. . . . . . "Dalit Solidarity News" is an information project run by the International Dalit Solidarity Network. News stories are extracts from online newsservices. Link to the full story is found at the end of each blog. Visit the International Dalit Solidarity Network at www.idsn.org

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Formed in 2000, the IDSN is a network of international organisations, national solidarity networks and affected country groups, campaigning against caste-based discrimination throughout the world, from the dalits of South Asia to the Osu of Nigeria and the Burakumin of Japan. Visit our website International Dalit Solidarity Network for more information. SUBMIT DALIT NEWS HERE

Wednesday, November 30, 2005  
Backward education

Business Standard
30 November 2005

Aali Sinha & Laveesh Bhandari

The relationship between education and caste isn’t always linear. It is important to remember that caste-based deprivation may be experienced in the form of poverty and low social status. This deprived status results in a relatively-low chance of children belonging to these groups attending school and having a greater likelihood of dropping out. Further, children from lower socio-economic classes are more likely to be employed in wage-earning activities and, hence, lose out on school education.

Beyond the economics of belonging to socially disadvantaged groups, the discrimination that children face at schools significantly affects school enrolment and completion, often resulting in a higher incidence of dropouts among these children. SC/ST students are often made to sit separately, not allowed to use school amenities such as drinking water. Schools have a potential of ameliorating an individual from their present state of deprivation; but equally, through exclusion, they can perpetuate the existing inequalities. Constant reinforcement of caste- and community-based negative stereotypes have a long-term effect on children, whereby they internalise these perceptions and see themselves as solely responsible for their situation (See South Asia Human Development Sector, 2004). Even though intangible, the experiences in schools have a significant impact on school enrolment and completion.


The status of education, especially primary education, in India has had some measure of success in bringing socially marginalised within the mainstream but it hasn’t been satisfactorily successful and large gaps still exist.

Among the tribals, it has been seen that school participation is hindered by the gap in understanding of the worldview as expressed in the schools/textbooks and their own lived reality. A large number of tribal parents are illiterate and the school curricula are often out of context for tribal children, thus leading to an inability to relate with what is being taught. This can lead to disinterest in studies. Further, low learner motivation, poor parental participation in the education of children, and the overall socio-economic backwardness significantly affect the school performance of tribal children. There exists considerable diversity among the tribals themselves residing in the different states of the country.

Overall educational attainment is impossible without better performance of the SC and ST children. This requires us to device a system of public education that is not standardised for an “average” child. Greater flexibility of schools on issues of the kind of education is essential. Not only the text, but also things such as the environment in which they are taught, school timings, school locations need to be highly tuned in to the requirements of the most under-privileged sections. Private schools that are already doing all this witness the exponential growth of private schools in the poorest of areas. However, private schools have their own constraints. Flexibility of public school administration, rules, internal procedures, regulations and content is essential if success in imparting quality and relevant education is to be achieved.

The writers work with Indicus, an economics research firm.

Link to the article

12:05 PM

Monday, November 28, 2005  
Will Lekhraj ride a horse to his wedding

DNA India
November 27, 2005

Pradeep Narayan and Manoj Bulan

All Lekhraj wants is to ride a horse to his wedding as per centuries-old tradition and in the manner of grooms everywhere. But Lekhraj, a Dalit, is disallowed from doing so by the upper-caste residents of his village, Vijaynagar, on the border of Rajasthan.

The 21st century may have dawned, but such is the feudal custom in this village: the upper caste considers equestrian riding its own custom and Dalits following it, an insult.
Some Dalits have rebelled: Lekhraj himself insisted that he should ride a horse to his Nikasi (a prayer before marriage).

When the upper-caste residents heard this, they called a panchayat (village council) meeting which ordered him to proceed by foot instead. But persecution on a more serious scale has also occurred in the form of violence against Dalits who have disobeyed the upper-caste prohibition of horse-processions. In the Khundaroth village, one Hoshiar Singh who rode to his Nikasi was stoned-- despite the presence of police. After Hoshiar Singh's marriage, the upper-caste Thakurs of the village denied access of their wells to Dalits. This prohibition lasted a year, by which time the village consensus ended it.

The Thakurs gradually stopped opposing the Dalits' horse processions, and seven Dalit grooms rode to their marriages in the next three years.

In Vijayanagar, though, things haven't changed. The upper-caste residents interviewed by DNA said that discrimination against Dalits was their prerogative, which could not be challenged. Vijayanagar's administration, however, said that it protected the rights of its Dalit citizens. The village sarpanch (administrative head) said that Dalits' complaints would be promptly addressed.

Link to the article

12:55 PM

Gohana arson: CBI files first chargesheet

India Express
26 November 2005

The CBI says a verbal altercation between shopkeeper Baljit Singh and a customer—that led top Singh’s murder, sparked off the riots in Gohana on August 31.

A verbal altercation between shopkeeper Baljeet Singh and a customer—that led to Singh’s murder, sparked off the riots in Gohana on August 31, mentioned CBI in its first chargesheet regarding the matter submitted today in an Ambala court. Nine persons have been named as accused by the CBI.

The accused—Shivkumar, Hari Das, Rishi Kumar, Vikas, Gola, Sandeep, Ashok, Pradeep and Sonu—have been booked on charges of rioting, unlawful assembly, murder and voluntarily causing hurt.

CBI says in the chargesheet that Singh had gone to a photo studio to get a photo required for his ration card form. However, there was a verbal altercation which led to the killing of the shopkeeper on August 27.

The killing of Singh—an upper caste—sparked off widespread riots in the town leading to numerous houses of dalits being burned down. The case, pertaining to the killing of a shopkeeper, Baljeet Singh on August 27 which was initially registered by Haryana police, was registered afresh by the CBI, following a request by the state government to probe the entire chain of incidents leading to the large-scale violence in Gohana

CBI is still investigating the second case relating to the retaliatory action taken by the community of the deceased shopkeeper in which 50 houses were set on fire in a dalit basti on August 31.

CBI re-registered the second case—FIR number 159 at Gohana Police Station—naming Pradeep Sangwan and Ranvir Sanghvan, brother and son respectively of the BJP MP from Rothak, besides six other people.

Following the arson in Gohana, several dalit organisations called a bandh in Haryana on September 2 during which Panchkula witnessed arson and violence.
CBI registered another case related to the arson during the bandh call during which damages were caused to public as well as private properties.

The agency re-registered the FIR 410 at Panchkula Police Station naming councillor Dalbir Singh Punia and several others. This case is also under investigation.

Link to the article

11:50 AM

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