Thursday, September 27, 2007

Globalization, Dalits and their impact on Dalits

Globalization, Religion and their impact on Dalits

D. Murali Manohar
Sr. Lecturer
Dept. of English
University of Hyderabad
Hyderabad-46


Globalization is a boon for some and a curse for others. Similarly, religion is a boon for some and a curse for others. The boon factor of globalization is for property owners, businesspersons, industrialists, real estate personnel, capitalists, entrepreneurs, software companies to mention only a few. The curse factor is for labor, employees of middle income group, part-time workers, oppressed and exploited people such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward castes and Muslim minorities to mention a few.

Liberalization bill was introduced by late former Prime Minister Sri P. V. Narasimha Rao in 1991 during his tenure when the present Prime Minister Sri Manmohan Singh was the then Finance Minister. There was a lot of outcry against this bill. However, it was passed in the Parliament as the majority was with the ruling party, which was the then coalition party. I knew that it would affect large sections of people of India. I was an undergraduate student then. I forecasted this result of affecting whole of India and particularly the Dalits. Let me talk of Dalits a little later. I would like to say that the Globalization has affected the job avenues to across the class and castes. There used to be lot of employment opportunities to the graduates and post-graduates and the nature of job was permanent. After the Globalization, one could find only jobs on contract basis/Part time/consolidated payment. The government is only an observer of all these developments. They cannot go against the World Bank terms. They dance according to the music of World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The effect of Globalization is seen in Uttar Pradesh, which was reported in an English paper[i] as “Brahmins seek ‘Dalit Jobs’”. The applicants were “Brahmins, Misras, Shuklas, Tripathis and Tiwaris”. How should we understand this? Do the upper castes affect dalits or dalits affected by upper castes? One of the applicants says to the Deccan Chronicle news reporter that; “It is better to become a scavenger than to become a criminal. If I do not get this job, I may have to take to crime to fend for my family, which is dependent on me for a square meal” (DC : 2). I was reminded of Kancha Ilaiah’s chapter “Dalitization not Hinduaization” in his book Why I am not a Hindu. He proposes:

Dalitization requires that the whole of Indian society learns from the Dalitwaadas (here I am speaking specifically about scheduled castes localities). It requires that we look at the Dalitwaadas in order to acquire a new consciousness. It requires that we attend to life in these waadas; that we appreciate what is positive, what is humane and what can be extended from Dalitwaadas to the whole of society. (Ilaiah 115-116)

Are the upper castes learning from the experiences and consciousness of “Dalitwaadas” as opined by Ilaiah? If Globalization can affect the upper castes, one can imagine how much it can affect the Dalits.

As far as religion is concerned, the boon factor is for high castes of chathur varna caste system of Hinduism such as Brahmins, kshatriyas, vysyas, and sudras. However, Kancha Ilaiah has excluded sudras in his book Why I am Not a Hindu (1996)[ii] from the boon factor. I have a problem with him about sudras excluding from the boon factor not as same as the other three castes enjoy the boon factor. How can he say that sudra’s are excluded from the boon factor? In fact, the Sudra castes such as Reddys and Kammas are, whom he calls Neo-Kshatriyas, the ones who follow the untouchability most along with the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vysyas at the villages. The curse factor is for scheduled castes in which there are hundreds of sub-castes. This is the reason why the dalits convert to religions such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar has been the inspiration to all dalits in order to fight against the oppression. He did fight as much as he could during the freedom struggle for the freedom of oppression. One could see the impact of Ambedkar’s call for conversion from Hinduism. As a result, lakhs of dalits came forward to embrace Buddhism. Dalit Buddhists are still trying to convert dalits from Hinduism and Christianity to Buddhism. I am of the opinion that dalits were born Hindus including Dr. Ambedkar. Due to the ill-treatment, oppression, exploitation of Dalits, the Dalits are spreading their wings to the other available religions, which seem to discriminate less than the Hinduism. It is not that religions such as Christianity and Islam are free from oppression. They do show discrimination as the writers have shown in their works. For example, Bama in her book Karukku (2002)[iii] and Saleem in his Vendimegham (2006)[iv] have shown how Christianity and Islam respectively are no better than Hinduism. Having been in Hinduism, first his father then Narendre Jadhav himself in his book Outcaste: A Memoir[v] moves into Buddhism also takes his family along with him. His wife Sonu, of course, does not leave Hinduism completely. She tries to argue with her husband, in order to know, how to forget the local deities who are part of Hindu rituals and way of worship. The question I would like to ask in this gathering is that why do not the Hindu organizations such as Kanchi kama Khoti, Viswa Hindu Parishad and Rastria Swayam Sevak, Bhajarang Dal, International Society for Krishna Consciousness and other allied Hindu organizations do not condemn the atrocities against dalits who are practicing Hinduism. The opinion of Vasant Sathe reiterates my argument:
If the objective to bring these underprivileged people on the same level as the rest, then the best solution would be for the Shankaracharyas and various religious heads to come together and declare, as was done Adishankaracharya, “that by birth everyone is a manual worker. It is by education that he becomes twice born.” Janamana Jayate Shudro-Sanskarat Dwijam Ucchate. Let anybody who goes to school be declared a Brahmin with the right for upanayan. This way we will be able to make every human being a true seeker of truth i.e Brahmin. Thus a true Vedantic revolution of equality will be brought about.[vi]
There are attacks on Dalit Hindus who celebrate Hindu festivals with the utmost devotion. To give you an example in a village called Pyapili, Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh when the dalits were participating in the procession of Ganesh on the immersion (Nimajjanam) day, they were attacked by the upper castes. No Hindu organization condemns this act. Why don’t they? Don’t the Hindus want scheduled castes to worship and celebrate Vinayaka Chaturthi and other Hindu religious festivals in their village? Why should the upper castes try to suppress their devotion to Lord Ganesh? The Dalit Hindus have been celebrating the Hindu festivals with utmost devotion. They also participate in all the cultural activities. To quote the celebration of Vinayaka Chaturthi in Narendra Jhadav’s Outcaste, one finds how devotionally they worship and participate in it. Can any Hindu stop any Dalit who is practicing the Hindu religion out of his own interest or out of his own parents’ ancestral practice? No religion is a private property. Any one can practice any religion. It is guaranteed by Indian constitution. I must say that there is a change in the attitude of caste Hindus towards the dalits. It may be slightly seen only in towns and cities but not at the village level.

On the one hand, I expect the Hindu religious organizations to condemn atrocities on dalits, on the other hand, I also expect the intellectuals also to condemn it. Recently, I attended a National Conference on Democracy and Caste in India at CIEFL from 10-12 August 2006 in which I wanted to hear from the much acclaimed intellectual and social critic called Partha Chatterjee to condemn the atrocities plead for casteless society. However, I felt that he came with an agenda that whatever the Dalits do, they cannot be considered on par with caste Hindus. There may be a change in the attitude of the high castes but still they cannot expect the Dalits to be accepted. If this is the response of a famous educationist and critic of society, you cannot expect Dalits to vote for the parties like BJP, which is fully a Hindutva Party. Recently, the RSS has expressed that “only dalits and deprived can uplift us, this is undoubted truth” says a hardhitting editorial in the latest issue of RSS Hindi organ Panchjanya”[vii]. Why will the dalits vote to a party that may have made a Dalit as the President of the Party for some time and claim that they had given a post of a President. Dalits are more aware and more conscious about the ploy that the upper castes play with the Dalits. They are tired of exploitation. I would also advice the Congress party to be cautious about the psyche and emotions of Dalits. So far Dalits have been backing up the Congress thinking that it is a secular party although most of the leaders are upper castes still they have been voting for Congress. It is not a communal party. The Congress party may have the agenda on the principles of secularism giving importance to all castes and classes. The Congress party has large number of upper castes and the representation of Dalits according to the proportionate of Dalit population. How secular are these congress leaders? Even as members of Assemblies or Parliament, they have to face the political, social and religious oppression and suppression. I would also blame the Dalit leaders who are in the positions and work for the welfare of Dalits either doing nothing or doing a little. How many of them are really working for the Dalits’ welfare? They also contest in elections and become M. L. As / M. Ps and behave as equal as the other upper caste leaders. If at all, any Dalit leader who has done substantially for the welfare of Dalits is, it is Mr. Ram Vilas Pashwan. As a Railway Minister, he had filled thousands of posts in the Railways.

Can any caste Hindu prevent any Dalit worshipping Hindu gods? They cannot do at all places. They can definitely do at the villages because the population is less and everybody knows about every body’s caste. How could any one know who belongs to which caste? There are some temples, which ask the devotees to show/prove that they belong to upper castes. Masaala Eeranna was denied permission to enter into Raghavendra Swami temple in Mantralayam which is in Kurnool District. The reason was that he was a Dalit. Moreover, he was an M.L.A at that time and he contested in a reserved constituency. Obviously, he was a public figure and his caste was known to everybody. There is a tradition in this temple that no male devotee should enter the Garbhagudi with a shirt on his body. The men have to go half-naked. Otherwise, the devotees are not allowed.

What about the temples which have Dalits as gods and deities? Who is the temple priest in a Dalit deity temple? I would like to talk about a temple that is built and being worshipped by all castes mostly the Dalits. The temple priest is a Brahmin. The temple was constructed with initiation by the town M.L.A. along with donations from businesspersons and philanthropists. She became a yogini without wearing any clothes. There was spiritual power in her. Every year in the month of July and every month of third Friday there are bhajans and Keerthans on her name. Jatara (festival) is celebrated with lakhs of people descending to the town from the surrounding villages. The deity belongs to Mala community one of the sub castes of Scheduled Caste of Andhra Pradesh. This temple is called Mahayogini Laxmi Temple located in Adoni Town, Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh.

How united are Hindus? Are there no differences and hegemonies with in the Hinduism? Ilaiah calls Vaishnavism as fundamentalist Hindu religion whereas the Veerashaivism as the liberal Hinduism. Are not there conflicts between Vaishnavism and Veerashaivism? Tamilnadu is known for Vaishnavism and Karnataka is known for Veerashaivism. Siv Sena is one group of Hinduism and Bhajrang Dal as another group which has Hanuman as their revered god.

How does globalization affect Dalits? It is through privatizing the public sector organizations or closing down the factories. There was an attempt to privatize or sell the shares of B.H.E.L one of the profit making industries in India to private businesspersons. It was due to the opposition of CPM party and CPI parties, which are alliances of UPA, the government rolled back. Otherwise, the much-profited public sector named Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited, one of the Navaratnas, would have been sold. The result would be several dalits who are employees of this would fear that they would lose their jobs or in future, the dalits would not be taken into it.

Globalization has resulted in reducing the staff in government departments. If the number of staff is reduced, it affects both the upper castes as well as Dalits. After the implementation of reservation, so many Dalits are being educated. When the rate of educated Dalits is increasing more, the hope of getting jobs is negative. Moreover, when the Dalits are getting educated, the effect of Globalization is breaking their bones. When the Dalits had no education, there were government jobs, and when the Dalits are educated, there are no government jobs. Even if there are jobs, most of them are contract jobs or ad hoc basis jobs. There is no security to jobs. In fact, they are appointed for less than a year. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the same post is given to the same person. When it comes to contract basis, sometimes, they do not even observe or follow reservations. There is lot of insecurity in the people of India. Even if they have jobs, they have to do the jobs that they do not aspire. They have to compromise on the jobs that they get. As I have already mentioned the upper castes are applying even for Dalit posts such as Karmachari.

Moreover, as a privatization process, there is no reservation policy. In accepting reservation policy except Tata Group of Companies (“Tatas ready for caste quota in private sector” by Subhodh Ghildiyal, Monday 29th November 2004, http://www.ambedkar.org/) and Videocon Company, apart from these two companies, no other private company is willing to observe reservation policy in the recruitment of their company personnel. It is a private limited company. Furthermore, in all the public sector companies, government department services employers are hired on contract basis. Choosing only upper castes as the employees into the companies as the companies are owned by the upper castes themselves. Nonetheless, the private sector companies or factories are largely owned by the upper castes and they would recruit their kith and kin or the upper castes alone. Aren’t the dalits, thus, affected by globalization? The upper castes are forefront in taking loans in lakhs or crores from the public and private sector banks and establish companies. If the dalits approach, they do not respond properly. Moreover, how can the dalits show collateral security in order to obtain industry loan? The process is made easy for the others but not for the dalits. Are not the dalits affected psychologically of this caste system? How could the Dalits dare take loans or crores of rupees as a loan with out collateral security?

They only have, if at all any Dalit dares to take either small-scale industry loan or large- scale industry loan, education but not the assets which can be shown as collateral security.

Why do governments encourage private sector by providing power, landing, tax exemption, road, infrastructure and complete autonomy with out touching upon constitutional obligations? In Hyderabad, so many private companies have been allotted lands by the state government at a token of cheap rates that are otherwise very costly. “The government is unashamedly transferring the precious urban land in use of the poor to the rich industrialists and builders. The massive slum demolition drives that are continuing in cities are but a part of it. Since majority of the dalits live in urban shanties, they are the worst sufferers of these drives.”[viii] I am sure this kind of thing is happening in Vishakapatnam, Tirupati, Chennai and Bangalore as well. “The entire prescription of the AP to the agrarian crisis is thus inimical to the interests of small peasants. It is not only dalit cultivators but even the dalit landless labourers would be affected very adversely by such policies. Their rank has been swelling by growing landlessness, creating pressure on wages and corresponding accentuation of crisis. The social crisis in village setting necessarily manifests in caste strife and atrocities. The increased incidence of caste atrocities during the decade of globalization as compared with that during the pre-globalization period testifies to this fact.”[ix] Anand Tantumbe (http://www.ambedkar.org/)

All these land allotments in Andhra Pradesh made to the private companies made in the name of development. What is development? Have the governments done anything to improve the state economy or National economy to enhance based on extra effort in raising source of income or funds. Whether it is state government or central government, both governments are after in queue to the international organizations such as World Bank and International Monetary Fund. What do they do with the loan money? Some part of the loan money is shared by first the project directors, concerned Ministry, private contractors, and at the ground level you have some improvement which is there for a short period.

As part of Liberalization, so many small-scale industries such as weaving, handmade, leather, handlooms and pottery are affected by liberalization. Today one finds so many multinational companies flooding into India. What is the goal of any multinational company? The goal of any multinational company is to make profits. Of course, they sell products, which may or may not match with the quality of Indian products. The subject psychology would tell us naturally one is attracted to the products that are new; and has not seen any time. Relatively, the cost of the product would be more or less. The people would not mind the cost, as the variety and quality are different.

In my conclusion, I would like to appeal to all the Hindu organizations to come forward and condemn the atrocities on dalits and help them in practice whatever religion they would like to embrace. Indian Constitution guarantees this right to all citizens. In the name of globalization, do not divide the nation between haves and have-nots. Please stop riding/grabbing the Dalit lands in the name of development and globalization. The dalits are educating themselves after long decades, therefore, make room for them to get employment opportunities and do not deprive the jobs by selling the stakeholders from the government side and binding to the dictums of World Bank or IMF.
[i] Deccan Chronicle, Friday, 2nd December 2006, p.1.
[ii] Kancha Ilaiah, Why I am not a Hindu, Calcutta: Samya, 1996.
[iii] Bama, Karukku. Trans. by Lakshmi Holmstrom. 1992. Chennai: Macmillan, 2000.
[iv] Saleem, Vendimegham, Vijayawada: Sri Vijaya Laksahmi Publications, 2006.
[v] Narendra Jadhav, Outcaste: A Memoir, New Delhi: Penguin, 2003.
[vi] Vasant Sathe, “Don’t divide Indians on caste”, Deccan Chronicle Monday, 13th April 2006.
[vii] “RSS says all parties have good Hindus”, Deccan Chronicle, Monday, 24th July 2006.
[viii] See Article on “A Dalit Ctitique of the Approach Paper to the 11th Five Year Plan” by Anand Tentumbde (http://ambedkar.org/)
[ix] Anand Tentumbde (http://www.ambedkar.org/)




































Globalization, Religion and its impact on Dalits
Dr. D. Murali Manohar
Sr.Lecturer
Dept. of English
University of Hyderabad
Hyderabad-500 046.

Dalits have been practicing Hindu religion right from Dr.B.R.Ambedkar’s early days to even today. They have been trying to be part of Hindu religion. It is well known fact that Ambedkar did not want to die as a Hindu due to caste system and casteism. It could be a small matter to the Hindus thinking what if he does not die as a Hindu, nothing is going to change in India. The result of ignoring the statement of Ambedkar by the Hindus and Hindutva are paying the price for it. The Scheduled castes are moving towards Buddhism and Christianity. It is very difficult for the SCs to remain in the Hinduism. There is not only freedom from the caste system for Dalits but also job avenues if they convert to Christianity.

From the politics point of view, the Dalits will never vote for parties like BJP, Shiv Sena and other allied parties with BJP. Without the support of Dalits, I do not think BJP can dream of forming the government or winning the support of Dalits. Even today the untouchability is practiced and no Peetha or Hindu Organization condemns the act. How can they expect the support of Dalits? Whether the Dalits practice Hinduism or Christianity or Islam or Buddhism, they do not support Hindutva parties that neglect them.

The Dalits are adversely affected after Globalization. They have been losing jobs as a result of modern technology in the agricultural fields, roads and buildings, construction of the water projects. Moreover, there seems to be a strategy to make Dalits lose opportunities in the Public Sector Organizations either they have been closed down or they have been privatized. The examples are attempts to privatize the Airports, existence of private Flights, attempts to reduce the share of investments in LIC, BHEL etc.; selling the lands at cheaper rates to IT companies and providing facilities such as subsidized power and water supply rates in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dalit seminar abstracts

A Three Day-National Seminar on Personal Narratives of Dalits and Their Religion(s)

School of Humanities
Department of English
University of Hyderabad

October 16, 2007
10.00 a.m to 10.30 a.m


Introduction of the Seminar : Dr. D. Murali Manohar

Chief Guest : Prof. Mohan G. Ramanan
Dean
School of Humanities

Introduction of the Department : Prof. Sachidanda Mohanty
Department of English


Session I
10.30 a.m to 11.30 a.m

Chair of the Session : Prof. Alladi Uma

Dr. K. Suneetha Rani : “Dalit Women Construct
their Identity”

Ms. Swathi Margaret : “Dalit Women and the
Christian Expereince of
India”

Coffee Break 11.30 a. m to 11.45 a. m






Session II
11. 45 a. m to 1.00 p. m


Chair of the Session : Dr. B. Chandrasekhar Rao

K. Satyanarayana : “Ambedkar Critical
Engagement with Hinduism”

Ajailiu Niumai : “Religion in the Liangmai
Naga Society”

Lunch Break 1.00 p. m to 2.30 p. m


Session III
2.30 p. m to 3.45 p. m


Chair of the Session : Dr. K. Y. Ratnam

Dr. P. Kesava Kumar : “Dalit Literary Narratives
and Liberation Theology:
‘Naraloka Prathana’ Nagesh Babu”

Dr. Phanindra Goyari : “Literature Development and
Economic Transitions of Bodo
Tribal people in India”


Coffee Break 3.45 p.m. to 4.15 p. m


Clipping Show on Dalits 4.15 p.m. to 4.45 p.m.















October 17, 2007

Session I
10.00 a. m to 11.15 a. m


Chair of the Session : Dr. K. Suneetha Rani

Dr. D. Murali Manohar : “Personal Narrative of a Mala
Dasari

J. Anyonya


Coffee Break : 11.15. a.m to 11.45 a.m


Session II
11.45 a. m to 1.00 p. m


Chair of the Session : Dr. P. Thirumal

J. Bheemaiah : My Boyhood Memoir: A Personal
Narrative

Panchanan Dalai : Bama’s Karukku


Lunch Break 1.00 p.m to 2.30 p.m


Session III
2.30 p. m to 3.45 p.m


Chair of the Session : Dr. K. Satyanarayana


Ch. Venkatewara Rao :

Prof. T. V. Kattamani :

Coffee Break 3.45 p.m to 4.15 p.m

Clipping Show on Dalits 4.15 p.m to 4.45 p.m

October 18, 2007
Session I
10.00 a. m to 11.15 a. m

Chair of the Session : Prof T. V. Kattamani

Bolleddu Siva Nagaiah : “Understanding Discursive Discourse of
Dalit Autobiographies”

Murali Krishna :

Coffee Break 11.15 a. m to 11.45 a. m

Session II
11.45 a.m to 1.00 p.m

Chair of the Session : Dr. J. Bheemaiah

Bhim Singh :

Seshu Babu :

Swaroopa Rani : Personal Narrative


Lunch Break 1.00 p.m to 2.30 p.m

Session III
2.30 p.m to 3.45 p.m

Chair of the Session : Dr. Swaroopa Rani

Nagaraju : Personal Narrative

Vulli Dhanraju : “Ambedkar’s Conversion to
Buddhism: A Note on Historical
Background”

Comparative Literature Student :

Coffee Break 3.45 p.m to 4.15 p.m

Clipping Show on Dalits 4.15 p.m to 4.45 p.m


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A Three-Day National Seminar on
Personal Narratives of Dalits and their Religion(s)

(October 16, 2007 to October 18, 2007)





Abstracts









School of Humanities
Department of English
University of Hyderabad
Hyderabad


Dalit Women and the Christian Experience in India

Swathi Margaret
Project Fellow
Department of English
University of Hyderabad
Hyderabad


The present context is rife with debates around the issue of religious conversion. I will look at the ideas of religion, spirituality and conversion from a dalit feminist perspective. I do not perceive them or experience them as static entities throughout historical time or throughout a community’s spiritual/religious journey (for me, it is a socio political and cultural one, simultaneously) or even throughout an individual’s lifetime. Rather they are in constant engagement with the changing times. Moreover, if any religion is not sensitive to its times, it is bound to die a natural death. Therefore, each religion reinvents itself as it is discovered and embraced by new entrants in varying contexts, through what is often referred to as conversion.

One largely dominant notion is that a person’s religious identity is the religion one is born into and it necessarily becomes one’s “original” religion. Contrary to this notion, I see conversion as a continuous process of becoming, through exploring some of these aspects as discussed within dalit communities, often through literature.

In Bama’s Karukku, the religious experience of the author is not an experience of a single individual alone in that she does the whole analysis of the Christian Church from the experience of her community.
Madduri Nagesh Babu’s NaralokaPrarthana redeploys the Lord’s Prayer in such a way as to make prayer sensitive and alive to the pragmatic and material conditions of his people, the dalits. Clearly, these narratives establish religion as a site of the social and political.
From studying the dalit intellectuals’ engagement with the question of religion, it is evident that, among others, there are two dominant strands in the historical trajectory of religion. One is the hermeneutic activities and praxis of religion by the religious heads and the other is the vibrant interventions made by the spiritual leaders.






Dalit Women Construct Their Identity
(TentativeTitle)
Dr. K. Suneetha Rani
Reader,
Dept. of English University of Hyderabad Hyderabad 500 046 A.P. INDIA e-mail: ksrsh@uohyd.ernet.in suneetharani@hotmail.com Dalit writing has filled the glaring gaps in literature by speaking about the unspoken experiences and making the silenced voices audible. In a similar manner, Dalit women’s writing unearths and unveils the stories hitherto untold even by Dalit writing and women’s writing. Dalit women’s writing attempts to create the identity of Dalit women with all their multiple dimensions, be it a working woman in an urban situation or a jogini in a remote village. Still, some strands, corners and lives remain inaccessible to Dalit women writers because of various limitations of the writers and writing. Oral narratives help us in understanding the abovementioned aspects of Dalit women’s life. This paper proposes to examine some oral narratives of Dalit women in terms of the issues they raise, stands they take and identities they construct. This paper is based on my collection of Dalit women’s oral narratives for my Sahitya Akademi Junior Fellowships project.



















Dalit Literary Narratives and Liberation Theology:
‘Naraloka Prathana’ of Madduri Nagesh Babu

Dr.P.Kesava Kumar
Sr.Lecturer,
Dept. of Philosophy
Pondicherry University
Puducherry-605015
pkesav@gmail.com

The relation between dalits’s life and religion very complex and has been debated very often. This has reflected in both scholarly writings and literary works. Dalits being the oppressed people of India has adopted different strategies to overcome the suffering and humiliation faced by them in the every day life. Dalit’s identification with religion has to be understood in the historical context as it has many meanings. On one hand, dalits are involved with many movements of reformed Hinduism. On the other, Dalits are converted in a large scale into Christianity from colonial times. There are occasions that the dalits were even converted to Islam as in the case of Nizam state. In the post independent India, under the leadership of Ambedkar, the indigenous religion Budhism becomes the religion of dalits as a protest against Hinduism. Apart from this conversions, Marxism as a theory is critical about the very idea of religion, by considering it as the opium of the masses and the soul of soul less. Ambedkar not only counter the Marxism in this regard and favors Budhism by projecting it as humanistic religion in contrast to other religions like Christianity, Hinduism and so on. Ambedkar follows the American pragmatist, John Dewy, who argues for democratic ‘religious’ life against the institutionalized dogmatic religion. However, dalits life has rooted into diverse religious faiths in contemporary situation.

From late eighties, Dalit movement in Andhra as a socio- political movement came into forefront, in the backdrop of Karamchedu and Tsundur massacres. Dalit movement politicizes the social suffering by asserting the identity of Dalit in all possible ways. The social imagination of the Dalit writers captured the very concerns of dalits through their literary narratives. They are unanimous in voicing against the caste ridden Hinduism by following Ambedkarism and have posed different positions to counter this. In response to the rise of militant hindu nationalism and its attacks on Christians in late nineties, some of Dalit writers addressed this in their writings. Moreover, most of the dalits were nurtured in Christianity as result of colonial rule. Dalit writers realized that to build political struggles, needs a cultural strength in which dalits are rooted. There are some writers consciously worked out in this direction by identifying with Christianity. Madduri Nagesh babu is a classic example for this. He is a major Dalit writer and authored many books. The poems mostly written in the fag eng of his life reflected in his Naraloka Parthana (2002) represents the Dalit christain liberation theology. His Dalit liberation theology goes in tune with Black and Latin American liberation theologies. His liberation theology is committed for the rights and justice of the dalits. His liberation theology suited in contemporary Dalit movement. His Jesus differs from the orthodox Christianity and, his Jesus is Dalit ,who is always with dalits for the protection of rights and dignity of the community. His god is political, assertive,aggressive and fights for the social justice. My paper not only explores the strength of Dalit liberation theology of Madduri Nagesh Babu and also finds the limitation of this kind of theology in relation to Dalit movement.




































Ambedkar’s Critical Engagement with Hinduism


K.Satyanarayana
Lecturer
Centre for English Studies
The English and Foreign
Languages University
Hyderabad-500007.


I wish to analyse Babasaheb Ambedkar’s critical engagement with ‘Hinduism’. My paper will be based on a reading of Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste and other writings on ‘Hinduism’ in the 1930s and 1940s. Ambedkar’s critical questioning of ‘Hinduism’ is emanated from his desire to construct a casteless society. He argued that caste is the central social institution that derived its sanctity and legitimacy from ‘Hinduism’. Therefore, he initially advocated a radical reconstruction of ‘Hinduism’. Later he quit ‘Hinduism’. Interestingly, Ambedkar conflated ‘Hinduism’ with ‘Brahmanism’. Through a reading of Ambedkar’s critique of ‘Hinduism’, I will try to map Ambedkar’s conception of religion and its social role in a society.


























Literature Development and Economic Transitions of Bodo Tribal people in India


Phanindra Goyari
Senior Lecturer
Department of Economics
University of Hyderabad
Hyderabad

Abstract

The Literature development of a society can bring various progressive changes in that society. The impact of literature development on the progress of socio-cultural and economic conditions is generally observed more prominently in case of underdeveloped communities.

The paper attempts to examine how the literature development of Bodo tribal people helped in the graual socio-economic transitions of this tribe in India. The analysis is carried out using available secondary data and various policy documents, pertaining to Bodo tribal people. The main focus is on the state of Assam, where majority of Bodo people have been living since time immemorial, even though these people are found in other parts of India as well as in neighbouring countries. The specific objectives are (i) to review the various states of Bodo literature development and (ii) to examoine the economic development trends of Bodo tribe corresponding to the various stages of literature development.

Key words: Literature Development, Economic Development, Bodo Tribal People





















Abstract

Religion in the Liangmai Naga Society

Ajailiu Niumai
Department of Sociology
University of Hyderabad
Email:aniumai@yahoo.co.uk


This paper will examine the contours of religion in the Liangmai Naga society, North East India. The Liangmai Nagas are scattered in Nagaland, Manipur and Assam. They believe in the Supreme God (“Tingwang” or “Charawang”) who is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. They have explicit ideas about gods, goddesses and spiritual beings and they perceived them to be beneath the supreme God. They believed that these deities control their lives. They worship the natural objects such as tree, stone, and the like. They have both malevolent and benevolent spirits which manifest themselves in the hills, forests, rocks, rivers, sky and the like. These malevolent and benevolent spirits are to be revered and propitiated. They do not built places of worship in the village.

In the 20th century, some of them still uphold the traditional religion by affiliating with a cult group known as “Heraka” which was founded by Mr. Jadonang and Rani Gaidinliu. However, majority of the Liangmai Nagas have converted to Christianity. Most of them belong to the Protestant Baptist denomination. Historical evidence reveals that Christianity is approximately eighty-five (86) years old among them. Today, every village has a church and it is related to the social organization of the local community. In spite of their conversion to Christianity, they have been preserving their traditional tribal customs, norms and laws that govern the people with changed mode of Christian principles and values. They have assimilated the Christian way of life but retained their traditions. In other words, they do not restrict their traditional festivals although they have become Christians. For instance, the people celebrate traditional harvest festival and Blessing Ceremony (Chaga-Ngi) before the fall of winter. Besides, they also celebrate festivals such as Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and New Year. Hence, I would make an attempt to study the traditional religion and also examine an impact of Christianity in their contemporary society.






Ambedkar’s Conversion to Buddhism: A Note on Historical Background


Vulli Dhanraju
Ph.D Scholar
Department of History
University of Hyderabad
Hyderabad



The present paper deals with the perception on the new ideology of religion of Ambedkar who offers number of reasons to reject all religions and preferred Buddhism as true dynamic of religion. He has interpreted Buddhism goes back to the original teachings of Buddha that is purely based on the equality and fraternity. Ambedkar emphasized on the transformation of marginalised in the ideological terms as well as in the practice.

This paper explains the various reasons for his embracing Buddhism. Ambedkar called fort the rejection of Hinduism in 1935 and accepted the idea of conversion to another religion. Many religious leaders belonging to Sikhism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity extended invitations to Ambedkar to join their fold. Ambedkar associated himself with Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Arya Samajists who were interested, for one reason or the other, in his ideology of religion. He seemed to incline towards Sikhism, and then he dropped the whole matter when it became clear that he could not carry the new political privileges of the depressed classes into a new religion, that never returned to a group movement for Hindu religious rights. Ambedkar seemed to have finally decided to embrace Buddhism with his followers. However, he seemed to have leaned more and more towards Buddhism. Why did he wait for twenty years to join Buddhism? This is the central argument of discussion and to know the historical background of Ambedkar’s Neo-Buddhism.













abstract

Understanding the discursive discourse of dalit Autobiographies
BOLLEDDU SIVA NAGAIAH
M.A., M.A., M.Phil.
Research Scholar, (Ph.D programme)
Acharya Nagarjuna University
Nagarjuna Nagar,
Guntur District - 522 510.
Andhra Pradesh.
Ph. : 91-99084 20169
E.Mail : derrida_2007@rediff.com, sivanag2222@yahoo.com




Dalit autobiographies are considered as the microcosms that looked into the lives of Dalits and make us understand the injustice and humiliation the Dalits experienced for generations. Dalit writers like Vasanth Moon, Joseph Maqwam, Sharan Kumar Limbale, Narendra Jadav, Omprakash Valmiki, Bhama and Dr.Katti Padma Rao have rightly discussed and intellectualized the dialectics of Dalits in their works.

Though Dalit literature has its significance in Indian literature since centuries, it was influenced and limited by the Hindu religious beliefs. Dalit literature has become distinct with the emergence of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar’s philosophy. Dr.B.R.Ambedkar’s dedicated contribution in eradicating the Caste system from the domination of Hindu religions has awakened many Dalit intellectuals across the country. Most of the Dalit intellectuals have rendered their experiences of humiliation and agitation in the genres like poetry, short story, essays, songs and autobiographies etc.... Dalit autobiography is considered an authentic platform to depict the different cultural aspects Dalit life in reality. The commitment and vibrancy of the Dalit writers in presenting and accepting the Social injustices is meticulously presented in their autobiographies.

The contention of my paper is to present the evolution of Dalit autobiographies and locate their significance in the changed literary scenario. The paper will also concentrate on the critical and analytical explication of Dalit autobiographical representation in Omprakash Valmiki’s “Joothan-A Dalit’s Life” translated into English by Arun Prabha Mukerji.
MY BOYHOOD MEMOIR: A PERSONAL NARRATIVE

J.Bheemaiah
Lecturer
Centre for Comparative Literature
School of Humanities
University of Hyderabad
HYDERABAD-46



Dalits can recount their own life experiences. They need not imitate social suffering because they themselves are the victims of caste society. Social discrimination has assumed several forms. Of course, it may vary from place to place and from person to person but the spirit of it is same. It manifests its cruelty in physical attacks against Dalits. In rural environs, it is terrible.

With the intrinsic feeling of discordance and oppression, the dominant caste Hindus maintain superfluous human relations claiming that caste discrimination is ousted from society. And it is also maintained that there are no distinctions of any kind among the people and the notion of this appears deliberately misleading. The distinctions are manifest not only in terms of material possessions but also in terms of social relations. However educated a Dalit may be, the place given to him or her is marginal and insignificant. It is an undeniable fact. Equality remains an object of mockery in this caste ridden society. Safety of life for the vulnerable communities appears to be a mirage. Socio-economic justice for the majority proves to be merely an illusion in every sense of the term. Modern circumstances which may have given equal opportunities to the broken people, failed to address their socio-economic misery.

Given the above social realities, in this paper I would like to profile my boyhood days of social suffering and economic misery, the dreaded twins in my life. I also want to stress the need for perseverance and hard work to overcome economic hardships at an individual level and collective strength to give a death blow to the social oppression.









Abstract

Sujatha


The present paper is about the worship of village goddesses and the belief system of Dalit communities in rural coastal Andhra Pradesh.
In the context of Indian village religious life, the worship of the village goddesses plays an important role in the devotions of lower caste people. The village goddess cult gives lower caste people a recourse against their superiors. Even today, in many Brahmanical temples lower castes are not allowed to with in the precincts of the temple. Where as, in contrast the village goddess engages them directly by being associated with their local existential concern. She is perceived to be their deity and to be concerned especially with their well-being and that of their village. The paper will explore the reversal of roles in the context of a lower caste man acting as a priest and upper caste men observing the rites under the priesthood of a lower caste man during the annual Jataras of the village goddesses. It is also true that, lower castes find a degree of compensation for their low rank in their power to control upper caste persons through the rituals performed during the annual festival of the village goddess. Whenever the goddess spoke through the possessed lower caste woman, the upper caste men who were present would bow and touch the earth. Even if she scolds or uses abusive language any upper caste person, he or she should not retaliate in any way (Elmore, 1913). The sole object of the worship of these village goddesses is to propitiate them, to avert their wrath. When a misfortune comes, it is a sign that the goddess is angered and it is time to take steps to appease her. They are thus associated with the attribute of heat and require to be cooled. There is no act of uniformity and no ritual calendar regulating the festivals or forms of worship of village deities. Often offerings are made once or twice a week on fixed days usually on Sunday, Tuesday and Thurs days. These offerings consist of fruits flowers, cooked rice, curds and occasionally goat, sheep, pig and fowls.
One of the chief offering to the village goddess is blood sacrifice. In olden days, a he buffalo sacrifice was a must. When the village rituals are not performed to the gratification of the goddess for too long or performed to her dissatisfaction, she commands by possessing (Punakam) individuals and her commands have got to obey. Lest she may turn malevolent and calamity may befall on the village. While there are rites for observance of purity in the folk realm, no taboo of pollution is attached to blood offerings. The blood of the sacrificed animal mixed with kumbam (cooked rice), is sprinkled in the houses and along the Polimera (village border) to rid the village from the dangers of evil spirits and shades of the dead.
The mother goddess thus comprises several subsets of super natural beliefs and practices. By inspecting rituals, verbal texts and other goddess related matters the present paper will also try to seethe variations between the religion of the upper social groups and the cults of the lower social groups.

Friday, July 20, 2007

History of Mala Dasari

Dear Mala Dasari Friends,

I being a Mala Dasari would like to write a history of our own people. Those who want to share about the Mala Dasaris' culture, role of priesthood in the villages, religion that they practice at present, qualifications and jobs, holding key positions in society, ancestry, rituals and more and more. Whatever you know about Mala Dasaris please add to this blog. Let's write our own history.

I look forward for your full cooperation and support.

Thank you.


Dr.D.Murali Manohar
Sr. Lecturer
Department of English
University of Hyderabad
Hyderabad-500 046.


P.S:Currently I am doing a Major Research Project on "Interrogating Dalits and their Religions".

Thursday, July 19, 2007

History of Mala Dasari

Dear Mala Dasari Friends,


I would like to do a project on the History of Mala Dasari. I have started my research on this. I would like all the Mala Dasaris to contribute whatever they know about Mala Dasaris' achievements, profiles, I.A.S Officers, Gazetted Officers, Police Personnel, Educationists, Professors, Readers, Lecturers, M.L.As, M.Ps and Ministers, Lawyers, Realtors, Engineers, Doctors, Software Engineers, Occupying responsible positions as Chairperson/Directors. Please narrate whatever you know about the culture, profession, child reminiscences. 

I have applied for a Major Research Project for Rs. 9,00,000. I hope I will get it. Please watch out for the exciting news. 

Do contact me and let us write history.

Dr.D.Murali Manhoar
Associate Professor
Department of English
University of Hyderabad
Hyderabad
09908569272
040-23133406
dmmsh@uohyd.ernet.in
dmbm_vs@yahoo.co.in
dmmpsh@gmail.com

Monday, July 16, 2007

A three day National Seminar at University of Hyderabad

Dear Friends!

Please go through the seminar details and respond either by email or on my mobile number (0)9908569272.

Seminar Proposal under Unassigned Grants

A Three-Day National Seminar on
Personal Narratives of Dalits and their Religion(s)
(18th October 2007 to 20th October 2007)

Religion is one of the problems for Dalits in India. It is the question of its being implicit and explicit, inclusive and exclusive, an insider and outsider for Dalit life. Dalits have been in dilemma as to which religion they have to follow in the Post- Colonial period. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar has made a statement that he will not die as a Hindu. It had an impact on several Dalit Hindus. Moreover, his conversion to Buddhism has influenced thousands of Dalits to follow. However, there may be a few Dalits who are in Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, Islam and some others have considered Ambedkarism as one of the religions. The Dalits who are in the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikkhism have constitutional benefits and others who are in Christianity and Islam are denied the same. This could be one of the debates that the seminar is looking forward to address.

This seminar is more concerned about the narratives of the well established people in different fields such as Students, Teaching Faculty, Creative Writers, Administrative officers, Social Activists, Politicians and if possible Ministers and others to share their experiences to the audience who could be graduate, post-graduate students and research scholars of course and faculty of different subjects.


Topics of the seminar

Personal narratives

Examining Dalit Autobiographies

Dalits and their Religions

Constitutional benefits gained or lost due to religion


Call for Papers

The papers are invited from academics, scholars, administrative officers, Politicians, Ministers and others to share their views and strengthen the efforts of the seminar. It is a promise to all the paper readers that the papers presented will be brought out in the form of a book. Hence, paper readers are requested to send full-length papers and not a rough or a working paper. It is difficult to manage to put them together after the seminar.


Submission of Abstracts

The contributors are requested to submit their detailed outlines and abstract of the paper in about 500 words to Dr. D. Murali Manohar, Department of English, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad-500 046 on of before August 31, 2007. The selected participants will be intimated by email.



Deadline for submitting the full paper


The participants are requested to send their full paper in Times New Roman, 12 point size in MS Word to the Coordinator either by post to the following address Dr. D. Murali Manohar, Department of English, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad-500 046 or by email on dmmsh@uohyd.ernet.in or dmbm_vs@yahoo.co.in or dmmpsh@gmail.com before September 30, 2007.