The annual event of birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar was celebrated in a big way this year throughout the country.This anniversary assumed significance as it happens to be the 125th birth anniversary and significance is much more heightened due to the political context
prevailing in the country. All the political parties competed with each other in celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar in a big way to attract the attention of dalits. Political parties have always utilized occasions like this with an eye on dalit vote bank. The ruling BJP now also celebrated the birth anniversary in a big way, as it is now competing with the Congress party to win the dalits. The Government announced to construct a 125 feet high statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary. The prime minister and all party dignitaries paid floral tributes at the statue of Ambedkar. Everyone tried to focus their reverence for Dr. Ambedkar. These events assumed much more significance in the light of suicide of RohitVemula, a dalit scholar of HCU and the attack on other scholars of JNU who are followers of dalit ideology.
In this context, DSS celebrated the birth anniversary with the theme of “Ambedkar – Women”. From April 1st to 13th ‘padayatra’ (reaching and interacting with the people on foot) was conducted in the target villages, propagating the ideology of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar. The culmination of 13 day Padhayatra was public meeting on 14th April at Basheer Bagh Press Club at Hyderabad. This public meeting was presided over by GDV Prakash, Programme Manager of DSS, while Ms. Usha Kumari, IAS, Minorities Commissioner, Sunitha, Member of SC PCR Cell, Dr. Siddoji, In charge of SC,ST IAS,IPS forum, Ms. Manikyam from Electricity Department, Jhansi Rani, from Social Welfare dept., VenkateshChowhan, General Secretary, JAC-HCU and Jhansi Geddam, National Convener of DSS participated.
He narrated how Ambedkar was concerned with the liberation of the women in all aspects, which can be found in his writings, speeches and actions. One should always remember that Ambedkar said that a nation’s development and progress has to be measured on the basis of the development of its women. He said that in the present context, there is a talk from some quarters to abolish reservations and this is giving rise to lot of anxiety among dalits. Keeping such forces in mind, Ambedkar said that Constitution should be in the hands of right people without which there is danger that it may be undermined. This prophecy of Ambedkar is being proved true by the rulers today, who have no real concern for the advancement of the marginalized sections of the society. Further, it is to be noted that the reservations were not properly implemented so far and that is why the inequities are continuing.
She exclaimed that the birth anniversary of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar is being celebrated at global level from UNO to village level.She said that one should remember that Dr.B.R. Ambedkar doesn’t represent any one section of people. He spent his life for the liberation, equality and fraternity of everyone and for advancement of the entire society.His writings and thoughts are for the removal obstacles in the uplifting of the society as a whole. He toiled day and night to
draft the Constitution with guarantees of various rights like fundamental rights, democratic form of government, within the broad concepts of social justice, equality, liberty and fraternity to everyone in the country. Having framed the Constitution, Dr.B.R. Ambedkar did not rest, but toiled to frame Hindu Code Bill to reform the marriage, inheritance and labour laws for the benefit of women and workers. He was so committed to the cause of women that he didn’t compromise on the reforms and in the face of opposition from conservative and orthodox forces, he resigned to the ministry. That is the greatness and ideological commitment of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar.
She pointed out that in course of time the mainstream political parties are reducing Dr.B.R. Ambedkar to the level of only symbolism, by erecting statues, garlanding the statues without caring for the essential ideology of Ambedkar. Strangely, those who staunchly wish to revive the laws of Manu, in a conspiratorial way garland Ambedkar and erect statues, while opposing him ideologically and suppressing dalits. Ambedkarites should be vigilant in this regard and stress on the importance of following Ambedkar than just worshipping him. By insisting on implementation of ideas of Ambedkar, we should be able to expose the manuvada forces.
Ms. Usha Kumari:
She expressed anguish that even after 68 years of independence, the dalit women and girl children are still subjected to various forms of exploitation.Due to lack of awareness, the dalit women are unable to claim rights or utilize the government schemes meant for them.It is sad
that 54% of the dalit women suffer malnutrition. She commented that there are nearly one crore S.C, STs occupying various positions in the Government, but most of them forgot the principle of paying back to the society for the uplifting their kith and kin. She pointed out that there is useful purpose in just celebrating the birth anniversary of Dr.Ambedkar, without digesting and implementing his ideology. Youth has responsibility to understand and implement the ideology of Ambedkar. She analysed how education is very important and said that it is the real capital for dalits.
She said there is none in the country in post-independence period who fought for the rights of
women as Ambedkar did during his time. She said, Ambedkar probed into depth the value system in Hindu religion and its oppressive character. She pointed out that UN recognized the significance of Ambedkar thoughts. She warned everyone to be careful about who real followers of Ambedkar are and who are trying to woo dalits by highlighting Ambedkar. One should analyse and know why every politician and political party is praising Ambedkar these days. She suggested the dalit women to organize themselves into united village organizations and study and struggle for rights and entitlements. She appreciated DSS for conducting padayatra and propagating the rights of women in the villages across the State.
Mr. Mahesh, President RPI:
He lauded DSS as a committed organization working for the empowerment of dalit women and this type of powerful movement became possible because of DSS’s sincerity as followers
followers of Ambedkarism. He said that there are many negative anti-dalit trends raising their voices against reservations, scholarships and other benefits to dalits. If these forces continue to raise and start onslaught on dalit rights, only organizations like DSS can question. We have to rally behind organizations like DSS to defend our rights. He felt there is a conspiracy behind the kapu movement for reservations in A.P. and appealed to everyone to understand the implications of such reactionary movements.
He narrated how the casteist forces in the educational institutions who are trampling upon the rights of dalit students and scholars.Dalit women, despite poverty, starvation and domestic violence, the dalit women are trying their best to send their children to institutions of higher learning, but there the dominant casteist forces are trampling upon the rights of dalit students and driving them to commit suicide, like RohitVemula.These casteist forces are envious of the
scholarships etc. given to dalit students and feeling as if that scholarship money is from their pockets. He praised DSS for its concerted fight against the casteist elements in HCU and the Vice-Chancellor. He lamented that these forces and the Vice-Chancellor who are responsible for the death of Rohit are still continuing in their positions. When he narrated the personal difficulties he faced in his life in getting an entry into HCU and the difficulties that he is facing there, everyone in the hall was moved. He stressed the need for united dalit movement to end the oppression of casteist forces on the campuses.
He shared his opinion that dalits didn’t own the community as is being done by other castes. He said, Ambedkar owned his community and his origins so much that he was able to think, write and device so many activities for the liberation of dalits. He sacrificed his life for the advancement of the depressed castes. One should do any activity with passion and flare for it, then only one can get results. He said, Ambedkar is a person of spotless character and called upon the women to emulate him. If the women understand and follow Ambedkar, they can shape the future.
Manikyam and Jhansi:
They explained about the efforts of Ambedkar for the liberation of women and goaded the women to get their children educated without gender discrimination.
On the occasion, Ms. Usha Kumari arranged cake cutting by children to mark the birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar.
DSS cultural team inspired everyone with their songs on the life and ideas of Ambedkar.