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Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016

Vol-1 | Issue-17 | April 16, 2017 | Price ` 5/-

Good News Weekly for Rising India

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MANN KI BAAT

PM ON BABA SAHEB

Excerpts from various speeches by Prime Minister Modi on Dr BR Ambedkar

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14

DR PATHAK

ON UNTOUCHABILITY Sulabh founder describes his crusade against untouchability

REMEMBRANCE

DR. BR AMBEDKAR

BJP MP and Dalit thinker Udit Raj remembers various teachings of Baba Saheb

“...I, BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2016, THE CITY OF NEW YORK AS:

DR. BINDESHWAR PATHAK DAY...”

The Sanitation Messiah and Renaissance Man joins a rare historic few to be thus honoured by New York SSB BUREAU

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ALL him ‘Sanitation Messiah’, ‘Renaissance Man’, or even the spiritual grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. But at the end of the day, he’s simply Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder of the Sulabh Sanitation Movement, social activist and reformer. The Padma Bhushan recipient now joins the list of those who have been honoured in the US for their signal contribution to humanity. April 14 has now been designated as ‘Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Day’ by the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, who last year declared: “...I, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of the city of New York, do hereby proclaim Thursday, April 14, 2016, the city of New York as: Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Day...” At a reception in the city on that day, Blasio lauded Dr. Pathak for “his outstanding work to improve health and hygiene and moving the world forward.” Pathak also featured in the New York Times, which in an article titled ‘Untouchables gain the help of Brahmin’, hailed him as a “full time crusader against the humiliations of untouchability”. His contribution to help r. Bindeshwar Pathak eradicate the inhuman of scavenging is has utilised his talents to practice clearly seen as enrich and empower the unparalleled. Dr. Pathak was also depressed classes, and honoured by the improve community prestigious Harvard health, hygiene and Club, with the event environmental sanitation organisers describing

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APRIL 16, 2017

DR. BINDESHWAR PATHAK DAY

Through his historic endeavours,

Quick Glance Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Day was declared by New York mayor in 2016 The honour was for social reform movement launched by him Stopping open defecation means better health for people, he said

him as a “great humanitarian” who, for decades, had enhanced the quality of life for millions. A citation awarded to him said his leadership is an example for all to follow. Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Rajmohan Gandhi once described Dr. Pathak as the spiritual son of Mahatma Gandhi. Dr. Pathak’s list of honours also includes the Stockholm Water Prize and the New York Global Leaders Dialogue Humanitarian Award, which cited him for being a pioneer in advocating for human rights in India by campaigning for social reform, and developing innovative and environment-friendly sanitation technologies. Consequently, his efforts led to a major change in the quality of life of millions, increasing their education and employment opportunities. Upon receiving the honour in New York, Dr. Pathak to recalled an incident involving a Dalit boy in his home state of Bihar, which not only moved and saddened him, but also put him on his present path. He decided that the stigma of untouchability must be eradicated through, not so much legislation, but social acceptance. Today, Sulabh, which engages nearly 50,000 people, has built nearly 1.5 million household and 8,500 public toilets. An estimated 20 million people use these toilets daily. Sulabh is leading a massive movement to discourage manual clearing of human waste, a job

Dr. Bindeshware Pathak is fulfilling the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Bhim Rao Baba Saheb Ambedkar traditionally done by Dalits. It has developed the ‘Sulabh Shauchalaya System’ (a low-cost, two-pit toilet technology that uses a litre of water), and has spent more than four decades trying to persuade people to make and use toilets in their homes. Dr. Pathak says he learns something new every time he meets people who are using Sulabh toilets. He believes that defecating in the open has its roots in cultural practices. Old Hindu texts like the Devi Puran advocate shauch (defecation) as far away from the house as possible. Muslims, who came in as rulers, had manual scavengers to clean up after them so although they had toilets, there was no need for them to incorporate a system which did not require manual cleaning. “Stopping defecation in the open will not only mean better health for people, but would be an important factor in curtailing rapes in rural India,” argues Dr. Pathak. He said this was the reason why he decided to build 106 toilets, one in every house, in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. A keen observer of social norms which has made him the reformer that he is, Pathak also has the qualities of a scientist and an engineer. He is also an administrator and institution builder, someone who, through conviction and force of personality, has turned the page on India’s long history of untouchability, social discrimination and open defecation. He has utilised his talents to empower the depressed classes, and improve community health, hygiene and environmental sanitation. Through his endeavours, he is fulfilling the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar.

...Related content on Page 3


APRIL 16, 2017

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Day

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EXCERPTS FROM THE SPEECH BY NEW YORK’S MAYOR, BILL DE BLASIO, ON APRIL 14, 2016

“I

have admired all Imagine what it is the South Asian for anyone, particularly communities in the a child growing up, city and the crucial role they feeling growing chin play in making your city down and feeling that great. I have had tremendous something has to be opportunity to get to know changed for them. Now each one of these Dr. Pathak, I have to communities in their own say that, by looking at a way, celebrating their own situation and looking culture, their own history, at arguably one of the and the Sikh community has most problematic issue NEW YORK’S MAYOR, been, for me, a revelation. that this class of people BILL DE BLASIO Coming close to this have faced, literally community, having many friends from confined to cleaning the latrines that that community, and getting to know everyone else used. You realised within more about the Sikh culture and history, that community the key to change and and understating the challenges faced by saw the pain and problems and you discrimination. So it is a special joy to turned them into something that celebrate, for such a worthy community became positive. has given and done so much to your city Through your work and organisation and to America. I thank them. Sulabh International, you have changed Now there are many things I can do their reality so profoundly, by creating as a mayor and one of new technologies the things I that are better for appreciate the most public health, better is that that we can for the environment honour someone and ensuring social who really has moved justice for this the world further community. You and inspired me to have been honoured be a change agent. many times before Dr. Bindeshwar and you deserve Pathak has been a those honours. You great example of were honoured with someone who saw The Economist great injustice, saw Global Diversity something that too List, received over many people 60 awards, including believed was impractical to change, and the New York Global Humanitarian he believed that something could Award. So you have momentum, Doctor. change. He had the creativity, the Now, it’s my turn to appreciate you and energy, the drive and the hope to make award you. I have the honour of speaking that change, and that, for me, is the on behalf of 8.5 million New Yorkers example of a true visionary. and saying that we appreciate the You know in this country we have the humanitarians, we appreciate vaguest idea – the dream of the visionaries. community called untouchables and And certain New Yorkers can all what they have gone through. We hear understand what it means to reach out the word and think we can picture, how those who have been left out for so much difficulty they have been through many years. I want to formally recognise and I don’t think we can possibly your achievements. I am going to imagine it to the fullest extent. But one formally name Thursday, April 14, thing we do know, is that one group of 2016, as “Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Day” people is treated differently and less in the city of New York. than everyone else. Thank you one again.

“I am going to

formally name Thursday, April 14, 2016, as “Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Day” in the city of New York”

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: A BRIEF PROFILE Bill de Blasio is an American politician who was New York’s 109th mayor from 2010. His promise to end ‘stop and frisk’, a crime prevention programme by the city police, which seemed to target African Americans, was seen as one of the reasons why he won the job. Blasio was a student activist while in college where he led a movement against tuition fee hikes. He managed Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the US Senate in 2000, and later went on to win the election as New York’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years.

MORE ACCOLADES FOR DR. BINDESHWAR PATHAK The Founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement has now won the Rashtriya Krantiveer Award

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HE accolades keep pouring in for Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder, Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement. This time around, he has bagged the 19th Rashtriya Krantiveer Award. This award has been instituted in memory of eminent freedom fighter, writer and social worker, the late R amchandra R aghuvanshi, popularly known as Kakaji, who waged a relentless campaign for the cause of poor peasants. In his acceptance speech Dr. Pathak said, “Praising someone for his achievements is talking about his greatness, but I would say the one who praises is greater, for praising others is a credible virtue.” He said traditionally, writers and poets were invited and awarded and

decorated, but during British rule, they were asked to write about their achievements, which was a difficult and a demeaning thing to do for the intellectuals. He appreciated the organisers for honouring the awardees in a traditional way. For the last 18 years, the award has been given to luminaries who have worked for and contributed to the cause of humanity. The felicitation ceremony held in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, was attended by several eminent personalities from the state. Dr. Pathak has also been chosen for the 2017 Bharat Gaurav Lifetime Achievement Award, to be given at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on June 9, 2017. The award is pioneered by Sanskriti Yuva Sanstha.


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Dalit Women’s Initiative

APRIL 16, 2017

CLEANLINESS DALIT WOMEN’S INITIATIVE

LEADING THE WAY FOR DALITS

They are aware of cleanliness, as three remarkable stories prove

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat

Mission has spread a great deal of awareness and brought some inspiring stories to the fore. (left) Savita and (Right) Seema Patel SSB BUREAU

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HEN one talks about Dalits, one is instantly reminded of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar ’s revolutionary ideologies associated with Dalit identity. Dr. Ambedkar, who belonged to the Dalit community, felt inertia in economic, educational and social aspects, impeding their overall progress. This is why his dream of upliftment of Dalits has a sense of comprehensiveness and synergy. To put it in contemporary words, he wanted Dalits to progress in the most ‘inclusive’ way. His statement on Dalit women is worth noting. He said, “I measure the progress of the community by the degree of progress women have achieved.” Interestingly, Dr. Ambedkar considered education as indispensable for the dignity of Dalits. He faced a plethora of obstacles in his own educational journey. Today, when the two words of Swachhta and Dalits are used, it becomes quite difficult to ignore the basic foundation of education. We look at three remarkable stories that, consequently, proved to be a paragon for Dalit. SAVITA’S CLAMOUR Some months back, in Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh, several newspapers carried a story that said that the construction of a toilet saved a family from falling apart. Savita, a 27-year-old Dalit woman, was forced to leave her husband’s house because she was tired of the humiliation she suffered when she had to defecate in the open due to the absence of a toilet in her husband’s

house. She came back to her husband’s house after two years of living at her mother’s house. Her husband promised her that he would build a toilet and he fulfilled his promise. Savita had decided not to come back till her husband built a toilet in the house. Gradually, this conflict grew to such an extent that it reached the district court. Savita’s husband went to the court to inform it that he had finally built a toilet in his house. Savita then told the media, “I am happy now as my husband has agreed to my demand and constructed a toilet in our house. Now, I am returning to his house.” SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT This issue is not just confined to cleanliness, but it is about the dignity of Dalit women and her social empowerment. If we ponder over Savita’s experiences, there certainly appears to be a scintilla of hope of awareness and change that women, especially Dalit women, are bringing in the field of cleanliness. Let us hear Savita’s experience in her own words, “I am a Dalit woman. I have studied till class five. I have two children. I have not been living with my husband (Devkaran Malviya, 30) for the last two years because there was no toilet in the house and going out was unacceptable to me.” Savita’s in-laws house is in Mundlaana village, which is 75 km away from Indore and has a population of 1,200. She got married to Devkaran seven

years ago. She kept raising her voice about toilet construction for five years, but nobody listened to her. She requested and coerced her husband, but he did not listen to her and blamed her for the conflicts. CONSCIOUS DECISION Savita took a big decision and moved out of her husband’s house, along with her two children, and moved in with her mother. She filed a petition in the district court for basic compensation. Consequently, her husband gave in and ultimately her in-laws had to come to the court to confirm that a toilet had, indeed, been constructed in their house. This shows how Dalit women, with a bit of perseverance and will power, become successful and prove to be a paragon for other women. Sarpanch Mangita Bai was quite enthusiastic who reached Panchayat Bhawan with family members of both sides. SEEMA’S EFFORTS The second instance is also from Madhya Pradesh and it involves firm determination of a Dalit woman in a village in Betul district, Seema Patel. Due to unavailability of toilets, she had said that she will not return to her house till a toilet is constructed. The issue reached the family counselling centre and with the efforts of the local administration, a toilet was constructed in her house. The centre was also able to convince her in-laws to construct a toilet in their house. Seema’s initiative on awareness towards cleanliness was widely appreciated and when she returned to her in-laws house, she received a warm welcome from the village. MONEY NOT A HINDRANCE It is important to note here that Seema’s age was just 22 years, yet she took the assertive step for cleanliness. The District Magistrate Gyaneshwar B. Patil said that what Seema did was quite incredible. Patil also decided to make her a ‘cleanliness ambassador’. And though Seema’s husband and parents didn’t have enough money to construct a toilet, the Sarpanch of Shahpur stepped in with her money to help in the construction of the toilet.

Quick Glance Dr. Ambedkar considered education as indispensable for the dignity of Dalits He said, “I measure the progress of the community by the degree of progressing women In words of Swachhta & Dalits, it becomes quite difficult to ignore basic foundation of education

BEYOND OBSTACLES Perhaps, Savita and Seema were lucky in a few aspects as their struggle and determination ultimately proved successful. Recently, a Dalit family in Madhya Pradesh had to pay a huge price for making a toilet in their house. They were warned that if they don’t leave their house, they will have to pay a huge price for it. When Sitaram Vanshkar, a resident of Prem Sagar colony in Jabalpur, decided to construct a toilet in his house, many people coerced him to leave the colony. He did not leave his house, but the society ostracised him and his family. DREAM REALISED Dr. Ambedkar, in his last speech, said, “From January 26, 1950, there will be equality in political sphere, but inequality in social and economic sphere.” It’s been more than six decades since Baba Saheb passed away. When he is remembered today, the nation can certainly feel satisfied that people have now become more aware about cleanliness. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder of Sulabh International, are set to accomplish the dream of Mahatma Gandhi on his 125th birth anniversary in 2025: To make this country beautiful and clean. It seems that the dream of Swachh Bharat will also become a reality soon. REBELLIOUS BRIDES Toilets are not a trivial matter as it is related to the dignity of women. Perhaps, half of the population has understood it. Now, women are not ready to compromise on the issue of cleanliness. One of the most inspiring stories came from Khesia village of Kushinagar a few years ago, when six women left their husbands house just because there were no toilets. One of them, Gudia, said, “We had toilet in our house, and it was quite humiliating to go for open defecation. I left for my mother’s house and I had to go against my husband. The District Magistrate of Kushinagar, Lokesh M, believes that there are several houses in Khesia village where there are no toilets. He says the problem has two aspects, financial strain and lack of awareness. He further said, “Several street plays were organised and the people were trained to use toilets. However, despite all efforts, things remained the same. Ironically, 90 per cent of people have mobiles, but they do not use toilets. Significantly, now women are in direct action mode when it comes to cleanliness. They want to get rid of this menace even if they have to take harsh decisions.”


APRIL 16, 2017

Paper Board

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PAPER BOARDS

UNIQUE, INFORMATIVE ‘PAPER BOARDS’ Inspired by Dr. BR Ambedkar, a group of friends in Munirka, Delhi, have come up with this concept ASHIMA

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HE ever-increasing urbanisation is becoming a major problem for humanity and is also proving to be a road block when it comes to solutions. Just look at some areas of Delhi itself -Katwaria Sarai, Ber Sarai, Munirka, to name a few. Narrow streets, crowds, parking problems, blockage issues during rains, etc., make it impossible for one to even think about anything else. But despite all these problems, some people are able to find a way out, thanks to their creative and innovative nature, and, in the process, help their society find solutions to various problems. Take Ravikant, Kundan and their friends living in Munirka, for instance. They have put up 19 ‘paper boards’ on the wall at different places along the narrow streets of their colony. Every blackcoloured board bears the name of social leaders and below that are pocket-shaped bags containing either a newspaper, a magazine or a book. The bags bear the names of all those who have made

donations. There is also an instruction to keep the newspaper back in the pocket after reading it. What’s more, there are some benches nearby where one can sit and read the papers comfortably. SHARED PLATFORM FOR ALL Inspired by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s thoughts, the team talks about how he worked for the rights of Dalits and women. Another thing that drove them to come up with this concept was this: They wanted the shops around the corners or crossings or any other place in a village, where the community gathered, places where the elderly and men usually sat, talked, smoked ‘hukkah’ or drank tea to become a sort of a shared platform where even women and children could meet and discuss national and international matters, instead of indulging in local gossip. THE AIM OF PAPER BOARDS Ravikant says that it was his friend Kundan who came up with this idea in 2014. He wanted to put an end to the card-playing and gossip-mongering culture in villages/

Inspired by Dr BR Ambedkar’s thoughts, the team talks about how he worked for the rights of Dalits and women

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Quick Glance In some streets of Delhi, Ambedkarites have put up boards to keep newspapers, magazines Economically weaker students preparing for competitive ecxams read this litterature and put it back This has been started to prevent the young from indulging in nonproductive activities like playing cards

Society is ignorant about Ambedkar’s contribution: Ravikant

AVIKANT, who has several degrees -- MBA, BA (French) and a degree in Political Science – is now pursuing law. On entering his house, one immediately sees a large picture of Dr. Ambedker. He says that after reading a lot about Dr. Ambedkar, he has come to the conclusion that whatever rights and voices the Dalits and women from all sections have got are basically the result of Baba Saheb’s

colonies and give a new direction to the people living there. Through paper boards, he plans to connect the colonies with the world. He wants the places where people meet and have tea together to be ones where their understanding becomes deeper and more comprehensive. Instead of gossip, a dialogue should begin on the subjects mentioned in newspapers and journals. HELPING POOR STUDENTS Munirka and Ber Sarai are among those places in Delhi where students from all over the country come and live on rent, and prepare for various government entrance exams. Many come from economically weaker families. For such students, paper boards can come in handy and they end up saving on newspaper bills at least, and also benefit from the academic atmosphere. This definitely helps in taking the load off their minds. MEANING TALK At the ‘chaupals’, where once time was wasted in playing cards, talking about irrelevant subjects and gossiping, people now sit together to have tea, read newspapers and discuss national and international politics. They have found a platform where women, children and the elderly can sit together and share their thoughts. This also becomes an excuse to

intervention. Ravikant is particularly sorry about the fact that a large section of the society today is ignorant about the efforts and contributions of Baba Saheb. His teammate Kundan’s room is almost entirely a library and there is only a mat on which to sit down and sleep. Ravikant considers Kundan as his guru in social service. He is planning to start something similar in several places in Bihar.

discuss about the solutions to local problems. NEWSPAPER VENDORS The paper boards team says that the person who delivers the newspapers to houses has been given the responsibility to place different newspapers and magazines on the boards as well. The day begins as soon as the newspaper vendor places the newspapers on the pockets of the boards. With this the routine of reading and discussion over tea begins. The team bears the newspaper bill at the month-end. Ravikant says the plan now is to extend the responsibility to at least four newspaper vendors so that the responsibility is shared and in case somebody falls ill or takes a leave, the show continues. While drinking tea near the paper board, Sanjay Sharma, a teacher, thinks that this is a good initiative. He talks about the initial phase, during the nineties, when reading centres such as this helped villagers find a shared platform, improve their reading habits and also encouraged discussions on social issues. When he finds such initiatives taking place in colonies like Munirka in a metropolitan city, it makes him very happy. He would like to see more encouragement for such programmes and conversation.


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Modi’s Mann Ki Baat

APRIL 16, 2017

MANN KI BAAT ON DR AMBEDKAR

WHATEVER I AM IS DUE TO BABA SAHEB — Prime Minister Narendra Modi

To mark the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the birth place of the father of Indian Constitution. At Kali Paltan in Mhow, near Indore, Madhya Pradesh, where Dr. Ambedkar’s grand memorial was built in 2008, Modi expressed his indebtedness to Baba Saheb. Excerpts from Modi’s various speeches

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VEN after 70 years of Independence, there are 18,000 villages where not even an electricity pole exists. I asked officers how many days you would take to electrify these villages. They replied it might take another seven years or so. I asked them to speed up the work. I asked them to complete it in 1,000 days and I believe this would be through before it. You can download Garv App on your mobile and can analyse the progress made by the government.

Wherever electricity has reached, people are celebrating. Today, through optical fibre, every citizen wants the whole world to be in his hand. It’s not easy to connect two-and-half lakh villages of the country with optical fibre, but we can’t sit without making efforts. If one is determined, nothing is impossible. If a farmer resolves, he can turn fields into gold. A farmer is not happy by stuffing his own pocket, but he feels happy by feeding other people. By 2022, we will double the income of the farmers. People say this

is not an easy job. I replied had this been easy, people would not have chosen me. People voted for me to accomplish the tough task. Baba Saheb asked us to get united. We need to work and improve technology. From the government’s treasury, around Rs 75 lakh goes to village projects. Our village panchayats function as per the rules laid down by the law. It’s necessary to carry on with such a spirit. We have to see how we can have farsightedness and development. We have everything in

our villages, we just need to provide direction to them. In Indore district, we removed open defecation, which is the best thing to happen. If women are forced to go for open defection in 21st century then we should feel ashamed. Now, every district is in competition to end this. We need to work in this direction together. This is a kind of work to be done with the spirit of service and wholehearted dedication. I never waste my time and keep thinking about what I can do for the poor, what I can provide to my


APRIL 16, 2017

Quick Glance From the government’s treasury, around Rs 75 lakh goes to village projects By 2022, we will double the income of the farmers, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi Baba Saheb became a Buddhist in October 1956 in Nagpur, along with his five lakh followers

differently abled brothers and sisters. Many governments came to power in the 60 years since Baba Saheb’s death. What stopped them from building his memorial? Now, when we took the initiative to build it, why are they so troubled? If a man whose mother used to work in other people’s homes during his childhood can become the Prime Minister, it is just because of Baba Saheb. Had he been like any other human being, venom could have seeped through his pen to our Constitution. But he swallowed all the poison. This is a real example of his greatness. We have come to follow his path. Today, India is rising because of the rise of villages. If we can bring changes in our villages, it will be the greatest tribute to him. TRIBUTE ON DR AMBEDKAR’S DEATH ANNIVERSARY On December 6, 2016 Narendra Modi tweeted to express the country’s indebtedness to Baba Saheb Ambedkar by saying what Baba Saheb did for the country will keep India obliged to him forever. Modi said Baba Saheb was the voice of Dalits and persecuted people. His ideologies and thoughts warm and

Modi’s Mann Ki Baat

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guide us to bring equality in society. Baba Saheb, who became the leader of the poor and the oppressed, became a Buddhist in October 1956 in Nagpur, along with his 5 lakh followers. ON MARCH 26, 2017 My dear countrymen, we must take our fight against black money and corruption to the next level. Can 125 crore countrymen resolve to undertake 2,500 crore digital transactions during this year? We have made an announcement in the Budget. Our 125 crore countrymen, if they wish to do so, they need not wait for a year; they can do it in six months. 2,500 crore digital transactions... if we pay school fees, we shall do so not by cash, but digitally, if we travel by train, travel by air, we shall pay digitally, if we buy medicines, we shall pay digitally, if we run fair price shops, we will use the digital mode. We can do this in our day to day lives. You can’t imagine how you can serve the country in this way and become a brave soldier in the fight against black money and corruption. Recently, several DigiDhan Mela programmes were organised to educate the people and to increase public awareness. The resolve was to organise 100 such programmes all over the country. About 80-85 programmes have already been conducted. There was also a reward scheme. Close to 12.5 lakh people have won prizes. Seventy thousand traders also won the prizes instituted for them. Each and every one of them also resolved to carry this mission forward.

If a man whose mother used to work in other

people’s homes during his childhood can become the Prime Minister, it is just because of Baba Saheb

India is rising because of the rise of villages. If we can bring changes in our villages, it will be the greatest tribute to Babasaheb

The birth anniversary of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar is on April 14. And as was decided much earlier, the Digi Mela will be brought to a culmination on April 14, the birth anniversary of Baba Saheb Ambedkar. On the completion of 100 days, a grand closing ceremony will be held. There is a provision of a bumper draw also in that. I believe that whatever time is left before Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, we should popularise and promote the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) App. We should contribute towards ensuring and reducing the use of cash, or currency notes. ON APRIL 24, 2016 My dear fellow citizens, today is April 24. This is observed as Panchayati Raj Day in India. On this day, the Panchayati Raj system was implemented in our country. The system has gradually spread to the entire country and is functioning successfully as an important unit of our democratic system of governance. We celebrated April 14 as the 125th birth anniversary of Baba Saheb Ambedekar and today, April 24, we celebrate the Panchayati Raj Day. This is such a fortunate coincidence. From the birth anniversary of the great man who gave us the Constitution of India to April 24, the day Panchayati Raj was introduced in our country to empower our villages… … the government, along with the cooperation of the state governments, has launched a campaign – ‘From Gram Uday to Bharat Uday’, i.e., ‘From the Rise of Villages to the Ascent of India’, over the 10-day period between April 14 and 24. It was my good fortune that on April 14, the birth anniversary of Baba Saheb

Ambedkar, I got the opportunity to visit his birthplace in Mhow and pay my respects at that sacred place. And today, on April 24, I am going to Jharkhand, where mostly my tribal brothers and sisters stay. In Jharkhand, I am going to celebrate Panchayati Raj Diwas. At three in the afternoon, I shall be talking to all panchayats of the country. This campaign has worked in a major way to generate awareness. How can the democratic institutions at the village level in every corner of India be strengthened? How can the villages become self-reliant? How can the villages plan programmes for their own development? Due importance must be given to physical and social infrastructure. There should not be any school dropouts in villages and the campaign to educate the girl child (‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Abhiyan’) should be successfully carried out. The birth of the girl child should be celebrated in a big way. There should be some plans to do that. In some villages, people organise food donations to mark the occasion. It happens very rarely that so many different programmes go on at the same time in so many villages of India. I congratulate all the state governments and the village heads. They have gone about these programmes in a very novel way for the welfare of villages, for the development of villages and for the strengthening of democracy. The awareness that has come about in villages guarantees a new progress for India. The foundation for the progress of India is the rise of its villages. So, if we all keep stressing on the progress of the villages, we shall continue to get the desired results.


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Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak on Dr. Ambedkar

APRIL 16, 2017

SPEECH ON AMBEDKAR

ERADICATION OF SOCIAL STIGMATISED OCCUPATION: OPPORTUNITIES & CHALLENGES As long as there are people amongst us who are considered untouchable due to their being born to certain parents or cetrain castes, the moral and intellectual elevation of our country can never be fully achieved Quick Glance Dr. Ambedkar’s dream was to build an equal and fair society, a dream shared by many Indians Caste has traditionally divided society into birth-based categories of high, low and even untouchables Since Independence, several social, economical and technological changes have weakened casteism

BY DR. BINDESHWAR PATHAK Sociologist & Social Reformer, Founder, Sulabh Sanitation & Social Reform Movement

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N the auspicious and inspiring occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, our Sulabh Social and Sanitation Movement recommits itself to the dream of an India free of the scourges of scavenging and untouchability. Untouchability No More — in our thought and behaviour, in our private life and public sphere — is Sulabh’s way to pay homage to one of the one of the greatest sons of modern India. In our view, which reflects and reaffirms the view of Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar, social practice like untouchabilty is disgraceful to our humanity, our sense of justice, and our feeling of social and national affinity. As long as there are people among us who are considered untouchable, because of their having born of certain parents and certain castes, the moral and intellectual elevation of the country as a whole can never reach to its full potential. We hold that the deplorable condition of the so-called untouchables is in itself and from the national point of view, profoundly painful, and therefore, all of us who love our country should consider it our duty to do all we can to raise their social, economic and intellectual condition by trying to raise self-respect in these people and placing facilities for education and employment within their reach, as Sulabh has been striving for the last four decades. I would like to stress that ending the age-old practice of treating certain castes as untouchables is the bounden and sacred duty of the so-called high-caste people, from the standpoint of justice, humanity and national self-interest. Perhaps no work can be higher and holier than this. And this work will also be the best way of remembering— and fulfilling the dream—of Dr. Ambedkar.

The Indian Constitution seeks to prevent the

perpetuation of caste and build an egalatarian society, but that still remains an unrealised ideal The meaning and significance of celebrating the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar hardly needs reiteration. Born in a humble family of untouchable caste, Dr. Ambedkar waged a life-long struggle for social justice and democracy, and in this process he became— by the sheer strength of his impeccable character, his moral courage and his intellectual brilliance—one of the greatest heroes of modern India. It is well known that he was an extraordinary and multifaceted personality, and he made a magnificent contribution to the making of modern India. Above all, Dr. Ambedkar was a symbol of all that was unjust and unrighteous in Indian society, especially the discriminations of caste and untouchability. Dr. Ambedkar’s dream was to build an equal and fair society—a dream that was, and is, shared by many Indians, including those who didn’t necessarily agree with many of his thoughts and ways of overcoming caste. But all of us agree with Dr. Ambedkar’s powerful emphasis that the nation is nothing if it is not the people, and we all cherish his clarion call of the ‘nation first’. We all agree

with his great articulation, which he elaborated variously and brilliantly in many of his speeches and writings that the discriminations of caste and untouchability and democracy (which embodies the spirit of equality, liberty and fraternity) cannot exist together. It is this larger struggle for making India untouchability-free—in both ideology and social action—which is the most valuable legacy of Dr. Ambedkar, and which is prized by all Indians who believe in social democracy. The Indian Constitution, in the making of which Dr. Ambedkar played a pivotal role, seeks to prevent the perpetuation of caste and untouchability and build an egalitarian social system, but despite some admirable progress in this direction, this still remains by and large an unrealized ideal. The fact is, the longstanding and discriminatory social system like untouchability cannot simply be eradicated by constitutional measures and government orders. Aware of this dichotomy between our democratic promise and actual reality on the ground, we are organizing today’s function to seek practical and imaginative solutions to the untouchability-

based discriminations that millions of our countrymen still face in their everyday life. Based on the idea of purity and pollution, caste has traditionally divided the society into the birth-based categories of high, low and even untouchable. It is no secret that in the caste society, characterized by hereditary occupation and strict endogamy, the possibility of upward mobility for the “lowborn” and “untouchables” is virtually nonexistent. But as the caste system and the practice of untouchability have impacted different castes differently, their role and relevance often evoke different and more often than not partisan responses. This can also be seen in the vision and outlook of Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar, two founding fathers of the Indian Republic. As is well known, they held contrasting views on caste and untouchability and there are many interpretations of their understanding of the subject. But we should not undermine the bright side of their creative confrontation that helped rouse the nation’s conscience to urgently and sincerely deal with the burning social problems. The important fact many of us often miss is, both Gandhi and Ambedkar, with their impassioned social engagement, despite their differences, inspired the government, the civil society, and the later generations to make India free from all forms of discriminations. This is perhaps their most precious legacy, a legacy we should cherish and take forward. Since Independence, several social, economic and technological changes have weakened the stranglehold of caste system and untouchability, bringing in its wake increasing social interaction among different caste groups. All this is a welcome change and gives the hope of a caste-free India in future, but the ground surveys and statistics still show persistence of many inequalities in terms of caste and untouchability. This is a cause for worry for every conscientious Indian because untouchability not only


APRIL 16, 2017 embodies difference but also discrimination. And where there is discrimination, there is deprivation: discrimination and deprivation are often linked to each other. As a result, many untouchability-based disabilities still persist, not only in subtle, modernized forms, but also in quite crude and cruel ways. So much so that there is still a class of people who clean and carry human excreta manually, despite the constitutional and social mandate to end such menace. As the head of Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Ambedkar tried hard to integrate elements of social justice into the Constitution, but he also underlined that rights of the historically oppressed and vulnerable communities are protected not by law but by the social and moral conscience of society. And this is the perspective that has animated our understanding of caste and fight against untouchability, which I would like to share with you. SULABH’S IDEOLOGY As some of you may know, Sulabh’s concern has not been to merely understanding caste and untouchability but also improving the social situation by eliminating discriminations against the downtrodden communities. We believe that basic human necessities include freedom from exclusion, a life of dignity, and a sense of security. And so we seek to create conditions in which the so-called lower castes and especially dalits would gradually come to be seen as equal and important by the so-called upper castes. We believe that this cannot be done without creating educational and economic opportunities for the marginalized people. Education, apart from a means of getting lucrative employment, is the basic foundation for social and cultural empowerment of the deprived castes and communities. We see untouchability as an institutionalized discrimination and reject the deeply entrenched prejudice against the so-called untouchables which makes some people think that “dirty work” makes the “dirty workers” untouchables. Fighting such mindset, Sulabh’s primary aim is to stir social and moral conscience of society and galvanize support for emancipating those who occupy the lowest rung of caste hierarchy and traditionally dispose the excreta of others. This is, of course, a collective responsibility, but in this the lead must come from the privileged and powerful groups, who are in a position to help the less fortunate. In our view, the caste elites should see this as an opportunity to redeem themselves and society at large. Based on our long struggle on the ground, I could vouch that restoring human dignity to the ex-untouchables and enabling them to lead a new life is perhaps the most difficult task because it requires fighting the system used for generations to deny—and crush— their humanity. And as the system still remains rife in imbalances against them, it is important to stir the people’s conscience (especially of the upper echelons of society)

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak on Dr. Ambedkar

and change their caste-ridden mindset if we want to empower the dalits and other deprived communities. This is the intellectual and ethical side of the struggle, which will pave the way for the muchneeded social and cultural change. But such idealism cannot take roots unless it is buttressed by concrete material changes for which we will need the support of scientific innovation and technology. Sulabh has given a breakthrough in this direction through its holistic approach which combines an application of technology and innovation with an effective plan of cultural reforms and social solidarity. Alongside devising a safe and cost-effective toilet technology as a solution to end the hateful practice of manual scavenging and the menace of open defecation as well as large-scale construction of such toilets and other sanitation work, we started schools in Patna, Delhi and other places to educate scavenging dalits’ (Valmikis’) children, helping them to break the vicious cycle of scavenging–illiteracy–dependency. We also set up vocational centres to train the women and children in different skills which opened for them the doors of alternative economic opportunities. We followed this up with initiating several religious and cultural measures to

Nathdwara temple or taking the holy dip at the Kumbh in Allahabad signifies not just their religious equality but also their sociocultural empowerment. Along with such symbolic acts, Sulabh also does concrete work on the ground. We have set up vocational centres at Alwar and Tonk, in the state of Rajasthan, where dalit women (earlier engaged in manual cleaning of excreta) get a stipend and are trained in skills like tailoring, embroidery, beauty treatments, and preparing eatables like pickles and papad. In 2008, Sulabh flew three dozens of such trainees to New York to participate in a fashion show held at the United Nations headquarters to mark the International Year of Sanitation. That these women have arrived and started a new life is not lost on anyone who has met them. Their products including eatables like pickles, papad and noodles are now being purchased and relished by the upper-caste people who earlier shunned any contact with them. We also campaigned to bring together different caste groups by making the liberated dalits visit the homes of upper-caste people, and vice versa. As the dalits’ social and economic distance from the traditionally privileged castes gets reduced, the former untouchables feel they are on a par with the upper-caste people. This sense of self-respect has a ring

Initiatives such as taking

‘untouchables’ to temples, taking upper castes to their homes and commensality have helped much integrate them in the social mainstream. Initiatives such as taking the “untouchables” to temples, the highest seat of sacredness; the upper-caste people visiting the untouchables’ homes and vice versa; the inter-caste meeting and commensality; and, a programme of social adoptation in which a high-status family adopts a Valmiki’s family in order to break the caste barrier and helps educate and empower the adopted family in every possible way. Some people brush off such measures as superfluous, claiming that they do not make any difference on the ground. In our view, these gestures are significant and redolent with radicalism as they signal the end of social segregation and carry the hope of greater social change and churning. Establishing the social link between the hitherto divided peoples is a necessary task and the first essential step towards democratization of society. Similarly, enabling the former untouchables, who still face many kinds of discriminations in their everyday life, to enter temples or make them participate in other sacred rituals, constitutes a liberating activity as it attacks the very notion of purity-pollution which lies at the core of caste stratification. Dalits entering the

of genuine authenticity as it is getting wider social acceptance. The upshot of all this: the so-called upper-caste people have started shedding the caste bias and practices that raised the dividing wall of high and low, touchable and untouchable. On the other side, the toilet complexes that we have built all over India are mostly manned by the upper-caste people who earlier considered toilet and anything related to human waste as taboo. By bringing the upper-caste people in the sanitary work and taking out the untouchables from cleaning excreta and providing them alternative respectable employment, Sulabh has challenged the rigid and discriminatory frame of caste. All this has contributed to slacken the casteist mindset and barriers like untouchability, thus starting the process of eradicating various forms of social exclusions. Though caste as an ethnic identity still survives, our persistent and multi-pronged endeavours—education, training, alternative employment, social upgradation and cultural integration—are breaking down the hierarchical social structure by uplifting the social and economic status of downtrodden communities.

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GANDHI AND AMBEDKAR’S DREAM Though much remains to be done to make India a just and fair society, Sulabh has shown the way by making a critical contribution towards overcoming social divides and discriminations. Our struggle has broken a new ground in pushing radical ideas in a reformist mould which could get support from all sections of society. We try to embrace whatever deepens our humanity and reject whatever divides and dehumanizes us. We believe in the power of human compassion, connection and cooperation. We believe that it is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness. We are celebrating the birthday of Dr. Ambedkar to signify that from, no one is untouchable. Today, the former untouchables, and upper-caste people would sit and eat together. Today, the poor and the rich will share food, water and the human warmth, and rid themselves of the social evils and mutual suspicion. Today, a group of Brahmins of Varanasi, who have come especially to participate in this function, will take oath to visit Dalit families, do pooja with and for them, and will have prasad from the hands of the dalits. Dr. Ambedkar once remarked that untouchability could be wiped out when everyone would be able to go to temples; would take bath from the same pond; would draw water from the same well; and would eat together, irrespective of caste. But as Mahatma Gandhi pointed out in the similar context, as long as the untouchables clean the nightsoil with their bare hands, no other people would have food with them. We have ensured that the privileged-caste people can have meal with the ex-untouchables, as we have freed thousands of scavenging dalits and employed them in other dignified occupation. We have shown how the liberated dalits can—and will—sit together and relish food with the privileged castes. It should, however, not be forgotten that the dalits had for centuries been denied basic social and religious rights. We have always kept this in mind in our longstanding crusade to integrate the dalits with the rest of society through various social, cultural and religious measures. In our view, such symbolic measures, though not enough in themselves, instill a sense of confidence and self-worth in the long-suppressed people, setting them on the road to freedom. But our movement is just the beginning. Much more needs to be done. There is a great need to replicate what we have done at Alwar and Tonk. This is a historic occasion and an opportunity to rewrite history. The pages of history are being turned over, as we declare that nobody is untouchable. This is perhaps the best way to celebrate the birthday of Babasaheb Ambedkar who dreamt of and fought for an India free from the discriminations of caste and untouchability. (Excerpts from a Memorial Lecture on May 12, 2015, at the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar National Institute, Mhow, Indore, Madhya Pradesh)


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Maternity Leave

APRIL 16, 2017

Quick Glance

MATERNITY LEAVE

AMBEDKAR’S GIFT TO INDIAN WOMEN

Everywhere everyone one is appreciating the government’s decision to extend maternity leave. If we look back in history, it was Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar who had mooted the idea of granting maternity leave in India ASHIMA

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HE law governing Maternity Leave has been amended by the parliament and it had become talk of the town. In organised sector now women employees will get maternity leave for 26 weeks. Before this, it was just for 12 weeks. This act has been promulgated with effect from April 1, 2017. This is worth mentioning that India is one of the three countries which provide the highest number of day maternity leave. It is a heartening feature that more and more people are coming to understand that women are physically different and need leave to take care of the newborn. Employers need not suspect their capabilities and their colleagues too should co-operate with women employees. In this context, a lesser known fact is that it was Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar, who had introduced the concept of maternity leave for women in India, thereby offering a practical solution to women’s problem. He had said, the pain a lady has to suffer from conception till delivery, is so much that if man had to deliver a child he would never think of second child again. This shows how sensitive Baba Saheb was towards women. He also said, if you want to know about the development of a country, see how women of that country are doing. The condition of women will best reflect the development of country. Baba Saheb used to understand the pain of women on both mental and emotional level. MATERNITY LEAVE BENEFIT (AM.) ACT According to this law, women will get paid leave of 26 weeks and a bonus of Rs 3000. This will be applicable to birth of two kids after which it will get reduced to 12 weeks. Mother of adopted child too will get a leave of 12 weeks. Many thinkers of women issue have expressed their opinion on it. Organizations with more than 50 employees must have a crèche in their office premises. Working women will have the permission to meet their kid four times in a day. The organisation not following these rules shall be penalised.

AMBEDKAR FAVORED CONTRACEPTION Baba Bhim Rao Ambedkar had made provision of maternity leave for women factory workers in Bombay Vidhan Sabha. In 1938 only Ambedkar used to think women should get the facility of contraception. If a lady doesn’t wants to conceive, she should be free to make her choice. Whether a women wants to become mother should entirely be her choice and she should take decision on it. AMBEDKAR AND FEMALE CONSCIOUSNESS Normally, we see Baba Saheb as Dalit thinker since he himself was a Dalit. But broadly he has given his view on as varied subjects as class struggle, women empowerment, racial discrimination, improvement in policies. His fight was not limited to upliftment of Dalits alone. He used to believe, women always pay the

most for any kind of social discrimination. ‘Hindu code bill’ is the best example of it. He was trying to mobilize entire society on this. Maternity leave is the best example that shows that Dr. Ambedkar used to acknowledge the economic participation of women in nation building. He specifically focused on the process of becoming a mother – from the time of birth of a child to looking after him. It is well known that Baba Saheb was quite impressed with the role of women in foreign society. He always welcomed independence of women and tried his level best to usher it in India as well. ARTICLE 42 AND MATERNAL LEAVE In the constitution Baba Saheb has defined four directive principles of State policy. Article 42 delineates working conditions for women and prescribes free assistance during delivery. It is clear that maternity leave is the constitutional right of women.

Baba Saheb maintained that he judged the

progress of a country by looking at condition of its women

Narendra Modi government has extended the maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar, had introduced the concept of maternity leave for women in India Article 42 of the Constitution prescribes free assistance to women during delivery

Indian constitution ensures equality for both men and women. Our girls are doing best in education. Most of the toppers even in higher education are female only. Still their acceptance as working and self dependent women is negligible. Our constitution gives them the right to work but our society binds them in unseen ties and limits their independence. This is necessary to know work of their choice and same salary for same work is the right of women. Maternity leave is only an extension of it. OBSTACLES IN MATERNITY BENEFITS We have come a long way now with Maternity Leave amendment bill having been passed by the parliament. There are lots of government policies for security of child and mother. It is a sad commentary that many of prospective mothers are still remaining malnourished. Rate of death during delivery has also not come down. Along with it, the health issue related to pregnant women should also not be ignored. IN UNORGANISED SECTOR The Bill passed in the Parliament is about organised sector. We should not forget that a large number of women are working in unorganised sector too. There is the need to accord equal importance to maternity issues to them as well. But this bill seems to benefit the organized sector only. We should also remember that Baba Sahib’s vision was for all women belonging to all classes. The Dalit section that we talk about includes the women too. In order to fulfil Ambedkar’s dream we need to pay attention to the solutions and options given by him, and also to the basic arguments he offers. This is important, because after coming to know his views in totality, we come to realize that in the fight for rights, he saw all women on the same platform. The truth however, is that the Dalit women are still the most neglected. In order to fulfil Ambedkar’s dreams the first condition is to change our basic attitude. Otherwise the dispossessed sections will continue to remain deprived. It is true that the Bill passed in the Parliament today is an indication of attention being given to women by everyone today. But it is equally important to ensure that the public in general, too alters its perceptions about women.


APRIL 16, 2017

Policy on Dalits

POLICIES FOR DALIT

SCHEMES THAT AIM TO CHANGE THE LOT OF DALITS From the very beginning Narendra Modi Government has placed Dalits and weaker sections on priority. Several new schemes have been set rolling for their betterment PRASANN PRANJAL

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HE power, capacity and talent that God has given to all people, He has given the same to the Dalit brothers and sisters, but they have not got the opportunity. The person standing on the margins of the society should get an opportunity. He should not wait for the mercy of anybody” -- this was stated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi while acknowledging the ability of the Dalits to become the wheels of progress and contribute to the development of the country. The government has taken quite a few steps to uplift Dalits. The Modi government has put the weaker sections and Dalits on priority from the very beginning. Many schemes have been started for their betterment and radical changes have been made in many schemes. It is the government’s attempt that the decisions and the benefits of the schemes reach the lower strata of the society. Some of these are: STAND UP INDIA Stand-up India scheme was started on April 5, 2016 to make Dalits, tribals and women self-reliant. Under this scheme of Central Government there is a provision to provide credit upto Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore to encourage entrepreneurship among scheduled caste men and women. This scheme provides a large number of benefits to entrepreneurs who could not start self-employment due to lack of money. START UP INDIA Modi Government has made better provisions for Dalits in Startup

Quick Glance Narendra Modi government has initiated several schemes to provide jobs to Dalits For SCs and STs scholarships are being given both at matriculate and post-matriculation levels More compassionate approach and enhanced compensations for Dalit victims of atrocities

Babasaheb maintained that he judged the

progress of a country by looking at condition of its women India, while initiating other projects also to empower Dalits of the country. There is a scheme for preparing 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under Startup India Initiative. Under this, every bank is encouraged to fund Dalits. FINANCIAL HELP On behalf of the government, banks have been instructed to extend the benefit of self-employment schemes to the scheduled caste and backward caste youth and women. Under the Venture Capital Scheme, loans of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 15 crore are being given to Scheduled Caste youth. In this scheme, the Government is giving guarantee of 80 per cent of the loan. The youth taking advantage of these schemes can also give employment to many other youths. SCHEDULED CASTE DEVELOPMENT BUREAU Scheduled Castes Development

Bureau (SCDB) is working hard for the welfare of Dalits, promoting their welfare through educational, economic and social empowerment of Scheduled Castes. Through this, various programmes are being run for the betterment of Dalits. EDUCATIONAL EMPOWERMENT Scholarship is provided on behalf of the government to avoid difficulties in gaining education due to the poor financial condition of the families of Dalit and weaker sections. These scholarships are provided both at pre-matriculation and postmatriculation levels. Scholarships are also given to students of scheduled caste and other backward classes to get higher education both within the country and abroad in reputed educational institutions. Various scholarships are being given to Dalit students and weaker sections. Both matriculation and post-matriculation scholarships are given. In the prestigious institutes

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like IIT, IIM, NIT, financial assistance is given to Scheduled Caste students under ‘High-level Scholarship Scheme’. Under ‘Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship’, financial assistance for Dalit students is being given to complete research studies and to obtain M.Phil, Ph.D. and similar research degrees. Students are provided assistance through ‘National Overseas Scholarship Scheme’ to get higher education like Masters Degree and PhD in foreign countries. ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT For the economic empowerment of the Dalits, the Modi government and the Ministry of Social Justice are running many programmes. Under the ‘self-employment scheme loans are provided to the beneficiaries at affordable rates of interest. For example, a manual scavenger of the family is provided capital assistance of Rs. 40,000. For self-employment projects, training etc capital up to Rs. 3.25 lakh is given. Under the ‘National Scheduled Caste Finance and Development Corporation’ (NSFDC) scheme Scheduled caste people living below the poverty line are provided Rs. 98,000 a year in rural areas and Rs.120,000 a year in urban areas. NSFDC provides loans, skill training, entrepreneurship and support through State Agencies, RRB or Regional Rural Banks, Public Sector Banks and other institutions. SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT Under the Civil Rights Protection Act, 1955 and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, assistance is given to States / UTs for the upliftment of Dalits. Financial assistance is provided to the States / UTs for the implementation of these Acts through the establishment of a special court, encouragement to the oppressed victims, promotion of inter-caste marriages, awareness creation, exclusive special court etc. POA Rules have been revised in June 2014 to increase relief for the victims of atrocities and it was increased from Rs 75,000 to Rs 7,50,000 depending upon the nature of loss. ‘Prime Minister Adarsh Gram Yojana’ (PMAGY) was launched in the financial year 200910 for integrated development of 1,000 scheduled majority villages in five states of the country. In January 2015, Modi Government has expanded this scheme to 1500 new SC majority villages in 10 states of the country. Due to these schemes, the social empowerment of Dalits is definitely gaining momentum.


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Last Speech

APRIL 16, 2017

FROM CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

INDEPENDENCE BRINGS GREAT RESPONSIBILITY — DR BR Ambedkar Excerpts from the last speech of Dr BR Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly on the eve of signing of the draft of the Constitution by 248 members of the Assembly on Friday, March 25, 1949

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FEEL, however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be a good lot. The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution can provide only the organs of State such as the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The factors on which the working of those organs of the State depend are the people and the political parties they will set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and their politics. Who can say how the people of India and their purposes or will they prefer revolutionary methods of achieving them? If they adopt the revolutionary methods, however good the Constitution may be, it requires no prophet to say that it will fail. It is, therefore, futile to pass any judgement upon the Constitution without reference to the part which the people and their parties are likely to play. … my mind is so full of the future of our country that I feel I ought to take this occasion to give expression to some of my reflections thereon. On 26th January 1950, India will be an independent country (Cheers). What would happen to her independence? Will she maintain her independence or will she lose it again? This is the first thought that comes to my mind. It is not that India was never an independent country. The point is that she once lost the independence she had. Will she lose it a second time? It is this thought which makes me most anxious for the future. What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of her own people. In the invasion of Sindh by Mahommed-Bin-Kasim, the military commanders of King Dahar accepted bribes from the agents of MahommedBin-Kasim and refused to fight on the

Liberty cannot be divorced from equality,

equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity side of their King. It was Jaichand who invited Mahommed Gohri to invade India and fight against Prithvi Raj and promised him the help of himself and the Solanki Kings. When Shivaji was fighting for the liberation of Hindus, the other Maratha noblemen and the Rajput Kings were fighting the battle on the side of Moghul Emperors. When the British were trying to destroy the Sikh Rulers, Gulab Singh, their principal commander sat silent and did not help to save the Sikh Kingdom. In 1857, when a large part of India had declared a

war of independence against the British, the Sikhs stood and watched the event as silent spectators. Will history repeat itself? It is this thought which fills me with anxiety. This anxiety is deepened by the realization of the fact that in addition to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds. Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain

that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost for ever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood. (Cheers) On the 26th of January 1950, India would be a democratic country in the sense that India from that day would have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The same thought comes to my mind. What would happen to her democratic Constitution? Will she be able to maintain it or will she lose it again. This is the second thought that comes to my mind and makes me as anxious as the first. It is not that India did not know what is Democracy. There was a time when India was studded with republics, and even where there were monarchies, they were either elected or limited. They were never absolute. It is not that India did not know Parliaments or Parliamentary Procedure. A study of the Buddhist Bhikshu Sanghas discloses that not only there were Parliaments for the Sanghas were nothing but Parliaments – but the Sanghas knew and observed all the rules of Parliamentary Procedure known to modern times. They had rules regarding seating arrangements, rules regarding Motions, Resolutions, Quorum, Whip, Counting of Votes, Voting by Ballot, Censure Motion, Regularisation, Res Judicata, etc. Although these rules of Parliamentary Procedure were applied by the Buddha to the meetings of the Sanghas, he must have borrowed them from the rules of the Political Assemblies functioning in the country in his time. This democratic system India lost. Will she lose it a second time? I do not know. But it is quite possible in a country like India – where democracy from its long disuse must be regarded as something quite new – there is danger of democracy giving place to dictatorship. It is quite possible for this new born democracy to retain its form but give


APRIL 16, 2017

Quick Glance If the parties place creed above country, our independence will be in jeopardy a second time We must hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives We should remove people who prefer Government by the people over Government for the people

place to dictatorship in fact. If there is a landslide, the danger of the second possibility becoming actuality is much greater. If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgement we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and Satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us. The second thing we must do is to observe the caution which John Stuart Mill has given to all who are interested in the maintenance of democracy, namely, not “to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or to trust him with power which enable him to subvert their institutions”. There is nothing wrong in being grateful to great men who have rendered life-long services to the country. But there are limits to gratefulness. As has been well said by the Irish Patriot Daniel O’Connel, no man can be grateful at the cost of his honour, no woman can be grateful at the cost of her chastity and no nation can be grateful at the cost of its liberty. This caution is far more necessary in the case of India than in the case of any other country. For in India, Bhakti or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship, plays a part in its politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other country in the world. Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship. The third thing we must do is not to be content with mere political democracy. We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social

democracy. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life. These principles of liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life. These principles of liberty, equality and fraternity are not to be treated as separate items in a trinity. They form a union of trinity in the sense that to divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of democracy. Liberty cannot be divorced from equality, equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things. It would require a constable to enforce them. We must begin by acknowledging the fact that there is complete absence of two things in Indian Society. One of

Last Speech

recognition of the principle of fraternity. What does fraternity mean? Fraternity means a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians -- of Indians being one people. It is the principle which gives unity and solidarity to social life. It is a difficult thing to achieve. How difficult it is, can be realized from the story related by James Bryce in his volume on American Commonwealth about the United States of America. I propose to recount the story in the words of Bryce himself“Some years ago the American Protestant Episcopal Church was occupied at its triennial Convention in revising its liturgy. It was thought desirable to introduce among the short sentence prayers a prayer for the whole people, and an eminent New England divine proposed the words `O Lord, bless our nation’. Accepted one afternoon, on the spur of the moment, the sentence was brought up next day for reconsideration, when so many objections were raised by the laity to the word nation’ as importing too definite a recognition of national unity, that it was dropped, and instead there were adopted

Downtrodden classes are tired of being governed. They are impatient to govern themselves

these is equality. On the social plane, we have in India a society based on the principle of graded inequality which we have a society in which there are some who have immense wealth as against many who live in abject poverty. On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognising the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has to laboriously build up. The second thing we are wanting in is

the words `O Lord, bless these United States.” There was so little solidarity in the U.S.A. at the time when this incident occurred that the people of America did not think that they were a nation. If the people of the United States could not feel that they were a nation, how difficult it is for Indians to think that they are a nation. I remember the days when politically-minded Indians, resented the expression “the people of India”. They preferred the expression “the Indian nation.” I am of opinion that in believing that we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion. How can people divided into several thousands of castes be a nation? The sooner we realize that we are not as yet a nation in the social and psychological sense of the world, the better for us. For then only we shall realize the necessity of becoming a nation and seriously think of ways and means of realizing the goal. The realization of this goal is going to be very difficult – far more difficult than it has been in the United States. The United States has no caste problem. In India there are castes. The castes are anti-national. In the first place because

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they bring about separation in social life. They are anti-national also because they generate jealousy and antipathy between caste and caste. But we must overcome all these difficulties if we wish to become a nation in reality. For fraternity can be a fact only when there is a nation. Without fraternity equality and liberty will be no deeper than coats of paint. These are my reflections about the tasks that lie ahead of us. They may not be very pleasant to some. But there can be no gainsaying that political power in this country has too long been the monopoly of a few and the many are only beasts of burden, but also beasts of prey. This monopoly has not merely deprived them of their chance of betterment, it has sapped them of what may be called the significance of life. These downtrodden classes are tired of being governed. They are impatient to govern themselves. This urge for self-realization in the downtrodden classes must not be allowed to devolve into a class struggle or class war. It would lead to a division of the House. That would indeed be a day of disaster. For, as has been well said by Abraham Lincoln, a House divided against itself cannot stand very long. Therefore the sooner room is made for the realization of their aspiration, the better for the few, the better for the country, the better for the maintenance for its independence and the better for the continuance of its democratic structure. This can only be done by the establishment of equality and fraternity in all spheres of life. That is why I have laid so much stresses on them. I do not wish to weary the House any further. Independence is no doubt a matter of joy. But let us not forget that this independence has thrown on us great responsibilities. By independence, we have lost the excuse of blaming the British for anything going wrong. If hereafter things go wrong, we will have nobody to blame except ourselves. There is great danger of things going wrong. Times are fast changing. People including our own are being moved by new ideologies. They are getting tired of Government by the people. They are prepared to have Governments for the people and are indifferent whether it is Government of the people and by the people. If we wish to preserve the Constitution in which we have sought to enshrine the principle of Government of the people, for the people and by the people, let us resolve not to be tardy in the recognition of the evils that lie across our path and which induce people to prefer Government for the people to Government by the people, nor to be weak in our initiative to remove them. That is the only way to serve the country. I know of no better.


14

Intellectual Honesty

APRIL 16, 2017

TRYST WITH TRUTH

DR AMBEDKAR’S INTELLECTUAL HONESTY He was always vocal about what is right and wrong without caring for the repercussions

DR UDIT RAJ

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HERE is a general perception that truth often gets tormented but never gets defeated and at the end it always wins. In the case of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, this proposition is yet to be testified. The Government is celebrating his 125th birth anniversary. Besides everything, he was intellectually honest and always vocal about what is right and wrong, despite the repercussions. He had always been upfront about fighting for women’s liberation, annihilation of caste and breaking superstitions. Even while converting to Buddhism, he spoke only about human welfare and engaging in the affairs of religion at such a large scale, it is next to impossible to remain committed towards the cause of humanity and not to plunge into epistemological and metaphysical debates. Intellectual honesty, many times, is a barrier in reaching the destination. Therefore, there is a famous saying that behind every great fortune, there is a great crime. I think Honore ́ de Balzac was not out of place in saying so. The majority of great men have moved forward by antagonising the masses.

Dr. Ambedkar did not care about the establishment when he had a tryst with the truth. Standing for the right to equal property of daughters was not at all easy in the 1950s. It was quite obvious that the masses would be against whoever spoke about equal rights in property. Dr. Ambedkar introduced the Hindu Code Bill in Parliament after consulting Pandit Nehru. The Bill embodied the provision of equal share in the ancestral property for sons and daughters. There was lot of criticism in the country regarding this Bill, due to which the Congress party had to step back from this move despite having a huge majority in Parliament, and the Bill was defeated. Similarly, when Sheikh Abdullah and other like minded people approached Nehru to include a special provision for Jammu & Kashmir in the Constitution, he agreed, but suggested that he should meet Dr. Ambedkar for agreement. When Abdullah met Dr. Ambedkar, he

bluntly replied that if Jammu and Kashmir as a border state should get special provisions, then even Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bengal and provinces of the Northeast, which are also border states, should also get similar special provisions. He wrote most of the provisions of the Constitution, but was not allowed to write Article 370 nor did he support it. Dr. Ambedkar stood for annihilation of caste; are his followers doing so? Rather, there is activism for further consolidation of caste identity. By creating caste identities, it is much easier to have a personal gain and bargaining power with the institutions and the government. Somehow, the truth that he wanted to prevail has not found its place. On December 12, 1935, Babasaheb received a letter from the Jat Todak Mandal in Lahore, inviting him to be its President. He thought that it was an association of upper caste Hindus whose only idea was to only reform the caste system. At first, Dr. Ambedkar refused to accept the invitation but later on, when persuaded, he gave his consent. The association was supposed to meet during Easter but it was postponed till May 1936. After that, there was a huge resentment in Lahore for inviting Dr. Ambedkar and Bhai Parmanand, former president of the Hindu Mahasabha, Mahatma Hansraj, Ministers of local property ownership Dr. Gokulchand Narang and Raja Rajendranath MNC, sidelined the Mandal secretary Santram from the organisation. The leaders of the Mandal wanted to get a written draft of Dr. Ambedkar’s speech in advance; there was constant pressure on Dr. Ambedkar to get his essay titled “Annihilation of Caste” vetted in Lahore before the conference, but he remained firm. To see his essay, the Mandal sent Har Bhagwan to Mumbai to know the contents. After

Had the downtrodden stood by Dr Ambedkar’s

path of truth, they would have at least achieved partial success, if not a complete victory

dr udit raj

Dr Udit Raj is a member of Lok Sabha and a Dalit thinker

Quick Glance Dr Ambedkar did not care about the establishment when it came when he had a tryst with truth When leaders asked Nehru to make special provision for J&K, the latter asked them to meet Dr Ambedkar There was pressure on him to get the “Annihilation of Caste’ vetted in Lahore, but he refused firmly

reading it, he became restless and suggested to Dr. Ambedkar to change the essay and make it brief, but Dr. Ambedkar didn’t bend. As a result, the conference was called off. One should be aware that during that period, Lahore was the centre of Northwest India, and if Dr. Ambedkar agreed to the suggestions of the Mandal, a large number of upper caste Hindus would have accepted his leadership. He did not fall prey to this temptation and later on, his essay “Annihilation of Caste” was published in Mumbai and also translated into many languages. His truth has not become empirical till date. As a matter of fact, these days, even the so-called scheduled castes try to strengthen the caste system for their political gains. Maintaining intellectual honesty is putting oneself at risk and a high price might have to be paid for it. There is no certainty that Dr. Ambedkar’s truth is being incorporated, practiced or even debated. Normally, people are against change, and truth does not necessarily always prevails. There have been some statesmen like Kabir who spoke the truth, but it has remained confined to books and talks; very few are practically followed. This truth kept haunting Dr. Ambedkar and it is still not understood and imbibed by the people, not even the downtrodden. Had the downtrodden stood by his path of truth, they would have at least achieved partial success, if not a complete victory. It is not at all necessary that what has not been done till now cannot be done tomorrow. The day is eagerly awaited when a casteless society can be established and India joins the ranks of developed countries.


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16

APRIL 16, 2017

Every man who repeats “ the dogma of Mill that one

country is no fit to rule another country must admit that one class is not fit to rule another class.”

Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar

SHARAD GUPTA A journalist with 30 years experience of working with various publications

VIEWPOINT

MODI MAKING DR AMBEDKAR’S DREAMS COME TRUE The Dalit community has undergone a sea change under the Narendra Modi government

TIME FOR A RETHINK

BAN TOBACCO Why should we allow the sale of a poisonous substance like tobacco?

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MOKING kills. The slogan is emblazoned on every packet of cigarettes sold in India along with the photo of cancer-infested lungs. Yet, people continue to smoke unabatedly. The government has banned advertisements of tobacco-related products. But, no government, past or present, has banned the sale of tobacco, like they have prohibited the sale of liquor. Figures reveal that more people are dying of tobacco consumption than liquor. A recent study has pointed out that one in 10 deaths worldwide is caused by smoking. Roughly translated into figures, it comes to 64 lakh people, with half of them based in four countries – China, India, the United States and Russia. India is also among the top 10 countries which together account for almost two-thirds of the world’s smokers – 63.6 per cent in 2015. The reason cited by the government to not ban tobacco is that it is grown in black soil, which is not good for cultivating other crops, except cotton, and tobacco cultivation is much more profitable than cotton. Also, a ban on tobacco will make many people jobless – including crores of retailers – besides depriving the government of a major chunk of revenue. So, isn’t it time for a rethink? Instead of pushing lakhs of people into the jaws of death, the government should come up with alternative sources of revenue and ban tobacco for good!

Editor-in-Chief

KUMAR DILIP Edited, Printed and Published by: Monika Jain on behalf of Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation, owned by Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation Printed at: The Indian Express Limited A - 8, Sector -7, NOIDA (UP) Published at: RZ - 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam - Dabri Road, New Delhi - 110045 (India) Corporate Office: 819, Wave Silver Tower, Sector - 18, NOIDA (UP) Phone: +91-120-6500425 Email: editor@sulabhswachhbharat.com, ssbweekly@gmail.com

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R. Bhim Rao Ambedkar had suffered untouchability first hand. He was made to sit separately from the rest of the class. He was allowed to drink water only when it was poured from a height by a peon. That is why he strived his entire life to provide a better quality of life for Dalits. He wanted their political and social empowerment. After signing Poona Pact with Pt Madan Mohan Malviya at Mahatma Gandhi’s insistence, he agreed to have separate seats reserved for Dalits. The fact that all castes in these constituencies would elect and accept a Dalit as their leader, was a powerful thought. Things seem to have changed a lot during the past 67 years. We have seen a Dalit become the President of India as well Chief Justice of India. The largest political party, BJP, has had a Dalit as its national president. The largest state, Uttar Pradesh, has seen a Dalit Chief Minister four times during the past 20 years. The day is not far when we are going to have a Dalit Prime Minister as well. Despite attempts, by some vested interests, to create caste divide through stray instances like Rohith Vemula’s suicide or lashing of some Dalits in Gujarat’s Una for skinning dead cows, Dalits are now much more respected and treated as equal in the society. The government has also clarified that it’s not going to review reservation to Dalits and the downtrodden. But, what has largely gone unnoticed is the massive Dalit outreach unleashed by the Narendra Modi government. Most welfare schemes initiated by the present government are aimed at providing succour to the weaker communities.

Dalits, having been at the bottom of the pyramid, have been the beneficiaries of schemes such as Ujjawala, providing free LPG connection, or free LED bulbs, or Jan Dhan Yojana, where they get subsidies directly in their accounts. Now, the Modi government might extend reservation benefits to Dalits among Christians and Muslims. Dalit, among Sikhs and Jains, already enjoy the benefit. A high-level committee headed by well-known academic Amitabh Kundu, has already recommended that Dalit Muslims must be taken out of the other backward classes (OBC) basket and given reservation benefits as scheduled caste (SC). The reservation provisions have shown remarkable improvement in the socio-economic profile of Dalit beneficiaries. Dalits held just 1.5 per cent of senior civil servant positions in 1965, the number grew to 12 per cent in 2011 — which is not too far from their proportional representation in the society, national average of which roughly comes to 16 per cent. These successes, however, are unable to conceal the still-existing warts. There are 25,000 posts reserved for SCs lying vacant in 73 government departments and bodies which should be the top priority for the Modi government. These positions have not been filled over the years and, thus, have accumulated. The Centre has planned the setting up of Jan Shikshan Sansthan, a regulatory committee for reviewing the loan application of backward classes, identifying special programmes for minority in the districts highly populated by them in states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, etc. Experts feel such steps will be more beneficial for socio-political development of Dalits than the reservation policy. Startup India is another good example of the Modi government’s approach to help Dalits. Under this scheme, the government has directed every nationalised bank branch to give loans to at least one deserving Dalit entrepreneur of that area as part of its drive to ensure

Things seem to have

changed a lot during the past 67 years. We have seen a Dalit become the President of India


APRIL 16, 2017

Not only Dr. Ambedkar,

the Modi Government honoured another Dalit icon Babu Jagjivan Ram on his birth anniversary economic upliftment of the community. The Prime Minister’s Office and the Finance Ministry are specially monitoring this programme. This project was a brainchild of well-known Pune-based Dalit entrepreneur Milind Kamble, who heads the Dalit Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The massive scale on which Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary was celebrated in the country on April 14 last year was but an example of the Modi government’s intentions to boost their morale. Even moribund Doordarshan and AIR did special programmes to mark the occasion. Not only Dr. Ambedkar, the Modi Government honoured another Dalit icon Babu Jagjivan Ram on his birth anniversary. Not only the Prime Minister, but a number of senior ministers remembered the leader who was the deputy prime minister in the first nonCongress government in the country. Dalits, both SCs and Scheduled Tribes (STs) together, account for 25 per cent of the Indian population. The Amitabh Kundu report said that 45 per cent of ST and 34 per cent of SC populations in rural India were living below the poverty line in 2011-2012. Another research report in the corresponding period found that medical workers did not visit 65 per cent of Dalit settlements, while 47 per cent Dalits were not allowed entry into ration shops and 64 per cent Dalits were given less grains than non-Dalits. A report by the National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NCDO) said that in 2011-2012, 49 per cent of Dalit children in Haryana were malnourished and 80 per cent of Dalit children in the six months to five years age group were found anaemic. Interestingly, all these figures pertain to the period when the Congress-led UPA government was in power. On the other hand, the changes being ushered in by the Modiled NDA government are visible in the vastly improved sex ratio in Haryana – notorious for having the worst sex ratio. It had been languishing at 877 for each 1,000 male for a decade. However, in 2015-2016, under the BJPled Manohar Lal Khattar government, it stood at 905 females for every 1,000 males. Dalits are the biggest beneficiaries of the fall in infant and maternal mortality rate in states like Haryana. The last two years of Modi’s governance has done more in terms of empowering the Dalits than almost 60 years of inept Congress rule. Yes, it is the same Congress which is trying to usurp the legacy of Dr. Ambedkar and has blissfully forgotten about its own leaders. I am talking about Jagjivan Ram who was one of the tallest Dalit leaders and has now been abandoned by his own party men.

ROBIN KESHAW

17

EQUALLY UNEQUALS

The author is a graduate in Computer Science from BITS, Pilani. He is presently helping to settle a migrant community, focusing on their education needs

A country’s progress is not only measured by the bridges it has built across rivers, but also the proverbial bridges it builds to fil social gaps and divides

UPFRONT

“O

Oped

N the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognising the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value” – These were the words spoken by Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar in his last speech to Constituent Assembly on 25th November, 1949. They still reverberate as we move closer to 70th anniversary of our independence. If a recently published Lokniti (CSDS) survey report is to be taken as a true measure of national sentiments, Ambedkar’s refrain is somehow true to this day. The survey was conducted in four states of Haryana, Gujarat, Odisha and Karnataka. Almost half of upper and dominant caste individuals still feel that reason of backwardness of Dalits and Adivasis or scheduled Tribe is ‘lack of efforts’ on these communities part

rather than ‘unfair treatment’ meted out to them. The interviewed Hindu and Muslims have more than 90 per cent of their close friends from among their respective religion. Not only religious affinity, similar caste affinity is seen among different castes as well. Despite earnest attempts by

our forefathers to build a pluralistic society, we remain divided and the socio-political faultlines are still visible and conspicuous. Inequality and polarisation should be one of our immediate concerns, as Baba Saheb had pointed in the same speech – “We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those

who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has to laboriously build up.” A right place to build an egalitarian society is our school. Section 12(1)(c) of Right to Education Act, mandating 25 per cent reservation for students from Economically Weaker Sections and Disadvantaged Groups, is a right step in this direction. And this is so despite its implementation challenges. Stronger punitive action against the divisive elements of society is the need of the hour. Caste and community appeasements by our political leaders should be completely rejected by the electorate and developmental issues should be brought to forefront. Our youth need to participate actively in positive debates and dialogues around diversity and try to understand its long-term ramifications. A lot need to be done before Rabindranath Tagore’s progressive lines come true – “….Where the world has not been broken up into fragments, By narrow domestic walls….Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR A MOVING STORY The Unsung Heroes about Divyang Mukunda is a very touching story. Even after being physically handicapped and from an economically weaker section the lady fought for her dreams for constructing a toilet. Her journey is an inspiration for the rest of us. These made my eyes become wet and I wanted to go and meet the unsung hero personally. Through this letter I request you to provide readers with more such stories. Prashant Shukla, Jharkhand USEFUL FOR SEARCH After reading ‘A messiah for the differently abled ’I came to know that for the past 21 years I was living

in the same locality and didn’t know that this school was there.A few months ago I was searching for a school of similar sort, for my friend’s kid and I was so sad that there were not many schools in the area for the deaf children. In the end I had no choice but to give up. Your newspaper has helped me greatly. Ria Ravat, East Delhi PM’S VALUABLE ADVICE I was happy to read the article on ‘Modi’s advice to students’. It is true that during the exams we all panic quite a bit and so often we are unable to concentrate on our studies. By Rishaan Singh, Kanpur

Please mail your opinion to - ssbweekly@gmail.com or Whatsapp at 9868807712


18 Photo Feature

APRIL 16, 2017

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LIGHT AND SHADE

Delhi is a crowded megapolis. Yet, there are people who are able to look beyond mundane traffic and ever-growing number of people

Photos: MAHENDRA PANDEY 1

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1. Akshardham Temple 2. A portion of Gyarah Murti 3. Blue Rock Thrush at Geeta Colony 4. Gulls near Geeta Colony 5. Kites at Ghazipur landfill site 6. Monkey at Coupernicus Marg 7. Mynas at an electric pole 8. Smoke at Anand Vihar 9. Sun over Yamuna

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APRIL 16, 2017

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Photo Feature

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15 10. National Flag & Radha

Krishna idols at landfill site

11. Sky near Rajghat 12. Pitampura Tower 13. Sunset through a building near Wazirabad 14. Painter’s Delight 15. Sun and Shade 16. Sunset and River Yamuna 17. A visual delight

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20 Good News

APRIL 16, 2017

NEWS IN BRIEF

NEW WATER POLICY FOR RAIL Launched on March 22, its aim, among other things, is to ensure that water is not wasted

I

N a big step towards water conservation, the Ministry of Railways released a new policy on March 22, coinciding with the World Water Day. The policy, to be implemented in trains, railway stations, etc., is aimed at not only ensuring that water is not unnecessarily wasted, but also reducing Railways’ annual water bill by Rs 400 crore. The state has been supplying water to the Railways till now and the go v e r n m e n t ’s annual water bill is Rs 4,000 crore. Authorities will ensure that water is bought from only those treatment plants that are set up by private firms. The treated and recycled water will not be used for drinking, but various other purposes. The policy will also be promoting a better water management system that will curtail water wastage and consumption.

TAKING HEALTH CARE TO VILLAGES Two villages in Maharashtra will be providing wellness assistance by a US-based health conglomerate

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IMING to expand its preventive health and wellness ecosystem into public healthcare space, GOQii on Friday launched ‘GOQii Sanjeevani’ project in two villages of Maharashtra. Sanjeevani was launched as a pilot project in the villages of Vaghadi and Charoti in Palghar district of Maharashtra, with a population of over 2,000, to address issues such as anaemia, malnutrition, women’s health and diseases predominant in rural India. As part of the project, 500 people from Vaghadi and Charoti villages with access to smart phones were shortlisted and were provided a GOQii Fitness Tracker that will help them track their daily step count and have their first face to face consultation with the health coach.

SANITATION NEW CHEMICAL

‘GREEN CHEMICALS’ MAKE MUMBAI AIRPORT LOOS CLEANER

The airport could very well be the first in the country to use the chemicals, instead of water

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F you think water is used for flushing purposes in the men’s restrooms of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2 (T2), think again. A ‘green chemical’ seems to have replaced water for flushing purposes of late, and guess what? The loos, frequented by close to one lakh men, are now cleaner than what they were at any point in the past. So, what exactly are these green

Quick Glance A green chemical has replaced water for flushing at T2 airport, Mumbai It has been introduced in around 200 toilets used by a lakh men daily The gree chemical is a combination of enzymes and bacteria

POLLUTION

chemicals, which are also used to clean the terminal’s 4 lakh square metres of surface area? Well, they are simply a combination of bacteria and enzymes. The airport could very well be the first in the country to use this method of

cleaning. Currently, around 200 toilets, especially the ones designated for men, use green chemicals. Not only is the method eco-friendly, it also leads to water conservation.

BS-IV GRADE FUEL

A GREENER FUEL

The launch of BS-IV grade fuel came days after the ban on sale and registration of BS-III vehicles INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE

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NDIA formally launched BS-IV grade fuel across the country to keep carbon emissions in check and set a target of ushering in BS-VI fuel by April 2020. The launch came days after the Supreme Court banned sale and registration of BS-III vehicles from April 1. Pradhan symbolically commenced sale of the eco-friendly and low-emission fuel from 12 cities -- Varanasi, Vijayawada, Durgapur, Gorakhpur, Imphal, Bhopal, Ranchi, Madurai, Nagpur, Patna, Guwahati and Shillong -- through live video links. “Today, we begin a new era of clean transportation fuel that will benefit 1.25 billion citizens by substantially reducing pollution levels everywhere,” Pradhan said while complimenting oil marketing companies for working in unison to set up refining infrastructure in a record time for BS-IV grade fuel. The oil marketing companies (OMCs) are incurring an expenditure of Rs 90,000 crore for the phase-wise upgradation of fuel quality. “Migration to BS-IV fuels shows India’s resolve to cut down emissions. The next step is to usher in BS-VI fuels by April 1, 2020,

NEWS IN BRIEF

RICKSHAW PULLER’S SON BEATS THE ODDS

From grazing cattle and milking cows to IIM, Yogendra Singh has come a long way

Y to be at par with global standards,” the minister said. Though India is not a major polluting country, “we shall stand by the Prime Minister’s commitment at COP-21 in Paris that India will substantially reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years,” he added. The government, he said, is committed to providing sustainable, clean and affordable energy as an essential input for the country’s economic development. The Petroleum Ministry is pursuing various other forms of energy like liquefied natural gas (LNG) for industries and the transport sector, compressed natural gas (CNG) and auto LPG for automobiles and piped natural gas (PNG) for households, besides ethanol and biomass, to expand the existing energy basket.

OGENDRA SINGH’S father was a rickshaw puller. But that didn’t stop him from securing a seat for himself in the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L). On the brink of graduating from the renowned institute and with a Pune-based job in hand, Singh also wants to help his community back home in Jharkhand. H a v i n g grazed cattle and milked cows once, he has started a society for educational development in his village in Medininagar. To help develop a love for knowledge, Singh organises competitions in general knowledge, essay writing, and even on public speaking through this society. To help improve the quality of education in local schools, he also plans on training teachers in the area.


APRIL 16, 2017

SCIENCE BRAIN

BRAIN DIFFERENCES IN ADHD BOYS, GIRLS

WOMEN RULE THIS VILLAGE

Every home in Anandwadi village is in a woman’s name

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Francisco on March 25. Along with his colleagues, Most of sky looked at the cerebellum, which plays a role in coordinating movement. MRI scans showed that girls with ADHD in the 8 to 12 year age group had differences in the volume of various regions of their cerebellum than those without the condition. Abnormalities were also noticed in a similar comparison of boys. Having looked at 18 subjects in each of the four groups, the researchers now plan to quintuple that number. According to Mostofsky, in parts of the cerebellum that control higherorder motor functions, the differences appeared most prominent.

HERE’S WHAT MAKES ZIKA VIRUS INFECTION WORSE

Zika shares about 60 per cent of its genetic information with West Nile and Dengue virus

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Quick Glance An exposure to dengue first, can make a Zika virus infection worse Antibodies generated from the first infection facilitates entry of the Zika Study conducted on mice has been found to be good in human beings too

this effect in mice, as well as the first to implicate West Nile virus, notes Sharon Isern, a molecular virologist at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. Similar to other members of its viral family, the flaviviruses, Zika shares about 60 per cent of its genetic information with West Nile and Dengue virus. Lim and her colleagues looked at plasma from donors, some of whom were earlier hit by either Dengue or West Nile; others had neither of the two. Plasma is the blood’s fluid component which contains antibodies but lacks cells. In one experiment, Zika was able to infect cells more efficiently when the virus was mixed with the plasma of donors exposed to Dengue or West. Zika was most aggressive when Dengue was present. Next, the researchers gave the mice one of the three plasma samples. The mice were infected with Zika two hours later. Over 90 per cent of the mice that received Dengue or West Nile-

NEWS IN BRIEF

WATER, A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT IN SLOVENIA

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N the face of it, Anandwadi in Maharashtra’s Latur district may look like any other village in the country. Yet, it is different because the owner of almost every home here is a woman, i.e., over 160 homes are in women’s names. What’s more? The village is also crime-free, with not even a single police case registered in over 10 years. Also, more than 400 villagers have pledged to donate their organs. To ensure the good health of its villagers, Anandwadi has successfully banned tobacco and smoking. Moreover, the villagers have, since last year, decided to set aside a day each year to finance and conduct mass weddings. This year, it’s April 29.

HEALTHCARE ZIKA

study aimed at understanding the severity of the Zika outbreak in Brazil suggests that if one is exposed to Dengue or West Nile first, it can make a Zika virus infection worse. “Antibodies you generate from the first infection … can facilitate entry of the Zika virus into susceptible cells, exacerbating the disease outcome,” says virologist Jean K Lim, who along with his colleagues at New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, report the results online in Science on March 30. The study, involving experiments in cells and mice, is the first to demonstrate

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It is the first EU country to take the step

In parts of the cerebellum that control higher-order motor functions, the differences appeared most prominent OT only do boys and girls with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behave differently, parts of their brains also look different. While a boy suffering from ADHD has poor impulse control and disruptive behavior, a girl with the condition, on the other hand, has focus issues. Furthermore, boys are more likely to display abnormalities in premotor and primary motor circuits, according to Stewart Mostofsky, a pediatric neurologist at Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger Institute, who revealed the new findings at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting in San

Good News

free plasma survived the infection. As far as the mice given plasma with Dengue antibodies were concerned, by the eighth day of infection, close to 80 per cent had died. The animals also displayed serious neurological symptoms, including paralysis. About 40 per cent of the mice, who were given the plasma with West Nile antibodies, died from Zika infection.

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N amendment that declares the country’s water supplies to be ‘a public good managed by the state’ and ‘not a market commodity’ has been adopted by the Slovenian Parliament. The two million people strong country has added water to its Constitution as a fundamental right for all. It is the first European Union (EU) country to take the step.

HONEY BEES BETTER EYESIGHT Honey bees’ power of vision turns out to be far greater than what was believed to be the case before

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ONEY bees have 30 per cent better eyesight than what has been previously recorded, suggest results of “eye tests” given to the flying swarms of insects. The findings suggest that they can spot a potential predator, and thus escape, far earlier than what was thought previously. The researchers believe that the results could provide insights into the lives of honey bees, and new opportunities for translating this knowledge into fields such as robot vision. The researchers set out to answer two specific questions: first, what is the smallest well-defined object that a bee can see? And second, how far away can a bee see an object, even if it cannot see that object clearly? (maximum detectability limit). To do so, the researchers took electrophysiological recordings of the neural responses occurring in single photoreceptors in a bee’s eyes.


22 State News

APRIL 16, 2017

STATE NEWS IN BRIEF

ASSAM MODEL VILLAGE

ASSAM’S MODEL VILLAGE

STATE NEWS IN BRIEF

Gandhigaon in Golaghat now has a recreational house, solar lighting for homes and streets as well as an RO filter plant

A LEGAL AID FOR POOR Facilitation officers will assist in court cases pending for over 10 years

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HE government has decided to appoint facilitation officers in over 200 rural districts to help poor people coordinate with the government and the courts, and work towards getting their cases heard in fast-track courts. These officers will be hired in the districts where the court cases are pending for over 10 years, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Addressing a function at the Allahabad High Court, Prasad said, “There are around 2.5 lakh common service centres (CSCs) in the country which are run by women and youth where PAN, Aadhaar cards are made and other digital services are provided.” “We will train people and attach them with the CSCs. There are poor people who need justice and they should get proper legal advice before the hearing of a case. We are working towards that and begin with 200 CSCs in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh as pilot projects,” he said. The minister also said that in phase-II of e-computing, the District Legal Services Authorities will be computerised. Prasad exhorted those involved in the legal profession to help the government in achieving its objectives by devoting their time and energy in cases “that may be pro bono and may not bring publicity”. “We will soon launch a web portal and request registered lawyers, who want to work for those in need of justice, to volunteer in the project. Working with NALSAR (a Hyderbadbased premier law university), we will create a database of the people who are in need of justice. And, I am happy to inform you all that UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has accepted to work as interface between those seeking justice and those providing legal help,” Prasad said.

SSAM’S Inland Water Transport (IWT) Department has revived a British era river route, connecting the north and south banks of the Brahmaputra river. The ferry service between Dhansiri Ghat in Golaghat district (south bank) and Gomari Ghat in Sonitpur district (north bank) resumed on April 2 as part of the mega Namami Brahmaputra festival. The 35-km river route, which was once a vital link between the north and the south banks, had lost its relevance after the construction of the 3.2-km Kaliabhumura bridge. The Director of IWT Department, Bharat Bhusan Dev Choudhury, said that initially, only one ferry will be operational. “Depending on the demand, we will deploy more boats,” he remarked. The service was stopped in 2013

following lack of infrastructure on the approaches of the ghats and hitches caused by sandbars. Farmers will now be able to ferry agricultural products and save on the transportation cost since the journey now will be less than that by road, Choudhury said. While participating in the programme of resumption of ferry services at Dhansiri Ghat, State Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said that the port should be named after the first actress of Assamese cinema Aideu Handique. The IWT Department also plans to upgrade all the jetties along the Brahmaputra to improve the waterways. More modern ferries and barges are expected to be procured and deployed in the state.

CYBER TRAINING FOR BIHAR COPS

A blueprint has already been prepared for training purposes

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HE Bihar police has set up a programme to provide comprehensive cyber training to selected Sub-Inspectors in each district to handle criminals who are equipped with the latest cyber technology, a highly placed officer said. A blueprint has already been prepared in this regard. A letter has been sent to all Superintendents of Police (SPs) to make a list of competent officers for training purposes, sources said. AIG, Training, Vikas Vaibhav, said, “By observing the growing incidents of cyber crime in the state, the police has prepared a programme in which competent officers will be trained to probe into the incidents.

ARUNACHAL PRADESH TRAIN

RAIL FOR ARUNACHAL A survey for laying down broad gauge track has commenced

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N a major boost to connectivity in this frontier state, the Railways has started the final location survey to connect the towns of Tawang, Aalo and Pasighat with a broad gauge (BG) line. The three new BG railway lines to Tawang via Bhalukpong (AssamArunachal border), Aalo via North Lakhimpur (Assam) and Pasighat via Murkongselek (Assam) will not only

Quick Glance Railway has started final local survey to lay tracks in Arunachal The track will be linking frontier areas like Tawang, Aalo & Pasighat It will boost the economic and security apparatus of the state

boost the economic scenario of the state, but also improve the security apparatus and provide employment opportunities to the youth. The lines will touch West Kameng, Bame, West Siang, Lower Subansiri, Parasuram Kund, Tezu, Rupai and other interior regions of the hilly state. Union Minister of State for Communication and Railways Manoj Sinha said that the dream of connecting the frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh with rail network has been realised with the beginning of the location survey, thanks to the coordinated effort of all the stakeholders. While showering praises on MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju, Sinha said that all the railway and road projects in the state were possible only because of the relentless efforts of Rijiju, both inside and outside Parliament. Describing the occasion as

historic, Rijiju said it was his dream to introduce railway connectivity through the rugged hills and mountains of the state. Dwelling upon development initiatives of the Central Government, Rijiju said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was genuinely concerned about the development of the North-East. He said the survey work of the new railway lines in the state should be completed by the next year (2018) so that actual work can start soon.


APRIL 16, 2017

Quick Glance

A LED tubelight will cost Rs 230, with three years of replacement warranty

HIMACHAL PRADESH UJALA SCHEME

ENERGY-EFFICIENT HIMACHAL PRADESH

Ujala, or ‘Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for All’, is state’s domestic efficient lightning programme INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE

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O promote energy efficiency, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has launched a scheme to distribute lightemitting diode (LED) tubelights and energy-efficient fans. The scheme Ujala, or ‘Unnat

Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for All’ is an extension of the state’s domestic efficient lightning programme. The Chief Minister said Ujala was an integral part of the state’s energy conservation initiative and has been successfully adopted by the people. Energy Efficiency Services Limited

KOLKATA’S BIOGAS BUS The bus is claimed to be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia

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OLKATA now has the distinction of launching the first biogas-fuelled bus, offering the lowest-ever fare. “We are first to launch a biogas bus anywhere in the entire Southeast Asia. Now, old buses, which have run for up to 15 or 20 years, can also be given a fresh lease of life with this clean, efficient and cheap fuel technology. And we are in the process of seeking government approval for this,” says Jyoti Prakash Das, Chairman and Managing Director, Phoenix India Research. Four more buses will be rolled out before this month’s end and another 10 by the year-end, Das adds. The fare will be a flat Re 1, irrespective of the distance. Currently, the lowest fare in a Kolkata bus is Rs 6. The first bus will cover a

WEBSITE TO RECORD TREES The website which will keep a record of trees in Maharashtra

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N a major environmental move, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced that his government has decided to introduce a website to keep a record of trees in major municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Replying to a debate on the cutting of trees in Mumbai for development works in the Legislative Assembly, Fadnavis said directives will be given for preparing a comprehensive website which will keep a record of trees -- number of trees cut for development projects, transplantation and forestation with photographs and Geotag. The permission for cutting trees is given with the condition of transplant and compulsory

Quick Glance

KOLKATA TRANSPORT

INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE

(EESL), a joint venture of the public sector unit of the Union Ministry of Power, will implement Ujala in a phased manner in collaboration with the state. Singh said energy efficiency was a key thrust area of the state and emphasis had been laid on scaling up its implementation. “The launch of this initiative follows our commitment of such programme in 2015-16 for distribution of LED bulbs. Approximately, 74 lakh bulbs to 12 lakh consumers have been distributed which resulted into energy saving of approximately 150 MU per annum,” a statement quoting the CM said. The state’s Power Minister Sujan Singh Pathania said an LED tubelight will cost Rs 230, with three years of free replacement warranty. Likewise, a five-star rating 50-watt ceiling fan, that will replace the conventional 75watt fan, will cost Rs 1,150 with two years of free replacement warranty.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to distribute LEDs & other appliances Ujala was an integral part of the state’s energy conservation initiative

State News

distance of 17 km between Ultadanga and Garia in the southern fringes of the city, and Phoenix India will run the biogas service from its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund. On the pricing and permit issues, West Bengal Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari says, “It is a welcome development. We will issue

Kolkata has the distinction of launching first biogas-fuelled bus Even the 15-20 years old buses can be converted into bio-gas buses The biogas-fuelled bus can run up to six kilometres on one kilogram

permit if the company fulfils all laws and norms laid down by the Centre.” According to Das, a threemonth trial of the bus has also been undertaken in Delhi and all teething troubles have been overcome. He is confident of making biogas buses commercially viable for both short and long distance. “In Delhi, CNG buses cannot go on long haul due to fuel tank constraints. We have been able to overcome this hurdle. The biogas bus can run up to six kilometres on one kilogram,” he says. Phoenix India claims to be a biogas technology firm that has approval from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO). It has plants in Gujarat and West Bengal.

forestation. But many times the condition is not fulfilled. The government gets several complaints in this regard, Fadnavis added. “We have tried to bring objectivity to the Tree Authority Act. The government will seek expert opinion on transplantation where the soil testing would be done before the transplantation of trees”, he said. Shiv Sena member Sunil Prabhu claimed that not even 25 per cent of the transplanted trees have survived. He demanded that an affidavit should be sought while transplantation of trees as to how many have been transplanted and how many survived. Between 2010 and 2016, permissions were given by Mumbai Municipal Corporation to cut 25,000 trees. If one tree is cut, two trees have to be planted. The developer also has to plant new trees on the plot being developed.


24 Water Issues

APRIL 16, 2017

RIVER CLEANING

WATER RECYCLING

Quick Glance The ‘Sulabh Jal’ project converts pond water into safe drinking water Sulabh has initiated similar projects in four other parts of WB Inorganic arsenic is present at high levels in the ground water

NASHIK TO CURB GODAVARI POLLUTION A special cell has been set up to check rising pollution levels PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

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HE Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) has set up a special cell to check the rising pollution levels of the Godavari river. NMC commissioner Abhishek Krishna took a round on the banks of the river and urged people not to dump waste in it. This cell will be headed by Rohidas Dorkulkar, a deputy commissioner-level official. “We will adopt a two-pronged strategy to curb Godavari river pollution. To start with, we will be creating awareness among the people by asking them to keep all the river ghats and the sacred Ramkunda clean,” said Dorkulkar after taking charge. “After creating awareness, stern action will be taken against those who continue to pollute the river water. It has been decided to impose a fine in the range of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 on the violators,” he said. Dorkulkar also held a meeting with Nashik Purohit Sangh and urged it not to throw flowers and food waste in the river. NMC will soon put up instruction boards on the ghats and appoint 50 security guards to prevent people from throwing waste in the river. City environmentalists Rajesh Pandit, Devang Jani, Lalita Shinde and Nishikant Pagare had approached the Bombay High Court over growing pollution of the Godavari river. The High Court had directed the Nashik civic body to take steps to curb pollution of the river. Well known water conservationist Rajendra Singh, who had visited Nashik a number of times, too had pointed out the poor quality of river water due to pollution.

FROM POISONOUS TO PURIFIED WATER

Every villager in Madhusudankati now gets purified water for free, thanks to Sulabh International Social Service Organisation

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EEP wounds and white patches on skin are common for people in this tiny West Bengal speck bordering Bangladesh. The disease turned deadly for many, and the culprit was drinking water that contained arsenic, a toxic substance that can lead to chronic poisoning once it enters the body. Many of the 2,000 villagers were forced to migrate to nearby places before they tried every attempt to rid the water of poison, but in vain. The cost was high. They had to pay for every drop of purified water they got from distant towns or cities. But life started changing for them two years ago when Sulabh International Social Service Organisation (SISSO), in collaboration with a French company, 1001 Fontaines, installed a Rs 20-lakh pond-based water treatment plant in this village of North 24 Parganas district. Like hundreds of victims, Gopal Krishna Das, 56, also had a deep white wound and a shinny patch on his skin. “We have seen the worst. Not just diseases, arsenic has even claimed the lives of our people, especially when we

didn’t know what this exactly meant. The water from the treatment plant... has given us a new hope,” said Das. Now, every villager in Madhusudankati gets purified water for free. But those from other nearby villages -- Teghoria, Bishnupur and Faridkati -pay 50 paise for a litre and Rs 11 for a jar of 20 litres. The money collected is used to pay salaries to local employees for maintenance of the plant. Founder of SISSO, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, said the entire problem of arsenic-contaminated water was widespread in the state and could be solved if the West Bengal government took interest and replicated the model. “The uniqueness of this project is that the water from the plant is affordable. The ‘Sulabh Jal’ project converts contaminated pond water into safe drinking water and can be sold at only 50 paise per litre in villages and nearby cities along the Bangladesh border,” Dr. Pathak said, adding that they could afford 20 more similar projects in other parts of the country. According to Sulabh, the water from ponds or rivers is pumped into an

Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, in collaboration with a French company, has installed a pond-based water treatment plant

overhead reservoir. It is then collected in a tank where a chemical, alum, is mixed at a desired rate. The settled water is then passed through a slow sand filter, before being collected in a clear water reservoir. The water is then passed through activated carbon filters and membranes of varying sizes. “This removes the finest contaminants from the water which will be treated with UV rays to make it totally bacteria free. The resultant treated water, which is free from all pathogenic micro-organisms, is then poured into 20-litre bottles and sealed. The consumers either collect the bottles from the kiosk or it is delivered to their houses,” said Dr. Pathak. Sulabh has initiated similar projects in four other parts of West Bengal -Suvasgram, Bangaon, Murshidabad and West Medinipur. All the plants are maintained by village-level committees, which have also employed locals for the maintenance and home delivery of water bottles up to a radius of 15 km on e-rickshaws. Dilip Sarkar, a veterinarian who developed skin cancer due to arsenic water, said that earlier, the villagers used to buy water bottles from the nearby town. The cost was high and travelling daily was tiresome. “We tried several measures earlier to get purified water from the towns which had helped in the reduction of skin diseases,” Sarkar said, recollecting how many villagers who were unable to travel daily and buy water caught the diseases. “With the discontinuity in the intake of filtered water, the skin diseases relapsed,” he said, showing his wounds that “are getting better now”. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), arsenic is a natural component of the earth’s crust and is widely distributed throughout the environment -- in air, water and land. It is highly toxic in its inorganic form. Long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic, mainly by drinking contaminated water, eating food grown or even prepared with this water, can cause skin lesions and cancer. WHO says inorganic arsenic is naturally present at high levels in the ground water of a number of countries, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, India, Mexico, and the United States.


APRIL 16, 2017

Health & Sanitation

SWACHHTA I-T DEPT

SANITATION

AKSHAY KUMAR HELPS BUILD A TOILET Accompanied by Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the superstar dug a pit for building a toilet in MP

I-T DEPT’S CONTRIBUTION TO CLEAN INDIA A cheque of Rs 52,75,183 was handed over to the Minister of State for Finance, Santosh Gangwar

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

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HE officers and staff of the Income Tax (I-T) Department have contributed one day’s salary towards ‘Clean India mission’. The Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Association, Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association and Income Tax Employees Federation have together made a contribution of Rs 52,75,183. A delegation representing these associations handed over the cheque to Minister of State for Finance, Santosh Gangwar.

Quick Glance Film actor Akshay Kumar is promoting toilet technology As part of the project he dug a pit for building a toilet The event was organised at Khargone in Madhya Pradesh

Quick Glance

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

CTOR Akshay Kumar recently helped in building a toilet in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh. In sync with the national campaign for toilets in the country, he has been promoting toilet building. Accompanied by the Union Minister of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation, Narendra Singh Tomar, the superstar dug a pit for building a toilet. He tweeted, “Digging my 1st #TwoPitToilet in Khargone District of MP with Minister Narendra Singh Tomar #MakeTheChange #WasteToWealth. The state’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also praised the actor for supporting the cause of making the

country ‘Open Defecation Free’. Chouhan captioned a few photographs of himself and Akshay: “Appreciate Akshay Kumarji’s support to ODF program of Centre and MP Govt. His contribution will inspire the youth for Swatch Bharat Mission.”

CAUSE TUBERCULOSIS

CELEBS VS MPs FOR TB The TB-Free India Summit and India vs TB cricket tournament is being organised under the initiative of Call to Action for a TB-Free India SSB BUREAU

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OLLYWOOD celebrities like Bobby Deol, Suniel Shetty, Sohail Khan, Jimmy Shergill and Sonu Sood will compete against a team comprising members of Parliament (MPs) at the picturesque cricket ground of Dharamsala as part of

Quick Glance Bollywood celebrities to play a cricket match against team of MPs The chairty match will be part of TB-Free India Summit The event will bring stakeholders to strategise eradicating the disease

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TB-Free India Summit. The two-day affair will see the Mumbai Heroes and Members of Parliament XI play a T20 match. Deol will lead the celeb team, while former President of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Anurag Thakur will captain the MPs team. The summit and India vs TB cricket tournament is being organised under the initiative of Call to Action for a TB-Free India. It aims to bring top government officials and MPs together, along with film celebrities, to raise awareness among key stakeholders and audience on tuberculosis and build the momentum to eradicate the disease from India by 2025. The event will provide a platform for TB experts, scientists, patients, doctors, and government representatives to suggest strategies for fast-tracking TB control efforts. Some of the speakers and participants at the summit will include Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda, MPs Manoj Tiwari, Rajiv Shukla, Babul Supriyo and Nishikant Dubey, among others.

Income Tax department staff contributes one day salary for sanitation A cheque for Rs 52.75 lakh was handed over to MoS (Finance) They have responded to cleanliness call by Prime Minister Modi

“We have embraced the call for cleanliness by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in all its aspects and have resolved not only to clean up the offices, but also to have clear and clean conduct and contribute financially to give further impetus to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,” Jayant Misra, General Secretary, IRS Association, said. All the three associations had been toiling for cleaning up the I-T offices in response to the call for cleanliness by the Prime Minister. The move has led to a marked improvement in the ambiance of various offices, said Misra. The delegation included Anchal Khandelwal, Joint Secretary, IRS Association; Ajay Goyal, General Secretary, and K. Suresh, Additional Secretary of Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association, Ashok Kanojia and Ajay Sharma, President and General Secretary, respectively, Income Tax Employees Federation.

HEALTH NEWS

TRAINING DOCTORS

AIIMS will train doctors for using tools to help people with autism

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HE Centre, along with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), will train doctors on how to use diagnostic tools for issuing disability certificates to people with autism to help them avail benefits under various government schemes. Prepared by the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN), the tools will help in the detection of autism at an early age. The assessment procedure has been developed by the Indian Scale of Assessment of Autism (ISSA).


26 Science & Tech

APRIL 16, 2017 MOROCCO SOLAR POWER

INCOME GENERATION

The programme has been launched in two villages in Ernakulam dist

WORLD’S LARGEST SOLAR PLANT

‘Noor Ouarzazate’ represents a critical step in the Moroccan solar energy programme

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US-based foundation h a s launched a “livelihood and income generation” programme in Kerala. The programme by the Javad K Hassan Foundation, has been launched initially in two villages in two suburbs - Kuttamasseri and Chengamanadu of Ernakulam district. The funds from the foundation will be used for preparing the land, planting seedlings, paying the workers, harvesting, post-harvest processes and marketing, he said. In Chengamanadu, the foundation has established a paper bag manufacturing unit. The goal is to diminish the use of plastic bags by the local communities and, at the same time, help local women to earn their livelihoods, said Mourad. The two programmes are part of the foundation’s recent shift in focus from charity to development.

INDIAN ASSISTANCE TO AFGHANISTAN It will also help to train people on WTO’s rules and regulations

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NDIA has promised to provide technical assistance to Afghanistan to build a research and training centre for the World Trade Organization (WTO), a top official said. The centre in Kabul will also help train people on the rules and regulations of the WTO, Musafir Qoqandi, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI), was quoted as saying. According to Qoqandi, the draft for the institute was prepared six months ago and India pledged at a meeting to help establish the centre. “We have commercial high schools, but since we have become a member of the WTO, it is important to have the centre so we can know about research (being done) on trade and investment,” he added.

Quick Glance

INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE

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Morocco’s King Mohammad VI has launched world’s largest solar plant

O generate 42 per cent of the national need through renewable energy sources, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has launched the fourth and final stage of ‘Noor Ouarzazate’, the world’s largest solar plant.

He aims to generate 52% power through renewable route by 2030 The new Noor Ouarzazate IV solar plant will start operations in 2018

This plant represents a critical step in the Moroccan solar energy programme, which aims to generate 42 per cent of its electricity needs through renewable energy by 2020 and 52 per cent by 2030. The Noor Ouarzazate IV power station in the southern province of Ouarzazate, spanning over an area of 137 hectares (1.37 square km), will be set up with over $75 million with photovoltaic (PV) technology. The power station, scheduled to start operating in the first quarter of 2018, will be built as part of a partnership involving the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen), and a consortium of private operators led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and German development bank Kf W. While the first station started operating in 2016, the second and third power stations of Noor solar complex have reached a completion rate of 76 and 74 per cent respectively. The mega project will generate 582 megawatts and provide electricity to over a million homes when completed by 2020.

US ROCKET LAUNCH

BACK IN SPACE

The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida INDIA ABROAD NEWS SERVICE

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S space firm SpaceX is attempting to make history with the first launch of an already-used Falcon 9 rocket into space. The two-stage rocket is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to deliver a communications satellite into the orbit for Luxembourgbased satellite operator SES. “The SES-10 mission will mark a historic milestone on the road to full and rapid reusability as SpaceX attempts the world’s first reflight of an orbital class rocket,” the California-based company as said in a statement. Previously, the first stage of the rocket for the SES-10 mission flew in a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station cargo for the US space agency NASA in April 2016. This time, the first stage will once again attempt a landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship that

will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The second stage, which is expendable or single use, will send the SES10 satellite to a geostationar y transfer orbit. Once in position, the satellite will provide telecommunications services to Latin America. SpaceX achieved a space industry first in December 2015 when its Falcon 9 rocket booster successfully landed upright on solid ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida, after launching 11 small satellites into orbit. The feat has since been repeated both on land and at sea, but SpaceX has yet to refly one of its used rockets. SpaceX’s rival firm, Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, successfully completed similar rocket recovery tests, but all of its missions were suborbital,

not orbital ones. SES has been known to be “a strong supporter” of SpaceX’s approach to reusability over the years. Back in 2013, it was the first company to launch a commercial satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket. The satellite operator hailed the launch as “one step closer to rapid rocket reusability” and “one step closer to faster, easier access to space.” “Reusable rockets will not only drive down the launch cost,” it said in a statement. “They will also allow a higher launch frequency, which will definitely bring a new agility and competitive edge to the satellite industry.”


APRIL 16, 2017

Books by Ambedkar

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BOOKS BY BABASAHEB

AMBEDKAR’S BOOKS BEACON OF HOPE

Dr BR Ambedkar wrote many books through his illustrious life and they invariably held a ray of hope in an otherwise era of gloom ANUPAMA YADAV

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N the words of Dr. BR Ambedkar, ‘Caste is not a physical object like a wall of bricks or a line of barbed wire which prevents the Hindus from co-mingling, and which has therefore to be pulled down. Caste is a notion; it is a state of mind.’ The scholarly works and thought provoking writings of Dr. Ambedkar was a scintilla of hope for some and indignation for others. He was not a story writer or poet however there was a depth and relevance in his deep study, contemplation and wisdom. The literature and scholarly works produced by him mainly in English have immense significance now perhaps much more than in the era it was written. Some of the prominent books which he wrote through his eventful life, including those came out after his death are: Castes in India (1917), Small holdings in India and their remedies (1918), The Problem of the Rupee (1923), Annihilation of Caste (1936), Mr. Gandhi and Emancipation of Untouchables (1945), Buddha and Karl Marx (1946), Buddha and the future of religion (1950), Hindu Women: Rise and Fall. In his book Castes in India, Ambedkar throws light on the genesis, structure and development of the castes in India. According to him, caste is a rarefied group and self-contained. The book is notably based on the research paper written by him in Columbia University, USA in April 1916. He highlight four aspects of caste in the country. Originally, there was only one caste, gradually different castes came in through ostracism and cultural diversity. The book Small Holdings in India and their Remedies, published in 1918 is based on Chakbandi or consolidation of small and scattered agricultural plots. He writes that unless small holdings are not consolidated agricultural reforms are difficult to be implemented in India. The problem of the Rupee published in 1923, is based on his thesis for D.Sc from University of London 1922. This later took the shape of a book. It focuses on how the British linked the value of the Indian Rupee with the British Pound and

had been successful in making colossal profit whild pushing the Indians into an inevitable economic morass. Consequently, Indian money flew to the British havens to serve the interests of the empire. The Evolution of the Provincial Finance in British India published in 1924 was based on Ambedkar’s PhD thesis. This he had submitted in Columbia University in 1916. It is dedicated to the ruler of Baroda Shrimant Sayajirao Gaikwad, who had sent him to US for higher education. The book elaborates the British bureaucracy in India. Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah was published In January 1943; Dr. Ambedkar delivered a lecture to mark the birthday of M.G. Ranade in Pune. This lecture came in the form of a book dealing with a comparative study of the personalities of Ranade, Gandhi and Jinnah and emphasizes that hero worship, in the long run, jeopardies the nation and society.Annihilation of Caste published in 1936, is most popular book of Dr. Ambedkar. The Jaat-Paat Todak Mandal (The Forum to Break the Caste System) had invited Dr. Ambedkar to deliver the presidential address at the organisation’s

annual session at Lahore in March 1936. However, when the organisers saw the draft of the Ambedkar’s speech, they were flabbergasted and pleaded Ambedkar to make changes in it. But Babasaheb refused to do that. Later, the speech was published in the form of a book in the year 1936. Though the book is short but it is worth pondering over. Dr. Ambedkar believed in stemming out the evil of caste. He says, “If you have to breach this system, you have got to apply the dynamite to the Vedas and the Shastras, which deny any part to reason; to the Vedas and Shastras, which deny any part to morality. You must destroy the religion of the Shrutis and the Smritis. Nothing else will avail.” Dr. Ambedkar published his speech himself charging 8 annas for it certainly not a big amount but his work became very famous and was available in many languages. Ambedkar believes that annihilation of caste leaves lot of room for religion rightly understood. For him, “ a just society is that society in which ascending sense of reverence and descending sense of contempt is dissolved in creation of a compassionate society. “ He further quotes in the book, “Plato

Originally, there was only one caste. Gradually different castes came in through ostracism and cultural diversity

Quick Glance ‘Annihilation of Caste’ and ‘Buddha and Karl Marx ‘are among his famous books Ambedkar wrote mainly in English. Ambedkar opposed personality cult and hero worship Ambekar wrote Buddha never sought honour unlike precursors of other faiths

had no perception of the uniqueness of every individual, of his incommensurability with others, of each individual as forming a class of his own. He had no recognition of the infinite diversity of active tendencies, and the combination of tendencies of which an individual is capable.” On the rule of the Peshwas in the Maratha country Dr. Ambedkar writes,”Untouchable was not allowed to use the public streets if a Hindu was coming along, lest he should pollute the Hindu by his shadow. The Untouchable was required to have a black thread either on his wrist or around his neck, as a sign or a mark to prevent the Hindus from getting them polluted by his touch by mistake. In Poona, the capital of the Peshwa, the Untouchable was required to carry, strung from his waist, a broom to sweep away from behind himself the dust he trod on, lest a Hindu walking on the same dust should be polluted. In Poona, the Untouchable was required to carry an earthen pot hung around his neck wherever he went for holding his spit, lest his spit falling on the earth should pollute a Hindu who might unknowingly happen to tread on it.”His posthumously published book the Buddha and his Dhamma could not be published in his lifetime due to financial constraints and paucity. The book is a lyrical and deeply moving. It is an attempt to convey the magnificence of Lord Buddha. His moral leadership unlike founders of other faiths did not seek a place of honour for himself. His religion was defined by Ambedkar as “right relations between man and man in all spheres of life. He said, ‘it was open for anyone to question it, test it and find what truth it contained.’


28

Film on Baba Saheb

APRIL 16, 2017

BIOSCOPE

THE LIVING HISTORY THROUGH BABASAHEB The movie seems like a fitting tribute to a man who waged a lonely battle for the social upliftment of the Dalits

Snapshots The film gives description of India, Britain, the United States, as well as the two world wars The Jabbar Patel-directed Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is set between 1901 and 1956 The genesis of this movie was a documentary he made in 1989 for the Film Division of India

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GEETA SINGH

ET between 1901 and 1956, the Jabbar Patel-directed Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar includes vivid description of India, Britain, the United States, as well as the two world wars. The film, however, centres on an individual who stood up against Hindu chauvinism, customs and traditions, atrocities, Indian leaders and mahatmas, including Mahatma Gandhi, and those who gave more importance to political activities rather than focus on social upliftment. Despite facing a barrage of criticism, a determined Dr. Ambedkar persevered. He waged a lonely battle for the social upliftment of the Dalits. It was a time when two struggles were running parallel to each other in the country. One, which was of course well known the world over, was India’s Independence struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. The other was a low key one initiated by Dr. Ambedkar -- an internal struggle against the upper caste oppression of the marginalised class. It was the time when, along with the Independence struggle, around seven crore untouchables were also fighting for their social rights against the upper caste. Consequently, crores of untouchables were involved in a struggle, not against the British rule, but against the injustice suffered by Dalits at the hands of upper caste Hindus in their own country.

The protagonist stood up against Hindu

chauvinism, customs and traditions, atrocities, Indian leaders and mahatmas, including Gandhi FROM THE PEN OF DIRECTOR JABBAR PATEL The making of the movie on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was an enthralling experience for me. I was felicitous to see my dream of

Jabbar Patel

making this movie become reality. I learnt a major life lesson by making a film based on the life of a great personality of Indian history. The genesis of this movie was a documentary I made in 1989 for the Film Division of India based on the life of Dr. Ambedkar. While making the movie, which was also shot in some parts of Britain and the US, I met few people who knew Dr. Ambedkar well. What stood out for me was their attachment to and unforgettable memories of Dr. Ambedkar. In my view, this movie on the life of Dr. Ambedkar is a real tribute to such a great personality. In 1991-92, on Dr. Ambedkar’s 100th birth anniversary, a Centenary Committee was constituted. Sharad Pawar, who was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra at that time, was appointed its President. It was Mrinal Gore who laid the movie’s foundation by apprising the committee of my dream of making it. To help me accomplish my dream of making the movie, the committee, which was at that time headed by Prime Minister

Chandra Shekhar, provided Rs 5 crore. Subsequently, under the guidance of Y.D. Phadke, an intense research began for five years. Later, three highly efficient writers – the late Daya Pawar, Arun Sadhu and Sooni Taraporewala – wrote its script. The Script Committee, which was appointed by the government, included famous historians and several senior personalities who were close to Dr. Ambedkar. The script was accepted and the committee gave the director a free hand. It was not easy to create an early 20th century epoch both in India and abroad. Columbia University in New York and the London School of Economics, where Dr. Ambedkar received his higher education, helped in shooting this movie without any cost. Some historic places had to be reinvented for the movie. In India, we faced similar issues, especially while shooting in Mumbai. We had to work hard to present things in a way that looked similar to what they were during that time. To give this movie an original feel, it was essential to show the surroundings of that era. The sets were made keeping in mind what buildings in 19th century looked like. To play the role of Dr. Ambedkar, Mammootty’s selection was appropriate. People from all the age groups watched the movie and appreciated it. The different sections of society and various groups in the country, especially those who were antiAmbedkar and protested against him, also lauded the movie. It is important to make this movie reach in every nook and corner of the country so that crores of people watch it. Then only will the purpose of making this movie be accomplished. However, to make it successful, it has to be publicised and promoted. It should certainly be distributed through different mediums.


APRIL 16, 2017

Obituary

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OBITUARY

KISHORI AMONKAR

A Magic Voice Lapses into History Famed vocalist Kishori Amonkar is no more. And thus the world of Indian classical music finds itself poorer than ever before HARRSH RANJAN

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F you listen to Vishnu Sahasranam sung by Kishori Amonkar you will definitely feel the eternal power it produces to soothe your body, mind and soul. Kishori Amonkar left us on April 3 evening, in utter loneliness and disbelief after a brief illness. I somehow never had the privilege of meeting her but through past one year her voice has been echoing through the walls of my home every morning. The 97-minutes Vishnu Sahasranam Bhajan in two volumes has the power to touch one’s being. In her long and illustrious singing career spanning seven decades, she was revered as ‘Gaan-Saraswati’. Belonging to the Jaipur Gharana, she was conferred with Padma Vibhushan and so many other honours. Amonkar stayed in a small apartment in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi. She followed her daily routine of Riyaz and teaching a group of devoted disciples until her last day. She was a widow and is survived by two sons and also grandchildren. Kishori Amonkar loved to confine herself to the limits imposed on her by her daily chores, particularly the

Snapshots Kishori Amonkar left this world on April 3 evening, after a brief illness Belonging to the Jaipur Gharana, she was conferred with Padma Vibhushan She didn’t like to give interviews and has mostly been cold to media

Riyaz and teaching her few selected students. She didn’t like to give interviews and has mostly been cold to media. She always considered interacting with media as a “waste of time because they take away important minutes from her daily Riyaz and meticulous teaching”. My many media friends tried to seek an appointment with her but she never talked to them about her music. She was of the opinion that music is not the subject which should be talked about with strangers.

Recently, Kishori Amonkar left a group of senior media persons virtually stranded outside the hotel she was staying in Delhi and at last she refused the interview that was already fixed. Yet, she had nothing against media nor did she hate media people. It was because of her own way of thinking and a steadfast refrain that “music can’t be talked all the time and with anyone”. Born on April 10, 1932 to Madhavdas Bhatia and Mogubai Kurdikar, a well-known classical vocalist, she learnt music under Ustad Alladiya Khan Saheb and Kesarbai Kerkar. Amonkar sang in the Jaipur gharana style with her quintessential Maharashtrian and Goan lehja or tone and manner. Her training in music began under her mother. She studied at Elphinstone College, Bombay. Known to have acquired her own style by emphasising the emotional content of music, Amonkar imbibed

Kishori Amonkar loved to confine herself to her daily chores, particularly the Riyaz and teaching her few selected students

the nuances of the much-revered Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. She was a recipient of the Rashtrapati Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Sangeet Samragni Award among others. Stating that the field of Indian classical music has lost one of the most luminous stars, governor of Maharashtra CH Vidyasagar Rao in his tribute, said, “Smt Kishori Amonkar was a great vocalist gifted with a divine voice. She belonged to the small league of vocalists who took Hindustani classical music to great heights. While assiduously retaining the essence of her classical tradition, she welcomed innovative ideas. A great guru herself, Kishori Tai passed on the great knowledge she acquired through years of dedication to her disciples.” Kishori Amonkar always remained within confines of the world of music created by her and, thus, never showed any interest in meeting big people or receiving honours and awards. It was sheer magic of her voice that is bringing rich tributes from the VVIPs including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, top Bollywood personalities and virtual who’s who of people from other walks of life ever since she breathed her last.


30 Assam

APRIL 16, 2017

NAMAMI BRAHMAPUTRA ASSAM

NAMAMI BRAHMAPUTRA FESTIVAL DRAWS HUGE CROWD

The five-day event portrayed Assam’s rich cultural diversity and the importance of the mighty river in the everyday life of locals RAJ KASHYAP

pollution across the world, the spiritual leader also advised Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to implement the “secular ethics of education” which the exiled Tibetan government in Dharmasala has been drafting with advice from some US universities and scholars. He said that he would send a few copies of the draft for implementation in the state.

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N spite of the inclement weather, the first ever Namami Brahmaputra festival in Assam drew huge crowds in a majority of the destinations across the state where it was organised. The five-day event, which was held between March 31 and April 4 hosted a slew of programmes portraying Assam’s rich cultural diversity and the importance of the mighty river in the everyday life of the state’s inhabitants. The festival took off with an opening ceremony at the riverfront of Bharalumukh in Guwahati, near the historic Kamakshya temple, one of the most venerated Hindu Sakti peeths (cosmic power centre) in the world. The event showcased the importance of the Brahmaputra, along with other features like indigenous sports, local food, organic tea, handloom and handicrafts. All the 21 districts where the festival was held came up with their own programmes which reflected the distinct flavour of the communities of the region. The historic Jahaj Ghat in Tezpur town of Sonitpur district was renamed by the district administration as Namami Ghat. The ghat came into being during the British rule when steamers used to be docked there. The rechristening of the place took place on the arrival of a team of 35 xatradhikars (Vaishnavite priests) from Majuli, whom the district administration received at the ghat. Adding to the zing of the festival was the festival anthem composed by Assamese singer Angarag Mahanta and sung by several celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, Arijit Singh, and Vishal-Shekhar.

Snapshots The festival took off with an opening ceremony at the riverfront of Bharalumukh The audience included President Pranab Mukherjee and the Dalai Lama, among others The Jahaj Ghat at Tezour was officially named Namami Ghat after rituals

ECONOMIC HUB Inaugurating the festival, President Pranab Mukherjee suggested that the event should become a regular feature of the state. Making a case for “right policies” and their “effective implementation”, he said that the state was emerging as an “economic hub” of East India and South East Asia, which happened to be an important destination for India’s investment and trade. Besides, he added, India would soon celebrate 25 years of its association with Asean. In his speech, the President said the Brahmaputra River was the lifeline of Assam and the region which was linked with the economy, culture and day-today life of the people. He described Assam as a state with a rich and distinct culture and explained that India’s strength was its ability to manage diversity and forge unity. The festival attracted a host of high profile dignitaries from abroad and within the country, including Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways

and Shipping Nitin Gadkari and Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sarma. DALAI LAMA The Dalai Lama’s participation in the festival was part of a larger itinerary that will take him to different places of Arunachal Pradesh as well, even as neighbouring China sounded a note of warning about the Buddhist spiritual leader’s programme. Speaking at the ITA Centre in Guwahati, the Dalai voiced his opposition to forcible conversion and argued that people should have the freedom to change their religion voluntarily. He expressed his happiness over coming to Assam and the northeast and recounted his memories when he landed in the state from Tibet in March 1959, fleeing a Chinese crackdown. He became emotional when the Assam Rifles authorities presented before him one of the five jawans who had escorted him from the Tibet Border to Bumla in Arunachal Pradesh. While expressing concern over water

The Dalai Lama become visibly emotional when

he met one of the five soldiers who had escorted him from the Tibet border in 1959

TSHERING TOBGAY Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on the other hand chose to highlight the historical ties between his country and Assam that has existed for the past several centuries. He made a case for setting up of a consultate in Guwahati for furthering the ties and informed that the matter has already been taken up with New Delhi. Bhutan shares a 699 kms long border with India that touches Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bengal and Sikkim. Assam has the longest border with 267 kms linking as many as five southern districts of the Himalayan kingdom. “I am wearing a special fabric today which is made of cotton. It is grown in Assam and woven by women in Bhutan. This is a symbol of cooperation between the people of Bhutan and Assam,” Tshering said and explained howBrahmaputra was a store house of potentiality and prosperity. He focused on the need of spreading its benefits to the neighbouring states and country. He said that Assam was not only a gateway but also a hub of all activities even as he urged upon Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to work together in the fields of biodiversity and other aspects of trade to forward the common interests of Assam and Bhutan. The progress of Assam and India’s northeast region will impact neighbouring countries like Bhutan and Bangladesh, he pointed out. The Bhutanese prime minister, who had arrived in Assam to participate in the Namami Brahmaputra Festival from Paris, further said that at least 10 rivers from his country flow into the Brahmaputra. “I am going to visit Kamakshya temple after this programme. I am going to pray that Namami Brahmaputra also becomes the most powerful river festival in the world,” said the prime minister.


APRIL 16, 2017

Mizoram

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JHUM CULTIVATION MIZORAM

BANGALORE BLUES FROM MIZORAM Giving up the ruinous Jhum cultivation, farmers from Hnahlan have taken up grape cultivation and are on the verge of minting money after the anti-liquor law has been repealed

SAURABH SINGH

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HIFTING or Jhum cultivation has led to the reduction of the green cover in different regions of the northeast and it is still practiced by tribal communities. But Hnahlan village in Mizoram has charted a different path – not only has it given up on the archaic agricultural practice but has now plunged headlong into cultivation of grapes for a livelihood. Located near the Indo-Myanmar border in Champhai district, more than 70 per cent of the residents in Hnahlan are engaged in grape cultivation. It is a small village with about 560 families, and around 400 among them grow grapes for a livelihood. This is the primary reason that has contributed in making Hnahlan one of the largest producers of grapes in the country. JUICY MOOLAH Usually, one quintal of grape juice is worth Rs 15,000 according to the current market rate which fluctuates at regular intervals. This village earns about Rs 1.5 cr annually from 6,600 quintals of juice that is produced. No wonder, Hnahlan is now placed among the best performing villages in the hill state. The annual income of the village has received a boost which is quite apparent with televisions, computers, vehicles and other luxurious goods seen in most of the houses. Hnahlan’s enthusiasm had been given a boost by the amendment of the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition (MLTP) Act. The Act had earlier prevented them from large scale commercialisation of their products and winemaking from grapes. Civil society organisations and the church had also supported the government earlier in the crusade against alcohol, and defaulters were imposed fines and punishments. Owing to the fact that wine-making grapes in India were largely imported, Hnahlan is now entertaining the hope of becoming the largest raw material producer for wineries across the country. Grapes are supposed to have originated in Armenia near Caspian Sea. The earliest evidence of grape vine cultivation and winemaking

dates back 7,000 years. The history of viticulture is closely related to the history of wine, with evidence that humans cultivated wild grapes to make wine as far back as the Neolithic period. In India, grapes were introduced from Iran and Afghanistan by the end of 12th century. The area under grape cultivation in India is 80,000 hectares approximately with an annual production of 1,878.3 thousand metric tonnes. Four varieties are grown in the country with the Bangalore Blue occupying the maximum area under cultivation. Most of the area under grape cultivation is in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In north India, only Punjab grows grapes over an area of 777 hectares with annual production of 22,088 metric tonnes. FRUITFUL CONDITIONS Grape cultivation needs certain ideal weather conditions, such as around 1,500 hours of sunshine and 700 mm of rain through the year. Also, it needs a long and warm summer to let the fruits ripen properly so that the acids and sugars in the fruit are

balanced. Usually planting is done from October onwards till January but sometime also during June-July in case the monsoon is late. Rainfall during harvesting season can be disastrous, as the fruits can get fungal infection. The farmers of Hnahlan follow the traditional method of step terracing cultivation, which is considered an appropriate method of farming to produce good quality grapes in large numbers. This practice of the nonirrigation form of cultivation is also found in the grape producing areas of France and Germany. In India, most of the grapes are consumed fresh with about 30 per cent of seedless grapes processed to produce raisins. Only a negligible quantity of grapes is used in India to produce wine, with French collaboration. The fruit is rich in sugar, acids, minerals and vitamins and a recent study claims that grapes also protect the retina in the eyes. Hnahlan’s tryst with cultivation of grapes comes closely on the heels of similar examples of villages at East Khasi Hills in Meghalaya, where wine making has emerged as a cottage industry. After a visit to Hnahlan, a

According to experts, the grapes grown in

Mizoram are of the Bangalore Blue variety which is best suited for wine making

Snapshots Hnahlan farmers are growing the best possible grapes in India, know as Bangalore Blue Amendment to a law against liquor making means Mizoram can become a major wine making state Centre’s Horticulture Technology Mission is convinced about the quality and has put in funds

team of experts from the Centre’s Horticulture Technology Mission was convinced that Mizoram had the capability for double-cropping of grapes, given its suitable climatic and soil conditions. The Mission which was launched by the ministry of agriculture has helped the grape growers of Hnahlan with more than Rs four crore financial assistance in the past five years. BLUE & BEST According to experts, the grapes grown in Mizoram are of the Bangalore Blue variety which is best suited for wine making. However, Hnahlan grape growers also have their share of problems as well. Pests have often destroyed the grapes and to combat this menace, the horticulture department had been providing them with adequate pesticides and GI wires. Another big problem the farmers have been facing was the lack of proper equipment for fermentation of grapes. Grape juice processed in Sintex plastic barrels is considered an unhygienic way of fermentation. The state government has recently promised to provide proper equipment for fermentation. The remote location of the state along the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh coupled with its hilly terrain has also fuelled problems of storing and packaging for the cultivators. Mizoram is connected with the rest of the country through Assam and Manipur but the highways are often in dilapidated conditions. Now, most of the farmers have been forced to make brews and sell it to the black markets in Aizawl and Champhai.


32 Unsung Heros

APRIL 16, 2017

UNSUNG HEROES NEINGUPE MARHU

A COP’S BATTLE AGAINST GARBAGE

A Nagaland cop sets a rare example by working overtime to keep his city clean by collecting garbage every day

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EINGUPE Marhu, a constable in Nagaland police, has improvised his van into a carrier to take care of the increasing garbage and overflowing dumps at a time when the city’s municipal set up collapsed. He travels around the city in his van before and after his working hours to mop the city’s garbage and take it away to the landfills. Neingupe Marhu, 28, is a happily married man with a three-and-a-half year old kid. He lives with his little family in a beautiful village. However,

the beauty of the village was getting spoiled when the municipality failed to take away the garbage. Garbage started piling up all around. Neingupe says that the whole town and its surroundings were becaming a mess and he could see waste and trash heaped all over. “So I realised that it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep our city clean. I converted my van into a dumper to help the people and the town to stay clean. I could see the dustbins overflowing with garbage on my way to

work and while coming back every day. I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought I am a public servant, why can’t I do something instead of complaining about it and waiting for the town council to wake up and take on the task. So every day, for the last one week, I have been picking up garbage before my duty starts in the morning and then after work,” says Neingupe. He reports to duty as per his time schedule and collects trash whenever he is free. On an average day, he wakes up at around 5 am and starts collecting

trash by 5.30. He then takes it to the dumping site a couple of kilometres away from town. In a day he makes up to 10 to 14 trips to the landfill. Except for when he is off duty he does this throughout the day. He also tells people were, in the beginning, unsupportive. At that time, an NGO called Kalos Society came up in his support. Neingupe says, “The group encouraged me to a level which I cannot forget. The Kalos Society is a very big inspiration for me and helped me undertake my work, which I am continuing till date.” The locals, who were unsupportive once, are now backing him and even taking his inspiring story to the social media. He says many have started contributing so that fuel expenses could be met.

NEWSMAKERS

CHETAN KUMAR CHEETAH

VALIANT COP RECOVERS

After getting badly injured in an encounter with militants in Jammu and Kashmir CRPF Commandant makes miraculous recovery

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RPF commandant Chetan Kumar Cheetah (45) was injured in a combat operation NDIA has never been short of child withprodigies. LeT on At February 14 and was an age when most airlifted Delhi for are treatment at the of the to youngsters busy clicking All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Instagram pictures and forwarding The commandant was inRohan AIIMS trauma Whatsapp messages, Suri has center for a month or so. He has made a

stunning recovery despite grave nature of his injuries. The commanding officer of the CRPF’s 45th battalion in Kashmir Valley had suffered bullet injuries in his brain, right eye, abdomen, both the arms, left hand and back. He was initially admitted to military hospital in Srinagar and later shifted to AIIMS critical care unit with multiple wounds. AIIMS Spokesperson Amit Gupta said the officer, who originally hails from Kota in Rajasthan, was monitored overnight before being taken for surgery. Repeat CT scans showed raised intracranial pressure, following which he was taken for surgery immediately. Gupta also said, “Cheetah had bilateral upper limbs fractures, besides other injuries.” Cheetah was injured in the gun fight between three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants and a joint team of CRPF, Army and Jammu & Kashmir Police on February 14 morning in Parraypora village that falls in Bandipora district’s Hajin area. Indeed, the commander has made a “miraculous” recovery. He has been discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Professor of Trauma Surgery at the AIIMS Subodh Kumar, said it was “nothing short of a miracle”. According to doctors, Cheetah will be left with a bit of disability but with proper rehabilitation and physiotherapy will improve over the time.

SHRUTI SHIBULAL

SHRUTI IS YOUNG GLOBAL LEADER

Hospitality coupled with sustainability has brought her the rare honour of joining the team of Young Global Leaders 2017 declared by World Economic Forum

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HRUTI Shibulal, Promoter and Director - Strategy and Development, The Tamara has been named as Young Global Leader 2017 by World Economic Forum. The Forum of

Young Global Leaders is a community of over 800 enterprising, socially-minded men and women selected under the age of 40 from across the world. On its website, announcing the class of 2017, the World Economic Forum addressed Shruti Shibulal as an accomplished hospitality executive who has promoted and co-founded premium hospitality projects in India. She is among 100 young leaders, under the age of 40, who are tackling the world’s “most complex challenges with innovative approaches”. Further, Shruti Shibulal is among nine leaders selected from South Asia and five from India. Selected for a five-year programme, this year’s class of 100 Young Global Leaders is split evenly between business and not-for-profit sectors building a global community of peers who can capitalise on diverse talents, experiences and networks to bridge divides that exist in society and achieve more together than what they could do separately or individually, the WEF said. “We’ve asked these young leaders to join the YGL community because of their ground-breaking work, creative approaches to problems and ability to build bridges across cultures and between business, government and civil society” said John Dutton, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 VOLUME - 1, ISSUE - 17 Printed by Monika Jain, Published by Monika Jain on behalf of SULABH SANITATION MISSION FOUNDATION and Printed at The Indian Express Ltd., A-8, Sector-7, NOIDA (U.P.) and Published from RZ 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam-Dabri Road, New Delhi – 110 045. Editor Monika Jain

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