Dalit Sthree Sakthi and Prabhudda Bharat International celebrated 75thIndependence Day on the theme of “Individual Liberty – Constitutional Institutions” on 15th August 2021 at
Ambedkar Resource Centre, Lakadika Pool, Hyderabad. Various themes under the above main theme were divided and experts on the subject spoke on each topic.Sri. PSN Murthy, IDAS Retired, Chief Advisor of Prabhudda Bharat International Presided over the meeting.
1. Individual Liberty – Legislature:
PSN Murthy spoke on the topic.He explained that legislature is the foundation for personal liberty and gave details of how it is being implemented.Legislature which enacts various laws should be consisting of intellectuals having concern about the welfare of the people and nation.Today if we see the composition of our legislatures, we find that most of the members
are rich, not having concern about people and majority of them have criminal background. How can such people make laws for the people. If the legislatures are composed of ordinary people with character, then only, we can expect good laws. In this sense, this primary institution which has to protect liberty has turned out to be a failure.He felt that the present governance is on autocratic lines as in the past. Unless a real separation of powers takes place, we can’t expect democracy and rule of law. He lamented that in addition to the three institutions of the state, even the media also turned out to be undemocratic and not representing peoples’ aspirations.
2. Individual Liberty – Executive:
Dr. Sunkari Satyam, Professor, Council for Social Development spoke on the subject.He
commented that the Executive whose duty is to implement the laws is actually violating the laws and thereby violating the liberties of the people. He pointed out that today executive has become dominant and is overriding legislature and interfering with judiciary.
3. Individual Liberty – Autonomous Constitutional Bodies
Prof. K.Y. Ratnam, professor of Hyderabad Central University explained the subject.He pointed out that even after 75 years of independence an ordinary dalit woman like Mariyamma was killed in police lock-up in the State.This shows that we didn’t get any liberty.Then he analyzed about the autonomous institutions like universities and other educational institutions like IIT.He cited the instance of a professor of IIT abusing dalit students openly and shamelessly and commented that this is the type of liberty that is
being seen in autonomous institutions.Autonomous institutions are given freedom with the idea that they will exercise powers in consonance with constitutional values, but they are using this freedom to curb dalit students and scholars.This is what is happening after our 75 years of independence and even today Dalits have not become Indian citizens in the full sense.
4. Individual Liberty – Peoples’ Movements
Dr. Siddoji Rao, Convener, IAS/IPS Officers Forum spoke on the theme of people’s movements and liberty.He said that people are steeped in traditions and pointed out
how the traditions determine our thought process and ideas. As on today everyone is steeped in the mindset of caste and caste hierarchy. As such they are not able to raise above caste prejudices and think independently. Everyone speaks about freedom but they suppress the freedom of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and women.
Sri. Anand Bolimera, CEO of PHIA Foundation, New Delhi who attended the conference spoke about the lack of freedom of Dalits, due social and economic inequalities even after 75 years
of independence. Though everyone talks about democracy and rights, they exist only on paper and Dalits are denied those rights in each and every phase of their lives.
Sri. Narra Ravi Kumar, Padma Sri Awardee, who attended the conference also spoke.He appealed to Dalits to reflect on the achievements and failures on the occasion of 75 years of independence.
He felt that though there might be some achievements the majority of failures is due to our own mindset. He said that most of us gained only religious knowledge but not knowledge of constitutional rights.
Jhansi Geddam, National Convener of Dalit Sthree Sakthi spoke about the present political situation.She pointed out that now there is lot of space for Dalits to play critical role in
capturing political power. Dalits should utilize this situation and capture their share of the political power, instead of being followers of one or the other dominant caste parties. She said that Dalits should be dynamic and reflect seriously to become rulers instead of being ruled.