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K’taka: ‘cow urine’ used to purify tank as Dalit woman drank water from it

This incident happened in Heggotara Village of Chamarajanagar District in Karnataka.

21 Nov 2022

Heggotara
Image: The New Indian Express

In a rather baffling incident, certain ‘upper caste’ residents of Heggotara Village of Chamarajanagar District in Karnataka drained all the water from a tank, from which a Dalit woman drank water and ‘cleaned’ it with gomutra or cow urine. The incident occurred on November 18 during a wedding when the bride’s relatives from Sargur in HD Kote taluk had come for the wedding. After the ceremony, when they were walking towards the bus stand, one of the women drank water from the tank. A man, upon seeing this, called other villagers and they all berated the woman for sullying the water in the tank.

After the woman left the village, the residents of Lingayat Beedhi opened the taps of the tank, released all the water, and cleaned it with gomutra.

The revenue inspector and village accountant conducted a spot inspection and confirmed the incident. The officials later submitted a report to the tehsildar. ON Sunday, tehsildar IE Basavaraju and social welfare department officials visited the spot and held discussions with villagers. The officials told villagers that the water storage tank is a public property and everyone could drink water from it. The tehsildar also took over 20 Dalit youth to all public drinking water taps in the village and made them drink water, reported Hindustan Times.

Further, the tehsildar is trying to track the woman who was abused to record her statement and file a complaint, A complaint has already been registered by members of the community at Chamarajanagara rural police station.

It can be seen in this video how, in a wasteful manner, the water of the tank is being drained out for it to be cleaned later with cow urine, in a mindless bid to purify it. 

 

 

In a similar instance which led to the death of a Dalit man, a group of people assaulted a 45-year-old for drawing water from a tubewell in Soorsagar, Jodhpur district of Rajasthan, on November 7. Ashok, the deceased's brother, claimed that the accused prevented the victim's family from taking him to the hospital. The critically hurt man wasn't taken to a hospital until after police arrived, according to the brother; there, he died from his wounds.

It is pertinent to note here that such acts are an infringement of Article 17 of the Indian Constitution which abolishes untouchability and also are punishable as offences under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 under the following sections:

3 (1) (r) [intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view],

3(1)(s) [abuses any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe by caste name in any place within public view],

3(1)(y) [denies a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe any customary right of passage to a place of public resort or obstructs such member so as to prevent him from using or having access to a place of public resort to which other members of public or any other section thereof have a right to use or access to],

3(1)(za)(A) [obstructs or prevents a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any manner with regard to— (A) using common property resources of an area, or burial or cremation ground equally with others or using any river, stream, spring, well, tank, cistern, water-tap or other watering place, or any bathing ghat, any public conveyance, any road, or passage  


Related:

Hate Watch: Himanta Biswas Sarma on ‘Love Jihad’ during the Gujarat poll campaign

Special Report: Dalits killed for wanting to build temple in BJP-ruled Karnataka

Rajasthan: 46-yr-old Tribal man lynched for drawing water from tubewell

K’taka: ‘cow urine’ used to purify tank as Dalit woman drank water from it

This incident happened in Heggotara Village of Chamarajanagar District in Karnataka.

Heggotara
Image: The New Indian Express

In a rather baffling incident, certain ‘upper caste’ residents of Heggotara Village of Chamarajanagar District in Karnataka drained all the water from a tank, from which a Dalit woman drank water and ‘cleaned’ it with gomutra or cow urine. The incident occurred on November 18 during a wedding when the bride’s relatives from Sargur in HD Kote taluk had come for the wedding. After the ceremony, when they were walking towards the bus stand, one of the women drank water from the tank. A man, upon seeing this, called other villagers and they all berated the woman for sullying the water in the tank.

After the woman left the village, the residents of Lingayat Beedhi opened the taps of the tank, released all the water, and cleaned it with gomutra.

The revenue inspector and village accountant conducted a spot inspection and confirmed the incident. The officials later submitted a report to the tehsildar. ON Sunday, tehsildar IE Basavaraju and social welfare department officials visited the spot and held discussions with villagers. The officials told villagers that the water storage tank is a public property and everyone could drink water from it. The tehsildar also took over 20 Dalit youth to all public drinking water taps in the village and made them drink water, reported Hindustan Times.

Further, the tehsildar is trying to track the woman who was abused to record her statement and file a complaint, A complaint has already been registered by members of the community at Chamarajanagara rural police station.

It can be seen in this video how, in a wasteful manner, the water of the tank is being drained out for it to be cleaned later with cow urine, in a mindless bid to purify it. 

 

 

In a similar instance which led to the death of a Dalit man, a group of people assaulted a 45-year-old for drawing water from a tubewell in Soorsagar, Jodhpur district of Rajasthan, on November 7. Ashok, the deceased's brother, claimed that the accused prevented the victim's family from taking him to the hospital. The critically hurt man wasn't taken to a hospital until after police arrived, according to the brother; there, he died from his wounds.

It is pertinent to note here that such acts are an infringement of Article 17 of the Indian Constitution which abolishes untouchability and also are punishable as offences under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 under the following sections:

3 (1) (r) [intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view],

3(1)(s) [abuses any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe by caste name in any place within public view],

3(1)(y) [denies a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe any customary right of passage to a place of public resort or obstructs such member so as to prevent him from using or having access to a place of public resort to which other members of public or any other section thereof have a right to use or access to],

3(1)(za)(A) [obstructs or prevents a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any manner with regard to— (A) using common property resources of an area, or burial or cremation ground equally with others or using any river, stream, spring, well, tank, cistern, water-tap or other watering place, or any bathing ghat, any public conveyance, any road, or passage  


Related:

Hate Watch: Himanta Biswas Sarma on ‘Love Jihad’ during the Gujarat poll campaign

Special Report: Dalits killed for wanting to build temple in BJP-ruled Karnataka

Rajasthan: 46-yr-old Tribal man lynched for drawing water from tubewell

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Assam: Six tribal groups protest non-inclusion in Centre’s revised ST list

Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutias, Koch Rajbonshis and Tea Tribes have been advocating for inclusion for years

16 Sep 2022

Non Inclusion in Centre
Image Courtesy: sentinelassam.com

On Thursday protesters in Assam blocked National Highway 37 in Chabua after discovering that six tribes from Assam were not included in the revised list of Scheduled Tribes (ST) released by the Centre.

The Sentinel reports that in a cabinet meeting on Thursday, the Union Council of Ministers decided to update the ST list. They included 17 tribes and five sub-tribes from five states – Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. But the list left out six tribes from Assam – Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutias, Koch Rajbonshis and Tea Tribes.

The Economic Times reports that the exclusion led to protests and demonstrations across Assam. In Shibsagar, effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were burnt.

As SabrangIndia had reported previously, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had It is noteworthy that the BJP government had promised to grant them Scheduled Tribes (ST) status in not one, but two successive state assembly election manifestos. But it has failed to walk the talk. The grant of ST status allows members certain social benefits such as reservations and exemptions, which these six communities do not enjoy at present.  

At present there are 17 tribal belts and 30 blocks spread across Tinsukia, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Morigaon, Lakhimpur, Kamrup, Kamrup (metro), Goalpara, Dhemaji, Darrang, Bongaigaon and the four Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) districts in Assam. Tai-Ahom, Moran, Matak and Chutia people have been declared protected groups in the Sadiya tribal belt of Upper Assam.

In September 2020, instead of granting these communities ST status, the Assam State Assembly passed three bills to create autonomous councils for Moran, Matak, and Koch-Rajbongshis. Then, on July 10, 2021, the government of Assam announced the creation of a new department to address the concerns of the state’s indigenous communities. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced the formation of the Department of Indigenous Faith and Culture and told media persons, “We have a lot of tribes like Rabha, Boro, Mising, Moran and Matak. They have their own faith, customs, rituals and culture. This rich heritage needs to be preserved and promoted.” He had further clarified, “This independent department will do that, not build roads and houses, for which we have the Department for Welfare of Plain Tribes and Backward Classes (DWPTBC).” Therefore, concerns of only two of the six tribes were addressed partially by the announcement.

In the run up to the assembly elections in Assam in March 2022, SabrangIndia had reported how Adivasi groups led by All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) had questioned the BJP as to why it had failed to grant ST status to tea tribes.

Tea tribes are those members of Adivasi and tribal communities who were brought to Assam by the British to work in tea estates. The ancestors of modern-day tea tribals hail from present day UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Before independence, they were made to work in 160 tea estates across Assam. Many of them continued to work in the tea estates even after Independence.

While these tribes came under the ST category in their home states after Independence, the families left in Assam came to be known as “tea tribes”. They were excluded from reservation due to their non-indigenous status in the state. Nowadays, there are over 8 lakh tea estate workers employed in 803 tea estates in Assam belonging to Tea Tribes, and the total population of the Tea Tribes is estimated to be more than 65 lakhs. These Santhal, Kurukh, Munda, Gond, Kol and Tantis tribes have been demanding an ST status in Assam for many years.

There has also been opposition to the grant of tribal status to these communities. The Indigenous Lawyers’ Association of India (ILAI) had approached the Assam government and claimed that granting ST status to these six communities, who they do not consider tribal communities, would destroy the concept of what is a tribal community. The ILAI had further claimed that including these communities in the list of the STs would be a violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples to which India is a signatory. As per the UN Declaration, prior and informed consent of indigenous people has to be sought before implementing any decision or legislative measure related to them. ILAI also said that this would impact political representation from Gram Sabha to the Lok Sabha of the existing STs of Assam.

Related:

Still no recognition for non-ST tribes in India
Growing disaffection for BJP among Adivasis, ethnic minorities in Assam?
Assam Tea Tribes served another set of vague promises

Assam: Six tribal groups protest non-inclusion in Centre’s revised ST list

Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutias, Koch Rajbonshis and Tea Tribes have been advocating for inclusion for years

Non Inclusion in Centre
Image Courtesy: sentinelassam.com

On Thursday protesters in Assam blocked National Highway 37 in Chabua after discovering that six tribes from Assam were not included in the revised list of Scheduled Tribes (ST) released by the Centre.

The Sentinel reports that in a cabinet meeting on Thursday, the Union Council of Ministers decided to update the ST list. They included 17 tribes and five sub-tribes from five states – Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. But the list left out six tribes from Assam – Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutias, Koch Rajbonshis and Tea Tribes.

The Economic Times reports that the exclusion led to protests and demonstrations across Assam. In Shibsagar, effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were burnt.

As SabrangIndia had reported previously, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had It is noteworthy that the BJP government had promised to grant them Scheduled Tribes (ST) status in not one, but two successive state assembly election manifestos. But it has failed to walk the talk. The grant of ST status allows members certain social benefits such as reservations and exemptions, which these six communities do not enjoy at present.  

At present there are 17 tribal belts and 30 blocks spread across Tinsukia, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Morigaon, Lakhimpur, Kamrup, Kamrup (metro), Goalpara, Dhemaji, Darrang, Bongaigaon and the four Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) districts in Assam. Tai-Ahom, Moran, Matak and Chutia people have been declared protected groups in the Sadiya tribal belt of Upper Assam.

In September 2020, instead of granting these communities ST status, the Assam State Assembly passed three bills to create autonomous councils for Moran, Matak, and Koch-Rajbongshis. Then, on July 10, 2021, the government of Assam announced the creation of a new department to address the concerns of the state’s indigenous communities. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced the formation of the Department of Indigenous Faith and Culture and told media persons, “We have a lot of tribes like Rabha, Boro, Mising, Moran and Matak. They have their own faith, customs, rituals and culture. This rich heritage needs to be preserved and promoted.” He had further clarified, “This independent department will do that, not build roads and houses, for which we have the Department for Welfare of Plain Tribes and Backward Classes (DWPTBC).” Therefore, concerns of only two of the six tribes were addressed partially by the announcement.

In the run up to the assembly elections in Assam in March 2022, SabrangIndia had reported how Adivasi groups led by All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) had questioned the BJP as to why it had failed to grant ST status to tea tribes.

Tea tribes are those members of Adivasi and tribal communities who were brought to Assam by the British to work in tea estates. The ancestors of modern-day tea tribals hail from present day UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Before independence, they were made to work in 160 tea estates across Assam. Many of them continued to work in the tea estates even after Independence.

While these tribes came under the ST category in their home states after Independence, the families left in Assam came to be known as “tea tribes”. They were excluded from reservation due to their non-indigenous status in the state. Nowadays, there are over 8 lakh tea estate workers employed in 803 tea estates in Assam belonging to Tea Tribes, and the total population of the Tea Tribes is estimated to be more than 65 lakhs. These Santhal, Kurukh, Munda, Gond, Kol and Tantis tribes have been demanding an ST status in Assam for many years.

There has also been opposition to the grant of tribal status to these communities. The Indigenous Lawyers’ Association of India (ILAI) had approached the Assam government and claimed that granting ST status to these six communities, who they do not consider tribal communities, would destroy the concept of what is a tribal community. The ILAI had further claimed that including these communities in the list of the STs would be a violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples to which India is a signatory. As per the UN Declaration, prior and informed consent of indigenous people has to be sought before implementing any decision or legislative measure related to them. ILAI also said that this would impact political representation from Gram Sabha to the Lok Sabha of the existing STs of Assam.

Related:

Still no recognition for non-ST tribes in India
Growing disaffection for BJP among Adivasis, ethnic minorities in Assam?
Assam Tea Tribes served another set of vague promises

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IIT-Bombay to introduce caste awareness courses

As per the minorities cell, the decision came after aggrieved students recommended it

04 Jul 2022

caste awarenessImage Courtesy: sarkaripro.com

Seeking a more inclusive approach, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay’s SC/ST cell announced plans to introduce a mandatory course on caste awareness, reported the Indian Express on July 4, 2021.

According to the report, the cell conducted a few surveys with students to learn about caste-based divisions and difficulties. Observations in the surveys recommended such courses caste and racial discrimination, much like the mandatory gender sensitisation course introduced last year.

The nature and content of the caste awareness course will be discussed by the cell that includes Computer Science and Engineering department Professor and Convener Bharat Adsul and Electrical Engineering Professor and Co-Convener Madhu N Belur.

On June 29, the cell organised its first open house wherein students talked about the different ways in which different people experience caste. The discrimination varies from simple taunts regarding reservation to inducing self-doubt among students for being “killers of merit”.

Aside from the course, the cell also suggested a mentorship programme that brings senior students in close interaction with junior SC/ST students. Such measures may be long overdue in IIT colleges where there have been multiple cases of alleged caste-crimes in recent years.

In IIT-Bombay itself, a student Aniket Ambhore was subjected to taunts relating to his caste until finally his body was found below the six-storey hostel building on September 4, 2014. Similarly, on January 17, 2018, there were reports of the college asking residents to use separate plates for non-vegetarian food.

Other IIT colleges reported similar instances of even more outright forms of caste-based discrimination. In November 2019, IIT-Madras student Fatima Lateef died by suicide. She had alleged that one of the professors was the “the cause of death”.

In April 2021, IIT-Kharagpur’s Associate Professor Seema Singh, during an online preparatory English course for SC/ST and disabled students screamed at and verbally abused students. Singh challenged students to lodge a complaint against her, stating that no harm will come to her.

Two months later, on July 2, a charred body of a 22-year-old engineer was found inside the IIT-Madras campus. This happened after one of its professors resigned for alleged caste-based discrimination.

Incidents like these indicate that while students do require sensitization programmes, the same should also be extended to the professors and administrative officials considering persevering complaints by faculty.

Related:

IIT Bombay E-Summit 2022 faces flak for inviting Arnab Goswami and Sudhir Chaudhary as speakers
How do casteism, bigotry continue to thrive in IITs?
IIT Prof’s meltdown, abuse of students is a lesson on how not to teach
Kolhapur’s Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj and his battle for Dalit-Bahujan communities

IIT-Bombay to introduce caste awareness courses

As per the minorities cell, the decision came after aggrieved students recommended it

caste awarenessImage Courtesy: sarkaripro.com

Seeking a more inclusive approach, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay’s SC/ST cell announced plans to introduce a mandatory course on caste awareness, reported the Indian Express on July 4, 2021.

According to the report, the cell conducted a few surveys with students to learn about caste-based divisions and difficulties. Observations in the surveys recommended such courses caste and racial discrimination, much like the mandatory gender sensitisation course introduced last year.

The nature and content of the caste awareness course will be discussed by the cell that includes Computer Science and Engineering department Professor and Convener Bharat Adsul and Electrical Engineering Professor and Co-Convener Madhu N Belur.

On June 29, the cell organised its first open house wherein students talked about the different ways in which different people experience caste. The discrimination varies from simple taunts regarding reservation to inducing self-doubt among students for being “killers of merit”.

Aside from the course, the cell also suggested a mentorship programme that brings senior students in close interaction with junior SC/ST students. Such measures may be long overdue in IIT colleges where there have been multiple cases of alleged caste-crimes in recent years.

In IIT-Bombay itself, a student Aniket Ambhore was subjected to taunts relating to his caste until finally his body was found below the six-storey hostel building on September 4, 2014. Similarly, on January 17, 2018, there were reports of the college asking residents to use separate plates for non-vegetarian food.

Other IIT colleges reported similar instances of even more outright forms of caste-based discrimination. In November 2019, IIT-Madras student Fatima Lateef died by suicide. She had alleged that one of the professors was the “the cause of death”.

In April 2021, IIT-Kharagpur’s Associate Professor Seema Singh, during an online preparatory English course for SC/ST and disabled students screamed at and verbally abused students. Singh challenged students to lodge a complaint against her, stating that no harm will come to her.

Two months later, on July 2, a charred body of a 22-year-old engineer was found inside the IIT-Madras campus. This happened after one of its professors resigned for alleged caste-based discrimination.

Incidents like these indicate that while students do require sensitization programmes, the same should also be extended to the professors and administrative officials considering persevering complaints by faculty.

Related:

IIT Bombay E-Summit 2022 faces flak for inviting Arnab Goswami and Sudhir Chaudhary as speakers
How do casteism, bigotry continue to thrive in IITs?
IIT Prof’s meltdown, abuse of students is a lesson on how not to teach
Kolhapur’s Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj and his battle for Dalit-Bahujan communities

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Reason, emotion and history

10 Jun 2022

shivaji

(In March 1994, as part of our campaign to track the parochial processes that deter even ‘secular’ governments from fair explorations into history, we had interviewed Dr Arvind Deshpande, then chairman of the Maharshtra State Text Book Board. We reproduce excerpts from that exchange)

Since its inception in 1980–81, the main objective before the Maharashtra State Text Book Bureau that we were part of was that the ‘secular element should be jousted up in our history books…’ Shivaji, for example, has always been depicted as a Hindu hero. But the moment you do this, unknowingly, unconsciously, the bias creeps in.

For the first four to five years we were extremely conscious of this. So we did our utmost to remove these biases in order to prevent their creeping into the curriculum. Soon enough, we were faced with the consequences — opposition either from the minority or the majority community.


This was our bitter experience with a Std. IV textbook. In 1986, with the introduction of the New Education Policy, the entire syllabus was revised. In history, too, new elements were added: Regional History, Indian Culture and Civics. In preparing and publishing textbooks, we are severely restricted by the cost factor. As they have to be affordable for lakhs of SSC students throughout the state, the books are restricted to 96 pages. Now, while looking at the Std. IV history textbook, we found that 80 of these 96 pages dealt with Shivaji alone. This left little room for any other element that we wanted to
introduce.

In keeping with our objective of introducing a new value system, in the revised draft we had to rewrite portions of it, reduce the section on Shivaji. Professor Bhosale (RR Bhosale, another bureau member) also agreed. Paragraphs were changed, some re–drafted. Meanwhile, someone leaked information to the press. Even before the re–drafted book was released or published, merely on surmises and guesswork, we had to face a vicious media campaign led by Kesari (Marathi daily). We were charged with “removing the inspiring part of history and making it insipid.” Until then, we had only had a trial reading of the book for three days with 60 teachers, two from each district in Maharashtra. During this, no one seemed to have any objection. But suddenly, after the vicious campaigns in the press, the same government that had entrusted us with the task of “jousting the secular and humanist element in history” completely backed out.

This was in 1991, when the Sudhakarrao Naik–led minority government was in power. Defending our work on the floor of the house, the state education minister said that we were only trying to de–individualise history, that all of Indian history had been personality-oriented, that history should focus attention on the social forces at work and not only on individual personalities. But the chief minister succumbed and promised the agitated legislators, who cut across all party lines, that not one word in the 25–year–old textbook would be changed. As a result, the communal overtones remain; the incitement to violence is still there. All the work that we had put in for the revised draft is lost forever. We were all asked to surrender our copies to the government.

The key question is, why are issues of history being raked up again and again? 

(Dr Deshpande spoke to co-editor Communalism Combat, Teesta Setalvad in 1994; this account has been archived from the earlier editions of Communalism Combat, March 1994 and October, 2001)
 

Reason, emotion and history

shivaji

(In March 1994, as part of our campaign to track the parochial processes that deter even ‘secular’ governments from fair explorations into history, we had interviewed Dr Arvind Deshpande, then chairman of the Maharshtra State Text Book Board. We reproduce excerpts from that exchange)

Since its inception in 1980–81, the main objective before the Maharashtra State Text Book Bureau that we were part of was that the ‘secular element should be jousted up in our history books…’ Shivaji, for example, has always been depicted as a Hindu hero. But the moment you do this, unknowingly, unconsciously, the bias creeps in.

For the first four to five years we were extremely conscious of this. So we did our utmost to remove these biases in order to prevent their creeping into the curriculum. Soon enough, we were faced with the consequences — opposition either from the minority or the majority community.


This was our bitter experience with a Std. IV textbook. In 1986, with the introduction of the New Education Policy, the entire syllabus was revised. In history, too, new elements were added: Regional History, Indian Culture and Civics. In preparing and publishing textbooks, we are severely restricted by the cost factor. As they have to be affordable for lakhs of SSC students throughout the state, the books are restricted to 96 pages. Now, while looking at the Std. IV history textbook, we found that 80 of these 96 pages dealt with Shivaji alone. This left little room for any other element that we wanted to
introduce.

In keeping with our objective of introducing a new value system, in the revised draft we had to rewrite portions of it, reduce the section on Shivaji. Professor Bhosale (RR Bhosale, another bureau member) also agreed. Paragraphs were changed, some re–drafted. Meanwhile, someone leaked information to the press. Even before the re–drafted book was released or published, merely on surmises and guesswork, we had to face a vicious media campaign led by Kesari (Marathi daily). We were charged with “removing the inspiring part of history and making it insipid.” Until then, we had only had a trial reading of the book for three days with 60 teachers, two from each district in Maharashtra. During this, no one seemed to have any objection. But suddenly, after the vicious campaigns in the press, the same government that had entrusted us with the task of “jousting the secular and humanist element in history” completely backed out.

This was in 1991, when the Sudhakarrao Naik–led minority government was in power. Defending our work on the floor of the house, the state education minister said that we were only trying to de–individualise history, that all of Indian history had been personality-oriented, that history should focus attention on the social forces at work and not only on individual personalities. But the chief minister succumbed and promised the agitated legislators, who cut across all party lines, that not one word in the 25–year–old textbook would be changed. As a result, the communal overtones remain; the incitement to violence is still there. All the work that we had put in for the revised draft is lost forever. We were all asked to surrender our copies to the government.

The key question is, why are issues of history being raked up again and again? 

(Dr Deshpande spoke to co-editor Communalism Combat, Teesta Setalvad in 1994; this account has been archived from the earlier editions of Communalism Combat, March 1994 and October, 2001)
 

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Shivaji in ‘secular’ Maharashtra

10 Jun 2022

First published on: 19 Dec 2015



The Shiv Sena threatens to disrupt an experiment at familiarizing school students with a more balanced understanding of Shivaji. Instead of assuring protection to a pioneering institute, the Mumbai police bulldozes the school management into making a written apology when none is due


While the entire country has been privy to an intense debate on the issue of partisan and narrow readings and interpretations of the past (see CC, August September 2001, January 2001, October 1999 ), Maharashtra in western India  at present ruled by the ‘secular’ Congress–NCP combine but shackled by the rabid Shiv Sena – recently saw brazen attempts at intimidation and unreasoned rhetoric over the introduction of a handbook for history teachers that deals with Shivaji in a balanced and rational manner.

The issue is, the introduction, on an experimental basis, of a handbook to enhance the understanding and learning of history, authored by Teesta Setalvad (through KHOJ — the secular education programme running in several schools) in three institutions run by the Don Bosco group of schools in Mumbai. The handbooks were the result of a ten- month long collaboration between history teachers and the author, aimed at re–working and enhancing the syllabus in history.

The section on Shivaji, among other things, also dealt with the caste background of Shivaji and his rise to power and glory despite these restrictive factors. The handbook also deals with the character of Afzal Khan in a balanced manner. These are the sections that have raised the hackles of the self–styled
custodians of our common history.

The experiment was being conducted with the full knowledge and consent of the parent–teacher associations in two of the three schools since June this year. But in the third school, Don Bosco’s, Borivali, some parents, clearly unhappy with the rational and logical reasoning in the handbook, approached the local shakha of the Shiv Sena after failing to intimidate the principal at a parents’ meeting, into withdrawing the book. Predictably, the Shiv Sena was more than happy to step in!

Shivaji, a Maharashtrian figure, has been selectively valorised by a parochial and downright communal element in Maharashtra, especially over the past two and a half decades. These elements have consistently used threats, bullying and intimidation tactics to stall any effort to improve upon the orientation of the official textbooks. Even the attempt of the Maharashtra State Text Book Board to re–work the history textbooks in tune with the New Education Policy of 1986 was subverted.

The narrow worldview that these forces represent would prefer to hide the bitter struggle of Shivaji with the entrenched Brahminical hierarchy of the time. The story of his coronation detailed by eminent historians (see boxes) is a sorry tale of how even a man who gained such tremendous success and popularity in his lifetime had to find a Brahmin priest from Benaras to perform the ‘purification’ and thread ceremony necessary to legitimise his coronation. The services of the Brahmin priest who consented to perform the ritual had to be compensated with significant monetary largesse.

In recent years, sectarian and divisive outfits like the Hindu Mahasabha, the RSS and the Shiv Sena have frequently resorted to intimidation to gloss over these historical facts. But a rich, alternate tradition in Maharashtra has, through the works of Jayant Gadkari, NR Pathak, Govind Pansare and Sharad Patil, periodically resurrected the real Shivaji. As far back as the late 1950s, [1]veteran trade unionist, SA Dange’s famous lecture Tyanche Shivaji, Aamche Shivaji delivered to workers, protested against the manipulation of Shivaji into a ‘Hindu’ ruler, deliberately ignoring significant efforts made by him within his kingdom to give equal status to persons of different religious persuasions.

For the Shiv Sena, through it’s crude but popular audio cassettes of Marathi povadas (folk songs), the battle between Shivaji and Afzal Khan is a metaphor for (and justification of) their current politics – demonisation of the Muslim minority and legitimisation of the violence used against them. Every time individuals and groups have challenged this parochial rendering of the past to suit crude present-day political ends, intimidation and threats have been used to nip such attempts in the bud.

In the light of this background, it is particularly educative to see how the organs of the state — both the police and the state education department — functioned after the SS delivered its threat to the Don Bosco school management recently.

On the morning of September 17, 2001 after one or two parents had failed to intimidate the school into withdrawing the handbooks — a Shiv Sena Board displayed outside the school threatened a morcha to protest against the ‘derogatory remarks against Shivaji by calling him a Shudra’ and hurting Hindu religious sentiments!

The moment the school contacted me, the author of the handbook, I said we should offer to refer the ‘controversial’ part to a committee of experts but that intimidation and threats to the school should be withdrawn. At the same time, given the violent antecedents of the SS, I approached the police on September 18, requesting protection to the school.

However, instead of supporting the reasonable stand for dialogue and rationality taken by the school management, the local police led by the zonal DCP put relentless pressure on the school management to apologise and withdraw the handbook in order to pre-empt the Sena’s protest. The result: on the morning of the threatened protest, September 19, local Shiv Sainiks assembled in front of the school and publicly distributed xeroxed copies of the apology letter the DCP had forced out of the school management before dispersing in a ‘victorious’ mood. Only the police can tell us how a letter from the school addressed to the police got into the hands of the Shiv Sainiks. If this is not police complicity, English dictionaries would need revision.

No less interesting is the role played by the state education department under a ‘secular’ combine on that day. Representatives of the department descended on the school and extracted an immediate assurance that the handbook would be withdrawn.

Two major issues related to the conduct of public servants arise from the controversy and both have become the subject matter of complaints by the management and the author before the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission and Maharashtra State Minorities Commission.
One is the conduct of the police, both visible and behind the scenes. Second, is the action of the state education department in seeking to control alternate and dynamic renderings of history.

Throughout the day on Monday, September 17, despite repeated efforts by the school management to contact the local police station for protection from the Shiv Sena, zonal DCP SS Khemkar did not respond. The matter cannot be seen in isolation without considering the fear and terror that an outfit like the SS generates in Mumbai.

Only weeks before this incident, Shiv Sainiks showed their true colours, completely destroying the only hospital of its kind in neighbouring Thane. But for the hospital doctors who did all they could to save patients, several of whom were on life support systems, there is no saying how many may have died in addition to the two patients who could not survive the ordeal. The provocation? The Thane chief of the Sena, Anand Dighe, admitted to the hospital following a road accident, had died due to a massive heart failure. The Thane police commissioner and his police force are now facing an enquiry before the State’s Human Rights Commission for their failure to act against the Sainiks who reduced Rs 9 crore worth of hospital property and equipment to rubble in next to no time. The hospital has since closed down and several hundreds of its employees rendered jobless.

These were the immediate antecedents of the outfit, the Shiv Sena which was threatening Don Bosco, Borivali, with an agitation. Even as the Don Bosco agitation was hanging fire, women Shiv Sainiks had stormed into the chambers of the Mumbai municipal commissioner and roughed him up.
What does the police do in these circumstances to reassure a school management which assumes responsibility for hundreds of young children?

Despite it being made repeatedly clear, by the school management and the author, that the issue was open for dialogue and discussion, the Borivali police through the local DCP SS Khemkar brought enormous pressure on the school to withdraw the handbook completely . Worse still was the conduct of the city’s commissioner of police, MN Singh, whom I contacted on his mobile phone at 9 am on Tuesday, September 18, after trying in vain to get through to him the day before.

The result of the call to the commissioner was the conduct of DCP Khemkar, intimidation and threats made to the school. Behind the scenes, Singh used the Christian connections of former supercop, Julio Ribeiro, to advise the school to "steer clear of controversies".

At the time, Section 142 (order against assembly with weapons) was in force due to the tensions following the terror attacks in the USA. In view of the sensitive situation and the antecedents of the Shiv Sena, the law and order machinery would have been well within its powers to assume a no-nonsense attitude vis–à–vis the SS. Instead, the commissioner, through DCP SS Khemkar, chose to bulldoze the management of a premier and pioneering educational institution into penning a here–and–now apology and withdrawal of the handbook.

The same approach was followed by the second state institution that entered the picture, the state education department. Under law and the codes governing the SSC school board, there is nothing to prevent schools from using educational material to enhance the syllabus; yet the state government responds to the SS intimidation with uncharacteristic promptness.

Maharashtra, like other states in the country, has seen the mushrooming of several thousand institutions run by the RSS/VHP that freely use supplementary texts that, simply put, spread hatred and division. Does the state government, even under ‘secular’ dispensations, ever ‘dare’ to make any inquiries? Why is it that efforts to rationalise history learning and cleanse it of the cobwebs of bigotry and hatred are such a challenge to our institutions, and not those that blatantly promote bigotry and stereotypes?

The matter presently lies before the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission. The next date for hearing is November 29. Meanwhile, in a parallel move, the Borivali police station has instituted an investigation under section 153 c (hurting the religious sentiments of a section) against the author of the book. 

(Archived from the October 2001 issue of Communalism Combat)

 
[1] Shivaji: Tyancha ani Amcha, Amar Hind Mandal, Dadar, May 3,1959

Shivaji in ‘secular’ Maharashtra

First published on: 19 Dec 2015



The Shiv Sena threatens to disrupt an experiment at familiarizing school students with a more balanced understanding of Shivaji. Instead of assuring protection to a pioneering institute, the Mumbai police bulldozes the school management into making a written apology when none is due


While the entire country has been privy to an intense debate on the issue of partisan and narrow readings and interpretations of the past (see CC, August September 2001, January 2001, October 1999 ), Maharashtra in western India  at present ruled by the ‘secular’ Congress–NCP combine but shackled by the rabid Shiv Sena – recently saw brazen attempts at intimidation and unreasoned rhetoric over the introduction of a handbook for history teachers that deals with Shivaji in a balanced and rational manner.

The issue is, the introduction, on an experimental basis, of a handbook to enhance the understanding and learning of history, authored by Teesta Setalvad (through KHOJ — the secular education programme running in several schools) in three institutions run by the Don Bosco group of schools in Mumbai. The handbooks were the result of a ten- month long collaboration between history teachers and the author, aimed at re–working and enhancing the syllabus in history.

The section on Shivaji, among other things, also dealt with the caste background of Shivaji and his rise to power and glory despite these restrictive factors. The handbook also deals with the character of Afzal Khan in a balanced manner. These are the sections that have raised the hackles of the self–styled
custodians of our common history.

The experiment was being conducted with the full knowledge and consent of the parent–teacher associations in two of the three schools since June this year. But in the third school, Don Bosco’s, Borivali, some parents, clearly unhappy with the rational and logical reasoning in the handbook, approached the local shakha of the Shiv Sena after failing to intimidate the principal at a parents’ meeting, into withdrawing the book. Predictably, the Shiv Sena was more than happy to step in!

Shivaji, a Maharashtrian figure, has been selectively valorised by a parochial and downright communal element in Maharashtra, especially over the past two and a half decades. These elements have consistently used threats, bullying and intimidation tactics to stall any effort to improve upon the orientation of the official textbooks. Even the attempt of the Maharashtra State Text Book Board to re–work the history textbooks in tune with the New Education Policy of 1986 was subverted.

The narrow worldview that these forces represent would prefer to hide the bitter struggle of Shivaji with the entrenched Brahminical hierarchy of the time. The story of his coronation detailed by eminent historians (see boxes) is a sorry tale of how even a man who gained such tremendous success and popularity in his lifetime had to find a Brahmin priest from Benaras to perform the ‘purification’ and thread ceremony necessary to legitimise his coronation. The services of the Brahmin priest who consented to perform the ritual had to be compensated with significant monetary largesse.

In recent years, sectarian and divisive outfits like the Hindu Mahasabha, the RSS and the Shiv Sena have frequently resorted to intimidation to gloss over these historical facts. But a rich, alternate tradition in Maharashtra has, through the works of Jayant Gadkari, NR Pathak, Govind Pansare and Sharad Patil, periodically resurrected the real Shivaji. As far back as the late 1950s, [1]veteran trade unionist, SA Dange’s famous lecture Tyanche Shivaji, Aamche Shivaji delivered to workers, protested against the manipulation of Shivaji into a ‘Hindu’ ruler, deliberately ignoring significant efforts made by him within his kingdom to give equal status to persons of different religious persuasions.

For the Shiv Sena, through it’s crude but popular audio cassettes of Marathi povadas (folk songs), the battle between Shivaji and Afzal Khan is a metaphor for (and justification of) their current politics – demonisation of the Muslim minority and legitimisation of the violence used against them. Every time individuals and groups have challenged this parochial rendering of the past to suit crude present-day political ends, intimidation and threats have been used to nip such attempts in the bud.

In the light of this background, it is particularly educative to see how the organs of the state — both the police and the state education department — functioned after the SS delivered its threat to the Don Bosco school management recently.

On the morning of September 17, 2001 after one or two parents had failed to intimidate the school into withdrawing the handbooks — a Shiv Sena Board displayed outside the school threatened a morcha to protest against the ‘derogatory remarks against Shivaji by calling him a Shudra’ and hurting Hindu religious sentiments!

The moment the school contacted me, the author of the handbook, I said we should offer to refer the ‘controversial’ part to a committee of experts but that intimidation and threats to the school should be withdrawn. At the same time, given the violent antecedents of the SS, I approached the police on September 18, requesting protection to the school.

However, instead of supporting the reasonable stand for dialogue and rationality taken by the school management, the local police led by the zonal DCP put relentless pressure on the school management to apologise and withdraw the handbook in order to pre-empt the Sena’s protest. The result: on the morning of the threatened protest, September 19, local Shiv Sainiks assembled in front of the school and publicly distributed xeroxed copies of the apology letter the DCP had forced out of the school management before dispersing in a ‘victorious’ mood. Only the police can tell us how a letter from the school addressed to the police got into the hands of the Shiv Sainiks. If this is not police complicity, English dictionaries would need revision.

No less interesting is the role played by the state education department under a ‘secular’ combine on that day. Representatives of the department descended on the school and extracted an immediate assurance that the handbook would be withdrawn.

Two major issues related to the conduct of public servants arise from the controversy and both have become the subject matter of complaints by the management and the author before the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission and Maharashtra State Minorities Commission.
One is the conduct of the police, both visible and behind the scenes. Second, is the action of the state education department in seeking to control alternate and dynamic renderings of history.

Throughout the day on Monday, September 17, despite repeated efforts by the school management to contact the local police station for protection from the Shiv Sena, zonal DCP SS Khemkar did not respond. The matter cannot be seen in isolation without considering the fear and terror that an outfit like the SS generates in Mumbai.

Only weeks before this incident, Shiv Sainiks showed their true colours, completely destroying the only hospital of its kind in neighbouring Thane. But for the hospital doctors who did all they could to save patients, several of whom were on life support systems, there is no saying how many may have died in addition to the two patients who could not survive the ordeal. The provocation? The Thane chief of the Sena, Anand Dighe, admitted to the hospital following a road accident, had died due to a massive heart failure. The Thane police commissioner and his police force are now facing an enquiry before the State’s Human Rights Commission for their failure to act against the Sainiks who reduced Rs 9 crore worth of hospital property and equipment to rubble in next to no time. The hospital has since closed down and several hundreds of its employees rendered jobless.

These were the immediate antecedents of the outfit, the Shiv Sena which was threatening Don Bosco, Borivali, with an agitation. Even as the Don Bosco agitation was hanging fire, women Shiv Sainiks had stormed into the chambers of the Mumbai municipal commissioner and roughed him up.
What does the police do in these circumstances to reassure a school management which assumes responsibility for hundreds of young children?

Despite it being made repeatedly clear, by the school management and the author, that the issue was open for dialogue and discussion, the Borivali police through the local DCP SS Khemkar brought enormous pressure on the school to withdraw the handbook completely . Worse still was the conduct of the city’s commissioner of police, MN Singh, whom I contacted on his mobile phone at 9 am on Tuesday, September 18, after trying in vain to get through to him the day before.

The result of the call to the commissioner was the conduct of DCP Khemkar, intimidation and threats made to the school. Behind the scenes, Singh used the Christian connections of former supercop, Julio Ribeiro, to advise the school to "steer clear of controversies".

At the time, Section 142 (order against assembly with weapons) was in force due to the tensions following the terror attacks in the USA. In view of the sensitive situation and the antecedents of the Shiv Sena, the law and order machinery would have been well within its powers to assume a no-nonsense attitude vis–à–vis the SS. Instead, the commissioner, through DCP SS Khemkar, chose to bulldoze the management of a premier and pioneering educational institution into penning a here–and–now apology and withdrawal of the handbook.

The same approach was followed by the second state institution that entered the picture, the state education department. Under law and the codes governing the SSC school board, there is nothing to prevent schools from using educational material to enhance the syllabus; yet the state government responds to the SS intimidation with uncharacteristic promptness.

Maharashtra, like other states in the country, has seen the mushrooming of several thousand institutions run by the RSS/VHP that freely use supplementary texts that, simply put, spread hatred and division. Does the state government, even under ‘secular’ dispensations, ever ‘dare’ to make any inquiries? Why is it that efforts to rationalise history learning and cleanse it of the cobwebs of bigotry and hatred are such a challenge to our institutions, and not those that blatantly promote bigotry and stereotypes?

The matter presently lies before the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission. The next date for hearing is November 29. Meanwhile, in a parallel move, the Borivali police station has instituted an investigation under section 153 c (hurting the religious sentiments of a section) against the author of the book. 

(Archived from the October 2001 issue of Communalism Combat)

 
[1] Shivaji: Tyancha ani Amcha, Amar Hind Mandal, Dadar, May 3,1959

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The interplay of caste and faith

While faith often overshadows special marriages, experts talk about how caste and religion both influence this social institution

07 Jun 2022

Caste Violence
Image courtesy: telegraphindia.com

“Where society is cut asunder, marriage as a binding force becomes a matter of urgent necessity. The real remedy for breaking caste is intermarriage. Nothing else will serve as the solvent of caste,” Dr. B. R. Ambedkar wrote this in his speech ‘Annihilation of caste’.

For better or worse, these words by Ambedkar remain relevant in 2022, albeit the forms of these “intermarriages” are fast overlapping.

At the start of this year on January 22, an interfaith couple got married near Hyderabad. The husband Billipuram Nagaraju intended to convert to Islam as a way of convincing wife Syed Sultana’s family. However, this was not to be as in May the media reported how Nagaraju was allegedly killed by the family. The case was called an instance on honour killing wherein a Dalit man was murdered by the Muslim wife’s family.

The case became more gruesome as media reports (acknowledged even by the National Human Rights Commission) called the husband a Dalit. The victim of the brutal murder, 25-year-old B Nagaraju had married 23-year-old AshrinSulthana a.k.a. Pallavi on January 22 this year, after having known each other for years, stated news reports.

While the incident led to many heated discussions on whether Sultana’s brother allegedly killed Nagaraju due to his caste or religion, the incident also raises the question of whether caste does influence an interfaith marriage more than faith does.

Role of caste in interfaith unions

When asked her views on the issue, Muslim feminist writer Ghazala Wahabagreed that the two social elements of caste and faith hugely impact marriage. Further, she said a Dalit person is likely to be more at-risk of honour killings in such a situation particularly because of two layered aspects of Indian society.

“One is patriarchy. If you bring a woman from another background, the girl will convert her caste/ religion. But if a woman marries someone independently, it shows a will to exercise her opinion. Families can’t accept this move. So, if a girl marries without permission, then the couple is in danger. And if the person is Dalit then that risk increases manifold because of the overall social vulnerabilities of caste,” she said.

Taking the example of the Hyderabad incident, she talks about how the woman later tried to dismiss the cause of the killing being entrenched in caste. However, Wahab stressed that the person’s caste and religion are still equally important, especially considering the boy was willing to convert.

“Mostly conversion settles the issue. But here even that did not placate the family. So, the problem must be the caste. The reason may be that Muslims do not like to accept or acknowledge the caste reality. Muslims caste system is not pronounced as compared to Hindus. But in marriage this is often seen (and opposed) because marriage is a rigid system.”

Dhanak of Humanity Co-Founder Asif Iqbal emphasised that caste has an even greater role after marriage. For nearly 17 years, the organisation has been working on helping couples overcome social barriers, be it relating to caste, faith, stigma related to the LGBTQIA+ community. During this time, they have helped many people ensure a civil marriage via the Special Marriages Act (SMA).

However, of the 400 runaway cases the organisation received directly annually, at least 32 percent involve inter-caste unions. The rest are only inter-faith marriages.The organisation ensures that those seeking help follow due procedure under the SMA in availing a marriage certificate. Further, members ask people to remain in contact with Dhanak after marriage to ensure the family remains safe.

However, more often than not, Iqbal said that inter-caste couples lose contact with the organisation after marriage. As an inter-caste marriage is eligible for a religious marriage, many couples opt for that rather than waiting for the longer administrative procedure.

This is a cause for concern because the issue of caste is much more prominent in post-marriage situations where families either oppose the union or accept the couple but ask about caste.

“After marriage, a fear for life remains in both situations. Honour killings are common in inter-caste marriages especially in rural areas where the practice is less permissible than inter-faith marriages,” he said.

Generally, the issue is also female-centric where a woman’s caste is more important than the man’s caste. In such situations, the husband also has to be proactive about the family’s enquiries, said Iqbal.

Reforms to protect SMA unions

Wahab pointed out that while there are already laws to protect inter-caste and inter-faith marriages, the SMA still requires reform in certain aspects. For example, under the SMA there is a public notice issuance that threatens people’s anonymity.“Majority SMA couples have run away from home. So their information being on the public domain puts them in more danger,” she said.

Wahab also pointed out how there are biases in both Hindu and Muslim communities that people should only marry within their religion. Due to this, when SMA is not feasible, couples try religious marriages and temporary conversion. This further complicates matters for the young couples, she said, with questions of who will convert.

Love is most important

Dalit feminist writer Urmila Pawar said that more than anything, what determines the impact of these social differences are the persons involved in the marriage.

“Love does not see caste. But we live in a jaati-pradhan country. To an extent, it is true that each caste has a unique behaviour lifestyle. The success of a marriage depends on their resolve as well. A subconscious bias is always there. But people have to move forward believing humanity is the dharma,” said Pawar.

She pointed out that there are many issues that people face in marriage other than caste. However, a person believing in such an “unnatural system” will not be able to sustain the marriage.

Regarding the idea that people consciously marry outside their community, Wahabdimissed it saying such a thinking would support love jihad.“People marry for love. There are many cases like Hyderabad. One thing to consider is whom you can access. Some ask why do Muslim girls marry inside the community. This is because Muslim boys can meet non-Muslims at work and colleges. Girl Muslims do not have this exposure. School education is lesser, college education is lesser. The same logic applies with Dalits as well,” she said.

Related:

Hyderabad: Interfaith couple attacked, man stabbed to death!
Sheath the swords, while there is still time!
Should Arya Samaj unions come under the Special Marriages Act?
Conversion will not change caste of a person: Madras HC

The interplay of caste and faith

While faith often overshadows special marriages, experts talk about how caste and religion both influence this social institution

Caste Violence
Image courtesy: telegraphindia.com

“Where society is cut asunder, marriage as a binding force becomes a matter of urgent necessity. The real remedy for breaking caste is intermarriage. Nothing else will serve as the solvent of caste,” Dr. B. R. Ambedkar wrote this in his speech ‘Annihilation of caste’.

For better or worse, these words by Ambedkar remain relevant in 2022, albeit the forms of these “intermarriages” are fast overlapping.

At the start of this year on January 22, an interfaith couple got married near Hyderabad. The husband Billipuram Nagaraju intended to convert to Islam as a way of convincing wife Syed Sultana’s family. However, this was not to be as in May the media reported how Nagaraju was allegedly killed by the family. The case was called an instance on honour killing wherein a Dalit man was murdered by the Muslim wife’s family.

The case became more gruesome as media reports (acknowledged even by the National Human Rights Commission) called the husband a Dalit. The victim of the brutal murder, 25-year-old B Nagaraju had married 23-year-old AshrinSulthana a.k.a. Pallavi on January 22 this year, after having known each other for years, stated news reports.

While the incident led to many heated discussions on whether Sultana’s brother allegedly killed Nagaraju due to his caste or religion, the incident also raises the question of whether caste does influence an interfaith marriage more than faith does.

Role of caste in interfaith unions

When asked her views on the issue, Muslim feminist writer Ghazala Wahabagreed that the two social elements of caste and faith hugely impact marriage. Further, she said a Dalit person is likely to be more at-risk of honour killings in such a situation particularly because of two layered aspects of Indian society.

“One is patriarchy. If you bring a woman from another background, the girl will convert her caste/ religion. But if a woman marries someone independently, it shows a will to exercise her opinion. Families can’t accept this move. So, if a girl marries without permission, then the couple is in danger. And if the person is Dalit then that risk increases manifold because of the overall social vulnerabilities of caste,” she said.

Taking the example of the Hyderabad incident, she talks about how the woman later tried to dismiss the cause of the killing being entrenched in caste. However, Wahab stressed that the person’s caste and religion are still equally important, especially considering the boy was willing to convert.

“Mostly conversion settles the issue. But here even that did not placate the family. So, the problem must be the caste. The reason may be that Muslims do not like to accept or acknowledge the caste reality. Muslims caste system is not pronounced as compared to Hindus. But in marriage this is often seen (and opposed) because marriage is a rigid system.”

Dhanak of Humanity Co-Founder Asif Iqbal emphasised that caste has an even greater role after marriage. For nearly 17 years, the organisation has been working on helping couples overcome social barriers, be it relating to caste, faith, stigma related to the LGBTQIA+ community. During this time, they have helped many people ensure a civil marriage via the Special Marriages Act (SMA).

However, of the 400 runaway cases the organisation received directly annually, at least 32 percent involve inter-caste unions. The rest are only inter-faith marriages.The organisation ensures that those seeking help follow due procedure under the SMA in availing a marriage certificate. Further, members ask people to remain in contact with Dhanak after marriage to ensure the family remains safe.

However, more often than not, Iqbal said that inter-caste couples lose contact with the organisation after marriage. As an inter-caste marriage is eligible for a religious marriage, many couples opt for that rather than waiting for the longer administrative procedure.

This is a cause for concern because the issue of caste is much more prominent in post-marriage situations where families either oppose the union or accept the couple but ask about caste.

“After marriage, a fear for life remains in both situations. Honour killings are common in inter-caste marriages especially in rural areas where the practice is less permissible than inter-faith marriages,” he said.

Generally, the issue is also female-centric where a woman’s caste is more important than the man’s caste. In such situations, the husband also has to be proactive about the family’s enquiries, said Iqbal.

Reforms to protect SMA unions

Wahab pointed out that while there are already laws to protect inter-caste and inter-faith marriages, the SMA still requires reform in certain aspects. For example, under the SMA there is a public notice issuance that threatens people’s anonymity.“Majority SMA couples have run away from home. So their information being on the public domain puts them in more danger,” she said.

Wahab also pointed out how there are biases in both Hindu and Muslim communities that people should only marry within their religion. Due to this, when SMA is not feasible, couples try religious marriages and temporary conversion. This further complicates matters for the young couples, she said, with questions of who will convert.

Love is most important

Dalit feminist writer Urmila Pawar said that more than anything, what determines the impact of these social differences are the persons involved in the marriage.

“Love does not see caste. But we live in a jaati-pradhan country. To an extent, it is true that each caste has a unique behaviour lifestyle. The success of a marriage depends on their resolve as well. A subconscious bias is always there. But people have to move forward believing humanity is the dharma,” said Pawar.

She pointed out that there are many issues that people face in marriage other than caste. However, a person believing in such an “unnatural system” will not be able to sustain the marriage.

Regarding the idea that people consciously marry outside their community, Wahabdimissed it saying such a thinking would support love jihad.“People marry for love. There are many cases like Hyderabad. One thing to consider is whom you can access. Some ask why do Muslim girls marry inside the community. This is because Muslim boys can meet non-Muslims at work and colleges. Girl Muslims do not have this exposure. School education is lesser, college education is lesser. The same logic applies with Dalits as well,” she said.

Related:

Hyderabad: Interfaith couple attacked, man stabbed to death!
Sheath the swords, while there is still time!
Should Arya Samaj unions come under the Special Marriages Act?
Conversion will not change caste of a person: Madras HC

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Hyderabad: Interfaith couple attacked, man stabbed to death!

The couple had gotten married, against the woman's family's wishes, on January 22 this year

05 May 2022

Interfaith couple

Image Courtesy:worrydot.com

A brutal murder of a young man who had married a woman from a different faith was reported from Hyderabad on Wednesday. The victim, 25-year-old B Nagaraju had married 23-year-old Ashrin Sulthana a.k.a. Pallavi on January 22 this year, after having known each other for years, stated news reports.

Nagaraju was stabbed to death at the Saroornagar Tahsildar office in Hyderabad, reportedly by a bike-borne assailant. The murder is being reported as a case of so called ‘honour killing’, that is a murder carried out by the couple’s families or on the behest of the families who claim their so called ‘honour’ has been defiled by the marriage.

According to news reports, the main accused has been arrested, and some other suspects detained; members of the girl’s family, are reportedly among them. CNN-News18 reported that according to ACP P Sreedhar Reddy, “The brother and brother-in-law of the girl had been against the union,” and Nagaraju was stabbed to death by an "unknown person riding a bike at the Saroornagar Tahsildar office at 9 pm on Wednesday night.” Even though the attacker escaped, “many onlookers took pictures of the dead body and videotaped the incident on their phones.”

Nagaraju’s relatives also staged a demonstration, accusing his wife’s family of being behind the murder, and now “tensions in the region have risen” stated news reports. According to reports, the young couple were also attacked with an iron rod, and one of the assailants then “stabbed Nagaraju several times, killing him on the spot.” 

The crime was also recorded on CCTV cameras installed nearby. The woman was rushed to a hospital by passersby. According to police, her family had always opposed this relationship and had barred the woman from seeing him. However, the couple decided to get married at an Arya Samaj temple on January 31. According to Indian Express, they moved to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, as the threats from the woman’s family continued. Police told the media that the couple had come to Hyderabad just a week ago and had rented a house. 

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Hyderabad: Interfaith couple attacked, man stabbed to death!

The couple had gotten married, against the woman's family's wishes, on January 22 this year

Interfaith couple

Image Courtesy:worrydot.com

A brutal murder of a young man who had married a woman from a different faith was reported from Hyderabad on Wednesday. The victim, 25-year-old B Nagaraju had married 23-year-old Ashrin Sulthana a.k.a. Pallavi on January 22 this year, after having known each other for years, stated news reports.

Nagaraju was stabbed to death at the Saroornagar Tahsildar office in Hyderabad, reportedly by a bike-borne assailant. The murder is being reported as a case of so called ‘honour killing’, that is a murder carried out by the couple’s families or on the behest of the families who claim their so called ‘honour’ has been defiled by the marriage.

According to news reports, the main accused has been arrested, and some other suspects detained; members of the girl’s family, are reportedly among them. CNN-News18 reported that according to ACP P Sreedhar Reddy, “The brother and brother-in-law of the girl had been against the union,” and Nagaraju was stabbed to death by an "unknown person riding a bike at the Saroornagar Tahsildar office at 9 pm on Wednesday night.” Even though the attacker escaped, “many onlookers took pictures of the dead body and videotaped the incident on their phones.”

Nagaraju’s relatives also staged a demonstration, accusing his wife’s family of being behind the murder, and now “tensions in the region have risen” stated news reports. According to reports, the young couple were also attacked with an iron rod, and one of the assailants then “stabbed Nagaraju several times, killing him on the spot.” 

The crime was also recorded on CCTV cameras installed nearby. The woman was rushed to a hospital by passersby. According to police, her family had always opposed this relationship and had barred the woman from seeing him. However, the couple decided to get married at an Arya Samaj temple on January 31. According to Indian Express, they moved to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, as the threats from the woman’s family continued. Police told the media that the couple had come to Hyderabad just a week ago and had rented a house. 

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Hate Speech: Is administering an ‘oath’ to make India a ‘Hindu-rashtra’ legal?
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UP’s Dy CM’s "Brahmin a superior way of living life" a sign of poll panic?

Dinesh Sharma says proud to be Brahmin, at the same time ‘slams’ opposition for being ‘casteist’ 

07 Feb 2022

UP

Days before Jewar in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of western Uttar Pradesh goes to polls on February 10, the state’s deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma has made the most casteist and divisive remark. He has claimed that the “Brahmin” lifestyle was a “superior way of living a life”.

Sharma was speaking at a poll campaign for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Dhirendra Singh in Jewar in Gautam Buddh Nagar, on Sunday and reportedly hit out at Opposition parties for being "casteist". He claimed that he has been often asked about his views on Brahminism and the party's position on casteism to which he replied “BJP wants 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'. Neither Brahmin, nor Gujjar or Jats. Every caste has its significance and that's why we have a bouquet of all castes here in support (of the BJP)." 

Sharma said he was proud of his own caste. “When I was linked to Brahminism, I said yes, I am a Brahmin and I am proud of it. I do not see it as any disrespect," he said, claiming that “a Brahmin's work is 'sarve bhavantu sukhinah', (Translation: Feeling happy in others' happiness.)" He added to his claims of Brahmin ‘pride’ as it were, and said he was a teacher by profession, and that in earlier times, “Only teachers were called Brahmins as they worked for the welfare of people and considered as gods across castes out of respect.”

He then added, “Brahmin is not a caste, a superior way of living life is called Brahmin. Whether teaching or (in the field of) education, or whatever the work, he's not in conflict with any caste. From birth to death, it is these Brahmins who work for good luck.” According to news reports he gave the credit to this definition of Brahmins to “the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'.” 

Bizarrely Sharma raised “caste” which he had just tried to dismiss when he attacked the Opposition parties saying, “BJP works for the backward classes, Jats, Gujjars, Thakurs, Vaishya and everyone. We have ministers, MLAs, MLCs across castes. We have not discriminated among people like other parties do.” He then claimed that he had interacted with the Muslim community in places like Aligarh and Lucknow and that “the BJP is getting support from across communities.”

Invoking caste in different ways is yet another sign that the political undercurrents are changing rapidly and unpredictably in Uttar Pradesh. As analysed earlier by SabrangIndia, stakes are high for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is in power in not just the state, but also at the centre – the impact of the Assembly election could be felt in the 2024 general elections. The BJP is clearly worried. 

The spate of high-profile resignations from the BJP government and party, has left the hardliners in the BJP-RSS and Sangh Parivar rather disturbed and shaky. Top ministers hailing from Other Backward Classes (OBC) have resigned from the cabinet, including heavyweight Swami Prasad Maurya. Along with them several MLAs too have chosen to quit. Almost all of them have joined the Samajwadi Party (SP).   

Western UP has reiterated yet again that it will vote unanimously against the BJP this time, especially the farmers who are upset with the BJP’s non-action with respect to promises made with respect to farm reforms. The farmers are also very angry because they have not been paid crores reportedly overdue for the sugarcane sold to the sugar factories in the region, and because of the betrayal of the Modi government on the promise of Minimum Support Price (MSP).  

“Punish anti-farmer BJP during state elections,” is the appeal sent by  farmers’ umbrella body Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM). “We have decided that “punish BJP” will remain the thrust of SKM’s further initiatives. We will prepare a letter to be distributed till the district-level along with village-level or mohallah-level meetings to urge citizens not to vote for the BJP in this election,” SKM leader Hannan Mollah said during a recent press conference in New Delhi.

Leaders of SKM noted that the central government backtracked on its written assurances regarding an MSP committee, withdrawal of cases against farmers, compensation and many other fronts. Similarly, the matter concerning the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre on October 3, 2021 has remained an emotional question for farmers – as has Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s continued position in the Union Cabinet. Farmers continue to demand Mishra’s suspension for his role in the incident wherein four farmers and a local journalist were run over by his son Ashish Mishra.

The SKM released a pamphlet endorsed by 57 farmer organisations that said, “What did the Yogi-government that promised to end ‘goondagardi’ do about this? It saved the accused.” According to SKM leader Rakesh Tikait this document will be distributed to the residents in UP and UK states. He said that UP sugarcane farmers have been waiting since 2017 for the government to complete procurement. Similarly, potato farmers have been suffering due to failed sales too.
 

Related:

HateBuster: Pro-Pakistan slogans raised in Samajwadi Party rally, claim rightwingers

BJP yet to deny if the man who shot at Asaduddin Owaisi was a member 

Will Bulandshahr gangrape-murder case take the Hathras route?

UP’s Dy CM’s "Brahmin a superior way of living life" a sign of poll panic?

Dinesh Sharma says proud to be Brahmin, at the same time ‘slams’ opposition for being ‘casteist’ 

UP

Days before Jewar in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of western Uttar Pradesh goes to polls on February 10, the state’s deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma has made the most casteist and divisive remark. He has claimed that the “Brahmin” lifestyle was a “superior way of living a life”.

Sharma was speaking at a poll campaign for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Dhirendra Singh in Jewar in Gautam Buddh Nagar, on Sunday and reportedly hit out at Opposition parties for being "casteist". He claimed that he has been often asked about his views on Brahminism and the party's position on casteism to which he replied “BJP wants 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'. Neither Brahmin, nor Gujjar or Jats. Every caste has its significance and that's why we have a bouquet of all castes here in support (of the BJP)." 

Sharma said he was proud of his own caste. “When I was linked to Brahminism, I said yes, I am a Brahmin and I am proud of it. I do not see it as any disrespect," he said, claiming that “a Brahmin's work is 'sarve bhavantu sukhinah', (Translation: Feeling happy in others' happiness.)" He added to his claims of Brahmin ‘pride’ as it were, and said he was a teacher by profession, and that in earlier times, “Only teachers were called Brahmins as they worked for the welfare of people and considered as gods across castes out of respect.”

He then added, “Brahmin is not a caste, a superior way of living life is called Brahmin. Whether teaching or (in the field of) education, or whatever the work, he's not in conflict with any caste. From birth to death, it is these Brahmins who work for good luck.” According to news reports he gave the credit to this definition of Brahmins to “the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'.” 

Bizarrely Sharma raised “caste” which he had just tried to dismiss when he attacked the Opposition parties saying, “BJP works for the backward classes, Jats, Gujjars, Thakurs, Vaishya and everyone. We have ministers, MLAs, MLCs across castes. We have not discriminated among people like other parties do.” He then claimed that he had interacted with the Muslim community in places like Aligarh and Lucknow and that “the BJP is getting support from across communities.”

Invoking caste in different ways is yet another sign that the political undercurrents are changing rapidly and unpredictably in Uttar Pradesh. As analysed earlier by SabrangIndia, stakes are high for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is in power in not just the state, but also at the centre – the impact of the Assembly election could be felt in the 2024 general elections. The BJP is clearly worried. 

The spate of high-profile resignations from the BJP government and party, has left the hardliners in the BJP-RSS and Sangh Parivar rather disturbed and shaky. Top ministers hailing from Other Backward Classes (OBC) have resigned from the cabinet, including heavyweight Swami Prasad Maurya. Along with them several MLAs too have chosen to quit. Almost all of them have joined the Samajwadi Party (SP).   

Western UP has reiterated yet again that it will vote unanimously against the BJP this time, especially the farmers who are upset with the BJP’s non-action with respect to promises made with respect to farm reforms. The farmers are also very angry because they have not been paid crores reportedly overdue for the sugarcane sold to the sugar factories in the region, and because of the betrayal of the Modi government on the promise of Minimum Support Price (MSP).  

“Punish anti-farmer BJP during state elections,” is the appeal sent by  farmers’ umbrella body Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM). “We have decided that “punish BJP” will remain the thrust of SKM’s further initiatives. We will prepare a letter to be distributed till the district-level along with village-level or mohallah-level meetings to urge citizens not to vote for the BJP in this election,” SKM leader Hannan Mollah said during a recent press conference in New Delhi.

Leaders of SKM noted that the central government backtracked on its written assurances regarding an MSP committee, withdrawal of cases against farmers, compensation and many other fronts. Similarly, the matter concerning the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre on October 3, 2021 has remained an emotional question for farmers – as has Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s continued position in the Union Cabinet. Farmers continue to demand Mishra’s suspension for his role in the incident wherein four farmers and a local journalist were run over by his son Ashish Mishra.

The SKM released a pamphlet endorsed by 57 farmer organisations that said, “What did the Yogi-government that promised to end ‘goondagardi’ do about this? It saved the accused.” According to SKM leader Rakesh Tikait this document will be distributed to the residents in UP and UK states. He said that UP sugarcane farmers have been waiting since 2017 for the government to complete procurement. Similarly, potato farmers have been suffering due to failed sales too.
 

Related:

HateBuster: Pro-Pakistan slogans raised in Samajwadi Party rally, claim rightwingers

BJP yet to deny if the man who shot at Asaduddin Owaisi was a member 

Will Bulandshahr gangrape-murder case take the Hathras route?

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Segregated burial grounds, a violation of the Constitution: Madras High Court

The court observed that allowing a separate burial ground based on caste promotes segregation, that is the opposite of the idea of Equality envisaged by the Constitution

08 Dec 2021

Madras High Court
Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

Allow entire cremation and burial grounds to be used by members of all castes and communities sans discrimination, the Madras High Court advised the Tamil Nadu government while disposing a petition requesting separate burial grounds for the Arunthathiyar community.

Earlier in 2021, petitioners B. Kalaiselvi and Mala Rajaram complained about the scheduled caste community members burying their dead in Odoi Poromboke region in Madur village of Kallakurichi district.The petitioners’ lands bound to this area receive rainwater during the monsoon season. The pleas called for the allocation of a permanent burial place for the SC folk away from their land. They argued that the nearby Manimuthaar river will be affected if the Odoi is used as a burial ground.

However, viewing the request as an act of segregation, Justice R. Mahadevan said, “Burial/cremation of bodies on the basis of caste or community within a religion, as well as preventing members of any caste/community from burying/cremating their dead in common cremation grounds… and earmarking such grounds for any particular caste/community exclusively, is violative of Articles 14, 15, 17 and 25 of the Constitution as well as against the spirit of the Fundamental Duties enshrined in the Constitution.”

Accordingly, he denied the plea for a permanent burial ground for the Arunthathiyar community, but encouraged the petitioners and the state government to earmark land for common burials and cremations. Justice Mahadevan also condemned the district officials' earlier intentions to create separate burial grounds for the community. Instead, he directed authorities to remove all boards near existing cremation grounds that only stated exclusive use of the land by specific castes and communities.

“Every citizen should be entitled to use the common burial/cremation grounds with all connected facilities and amenities attached thereto, without being discriminated against or segregated,” said the court order.

In the beginning of the order, Justice Mahadevan acknowledged how caste and class hierarchy affect the right to a dignified death due to ownership of such grounds by the privileged groups. He said it is “an undeniable fact” that several Dalits, Arunthathiyars and other marginalised groups do not have lands where they can pay their final respects to the deceased. Some members cannot even carry the dead bodies across certain lands belonging to the people of the privileged castes.

For this reason, the court directed the government to ensure the “prevention of any instance of social disability in a manner as to act towards the fulfilment of its commitment under the Constitution as well as the International Convention for Elimination of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination, and the Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, to which India is a signatory.”

The “social disability” is to be addressed via the inclusion of aspects of cremation/burial for different communities in society, and specific provisions for construction and maintenance of common cremation/burial grounds for all communities.

The court also recommended awareness programmes bring about social change. For this, it suggested granting incentives, financial and otherwise to constituencies/wards, etc. for an increased acceptance for common cremation/burial grounds irrespective of caste or community with a sense of mutual respect.

Justice Mahadevan said that values of religious and communal tolerance and mutual respect for various cultures and religions should be included in school curriculum. Similarly, teachers should address issues of segregation and apartheid by instilling a scientific temper in children.

“This would go a long way in fulfilling the promise of substantive equality as enshrined in the fundamental rights as well as the ideals of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity as envisioned in the Preamble to our Constitution. This measure is particularly important, as the best way to bring about societal change is to shape young minds in their formative years of educational and socio-cultural conditioning,” he said.

The full order can be read here:

Related:

Conversion will not change caste of a person: Madras HC
Uttar Pradesh: Dalit school children thrashed, made to sit separately in Amethi
Adivasi identity at stake
A Battle Over Common Lands Splinters Dalits in Periyar's Tamil Nadu

Segregated burial grounds, a violation of the Constitution: Madras High Court

The court observed that allowing a separate burial ground based on caste promotes segregation, that is the opposite of the idea of Equality envisaged by the Constitution

Madras High Court
Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

Allow entire cremation and burial grounds to be used by members of all castes and communities sans discrimination, the Madras High Court advised the Tamil Nadu government while disposing a petition requesting separate burial grounds for the Arunthathiyar community.

Earlier in 2021, petitioners B. Kalaiselvi and Mala Rajaram complained about the scheduled caste community members burying their dead in Odoi Poromboke region in Madur village of Kallakurichi district.The petitioners’ lands bound to this area receive rainwater during the monsoon season. The pleas called for the allocation of a permanent burial place for the SC folk away from their land. They argued that the nearby Manimuthaar river will be affected if the Odoi is used as a burial ground.

However, viewing the request as an act of segregation, Justice R. Mahadevan said, “Burial/cremation of bodies on the basis of caste or community within a religion, as well as preventing members of any caste/community from burying/cremating their dead in common cremation grounds… and earmarking such grounds for any particular caste/community exclusively, is violative of Articles 14, 15, 17 and 25 of the Constitution as well as against the spirit of the Fundamental Duties enshrined in the Constitution.”

Accordingly, he denied the plea for a permanent burial ground for the Arunthathiyar community, but encouraged the petitioners and the state government to earmark land for common burials and cremations. Justice Mahadevan also condemned the district officials' earlier intentions to create separate burial grounds for the community. Instead, he directed authorities to remove all boards near existing cremation grounds that only stated exclusive use of the land by specific castes and communities.

“Every citizen should be entitled to use the common burial/cremation grounds with all connected facilities and amenities attached thereto, without being discriminated against or segregated,” said the court order.

In the beginning of the order, Justice Mahadevan acknowledged how caste and class hierarchy affect the right to a dignified death due to ownership of such grounds by the privileged groups. He said it is “an undeniable fact” that several Dalits, Arunthathiyars and other marginalised groups do not have lands where they can pay their final respects to the deceased. Some members cannot even carry the dead bodies across certain lands belonging to the people of the privileged castes.

For this reason, the court directed the government to ensure the “prevention of any instance of social disability in a manner as to act towards the fulfilment of its commitment under the Constitution as well as the International Convention for Elimination of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination, and the Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, to which India is a signatory.”

The “social disability” is to be addressed via the inclusion of aspects of cremation/burial for different communities in society, and specific provisions for construction and maintenance of common cremation/burial grounds for all communities.

The court also recommended awareness programmes bring about social change. For this, it suggested granting incentives, financial and otherwise to constituencies/wards, etc. for an increased acceptance for common cremation/burial grounds irrespective of caste or community with a sense of mutual respect.

Justice Mahadevan said that values of religious and communal tolerance and mutual respect for various cultures and religions should be included in school curriculum. Similarly, teachers should address issues of segregation and apartheid by instilling a scientific temper in children.

“This would go a long way in fulfilling the promise of substantive equality as enshrined in the fundamental rights as well as the ideals of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity as envisioned in the Preamble to our Constitution. This measure is particularly important, as the best way to bring about societal change is to shape young minds in their formative years of educational and socio-cultural conditioning,” he said.

The full order can be read here:

Related:

Conversion will not change caste of a person: Madras HC
Uttar Pradesh: Dalit school children thrashed, made to sit separately in Amethi
Adivasi identity at stake
A Battle Over Common Lands Splinters Dalits in Periyar's Tamil Nadu

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Conversion will not change caste of a person: Madras HC

Judgment addresses matter of issuance of certificates in case of inter-caste marriage, and makes observations about impact on caste-based reservations

26 Nov 2021

Madras High Court

The Madras High Court has ruled that the caste into which a person is born will not change after religious conversion. In a recent judgement the HC said, “This Court is of the considered opinion that conversion from one religion to another religion will not change the caste of a person (to) which he belongs.”

The matter pertains to one S. Paul Raj of Salem District who was born into the Adi Dravidar Community, a Scheduled Caste (SC) but later converted to Christianity, following which he was granted a Backward Class certificate. He married a woman hailing from the Hindu Arunthathiyar community, also a Scheduled Caste (SC). Based on this, the petitioner had sought an “inter-caste marriage certificate”, to avail benefits such as priority in employment as is offered in the state of Tamil Nadu in case of inter caste marriage certificate holders.

The Court observed, “In the present case, the petitioner admittedly belongs to Christian Adi-Dravidar community and by virtue of conversion to Christianity he was issued with the Backward Class certificate. However, by birth, the petitioner belongs to 'Adi-Dravidar' community and change of religion will not change the community. The classification of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, Most Backward Classes, Backward Classes and Other castes will not change the caste.” Based on this, the court held, “Therefore, by conversion from one religion to another religion, the caste of the person remains unchanged and therefore based on the conversion to other religion, intercaste marriage certificate cannot be issued.”

The court further clarified, “In the event of converted person claiming inter-caste marriage certificate, it would pave way for the citizen to abuse the benefit to be granted under the inter-caste marriage quota. The repercussion will be large and therefore the inter-caste marriage certificate has to be issued only if any one of the spouses belongs to the Scheduled Caste and other spouse belongs to the other caste, but not otherwise.”

The entire order may be read here: 

 

Related:

Conversion approval not required for interfaith marriage registration: Allahabad HC

Videos of News Nation’s “Conversion Jihad” show to be taken down: NBDSA

Madhya Pradesh: NCPCR ‘inspects’ girls hostel run by nuns, alleges conversion

Conversion will not change caste of a person: Madras HC

Judgment addresses matter of issuance of certificates in case of inter-caste marriage, and makes observations about impact on caste-based reservations

Madras High Court

The Madras High Court has ruled that the caste into which a person is born will not change after religious conversion. In a recent judgement the HC said, “This Court is of the considered opinion that conversion from one religion to another religion will not change the caste of a person (to) which he belongs.”

The matter pertains to one S. Paul Raj of Salem District who was born into the Adi Dravidar Community, a Scheduled Caste (SC) but later converted to Christianity, following which he was granted a Backward Class certificate. He married a woman hailing from the Hindu Arunthathiyar community, also a Scheduled Caste (SC). Based on this, the petitioner had sought an “inter-caste marriage certificate”, to avail benefits such as priority in employment as is offered in the state of Tamil Nadu in case of inter caste marriage certificate holders.

The Court observed, “In the present case, the petitioner admittedly belongs to Christian Adi-Dravidar community and by virtue of conversion to Christianity he was issued with the Backward Class certificate. However, by birth, the petitioner belongs to 'Adi-Dravidar' community and change of religion will not change the community. The classification of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, Most Backward Classes, Backward Classes and Other castes will not change the caste.” Based on this, the court held, “Therefore, by conversion from one religion to another religion, the caste of the person remains unchanged and therefore based on the conversion to other religion, intercaste marriage certificate cannot be issued.”

The court further clarified, “In the event of converted person claiming inter-caste marriage certificate, it would pave way for the citizen to abuse the benefit to be granted under the inter-caste marriage quota. The repercussion will be large and therefore the inter-caste marriage certificate has to be issued only if any one of the spouses belongs to the Scheduled Caste and other spouse belongs to the other caste, but not otherwise.”

The entire order may be read here: 

 

Related:

Conversion approval not required for interfaith marriage registration: Allahabad HC

Videos of News Nation’s “Conversion Jihad” show to be taken down: NBDSA

Madhya Pradesh: NCPCR ‘inspects’ girls hostel run by nuns, alleges conversion

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