The 11th Annual National Conference of DSS was held for 2 days on 21st& 22nd February 2017 at SSS Kalyana Mandapam, Hyderabad. The premises were named “Sri. Bojja Tharakam Pranganam”, in memory of the dalit intellectual, High Court Advocate Sri. Bojja Tharakam.The women collective members from both the Telugu states have participated in hundreds apart from the victims & witnesses. On the first day i.e., on 21st Feb ’17 two separate round table conferences on the implementation of SC, ST (PoA) Act and SCSP/TSP Act were organized by involving the officials of the concerned departments. On the second day i.e., on 22nd Feb ’17 a mammoth meeting was organized on the theme “Break the Barriers of Dalit Women Empowerment”.
On the first day Sri B Vijaya Bharathi, the former director of Telugu Academy and renowned writer has participated as the chief guest. She inaugurated the 11th Annual National Conference of DSS by hoisting the flag of DSS followed by garlanding of photos. On the first day i.e., on 21st February the photo of Dr BR Ambedkar was garlanded by Chelappa IAS, the photo of Savitri Bai Phule was garlanded by PSN Murthy IDAS, and Bojja Tharakam’s photo was garlanded by Sri Satyanarayana ED-SC Corporation & Jhansi Geddam National Convener of DSS. On the second day i.e., on 22nd February the photo of Dr BR Ambedkar was garlanded by Akhileswari Senior Journalist & Prof Ratnam of HCU, the photo of Savitri Bai Phule was garlanded by Venkata Rao IRTS & Ramu Naidu Chief Functionary of Helping Hands and the Photo of Bojja Tharakam was garlanded by Jhansi Geddam.
The 11th Annual Report was brought in Telugu and English languages. Telugu Annual Report was released by Sri Chellappa IAS and the first copy was handed over to B Baghya Laxmi – Telangana State Coordinator. The English Annual Report was released by Sri Kalyana Chakravarthi IAS and the first copy was handed over to K Vijaya Kumari – Guntur District Coordinator.
The conference on the second day was presided over by Jhansi Geddam, National Convener and the other dignitaries on the dais were Akhileswari, prominent journalist, Venkata Rao, IRTS, Prof Ratnam from HCU, Ramunaidu from Helping Hands Foundation, Dr Siddojirao from Helpdesk, Abhirami from NDMJ, Siva Baghyarao IRS, MD of Sneha groups, Vasantha Kannabhran from Asmitha and Anuradha from Rainbow foundation.
Jhansi Geddam in her presidential speech said that Dalit Sthree Sakthi has been formed to mainstream the dalit adivasi women and has been on the job in the past 11 years. DSS
worked with sectors who are the cause for the oppression of dalit adivasi women.If we need to bring a change in them, we need to bring a change in the mind-set of the dalit adivasi women and the entire society. The perspective of the women needs to change if they have to come on to the mainstream and enjoy real freedom. The women should first know that the relation between men & women is not sex relation and also make the society to understand in the same manner. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to make the society know that the way it is looking at us is not correct. All these days the men have not treated the women as equals. The perspective of DSS is not so called feministic;therefore, we as DSS always look at the men as equals, join hands with themen and work for mainstreaming the dalit community and we also need to give a new definition for the equality of women and men.We are shouldering a big responsibility such as to educate our husband & children, ensure that they don’t go towards the vicious culture and get habituated to drinking and at the same time protect our family. All these days we have been bonded & prioritized to the household domestic work and livelihood, but were not aware of the other main responsibilities. We need to gain knowledge inorder to bring a change in the wicked society and to overcome the challenges. The society has commanded the dalit women the way she has to behave, dress up, what & how to eat, what to do and so on, therefore, we need to oppose it. Ambedkar addressing the women has said that how should they dress, what sort of ornaments to wear, food habits etc. As Ambedkarites we need to walk in the path showed by him and follow his ideology. We have to be on the forefront in all angles such as education, jobs, entrepreneurshipinorder to come on to the mainstream.
Venkata Rao IRTS said that in our country the development of women is very important. Everyone should access the resources such as education, health, food, skills etc equally.
There should not be any gender disparities and everyone should be treated equally. We need to organize awareness meetings from village level, to educate our women. Once the women are educated, they can easily strengthen themselves and the family. The employees, intellectuals and others have to support the movement of Dalit Sthree Sakthi to eradicate violence against dalit women.
Prof Ratnam from HCU has said that the main hurdle for the dalit women are dalit men. The family system, informal norms, customs, class & gender disparities have oppressed the dalit women. Dalit women are the only one in the world who are shouldering more responsibility.
It is great that the dalit women are playing an important role in the development of the country. Patriotic perspective, viscous culture has turned to be the main enemies for the dalit women. It is a shameful thing that even in this modern society the dalit women are being harassed in the name of Banamathi, witchcraft, etc. The dalit women should move ahead with self-confidence and achieve the aspirations of Dr BR Ambedkar. It is only possible for the dalit women to take forward the ideology of Ambedkar in the proper direction. To build a caste free society and eradicate liquor from the society is in the hands of the women. He said that on many occasions missed the programmes of DSS, but today have been enlightened that if we join hands with DSS, then only we can curtail violence in the society.
Ramunaidu Chief Functionary of Helping Hands said that if women want to become good leaders they need to have goal, vision and mission. The men have to extend all necessary support to the women in mainstreaming them. Therefore, Helping Hands is expressing its full-fledged support to the movement of DSS
Dr Siddoji from Helpdesk has said that the governments and even the nation are not matured enough to treat everyone equally. Rulers and their communities constitute 10% and they
have been putting in myth the 90% of the population. 90% of the population arecarrying responsibilities and the 10% are in possession of rights. A small portion constitutes the exploiting class and most of the rulers and politicians come from this class. The exploited community failed to think and hence they have been remained as slaves to the rulers. Therefore, the responsibility of changing the society in the expected manner lies on us.
Anuradha has said that everyone has to raise their voices against the violence on dalit
women. It’s a great achievement by DSS, working in a constructive way right from village level and oppose the hurdles/obstacles in the society. We all need to walk in the footsteps of Ambedkar and build a caste free society.
Abhiramifrom NDMJhas conveyed the heart felt wishes from the national team of NDMJ. She said that the women are facing discrimination due to class, caste and gender disparities.
The dalit women are engaged in manual scavenging, domestic work, bonded labour, etc. The dalit women are portrayed as practising witchcraft, banamathi and so on. Many incidents of violence took place in Harayana simultaneously during the Nirbhaya incident. Neither the government nor the civil society has reacted on these incidents. The elite society could make Gandhi & Nehru as the leaders for all the community and nation, whereas portrayed Ambedkar as the leader for only the dalits. Therefore, we need to fight against the caste and patriotic society with Ambedkar ideology and come on to the mainstream.
Siva Baghya Rao Managing Director of Sneha TV has said that we all need to have healthy relations among us and wage a united fight in all angles to come on the mainstream. We need to focus on the political arena and grow up in socio, political and economic sectors.
Vasantha Kannabhiran from Asmitha has said that the culprits are being awarded instead of being punished, for instance P. Appa Rao the vice chancellor of HCU has been awarded, and has been let Scott free in Rohit Vemula incident. The suicides at homes are actually murders. Justice is denied to the victims, and the perpetrators are unable to tolerate questioning injustice. The dalit women have to be strengthened still more, work honestly, remain as watch dogs and save themselves as well as the society.
Dalit Sthree Sakthi, which completed 11 years of its existence and entered 12th year have pledged to take upthe below mentioned:
To strengthen and increase the awareness of dalit women and girls on the special enactments, by imparting concentrated trainings.
To continue the activity of mainstreaming the dalit women as entrepreneurs and as part of this, to ensure that the pending applications are sanctioned at the earliest.
To continue the struggle against all forms of exploitation of dalit women both at home and outside and to continuously pursue the pending cases in the courts until conviction of the culprits.
To take up the issue of delays and draw the attention of the judiciary towards delays in rendering justice.
To forge a platform for organizing the youth
To expand DSS to new areas
To struggle against the exploitation of children and work for achieving a meaningful childhood to all children.
To continue to work with likeminded organizations for the advancement of the cause of dalit women and children.
To continuously interact with concerned government departments and appraise them of the situation.