Monthly Archives: June 2015

crime against dalit women

Crime against Dalit Women and the Indian State

Dalit women have been victim of upper caste atrocities for centuries, which still go unabated in various pockets of India. There were times dalit women in various parts of the country were not allowed to cover their body above waste, while some parts in Kerala, a tax called “breast tax” collected from Dalit women in accordance with the size of their breasts. Though the practice has been banned, Dalit women continue to face atrocities every day.

Every week 21 Dalits women are raped. 99% of Gang rape victims are Dalit women.

Do these women get justice?

The answer is sadly a ‘no’. The conviction rate is a dismissal 2% and very low in comparison to 24% in women belong to upper caste. Further conviction does not mean that the accused are punished for the heinous crime they commit. The police and judiciary, which are manned by upper caste people, always let the accused free.

Justice for Dalits is a complete farce in India.

Crime against Dalit women is not always because of lust of upper caste men but also a way to humiliate the entire community and remind them of their place. The forms of crime are rape, gang rape, parading naked, using filthy language and constant harassment.

There is a special law known as “The SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 Act” but it is rendered completely useless. You will not find a single prisoner in India who is languishing in jail under this act. The police don’t register case under this Act but under Indian Penal Code on various pretexts. The investigation is always shoddy and investigation officers deliberately mess up the investigation. The judiciary, which beats its chest of being independent, regularly gives biased judgment. Even country’s highest courts like High Courts and Supreme Court have demonstrated unexplainable bias in their judgments against the Dalits and Dalit women.

Consider the judgment in following few cases:

Bhanwari Devi Gang Rape Case

Five upper caste men gang raped Bhanwari Devi, a Dalit woman, in Bhateri village in Rajasthan. Her crime was that she protested against rampant child marriage prevalent among upper caste people. While deciding the case, the judge let all the accused go scot free. Among other reasons, one reason the he cited was that since the upper caste men practice untouchability, it is inconceivable that any of the five accused will touch the lower caste woman.

Bhanwari Devi is still waiting for justice. It is indeed very shameful the Judge deliberately ignored Article 17, which make practicing untouchability in any form is crime.

Kharilanji Murder and Gang Rape Case

This is one of the most barbaric caste crime committed recently. In Western Maharashtra in Khairlanji village on Septermber 26, 2006, four members of a Dalit man Suresh Bhotmange’s family were killed in barbaric manner. His crime was that he lodged a police complaint against an upper caste man of the village, who had forcibly occupied a plot of his land. The killed members include his wife and daughter, who were stripped, thrashed and paraded naked through the village before committing fiendish gang-rape. That was not enough to those barbaric wicked animals. They thrust knives, iron rods, spikes of bullock cart wheel into the private parts of the women.

Navalagi Gang Rape Case

A 15 years old Dalit girl in Navalagi village in Karnataka, gang raped by four youth when she went to collect fodder to nearby field along with his nephew of 13 years old. There were eye witnesses of the case and the forensic test confirmed rape. The evidences were heavily stacked against the accused. While deciding the case the Karnataka High Court acknowledged convicted the accused of rape but dismissed the ‘caste’ angle of the victim and held that the incident is “a lustful act of misguided youth”. Consequently, the PoA, 1989 was not applied.

Kewad Gang Rape Case

This happened in Kewad village in Maharastra. A dalit woman belonging to Pardhi caste, was dragged from her house by three men of upper caste and was gang raped. There was no rivalry nor any disputes. Her crime was that she refused to obey the summons of the accused, who wanted her to satisfy their lusts.

This case was fiercely fought by victim and went to the Supreme Court. Shockingly, the apex course convicted the accused of rape but ignored the caste factor apparent here. The so-called higher court observed: “The mere fact that the victim happened to be a girl belonging to a scheduled (lower) caste does not attract the provisions of the (PoA) Act.”

The Dalit women are suffering a lot both because of the fact that they are women and also belong to lower caste. Their body have been stigmatized, which the upper caste men feel can be used for recreational (pleasure seeking) or for punitive purpose.

Noted writer and activist Arundhati Roy talks of “Project Unseen”. Whenever a crime is committed against Dalits, the entire state machinery including judiciary and media collaborate to serve the interest of upper caste people. The media don’t publicize the issues or don’t report the fact that the victim is a Dalit.

The modus operandi of legal system in “Project Unseen” as follows.

  1. When a crime is committed against a Dalit, the police usually don’t register the case either through persuasive means or coercion.
  2. If registration cannot be avoided because of public hue-cry or some other reasons, the police register the case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and not under PoA (prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989.
  3. The investigation is done in very shoddy manner and in such a way to establish no direct connection between the crime and caste. Vital evidences are left out and the ignorance of Dalit victim is fully exploited. In majority of cases, even medical evidences are tampered and no forensic test is done.
  4. When the matter reach to the court, the court usually give two type of judgments:
  5. Accused are let free with usual excuse of “lack of evidence”. This happen in 99% of the cases.
  6. When evidences are too strong and cannot be ignored, the court gives lighter sentence under Indian Penal Code and not under provisions of PoA. The judges give reasons like “personal dispute” and “personal revenge” in murder related cases and “unrequited passion” and “exploration of sexuality” in gang rape/rape cases.

Since the victims lack resources, they don’t pursue the cases beyond the lower judiciary. Even they pursue the case they have no hope that higher judiciary will deliver justice. The media play their part by refraining from publishing the issue or justifying the judgments or diluting the truth.

Dalit Girl Beaten Up Badly as Her Shadow Falls on Upper Caste Man

chhatrapur dalit girl beaten up

Yet another ghastly incident, a dalit minor girl in Madhya Pradesh was badly beaten up, when her shadow fell on upper caste man passing by. The girl was fetching water at a Tubewell. A upper caste man, who was passing by came into contact with her shadow. The infuriated women members of the man came and beat up the dalit girl badly. They threatened to kill the girl if she shows up at Tubewell again.

Reportedly the family members of so-called upper caste man tried to prevent the girl’s family from registering a complaint at police station. However they managed to reach the police station somehow and lodged a complaint two days after the incident. Shockingly, the police has not arrested any person on the pretext that the investigation is still on. The state is ruled by right wing BJP, who don’t give a damn about dalits.

The investigation officer of the case even before concluding investigation has given clean chit to the accused. The investigation officer said that this incident is not related to untouchability but a trifle incident of small fights over fetching water between two parties. Consequently, the police have refused to register a case under The SC and the ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989. No arrest has been made.

 It is indeed astonishing that nobody is languishing in a jail for atrocity committed against dalits in any prison of India. All the accused are let free routine manner. The entire system including the judiciary, as they are manned by so-called higher castes, collaborates to let upper caste criminals free.

Indian prisons are full with dalits. They comprise the maximum among all the communities as per statistics released by Prison Statistics in India. In Gujrat, where the present PM Narendra Modi ruled for more than a decade, the dalits comprised a staggering 52% among the people lodged in state prisons. This is how RSS and BJP treat dalits.

Even in 21th century dalits are facing untold problems. We must remember what Ambedkar said and be pioneer of our own emancipation. We must never trust and depend upon so-called upper castes for our emancipation as advocated by Gandhi – the enemy of dalits.

Dr. Ambedkar had identified 5 cardinal principles of casteism in India, which dalit community should read and understand and free themselves from the system.

  1. Graded inequality between different classes with untouchables at bottom.
  2. Complete disarmament of untouchables.
  3. Complete prohibition of education to untouchables.
  4. Ban on untouchables occupying places of power and authority.
  5. Ban on untouchables acquiring property.

It is through these methods that dalits have been suppressed for centuries. To break free from the shackles dalits must convert to other egalitarian religions like Islam, Christianity or Buddhism or at least they become atheist.

Remember what Ambedkar had said; Hinduism is veritable chamber of torture. To destroy caste system, you have to destroy Hinduism. I personally feel that, the modern system has bestowed us our own natural rights and freedom and at the same time giving us responsibility to upheld right of others. So friends, destroying Hinduism should not be our objective. Our objective should be to reject it and completely disassociated ourselves from the culture, life style and thinking patterns of Hindus, which is essentially upper caste culture.

Brutal Rapes of Dalit Women: Is The World Seeing?

Since ancient times, Dalit women have been victim of upper caste brutalities, which is still going on unabated. In so-called glorious past of Hindus, Dalit women faced unimaginable horrors. In many places, they were not allowed to wear dress above waist. In Kerala, there was once a barbaric cruel tax system called “Breast Tax” levied on the size of the breasts of Dalit women. You can imagine the kind of wickedness the upper caste Hindus inhibit. No wonder Dr. Ambedkar termed the Hindus as most wicked people on the earth.

Atrocities on Dalit women, perpetrated by upper caste people in most cases go unnoticed. The entire system including police and judiciary always take the side of upper castes for simple reason that 80% of officials are upper caste people. Because of few sensitive people and media, a case or two are brought to the notice but accused are let free without being punished. 99.99% chances are that you may not find a prisoner in Indian jail, who is languishing for caste crime.

BADAUN GANG RAPE

The recent Badaun gangrape has shocked the world. Two under aged girls (Cousins 15 and 14 years) who went out to attend nature’s call, were kidnapped by people belong to to OBC (Other Backward Castes, who have status higher than the Dalits), brutally raped throughout night, killed and hanged from village tree. The postmortem report confirmed the incident was rape and murder. The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), which is like FBI in USA under Federal Government, reached shocking conclusions that there was no evidence of rape or murder but was a case of suicide. Finally, the accused were set free. The parents of victims are very poor and cannot fight the system

The wicked upper caste people tried to pass the blame to the victims. Some claimed that one of the girls had affair with a boy of other caste and suicide is result of that. Some blamed parents of the victims of killing their own daughters and giving it a color of rape and suicide. These are false rumors obviously for the following reasons:

  1. If one girl had an affair, why the unconnected cousin commit suicide?
  2. It is unimaginable the girls can climb such huge tree. Check the photo below yourself.
  3. The parents have informed the police immediately about missing girls but the police took no action. They even told the name of suspected persons as one of relatives seen the accused dragging the girls but retreated as the accused threatened him.

badaun gang rape

The BJP government ruling at center did nothing to give justice. The current PM is well known for his anti-dalits attitude. He always beat breasts of him being from a low caste but he does not care for people, who are further lower down. Worse, the CBI, which concluded the inquiry in favor of accused, is a central government organization and notorious for doing what central govt. tell them to do.

BOLANGIR GANG RAPE CASE

Unlike the Badaun rape case, the Bolangir rape case has not gained attention but it is no less gruesome. A 15 year old girls named Snehalata, who is a school student, was kidnapped by upper caste men, brutally raped and burned. Till now no arrest has been made so far.

See yourself the pictures below and you can imagine the brutality of crime these wicked people commit on Dalit women and girls.

badaun gang rape of dalit girls

badaun gang rape of dalit girls

It is your responsibility to help this extremely less fortunate people. Raise your voices, speak for them in international forums, pressurize Indian government to upheld dignity of their lives and give justice to them. Write your opinions in blogs and widely publicize the issue Dalit community face. Remember Casteism is more severe than Racism.

 

Ambedkar-Periyar Students Circle’s Pamphlet at IIT, Madras

I have a copy of the pamphlet, which led to the ban on Ambedkar-Periyar Students Circle (APSC) by the Director of IIT, Madras. The pamphlet is wrongly portrayed as hated towards Modi, which was not. I am attaching the pamphlet for all you to see.

apsc pamphlet

Below is typed version of the content:

Contemporary  relevance  of Dr. Ambedkar

‘Caste’ is a word which has no significance for most of the urban elites in current times. The statement, “I don’t think caste and caste oppression exist today” is popular among academic fraternity. Contrary to this, according to a recent survey, 21% of upper caste population occupy the 75% of power and influential positions in government and private sectors in UP. Similar scenario exists in other states and even in central government organizations. On the other hand, all lower grade and manual jobs are exclusively reserved (i.e. 100 percent reservation for Dalits permanently! Though several reformers have fought and fighting against this rotten xxxx (word not clear) caste system, a scientific and scholarly approach towards caste was initially taken, and its sole authority of brahminical hegemony was rigorously exposed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

                Caste in Contemporary time has become political tool for ruling class to severe its social oppression over dalits and economically exploiting the working classes. The Modi government while carrying forward its Hinduvta agenda, it is simultaneously assisting the multinational corporate to loot mother India. While implementing pro-corporate moves like Land Acquisition Bill, Insurance bill, Labour laws, corporate favor budget, 100% FDI in PSUs etc. and paving way for the corporate to loot the livelihood of the children of India, it is communally polarizing the common people by the ban on cow slaughtering, gar vapsi program and promoting Vedas etc. In the name of ‘Swedeshi’ they are selling Mother India and dividing her children in the name of communalism. As part of this, they are now revisioning Ambedkar and projecting him as an icon for the vote politics. Ambedkar proposed to annihilate the cast by destroying Hinduism. He says, “You must destroy the Religion of Shrutis and Smritis. Nothing else will avail.” “Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors and it must die for caste to vanish.” But in the contemporary days, when caste is supporting the economic exploitation, it can only be annihilated by taking forward struggle against caste simultaneously struggle against the decolonization

Contact Info: apsc.iitm@gmail.com

Dr. W. B. Vasantha Kandasamy: A Victim of Casteist Apartheid at IIT (M)

vasantha kandasamy

The recent controversy in IIT, Madras has become a hot topic of debate. A group of students, name goes by Ambedkar-Periyar Student Circle, brought out a pamphlet containing excerpts of a lecture delivered by a guest academician, exposing the hidden agenda of RSS and the corporate loots of nation that PM Modi is facilitating, has been drubbed as anti-national, anti-Modi and anti-Hindu in social media. The IIT (M) admin is quick to hand out ban accusing the student group of misusing privileges. The people who support the move of the IIT are the people who always hide in their shells when dalits are meted out inhuman atrocities.

IIT (M) is not new to controversy. The majority Iyers and Iyengers there want to carry out hidden agenda of RSS. The campus has many right wing students circles like, the Voice, Vivekanada Study Circle etc., who regularly invite right wing academicians to deliver provocative lectures and openly preach hatred towards other religious communities. The administration does nothing to contain them.

Anyway, today I am going to cite case of a lady Professor, who has been working in IIT, Madras for 24 years but she has not been promoted from Assistant Professor till date. She is a dalit lady and the manuwadi administration has destroyed here career and talent.

Given below is her Bio. Just judge the case yourself.

Name: Dr. W. B. Vasantha Kandasamy

Designation: Assistant Professor, IIT Madras

Total Research Experience: 38 years

Work Experience at IIT: 24 Yrs

Journal Papers: 317 Nos.

Conference Papers Presented: 351 Nos.

Book Published: 50 Nos.

Ph. D students guided: 13

M.Sc and M.Tech Guidance: 72

Does not she deserve a promotion?

Is God a Democrat or not?

Many laughed when I had titled my book as “God as political Philosopher”.  Most importantly for intellectuals, who live in Hindu ideology and for those who worship idols, this is an unthinkable question. A person who lives in an undemocratic way in his daily life feels scary when democratic processes are linked to God. Even touching a book of such a title creates fear! But this is a very important question and it needs to be seriously examined, especially in a country like India.

 Humanity in the world faces three kinds of thoughts, practices and ways of God:

  1. Abstract God, who is shapeless and eternal.
  2. Forces and individuals who were born as humans, became prophets, and gradually were transformed into the Gods of world. Gautama Buddha and Jesus Christ have influence over the world’s spiritual consciousness and  social and political values of people in this way.
  3. Gods imagined in human form. These type of  gods exist across all over the world, only in India does one group of people believe in Vishnu and his clan of incarnations, and another group in Shiva and the divine powers created around him.

At a global level, so far, there has been no congruent discussion on how and from where the individual, family, social, political and democratic values have emerged. The abstract god’s individual values, his  teachings and the human values he thought of creating or created, are very important. Though they are generally seen in global discourse, they are visible extensively in the Bible and the Koran. As the Bible was written before the Koran, we can see that the Old Testament in its entirety has a great deal to say about the characteristics and actions of this God in various directions. The continuity between the Bible and the Koran is visible from a definite perspective.

 The Koran greatly emphasizes the abstract God.  The first democratic characteristic of the God is a detailed elaboration in the scripture that God has created all human beings equal. Another economic democratic character that is visible in this God is that humans are created superior to all other animals (including the cow), and nature and its creatures have been created for food and other human purposes.  However, whatever ideas were inscribed into these two books the human recognition of godly creation is made to be understood by humanity at large first by Jesus Christ and then by Prophet Mohammad. Later in the course of history Mohammad remained a human prophet while Jesus Christ achieved the status of God.

Gautam Buddha and Jesus Christ are the only two prophets and social reformers who are considered to be gods and are recognized so across the world. Today there is a wide spread acceptance that Buddha is a god who has influenced the whole world with his ideas. Though idols and images of Buddha exist in monasteries and temples, it is his teachings, his way of life and his community-building concepts that rule the eastern part of the world. He has a lot of influence in India. Jesus has a greater influence on the world than Buddha. The institutionalization of Jesus’ life story and teachings in the four gospels of the Bible, the statue of his crucifixion, the cross, and the formation of the church, have changed the demographics of the world. Buddha and Jesus are against violence. Their teaching inspired hopes for equality across the whole human race. Both their life stories have extended discussions on societal construction, change in man-woman relationships, desired forms of rule and democratic values. There are plenty of implementable suggestions in their teachings. They have a strong impact on the social and political systems of the world.

There are many democratic values in the way the Buddha instituted his monastic communes and engaged with his disciples. The motto “Sangam Sharanam Gachami, Dhammam Sharanam Gachami, Buddham Sharanam Gachami” of those times has played a vital role in attacking caste, class and the inequalities between men and women.  The way Jesus engaged with his 12 disciples shows many democratic characteristics. More than this his fight for the freedom of Samaritans (dalits over there), women, Gentile men and women, slaves and prostitutes, seem to be one step ahead of the Buddha’s democratic values.  He is the one who clearly stated about the necessity of separating state and religion.  The ‘Kingdom of God’, which he placed in front of people as an inspiration, has greatly helped Christian countries to evolve their democratic principles. Buddha and Jesus have done a lot for the development and practice of democratic values in the society.

One clearly visible aspect in the above argument is that of the abstract God. Even now, more than state, law, police and military, greater power, what governs people’s behaviour across the world is the belief in abstract God. The concept of God and the devotion, love and fear surrounding it have an effect on all institutions. Even in today’s human governance the role of God is greater than that of the state.

Seen in this light, do the gods of Hindu society in both Vaishnava and Saiva schools demonstrate any democratic practices? In the present context when the state institutions and political parties of India have declared spiritual and political allegiance to Vaishnavism and its Gods, it is important for us to look into and discuss in depth, whether these gods and the religious ideology created around them show any characteristics of safeguarding the democratic life processes and state institutions? This is necessary because most of the people in the current ruling political party, BJP, in the Congress, communist-socialist leaders and also many regional party leaders are running their social and political lives and their parties based on Vaishnava values. Not even the communists and revolutionaries are out of this framework. Though they proclaim atheism they live within the Hindu ideological boundary and also conduct their politics in the same space.

 Vishnu and his incarnations–  Rama and Krishna–are imaginary Gods. They don’t have a human life story such as that of Buddha and Jesus. Except ‘Bhagavad Gita’ which is now being said to be written by Krishna there are no other teachings by them. All the stories and pictures that surround them are in front us today.

 Firstly, what is evidently visible in their stories is their violent heroism. God establishes violence as a norm worth following in practice. It is important to understand the impact of his description and image bearing weapons such as ‘thechakram, bow and arrow and Trishul (trident)’, have on human relations. The counter democratic process in them exists in the foundation of the caste system that is attributed to their birth.

 That Gods have caste, is a characteristic that enables believers to defend undemocratic values. We don’t get to see any roots of caste in Shiva. But all the Vaishnava gods have their roots in the Kshatriya caste and bear the weapons of the Kshatriya tradition.  Not having any democratic relationships either with their wives or with other women has greatly helped in building an undemocratic system.  It is these values, which resulted in constructing an undemocratic civil society in India.

The Saiva school is slightly different from this. It primarily revolves only around Shiva. That Shiva has a lot of tribal characteristics is well known. Shiva too is an imaginary God. Writers of the later period wove stories around him. The visible markers of the Saiva school are a Trishul (trident) in the hand, a snake around the neck, a tiger skin cloak and a juggu (small drum). No connection with any particular person or state principles are evident in either this form of Shiva or the worship of the Shiva linga as practiced. There are no signs that this school created any social democratic principles. Parties like the BJP don’t use Shiva much!

In their ritual and social food habits Vaishnavas and Saivas, undemocratically and according to Hindu principles, follow vegetarianism, meatarianism or fisherianism through a mix and match. Within these schools there have been anti-caste revolts, but these don’t have any kind of recognition outside India.

The central agenda of this article has been to see how these three schools we discussed above — Formless God; Buddha and Jesus; Hindu imaginary gods– have influenced the political systems. The effect of the formless god is great among the current Muslim nations.  Most of this effect has evolved from transformation of the principles of the Koran into social practices. The teachings of Prophet Mohammed (Hadith) has joined them. Democracy among all these nations is not able to stand so strong. There is a mix of dictatorship and democracy prevalent. The democratic countries which we see today as Christian countries have carried the ideals of the formless god along with that of Jesus. The study of the Bible had played a vital role in these countries. Positivism and the principles of democracy have emerged from the study of the bible. Today the political, social democracy is on firm ground in countries among which there is a great impact of Christianity.

Among the Eastern Buddhist countries, socialism and democracy are interconnected. The economic development in these countries (China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam) is very steady and strong. Along with the modernization of the society, emancipation of women is also happening rapidly. Within all these countries child marriages do not happen any more, and the widow marriages take place with a lot of respect. All this is possible because of the impact of Buddha on the civil society.

Now take the instances of remaining nations are India and Nepal. It is because of the Christian values brought by the British into India that the democratic system has come into place in 1947. Though the Vaishnava values tried hard to block democracy, the British imposed democracy on the country. A good constitution and democratic political practice have taken root because of the efforts of the Buddhist Ambedkar and the atheist Nehru. But in the civil society there is still a strong defensive attitude towards  Vaishnava and Shaiva inegalitarianism and their practices of untouchablity. Intellectuals who publish writings about Hindu gods, their religious books, most importantly about Brahmanical practices, should clarify this issue, shouldn’t they?

If the God worshipped by a person doesn’t have democratic values, where else he/she can get those democratic values from? In fact,  shouldn’t these clan gods explain why they create such gods who are violent, undemocratic and anti-women? Shouldn’t they also answer how, with so much of idol worship in a religion, people would learn democratic values from idols? They should indeed answer how a religion could be good if it refuses to change!

Note: This article is written by Prof. Kancha Illaiha in a Telgu daily. Here is the English translation. The right wing forces have filed a FIR on the ground that their  religious sentiment has been hurt by this article. The article is an objective analysis of linkages between three largest religions and democratic values.