MOSES PARMAR, ALL-INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL, 5 – WAZIR HASAN ROAD, LUCKNOW – 226 001
Is the Dalit Movement dying?
I identify with the frustrations Com. Ayyankali, Brother Neerav Patel, Dr. Kancha Ilaiah and others have expressed. Many honor Babasaheb in name only while rejecting his principles. The majority of our people are illiterate and hardly know what Babasaheb has written. Others have experienced the benefits of Babasaheb’s sweat and blood, yet they are busy filling their homes with wealth and not lifting a finger to help those who have fallen down. Many were empowered and then joined our oppressors, some through marriage, and hardly identify with us. Every year the situation seems to get worse. What is the point of filling pages with words, printing magazines, sitting in dharna, and walking in morches? At the end of the day, our people are getting raped, abused and killed. Even with great laws like the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act, less than 4% are actually convicted of thousands cases registered each year. More important, no one knows the number of unregistered incidents.
However, if we study worldwide history we realize that the battle for freedom is never easy. Countries can become free from outside forces like colonial powers, but it is almost a bigger challenge to free the people within those countries who suffer discrimination. The long struggles in Lanka, Palestine, and more have proven this as many opposing forces try to kill the movement toward emancipation and liberty.
And among all the global struggles, the caste system is the most evil and ingenious systems. It is unique. It is even extremely difficult to explain.
Everyone born in India exactly knows what it is. Even some cultures in Africa and Asia practice it from birth. But when you talk to people from most places in the world, they have no clue about it. Is it color, race, language, wealth, culture, size, surname, or power? What makes the high so high and the low so low? It can be difficult to explain in a way they understand. And how do you stop what cannot be explained? The world understands racism. They know apartheid. But what is Casteism? How does that work? How do you destroy it?
Despite the enormous challenge we are facing, we are not going to give up. Even in tough times, we are making definite progress in many areas. In some places we have gone backward, but overall we are making slow and steady progress. There is no coming back.
(a). Caste consolidation through “caste identity” has happened. People hate it, but it has worked. More and more groups are identifying themselves with caste and trying to assert their presence.
(b).This has provided some political awareness and even limited power to some of our people. Many of those in power may not be committed to Ambedkarite ideology, but at least our enemies have realized that they cannot ignore the power of the low.
Back to Basics
(c). Due to reservations and other programs, some education and empowerment has happened. There are at least 4 million Class-1 officers from our people and many more in other posts of honor and power in the govt.
However, we have long way to go. Any defeat is because of our own people. Those who are empowered are not staying with us. Those who want to go forward want to do so for their own sake and not for others.
The key is in Babasaheb’s dictates: Educate, Agitate, Organize . These may be slow strategies and consume huge time and resources, but they are sure to deliver.
Best Kept Secret
My only concern is that we do not give up hope. When people don’t have hope, they give up all struggles. It is OK for general public to give up easily, but not for the leaders. That separates the leaders from the common people. Leaders see in the future what others cannot see. Those of us who have hope of a better future need to exhibit that vision and people will follow. As for me, I am not going to give up and want to see a major freedom movement in my own lifetime.
The major difference for us – compared to past generations of our people — is that the world is learning about the Dalit issue. Those of us who are involved in this struggle are encouraged that the world is getting interested now. And this is very important. Those who fought against slavery had to inform the world about the evils of it and only then eradicated formal slavery from the world, even though it remains in other forms. Those who heard about Apartheid supported the struggle against it and the whole world pressurised South Africa (curiously even our own country was against the practice of apartheid).
The whole world knows about racism and is trying to change.
Casteism has been the world’s best kept secret so far.
But not anymore
After many years of struggle by many Dalit groups, now it is part of the United Nations agenda. TheNational Geographic carried an article in June 2003 which created a huge uproar in the Western world, and upper castes living there severely opposed it. The Wall Street Journal and many other groups have written many articles on Dalit issues since then. Several international human rights reports regularly mention of evils of the caste system in their annual human rights reports.
Several books describing effects of caste received international awards. Movies like Slumdog Millionaire created huge interest worldwide about the injustice meted out to the poor.
Our enemy is extremely upset with this publicity. They say this is a conspiracy of Christian nations to destroy our “national honor”. They demand we don’t talk about Dalit atrocities, don’t mention it, and only say our nation is great and successful.
This is frustrating, but a good sign that something is happening. There is a long way to go, but there is definite progress. Ten years ago when we talked about Dalits, people asked, “Who are they?” No more. Today at least half of the foreigners I speak with know, and we need to use it to strengthen our struggle. We need to stand strong until enough of our people are awakened and the critical mass is achieved which is required to start the chain reaction. Then we won’t need any help. We will do it ourselves.
Apartheid In India
Here is a list of significant events that took place in last three years since 2007:
(1). In Feb., Kobia, the African head of the WCC (World Council of Churches), likened the treatment of Dalits in India to apartheid during a visit to India. He said, “South Africa has abolished apartheid [and] it is a sin to practice it in India in the 21st century.” While words can be cheap and I look for actions, it is important to note that many church denominations are regretting the presence of caste inside the church and are working to remove that completely.
(2). On Feb. 1, the European Union members of parliament passed a historic resolution which clearly summarizes the plight of Dalits and calls for European governments to help the Dalits achieve freedom.
(3). On Feb. 23 and 26, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) listened to Indian Govt. report on discrimination and asked many questions about Dalits. CERD is a body of independent experts responsible for monitoring a country’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. India ratified the Convention in 1968. The panel criticised India in its “Concluding Observations” document issued on March 19 because India didn’t acknowledge any caste-based, work-based or Dalit discrimination.
Mayawati Captures U.P.
(4). Within India, positive developments included the following:
(a). After more than two years of study, (Misra Commission), the National Commission for Religious & Linguistic Minorities, asked the govt. to give benefits to all Dalits, regardless of their religion. The report on May 21, 2007 said the govt. should change a 1950 Presidential Order which restricts government benefits to Dalit Hindus, Sikhs or Budhists. My colleagues in the All India Christian Council (AICC) had testified before the panel at Delhi and Mumbai in 2006.
(b). For most Dalits, Mayawati’s election victory in Uttar Pradesh was a big news.
(c). A report in August said India’s Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law Ministry believes the judiciary should have reservations for Dalits.
(d). Also in August, Bharti Enterprises, parent company of mobile phone giant Air Tel, promised to train and employ SC/ST engineers on a preferential basis.
Western Media Exposure
(5). In Feb. 2007, BBC surveyed over 1,600 Indians and found that 55% are worried the caste system is holding the country back from progress (“Caste clouds India’s high hopes”, Feb. 5, 2007). Many Western publications published articles on the challenges for Dalits and my colleagues and I were involved with some of these including the influential Washington Post (“A ‘Broken People’ in Booming India: Low Caste Dalits still face prejudice, grinding poverty,” by Emily Wax, June 21, 2007) and a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal newspaper (“Caste Away”, by Paul Beckett, June 23, 2007; “In India, ‘Untouchables’ Convert to Christianity and Face Extra Bias,” by Yaroslav Trofimov, Sept. 19, 2007; “Untouchable: Brutal Attack in India Shows How Caste System Lives On,” by Yaroslav Trofimov, Dec. 27, 2007). Several noted the root of religious violence in Orissa over Christmas was due to caste discrimination (“A Christian-Hindu Clash in India”, Time magazine, by Simon Robinson, Dec. 27, 2007).
Caste Within Church
(6).It is important to see the developments in the Christian world during this time. Although Christians make mistakes, they are learning to change. Within India some of us are involved in major Christian human rights network called the AICC. One challenge is to remove caste discrimination within the Indian churches. AICC also has worked hard to awaken Indian and International Christian communities to pay attention and do something to stop caste discrimination.
According to a Govt. of India report (1992), 33% of all social work in India is done by 3% of India’s Christians.
Some Indian Christians have not been actively helping the downtrodden. Even worse, unfortunately in many areas upper castes have received much of the benefits. But AICC is committed to focus the efforts on those who are in greatest need. Here are some achievements of AICC in 2007 in the area of Dalit human rights.
(a). In March, partnering with international human rights agencies Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and the Dalit Freedom Network (DFN), AICC used a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery by William Wilberforce to tell Europe about the Dalit plight. Due to AICC efforts:
The UK Foreign Office issued a statement on Dalit slavery
The Archbishop of Canterbury mentioned Dalits during a nationally broadcasted Commemoration Service at Westminster Abbey attended by the Queen, Prime Minister and other heads of govt.
The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission in London and European Union MPs in Brussels held important hearings on Dalit issues.
There were briefings of politicians in Scotland and Norway.
A new documentary film called India’s Hidden Slavery premiered to a full cinema in downtown London.
(b). On May 1, AICC leaders testified about the plight of Dalit women before the United States Congressional Human Rights panel in Washington D.C. Then they delivered a letter to the leader of the US House of Representatives asking for legislative action.
On May 8, the British House of Commons debated the problem of caste oppression and untouchability. AICC helped provide key information to legislators, one MP talked about a visit to India which AICC hosted, and Dr. Sam Paul, AICC Secretary of Public Affairs, attended.
On June 27, the AICC National Administrator testified in London before the UK’s Department for International Development on “Caste, Social Exclusion and Development in South Asia.” The powerful department promised to use the information to decide on distribution of financial aid for Dalit education and other projects in India.
U.S. Condemns India
On July 23, largely due to AICC and DFN efforts, the US House of Representatives passed a statement condemning untouchability and suggesting ways the US government, development organisations, and other groups can take action. Called a concurrent resolution, it must be passed by the other part of the assembly – the Senate.
On Oct. 11, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) Board of Directors unanimously approved a “Statement of Conscience Concerning the Dalits”. The NAE is one of the largest ecumenical networks of churches in the USA and has only approved a similar document twice in their history. They apologised for ignoring the plight of the Dalits, and encouraged all their 33 million members to become involved in seeking freedom and dignity for the Scheduled Castes.
During the year, AICC leaders were widely quoted in news stories from the Wall Street Journal to USA’s Christianity Today to Nickelodeon TV (a popular children’s channel).
Dalit Muslims & Christians
1. In January, a Delhi University sociologist released a study sponsored by India’s National Commission for Minorities which proved that Dalit Christian and Muslims suffer severe socio-economic problems and must be given the same rights as other Dalits.
2. In May, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights noted major problems for Dalits and outlined changes India must make before the next review in June 2011. Also, the UN Human Rights Council conducted a “Universal Periodic Review” of India.
Attack On Sikhs
3. Although thousands of crimes against Dalits were reported and there was discrimination throughout society, there was good news in a few courts. On Feb. 13, a court in Punjab sentenced seven people for the brutal attack in Jan. 2006 on a Dalit activist, Bant Singh Jhabbar. On Sept. 15, a court in Maharashtra said that eight people were guilty of brutally killing four members of a Dalit family in Khairlanji in Sept. 2006. The father, Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange, was the only survivor. On Dec. 19, the Supreme Court sentenced 31 people in the 1985 killings of six Dalits by upper caste landlords in Karamchedu, Andhra Pradesh.
4. AICC was successful in several activities:
(a). AICC hosted six (of about 20) multi-faith NGO meetings for Ms. Asma Jahangir, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, during her three week visit in March. The meetings, held in Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, and New Delhi, facilitated testimony by various minority leaders. The last UN religious freedom report on India was in 1997. Both noted challenges for Dalits who choose to change their religion.
(b). In 2008, AICC received 90 victories in legal cases related to people from SC/STs across India. This is encouraging compared to the injustice our people face all over.
(c). 1984 attacks on Sikhs, 2002 attacks on Muslims of Gujarat, and 2007 and 2008 attacks in Orissa against Christians have been unprecedented in the recorded history of India.
Annually AICC records over 100 severe attacks on Christians. Not many realize that when Hindutva forces attack Christians or Muslims, it is the Dalits among those faiths that become the main target. Most Orissa victims were Dalits. In the 2008 riots in Kandhamal District, Gajapati District and other places there were 120 deaths including at least six pastors and one Catholic priest, 4,640 homes destroyed, 315 villages “ethnically cleansed”, 54,000 became homeless, two women raped (including a nun), 149 churches and prayer halls damaged (state government estimated 252), thousands injured and who had to live for months in refugee camps, and 13 schools or colleges vandalized.
Udit Raj Evidence
(d). On Sept. 9-17, Udit Raj, an AICC partner and Dalit Budhist activist, spoke about anti-Christian violence during meetings associated with the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva.
(e). In September, aicc hosted a delegation of two Washington D.C. and one London-based human rights experts which visited Orissa as well as Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, & Delhi.
(f). On Oct. 23, aicc North India public relations officer met in London with UK Foreign Minister Lord Mark Molloch Brown.
(g). In early November, aicc hosted Baroness Caroline Cox, MP, visit to Orissa. This resulted in a UK House of Lords debate on Dec. 18, 2008.
(h). From Dec. 9-12, aicc coordinated the Orissa visit of the official, five-member delegation of the European Union.
(i). Aicc leaders were widely quoted in news stories including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, New York Times, Reuters, Christianity Today, and BBC as well as India’s media.
Aicc Chief Testimony In Canada
In March, aicc President testified on Dalit issues before Canada House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights in Ottawa and met senior government officials. This is the first time the Canadian government had officially enquired into caste issues.
In March, Ms. Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, presented her report on her 2008 visit to India to the UN Human Rights Council and highlighted the challenges for Dalits from all faiths.
In April, the first 45 Dalit-Bahujan students graduated from class 10 in a network of high-quality, English-medium schools run by AICC members in partnership with the Dalit Freedom Network. These schools came up after request by Dalit leaders in 2001 to educate their children. All graduates are now enrolled in college and have a vision to help their community.
U.N. Expresses Shock
In June, two investigators on the topic of discrimination based on work and descent presented their recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council for changes to stop caste discrimination. They were appointed by the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and spent five years looking at caste around the world.
In October, the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay – a South African of Indian descent – told the world that the caste system needs to be torn down. Then the Nepal representative at the UN agreed. Now the UN will likely add caste discrimination as a form of human rights abuse.
This is just a partial list of activities that are known to me. There are numerous national and international groups that are tirelessly working to free our people and lots of things are happening worldwide. Besides words and awareness at the international level, practical changes are happening in rural and urban Dalit communities across India.
100 English Medium Schools
The AICC partners alone are running over 100 high-quality English Medium schools with over 18,000 Dalit-Bahujan boys and girls studying there. The goal is to do 1,000 schools.
They run over 1,200 self-help-groups with over 20,000 Dalit women (that means, families) as members who learn job skills, earn and save money, and improve their lives.
There are 50 full-time health workers in villages around the schools to teach basic health and hygiene along with primary medical care. Social justice teams have panel of lawyers in several states providing free legal advice and assistance in certain cases to get justice.
[Moses Parmar 1jn478@gmail. com) with Santosh B. (Research)]
Caste killing the church
No religious group has done so much for Dalit liberation as the Christians. We have said many times in DV and our books that the “Christian service to Dalits can be written only in words of gold”.
But all these are things of the past. The church leadership has simply abandoned the Dalits. In Kerala, where the Christians are a powerful force the Roman Catholic church has defended the caste system both within and outside. The church is busy educating the upper caste cobras — biting and killing the Christians themselves.
The church has also refused to heed our repeated plea for a media of our own — despite the enormous wealth it commands. Caste is killing the church also.
Secret of church helplessness: Brother Moses Parmar has travelled all over the Christian world, particularly the US where his organisational headquarters is situated. So he is fully aware of the reasons of the inability of the Indian church to fight Brahminism.
In London, the very capital of the Christian Britain, we did not find a single functioning church. There are hundreds of massive church buildings all over London —but permanently closed. When we asked the British Christians they said they no longer believed in church-going and hardly believed in god.
Karl Marx influence: Who told them not to go to church? Karl Marx made them godless even as this German Jew settled in London continued to be a strict Jew and regularly attended the synagogue.
London has one of the largest concentration of Jews with a large number of synagogues where they regularly prayed fully dressed in their religious attire – even as they made fun of the Christians. The very god-fearing Jews preached atheism to Christians who faithfully closed their churches and sold them to shopping centres, liquor bars, Muslim mosques, cinema theatres etc.
Evangelical Jews: It is only in US, the churches are active but fully infiltrated by the Jews converted to Christianity. Evangelical are mostly Jews.
The crisis of the Western world is the result of the zionist hold on the Christian neck. The very Vatican is a puppet in the hands of Jews.
The West can get itself liberated only when Christianity is freed from zionist octopus.
The Indian Christian leadership is fully upper castes and naturally pro-Jew — EDITOR.
CHURCH LEADERSHIP WARNED
Zionist control will not allow West to punish Delhi
Brother Moses Parmar is perhaps one of the best Dalit Christian leaders whom we have met in the 30-year-old history of Dalit Voice. He has given a big list of the “achievements” of the AICC whose sincerity and dedication to Dalit liberation are never in doubt.
But the problem with Brother Moses, who played host to our two UP state DV family members meet at Lucknow, and his Christian colleagues is that they have not made a study of the “Hindu Mind”. Read our book, Know the Hindu Mind, (DSA-2008, Rs. 100).
3,000 year-old rule: Brahminic rulers of India constitute a micro-minority of 2% in this land of over 1,300 millions. They were ruling it even during the Muslim and British rule. Except the “Golden period of Indian history” during the Budhist rule when they were made mince meat, they have always been theBhoodevatas who finally finished Budhism and drove it out of India.
The world has not seen a more deadly and diabolical criminal than the Bahminists.
The Jews have produced any number of kind hearted souls willing to admit their crimes. Many Jews were killed by the Jews themselves for speaking out the Truth. But India has not seen a single vaidikwho is ready to delete even a coma in the Brahmin “sacred scriptures”. Who then is more dangerous?
“Jews of India” join Jews: That means the Brahminists are least bothered about international media exposure of their crimes, UN or World Court strictures or European Parliament or American Senate resolutions condemning their criminal conduct.
We are saying this with our thorough knowledge of the Brahminic behaviour and a deep study of the sick “Hindu mind”.
US controlled by Jews: Their confidence to rule India with iron fist got further strengthened after the “Jews of India” joined hands with the Jews ruling the US. They know full well that this new alliance of the two blood brothers will not allow the West to take action on India. Because the West, particularly the US, is controlled by the Jews. Even the US church is in the Jewish pocket.
It is this confidence that has made the vaidik vampire so confident, so arrogant and extremely blood-thirsty.
Weakness of Indian church: They also know the weakness of the Indian church leadership which depends upon the Western Christian funds. The West will never allow it to be used to fight the “Hindu mind”.
Besides, the upper caste Brahminical church leaders are in total control of the Indian church.
India’s Brahminical Govt. can be cut to size in no time if only the West and the US in particular stop funding and supporting Delhi. The Indian Christian leaders have done enough to expose the Brahminic crime. The West has all the information. Yet it is not able to stop funding and supporting Delhi because the Jews who control the West and US in particular will not permit it.
We have said all this in DV, our books and speeches.
Deadly cancer: Hence the first priority should be to study the “Hindu mind” which will help us fight and destroy it.
A deadly cancer is destroying the great Western Christian civilisation. This cancer is called zionism which is controlling not only the Western banks, economy, media, political, cultural institutions but also the church — particularly the Vatican.
The wonder of all wonders is the Western people do not recognise, much less identify, this evil because all the Western institutions are subverted.
If this is the fate of West, in India it is still worse. There are many good Jews fighting zionism. But we have not found a single vaidik having the heart even to criticise Brahminism.
The “Jews of India” can never, ever be defeated by the line of action you have taken. It cannot be corrected. It can only be destroyed —EDITOR.