which the Nagas belong, should be a great honor to Blacks worldwide, for it was the Kushites who began the entire process of civilization on planet earth. The Naga People of India belong to a large family of Blacks whose origins are in East Africa and who spread to West Africa, East Asia and the Indian Ocean-Pacific region. In fact, there are still Blacks in both East and West Africa who use the title “Naga” as their primary name. or use words derived from it.Examples of the name “Naga” includes the Naga Tribe of Sudan and East Africa, the ago-Mina of West Africa and Brazil, the Nubians, the Nuers and Nuba of Sudan, the ugamarta of West Africa. All these groups are of Kushitic origins and are of the same racial and ethnic lineage as the Nagas (tribals, Black Dalits and others) of India, the Blacks of South-East Asia, and those of some parts of the South Pacific and Melanesia. It is only a matter of time before all these Blacks…perhaps one 800 to one billion of Kushitic origins, rise up and regain their former glory as the greatest people the world has ever known. Their present suffering and oppression in India and throughout the world should be an incentive to take the steps necessary to rise up.


In regards to the suffering of the Black Nagas of India, V.T. Rajshekar explains, that the Dalits (which includes the Naga Tribes) are primarily agricultural workers on whose backs the agricul- tural system rests. Yet, the Dalits are also slum dwellers outside the major cities, where they are segregated, just as they are in the rural villages. Untouchables are prevented from marrying outside of their caste and mixed dining is not allowed. To the Brahmin of Hindus at the  upper levels of the caste system, the native Black Indians were  regarded as “untouchables,” “unseeables,” “unapproachables,” “unthinkables.” To touch, see, approach, think or dream of an untouchable was considered an abomination by the Aryan or Hindu. This sanctified racist caste system was maintained by making sure the Blacks were disarmed (you all get that folks!!!! when people come offering you food for your guns you better JUST SAY NO!!!). In fact, most of the native Indians were disarmed so that they had no effective means of fighting back and eliminating the racist system. The Blacks were forced to live on the carcases of dead animals. Black Dalit women were turned into prostitutes. They were forced to wear rags and to >arry dead animals and perform the worse types of manual labor. (“The Black untouchables of India,” African Presence in Early Asia, Transaction Publishers, New ruinswich, NJ: 1993, p. 237). (15) Rajshekar states that the caste system as explained in the Rig Vedas and Aryan racism as practiced in modern India against India’s original and aboriginal Black inhabitants has been the greatest contributor to misery in the world.

Dalit Camera gives a voice to India’s long-abused lower castes

As a Dalit student at a University in Hyderabad, in southern India, Bathram Ravichandran was abused and taunted mercilessly. The experience triggered the idea to give the lower castes a voice and he founded Dalit Camera, where he and like-minded friends upload videos on YouTube of Dalits giving first-hand accounts of their lives.

Bathram Ravichandran is the founder of Dalit Camera, through which volunteers post videos of mistreatment on YouTube. Courtesy Dalit Camera
Bathram Ravichandran is the founder of Dalit Camera, through which volunteers post videos of mistreatment on YouTube. Courtesy Dalit Camera

The gang rape and murder of two teenage Dalit (formerly known as the “untouchables”) girls in Uttar Pradesh on May 28 has outraged the world, but, in India, it’s just another in a shockingly long series of crimes against the lower castes.
The horrific incident received heavy media coverage across the subcontinent, but Bathram Ravichandran remains unconvinced that Dalits will benefit from the furore.
Ravichandran understands intimately the centuries-strong discrimination that underlines these crimes. Two years ago, as a Dalit student at a University in Hyderabad in southern India, Ravichandran was abused and taunted mercilessly and the fact that he was assertive and fought back only made it worse.
He didn’t give up, and hit upon a way to give the lower castes a voice: he founded Dalit Camera, where he and like-minded friends upload videos on YouTube of Dalits giving first-hand accounts of their lives.
The idea came to Ravichandran after he heard of the brutal beating of a Dalit woman by upper-caste villagers who resented her position as the head of the village council. Her legs were so badly injured she was unable to walk for months.
“I interviewed her and others who described how the upper castes refused to let her sit in a chair during council meetings. She was forced to sit on the floor,” he says.
Since then, Ravichandran and a group of about 20 other Dalit activists have been uploading videos on Dalit Camera.
The footage includes everything from an interview with the Booker prize-winning author and activist Arundhati Roy (she recently wrote that the caste system is “one of the most brutal modes of hierarchical social organisation that human society has known”), to a clip of female Dalit labourers in Rajasthan being forced to “show respect” to upper-caste residents by removing their shoes when walking past their homes.
Despite India’s policy of affirmative action for the country’s lowest castes – besides welfare schemes, a percentage of places in universities, colleges and government jobs are reserved for them – Dalits continue to suffer daily ignominies.
Ravichandran says he chose YouTube as a means of spreading his message because the media rarely reports crimes committed against the country’s 165 million Dalits.
Now, encouraged by the recognition Dalit Camera has received, along with some donations, the team has four cameras. But the amount of coverage they can give each atrocity or crime is limited – the 20 volunteers often do not have the money for travel expenses.
Georgy Kuruvila Roy, a 24-year-old Calcutta-based student who is proud of his hard-earned doctorate, is a volunteer who uploaded a video during the debate that followed the Delhi gang-rape case in 2012.
“I interviewed a Dalit activist who pointed out that the rape of Dalit women is never covered by the media but when an upper caste, urban, educated woman is raped, it is a big story,” he says.
The statistics back his claims: in 2012, a young woman was gang-raped in New Delhi and subsequently died of her injuries, eliciting anger both in India and across the world.
Official figures showed that 1,574 Dalit women were also raped that year, but there was no media outcry.
Ravichandran says there’s a long way to go and cites the recent teenage rape and murder case as an example of how “different treatment” is meted out to Dalit victims of rape in India.
Asked if he will cover the rape, he replies: “How many can we possibly cover? It’s an epidemic – Dalit women suffer sexual violence every day. The case of the rape and death of the two teenagers only got media attention because Dalit groups brought it to public notice.
“Secondly, photographs of their faces and hanging bodies were shown, which is against the law and which would never be done with upper-caste victims.
“And thirdly, at no time has any television debate on the issue included a Dalit woman or Dalit group.”
Ravichandran is now planning to buy a professional camera and will try to raise money to start paying volunteers. The grand plan? Setting up a news website for Dalit stories.
“If everyone starts filming what is happening to Dalits, just imagine the effect,” he says.
“The camera has become a tool for our self-respect.”

Kapil Dev - A Warrior for Dalit Rights

Kapil Deo was born on March 1, 1964, in a family of Dalit couple Kesari Devi and Laxmi Prasad residing in Malari village near Barachawar development block headquarters in Ghazipur district. He has six sisters and one brother. His father worked as a labour to eke out his livelihood and used to sing in spare time. He received his primary and junior education at Barachawar and did High School and Intermediate from Hartman Inter College, Hartmanpur, Ghazipur. Because of financial crisis he was deprived of further education for a year. He worked as a labour, collected some money and started graduation level education from the next year from Mathura Mahavidyalaya, Rasara, Ballia. He was married to Lalsa Devi at a young age of 11 years in 1975 and his gawana (a custom in which wife comes to her husband's home for the first time) took place in 1979. He had to face stiff resistance from the family as his wife did not bring any dowry with her.

During Emergency in 1976, he became associated with Leftist and IPF of Ghazipur. In 1980 he intensively studied for a month history of Dalit movement in Nagpur at Marathwada University. There he became influenced with the mission of Baba Saheb. On coming back home he launched 24-hour akhand kirtan(non-stop recital of devotional songs) of Hare Bhim Hare Buddha to break religious customs. This shook Hindu feudal forces. They implicated several youth of Malari village in fake criminal cases. He opposed police atrocities.

Kapil Deo made his people contest elections to panchayats in the year 1981 to get rid of feudal elements and got success too. During the next five years he played leading role in the panchayat and by 1985 got Malari completely free of crime.

While this went on he came into contact with the Delhi based organisation People's Institute for Development and Training (PIDT) and other social activists. During 1983 he led Uttar Pradesh in a research project on Energy and Rural Women funded b the International Labour Organisation. Now he decided to form a regional forum of local aware people.

His parents, however, did not subscribe to his activities and they disowned him. He moved into a hut in Malari village itself and restarted life. To earn livelihood he worked as a labour on the farm of several landlords in Malari and neighbouring villages. By 1986 he had two daughters and one son. At the time of birth of his son his wife became seriously ill. During the same year he got 15 bighas of land on lease. To get occupation of his land he had to contest suit and went to jail twice. He became a thorn in the eyes of feudal elements. Soon he donated half of his land in the name of Baba Saheb.

In 1985 he founded Poorvanchal Gramin Vikas Evam Prashikshan Sansthan and got it registered in 1987 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Since then he is heading the organisation. In 1989 he got the organisation registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 1976. He played the role of trainer in Shiksha Karmi Scheme and Lok Jumbish Project of the Rajasthan Government for almost a year.

While coming back to his home he became victim of rowdy elements of Sikh community. At that time he came into contact with the organisations working at the national level. Gauri Chowdhury of Action Aid started sending Rs 1,000 per month. She cooperated him to get fellowship from Delhi based organisation Jagori. By 1990 he played role of trainer and supervisor in non-formal education project implemented by PIDIT. In 1990 he got became associated with the Ministry of Human Resource Development and other international organisations.
Soon differences cropped up in the organisation he had founded. He struggled and succeeded in getting back the organisation on rails. By 1995 he got the organisation self-reliant.  In 1996 he launched a campaign for freeing Mushar community from crime. The same year his son was kidnapped from the hostel of St Xavier College, Ghazipur, and he was freed after a week in captivity.

In 1997 a state level forum of voluntary organisations was formed at the state level. He was elected as founder member of the executive body of the forum. During the same year he formed Dynamic Action Group (DAG) to promote Dalit movement under voluntary movement in the state.

His increasing fame in the social sector brought him in contact with several national and international organisations. He went on his foreign tour during 1997 to Bangladesh. He was part of 10-member delegation to that country.

Kapil Deo's wife died on September 18, 1998. He was shattered with this loss, but did not bend and continued to promote the organisation. In 1999, he was elected chairperson of Uttar Pradesh Voluntary Action Network (UPVAN). He continued to hold this position for next four years. In 2000, he was elected member of the national committee of the National Dalit Alliance, headquartered in Hyderabad. In 2001, he was made founder of Mushar Action Resource Group (MARG) to study Mushar community and sensitise other voluntary organisations on the issue. In 2001 he founded Poorvanchal Sewa Trust and is managing it since then.

All these efforts got him recognition at the national and international levels. He was elected as a representative for participating in an international conference organised by the United Nations. He made declaration to end casteism along with racism. He along with Voluntary Forum of India raised Dalit issue at Durban (South Africa) and lobbied with international community and media. He got international community aware of the Dalit issue despite the challenges from the government.

He has decided to further the mission of Baba Saheb Jati Toro Manavta Joro (banish casteism link with humanity). He has decided not to rest till ill like casteism ends. Through his struggles he has dedicated himself to get complete freedom for the deprived Dalit community.

Dalit women narrate heartrending stories at public hearing

A family tried to force abortion on a woman just because her husband suspected her of having an illicit relationship with someone. The woman was forcefully taken to Chaksu hospital of Jaipur district but she fought for her right and she later gave birth to the baby but lost her family. The semi-literate woman is now fighting for her rights in the court and she is worried about the future of her baby.
There were eighteen such cases of dalit women who came out with their woeful tales during the state level public hearing on Sunday at Pastoral Social Centre, Naka Madar, organized by the Dalit Mahila Manch of Rajasthan and the Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti.
Narrating her story at the hearing, the 20-year-old woman came from Jaipur district stated how she was harassed by her in-laws just because her husband suspected an illicit relationship. “Now my condition is that I have a two-year-old child and no place to live. No money to eat or to give my advocate’s fees. My family also went to the community panchayat but no one came to help,” she said.
In another case, 65-year-old Anguri of Bharatpur was beaten up and thrown out from her house by her own son and his wife on allegations of witchcraft. “I have to beg for bread on the roadside despite the fact that my husband left me a big house and a land. My son and his wife took everything. When I went to police, the asked my son to keep me but after sometime they again throw me out. My son’s wife alleged me to be a witch,” said Anguri, who shared her story at the public hearing.
Similarly, a woman from Bharatpur said she was harassed just because her father had not given a buffalo as dowry. She alleged that she was thrown out from the house and her in-laws kept the children and do not allow her to meet them. She went to police but nothing happened.
In another interesting case, a woman from Ajmer not only filed a case of harassment against her in-laws but also against her parents. The woman alleged that her husband beat her up with a helmet and forced her to live with him in a graveyard. “I refused to live in the graveyard and returned to my parents but my parents started harassing me so much so that I have to seek police help,” the victim said.
In another case, a 19-year-old girl said she was harassed by her husband. She now wanted a divorce and to pursue studies so as to be able to stand on her feet. “From the first day of my marriage, my husband wanted me to talk to his friend on phone at night. He was mentally sick and tortured me. When I realized the problem, I left my house. Now I want a divorce and study,” she said. Her father also supported her to be independent and continue with her studies.
“The major problem these women had were that they married early and they are not educated,” said Ruth Manorma, national coordinator of NFDW. She asked these women to get back their confidence and continue their her fight through education.
“It is not easy to break a family on small issues. Besides, we suggested them to get legal aid from the legal cell of every district court,” said D L Thripathi, vice president of PUCL . “The motive is to provide legal and social help to these women on issue of domestic violence,” said P L Mimroth of Dalit Right Centre. He added that these cases were referred to proper government bodies for disposal and “we also requesting the state government to make the police department sensitive on such issues”.
The Times of India -chaksu

Woman gives chance to fight for their rights
In Bundelkhand, one of the poorest areas of the Uttar Pradesh region in Northern India, a 47-year-old woman is breaking stereotypes, and giving woman a chance to fight for their rights, and even for their survival. This is no small feat in a country plagued by discrimination against women and by inequality.

In 2006, Sampat Pal Devi, who had been married at the age of 12 to an ice-cream vendor and had her first child when she was 15, created a group of women vigilantes that numbers over 20,000, and now has even some men as its supporters. The movement is called Gulabi Gang (pink gang), after the pink-colored saris used by the members. Another characteristic is the use of lathis (Indian fighting sticks,) which they use to punish miscreants.

In an interview with Sanjit Das, an Indian photographer and social activist, Sampat Pat Devi explained, “The word ‘gang’ doesn’t necessarily denote criminals. It can also be used to describe a team, a crew. We are a gang for justice. In rallies and protests outside our villages, especially in crowded cities, our members used to get lost in the rush. We decided to dress in a single color, which would be easy to identify. We didn’t want to be associated with other colors, as they had associations with political or religious groups. We settled on pink, the color of life. It’s good. It makes the administration wary of us.”

Initially, the movement was created to help women victims of domestic abuse, but now includes all problems of inequality and abuse of women. According to the United Nations, two in three married Indian women are victims of domestic violence. Aside from domestic violence several other problems plague women in modern Indian society such as honor killings, child marriages, and the burden of dowries.

Although gender-based discrimination against female children is widespread in developing countries, India is one of the worst culprits. Discrimination against women, which starts in the womb, continues through women’s lives. In this regard, female feticide is one of the earliest and most brutal manifestations of violence against women.

Although some kinds of abuse of women such as “bride burning” have diminished among educated urban populations, many cases of dowry-related domestic violence, suicides and murders still occur. According to the Thomas Reuters Foundation, India is the fourth most dangerous place in the world for women.

Most of the members of the Gulabi Gang are poor and from India’s lowest caste, the dalit (untouchables). Sampat Pat Devi has assumed the role commander in chief of the organization, and has appointed seven additional commanders in seven districts in Bundelkhand to help coordinate the group’s activities.

A long list of criminal charges doesn’t deter her. They include unlawful assembly, attacking a government official, and obstructing the work of an officer in duty. At times, she has had to go into hiding to protect herself. Her work, however, has inspired countless young and older women who join the group in increasing numbers.

One of the group’s earliest accomplishments happened in 2006, soon after the movement’s creation. When Sampat Pat Devi heard the cries of a woman being beaten by her husband she pleaded with the man to stop.

Rather than stopping, the man also beat her. So Sampat Pat Devi, together with other five women, beat the man when their lathis until he begged for mercy. Soon afterwards, on hearing what had happened, many other women from her village joined the movement.

In the following years, the Gulabi Gang stopped several child marriages; forced police officers to register cases of domestic violence and organized protests against abusive dowries. As a result of their activities their fame spread beyond their village and the Gulabi Gang has now established operations in Banda, Meerut, Bjnor and several other places across Northern India.

In 2008, members of the group ambushed the local electricity office which was withholding electricity until the company’s main officers received kickbacks or sexual favors. Holding their lathis they ambushed the local electricity office and electric power was restored an hour later.

Although most of the Gang members’ actions are on behalf of women, they are increasingly joined by men in their protests. For example, 7,000 Banda men farmers asked the group to join them in their demands for compensation for failed crops. However, members of the gang are much less frequently using their lathis. As Sampat Pat Devi told the Hindustan Times, “My real strength is not in the stick. It is in numbers. And one day we will be big enough to shake up Delhi, too.”

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award.

The Pioneer

Kantilal Parmar

Son of a farm labourer, Kantilal Parmar is today a senior Dalit rights activist with the Navsarjan Trust. He says, his is story not his alone. Many other Dalits in India have the same experience as he, facing untouchability and discrimination. “When I talked about my life with other Dalits in Gujarat, I realized that we all had similar experience in our life. Probably I am more fortunate than many of my Dalit friends. At least, I have an opportunity to share my story, which many others don’t”, he says.  Here narrates how how fought to become an activist:

I am Kantilal Ukabhai Parmar. My surname is Parmar. My father is Ukabhai and my mother is Jivuben. I was born in Chital village in Amreli district in Gujarat. I have two brothers and two sisters. I am the eldest. I have two uncles. One of them was working at the district panchayat as clerk and has just retired, while the other uncle works as peon at the Chital High School in my village. My grandmother, whom I loved a lot, passed aay at the age of 96 in 2009. We all lived in a joint family, altogether.
My ‘polluted’ coin
I am born in chamar community, a Dalit sub-caste. People called us “untouchables”. I faced ‘untouchability’ many times in primary school. I took my primary education from class one to seven at the Jashvantgadh Primary School in my village. In the classroom, we had to sit in the backbenches, without exception. We were not allowed to sit near the Patel students, the dominant caste classmates.
There was a water tank in the school, and the Dalit students had to use separate tumblers to drink water. It was not easy for us to take part in cricket game in school. We were not even allowed to pray. When the dominant caste classmates needed to exchange coins with us, they would collect coins from us after purifying them by sprinkling water on them, as they thought the coins that we had were polluted. Every day we were shamed. I could not understand what was wrong with me or why we were considered inferior.
First leaf-plate for drinking water
When I was at school, my parents worked at a farm as agricultural labourers. Whenever I had vacation or holiday, I came to the farm to assist my parents’ work along with my siblings. I remember, one day when we went to the farm, we brought our own plates and glasses. There were many people from our community to work at the farm but we only had one common tumbler. We walked in a queue. I was so thirsty, but could not use the tumbler which was used by others from the dominant caste.
I asked the landlord for water. I had to get the water using my palms as the water was poured from above, since the landlord did not want my palms to touch the container, thereby polluting the entire water. The water began to flow off from my hands. I was too young to drink properly like this. Seeing this, the landlord asked me to collect some leaf from the tree nearby and use it as a plate or a tumbler to collect water. I followed him, as I was very hungry, and drank water. I did not want to do this, but had no other option.
I have my name, Kanti
People from upper castes in the village, I remember, never called me by my name Kanti; they would address me as dhedh. It was common for persons belonging to the Dalit community to be referred to as dhedh, which is a derogatory way to refer to us, a reference to our so-called impurity for doing jobs like cleaning up others’ dirt. We are often even today addressed in the same derogatory manner, especially in villages.
Chamar is a community identified as cobblers. We are expected to repair shoes and sandals. The upper caste people who came to my father to repair their shoes and sandals would throw their shoes to my father from a distance. After repairing, my father would put the shoes at some point to let the upper caste persons to collect their shoes. Payment was not guaranteed, since such work was our duty in the caste hierarchy. If at all someone was willing to pay, the payment used to be leftover food or some grains.
When there were local celebrations like a wedding or a festival in the village, my grandmother was usually informed. We were never expected to participate in such functions, nor did we expect to be invited. However, we were allowed to go to these functions, not to participate, but to collect the leftover food. My grandmother generally went for these functions. She along with others from our community would have to wait in a corner, outside the venue and away from the view of the guests, until the feast was over. In between, we were not allowed to show face anywhere around where the upper caste had even the possibility of seeing even our shadow, since even that was believed to be polluting.
Once the feast was over, the leftover food was gathered and dropped on the ground outside the festival spot or the marriage feast hall. To keep the food in one place or from being spread around we used to dig a small ditch in the ground. Once the person who had dropped the food in the ditch would leave, we were allowed to collect the food from the ditch. Most often, this used to be the food we would get after days of starvation.
Kanti, do not cross the line
We were taught by the elders in the family that we needed to behave properly in society, abiding by all the caste practices. We were continuously cautioned that we should always keep in mind that we were the lower caste. We were also cautioned that the upper caste was very superior and we were inferior. We needed to behave in such a manner that we did not cross the line. In addition to that, from daily practice, we came to know that it was dangerous to cross the line.
For example, in the school we were not allowed to be admitted into the school sports team. We were continuously reminded that we were inferior, and also continuously threatened to be immediately punished if we crossed the line. The punishment often used to be punishment in public. Not only was the punishment made in such a way that people saw it, it was often symbolic. For any “mistake” that I committed, my father or the entire community would be punished.
There was a timber merchant in our village. Many of my family members and persons from our community used to work for this merchant in his yard. There were separate glasses for us to drink water, kept beside a window in the yard, where there was a water container. If we needed to drink water, we must first make a sound like a light cough before approaching the window. This was to warn the upper caste people that we were going towards the window and hence they should not reach the spot by accident.
We were not allowed to pour water for ourselves. A person would pour water from the container without touching our glass or us. If we did not follow this rule we would be punished. Maybe it might be me who might make a mistake of touching something that we were not supposed to touch. And, the punishment would be for all the labourers in the yard from our community who worked there. The punishment would be in the form of not paying wages for the entire week, or somewhat similar, or even worse.
There were eight to ten timber merchants in our village. Only the Hindu timber merchants practiced caste discrimination. The Muslim merchants did not. But it was hard to get a job with the Muslim merchants, since there were only two or three of them, and they would generally have no vacancy.
My mother and grandmother had to buy milk from an upper caste person, usually a Patel. To make the payment for the milk, they were expected to keep the money on the ground and stay away. This was to ensure that even by accident we did not touch the upper caste persons and polluted them. The Patel, who would sell us milk, would first purify the money by spraying water on it, and then take it.
Such practices continue even today. They happen less in towns but are a way of life in villages. Not that caste identity or practices have changed in towns, but because in villages everyone knows who is who, while nobody knows who is who in towns.
Even today, we cannot easily buy a house or a property in a town or a city. When we do the documentation for buying property, we need to furnish our complete address as well as our full name. The address and the name would reveal our caste identity. Once the caste identity is revealed, often the seller would pose some excuse in order to refuse to sell us the property.
Helping hand of Brahmin teacher
At the secondary school, teachers would often abusively call us as “son-in-law” of the government. This was done to make a mockery of the government schemes which help persons from lower castes to reach the mainstream. Teachers often used to say, “Hey son-law-law of the government, come here.”
However, all teachers from upper caste were not like that. Anshuyaben, a female teacher from the Brahmin caste, gave me free English tuition after the school. She supported me a lot. She considered me as her son, and I was allowed to go to the teacher’s home. The teacher also visited my house. I used to work hard and was always the first or second in the class.
However, there was another teacher, named Sangani, who taught male students. He would ask me “Why do you study English? You do not need to study English. You should not study English.” He tried to discourage me this way. I am sure that he believed in what he said; perhaps to him a lower caste person like me was nothing but a fellow destined to do inhuman labour. To him, education was of no use to us.
One day I asked him, “Why can’t I study?” And the teacher replied, “What are you going to do after finishing the school? Even if you secure good marks in the examination, what would you do? You are chamar. You cannot go to college. And you should not go to college. Besides, who is going to take you to the college?”
This was in sharp contrast to Anshuyaben, whose duty was to teach only female students, yet she encouraged me in every possible way.  Finally, when the examination results were published, I was the first in the school. I got 66 per cent marks. It was 1986.  When Sangani came to know of my result, he said, “You did something wrong.”
Following the result, people started visiting me with food or sweets and congratulated me. However, my family did not have anything to give back to the guests, not even a cup of tea, as we were so poor. The entire village came to know of my high score. A local newspaper published my name and photograph, and I was so happy. However, I realized soon: I did not have money to study more. My parents could not afford higher studies. I must return to work.
The students who scored the highest mark in the school would be awarded Rs 251 as an award in the village. But neither the school nor the village gave me the award, because I am Dalit.
My uncle was working in the local administration at that time. He had more money. People told my uncle to help me. My uncle told my father that he would help me to travel from the village to the city and get me enrolled for diploma in electronics engineering. But my father denied the offer, not because he did not want me to study, but because he did not want to end up in debt, even to his own brother.
My uncle insisted to accept the help and finally my father agreed. My uncle said, “Kanti is one among us. He is good at studies. We must encourage him. This might be his only way out of this curse of caste”.
College was no different
In Bhavnagar town, where I studied, initially I did not notice the practice of caste discrimination. When I enrolled at the college my education certificates exposed my caste identity along with my village name. At the college hostel where I stayed, I realized soon that the upper caste students, as always, had the upper hand. They could stay anywhere they wished, in any room of the hostel. However, we from the lower castes were all boarded in a separate hostel, the “exclusive” Dalit hostel.
It is very tough in Gujarat during summer due to heat, and water is a much sought after commodity. There was a water tank for the upper caste students, but none for us in the hostel. We could not take a shower or wash our clothes. Often, we did not even have enough water to drink. We had to wait for the leftover water from the upper caste community. The hostel for the upper caste students had more facilities, including electrical gadgets and television. Nothing was there for us. Soon I realized that the college was no different from the village.
I had borrowed a cycle from my uncle for commuting between the hostel and the college. There used to be movie shows at night in the town. One day, an upper caste student came to me and said, “Give me your cycle. I need to go to go for a movie tonight.” I refused. “I won’t give you my cycle, because I don’t want to give it to you“, I said. The same night my cycle was destroyed. I was very angry and also sad. I could not complain against him. I just had to keep quiet.
The upper caste students could pick up any Dalit student they chose to beat us up. This could be with or without any reason. Sometimes they would come drunk and beat up Dalit students just for fun. We had no right to say “No”. We had to face it. We could not complain. If we dared, we would face abuse from the college administration. We just had to obey.
Some upper caste boys would bring girls to the institution. When they required our room to spend their time with girls, we were expected to vacate our rooms. If we objected, we were assaulted. We were treated as servants even in the college. It became intolerable. I soon moved from Bhavnagar town to Amreli for diploma course.
At Amreli, I started organizing Dalit students. I would directly contact those Dalits students who were admitted in the college. I encouraged them to stay together and formed a Dalit students’ union. I became a Dalit student union leader. The name of the Dalit student union was Dalit Yuva Vidyarthai Sangathan (Dalit Young Students’ Federation). We dealt with issues concerning Dalit students, and also started writing complaints, even petitions to the Prime Minister.
I started developing my own small group for the Dalit students’ rights, specifically on issues like scholarship for Dalit students. In my case, however, even though I was qualified to get a scholarship it was denied to me.
The ration shop experience
In 1988, the government reserved ration distribution shop in my village for the Dalit community members. My father, who had studied up to the fourth standard, helped by my uncle, filled up a form to run the ration shop. His application was granted and he began his ration shop.
After my father got the license for the ration shop, my father stopped working in the farm as he had to open the ration shop every day till late evening. When he used to go to the farm, he would accompany with him other family members like my mother, grandmother and my sisters to work at the farm. However, with the absence of male members in the family, it became difficult to go outside of the village for farm work.
The ration shop needed more than one person to be run. It also required some investment for which my father had to get a loan from a bank. But the loan and the interest was too high for my father to pay back. My father also wanted some support for running the shop and asked my uncle to join as partner. The problem was that the profit from the ration shop was not high enough and had to be reinvested in the shop for ten years.
This ten year period was the toughest time for my family. Any profit there was had to be divided for three persons, and after division. We got nothing. In addition to that, I was studying at the time.
Though the shop began in the village, half of the ration card holders in the village went to Amreli town to collect their ration since they did not want to buy it at my father’s shop. Thus we lost 50 per cent of the potential customers.
There was a village head, belonging to the upper caste community. A BJP leader, he intentionally kept changing the ration card register which had the record of those who were registered with the ration shop. The ration card holders started getting confused as to where to go to collect their ration and blamed it on my father. They believed that my father cheated them since they could not find their names under my father’s ration shop in which the ration card holders initially registered their names.
My father and my uncle who was a second partner were not aware how to run the ration shop and the legalities involved. They found it difficult to understand what the village head was doing by changing the register. However, another uncle, the third partner, who was working in the government service, came to know of what was going on. My uncle could not say that the village head was wrong. He was not supposed to be involved in the ration shop as he was working for the government.
My father and uncles struggled for a while by talking to people. During the first part of running the ration shop, we faced various problems, one after another. It was believed that Dalits should not run a ration shop and it had been dominated by the upper caste. However, it was the government which had granted us the license for the ration shop and they could not prevent us from running it.
I used go to home during vacation. My father was running the ration shop and mother and sisters worked at the farm. I also went to work at the farm to support my family. However, even after hard labour at the farm, we did not have food to eat at home. We were so poor, that often we would only had water and some dry rotis to keep us alive. However, none of us complained.
When I was studying at college, many people used to come to me for writing a complaint and getting a petition done. Even when the upper caste people threatened me, the hostel was safe. I did not have to pay the rent in the hostel, as it was subsidized for me by the government. This was the time that I read an article written by Martin Macwan, who had founded Navsarjan Trust in 1998 as a Dalit rights group.
I was already a self-styled activist and became interested in social work for the community. I did not sit for my examination. I was engaged in something else, rather than studying. I almost stopped studying in 1993, as I became a social activist insideout. After reading Macwan’s article, I met him and asked him, “Can I work with you?” I joined Navsarjan Trust as a village human rights defender in 1998. This was my new beginning as a human rights activist.
Putting theory into practice
The first case I dealt with was the case of Devaliya village in which the water pipeline for the Dalits was cut off by the upper caste people. We protested it and created social tension, which resulted in the social boycott of the village by the upper caste for a long period of time, about three to four years. I started meeting people, writing complaints and organized protest meetings. Various people came to us and inquired as to what had gone wrong.
It developed into a huge social issue. People from the central intelligence department approached me. One of them was a Dalit. He said, “Why don’t you complain to the National Human Rights Commission?” He gave me the address. This was my first petition to the National Human Rights Commission, which responded with an order consisting of 21 pages, though generally it responds in just one or two lines.
We took the order to the High Court as public interest litigation. The High Court stated that what the National Human Rights Commission had said was right and must be enforced. I started to learn how these things could be used and how the mechanism could be utilized.
Macwan would often for regular session of activists regarding different issues of law, land reforms, social issues etc. He gave regular coaching to activists to empower them with the essential tools and basic knowledge. As I started working with him, I immediately got an opportunity to put theory into practice, and it succeeded.
Meanwhile, I found that my family had some apprehensions. Even today it has. They say that I should be careful and I should be afraid of this and that. However, when circumstances forced me to react and when I got exposed to more knowledge, I realized that caste discrimination was wrong and there were different laws and mechanisms. I tried to find some remedy. Initially I was afraid. As time passed by, I slowly became courageous and got results.

फूलन देवी

10/11 AUGUST
फूलन देवी 
फूलन देवी को कौन नहीं जानता। इस दलित वीरांगना ने ना जाने कितने अत्याचार, यातनाएं झेली और जेल भी गई । लेकिन महिलाओं के लिए एक मिसाल बन गई। 

फूलन देवी यानी बैंडिट क्वीन का जन्म 10 अगस्त 1963 में उत्तर प्रदेश के जालौन जिले के गोहरा के पुरवा गांव में हुआ था। मल्लाह जाति की फूलन को बचपन से ही सवर्ण जाति के लोगों के शोषण का शिकार होना पड़ा। महज 11 साल की उम्र में उसकी शादी 30 साल के पुत्ती लाल से कर दी गई। पुत्ती लाल उससे अमानवीय व्यवहार करता था। तंग आकर वह भागकर अपने मायके चली आई। यहां एक दिन मुखिया के बेटे ने अपने साथियों के साथ उसके घर में घुसकर बंदूक की नोक पर गैंगरेप किया। बहुत तरह की प्रताड़ना और कष्ट झेलने के बाद फूलन देवी का झुकाव डकैतों की तरफ हुआ था। धीरे धीरे फूलनदेवी ने अपने खुद का एक गिरोह खड़ा कर लिया और उसकी नेता बनीं। 

गिरोह बनाने से पहले गांव के कुछ लोगों ने कथित तौर पर फूलन के साथ दुराचार किया। इसी का बदला लेने की मंशा से फूलन ने बीहड का रास्‍ता अपनाया। डकैत गिरोह में उसकी सर्वाधिक नजदीकी विक्रम मल्‍लाह से रही। माना जाता है कि पुलिस मुठभेड में विक्रम की मौत के बाद फूलन टूट गई। आमतौर पर फूलनदेवी को डकैत के रूप में की तरह गरीबों का पैरोकार समझा जाता था। 
बता दे कि 22 दिन तक 22 ठाकुरों ने फूलन देवी के साथ गैंगरेप किया। सबसे पहली बार (1981) में वे राष्ट्रीय और अंतर्राष्ट्रीय सुर्खियों में तब आई जब उन्होने कानपुर देहात जिले के बेहमई गाँव में ऊँची जातियों के 22 लोगों का एक साथ नरसंहार किया। जिन्होने उनके साथ बलात्कार किया था । लेकिन बाद में उन्होने इस नरसंहार से इन्कार कर दिया था। बाद में उत्तर प्रदेश और मध्य प्रदेश सरकार तथा प्रतिद्वंदी गिरोहों ने फूलन को पकड़ने की बहुत सी नाकाम कोशिशे की। इंदिरा गाँधी की सरकार ने (1983) में उनसे समझौता किया की उसे (मृत्यु दंड) नहीं दिया जायेगा और उनके परिवार के सदस्यों को कोई नुकसान नहीं पहुँचाया जायेगा और फूलनदेवी ने इस शर्त के तहत अपने दस हजार समर्थकों के समक्ष आत्मसमर्पण कर दिया।
बिना मुकदमा चलाये ग्यारह साल तक जेल में रहने के बाद फूलन को 1994 में मुलायम सिंह यादव की सरकार ने रिहा कर दिया। ऐसा उस समय हुआ जब दलित लोग फूलन के समर्थन में गोलबंद हो रहे थे और फूलन इस समुदाय के प्रतीक के रुप में देखी जाती थी। फूलन ने अपनी रिहाई के बौद्ध धर्म में अपना धर्मातंरण किया। 1996 में फूलन ने उत्‍तर प्रदेश के भदोही सीट से (लोकसभा) का चुनाव जीता और वह संसद पहुँची। 25 जुलाई सन 2001 को दिल्ली में शेर सिंह राणा नाम के एक व्यक्ति ने उनके आवास पर फूलन की हत्या कर दी । उसके परिवार में सिर्फ़ उसके पति उम्मेद सिंह हैं।

Phoolan Devi

From Wikipedia
Phoolan Devi
Phoolan Devi.jpg
Native nameफूलन देवी
Born10 August 1963
Ghura Ka Purwa, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died25 July 2001 (aged 37)
New Delhi, India
Cause of deathAssassination by shooting
Other namesBandit Queen
OccupationDacoit (bandit), politician
Political partySamajwadi Party
Criminal charge48 major crimes (30 murder; rest kidnapping for ransom and looting)
Spouse(s)Putti Lal
Phoolan Devi
Member of Parliament (11th Lok Sabha)
In office
Member of Parliament (13th Lok Sabha)
In office
Phoolan Devi (Hindi: फूलन देवीPhūlan Dēvi) (10 August 1963 – 25 July 2001), popularly known as "Bandit Queen", was an Indian bandit and later a Member of Parliament. Born to a low caste family in rural Uttar Pradesh, Phoolan grew up in extreme poverty, was subjected to child abuse by her older husband, and upon becoming a social outcast, took to a life of crime.
While still a teenager, Phoolan was kidnapped by a gang of bandits, after the village headman had asked them to kill a 'troublemaker'. The gang members were shocked to see a young girl and refused to kill her. She had nowhere to go so she began living in the forest as one of the gang members. The leader of the gang and Phoolan eventually fell in love and got married. Her relationship with one gang member became a source of rancour, culminating in Phoolan's lover being shot in gunfight. Phoolan was then gang-raped by the rival faction. After her recovery she rallied gang members that she trusted and returned to Behmai, the village where she had been raped, to seek revenge. Twenty-two Rajput men were lined up and shot dead.
The press portrayed the Behmai massacre as an act of righteous lower-caste rebellion and Phoolan herself as an oppressed feminist Robin Hood-type figure. The respectful sobriquet 'Devi' was conferred upon her by the media at this point. Phoolan evaded capture for two years after the massacre, before she and her few surviving gang-members surrendered in 1983. She was charged with forty-eight crimes, including multiple murders, plunder, arson and kidnapping for ransom. After eleven years pending trial, the state government headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party withdrew all charges against her, and Phoolan was released in 1994. She then stood for election to parliament as a candidate of the Samajwadi Party and was twice elected to the Lok Sabha as the member for Mirzapur. In 2001, she was shot dead at the gates of her official bungalow (allotted to her as MP) in New Delhi by former rival bandits whose kinsmen had been slaughtered at Behmai by her gang. The 1994 film Bandit Queen is based on her life.
Early life
Phoolan was born into the mallah (boatmen) caste, in the small village of Ghura Ka Purwa (also spelled Gorha ka Purwa) in Jalaun District, Uttar Pradesh. She was the fourth and youngest child of Devi Din and his wife Moola. Only she and one older sister survived to adulthood.
Phoolan's family was very poor. The major asset they owned was around one acre (0.4 hectare) of farmland with a large and very old Neem tree on it. They lived, as is traditional in India, as a joint family, meaning that her paternal grandparents, her father's brother, his wife and son shared the family home and kitchen with Phoolan's parents, her sister and herself. Phoolan's father, uncle and cousin, the three able-bodied men of the family, cultivated the acre of land and laboured at other jobs as daily-wagers in order to support this large family.
When Phoolan was eleven years old, her paternal grandparents died and her father's elder brother became the head of the family. Phoolan's family arranged for her to marry a man named Putti Lal, who lived several hundred miles away and was twelve years older than her. After experiencing child abuse within the marriage, she ran away from her marital home and returned to her parents, but they sent her back to her husband. A few months later, she again returned to her parents. This time, her in-laws suggested that she should remain with her parents until she was old enough to cohabit with her husband, and that she should be properly trained in domestic duties until then.
When Phoolan was sixteen, her parents approached Phoolan's in-laws and plead that she was now old enough to live with her husband. However, Phoolan's in-laws initially refused to take her back because of a unsuccessful court case against Maya Din and Phoolan's own subsequent stint in jail. Phoolan's in-laws were themselves very poor, however, and her husband was now twenty-eight years old, and would have difficulty finding another bride for him with one still living. After Phoolan's family offered generous gifts, Lal's parents finally agreed to take her back. Phoolan's parents performed the ceremony of gauna (after which a married woman begins to cohabit with her husband), took Phoolan to her husband's house and left her there.
Within a few months, Phoolan again returned to her parents. Shortly afterwards, her in-laws returned the gifts that Phoolan's parents had given them and sent word that under no circumstances would they accept Phoolan back again. She later claimed in her autobiography that her husband was a man of "very bad character." A wife leaving her husband, or being abandoned by her husband, is a serious taboo in rural India, and Phoolan was marked as a social outcast.

Life as a bandit

The region where Phoolan lived (Bundelkhand) was, and remains extremely poor, arid and devoid of industry; most of the able-bodied men migrate to large cities in search of manual work. During this period, industry was depressed even in the large cities and daily life was a grim engagement with subsistence farming in a dry region with poor soil. It was not unusual for young men to seek escape from fruitless labour in the fields by running away to the ravines (the main geographical feature of the region), forming groups of bandits, and plundering their more prosperous neighbours in the villages or passing townspeople on the highways.
In 1979, shortly after her final sojourn in her husband's house, Phoolan fell in with one such gang of dacoits. It is unclear whether she was kidnapped or willingly joined the gang; Phoolan later wrote of the incident in her biography, "kismet ko yehi manzoor tha" ("it was the dictate of fate") that she became part of a gang of bandits.
Phoolan had immediate cause for regret upon joining the bandits. The leader, Babu Gujjar, who was of the Gujjar caste, wanted to have sex with her. He playfully courted her for a few days, but when she would not yield, he attempted to rape her. At this juncture, Phoolan was saved from rape by Vikram Mallah, the second-in-command of the gang, who belonged to Phoolan's own Mallah caste. In the altercation connected to the rape attempt, Vikram Mallah killed Babu Gujjar. The next morning, he assumed leadership of the gang.

Relationship with Vikram Mallah

Phoolan and Vikram began living together. A few weeks later, the gang attacked the village where Phoolan's husband lived. Phoolan dragged her husband from his house and stabbed him in front of the villagers. The gang left him lying in the road with a note warning older men not to marry young girls. Putti Lal survived, carrying a scar running down his abdomen for the rest of his life.
Phoolan learned how to use a rifle, and participated in the gang's activities across Bundelkhand, which straddles the border between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. These activities consisted of attacking and looting villages where upper-caste people lived, kidnapping relatively prosperous people for ransom, and occasional highway robberies which targeted flashy cars. Phoolan was the only woman member of that gang of dacoits. After every crime, she would visit a Durga temple and thank the Goddess for her protection.The gang's main hideouts were in the ravines of the Chambal River.
Sometime later, Shri Ram and Lalla Ram, two upper-caste Rajput brothers who had been caught by the police, were released from jail and came back to the gang. They were outraged to hear of the murder of Babu Gujjar, their former leader, and held Phoolan responsible for inciting the act. They berated her for being a divisive wanton, and she answered them back with her strongly. Shri Ram then held her by the cuff of the neck and slapped her hard, and a scuffle ensued. Phoolan seized this opportunity to allege that Shri Ram had touched her breasts and molested her during the scuffle. As leader of the gang, Vikram Mallah berated Shri Ram for attacking a woman and made him apologise to Phoolan. Shri Ram and his brother smarted under this humiliation, which was exacerbated by the fact that Phoolan and Vikram both belonged to the Mallah caste of boatmen, much lower even than the Gujjar caste to which Babu Gujjar had belonged, and vastly lower than the land-owning Rajput to which they themselves belonged.
Whenever the gang ransacked a village, Shri Ram and Lalla Ram would make it a point to beat and insult the Mallahs of that village. This displeased the Mallah members of the bandit gang, many of whom left the gang. On the other hand, around a dozen Rajputs joined the gang at the invitation of Shri Ram and Lalla Ram, and the balance of power gradually shifted in favour of the Rajput caste. Vikram Mallah then suggested that the gang be divided into two, one comprising mainly Rajputs and the other mainly Mallahs. Shri Ram and Lalla Ram refused this suggestion on the grounds that the gang had always included a mixture of castes during the days of Babu Gujjar and his predecessors. Meanwhile, the other Mallahs were also not happy with Vikram Mallah. That he alone had a woman cohabiting with him incited jealousy; some of the other Mallahs had bonds of kinship with Vikram's actual wife. A few days after the proposal for division had been floated, a quarrel ensued between Shri Ram and Vikram Mallah. Apparently, Shri Ram made a disdaining comment about Phoolan's morals, and Vikram responded with comments about Shri Ram's womenfolk. A gunfight ensued. Vikram and Phoolan, with not a single supporter, managed to escape in the dark. However, they were later tracked down and Vikram Mallah was shot dead. Phoolan was taken to the Rajput-dominated village of Behmai, home to Shri Ram, Lalla Ram and several of the new Rajput recruits.

Rape in Behmai

Phoolan was locked up in a room in one of the houses in Behmai village. She was beaten and raped by several men over a period of three weeks.[9] She then managed to escape, after three weeks of captivity, with the help of a low-caste villager of Behmai and two Mallah members from Vikram's gang, including Man Singh Mallah.

A new gang

Phoolan and Man Singh soon became partners. Man Singh became her lieutenant and a brother for Phoolan( as stated in her autobiography - I,Phoolan Devi). Both then joined leaders of a gang composed of Mallahs. The gang carried out a series of violent raids and robberies across Bundelkhand, focussing on targeting upper-caste people.

Massacre in Behmai

Seven months after her escape from Behmai, Phoolan returned to the village to seek revenge. On the evening of 14 February 1981, Phoolan and her gang marched into Behmai dressed as police officers. Phoolan demanded that her tormentors be produced, along with all the valuables in the village. However, most of the able-bodied men had gone to the city in search of manual work, and even after an exhaustive search, only two Rajput members of the former gang of bandits were found.
Phoolan is said to have been frustrated that no actual culprit had been apprehended. Nevertheless, she had by this time developed a hatred for the caste of Rajputs, who have long been committing heinous atrocities on low-caste members of the surrounding villages. Phoolan therefore ordered her gang members to line up each and every man belonging to the Rajput caste that they could lay their hands on in Behmai village. This included Rajputs who belonged to other villages and towns who had come to attend a wedding in the village. The Rajput men were lined up and then, at Phoolan's order, they were shot dead by Phoolan and her gang members. Later, Phoolan claimed that she herself had not opened fire or killed a single person.
The Behmai massacre provoked outrage across the country. V. P. Singh, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, resigned in the wake of the Behmai killings.
A massive police manhunt was launched which however failed to locate Phoolan Devi. It began to be said that the manhunt was not successful because Phoolan had the support of poor people in the region; stories on the Robin Hood model began circulating in the media. Phoolan began to be called the Bandit Queen, and she was glorified as an intrepid and undaunted woman, the underdog struggling to survive in the world. Her aggressive character and personality were interpreted as being manifestations of the suffering she had supposedly undergone at the hands of a feudal and patriarchal system. That she was a woman was her greatest commendation and her crimes are viewed in the context of patriarchy and caste inequalities prevalent in the Indian society. It was at this time that Phoolan, known until then by only one name, received the respectful sobriquet "Devi" from a reverent media.

Surrender and prison term

Two years after the Behmai massacre, the police had still not captured Phoolan. The Indira Gandhi Government decided to negotiate a surrender. By this time, Phoolan was in poor health and most of her gang members were dead. In February 1983, she agreed to surrender to the authorities. However, she said that she didn't trust the Uttar Pradeshpolice and insisted that she would only surrender to the Madhya Pradesh Police. She also insisted that she would lay down her arms only before the pictures of Mahatma Gandhiand the Hindu goddess Durga, not to the police. She laid down four further conditions:
  • A promise that the death penalty would not be imposed on any member of her gang who surrenders
  • The term for the other members of the gang should not exceed eight years.
  • A plot of land to be given to her
  • Her entire family should be escorted by the police to witness her surrender ceremony
An unarmed police chief met her at a rendezvous in the Chambal ravines. They travelled to Bhind in Madhya Pradesh, where she laid down her rifle before the portraits of Gandhi and Goddess Durga. The onlookers included a crowd of around 10,000 people and 300 policemen, apart from the then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Arjun Singh. Other members of her gang also surrendered at the same time with her.
Phoolan was charged with as many as 48 crimes, including 30 charges of dacoity (banditry) and kidnapping. Her trial was delayed for eleven years, during which time she remained in prison as an undertrial. During this period, she was operated on for ovarian cysts and underwent a hysterectomy. She was finally released on parole in 1994 after intercession by Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, the leader of the Nishadha fishermen community. The Government of Uttar Pradesh, led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, withdrew all cases against her. This move sent shock-waves across India and became a matter of public discussion and controversy.

Member of Parliament

In 1996, about two years after her release, Phoolan stood for election to the 11th Lok Sabha from the Mirzapur constituency in Uttar Pradesh. She contested the election as a member of the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose government had withdrawn all cases against her and summarily released her from prison. She won the election and served as an MP during the term of the 11th Lok Sabha (1996–98). She lost her seat in the 1998 election but was reelected in the 1999 election and was the sitting member of parliament for Mirzapur when she was assassinated.

Film and autobiography

Shekhar Kapur made a film Bandit Queen (1994) about Phoolan Devi's life up to her 1983 surrender, based on Mala Sen's 1993 book India's Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi. Although Phoolan Devi is a heroine in the film, she fiercely disputed its accuracy and fought to get it banned in India. She even threatened to immolate herself outside a cinema if the film were not withdrawn. The film brought her international recognition. Author-activist Arundhati Roy in her film review entitled, "The Great Indian Rape Trick", questioned the right to "restage the rape of a living woman without her permission", and charged Shekhar Kapur with exploiting Phoolan Devi and misrepresenting both her life and its meaning.
Although she was illiterate, Phoolan composed her autobiography entitled The Bandit Queen of India: An Indian Woman's Amazing Journey From Peasant to International Legend, with the help of international authors Marie-Therese Cuny and Paul Rambali.


Assassination of Phoolan Devi
LocationNew Delhi
Coordinates28.6139° N, 77.2089° E
Date25 July 2001
Attack type
DeathsPhoolan Devi
Perpetrators3 unidentified gunmen
Suspected perpetrators
Sher Singh Rana (alias Pankaj Singh)
On 25 July 2001, Devi was shot dead by three masked gunmen outside of her Delhi bungalow. She was hit five times: three shots to her head and two to her body. The gunmen fled the scene in a Maruti car. She was taken to a nearby hospital but was declared dead. The prime suspect, Sher Singh Rana (alias Pankaj Singh), later surrendered to the police. Rana allegedly claimed to have murdered Phoolan Devi in revenge for the upper-caste men she gunned down in the Behmai massacre. In the latest ruling, on August 14, 2014, the court sentenced Sher Singh Rana to a life in prison and a fine.


In the immediate aftermath of the murder, the police were accused of incompetence in their handling of the case. It was alleged that a party worker picked up revolvers that had been dumped by the killers and hid them. Three other people staying in her house were accused of knowing about the revolvers. The revolvers then disappeared before the police could conduct a forensic test on them.
Sher Singh Rana, the main accused, was convicted by Delhi court on 8 August 2014. However, the other ten accused have been acquitted. Sher Singh Rana has been convicted for the offences under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 34 (common intention) under the IPC. The judge had fixed 12 August 2014 as the date for arguments and pronouncement of sentence. On August 14, 2014 Sher Sing Rana was given life term for killing Phoolan Devi by a Delhi court.

The New Dalit – Sanjay Salwan

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The New Dalit – Sanjay Salwan, Valmiki Sadan

He wants to be the world's best saxophone player.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

His father is a sweeper. His grandfather was also a sweeper. His great-grand father too, was a sweeper. But he wants to be the world's best saxophone player.

"When my mind is filled with tension, I play my saxophone and I feel fresh," says Mr Sanjay Salwan, a 21-year-old school dropout Dalit who lives in Delhi's Valmiki Sadan, popularly known as Dalit Colony. (This story is first of a five-part series –

However, to be one of the best players, one needs hours of practice and that's not possible in a two-room flat shared by seven family members. But you can always trust an artist to find his space.

Each day Mr Salwan walks up to the edge of the colony, climbs the dump yard and walks over to his secret hideout — Bhooli Bhatiyari Park, a garden with overgrown grass and unwieldy trees. There, in the company of birds and stray dogs, Mr Salwan plays ragas.

"I used to help papa sweep a Connaught Place block next to Plaza Theatre," says Mr Salwan. "But it was a ganda job and I stopped it once I learnt how to play the saxophone." Dad doesn't mind. "Each night papa repeats the same thing — padai karo, padai karo, padai karo."

The family was initially unsettled when the son took up the instrument but now dad advises that "if it has to be music, I should do it with full lagan." Even if it comes at a high price. In 2008 Mr Salwan decided that he needed an imported saxophone that cost a bomb — Rs 50, 000. After it became clear that whatever the boy had made by playing in clubs and hotels was not enough, the family pitched in with the rest of the amount.

Once bought, the 'Made-In-USA' saxophone was taken to a Hanuman mandir in nearby Paharganj, blessed by the priest, and now everyone hopes that this brass instrument lifts the boy high in the world.

Taken out of its velvet case, unwrapped from the white silken cloth, the sax is beautiful to look at. Under the glint of the afternoon sunlight, its golden trumpet twinkles, just like Mayawati's birthday jewels. Mayawati is India's most popular Dalit leader, often disdained in upper caste Delhi living rooms as a corrupt politician.

"I love Mayawati and like to see her in nice clothes and costly jewellery," says Mr Salwan. He doesn't object to what some call Mayawati's ostentatious display of wealth. "She is one of us," he says. "I hate the word 'Dalit', which signifies something low, and Mayawati, unlike other netas, says 'apne log', never 'Dalit log'."

However, politics is not a major concern for our sax player. Mr Salwan has more urgent priorities. "I want to play like Kenny G," he says. "And I'm working on it."

At Bhooli Bhatiyari Park

The New Dalit – Sanjay Salwan, Valmiki Sadan

Play on, Sir

The New Dalit – Sanjay Salwan, Valmiki Sadan

Solitude... well, almost

The New Dalit – Sanjay Salwan, Valmiki Sadan

On the rooftop

The New Dalit – Sanjay Salwan, Valmiki Sadan

Look here, please

Barack Special – What’s Obama to Me?

In the Children's Park

The New Dalit – Sanjay Salwan, Valmiki Sadan

Back to Bhooli Bhatiyari

The New Dalit – Sanjay Salwan, Valmiki Sadan

Good luck, Mr Salwan

Musical Dawn

The New Dalit - Praveen Parcha

Contact for ad enquiries.

Mr Praveen Parcha with wife

He is against job reservations for Dalits.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

His life could be like the plot of an old Amitabh Bachchan film. Both his grandfather and father were sweepers. Both met with an accident while on the job. Grandfather died. Father got soft in the head so mother got the father's job.

Meanwhile, Mr Praveen Parcha grew up to become a painter by passion with a day-job as a call centre employee. He is a 25-year-old school-dropout who lives in Delhi's Valmiki Sadan, popularly known as Dalit Colony. (This story is the third of a five-part series – The New Dalit, The Changing World of Delhi's 'Untouchables'.)

During a stint in HSBC, around two years ago, he fell in love with Urmila, a Brahmin girl. The families protested so they got married in a court. Urmila Bhardwaj became Urmila Parcha. "It's the old folk who bother about caste," says Mr Parcha. "In the call centres, despite knowing that I was a Dalit, no one thought twice before sharing my tiffin." But he hasn't forgotten the past. "My school teacher once said that no matter how arty I might be, one day I will end up sweeping."

That's what his mother wanted. After all, being a sweeper in New Delhi Municipal Corporation means a permanent sarkari job. Why be a penniless painter?

The mother and son would have arguments. One day Mr Parcha broke his brushes, threw the colours into the water, burnt the canvasses, sank into depression, and emerged one year later with a vengeance. He painted Ganeshas, landscapes and Delhi's street life. He exhibited his paintings in public places, sold them in Jaipur and today, earns a little pocket money every now and then, thanks to orders from neighbourhood schools.

But Mr Parcha dreams of being another M.F. Husain, although at present no one recognises him in the streets. "I trust my talent," he says. "That's why I'm also against job reservations — where you end up snatching other people's rights."

Neither is Mr Parcha a fan of Mayawati, India's most popular Dalit leader. "She is creating cracks in the society," he says. "If she continues showing concern only for our community, other people will feel left out." That's some consideration.


The Dalits of India are finding new ways to fight the caste system

Written by Kriti Kapila.
To mark India’s 70th year of independence on August 15 2016, the prime minister addressed the nation from the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort. Amid much pomp, his upbeat speech on the state of the nation was beamed across the country.
But it was the far less stately setting of a small coastal town in the Indian state of Gujarat which grabbed global attention. Tens of thousands of Dalits, the people at the bottom of India’s caste hierarchy, had gathered at Una. It was the culmination of a remarkable ten-day protest march against their brutalisation at the hands of gau-rakshaks, the self-styled cattle vigilantes.
In July 2016 four Dalit men were flogged by cow vigilantes in Una for skinning a dead cow, and falsely incriminated for killing it. The lynching incident was not an isolated development, and recent months have seen intensive mobilisation on the part of right-wing groups to polarise politics around the figure of the sacred cow, with what some consider the tacit consent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The cow emerged as a highly-charged object in the first year of BJP rule in 2014-15 when people were were subjected to violence for eating beef. It is not surprising therefore that among those who joined Dalit protestors in Una were members of the Muslim community.
In creating the cow as the prime fetish object, the Hindu right may have originally targeted Muslims, but ended up by comprehensively alienating the Dalit communities. As a party striving for a unified Hindu community, the BJP’s “casteism” has only affirmed the position of the famous Dalit politician Bhimrao Ambedkar, 80 years ago.
A social reformer and architect of India’s independent constitution, he argued that due to the divisive principle of caste, the basic requirements of unity and cohesiveness in a society or nation were out of reach for the Hindus.
Caste is unsurprisingly then, the BJP’s Achille’s heel. But Dalits have felt completely alienated from most other political parties because of the fundamentally upper-caste dominance within them. Caste as an issue seems to be ignored and the upper-caste appear to be in denial about its impact. To many, it as if caste is just a rumour.
The Bahujan Samaj Party is the only Dalit mainstream political party that has an all-India presence. But the crowds have not gathered around its leader, preferring instead the simple unifying rallying cry of “Jai Bhim”, which means “Victory to Bhim”. It refers again to that heroic Dalit figure of Ambedkar and his bold and uncompromising views on the continuing place of Dalits categorically outside Hindu society. And it is these views which have provided different Dalit communities across India with strength and solidarity.
Equally, it has made Dalits even more wary of electoral politics.
Ambedkar tried to settle the social question of ritual hierarchy and inequality through legal enforcement and constitutional guarantees of compensatory positive discrimination. Jignesh Mevani, the lawyer turned leader of the Una march is reluctant to call the agitation political, instead referring to it as a social movement. It is here you can see the Ambedkar imprint at its strongest. For him, political freedom was only one of three freedoms necessary in the pursuit of complete sovereignty, the other two being social and economic.
A stronger voice
Dalit assertion has grown in strength and scale in recent years. And it is remarkable in both its primary interest in the recognition of the violence Dalits face on the basis of their ritual status, and the Ambedkarite belief that no real change can take place within the framework of Hindu society itself. It is therefore crucial to move away from it.
At the UN-led World Conference Against Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban in 2001, Dalits sought recognition of their plight and solidarity with those of anti-racism groups.
The mass gathering at Una is just one sign that a new era of Dalit politics is increasingly being recognised on its own terms in a thriving Dalit public sphere, on both real and virtual platforms. Organisations such as Dalit Camera have played a crucial role in documenting the atrocities committed against the community. Publishers such as Navayana bring out literature “on caste from an anti-caste perspective”.
Rohit Vemula, a Dalit doctoral student whose suicide after relentless victimisation provoked widespread protests often used the hashtag #CasteIsNotARumour. Social media is now filled with hundreds of posts using this hashtag every day. It is an assertion which is only set to grow – and redefine India’s political society as it does so.
Kriti Kapila is a Lecturer in Social Anthroplogy and Law at King’s College London. This article was first published on The Conversation and can be found here. Image credit: CC by Thessalay/Flickr.

Booklet: Barahmaasee Chakravartee Samrat Maharaj Satan Paasee

Booklet: Barahmaasee Chakravartee Samrat Maharaj Satan Paasee
Author: Ratan Lal Paasee Nagvanshi,
Pub: Kohdari, Lohanhara, Hardoi, U.P

First Edition, (Year not mentioned),

Price Rs. 3/-

Pages: 8
The booklet narrates the grandeur of the Paasee king Satan, who has left behind a tradition of chivalry for the younger generations of his community to draw inspiration from. He was crowned at twenty-five years of age. With one hundred and fifty-one forts, lakes and ponds, he embodied the tradition and heritage of the Paasees. Aalha and Udal, the rulers of Kannauj, becoming jealous of his power, conspired to destroy him. They asked Jaichand, his chief, to send his wife to take Satan under a vow not to attack Kannauj; she succeeded. One day while he was asleep, Aalha and Udal attacked his fort. Satan, fighting against them with the other Paasee kings, made them retreat. At this the Rajputs and Muslims jointly attacked Satan at Ganjar. In the battle that continued for many days, the chivalry of Paasees forced the attackers to seek truce. When Satan agreed, he was treacherously attacked and killed. The Paasee kings left a history of valour and pride.The Paasees of today, instead of addiction to alcohol and gambling, should reinvigorate and continue the tradition left by the heroes of their past.
Lakhan Paasee
Veera Paasee
Jhalkari Bai

Grace Banu on Challenges of a Dalit Transperson in Education

Grace Banu, first transgender person in Tamilnadu to get an Engineering seat, speaks about the discrimination she faced as a transgender person and as a Dalit, since school days, at her last job, and in her pursuit of studying to be an engineer. Grace Banu urges for a need to have a paid leave during transition surgery, just like paid maternity leave, and speaks on various safegaurds that can be initiated at workplaces and educational institutions to make them safe and welcoming for transgender people. She also speaks on the importance of reservations (Affirmative action) for transgender people. Manakkam, my name is Grace Banu. I’m studying to be an engineer. The thought of doing engineering came to me first because I had basically completed a diploma in computer engineering and after completing that worked in a software company for 3 yrs. The company was aware of me being a transgender person. Still it was a big struggle. There was no acceptance in office. I had to overcome major battles to continue working there. As discrimination in the office by my colleagues increased it came to a point when I had to voluntarily leave the job. I began thinking what to do next. The question why doesn’t transgender have the opportunity to go in for higher studies   kept coming to my mind. And I had a great desire to go in for higher studies as I had scored 95% in my diploma programme and so I sent an enquiry to RTI (Right To Information act) asking if transgenders could go for higher studies. I got a reply from them saying it was not possible as it was the Government policy not to allow transgenders into higher education. Despite that I applied to university for higher education.
I was not allowed to enter the school at normal hours. The school started at 9am but I could come in only at 10am. The school finished at 4.30pm, but I had to leave at 4pm itself. I was not allowed in the classroom. I was made to sit in a separate room where the HM kept discarded slippers and there was a tree under which alone I could sit and study.
I had no expectations but I did get a call from Anna University for counselling. No government college had seats for me. Only a few private colleges agreed to give me admission. Since I live in Chennai, in the outer of Chennai near Arakonam in Sri Krishna college of Engineering, a private college is where I got admission. This is where I am studying now. I travel every day ,1and a half hours morning and evening hour to Arakonam. This has to be challenged as to why transgenders cannot go in for professional studies. What kept me motivated was the drive to prove the point that transgenders are equally talented. Secondly while studying in school I suffered a lot of discrimination. I had to overcome gender- identity and caste discrimination. This isolated me a great deal. I was a Dalit and a transgender at that. In school , at that non- conforming age, at the plus 2 stage when the school got to know my transgender state the school discriminated me against my Dalit position plus my transgender state.. so both together isolated me a great deal.  

I was not allowed to enter the school at normal hours. The school started at 9am but I could come in only at 10am. The school finished at 4.30pm, but I had to leave at 4pm itself. I was not allowed in the classroom. I was made to sit in a separate room where the HM kept discarded slippers and there was a tree under which alone I could sit and study. Many such restrictions and rules were laid and still I continued to study. The other students began saying mean things and most of all they were all forbidden from talking to me. At that age I could not take that stress and I left the school and discontinued my plus 2 studies after which I left home too.
Then with the help of community people I joined the 3-year diploma programme.
After the diploma in a campus interview I got selected for a job in a software company. Here too gender problem increased with the passage of time. All this motivated me more to study and go higher in life. The importance of education became clear to me. These events encouraged me to opt for higher studies.
Dalit Camera: Did you study in a government school?
Grace Banu: No in a private, aided school.
DC: In that school the students who discriminated you, were from which caste?
GB: They were all from upper caste.
DC: How many Dalit students were there?
GB: There was a substantial number of Dalit students too.
DC: So all Dalit students suffered this kind of discrimination?
GB: No, not all were discriminated in this manner. Once my gender identity was out in the open, my Dalit identity came to focus. so both together ….

DC: Keeping the Transgender issue aside for the time being, you may know about Rohit Vemula’s case from Hyderabad. Dalit students suffer a lot of discrimination. What can we do to stop such incidents? In the University space and school space in order to bring about equality, what can we do?
GB: As far as I am concerned, in the University ….an isolated person’s issues only a person who has been through it will understand…Some people from isolated castes should be in position of authority. Only they will be able to find a way out of this.
DC: In the aided school you studied which caste did the teachers belong to?
GB: All teachers were from upper caste.
DC: So you mean to say in the aided schools and the software companies reservation should be brought in?
GB; Definitely, also when I was working I went through my surgery. But that one month I had no salary. How was I to manage my needs? The thought came to me; a pregnant woman is given maternity leave but working transgenders too should be paid their salary during this surgery period. This should be part of Employment laws. This was an idea that came to me at that time.
DC: You are now working in Tamil Nadu with Living smile Vidya on the issue of transgender reservation. Tell us more about that?
GB: The way I look at this issue is that the transgender community is an isolated community. In order to bring them up as equals in mainstream society, the effort has just begun. In order to make transgenders fully empowered and bring them up as equals, the community has to come out of begging and prostitution and that is possible only if there is reservation for transgenders. To walk hand in hand with normal people, I see reservation as a good initiative. To go to work, a path has to be found but for a person who has been stopped and discriminated at every stage, their education has to be facilitated through reservation. They will surely benefit through reservation not by giving charity, idli-vessels, sewing machines etc. In order to bring in equality reservation is the only way out. Charitable ways cannot change the whole society at large. For the community to reach better standards of living reservation is the only way. Living smile Vidya has been working since 2006 on this issue. From 2012 I have begun voicing my opinion regarding Transgender reservation in education along with many transgender communities who have come forward to support it. In many government forums we have expressed our opinions. We have legally filed a reservation case. We could not take the Tamil Nadu Public service examinations. We did receive a favorable judgement in that case. The reservation case is still pending in the court and there has been no response so far.
DC: They say there are no caste in the transgender community. Tell us more about this.
GB: The way I look at it is, normally if you ask a well settled person do they suffer caste discrimination, they are bound to say “No” because they did not experience what it means to be discriminated.  That there is no casteism amongst transgenders is like putting a whole pumpkin on rice and expecting to gobble it down. Internally caste feelings exist in all. If we see Indian history caste division has always existed. Therefore, from that angle, casteism very much exists amongst transgenders too. If you see the senior ones in the community, they are always from upper caste. The ones who earn for them are Dalits. The ones who beg or do prostitution and bring money for the community are Dalit transgenders, surely from the more isolated castes. So this sweeping statement that there is no caste division amongst transgender is totally false and there is as much casteism here as there is in the society at large.
DC: Most transgenders, if they leave begging or prostitution come to work in NGOs only. So would you say NGOs don’t discriminate?
GB: I admit; it was only through NGOs that the transgender issue came out in public. But here too in higher positions as far as I know there is no transgender. If you see the Tamil Nadu Welfare Board council under which all NGOs fall, there are surely no transgenders. Even if they exist they are from the upper class. The lower level jobs like supplying condoms etc. is what most lower class transgenders do in NGOs.
DC: So when you are fighting the transgender reservation issue how do you deal with the caste related issue?
GB: It has been seen that when reservations are made for transgenders only the upper class transgenders benefit. The lower class transgenders don’t even get an opportunity to make use of these reservations, so we are asking for a subcategory in our reservation pattern which fits in based on economic needs just the way they have SC, ST and other categories. But we have a lot of opposition from our own transgender community people itself. And they are mostly transgenders from the upper class. As far they are concerned they have the Hindutva philosophy ingrained in them. They had to fight through the rules laid out by the Hindu society to come up in life. So they prefer to project the image that amongst transgenders Hinduism is the only issue and there is no casteism in our community and that we are all one caste, which is transgender. Therefore, people who are opposing this reservation are also transgender from upper class.
DC: If you were asked who are your role models, what would you say?
GB: As far as my role models are concerned, in the transgender community it is living smile Vidya. With regard to society at large my model has always been Ambedkar Periyar and his philosophy.
It has been seen that when reservations are made for transgenders only the upper class transgenders benefit. The lower class transgenders don’t even get an opportunity to make use of these reservations, so we are asking for a subcategory in our reservation pattern which fits in based on economic needs just the way they have SC, ST and other categories. But we have a lot of opposition from our own transgender community people itself. And they are mostly transgenders from the upper class.
DC: To the youngsters watching this video, what is your advice?
GB: Please do not walk out off your houses in your frustration. Stay within and fight your battle. Acceptance by parents is very difficult but still try to look at the reasons which makes acceptance of your gender difficult for your parents. The youngsters are now boldly coming out but when you come out in the real world you need to be qualified. Instead if you just come out join the transgender community and get into begging and prostitution it is not worth the battle. Work towards living a dignified life and develop the attitude that we too can live a life of dignity and honour. It is due the work of transgenders like ‘Smiley’ and other transgenders that we have an improved position in society today. So please create and avail of the opportunities available in society to come up in life.
DC: Thank you. Jai Bhim
GB: Jai Bhim.
Grace Banu, first transgender person in Tamilnadu to get an Engineering seat, is a transgender rights activist.

Maulana Ali Hussain 'Aasim Bihari': Father of the first Pasmanda Movement and Freedom Fighter

Faiyaz Ahmad Fyzie
Maulana Ali Hussain "Aasim Bihari" was born on April 15, 1890, in Mohalla Khas Ganj, Bihar Sharif, Nalanda district, Bihar, in a devout but poor Pasmanda weaver family. In 1906, at the young age of 16, he started his career in the Usha organization in Kolkata. While working, he pursued interests in studies and reading. He was active in many types of movements. He quit his job as it was getting restrictive, and for his livelihood he started the work of making beedis. He prepared a team of his beedi worker colleagues who would discuss issues that concerned nation and society. There would also be sharing of writings.
asim bihari
In 1908-09, Maulana Haji Abdul Jabbar of Sheikhpur tried to create a Pasmanda organization which wasn't successful. He felt a deep sense of grief about this. In 1911, after reading "Tarikh-e-Minwal wa Alahu" (History of Weavers), he was prepared completely for the movement. At the age of 22, he started a five year shceme (1912-1917) for educating adults. During this time, whenever he went to his native Bihar Sharif, he would keep make people aware by organising small gatherings.

In 1914 , at the young age of 24 years old, he started a Society called "Bazm-E-Adab"(Chamber of Literature) that started a library under its aegis, in his native location of Khasganj, Bihar Sharif in Nalanda district. In 1918, a study centre called "Darul Muzakra"(House of Conversation) was established in Kolkata, where labourers and others used to gather in the evening to discuss writings and contemporary issues - these meetings would sometimes go on all through the night.

कांशीराम का मास्टर स्ट्रोक था मुलायम सिंह के साथ गठबंधन

  • 10 अक्तूबर 2016
1977 की एक सर्द रात ग्यारह बजे जैसे ही मायावती ने खाना खाने के बाद पढ़ना शुरू किया, उनके दरवाज़े की कुंडी बजी.
जब मायावती के पिता प्रभुदयाल दरवाज़ा खोलने आए तो उन्होंने देखा कि बाहर मुड़े-तुड़े कपड़ों में, गले में मफ़लर डाले, लगभग गंजा हो चला एक अधेड़ शख़्स खड़ा था. उन्होंने अपना परिचय देते हुए कहा कि वो कांशीराम हैं और बामसेफ़ के अध्यक्ष हैं. वो मायावती को एक भाषण देने के लिए आमंत्रित करने आए हैं.
उस समय मायावती दिल्ली के इंदरपुरी इलाके में रहा करती थीं. उनके घर में बिजली नहीं होती थी. वो लालटेन की रोशनी में पढ़ रही थीं. कांशीराम की जीवनी कांशीराम 'द लीडर ऑफ़ दलित्स' लिखने वाले बद्री नारायण बताते हैं, "कांशीराम ने मायावती से पहला सवाल पूछा कि वो क्या करना चाहती हैं. मायावती ने कहा कि वो आईएएस बनना चाहती हैं ताकि अपने समुदाय के लोगों की सेवा कर सकें."
"कांशीराम ने कहा तुम आईएएस बन कर क्या करोगी? मैं तुम्हें एक ऐसा नेता बना सकता हूँ जिसके पीछे एक नहीं, दसियों कलेक्टरों की लाइन लगी रहेगी. तुम सही मायने में तब अपने लोगों के ज़्यादा काम आ सकती हो. उन्होंने मायावती के पिता से कहा कि वो अपनी बेटी को संगठन में काम करने के लिए उन्हें दे दें. प्रभुदयाल ने बात को टालने की कोशिश की. लेकिन मायावती की समझ में आ गया कि उनका आगे का भविष्य कहां है, हालांकि उनके पिता इसके सख़्त ख़िलाफ़ थे."

मायावती ने अपने पिता की बात नहीं मानी. यहां तक कि उन्होंने अपना घर छोड़ दिया और पार्टी आफ़िस में आ कर रहने लगीं. मायावती की जीवनी लिखने वाले अजय बोस अपनी किताब 'बहनजी' में लिखते हैं, "मायावती ने स्कूल अध्यापिका के तौर पर मिलने वाले वेतन के पैसों को उठाया जिन्हें उन्होंने जोड़ रखा था, एक सूटकेस में कुछ कपड़े भरे और उस घर से बाहर आ गईं जहां वो बड़ी हुई थीं."
बद्री नारायण बताते हैं कि मायावती ने वर्णन किया है कि उस समय उनके क्या संघर्ष थे. लोग उनके बारे में क्या सोचते थे. एक लड़की का घर छोड़ कर अकेले रहना उस समय बहुत बड़ी बात होती थी. वो असल में किराए का एक कमरा लेकर रहना चाहती थीं. लेकिन इसके लिए उनके पास पर्याप्त पैसे नहीं थे. इसलिए पार्टी आफ़िस में रहना उनकी मजबूरी थी. बहुत ही अच्छी केमिस्ट्री थी दोनों के बीच. कांशीराम को शुरू से अंदाज़ा था कि मायावती कहां तक जा सकती हैं.

कांशीराम दलितों के साथ हुई किसी ज़्यादती को बर्दाश्त नहीं कर पाते थे. कांशीराम पर किताब लिखने वाले एसएस गौतम बताते हैं, "एक बार कांशीराम रोपड़ के एक ढाबे में गए. वहां उन्होंने खाना खा रहे कुछ ज़मींदारों को शेख़ी बघारते हुए सुना कि किस तरह उन्होंने खेतों में काम कर रहे दलितों को सबक सिखाने के लिए उनकी पिटाई की है. ये सुनना था कि कांशीराम का ख़ून खौल उठा और वो इतने आगबबूला हो गए कि उन्होंने एक कुर्सी उठाई और उससे ज़मीदारों को पीटने लगे. इस चक्कर में कई मेज़ें पलट गईं और उनपर रखी सभी प्लेटें चकनाचूर हो गईं."

'जो बहुजन की बात करेगा, वो दिल्ली पर राज करेगा'

कांशीराम का मानना था कि दलित और दूसरी पिछड़ी जातियों की संख्या भारत की जनसंख्या की 85 फ़ीसदी है, लेकिन 15 फ़ीसदी सवर्ण जातियाँ उन पर शासन कर रही हैं. उन्होंने बहुजन समाज पार्टी तो बना डाली, लेकिन विधानसभा और लोकसभा चुनावों में जीत दर्ज कर पाना इतना आसान नहीं था.
अलीगढ़ में रहने वाले कांशीराम के एक पूर्व सहयोगी अमृतराव अकेला बताते हैं, "1985 में जब बहुजन समाज पार्टी चुनाव लड़ रही थी तो कांशीराम ने कहा था कि पहला चुनाव हम हारेंगे, दूसरे चुनाव में हराएंगे और तीसरे चुनाव में जीतेंगे. उनका कहना था कि हम इस देश में बहुजन समाज को हुक्मरान बनाना चाहते हैं. लोकतंत्र में जिनकी संख्या ज़्यादा होती है उनको हुक्मरान होना चाहिए. इसीलिए उन्होंने एक नारा लगाया था 'जिसकी जितनी संख्या भारी, उतनी उसकी हिस्सेदारी.' उनका एक और नारा था 'जो बहुजन की बात करेगा, वो दिल्ली पर राज करेगा'."

कांशीराम का मास्टरस्ट्रोक

कांशीराम ने 1988 में इलाहाबाद से लोकसभा का उपचुनाव लड़ा. वो जीते तो नहीं, लेकिन विश्वनाथ प्रताप सिंह जैसे मज़बूत प्रतिद्वंदी के ख़िलाफ़ 68000 से अधिक वोट लेने में सफल रहे. सेंटर फ़ार स्टडी ऑफ़ द डेवेलपिंग सोसाएटीज़ में प्रोफेसर अभय कुमार दुबे कहते हैं, "कांशीराम को सबसे बड़ा राजनीतिक मास्टर स्ट्रोक था 1993 में उत्तर प्रदेश विधानसभा चुनाव के लिए मुलायम सिंह यादव की समाजवादी पार्टी के साथ चुनावी गठबंधन. इस गठजोड़ के ज़रिए वो भारतीय जनता पार्टी को उत्तरप्रदेश में उस वक्त चुनाव में हरा पाए, जबकि कोई कल्पना भी नहीं करता था कि भारतीय जनता पार्टी चुनाव में हारेगी, ख़ास तौर से बाबरी मस्जिद टूटने के बाद."
"उसी उपल्ब्धि को धीरे-धीरे उन्होंने कुशलता से आगे बढ़ाया. वही उपलब्धि बाद में विभिन्न घटनाक्रमों से गुज़रती और विकसित होती हुई 2007 में मायावती के पूर्ण बहुमत में परिणत हुई. मायावती का पूर्ण बहुमत नहीं बन सकता था अगर बहुजन थीसिस उसके पीछे नहीं होती. अगर मायावती को अति पिछड़ों और ग़रीब मुसलमानों ने वोट नहीं दिया होता, अगर मायावती को सौ दलितों में से कम से कम अस्सी ने वोट नहीं दिया होता. जब बहुजन समाज का इतना बड़ा वोटबैंक बन चुका था, तो उसके दबाव में ऊँची जाति के भी कुछ लोगों ने उन्हें वोट दिया, क्योंकि वो भी सत्ता में हिस्सेदारी चाहते थे. इससे ये सुनिश्चियत हुआ कि वो अगर दलित वोटों पर अपनी पकड़ बनाए रखें और उन्हें ऊँची जातियों को थोड़ा-सा वोट भी मिल जाए तो वो सरकार बना सकती हैं."

लेकिन बाद में इन्हीं कांशीराम ने बिना पलक झपकाए समाजवादी पार्टी की धुर विरोधी भारतीय जनता पार्टी के साथ दो बार साझा सरकार बनाई और कांग्रेस के साथ भी चुनावी गठबंधन किया. नतीजा ये रहा कि उनके ऊपर अवसरवाद के आरोप लगे. लेकिन अभय कुमार दुबे कहते हैं, "जिसको हम नीची निगाह से कहते हैं अवसरवाद, कांशीराम की निगाह में वो एक ख़ूबी थी. कांशीराम गर्व से कहते थे कि हम अवसरवादी हैं."
"ये ध्यान रहे कि उन्होंने भारतीय जनता पार्टी के साथ कभी मिल कर चुनाव नहीं लड़ा. भारतीय जनता पार्टी हमेशा कांशीराम से गठजोड़ करने के लिए मजबूर हुई और उन्होंने अपने गठजोड़ के ज़रिए भारतीय जनता पार्टी को पराजित किया. भाजपा के हमेशा ज़्यादा विधायक होते थे, लेकिन उसके बावजूद भाजपा को मानना पड़ता था कि बसपा का मुख्यमंत्री होगा. इससे आप अंदाज़ा लगाइए कि उस राजनीति में कांशीराम का हमेशा अपरहैंड होता था और 170 सीटें जीतने वाली भारतीय जनता पार्टी बैक फ़ुट पर रहती थी."

कांशीराम का आखिरी समय

"जब उन्होंने कांग्रेस से दलित वोट छीन लिए तो कांशीराम ने एक प्रसिद्ध वाक्य था, ''अभी तक मैं कांग्रेस की तरफ़ ध्यान दे रहा था. अब वो नष्ट हो गई है. अब मैं भारतीय जनता पार्टी की तरफ़ ध्यान दूँगा.'' ये जो काँशीराम पर आरोप लगाया जाता है कि उन्होंने भारतीय जनता पार्टी से हाथ मिलाया. दरअसल उन्होंने जितनी बार भारतीय जनता पार्टी से हाथ मिलाया, उतनी बार वो कमज़ोर हुई."
"दिलचस्प बात ये है कि एक बार उन्हें भारत का राष्ट्रपति बनाने की भी पेशकश की गई, लेकिन उन्होंने उसे ये कहते हुए इनकार कर दिया कि वो भारत के प्रधानमंत्री बनना चाहते हैं, राष्ट्रपति नहीं. बद्री नारायण बताते हैं, "वाजपेयीजी ने उनसे एक बार राष्ट्पति बनने की पेशकश की थी, लेकिन उन्होंने कहा कि वो प्रधानमंत्री बनना पसंद करेंगे. राष्ट्रपति बना कर आप उन्हें चुपचाप अलग बैठा दीजिए, वो ये मानने के लिए तैयार नहीं थे. वो सत्ता का डिस्ट्रीब्यूशन चाहते थे. वो पंजाबी के गुरुकिल्ली शब्द का इस्तेमाल करते थे, जिसका अर्थ था सत्ता की कुंजी. उनका मानना था कि ताकत पाने के लिए स्टेट पर कब्ज़ा ज़रूरी है. कांग्रेस के साथ जुड़े दलित नेताओं को वो चमचा नेता कहते थे, जिनको अगर पांच सीट भी दे दी जाए तो वो ख़ुश हो जाते थे."
बहुजन समाज आंदोलन को उस समय बहुत बड़ा झटका लगा जब 2003 आते आते कांशीराम गंभीर रूप से बीमार हो गए. उस समय उनकी शिष्या मायावती ने उनका बहुत ख़्याल रखा हालांकि इस पर बहुत विवाद भी हुआ जब उन्होंने कांशीराम के परिवार वालों को उनसे मिलने नहीं दिया.

बद्रीनारायण बताते हैं, "उनका अंत अच्छा नहीं हुआ. एक बार जब वो ट्रेन से जा रहे थे तभी उनको ब्रेन हैमरेज हो गया. जब उन्हें अस्पताल में भर्ती कराया गया तो उन्हें स्मृतिलोप हो चुका था. वो लोगों को पहचानते नहीं थे. फिर मायावती उन्हें अपने घर ले गईं. कांशीराम के भाइयों ने इसका विरोध किया और वो एक बड़ी लड़ाई में फंस गए. मायावती उन्हें अपने यहां रखना चाहती थीं और उनके परिवार वाले उन्हें अपने यहां ले जाना चाहते थे."

"मायावती उनका बहुत ध्यान रखती थीं, उनकी दाढ़ी बनाने से लेकर उन्हें नहलाने और उनके बाल झाड़ने तक काम मायावती खुद करती थीं, उसी तरह जैसे कोई अपने पिता की सेवा करता है. उस समय तक काशीराम के पास उन्हें कुछ भी देने के लिए नहीं था. उन्होंने जो कुछ भी उनके साथ किया, निजी आत्मीयता के तहत किया. लोग उसमें मिर्च मसाले देखते हैं. लेकिन ये सभी मानेंगे कि इस संबंध का भाव पक्ष बहुत सबल था."
सामाजिक क्षेत्र में कांशीराम दलितों के लिए भले ही कुछ न कर पाए हों, लेकिन ये उनकी राजनीतिक इंजीनियरिंग का ही फल था कि दलितों ने पहली बार अकले ही सत्ता का स्वाद चखा, लेकिन कांशीराम ने जीवनपर्यंत कोई राजनीतिक पद नहीं स्वीकार किया.

इतिहास के पन्नो में कहीं खो गया नाथूराम गोडसे को पकड़ने वाला वीर ‘रघु नायक’

30 Jan 2018
Hujjat Raza 

आज के दिन आज़ाद भारत में पहला आतंकी हमला हुआ था जहाँ राष्ट्रपिता महात्मा गाँधी की हत्या कर दी गयी थी। लेकिन क्या आपको पता है कि किसके सहस से हत्यार से लैस नाथूराम गोडसे को पकड़ा गया था। 

समय था शाम का जब महात्मा गाँधी धीरे धीरे बिरला हाउस के बगीचे में सर्वधर्म सभा को सम्बोधित करने आये थे। उसी समय हिन्दू महासभा का सदस्य नाथूराम गोडसे भीड़ से बहार आया और गाँधी जी के रास्ते में आ गया और उनपर नज़दीक से तीन गोलियां चला दी। महात्मा गाँधी वहीँ गिर गए और कुछ समय बाद उन्होंने अंतिम सांस ली।
लेकिन इस पूरा घटनाक्रम में एक साहसी देशभक्त भी मौजूद था जिसने अपनी जान की परवाह किये बग़ैर नाथूराम गोडसे को पकड़ा और उसके बाद पुलिस के हवाले कर दिया। वह साहसी व्यक्ति था, ओड़िशा का रहने वाला रघु नायक। रघु उस समय बिरला हाउस में बतौर माली काम करते थे और महात्मा गाँधी के विचारों से प्रेरित भी थे।
इतिहास के पन्नो में खो गए रघु नायक बहादुरी की मिसाल थे जिन्होंने नाथूराम गोडसे को वहां से भागने नहीं दिया और तेज़ी से उसपर झपट पड़े। 1948 के बाद राहु नायक, 1983 तक ज़िंदा रहे लेकिन कहाँ रहे कैसे रहे शायद उनके परिवार के अलावा किसी को नहीं पता।
आज उनके परिवार में उनकी पत्नी मंदोदरी नायक और उनकी बेटी ही बचे हैं जो ओडिशा के केंद्रपाड़ा जिले के जगुलाईपाड़ा गांव में रहते हैं।
पिछले साल ओडिशा के मुख्यमंत्री नवीन पटनायक को रघु नायक की मृत्यु के 33 साल बाद, उस वीर के परिवार के खराब हालात का पता चला। जिसके बाद उन्होंने 5 लाख रूपए की सहायता उस वीर के परिवार को दी थी।

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Dalit in Cricket


लेख सूचनाक्रिकेट पुस्तक नाम हिन्दी विश्वकोश खण्ड 3 पृष्ठ संख्या 200 भाषा हिन्दी देवनागरी संपादक सुधाकर पांडेय प्रकाशक नागरी प्रचारणी सभा वाराणसी मुद्रक नागरी मुद्रण वाराणसी संस्करण सन्‌ 1976 ईसवी उपलब्ध भारतडिस्कवरी पुस्तकालय कॉपीराइट सूचना नागरी प्रचारणी सभा वाराणसी लेख सम्पादक परमेश्वरीलाल गुप्त क्रिकेट एक अति प्रसिद्ध अंग्रेजी खेल। इस खेल का प्रचार 13 वीं शती में भी था, यह उस समय के एक चित्र को देखने से ज्ञात होता है। उसमें लड़के क्रिकेट खेल रहे हैं। 16वीं शताब्दी से तो निरंतर पुस्तकों में क्रिकेट की चर्चा प्राप्त होती है। कहा जाता है, इंग्लैंड का प्रसिद्ध शासक ऑलिवर क्रॉमवेल बचपन में क्रिकेट का खिलाड़ी था।
क्रिकेट का पुराना खेल आधुनिक खेल से भिन्न था। प्रारंभ में भेंड चरानेवाले लड़के क्रिकेट खेला करते थे। वे पेड़ की एक शाखा काटकर उसका बल्ला बना लेते थे, जो आजकल की हॉकी स्टिक से मिलता जुलता था। वे कटे हुए किसी पेड़ के तने (stump) के सामने खड़े होकर खेलते थे या अपने घर के छोटे फाटक (wicket gate) को आउट बना लेते थे। आजकल के क्रिकेट में न तो पेड़ के तने (stump) हैं और…

Dalit Officers

Case of an IAS Topper

Fate of a Scheduled Caste Candidate

The Union Public Service Commission under the Constitution of free India started functioning from January 26, 1950. The The Union Public Service Commission Commission conducted its first examination to recruit personnel for the IAS and Central Services the same year. There were 3,647 candidates for this examination. The First Report of the UPSC does not mention the number of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe candidates. But it discloses that Achyutananda Das was the country's first SC to make it to the IAS in 1950 itself. He was, in fact, the topper of his batch in the written examination.

Achyutananda Das, from West Bengal, secured 613 (58.38 per cent) out of 1050 marks in written examination whearas N. Krishnan from Madras secured 602 (57.33 per cent). But in the interview, Krishnan secured 260 (86.66 per cent) out of 300 as against 110 (36.66 per cent) by Achyutananda Das. Thus Achyutananda was left miles behin…