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Sunday, April 19, 2015



No inter-caste couple selected for Central aid in TN

The Dr. Ambedkar Foundation has not released financial assistance under “Dr.Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-caste Marriages” to any applicant from Tamil Nadu.
The foundation was established in 1992 under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to implement programmes for furthering the ideology of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.
Under the scheme, which was implemented on a pilot basis for two years from 2013-14, an assistance of Rs.2.50 lakh was extended to inter-caste married couples to settle down in the initial phase of their life.
It was planned to extend incentives to 500 such marriages in a financial year throughout the country and the target for Tamil Nadu was fixed at 36 couples a year.
Newly married couples, where one of the spouses belongs to Scheduled Caste and their marriage registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and with a total annual income of less than Rs.5 lakh, were eligible to apply for the assistance within one year of their marriage.
Applications recommended by the sitting Member of Parliament or Member of Legislative Assembly or the District Collector/ Magistrate should have to be submitted by the State/UT Government to the Foundation.
However, none of the inter-caste couples, who have entered into the wedlock in the financial year 2012-13 or 2013-14 in Tamil Nadu, seemed to have qualified to receive the financial assistance as per the reply given by the Foundation to a question raised in this regard under RTI Act by G.R.Ravi of Thamizh Makkal Panpattu Kazhagam, Kancheepuram.
Meanwhile, official sources in the district said that they were unaware of this scheme, as they had not forwarded any proposal.

Source: The Hindu dt 15-4-15

Ordinance on Dalit protection lapses

Even as the Modi government has sought to appropriate Ambedkar’s legacy at the start of the 125th birth anniversary of the architect of the Indian Constitution, it has been strangely neglectful of the well-being of the community that he represented, the Scheduled Castes.
Indeed, even though the government has shown a fondness for ruling by ordinance, the only ordinance that it has allowed to lapse is the one that relates to enforcing accountability on public servants who “wilfully neglect” duties on matters relating to atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
Indeed, 11 months ago when the BJP-led NDA government came to power, it inherited two ordinances from the previous Congress-led UPA government — The Securities Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 and The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014, promulgated on March 28 and March 4 respectively last year.
On assuming charge, the Modi government, in its first Budget session in 2014 swiftly converted the Securities Ordinance into an Act of Parliament on August 12, 2014, an amendment to further “protect the interests of investors and to ensure orderly development of securities markets.”
But the ordinance that was intended to strengthen the machinery to prevent atrocities against SCs and STs was allowed to lapse even though there were strong protests by the Opposition.
Instead, it was sent to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, headed by BJP MP Ramesh Bais: the report was submitted on December 19, 2014. And the Bill has been pending since, even though in January 2015, after the winter session ended, the Modi government had a slew of ordinances promulgated.
In the first half of the Budget Session that followed, the government’s parliamentary managers used all their diplomacy to get five of six ordinances converted into Acts of Parliament. And this was managed, despite a largely uncooperative opposition in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is outnumbered
Source : The Hindu dt 15-4-15
Gandhi Comment on Babasheb B.R.Ambedkar.

இப்போதாவது விழித்துக்கொள்வோம்!
டாக்டர் அம்பேத்கரின் நிலைமையில் நான் இருந்திருந்தால், அடக்கவே முடியாத கோபம் கொண்டவனாகத்தான் இருந்திருப்பேன். அவர் இடத்தில் நான் இருந்திருந்தால் அஹிம்சை மீது நம்பிக்கை உள்ளவனாக இருந்திருக்க மாட்டேன்.
டாக்டர் அம்பேத்கர் என்ன செய்தாலும் அதை நாம் பணிவுடன் ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள வேண்டும். அவர் நம்மைச் செருப்பால் அடித்தாலும் நாம் அதை ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள வேண்டும்… அவரும் அவரது மக்களும் இந்து மதத்தின் மீது நம்பிக்கை இழந்து வேறு மதத்துக்கு மாறினாலும் அதை நமது பிராயச்சித்தம் என்றே நாம் கருத வேண்டும். நமக்கு இத்தகைய தண்டனை வேண்டியதுதான். இப்போதாவது நாம் விழித்துக்கொண்டு, நமது பாவங்களிலிருந்து நம்மைச் சுத்திகரித்துக்கொள்ள வேண்டும்.
- காந்தி
Source: The Hindu -Tamil edition dt 14-4-15
அம்பேத்கர் நூல்கள்

அம்பேத்கரின் படைப்புகள் ஆங்கிலத்தில் 18 தொகுதிகளாக மகாராஷ்டிர அரசால் வெளியிடப் பட்டுள்ளன. மத்திய அரசு அமைத்துள்ள அம்பேத்கர் பவுண்டேஷன் அவரது படைப்புகளை இந்தி, மலையாளம், தமிழ், உருது, பெங்காலி, பஞ்சாபி, ஒரியா, தெலுங்கு, குஜராத்தி ஆகிய 9 மொழிகளில் இதுவரை மொழியாக்கம் செய்துவருகிறது என்று மத்திய அரசு கடந்த மாதம் நாடாளுமன்றத்தில் தெரிவித்துள்ளது. ஆங்கிலத்தின் 18 தொகுதிகள் மற்ற மொழிகளில் 40 தொகுதிகளாக ஆக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.
தமிழிலும் 38 தொகுதிகள் வரை வெளியாகியுள்ளன. மற்ற மொழிகளில் ஒருசில தொகுதிகள் மட்டுமே வெளியாகியுள்ளன. ஆங்கில மொழியில் வெளியான படைப்புகள் போக மராத்தி மொழியிலும் பல படைப்புகள் இன்னும் மொழிபெயர்க்கப்படாமல் இருக்கின்றன என்கிறார் வரலாற்று ஆய்வாளர் வ.கீதா.
அவரது படைப்புகளிலேயே இன்னமும் பரபரப்பாக விவாதிக்கப்படுவதாக ‘சாதி அழித்தொழிப்பு’ எனும் நூல் உள்ளது. இந்தப் புத்தகத்துக்குத் தமிழில் ஓரிரு மொழிபெயர்ப்புகள் வெளியாகியிருக்கின்றன. ‘புத்தரும் தம்மமும்’ எனும் அம்பேத்கரின் நூலைப் பேராசிரியர் பெரியார்தாசன் தமிழாக்கம் செய்துள்ளார்.
தனஞ்செய்கீர் எழுதிய ‘அம்பேத்கர்: லைஃப் அண்டு மிஷன்’ என்ற புத்தகம் அம்பேத்கரின் ஒப்புதலோடு வெளியான அவரது வாழ்க்கை வரலாறு. கம்யூனிச இயக்கத் தலைவரான ஏ.எஸ்.கே. ஐயங்கார் என்பவர் எழுதிய ‘டாக்டர் அம்பேத்கர் வாழ்க்கை வரலாறும் தாழ்த்தப்பட்ட இன மக்களின் பிரச்சினைகளும்’ எனும் நூலை எதிர் வெளியீடு பதிப்பித்துள்ளது. ‘அம்பேத்கரின் வழித்தடத்தில் வரலாற்று நினைவுகள்’ எனும் நூலை அம்பேத்கருக்குச் செயலாளராக இருந்த பகவான்தாஸ் எழுதியுள்ளார். அதனை இந்திரா காந்தி அலங்காரம் மொழியாக்கம் செய்துள்ளார்.
மத்திய அரசின் சார்பாக எடுக்கப்பட்ட ‘டாக்டர் பாபாசாஹேப் அம்பேத்கர்’ திரைப்படத்தில் நடிகர் மம்முட்டி அம்பேத்கர் வேடத்தில் நடித்துள்ளார். இந்தப் படத்துக்காக அவருக்கு தேசிய விருது கிடைத்தது. அது தமிழிலும் வெளியிடப்பட்டது.
அம்பேத்கரின் வாழ்க்கையை ஒட்டியும் தலித் மக்கள் அனுபவித்துவரும் கொடுமைகளைப் பற்றியும் ஆனந்த பட்வர்தன் எடுத்த மிக முக்கியமான ஆவணப்படம்தான் ‘ஜெய் பீம் காம்ரேடு’.
அம்பேத்கரின் படைப்புகளையும் அம்பேத்கர் தொடர்பான விவாதங்களையும் அறிந்துகொள்ள விரும்புவோர் கீழ்க்கண்ட சுட்டிகளைப் பார்க்கலாம்.

How do we remember B.R. Ambedkar? He may not have been a hero of the war of Indian independence, but he is the hero who built an independent India.

On the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, on April 14, India still finds itself unable to induct him into the pantheon of greats unquestioningly. His statue, with its ubiquitous electric blue suit, may be a common sight at bus stands, bastis and universities, but it hardly brings out the fact that his life is one that was overshadowed by iconography and idolatry. We forget that Ambedkar was one of modern India’s first great economic thinkers, its constitutional draftsman and its first law minister who ensured the codification of Hindu law.
Assimilating Dr. Ambedkar into the national pantheon of the freedom struggle is difficult because his life was one of steady accretion of ideas, of making a stand on rights and of standing up to social wrongs. His biggest fights were with fellow Indians and not with foreign rulers. He led no satyagraha against the British, he led no march on Delhi, he broke no repressive law to court arrest for it. In fact, his father and ancestors had willingly served in the British Army even in the days of the East India Company. He himself served as a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. His often stated view was that British rule had come as a liberator for the depressed classes. Despite all this, he was in agreement with the nationalists, that India must be ruled by Indians.
In a corner

His status in the national pantheon, where he occupies a corner all by himself, and slightly apart from the nationalist heroes of independence, is somewhat like his status in school. He once wrote: “I knew that I was an untouchable, and that untouchables were subjected to certain indignities and discriminations. For instance, I knew that in the school I could not sit in the midst of my classmates according to my rank [in class performance], but that I was to sit in a corner by myself.”
This separateness was to lead him to assert in more than one instance, that the depressed classes he represented, were not to be counted among the Hindus. He famously chose to separately represent the depressed classes at the Round Table Conference in the 1930s, where Gandhiji was sent as the sole representative of the Congress. Having secured a separate electorate for the depressed classes, he had to give it up in the face of a fasting Mahatma, whose death he did not want ascribed to those outside the pale of varnashrama dharma. After this, the Poona Pact of 1932 ensured a greater number of seats for the depressed classes, but it was within a common Hindu electorate. Ambedkar never was sure that he had secured a fair bargain.
He never fully forgave Gandhiji for the pressure exerted on him. He told his followers, “There have been many mahatmas in India whose sole object was to remove untouchability and to elevate and absorb the depressed classes, but everyone has failed in their mission. Mahatmas have come, mahatmas have gone but the untouchables have remained as untouchables.” Ambedkar told Dalits: “You must abolish your slavery yourselves. Do not depend for its abolition upon god or a superman. ...We must shape our course ourselves and by ourselves.”
A fight for rights

The question of whether the depressed classes were to be counted among Hindus or separately, continued to be relevant especially when the country was going to be partitioned on religious lines. There were some Dalit leaders like B. Shyam Sunder, who vociferously said: “We are not Hindus, we have nothing to do with the Hindu caste system, yet we have been included among them by them and for them.” With the support of the Nizam of Hyderabad and Master Tara Singh of the Akalis, Shyam Sunder launched the Dalit-Muslim unity movement and urged his people to join hands with Muslims.
The imminent arrival of Independence saw a constituent assembly being elected to draw up a constitution for the new nation. Dr. Ambedkar was first elected to the assembly from an undivided Bengal. Because he lacked the requisite support in his home province of Bombay, he was forced to seek election from Bengal, a province he was unfamiliar with. Throughout the 1940s, Ambedkar and the Congress clashed over issues of the rights and the representation of the depressed classes. Ambedkar was a critic of the party’s positions on many an issue, which he believed were inimical to Dalit interests. Therefore, Sardar Patel personally directed the Bombay Congress to select strong Dalit candidates who could defeat Dr. Ambedkar’s nominees. Despite the politics, once in the Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar worked closely with his Congress colleagues in formulating and drafting the Constitution.
Consequent to the announcement of Partition, fresh elections had to be held for only the seats from West Bengal. Dr. Ambedkar would not have possibly been elected again. At this stage he was co-opted by the Congress, into the seat vacated by M.R. Jayakar from Bombay. Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote to B.G. Kher, then Prime Minister of Bombay and said: “Apart from any other consideration we have found Dr. Ambedkar’s work both in Constituent Assembly and the various committees to which he was appointed to be of such an order as to require that we should not be deprived of his services. As you know, he was elected from Bengal and after the division of the province he was ceased to be a member of the Constituent Assembly commencing from the 14th July 1947 and it is therefore necessary that he should be elected immediately.” Even Sardar Patel stepped in to persuade both Kher and G.P. Mavalankar, who was otherwise slated to fill in the vacancy caused by Jayakar.
It is against these adverse circumstances, that we must evaluate Ambedkar’s achievements in the Constituent Assembly. He walked a tightrope, between securing a modern society for all Indians and ensuring that a modern state stabilised around a constitutional architecture of social change. Granville Austin has rightly described the Indian Constitution drafted by Ambedkar as “first and foremost a social document. ... The majority of India’s constitutional provisions are either directly arrived at furthering the aim of social revolution or attempt to foster this revolution by establishing conditions necessary for its achievement.”
Making a mark

The Constituent Assembly was the hallowed ground from which Ambedkar made his most lasting contribution to all people of independent India, Dalit, savarna and non-Hindu alike. As chairman of the drafting committee, it was his interventions in the debates of the assembly that were soon to become definitive expositions on the intent of the framers. He also joined Nehru’s cabinet as the first Law Minister of independent India.
He explained to the Assembly, “On the 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognising the principle of one-man-one-vote and one-vote-one-value. In our social and economic life, we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one-man-one-value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril….”
Despite his insistence on individual liberties being enshrined as fundamental rights, Ambedkar was a realist as to their worth as guarantees. He said: “The prevalent view is that once the rights are enacted in law then they are safeguarded. This again is an unwarranted assumption. As experience proves, rights are protected not by law but by social and moral conscience of the society.”
Political battles

Ambedkar’s constitution was barely finished and adopted, when he plunged into piloting the Hindu Code Bill. There was opposition from the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, as well as a host of Congressmen like Pattabhi Sitaramayya, but Ambedkar kept pushing for the passage of the Act, by the Constituent Assembly, which functioned as an interim parliament. Nehru was advised by Rajagopala Ayyangar and others that it was better to wait till after the general election of 1952. When it became apparent that the bill was going to be deferred, Ambedkar resigned in protest from the cabinet in September 1951. The Hindu Code Bill finally came about in 1956.
 B.R. Ambedkar walked a tightrope, between securing a modern society for all Indians and ensuring that a modern state stabilised around a constitutional architecture of social change. 
In 1952, in independent India’s first general election, he was defeated from the Bombay North Constituency by a Dalit from the Congress. Though he was elected to the Rajya Sabha immediately thereafter, he made a second attempt in 1954 to enter the Lok Sabha through a by-election for the Bhandara seat. He failed again.
His political battles and his voracious capacity for intellectual work began affecting his health. His spirit to fight on and his spiritual quest though continued undaunted. In the 1930s, his first wife, Ramabai, who was dying, had asked him to take her to Pandharpur on a pilgrimage. The entry of untouchables was barred there. He then promised to build a new Pandharpur outside Hinduism.
After her passing, he declared at Yeola in 1935: “I was born a Hindu, I had no choice. But I will not die a Hindu because I do have a choice.” In the twilight of his life, on October 14, 1956, two months before his death, he left Hinduism to become a Buddhist. His Brahmin-born second wife and nearly six lakh of his followers followed suit.
As he lay down for the night on December 5, 1956, Dr. Ambedkar had by his side, the preface to his latest book, The Buddha and his Dhamma. He wanted to work on it but it was not to be. The book was published posthumously as Babasaheb, never woke up and moved into history on December 6, 1956.
How do we remember Ambedkar? He gave the nation a constitution that has endured, he forced it to look shamefaced at its own social inequities, and he gave the most oppressed Indians, the hope of a better nation to come. He may not have been a hero of the war of Indian independence, but he is the hero who built an independent India. It is time that we cease to keep him ‘slightly apart’.
Source : The Hindu dt 14-4-15

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Competition on to appropriate his legacy; events planned throughout the year.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s 124th birth anniversary on Tuesday became an occasion for political parties of all hues to lay claim to his legacy and, in effect, reach out to Dalit voters. The enthusiasm of the parties to launch year-long celebrations seemed to have been spurred by the fact that Dalits had not voted only along caste lines in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP used the day to soft-launch its campaign for the Bihar Assembly polls scheduled later this year, with a ‘Viraat Karyakarta Samagam’ in Patna, addressed by party president Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Congress launched the year-long celebration of Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th birth year from Mhow, his birthplace in Madhya Pradesh, with the former Home Minister and Dalit leader, Sushil Kumar Shinde, presiding over the event. The party plans a bigger event once vice-president Rahul Gandhi is back from his leave of absence. The year-long commemoration will end in Nagpur, where Dr. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism with his followers in 1956.
A number of programmes were held all over the country to mark the occasion, including in Parliament. It was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Ms. Gandhi later issued a written statement saying, “His faith in democracy, which he shared with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and all the stalwarts of the freedom movement, is also one of his proud legacies to our country.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Parties pay homage to Ambedkar

Political parties and social organisations celebrated the 125th birth anniversary of the author of Indian Constitution, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, in Thanjavur on Tuesday amid demands that the great leader be honoured with a statue at a public place in the city.
The AIADMK farmers’ wing secretary, Durai Govindarajan, and Thanjavur MP K.Parasuraman led the party cadres in paying homage to the noted social emancipator by garlanding his statue inside the Adhi Tamilar Peravai party office on the Nanjikkottai Road.
Among those who participated in the event included Mayor Savitri Gopal and District Panchayat Chairperson Amudharani Ravichandran.
The Congress delegation was led by the district senior leader Nanjil Varadarajan, city unit president Rajendran and secretary S.R.Vasu. The BJP was represented by its district president Annamalai and city unit president Vinayakam.
Meanwhile, the AITUC cadres garlanded a portrait of Dr. Ambedkar at the Old Bus Stand where the AITUC State general secretary J.Lakshmanan, State secretary Chandrakumar, CPI district secretary Tirugnanam, DMK’s Labour Progressive Front leader Pandian, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader Kalandher, IJK district president Simione Xavier Raj and others paid their respects to the great leader. Cutting across the political and social spectrum, many leaders expressed dismay over the fact that the city never had a statue of Dr. Ambedkar in public space for the people to pay homage during important days.
The State government and public-spirited organisations must come forward to suitably honour the Father of Indian Constitution without breaching the guidelines of the Supreme Court on installation of statues of national leaders.
The only statue of Dr. Ambedkar in Thanjavur city was at the Adhi Tamilar Peravai office complex on Nanjikkottai Road.