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Monday, July 30, 2012

Dalits refuse to go back to their homes

Dalits Media Watch

News Updates 28.07.12


Dalits refuse to go back to their homes - Indian Express

UP: Three Ambedkar statues vandalized - Zee News

Mother tongue vs father tongue - Asian Age


Indian Express


Dalits refuse to go back to their homes


VARINDER BHATIA : Chandigarh, Sat Jul 28 2012, 04:01 hrs issue pertaining to the alleged atrocities on the members of the Dalit community in Bhagana village in Hisar district of Haryana refuses to die down despite the intervention of the district administration and an order passed by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

While the district administration held a series of meetings with the Dalit community protesters, the latter continued with their agitation both at Jantar-Mantar in New Delhi and outside the secretariat in Hisar.


Amit Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, Hisar, expressed his helplessness in meeting the protesters' 'illegitimate demands'.


"Out of 340 Dalit families in the village, only 40 are alleging atrocities. The boundary wall was raised around the Chowk by the Gram Panchayat. The Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (leading the protests) had approached the civil court, but their plea was dismissed in favour of the Panchayat," Aggarwal said.


He said that initially the panchayat had left only a three-feet gap in the boundary wall for accessing the chowk, but after "our intervention the gap was increased to eight feet. There is no bar on anybody accessing the chowk." After the boundary wall was raised, two Dalit family marriages have taken place at the chowk, he added.


The protesters, he said, now want the administration to register criminal cases against the members of upper caste on charges of atrocities. "A case filed by some families in the civil court was dismissed for lack of evidence. How can we register a criminal case now? They can approach a higher court," Aggarwal said.


Meanwhile, Virender Bagoria, who is leading the protests in New Delhi, said, "The district administration neither agreed to demolish the boundary wall, nor have they registered a criminal case against those named by us. We will not end agitation till our demands are met". He said some Lok Sabha MPs have assured to raise the issue in the Parliament.


Zee News


UP: Three Ambedkar statues vandalised


Last Updated: Saturday, July 28, 2012, 15:28

Azamgarh: Statues of Bhimbaro Ambedkar were vandalised by unidentified persons at three places in the district, triggering protests from BSP workers who blocked roads and staged demonstrations.


The incident comes close on the heels of the statue of former Chief Minister Mayawati being damaged in Gomti nagar in Lucknow.


Police sources said today that Ambedkar's statue was decapitated and the head was thrown in a field in Katat village in Mehnagar area last night.


The Dalit icon's statues were also damaged in Nai Palia and Jiyasath village, they said.

When local residents spotted the damaged statues, they, along with BSP workers, blocked main road for around four hours, police said.


The road blockade was lifted after senior officials assured that new statues would be installed and the culprits would be booked, they said.


On Thursday, some miscreants had broken the head and damaged the arms of the nearly four-feet high statue of the BSP supremo and former UP Chief Minister installed at the Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal.


A little known political outfit Uttar Pradesh Nav Nirman Sena had claimed responsibility for the incident, saying it was their way of expressing anger over scams which took place under the Mayawati regime. PTI


Asian Age


Mother tongue vs father tongue


Jul 27, 2012

It is a conspiracy of the upper caste elite to propagate the importance of 'mother tongue' in education while they will ensure that their children also learn English


It is good that the Central government is planning to start "special schools" for SC/ST students across the country. A meeting of the National Monitoring Committee for Education of SC/STs and Persons with Disabilities was called by the ministry of human resource development in the capital recently.


Several MPs, education ministers, officials, educationalists and, incidentally, this writer, too, are members of the panel, which will monitor the setting up of these schools for three years. The meeting, chaired by HRD minister Kapil Sibal, discussed how we should go about providing quality school and college education to SC/ST children and also physically handicapped children of all castes. Naturally, there was a discussion on the medium of instruction in these schools. Will it be English, or mother tongue?


In the meeting, dalit MPs and activists said that they wanted their children to be taught only in English, irrespective of whether or not others wanted their children to be taught in their mother tongue. Dalit leader Udit Raj said, "Our children must have education only in English-medium." Mr Sibal remained non-committal on the issue, especially as the upper caste elite, it appeared, were mostly in favour of their children studying all subjects in their mother tongues.

One suspects that this is a conspiracy of the upper caste elite to propagate the importance of "mother tongue" in educating all children while they will, of course, ensure that their children also learn English. This seems to have become an obsession with upper caste intellectuals of the high social order. This being so, I'm not surprised that the HRD minister deferred a decision on making English the medium of instruction in the special schools for SC/ST students.

In a recent debate on NCERT textbooks and pedagogic matters, in the context of whether "cartoon pedagogy" was relevant or not, some Delhi-based intellectuals were heard telling the nation that all the best pedagogic material they prepared for NCERT textbooks emerged out of the most radical National Curriculum Framework (NCF) of 2005, drafted under the chairmanship of none other than Prof. Yash Pal, former chairman of the University Grant Commission (UGC).
A section of the English print and electronic media recently mobilised their intellectual muscle power against the Parliament's decision to drop the controversial Ambedkar cartoon from the political science textbook for Class XI and to constitute a committee of experts — under the chairmanship of a dalit economist, S.K. Thorat, who, like Prof. Yash Pal, is a former UGC chairman — to examine the textbooks. Since he submitted the committee's report, Prof. Thorat has been under fire for producing what was termed a "disappointing" report. Why disappointing? Because it went against the views of the "established" academic experts. Prof. Thorat's committee recommended dropping certain cartoons from the textbooks which, according to upper caste intellectuals, are meant to make our rural dalit and non-dalit students world-class intellectuals. Its critics say the report essentially supports parliamentarians who are for "anti-intellectual reforms", such as reservations.


Prof. Yash Pal was part of this media mobilisation against the Thorat committee report. Suddenly a concept of "cartoon pedagogy" is being touted as the ultimate anti-imperial tool, though the fact remains that it was born and nurtured in imperial Britain.
Some worthies in the English media, mostly men, are worried that if the cartoons go out of the textbooks, the future of the nation will, from the point of view of its intellectual forays, go to dogs. Therefore, they favour an intellectual war against all those, including Parliament, opposing their cartoon-centred "critical pedagogy." But the basic philosophy of Prof. Yash Pal's NCF sets forth two propositions for what is now known as a "very progressive" curriculum framework. One, it touts "mother tongue" as the medium of school education; and two, it pushes the idea of a "pro-peace" education.


Prof. Yash Pal says that specificities matter — that "mother tongue" is a critical conduit and that social, economic and ethnic backgrounds are important for enabling children to construct knowledge. This philosophical proposition of the NCF raises several questions. If "mother tongue" is such a critical conduit, both for the taught and the teacher, what about the writing of the textbooks? The critical creativity of NCERT textbook writers must have suffered when they wrote these books in a foreign language. Or, since they chose to write NCERT textbooks in a foreign language, that language must already have become, for all practical purposes, their mother tongue. Yet, their argument is that creativity is possible only when one
learns things in one's mother tongue.


If that is so, then the Yash Pal committee and the NCERT should have got the original books written in an Indian language. But they did not do so. The fact is that right from the days of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, B.R. Ambedkar, M.K. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and so on, English has been the "father tongue" of the Indian upper caste elite. All these men learnt English, and many of them studied abroad, but their wives did not know English. So for their children, English was at best their "father tongue" while Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and so on remained their mother tongues. Thus, apart from a few exceptions, for many upper caste/rich leaders and intellectuals, English is their "father tongue" and the regional languages their mother tongues.

Under the circumstances, could Prof. Yash Pal and his committee members tell the nation which children of which class/caste should study in their mother tongue now, and where are the great books for those whose mother tongue and "father tongue" is still Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Oriya and so on?


To keep their nationalism safe from Western values, cultures and languages, the NCERT textbook writers should have written their books in Telugu, because those with Telugu as their mother tongue are claiming, "Desha bhashalandu Telugu lessa (Of all the Indian languages, Telugu is the greatest)." Yet, in the textbook writing project, Delhi-based Hindi, Marathi and Bengali men and women dominate, because they feel that their mother tongues are more nationalist than the mother tongues of others. Without doubt, the Indian intellectuals' double standard has destroyed the nation on too many fronts and for too long. But their agendas may work for some more time, but not for all times to come.


The NCF document says, "Peace education as an area of study is recommended for inclusion in the curriculum for teacher education." But a pertinent question is, in a society where hapless dalits, adivasis and women are tortured and murdered every day, whose peace does the NCF want to protect?


If a politician like B.R. Ambedkar were to head such a drafting committee, he would not have adopted such double standard. But where are the cartoonists to lampoon such hypocritical intellectual obsessions?


The writer is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad



Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and  intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.

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