In Conversation with Amar Lal Ram
Vidya Bhushan Rawat, a Radical Humanist, political analyst and human rights activist based in Delhi, speaks to Amar Lal Ram, Nepal
Amar Lal ram is a Dalit rights activist from the Saptarani district in the Madhesh region of Nepal. He comments specifically on the Dalit issues in Nepal with respect the cultural and political climate of the country, the contribution and justice scenario. He highlights the representation of the Dalits in the government and governing agencies.
He exposes the untouchability practice still prevalent in rural Nepal whereas a mild reduction in Urban area. He explains about the relationship of the Yaduvanshi (Yadav) with the Dalits( chamars) in the Tarai region, in the arena of food and water sharing and the political relationship.
He explains the professional, cultural and political difficulties of the Chamar (Dalit) and the atrocities that have happened in recent times. He explains the differences between the Dalits from the hills and the valley (Pahad and Tarai) also talks about the rise of Dalit movement and representation of Dalits in Parliament and other governing institutions.
They discuss the Land issues, struggle, hand holdings and Land rights for the upliftment of the community. While discussing the larger Dalit community they talk about the Dom community and their relationship with other Dalits and society. The issue of manual scavenging which is usually highly degrading to a human being is still being practised and never in the public domain with the civil society talks. They see Dr Ambedkar as an inspiration and work on his thoughts in Nepal for the upliftment of the community. Overall they seek to see reforms with the community and hope for a better future, breaking chains of untouchability. Chamars in Tarai had long left skinning dead cows now and there is an awareness growing among them even when they continue to be denied rights by the caste Hindus.
He wants proportionate representation for his community within the Dalit movement which according to him is dominated by the Dalit communities of the hills and the issues of the Tarai Dalits like Chamars, Doms, Mushahars, Dushadhs and manual scavengers are not being addressed satisfactorily by the broader Dalit movement of Nepal. This interview, therefore, is an eye opener and hope would strengthen the Dalit movement in Nepal and will make it more inclusive