Dalit movement

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Dalit concept has emerged as an important concept in sociological analysis in recent years.  The people of the society fall in the category of Dalits who have been traditionally considered unclean.  Gandhijee described him as Harijan whereas the Indian Constitution referred to him as a Scheduled Caste.  The reality is that these three concepts have different meanings.  Gandhiji used the word Harijan in reference to untouchables and the word has socio-cultural connotations.  At the same time, scheduled castes have legal meaning.  Whereas Dalit means the consciousness and knowledge in the untouchable caste through which they want to make their identity in the society.  In this way Dalitism presents an ideology that aims at an egalitarian society in society.  From the point of view of Marxist analysis, in the traditional Indian society, where untouchable castes were in the form of class in itself, in modern society they are turning into class for itself.  The views of Gandhi and Ambedkar are also different in this context.  Gandhi Jee has tried to improve his position under the caste system by denouncing him as Harijan and hence was against a separate voting list for him, but B.R.Ambedkar who himself belonged to ‘Mahar’ caste strongly opposed it.  He accepted Buddhism along with his followers and inspired the untouchable caste to adopt Buddhism.  Today, Ambedkarism is fast emerging in place of Gandhism in Indian politics and various political parties are trying to gain political advantage by promoting Ambedkarism.  The leaders of Bahujan Samajwadi Party have made an open announcement to end Gandhism.  While Kanshi Ram has described Gandhi as the biggest Hippocrate (Ram in his mouth next to him), Mayawati called him the child of the devil.  As far as the Dalit movement in India is concerned, this movement in real terms is a movement by the Harijans and the Scheduled Castes.  Ambedkar started the social political movement by organizing the Mahars and other backward castes in Maharashtra.  He aroused consciousness among these castes and inspired them to maintain their identity.  Several studies have been done on the Dalit movement in India, among which Bharat Patkar Gail – omvedt Ghanshyam Shah etc. are prominent.  These scholars have tried to explain the Dalit movement on the basis of Sanskritization.  Ghanshyam Shah has divided the Dalit movement into two main parts

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  1. Reformative Movement

  2. Alternative Movement

Reformative movement has focused mainly on the problem of change and untouchability under the caste system whereas the alternative movement.  The conversion has been studied keeping in mind the economic status and political power.

On the other hand, Bharat Patkar Gol Ombhet believes that the Dalit movement is a movement based mainly on caste and class, because in essence all the Dalit movements have anti-Brahmin, anti-upper caste and anti-caste system like Satyashodhak  Society, self-respect movement, Namasudra, Nair and Buddhist etc.  The anti-Brahmin voices were vocal in all the movements and emphasis was placed on untouchability.  The proof of the Dalit movement was that many voluntary organizations were formed for the upliftment of Dalits such as – Rural Communtiy Developement Association.  The Horizin Labor Ass, The Agricultural Labor movement, Dalit Sarn, Ahlabye Sarnofi fata utetett is quite active in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.  But the principal protagonist of the Dalit movement has been B.R Ambedkar, who was widely influenced by Jyotiba Phule and Kabir Panth.  He tried to give a new identity to the Dalits by honoring them, awakening them and he challenged the Dalits to become lions (Be a lion).  Backward Caste Movement: Actually the concept of backward class came into vogue a century ago.  But in sociological studies since the 1970s it has become the center of discussion.  Though the reservation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has been made in the Indian Constitution since the beginning of the Constitution, but the reservation for backward classes has been made only after the report of the Mandal Commission.  Actually we find that the backward class movement has been an integral part of our society.  Since the arrival of the British, as the English education was widely publicized and spread, the backward class movement started.  By the 19th century, the caste system was filled with many rigidities, rituals and ostentations. As a result, not only social and religious reform movement started in different parts of the country, but English education gave such a fertile land from which  Many movements started in Indian society.  By the 20th century, the backward class movement spread to many parts of the country.  In Bengal, where ethnic consciousness has often been considered low, at the end of this century, Yogis and Namasudras expressed their desire that they want to rise in the caste system.  Arya Samaj was established in 1875 and this society started the Shuddhi movement under which the lower castes were prevented from entering other religions.  An attempt was made to improve the status of untouchables in the caste system by the Shuddhi movement in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.  The Justice Party was founded in 1916 against Brahmins in South India.  The main objective of this party was to protect the interests of non-Brahmins with the support of national demands.  E.V.  Ramaswamy Naykar started the Self Respect Movement in 1925, however the Satyashodhak among it can be found in the society which was founded by Jyotiba Phule of Mali caste in Poona.  The aim of Satyashodhak society is to increase the dignity of the person irrespective of any caste.  The marriage was to oppose the service of a Brahmin at the time of marriage and to simplify rituals.  Ramaswamy Nayakar also started the self-respect movement, whose main objective was anti-Brahmin.  M.N.  Srinivas says that this movement was not only anti-Brahmin but also anti-north, anti-Sanskrit, anti-Hindi and anti-God.  This movement led to rituals

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, along with political and other objectives, added on the Tamil language.  R. S. Naykar (Periyar) founded the Dravida Kazhagam (D. K) in 1945 and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (D. M.K.) in 1945.  Although there was a rapid development in the feeling of nationalism in the first decade of the 20th century, it is also true that on the other hand, the anti-Brahmin movement became equally vocal.  The Justice Party demanded that the backward castes should be given reservation in enrollment in government jobs, engineering, medical and science studies.  That is, Justice Party first demanded Caste Quota.  In January 1960, the Mysore Government in Karnataka  R.  Established a committee headed by Nagan Gowda whose work was to classify the backward castes.  This committee declared Lingayat forward and Akkaliya backward, to which Lingayat people objected and finally the Mysore government had to give them backward status as well.  Although the Justice Party was completely defeated in the 1937 election, there was no shortage in the backward class movement, rather this movement continued.  After independence, the Kaka Kalelkar Committee was established in 1955.  Although this committee submitted its report to the government, the immediate government did not take any decision on it.  Later the Mandal Commission was established in 1977 when Morarji Desai was the Prime Minister and on the recommendation of this committee, Narasimha Rao’s government made a provision for reservation.


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