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Conference on Dalit Women in Modern India

On the eve of Dr BR Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, Dalit Sthree Sakthi has organized a rally with dalit women, followed by a conference at Hyderabad on 14th April 2014. DSS team paid floral tributes to the Ambedkar statue at Tank Bund, Hyderabad and the premises resounded with the powerful and loud slogans which touched the skies and drew the attention of hundreds of crowds. The dancing Women Collective leaders in white caps and

DSS flags have caught the attention of many including the media. Later at about 12.45pm the rally proceeded towards the Press Club, Basheerbagh at Hyderabad. Later a conference on “Dalit Women in Modern India” was organized at 2pm in Press Club, Hyderabad. Ambedkar’s photo was garlanded by youth leaders Kaki Sri Devi and Samantha. The conference was presided over by GDV Prakash Programme Manager of DSS and the dignitaries on the dais were Jhansi Geddam Convener-DSS, Kaki Sri Devi from Ambedkar Students Association-HCU, DSS State Coordinators of AP & Telangana K Raja Mani and B Bhagya Lakshmi, Balakistamma and Padma-SWC Members.

GDV Prakash Programme Manager in his presidential address has said that we saw hundreds of people mobilizing at Ambedkar statue and all are from the local area. But it is only DSS which has mobilized dalit women leaders from 7 districts to pay homage to the father of Constitution & Modern India and to discuss the future course of action. He said that we all have gathered here to discuss our situation in this Modern India, know where we are and

look for the ways forward as we are in the crucial stage of bifurcation of the two states. We need to play a key role in building the states and ascertain our rights and space. He also reminded that Ambedkar has given us the right to vote and this time we are electing the governments of two new states. Hence we need to think in a wise way before we vote and elect the right persons. We constitute the major work force and no one cares for our rights. We need to gain knowledge on the Acts, schemes on ourselves, fight for our rights and assert them. Therefore it is the right time to discuss on our present situation, the reasons and formulate strategies for mainstreaming ourselves.

B Bhagya Lakshmi DSS State Coordinator of Telangana has said the dalits are way back in the state of Telangana and the situation of dalit women is still vulnerable. We need to raise our voices, play an active role in building the new state and ensure that our rights are protected and we have access to all the schemes.

K Raja Mani DSS State Coordinator of Andhra Pradesh has said the state of Andhra Pradesh is dominated by the dominant communities, who in turn deny our rights. We need to play an active role in the governance starting from gram panchayats to state government. The land holding of dalits is minimal and we need to access more land and ensure that policies in the new state of Andhra Pradesh are formulated in pro dalit manner.

Kaki Sri Devi from Ambedkar Students Association of Hyderabad Central University has said

that the dalit students have to play a major role in addressing our issues and we apologize that we have failed in playing such role. Many times we have depended on DSS and other organizations for help instead of extending our services for the uplift of the community. The students being the back bone of the community need to play a prominent role in sensitizing the governments for pro dalit policies. We assure the dalit women leaders present here that the students in the universities will carry the responsibility of the community on their shoulders and see that we all are on the mainstream.

Jhansi Geddam Convener of DSS has greeted everyone and has said since morning we have been seeing many things at Tank Bund, it gives us more knowledge than the speeches here. Today all the leaders of various communities come and salute Ambedkar as he is a leader of such stature.Ambedkar is the Greatest Indian. He is a leader who has worked for the dalits with honesty, commitment and is the only leader and the first person who has discussed about the rights of women and raised his voice for their equality. Ambedkar worked for all the communities, similarly for the women of all castes, but it is unfortunate that he is labeled as the leader of dalits.He said that the situation of women irrespective of caste is more vulnerable than the dalit men and women; hence the women of all communities must come together and fight for their rights. Ambedkar has introduced the Hindu Code Bill in the parliament and said that women should be given share in the wealth, right for divorce, etc. He also said that if development is to be measured, the development achieved by women will be the scale. Ambedkar was the first one and the last one to speak about equality of women. Since then no one has fought for the rights of women. She said that we need to revolt against male domination and ensure that the father/husband/son gives us the due respect.

She said the reason for holding the conference with the title “Dalit Women in Modern India” is to assess and understand where we are in this modern society as the Ambedkarites, what he has said, how we are supposed to be and what we should do. He has given us the right to vote, whereas we are selling it out for mere amounts. Ambedkar said that we need to build a caste free society and not caste based organizations. Therefore who ever don’t follow the ideology of Ambedkar is not an Ambedkarite. At present we are in a crucial stage, the elections are fast approaching. Our vote is very valuable and we need to vote for the best from among the existing candidates. After the elections catch hold of the elected representative and ensure that she/he discharges their responsibility properly. We are the most courageous, strong, the people with muscle and form the major work force. The reason for our vulnerability is our slavery mindset. We raise our voices and shout/quarrel for unnecessary things, but never strive to resolve our things. The hunger is ours, the issues are ours, hence if only need to gain knowledge, come out of our slavery mindset and agitate for our rights. Therefore we are ready to impart the necessary knowledge on Acts, rights etc. You all need to gain knowledge, access our rights and change our lives.

V. Bal Reddy Administrator of DSS gave the vote of thanks. He has specially thanked the women collective leaders for taking all pains and coming over to Hyderabad from faraway places. DSS cultural team presented powerful Ambedkar songs and slogans throughout the day.

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