Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Review of Dalitaru-vimochaneya hadi-ondu Avalokana of Na. Divakar in the Hindu 08-01-2010

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Dalitaru-vimochaneya hadi-ondu Avalokana

N a. Divakara's book “ Dalitaru - vimochaneya hadi - ondu avalokana ” is another sincere attempt to analyse the tangled caste question in India. The book not only tries to analyse the caste question in the background of experiences of the different states including Karnataka, but also tries to offer a critique, based on different political and ideological understandings.

In explaining the complexity of caste question, the author tries to examine the recent forms of caste atrocities in UP, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka. For instance, in Udhampur village in Madurai district of Tamilnadu, a 30 metres high wall was erected by the upper caste to ensure segregation of Dalits from the village. They hatched a conspiracy which resulted in repeated postponement of Panchayat elections to avoid a Dalit becoming President. The author provides sufficient statistics to prove that despite BSP holding power in UP, neither have caste atrocities decreased nor has the living standards of Dalits increased. In Punjab, the upper caste Sikhs have repeatedly destroyed temples constructed by Dalits. In Gohana and Jajjera of Haryana, dalits have been butchered by upper caste goons.

The author points to hapless situation of Dalit movement in Karnataka.

The next section of the book is devoted to examine the different strategies adopted by the different anti-caste movements in India. For example, while examining the veracity of the claims that globalisation has helped the cause of Dalit liberation, the author provides convincing statistics which proves that globalisation has become detrimental to the cause of poor Dalits. He says that reservation has only helped the middle class dalits since more than 70 per cent of them live in the village and their liberation cannot be achieved without land distribution.

The author offers Kerala as an example where the plight of Dalits are far better than in any other state.

This book with its fresh insights offers interesting reading for those concerned with the topic. There are flaws — a different kind of economy is at work now, and hence the dynamics of caste oppression is different. However, the book is important for all those interested in social change.


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