Tuesday, March 24, 2009

three tumblers in tea shops


http://www.tehelka.com/story_main33.asp?filename=hub010907shadowlines.asp Some Dalits Are Even Less Equal The Arunthathiyars bear the weight of caste oppression in Tamil Nadu, says R. Adhyaman I belong to the Arunthathiyar community, the most oppressed of the Scheduled Castes in Tamil Nadu, where Dalits comprise 20 percent of the population. Of the 76 communities listed as SCS, the Paraiyars, the Pallars and the Arunthathiyars are the three main groups.Arunthathiyars constitute about one-third of the state’s Dalit population and live in miserable conditions, working as manual scavengers, cobblers and agricultural labourers. Thousands are employed as conservancy workers in civic bodies. Though they speak Telugu at home, their children go to Tamil medium schools and follow Tamil customs. We are Tamils and that’s why I have named my organisation the Adhi Thamizhar Peravai. All Dalits are not equal. Arunthathiyars are looked down upon by other SCS. We bear the whole weight of caste oppression. It is no secret that the two-tumbler system is still prevalent in many villages. But I have news for you. There are villages where they keep three tumblers in tea shops — one for the caste Hindu, one for the Arunthathiyar, and one for the non-Arunthathiyar Dalit. The Pallars and Paraiyars think they are superior to us. They don’t inter-marry with us. The two Dalit parties in the state, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal (VC, formerly known as Dalit Panthers of India) and Puthiya Thamizhagam, represent the interests of the Paraiyars and the Pallars respectively. In the last Assembly elections, VC contested nine seats as part of the AIADMK front and all nine candidates belonged to the Paraiyar community.There are 44 reserved seats in the Assembly, but Arunthathiyars have never won more than five seats. At present, there are three Arunthathiyar MLAS — two in the DMK and one in the AIADMK. Paraiyars are the majority in the northern districts, Pallars in the southern districts, and Arunthathiyars in the western districts. No one except a Paraiyar can contest a reserved seat in the north. Pallars rule the roost in the south. But when it comes to areas where we are in majority, this rule does not apply. Parties field non- Arunthathiyars and win. The benefits of reservation for Dalits in Tamil Nadu have gone to Pallars and Paraiyars. There is 18 percent reservation for SCS. Our demand is that six percent of it should be earmarked for Arunthathiyars. We have represented our demands to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and he has promised to consider the matter. We have also asked him to take steps to abolish manual scavenging. The CM granted one of our demands and formed a welfare board for conservancy workers. Adhiyaman is founder president, Adhi Thamizhar Peravai, a Dalit social movement. As told to PC Vinoj Kumar ___________________________________________________


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Anonymous said...

There is no true "Dalit" politician or leaders in Tamil Nadu, neither Thol of VCK nor Krishnaswamy can be trusted to help dalits of whatever subgroups?. These are stooges and handymen of the ruling DMK/AIADMK or they are even worst slaves of the TN political mafia. You can't expect them to look at the poorest of the poor, because their mindset is no different than those barbarian hindus in TN. Whateve the case may be in TN politics or economy, if all the dalits do not get united, they will never get justice nor rule TN. While the hindu religion ripped off the whole society with thousands of caste, the dalits group is the most ripped off and splintered bunch of all, what a tragedy to see our own brothers and sisters discriminating each other, when will this barbaism in TN get an upliftment to better humans?