DALIT Politics in India

Definition and Introduction :- Dalit is marathi word which means ground or broken into pieces. it was popularised by dalit panthers in Maharashtra which mean schedule caste population. dalits generally refers to the schedule caste population in Indian varna system. They were placed low in the caste hierarchy because of which there was inequality and were oppressed and exploited most. dalits comprise about 15 *% of indian population. according to the 2001 census dalit comprise 16.2 percent of the Indian population. Spread throughout maharshtra , bihar , u.p , punjab , Bengal, Andhra pradesh  Tamil nadu, Rajasthan etc.
researches show that the condition of dalits in india have not shown improvement despite having policies for development.
As a result of the protective discrimination policies of government there has been a new elite class dalit population coming into fore. who get easy access of the policies of the government for dalit development.

Political mobilization of dalits:

1. Pre independence period:-  At all India level bhim rao Ambedkar articulated the dalit’s interest for the first time in 1920s. Prior to the Ambedkar there has been reforms brought about about by the likes of Phule in Maharashtra. but it was reform not mobilisation for political objectives.
Ambedkar has been the sole spokesperson for dalit issues before 1919 and because of this only had been having differences with congress.
In 1930s Ambedkar and Phule had firm belief that unless caste is abolished untouchability cud not be alleviated.
In 1942  Ambedkar formed All India schedule caste federation. (AISCF)He also formed several other organisations like ILP( independent labor party). ILP broadly looked at the problems of broader sections of the indian society not exclusively for dalits. This was also an effort to have class kind of stretegy to improve numbers by including all other sufferers.
Ambedkar and Gandhi had two different approaches for dalits issues. Ambedkar supported the total destruction of caste system while Gandhi called dalits harijans and taleked of giving equal status to dalits by calling them harijans ( People of god ) like brahmins. Gandhi called untouchability as corrupt form of Hinduism.
Ambedkar did try to oppose tenets of untouchability with the orbit of Hinduism but failed and hence thought of full abolishment of caste system as a whole. for this he suggested conversion to be the most important tool of protest against oppression. Buddhism preferably was the religion he advised.

There were movements on the provincial level as well.
1. Nadars
2. pulayas
3. exhavas in south
4. namsudra in west bengal
5. Adiram movement by mangoo ram
6. Adi hindu movement by achutananda among chamars of punjab and uttar pradesh respectively.
7. narayan guru proposed one caste one religion and one god philosophy.
8. Satnami movemnt in madhya pradesh. it talked of no god or goddess by rejecting the puja and purohit of temples. Was against hierarchy in religion.

Furthermore, poona pact was yet another example of gandhian and ambedkar differences of opinion.

2. In post colonial period
it has been divided into three phases

A. First phase – 1950s-1960s:- Implementation of universal adult franchise, reservation in educational and political institutions and in job sfor schedule caste and schedule tribes. States in india staretd many programs for the betterment of the scs and STs polulation.
Politicisation of dalits toook place in different parts of india as a staretegy by the congress party.
Dalits soon realized that they are not getting proper representation the leadership so they thought of discarding hinduism and with the ideas of ambedkar they formed Republican party of india abused on the ideas and principles of ambedkar. They launched cultural and political movement  in uttar pradesh and maharashtra and  a large number of dalits converted to buddhism. RPI emerged one of the important political party in the elections. but it cud not continue in UP because its leadetrship got mixed with congress against which they had started the party.

B. Second phase- 1970s and 1980s:- this phase was marked by combination of class and caste struggle. Naxal movement in bihar and bengal were the xample of the movement against caste and class.
In the city of bombay and pune dalit panthers came with the same kind of movement. DALIT PANTHERS:- a group of educated youth, young dalit writers and poets, set in two cities of maharshtra the offices of Dalit panthers in 1972. They were influenced by ambedkar marx and negro literature. media and communications , discussion and debate in public spaces against exploitation was their strategy to build awareness. Initially the movement proclaimed to have an alliance of exploited people like dalits, backward castes, workers and peasants. They aimed at acieving the power as per abedkar.this movement grew in wake of failure of the republican party of india which suffered personality differences in the leadership.

Dalit movement in karnatka.:- dalit movement in karnatka organised into dalit sanghrash samiti. It was set up in 1973 It also took up class and caste issues and tried to build alliance for exploited class . it tried to include ambedkarite , marxist and sociaklist under one head. it also addressed the issue of wage, devadassi and reservation.

C. Phase three-1990 onwards
Upcoming BSP in uttar pradesh has been a remarkable progress and a very important development with reference to dalit movement.BSp was found on 14th april 1984 by the president kashi ram. Before forming BSP  kashi ram mobilised dalit under two organisations named BAMCEF( all india backward and minority employee federation) and ds4( Dalit shoshit samaj sangharsh samiti). The cultural organisation were later on politicised into BSP.

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