Residents of a village in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district have reportedly thrown out Dalits for raising voice against alleged discrimination. After being thrown out of their village, denied every opportunity to earn their livelihood a group of Dalits has now come to Hyderabad.
The reason for such a harsh punishment was the reported gumption of a Dalit to argue with an upper caste farmer. And even complain to the police when subsequently 80 Dalit families were attacked. “We have been warned by them that either we or even if our cattle venture into the main village or any of their farmlands. They have announced a fine of Rs 5000 and that they will beat us five times with footwear,” said Venkatesh, a dalit. What seems like the throwback to a bygone era happened in Kothapally village in Chief Minister YSR Rajasekhar Reddy’s native district. “I am not aware of it. Please give me the details and I will definitely get it examined,” said Rajashekhar Reddy, state Chief Minister.
The Dalits say the social boycott has been on for almost a month and they are not allowed to work in their own village nor in neighbouring villages. “How many days should we tolerate being humiliated and beaten in our own village? I have almost grown old and my children will slowly become like me. Enough is enough, we live or we die. This has to come to an end,” said Terasamma, a Dalit. “Social Boycott is an inhuman practice because in our civil society there is no practice like that. In olden days there was caste system, untouchability but this is enough evidence that the caste mindset is prevailing in the present society also,” said Vinay Kumar, President, Dalit Bahujan Front. Dalits not being allowed into temples and not being treated as equals is not uncommon in several villages of Andhra Pradesh. But with Dalit welfare groups getting into the act, at least in Kothapally, hopefully, the Dalits will be allowed to live and let live.
Posted on: June 29, 2006
from Rastriya Sahara, India Press
Frozabad, Uttar pradesh: A Dalit Mukesh resident of Nagla Madari village, Firojabad district went to attend a religious ceremony of Bhagvat Geeta at Bhuda Bharthana village. While he was participating in the ceremony the dominant caste people could not bear him there so they started beating him. While his family members and some villagers tried to rescue him the accused assaulted and chased them away. Finally the victim died due to beating. The perpetrators then left his body on National High Way and ran away.
The victim’s family members lodged a complaint against the accused, police have arrested two of the accused twelve.
Posted on: June 28, 2006
by Sameer Khan/Poonam Agarwal
Pradip, a young Dalit man from a remote village in Madhya Pradesh, decided to fight back when upper caste people in his village refused him water. Instead, the 20-year-old was beaten up and as a result, 250 Dalit families from his Chotiche village have been denied access to water.
Kalabai is a Dalit, but never before has she been so acutely conscious of her status. Her son Pradip has been missing since the incident. The village gets its water supply from a government tubewell, but upper caste families determine how much water the Dalit families have access to. “Villagers were not allowing him to take water from the well. So he asked for a little more water and a fight broke out,” said Kalabai.
Following this confrontation, the upper castes have stopped supplying water to the Dalits who are now forced to walk more than five km to the nearest water source. “The problem cropped up because the pipe of the tubewell was broken by the Dalits,” said Jagdish Patel, an upper caste villager. The local administration claims the issue is not caste clash but a mere dispute. “The dispute is not between the upper castes and Dalits. Rather it’s merely a case of water and we are going to arrest the culprits,” said D C Sagar, SP, Khandwa District. But as Dalits continue to be deprived of water, the only case registered so far is against them for instigating trouble.
Posted on: June 27, 2006
from The Times of India
BHOPAL: A Dalit woman sarpanch of Mahoikala village in Chattarpur district of MP was beaten up, stripped and then paraded naked by upper caste men for not paying them Rs 50,000 from the village development fund.
The woman’s plight does not end here as she had to knock the police door repeatedly for lodging an FIR. But when she did not succeed, she had to seek an SP MLA’s help for registering the FIR four days after the incident.
National Women’s Commission chairperson Girija Vyas on Thursday asked the Madhya Pradesh government to conduct a probe into the incident and submit a report within a week.
According to Indira Kushwah (45), the sarpanch, local goons Lakhan Shukla and Santosh Shukla had been harassing her for the last six months for money. Indira told mediapersons in Chhatarpur on Thursday, “Lakhan used to threaten me.
He used to say that I had been given money for the village development since I was the sarpanch. He also said the money should be given to him because I, being a Dalit, would not know how to spend it.”
“On the evening of June 17, when I turned down their demand, the two, armed with rifles, came to my hutment, dragged me and my children out and Lakhan started beating me. He and his men then stripped me and paraded naked in the village,” she alleged.
by Suchandana Gupta
Posted on: June 23, 2006
Islam is a religion of egalitarianism and brotherhood. After the defeat of Buddhism, it maintained these values in India for centuries. Not only did those who became Muslims benefit by escaping from caste restrictions, but Muslim rule also provided a social and political context for the growth of Bhakti movements. Within these, to a greater or less degree, Dalits and low castes sought a religious equality and expressed a devotionalism which heralded a supreme deity not very different from Allah. Syncretic cults also emerged, large and small, and the masses sought to memorialize holy men of whatever faith. The larger of the new cults, such as Sikhism and the Kabir Panth, probably never saw themselves as separate religions or as part of Hinduism or Muslims until recently.
During the pre-colonial period, there was no all-India “Muslim community” or “Hindu community” as such. Indian culture was complex, syncretic, pluralistic. It was this that changed radically during British rule. Making self-interested use of modern scholarship, the “Aryan theory” and the British tendency to identify all who were not Muslims or Christians as “Hindus,” the Brahminic elite formulated what we now call “Hinduism”: a religion that was said to be the “national” one of the people of India, but taking the Vedas as its source and privileging the Sanskrit tradition. Previously the word “Hindu” had referred to India as a region; it was “al-Hind” to the Islamic world. Now religion and nation were identified. During this period a process began in which gradually the Bahujan majority began to identify themselves as “Hindus” – and in opposition to these, others began to see themselves as “Muslims” within which an orthodox Islamic identity was emphasized. In this process, the syncretistic and bridging, often local, spiritual traditions that had been created were drawn into the vortex of identifying with one of the two “large” religious communities.
Dalits were caught in this process. They were defined, by the elite, as “Hindus” – though they had few rights within orthodox Hinduism, and were not allowed even into the temples of the Bhakti cults. Almost all elite nationalists, including Gandhi, argued that Dalits should not identify with an “alien” religion but instead seek to reform “their own” religion. Yet it was only by a strange, imposed definition that Dalits could be said to be part of the Vedic- identified Hinduism which had never given them religious or social rights.
During much of the colonial period also, Muslims and Dalits were allies. They had in common a fear – often a hatred – of the dominant Brahminism. As Ambedkar pointed out in his book Thoughts on Pakistan, between 1920 and 1937 it was Muslims, Dalits and Non-Brahmins who had worked the reforms, holding office in provincial assemblies and working in alliance on issues involving constructing the nation – on programmes which included opening up water tanks, roads, schools to Untouchables. In areas such as Bengal, a strong political alliance was formed between the Namasudra (Dalit) movement and the Muslims, which gained strength because both were predominantly tenants fighting anti-landlord struggles.
However, these alliances did not gain a strong philosophical basis. Most Dalits, even today, do not want to identify either as “Hindus” or “Muslims.” But Muslims did not appreciate this and failed to articulate an understanding of the oppressiveness of the caste system. As Muslims divided into more orthodox and more “liberal”, it was the Gandhian policies that provided the framework for the more “liberal” approach, that is for those associated with the Congress Party. (The left was on the whole irrelevant during this process since it did not deal with issues of culture). Gandhi sought unity between Hindus and Muslims as a major plank of the Congress – but it was a unity based on accepting Brahminism within Hindu society. In the phrase, “Ram-Rahim,” whatever “Rahim” may have symbolized, Ram represented a feudal, casteist patriarchal king who had killed the Shudra Shambuk for attempting tapascharya. “Ram Raj” had nothing to offer to Dalits. Gandhi was insistent in taking them as part of the “Hindu community” and thus opposed separate electorates for Dalits with a fervor that he never felt with Hindus. In other words, the conditions implicitly put forward by Gandhi for Hindu-Muslim unity included an acceptance of the framework of the caste system as it was imposed on Dalits and other low castes. Muslims were not to interfere in “Hindu” religion.
Ambedkar and other anti-caste reformers offered a different basis for unity, a common opposition to Brahminism and caste. But this was ignored by liberal Muslims. The orthodox Muslims, in contrast, simply emphasized conversion. This left a situation again, where Dalits seemed to be forced into the “Hindu” framework.” Finally, to discourage a Dalit-Muslim alliance those Dalits in Bengal and Hyderabad who had been particular supporters of independent Muslim states had very bad experiences. In Hyderabad, rural Dalits found themselves caught between two pincers of violence, atrocities committed against them both by the Razakars and then by the returning Hindus. In East Pakistan, though Dalits had supported the Muslims, many were attacked as “Hindus” and leaders like Jogendranath Mandal eventually fled back to India.
A solid Dalit-Muslim alliance for the future should be directed to building a prosperous, equalitarian, caste-and patriarchy-free India.
Muslims can make their contributions in three major ways: First, by rebuilding a Muslim culture that regains the artistic and scientific accomplishments of the past, that stands for modernism and an understanding of Islam that brings forth its egalitarianism as well as cultural-artistic achievements. Islam directed to maintaining its identity within a genuinely pluralistic society can be a powerful force for reconstructing the bases of an Indian national community.
Second, by recognizing that within Indian society, there is a special task of fighting the Brahminism that has become dominant, that maintains casteism and “feudal” attitudes. Freeing Indian culture from the stranglehold of Brahminism will provide the basis for a genuine national development. This cannot be done with an acceptance of Gandhism as the framework for “Hindu-Muslim unity.” It can only be done by listening to the Dalit voice, to Ambedkar, Phule, Periyar, Iyothee Thass – and Mayawati, Kanshi Ram and others today.
Third, as Dalits search for a new faith, Islam will participate in this process. Dalits must be respected as an autonomous community; as they themselves break more and more decisively with Brahminism, they will go diverse ways, and in the process some will turn to Islam.
by Gail Omvedt
Posted on: June 23, 2006
The Dalit Freedom Network’s International President, Joseph D’souza, spoke yesterday at the first Religious Freedom Day on the Hill. The event was hosted by Senator Rick Santorum, Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and included speeches from House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, Senator Norm Coleman, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom John Hanford, Representative Todd Akin, Representative Trent Franks, Senator Sam Brownback, and Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, the event was attended by more than a hundred notable international human rights advocates, religious leaders, Members of Congress, and Congressional staff.
Dr. D’souza spoke on a panel moderated by Nina Shea, Vice-Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, entitled “A Look Around the World.” In his speech, he outlined the challenges facing minority religions in India in the light of rising Hindu extremism. Highlighting the link between caste oppression and religious violence, he challenged the global community to investigate ongoing caste abuse and to protest the rise in anti-conversion legislation targeting minorities and low-caste people.
In addition to Dr. D’souza’s discussion about India, a few other notable speakers, including Dr. Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow at Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom, expressed concern about the rise in anti-Christian and anti-Muslim legislation passed in several Indian states. Dr. Marshall highlighted the inherent contradictions in such legislation as they go against international law in India’s constitution.
by Ben Marsh, Washington D.C. Co-ordinator, Dalit Freedom Network
Posted on: June 21, 2006
The Supreme Court of India, once it convenes in July 2006 after its summer vacations, is expected to take up hearings on the writ petition seeking full SC rights for all Dalits irrespective of religion.
The government has asked the National Commission on Religious and Linguistic Minorities, otherwise called the Justice Rangnath Misra Commission, to look into the demand and give its opinion.
This opinion will be presented before the Supreme Court.
The Misra Commission has asked the Tata Consultancy to organize seminars on the subject. It has also asked the public to give its suggestions in the next few weeks. Earlier it held public meetings in many cities in various parts of the countries.
Major Christian groups have already given one round of testimony. Apparently that has not satisfied someone in the Commission.
This is perhaps because the RSS and its more than 100 daughter organisations have launched a massive counter campaign against Christians in general and Christians of Dalit origin in particular and are flooding the offices of the Misra Commission with their poisonous hate mail.
This is to request you, therefore, to kindly send your letters and documents to the Justice Misra Commission in support of the demand of Christians of Dalit origin, to get this marginalized group its fundamental rights so brutally snatched from it by the Presidential Order 1950.
The postal address is: Member Secretary, NCRLM, Gate 30, II Floor, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium New Delhi 110003
The Chairman’s postal address is: 31, Aurangazeb Road New Delhi 110001.
The address of the Member secretary (a retired IAS officer of the rank of secretary to the Government of India) is: Mrs. Asha Das, D-297, Sarvodaya Enclave, G/F, New Delhi.
We sincerely thank you for your interest and assistance!
Mobilize as many letters and emails as you can
in the next couple of weeks, this is urgent!
by John Dayal
Sample letter to Justice Shri Ranganath Misra Commission
Justice Shri Ranganath Misra
National Commission for Religious & Linguistic Minorities
Gate No 30, II Floor, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
Lodi Road, New Delhi – 110 003
Subject: Extension of Reservations to Dalit Christians.
We are glad that the Commission headed by you has been requested to examine the justification for specification of Dalit Christians as Scheduled Castes for the purpose of reservation. Kindly permit us to submit the following for your kind consideration.
In spite of various efforts made by the governments, caste discrimination and untouchability remain a major social concern specific to Indian Society.
Although they are Christians, the Christians of Scheduled Castes Origin live and work along with Hindu Dalits. The stigma of untouchability and social ostracism haunt them wherever they go and whatever they do.
Just because of being Christians, they are not spared from communal violence and abuse by upper and dominant caste communities. Nor are they treated equally by the upper caste Christians.
That they continue to suffer from the same socio economic disabilities and that the change of religion does not alter their socio-economic status have been established by various commissions appointed by the governments from time to time and also by the many rulings by the Supreme Court.
Moreover the discrimination against Dalit Christians based on the third para of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 goes against many articles of the Constitution of India. It is discrimination on the basis of religion and it is sad to note that the violation is done by the State itself (Article 15)
It also goes against Freedom of Religion (Article 25). The Order forces the Dalits to remain in a particular religion, allured by the socio economic privileges and fear of losing the same if they dare to choose a religion of their choice.
The Dalit Christians, though they are Dalits, are deprived and denied of civil and legal safeguards and protection that are provided for Hindu Dalits under the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1976, Untouchability (Offences) Act 1955 and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. Thus they stand vulnerable to the abuses and attacks of the dominant castes, without any possibility of legal redressal as Dalits.
Besides, the Government has already amended the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order) 1950 twice: First in 1956 to include Dalit Sikhs and next in 1990 to include Dalit Buddhists in the Scheduled Castes.
The Government has already considered the demand of the Dalit Christians and prepared the draft amendment bill in 1996. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of Bill NO17 of 1996 says: “Converts to the Christian religion, who are of the Scheduled Castes origin, are precluded from the statutory benefits and safeguards accruing to members of the Scheduled Castes. Demands have been made from time to time for extending these benefits and safeguards to the Christians of the Scheduled Castes origin by granting them recognition as the Scheduled Castes on the ground that the change of religion has not altered their social and economic conditions. Upon due consideration of these demands, it is proposed to amend the relevant Constitution (Scheduled Cates) Orders to include the Christian converts from the Scheduled Castes as the Scheduled Castes therein, hence the Bill.”
It is clear from the above statement that the government is asserting that the ‘change of religion has not altered social and economic conditions’ and that it has ‘duly considered the demand and proposed to amend the Order’ and the statement holds good even now when caste violence is so open and the number is on the increase. Hence we request you to kindly recommend to the Government to include the Christians of Scheduled Caste Origin in the Scheduled Castes and provide them the same status as their counterparts in Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.
Name, Address and phone number
Posted on: June 19, 2006
All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations
85, Pocket 6, Sector 12, Dwarka, New Delhi 110 075, Tel. 09868184939
Dr. Udit Raj – National President
Mr. M. Madhu Chandra – Human Rights Coordinator
Imphal: June 15, 2006
Manipur state unit of All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations is formed at the closing session of One Day State Level Consultation on Current Affairs related to SC/ST and OBC Reservation held at Yambem Mani Sahitya Bhavan, Kakching on June 14, 2006. Dilip Kshetriya and Y. Premchand were selected anonymously as State President and State Vice-President along with nine other executive members representing different communities of state.
One day state level consultation was presided over by Shri Naorem Kalimohon – former Block Development Officer and Public leaders while M. Madhu Chandra – Human Rights Coordinator of All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations base at New Delhi spoke on current issues of Union HRD Minister – Arjun Singh’s proposal of 27% OBC Quota in Central Professional Institutions and its relation to the prevailing SC/ST Reservation.
Union HRD Minister’s proposal and decision of UPA Government of 27% OBC Quota in Higher Professional Institutions will highly benefit majority of Meitei Communities in Manipur who fall under OBC categories. Why the public of Manipur particularly Public leaders kept silent spectator to such future promising proposal? Madhu Chandra asks.
Mr. Madhu Chandra said further that 27% OBC Quota will give bright prospective for OBC communities of Manipur in higher professional studies. Presently Scheduled Caste communities of Manipur enjoy 15% and 7.5% by Scheduled tribe in central employment and educational studies. However the UPA governments 27% OBC quota will give 27% to OBC communities of Manipur in Higher Professional Studies, which is much higher percentage comparing to the SC/ST communities of Manipur are enjoying presently.
The Anti Quota movement led by Medicos, IIT and IIM students back up by upper caste communities have questioned the validity of Reservation in 21st Century. SC/ST communities in India could come up in education and economic through reservation provision available in Indian Constitution but it has become a threat when upper caste communities question its validity and mushrooming of private sectors.
Shri Naorem Kalimohon, in his concluding remark, appealed to whole public of Manipur that the reservation is a much needed mechanism for weaker section of the society, therefore UPA Government’s proposal of 27% OBC reservation should be welcomed by whole state as it will benefit majority of Manipur who fall under OBC categories.
Shri Kalimohon has also appealed to all Schedule Caste communities (Lois) of Manipur to stand united and fight the forces fighting to cease the reservation in employment and education. He further says, instead of fighting within ourselves, it will be better to fight the constitutional right of SC/ST which upper caste communities of the country are trying to take away.
The state Unit of All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations will join hands with National Head office of the Confederation to tackle any issues related to the welfare of SC/ST and OBC communities in the state.
Press Release by Mr. Dilip Kshetriya, State President, All India Confederation of SC/ST Organization, Manipur
Posted on: June 15, 2006
from The Tribune, June 11, 2006
In a move that may further fuel the quota controversy, the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry is “favourably” considering raising reservations for Scheduled Castes from the existing 15 per cent to 16.23 per cent following the increase in their population.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar said her Ministry also wanted the children of Dalit women who married out of their caste to get reservation benefits to ensure gender equality.
“We should increase the quantum of reservation for the SC in the wake of the increase in their population. I am favourably considering it,” she said in an interview to PTI here.
Kumar said this was necessary as the 2001 census had put the Dalit share of population at 16.23 per cent, as against 15 per cent in the 1961 census.
Besides the increase in population, Kumar said as many as 68 more castes and one religion—Buddhism—have been included in the SC category, resulting in an increase in numbers. “Therefore, it is justifiable to increase the quantum of reservation for the SC.” Sources said the ministry was working in this regard. A draft proposal for this points out that the quota, pegged at 12.5 per cent in 1953, was raised to 15 per cent in 1970 in light of the 1961 census.
The existing quota stands close to the limit at 49.5 per cent—15 per cent for SC, 7.5 per cent Scheduled Tribes and 27 per cent for OBCs, and the ceiling of 50 per cent set by the Supreme Court would be breached if the proposal was accepted.
Referring to gender equality, Kumar said, “There should not be gender discrimination. In a social system, the government should also have the right to include the mother’s name.
“That is also what I am considering,” she said when asked if the government planned to provide SC status to children of Dalit women married outside their caste.
To a specific question whether the Social Justice Ministry is considering the setting up of a committee to ascertain the status of Dalits on the lines of the Sachar Committee on the social, educational and economic status of minorities, she said there is already a committee on Dalit affairs appointed by the Prime Minister.
The 15-member panel headed by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to submit its report by October on the educational, social and economic status of Dalits in the country as well as measures to be taken by the government for their all-round development.
To another question on the government’s direction to NGOs aided by it to follow reservation rules for SCs, STs, OBCs and physically challenged, which may further create controversy, Kumar admitted her ministry had issued directions in this regard to all such organisations and institutions.
“Yes, I have directed all government-aided NGOs to have reservations as per the Constitutional norm for SCs, STs, OBCs and the disabled,” Kumar said.
She said she was satisfied with the response from NGOs on this count but had given more time to them to employ people from these sections.
Posted on: June 12, 2006
As the debate and clamour continues on the Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation issue, one more group has staked a claim in the quota sweepstakes. Dalits, who claim to form more than two-thirds of the Christian population of the country, have said that by keeping them out of caste based reservations for the last 50 years, the government has discriminated against them on the basis of their religion.
The demand for inclusion in the scheduled caste list by this group is not a new one. Over the decades, several representations have been made by them in different states in India. Last year, a Dalit Christian from Chennai and a member of the All India Christian Council, Franklin Ceasar, filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court saying that the government should correct a 55-year old presidential decree that, while making a strong case for reservations for Dalits belonging to the Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities, ignored similar claims by Christians.
After the petition was filed, the apex court directed the union government to file a reply as to why the benefits of reservations in jobs and educational institutions should not be extended to this underprivileged group. That was in August 2005. The government is yet to file a reply to the court’s query. But in April this year, it appointed a commission headed by Jagannath Mishra to frame an opinion in the issue. However, the appointment of the committee has been met with scepticism in the community which thinks this is just another tactic by the government to avoid the festering issue.
It has been a matter of debate whether Dalit Christians should get the privileges and reservations given to Dalit followers of religions that originated in India. After all, Christianity does not recognise castes. But according to the All India Christian Council (AICC), religious conversions have not made the lives of Dalit Christians easier in the backward areas of the country where they are concentrated. Their economic and social status remains as bad as their counterparts from other religions. It has been claimed that in some areas, they hide their religion so that they can enjoy the privileges of reservation. According to the All India Christian Council, these people suffer on two counts — one on account of their backward status and the other on account of religion.
For the community, this perceived injustice is traced to the presidential order of 1950 which denied them the status of Dalits and thus the rights, concessions and benefits that go to Dalits belonging to other religions.
Later, there were several attempts to rectify this anomaly including court judgements and recommendations on the issue by state governments and numerous commissions, including the Mandal Commission. In 1997, the union law secretary, in a reply to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, had promised that the injustice done to Dalit Christians by denying them scheduled caste status, would be undone by the Indian Parliament. But all these efforts have so far yielded no solution to this vexed issue.
Meanwhile, the feeling has grown in the group that though the presidential order vitiated the letter and spirit of the country’s secular and democratic Constitution, no attempt has been made by the state to rectify what Dalit Christians claim is blatant discrimination on the basis of religion. Out of the nearly 25 million Christians in the country, 19 million, most of them in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat claim Dalit origins. The AICC has recently petitioned the central government on the issue.
• Manoj R Nair writes on the multiple communities in Mumbai
Posted on: June 8, 2006
New Delhi: In the first-ever statistical analysis of its kind, a survey of the social profile of more than 300 senior journalists in 37 Hindi and English newspapers and television channels in the capital has found that “Hindu upper caste men” — who form eight per cent of the country’s population — hold 71 per cent of the top jobs in the national media. Women, non-upper castes, and Muslims are grossly under-represented in relation to their share in the population.
The survey notes that Dalits and Adivasis “are conspicuous by their absence among the decision-makers. Not even one of the 315 key decision-makers belonged to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes.”
The survey was designed and executed by Anil Chamaria, freelance journalist, Jitendra Kumar from the Media Study Group and Yogendra Yadav, senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
If men and women are taken together, the share of upper caste Hindus or `dwijas’ in the upper echelons of the media is 85 per cent. These castes account for 16 per cent of the national population.
Brahmins alone, the survey found, hold 49 per cent of the top jobs in national journalism. If non-`dwija’ forward castes like Marathas, Patels, Jats and Reddys are added, the total forward caste share stands at 88 per cent.
In contrast, OBCs, who are estimated to constitute around 40 per cent of the population, account for an “abysmally low” four per cent of top media jobs. In the English print media, OBCs account for just one per cent of top jobs and in the Hindi print media eight per cent. Muslims too, the survey noted, are “severely under-represented in the national media”: they account for only three per cent among the key decision makers in the national media, compared with 13.4 per cent in the country’s population.
Muslims do better in the Hindi electronic media, forming six per cent of key decision-makers. In the English electronic media, the survey found there were no Muslims at the senior-most levels in Delhi. Christians, however, are proportionately represented in the media (mainly in the English media). Their share is about four per cent compared with their population share of 2.3 per cent.
Doubly disadvantaged sections of the population, such as women Other Backward Classes or backward caste Muslims and Christians, are nearly absent among the key decision-makers. The survey, for example, found that there was not a single OBC woman among the 315 journalists enumerated.
When it comes to gender balance, the English electronic media does best, with women accounting for 32 per cent of the top jobs. Women account for 16 per cent of top editorial positions in the English print media and 14 per cent and 11 per cent in the Hindi print media and electronic media. Explaining the survey methodology, Yogendra Yadav said details of designation, age, religion, caste, gender, mother tongue, and domicile of up to a maximum of 10 key decision-makers from 37 `national’ media organisations were collected on a standard pro-forma between May 30 and June 3, 2006. In most cases, the data were generated by journalists from within each newspaper or television channel being surveyed. But he cautioned that the data might still contain some errors.
© Copyright 2000 – 2006 The Hindu
Posted on: June 6, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
BHUBANESWAR: A woman, who claimed to have fallen in love with a snake got married to the reptile as per Hindu rituals at Atala village of Orissa’s Khurda district, 14 km from here.
The unusual marriage took place on Wednesday with over 2,000 people taking out a procession to celebrate the event.
Attired in a silk saree, 30 year-old Bimbala Das was seen sitting for around one hour as priests chanted mantras to complete the ritual.
The snake which lived in an ant hill near her home, however, was not around and a brass replica of a serpent was kept by the side of the woman instead.
Bimbala said: “Though snakes cannot speak nor understand, we communicate in a peculiar way. Whenever I put milk near the ant hill where the Cobra lives, it (the snake) always comes out to drink.”
“I always get to see it every time I go near the ant hill. It has never harmed me,” she claimed.
When Bimbala disclosed her idea of marrying a snake, villagers reportedly appreciated it saying the marriage will bring good fortune to the area. They also came forward to offer a grand feast for those who came to attend the marriage.
Posted on: June 5, 2006
CNN-IBN – New Delhi,India
CASTE DEAL: No police action has been taken against the complain of the two sisters.
Bhopal: Two Dalit sisters in Madhya Pradesh lodged a complaint with the State Women’s Commission on Thursday, saying upper caste villagers were torturing them for refusing to plunge into flesh trade.
“Villagers ransacked our house, tore our clothes and beat us because we refused to succumb to their pressure to enter the flesh trade. They have threatened to kill our brother,” one of the sisters, Seema said in her complaint.
The incident took place May 12 at Pipariya town in Hoshangabad district.
The sisters, who earn their living by tailoring clothes, said they had lodged a police complaint, but no action had been taken against the culprits.
Incidents of crime against women has increased manifold in the last five years.
From 1,505 complaints received by the Women’s Commission in 2001-02, the number has increased to 3,514 in 2005-06.
The Chairperson of the Women’s Commission, Relam Chauhan, attributed the rise to increasing awareness among the people.
“The commission is organising awareness camps to make women aware of their rights. This is why more and more women approach us with their complaints,” Chauhan said.
She added that the commission would hold an inquiry into the complain received on Thursday and ensure that the culprits are punished.
Posted on: June 2, 2006