Tolerance Debate – Demolish the caste system
Modern India has to be built on the plinth of equitable and scientific society. The annihilation of caste system is the necessary precondition for this. With this vision, All India Coordination Committee of Caste Annihilation Movement successfully conducted its Third National Convention at Ambedkar Hall, Guru Ghasidas Nagar,Shri Dular Vishwakarma Dharmshala, Barhaipara, Raipur, on 31st October (Saturday) to 1st November (Sunday).
First Day saw an important seminar on “Present Communal and Brahminical attack and Significance of Caste Annihilation Movement” and the second day had delegate session throughout the day. The National Convention was presided by Umakant, of All India Coordination Committee of Caste Annihilation Movement. The list of special guests comprises K N Ramchandran, General Secretary, CPI (ML), Red Star; Jayprakash, National Convener of Caste Annihilation Movement; and all the state representatives of Caste Annihilation Movement, such as Selvi and Advocate Manoharan (Tamil Nadu), Com. Gauri (Karnataka), Dr. Balram, S P Singh (Haryana); K P Singh (Delhi); Dr. R P Sukhdeve, Tuhin and Dr. Goldy M George (Chhattisgarh). Sanjeev Khudshah, State Convener of Caste Annihilation Movement, moderated the proceedings while Anju Meshram delivered the vote of thanks. Many intellectuals like Labh Singh (Punjab), Parijat (Delhi) Com. Saura, Durga, and Com. Bharat Bhushan also presented their perspective in the convention.
On this occasion, latest issues of the Hindi and English organs of the caste annihilation movement named ‘Caste Annihilation’ were also released and a procession shouting slogans like “Demolish the caste system” roamed the streets of Raipur in the afternoon. In the cultural evening, inspiring songs were sung by Chandrika, Bipasha Rao, Dr Rambali and Kaladas. The convention was well attended by large number of students, intellectuals, cultural activists and delegates from all the corners of the country like Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, UP, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala , Odisha and Chhattisgarh numbering nearly 300.
While delivering the keynote address, Com. Ramchandran said: We have a long tradition of resisting caste system that began with Gautam Buddha and the glorious tradition was carried over by Kabir, Raidas, Mahatma Phule and Dr. Ambedkar. But we are holding this convention at such a time when people are being repressed brutally in the name of caste and religion to satisfy some nefarious narrow political ends. People are being divided and their basic democratic rights are usurped – all in the name of religion and caste. At present, communal forces have been trying to consolidate its hegemony in all spheres of life. Attacks on oppressed class and caste are on the increase throughout the country. Presently, number of incidents of horrible attacks by the Casteist force on Dalits has been seen in the states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa. Imperialists and their henchmen are trying to consolidate their hold, whereas neo-liberal policy as well as the agenda of Hindu Rashtra is two aspects of the same strategy. Religious dogmatism, vulgarization of history and dividing the country in terms of religion and caste are pushing us back to the dark days. We must unite to face this challenge and transform the resistance movement into a revolution. All progressive persons must come forward and bear the responsibility of transforming our society and country into a socialist one.
In his address Mr. J P Narela said, Dalit and minorities are fearful and anxious of their safety on account of the perpetual incidents of atrocities and heinous crimes against them. Recent horrific incident of Haryana is a case in point. Complaints pertaining to such violence are either not entertained in the police stations or the perpetrators usually go scot free easily. The Dalits in rural area hardly could make their both ends meet and living in penury. None of the political parties did anything towards their betterment. It is time to struggle for wiping out the caste identities.
Com. Selvi affirmed that the situation in Tamil Nadu is no different from the rest of the country. Rather the situation has worsened in the past few years. Inter-caste and inter-community marriages are opposed and the couples are killed. Imperialism has been providing stimulants to caste system. We are to rise against the prevalent inequality and wipe out the unjust system.
According to Dr. Sukhdev, Babasaheb Ambedkar said that Caste system was like leprosy in Indian society. However, he was unhappy that most of the target group of his books was illiterate and literate sections were busy in carrying the dead and oppressive customs of Brahmanism. Criticisms had to be welcome and people and their organizations should rally round the Caste Annihilation Movement to fight out the present unjust system together.
Adv. Manoharan (Tamil Nadu) opined that the politics of pseudo-identity politics had been creating division among the Dalits. On the basis of scientific consciousness, they should have fought for a society without caste, class and religious creed. Com. Gouri (Karnataka) uttered that caste system was not only for the benefit of Brahmins but also a tool for divide and rule policy of the ruling class. Eradication of Caste system is a must for establishing equal rights for all. While sharing the recent upheaval in Gujarat, I P Dalsaniya said that it was an effort to divide the community and encourage caste war. In the process, many of the democratic rights, outcome of long arduous struggles of past decades, are being taken back.
Activist cum researcher Dr. Goldy M George critically analysed the limitation of understanding caste as the basic structure of Communist movements while the denial of class struggle by Dalit movements. Thus while the Communist parties and intellectuals remained entangled in the debate of basic structure and super structure, the Dalit movements remained ignorant about the onslaught by capitalist, fascist, communal and other forces. He emphasized on building a common platform to fight against the casteist, fascist, communal and capitalistic forces, bringing in justice as the centrality of the process and working towards a geocentric, egalitarian, secular and humanist culture in order to annihilate all forms of oppression and discrimination. We must remain aware of the shrewd divide and rule moves of the ruling class.
S P Singh (Haryana) emphasized the need of providing specific direction to Caste Annihilation Movement. He focused on the role of deep introspection and study. K P Singh (Delhi) earmarked the question of land as the basis of fierce caste based violence in Haryana and U. P. Most of the Dalits do not possess any land. The agenda of present government is to abolish caste based reservation and rule by creating division among the toilers. Umakant, in his presidential address, said that both class and caste identities have kept the Indian society divided. Both are unpleasant realities. These have made hell of the lives of Indian people. The national movement of Caste Annihilation has begun with the agenda of creating a casteless and classless society. Caste system is like leprosy in Indian society. Since the thousands of years, this cruel system has been resisting the change of time and still alive in its present form. The powerful ruling class has been denying its evil existence, probably because of its vested interest on its survival. Not a single day passes without hearing the news of oppression Dalit, tribal, minorities and women by the upper-caste and the rich. The toiling mass are the victim of double oppression,– one in agro fields or factories, the other by the upper caste. Some people pretend to be progressive or liberal, yet argue in favour of keeping the caste system in tact in the garb of preserving tradition etc. These hypocrites ought to be unmasked. He appealed to all and sundry to join the struggle for building a casteless classless society based on equality and justice.
The convention discussed and passed the draft constitution and the draft programme. The convention formed a 17 member Coordination Council and a 5 member Central Executive Body. Mr. Jayprakash Narela has been unanimously chosen as the All India Coordinator. The convention has passed many resolutions on nefarious attacks on Dalits, freedom of expression as well as perpetual detoriation of the status of the peasantry, vulgarization, communalization and saffronization of history and culture. It also expressed anxiety over the pauperization of peasants, increasing penury, price rise and atrocities on women.