September 14, 2014
Tripura Seminar Calls for Intensifying Struggle for Social Justice

Rahul Sinha

THE Tripura Tapasili Jati Samanway Samiti organised a seminar, titled the ‘Relevance of Dalit Movement and Organisation in the Present Indian Politics’, at Agartala’s Nazrul Kalakshetra on August 7. Addressing the seminar ahead of Tripura Tapasili Jati Samanway Samiti’s eighth state conference to be held in Teliamurra from September 13 to 15, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member K Varadarajan said an all India platform for organising Dalits across the country shall come into existence in the month of November. It has become all the more important for the Communists to organise the dalits and intensify their struggle for social justice as the communal BJP is trying to legitimise the caste oppression in the name of Hindutva. Varadarajan said though a bit delayed but finally an all India organisation of the dalits will be formed at a convention in Delhi to be held on November 27. He said Tripura has been the pioneer for us in organising the dalits, and the dalits and tribal people in Tripura are in a much better condition compared to other states of the country. Stressing upon the duty of the Communists in organising the dalits for social justice he quoted what EMS Namboodiripad had said in 1979 -- “One has to remember that building of India on modern democratic and secular lines requires an uncompromising struggle against the caste-based Hindu society and its culture. There is no question of secular democracy, not to speak of socialism unless the very citadel of India’s ‘age old’ civilisation and culture, the division of society into a hierarchy of castes is broken. In other words, the struggle for radical democracy and socialism cannot be separated from the struggle against caste society.” Varadarajan mentioned how even after 67 years of Independence, caste oppression in different forms are continuing on the dalits all over the country. A survey has revealed that at least 148 types of untouchability and related social oppressions are still in existence. Dalit people are barred from wearing chappals or riding bicycles on the roads meant for upper castes, dalit women can’t fetch water from the same tap with upper caste women to mention a few. He said these oppressions have been in vogue in the name of religion and vedas. Now with the Narendra Modi government at the centre, text books are being introduced in schools where it is written that aeroplane or TV are no new scientific inventions but they existed in the age of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as ‘pushpak viman’ used by Ram or the ‘doordrishti’ which helped Sanjay to narrate the happenings of war of Kurukshetra to Dhritarashtra. The BJP leaders are now trying to legitimise the Chaturvarna system of caste division as mere division of labour and the Gita tells that these divisions are creation of God and even God himself cannot do away with it. On the pitiable conditions of the dalits, he said SC and ST communities form almost 25% of the population, but 35.4% of the dalits form the BPL category. More than 70% of them are landless, 75% of dalit girls leave school before passing Class V. Rules of reservation for dalits in education and job are not followed in most of the states and even these provisions are now sought to be diluted by the BJP-led government. Likewise, they want to further dilute and weaken the provisions of the laws related to atrocities against dalits where only 10% of the cases are registered and conviction is merely 5%. Varadarajan said the caste system and oppression on dalits gets patronisation from the landlordism still prevailing in the villages. So struggle for social justice must link itself with the struggle for redistribution of lands. No ‘avatar’ will emerge to solve the problem, but Red flag shall have to take the initiative. That is why this all India organisation has to be formed, he said. President of the seminar and president of Tripura Tapasili Jati Samanway Samiti, Anil Sarkar said despite being 85% of the population the SC, ST and OBC communities are deprived from their due share in owning land, in job opportunities and in administration. This anomaly has to be done away with. Vivekananda could foresee a Shudra revolution (modern working class) and spelt out that tomorrow belongs to them. For a total revolution, a strong and unified approach of combining class struggle and struggle for social justice is the need of the hour. The all India platform shall serve that purpose, he said. Tripura SC welfare minister Ratan Bhowmik and general secretary of Tripura Tapasili Jati Samanway Samiti Sudhan Das also addressed the seminar.