|To save their humble homes, protesting Dalits smear themselves with human excreta|
|Protesting Dalits smear themselves with human excreta|
|Savanur (Haveri dist), July 20, DHNS|
What can be said of a system that forces a community to inflict upon themselves the lowest form of humiliation, just so they are allowed to live in their own homes?
| A basic right, taken for granted with no second thoughts for many, is a struggle for the Bhangi community in Savanur. The community members went as far as pouring human excreta over themselves, so that their voices are heard and as a sign of protest against those trying to evict them from their homes.|
For the past 70 years, four families of the Bhangi community, who work as night soil workers, have been living in huts built on land belonging to the Savanur Town Municipal Council (TMC).
At a meeting some time ago, the TMC decided to evict the families and build a commercial complex in its place. Ever since, the TMC has employed various devious ways to force the families out of their homes.
Starting with an oral directive, the TMC has resorted to cutting water connection to the families, dumping waste in front of their homes, barging into their homes, insulting their women and threatening them.
The community members, who are treated as the lowest among the dalits, submitted an appeal to the sub-divisional officer in January against their eviction and have ever since submitted numerous appeals to the government over the past seven months.
Finding no sympathisers in the system for their cause, the community members finally resorted to this extreme form of protest on Tuesday.
The families submitted an appeal to the Assistant Commissioner on Monday demanding
temporary water connection. But they were asked to pay the TMC Rs 2,000 for each connection.
Helpless, the community members took out a mock funeral from their homes in Kamala Bangadi to the TMC on Tuesday. At the TMC, three members of the community poured human excreta over themselves and begged for water to clean themselves.
As if this was not heart-wrenching enough, none of the officials at the Town Municipal Council came forward to receive their appeal.
A verbal duel ensued between TMC officials and Dalit Sangarsha Samithi activists. TMC Executive Officer H N Bajakkanavar defended the TMC, saying they never tried to evict the Bhangis, but added that TMC would provide houses for them under various housing schemes.
He also said only illegal water connections were cut off. However, the DSS pointed out that several illegal water connections in the town were untouched and only those feeding Bhangis were cut off. “This is harassment against a community that is still treated like untouchables,” they said.
When no official accepted the appeal from the Bhangis, the latter cleaned the toilets in the TMC premises.
They then went to the Revenue Department and submitted their appeal to Tahsildar Prashanth Nalavar.
Friday, July 30, 2010
To save their humble homes, protesting Dalits smear themselves with human excreta Protesting Dalits smear themselves with human excreta Savanur (Haver
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Greetings from Arunthathiyar Human Rights Forum (AHRF)Tamilnadu.
AHRF Planned to Conduct a One Day Cultural Night Programs on 06.08.2010 at Rameswaram in Ramanathpuram District, East Part of Tamilnadu , South India .
This is our third year state level cultural night ,First at Erode .Dt,Second Viruthunagar .Dist ,Third Ramanathapuram .
The Proposed scheduled program of the Cultural Night and the Budget estimate is enclosed herewith for your sympathetic grant support to highlight the programs to an appreciable degree.
We believe that this kind of Cultural Night will help to liberate and enhance the Arunthathiyar community from all types of social evils.
So we humbly request you to Participate in above cultural programme and extend more financial help for the Cultural Night Programs.
A Cultural night to celebrate the Arunthathiyar Sprit
From indignity to rebellion
A Cultural night to celebrate the Arunthathiyar spirit, an attempt to strengthen the Arunthathiyar artforms transformation from caste practices to weapons against caste oppression.
The parai originally called as thappu is undeniably a symbol of Dalit assertion today, But unlike pallars and parayars who have asserted themselves to some extent remain the Arunthathiyars the Dalits amongst the Dalits of Tamilnadu.
WHY WE NEED A CULTURAL NIGHT FOR ARUNTHATHIYARS
§ To protect the traditional arts.
§ Arunthathiyars have a special cultural heritage owing to their language and occupation and we need to appreciate and protect it artist.
§ To inform our Unity and strength to Govt and Dominating Hindu Caste
§ To provide a platform to express the creative talents to Arunthathiyar artist
§ To create an awareness and value at out the traditional arts and music to the future generation
§ To integrate Arunthathiyars from different places and create solidarity and empowerment
WHO ARE ARUNTHATHIYARS
Arunthathiyars are Dalits, who are considered ‘untouchable’s in the caste – ridden Indian society. Pallar, Parayar and Arunthathiyar are the three major dalit groups in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Among them, Arunthathiyar group is considered to be the lowest. There are 60 lakhs Arunthathiyars in Tamilnadu out of which major Dalit among Dalist. They are also identified with different names such as Sakkilliar. Mathari, Mathiga, Arunthathiyar and Pakadai in different places. the caste system forbade them from owning land and propert for thousands of years. They are landless and are traditionally associated with the task of cleaning up the dead animals, scavenging the village, and work related to animal skin and leather. While such traditional work still continues in some villages, mony have taken up jobs in the. Many Arunthathiyar children below 14 years are part of the unfortunate working force in these industries. Very poor living conditions, desperate search for a job with a decent wage, and constant harassment from moneylenders and landlords are part of day – to – day life of Arunthathiyar.
BACKROUND OF ARUNTHATHIYAR
§ The Arunthathiyar community is one of the most oppressed and depressed and the poorest among the untouchable of Indian Society.
§ Arunthathiyars are excluded from the main stream society and do not have access to the means of production and are forced to , dependent on dominate caste.
§ Unlike the other Dalit Groups (Pallar and Paraiyar ) still the Arunthathiyar are not aware of their rights but instead self complacent with the various incentives and the attractive schemes of the Government This community is branded as passive.
The reservation quota of the Government has been grabbed by other Dalit groups, leavings behind the Arunthathiyars are also entitled to gain such privileges.
§ Dr. Ambedkar , the Veteran Father of law is still a nonentity among Arunthathiyars due to their ignorance.
§ The Arunthathiyar are also victimized due to the new economic policy .
Since majority of the Arunthathiyars are illiterates, Child –labour Child abuse Bonded labour and Rag picking are the regular phenomena among them.
§ The Arunthathiyar women folk suffer a lot, out of sexual harassment by the caste people which they can’t even express out verbally.,
3. KEY CHALLENGES FACED BY THIS COMMUNITY
3.1 SOCIAL STATUS
This community speaks a language which is Tamil and Telugu mixed. They are separated by the language they speak since Tamil is the foremost language in do undignified work. The children are not sent to school because of the poor socio economic status of this community. They are deprived of basic necessities in life, education and childhood. Social exclusion like two glass system, Forced to continue undignified work (Manual scavenging, shoe making.)
3.2 ECONOMICAL STATUS:
69% of Arunthathiyars are living in rural areas of Tamilnadu. rural dwellers 32.5% in the rural area and 39.8% in the urban are living below poverty line. The basic livelihood options are under crisis. The very look of Arunthathiyars indicate that they are anemic and Malnourished
3.3 EDUCATIONAL STATUS:
Only 1.75% Arunthathiyars are literates, while 98.25% are illiterate. 10th is the highest level for the Arunthathiyars. The Arunthathiyar children are rarely sent to school because of the poor socio economic status of the families. The community is yet to reap the benefits from the internal reservation given recent by the Tamilnadu Govt.
3.4 POLITICAL STATUS
Among 44 member of Legislative assembly (MLAs) only 2 MLAS are Arunthathiyars. Dalits as a whole and the Arunthathiyars as a community have their own art as their spirit, s an inseparable part of their lives. But the practice of their art is an indignity headed on them as it is a caste designated function more than a cultural expression. Arunthathiya art forms have been the symbols of their existence as low caste people for ages. Today they are the symbols of their assertion.
EMERGENCE OF ARUNTHATHIYAR HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM (AHRF)
Arunthathiyar Human Rights Forum is the initiative of the young Arunthathiyar people who worked in different NGO’s. The AHRF was constituted in the year 2004, extended over 14 districts. AHRF is working specifically for creating awareness on SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities,to eradicate the evil of manual Scavenging, to fight against the scorage of Untouchability, Forming of Women Thrift and Credit societies and women empowerment, Research and trainings. AHRF had organized first state level Cultural Night for Arunthathiayars and aiming to create a platform for Arunthathiyar to realize their strength.
EXPECTED OUT COME CULTURAL NIGHT :
§ Other Dalit organizations in Tamilnadu and Arunthahiyar Community will recognized AHRF as a front runner organization fighting for their rights.
§ Arunthathiyar community and other Dalit organizations may seek AHRF assistance and support on certain issues.
§ It is expected that more and more village level AHRF will be established spontaneously .
§ Arunthathiyar may come in the request to establish AHRF at village level.
§ Other Dalit organization ill realize that they cannot afford to be indifferent to AHRF
This Cultural Night is the Third State level Arunthathiyar Cultural Night where AHRF
wants to create a space for Arunthathiyar artist. It aims at strengthening their participation, and changing the mindsets of this artist as well as community to march further . As a whole , the event is expected to inspire the Arunthathiyar to take part in the Arunthathiyar struggle for liberation.
6. ARUNTHATHIYAR CULTURAL NIGHT – OBJECTIVES
1. To create awareness of the Arunthathiyar Art forms and their vibrantly culture amongst
Traditionally art was considered as the domain of the so called upper castes in Tamilnadu. In the recent years, The Dalit Rights movement has asserted that the Dalits have a rich artistic and musical tradition. The dalit art forms are related to rituals for ages but considered untouchable. Despite the awareness created on Dalit art forms, awareness about Arunthathiyar art forms are scanty. There are other initiatives like this organized across the state, but very few Arunthathiyears get chance to perform share , express and this cultural night is a follow up action to strengthen and sustain Arutnthathiyars hope on their talents and excellence.
2. To use art as a political weapon in the on going struggle for Arunthathiyar’s liberation
ART is a very crucial record of transformations within and of society , some of the most popular art forms have come from the oppressed sections of the society. And some of the most revolutionary movements working for liberation of the oppressed people have used music as a powerful weapon of change. In southern India where attempt are being made to rewrite caste equations and to question existing notions on culture and language, understanding the Arunthathiyar art forms with a clear perspective about their historical position as agents of change and an undeniable requisite of the Arunthathiyar struggle for liberation is a culturally and democratically necessary action.
Cultural Events :
§ Kadavu Mathattam
§ Liberation Songs
§ Street play
§ Documentary film
§ Arunthathiyar Movement leaders
§ Arunthathiyar intellectuals
§ Dalit Leaders
§ Solidarity Groups
Note: In Order to promote our activities please send your Donations , D.D/ Cheque to the following Address
V.Shanmugam Bank Details : Indian Bank, Paramakudi Branch , A/C No 831752503
Ramanathapuram contact Mr.Shanmugam - cell.9578151926
Lights and Gen Set
Advertisement –Wall paintings, posters, notices, banners
Invitation and communication
Special invites –travel , food, boarding and lodging
Food, boarding, Travel and lodging for cultural groups
Local Organizing travel
Printing, postage, Xerox communication
Total (INDIAN CURRENCY)