[WSMDiscuss] Dalits in movement…, Power in movement… : Fwd: Appeal for donations to the corpus of a special fund, the Savitribai Phule Scholarships

JS CACIM jai.sen at cacim.net
Mon Apr 9 19:13:41 CEST 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Dalits in movement…, Power in movement…

[I am forwarding here an Appeal for donations to the corpus of a special fund, the Savitribai Phule Scholarships, to support and empowering castes engaged in manual scavenging here in India.  The person the fund is named after, Savitri Bai Phule – a legendary activist in the 19th century - is seen by many, and especially among Dalits, as the Mother of Women's Education in India.

[When doing so, I want to make clear that I normally do not do this – forwarding or posting on this list appeals for donations – unless I feel that there is something special about it.  But in this case, and in the given contemporary context within India – of the dramatic rise and assertion by Dalits –, I want to make an exception : First, because I have been impressed by the posts that the person who has written to me, Shiva Shankar, otherwise does in relation to the contemporary surge that is so evidently taking place here in India among Dalits, and second because I see the building of this corpus, and through this extending critical and empowering support – in the form of education - to those who are forced because of so-called ‘descent’ to clear other people’s shit, to be a vital part of the movement itself; and to be an enactment of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s maxim that appears at the head of this appeal :

Educate!  Agitate!  Organise!

[Important note : The information I have got from the organisers is that this appeal is open both to people in India, making tax-deductible donations in Rupees, and also to those from elsewhere making donations in other-than-Indian currencies – since the organisers have got what is called an FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulation Act) license from the government of India, that enables them to receive foreign donations. 

[You can go up to the website of the hosting organisation, Premalaya, at http://www.premalayasocial.in/about-us/savitribai-phule-scholarships <http://www.premalayasocial.in/about-us/savitribai-phule-scholarships>, see what donations they have so far received, and check out the programme they have in mind and the arrangements they have made.

[The organisers have also assured me that :

Transparency is our motto. We will regularly update all information on our website.

In other words regarding donations received, expenditures made, etc.

[Now read on ! :

Appeal for donations to the corpus of a special fund, the Savitribai Phule Scholarships

Shiva Shankar (Chennai Mathematical Institute), on behalf also of Lakshmi (Janodayam) and Isaiah Addhanki (Premalaya)
“We are indeed part of a movement, namely to rid this country of the most terrible evil of manual scavenging. Each one of us, from non-scavenging castes, is complicit in this great crime of abetting the practice of manual scavenging, for wherever there is a railway station in this country, there manual scavenging is prevalent. The scholarships, in the name of Savitribai Phule, will support young women from scavenging castes to go to college.
“To rid this country of caste and untouchability, we have to inform the whole world that these crimes are still the rule here in Hindustan, in the 21st century. We solicit funds from all thinking and concerned people, also from outside India. It is only when the struggle becomes 'internationalised', as it happened in the case of apartheid, will this country become finally free.”

In solidarity,


> Begin forwarded message:
> From: Shiva Shankar <sshankar at cmi.ac.in>
> Subject: Savitribai Phule Scholarships 
> Date: April 9, 2018 at 9:24:38 AM GMT+5:30
> To: Jai Sen <jai.sen at cacim.net>
> Cc: Isaiah Addhanki <premalayamin at yahoo.co.in>, "G.Israel" <janoisrael at yahoo.co.uk>, "Dr.B.Ravichandaran" <ravi.ciefl at gmail.com>

Dear Jai Sen, I wonder if you could announce the Savitribai Phule Scholarships in your newsletter. Many thanks and best wishes! - Shiva Shankar.


http://www.premalayasocial.in/about-us/savitribai-phule-scholarships <http://www.premalayasocial.in/about-us/savitribai-phule-scholarships>

		Educate!  Agitate!  Organise!

		Savitribai Phule Scholarships
	Empowering castes engaged in manual scavenging

We are extremely privileged to announce the Savitribai Phule Scholarships in time for Savitribai's birthday on 3rd January.

We request your help in creating a corpus, out of whose interest we will support young women from 'scavenging' castes go to college. Our wish is to contribute to the war against caste and untouchability, whose most criminal manifestation is manual scavenging, by helping them in their higher education. Our struggle will not have started in earnest till large numbers of young women from these castes are doctors, scientists, professors, and in positions of administative importance.

We have already extremely generous contributions from Dr.Anandalakshmy and Mrs.Ganga-Parvathi, and have transferred it to a fixed deposit created for this purpose as a part of Premalaya Social Development Society. We will thus be able to provide you with a reciept which you can use for income tax deduction under 80G.

The scholarships will be managed by the folowing committee:

 Lakshmi (Janodayam), President
 Isaiah Addhanki (Premalaya), Secretary
 Shiva Shankar (Chennai Mathematical Institute), Member

(Dr.B.Ravichandran (Dalit Camera) and G.Israel (Janodayam) will help in an advisory capacity.)

Please forward this appeal to friends who might help!

Thanking you,
Shiva Shankar


The Savitribai Phule Scholarships - B.Ravichandran

"Shudras and Ati-shudras (Dalits) now have the right to education, and through English, castesism can be destroyed and Brahminical teaching can be hurled away." - Savitribai Phule

Indian society is divided into different castes. Ambedkar has observed, "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 and it is a state of mind." It is in a smiliar spirit that Ambedkar has also said that in India, a person becomes a scavenger not because of his profession, but because of his birth, and this is completely irrespective of whether s/he wants to take up scavenging or not. Many Dalit writers have written the same.

Omprakash Valmiki in his autobiography 'Joothan' writes:
	One day the headmaster Kaliram called me to his room and asked: 'Abey, what is your name?' 'Omprakash', I answered slowly and fearfully. Children used to feel scared just encountering the headmaster. The entire school was terrified of him. 'Chure ka?' Headmaster threw his second question at me. 'All right ... see the teak tree there? Go climb that tree. Break some twigs and make a broom. And sweep the whole school clean as a mirror. It is, after all, your family occupation.'

It is not only the scavenging castes that face such discrimination, indeed no caste within the Dalit community can escape oppression in some form or the other. Going a little deeper, we also see various forms of discrimination amongst the Dalit castes too. In Tamil Nadu, Arunthathiyars suffer discrimination from Paraiyars and Pallars, and in turn oppress others. Therefore caste is a notion that needs to be fought across all sections of the society, Dalit or not.

However, there are a few crucial differences between scavenging castes and other non-scavenging Dalit castes. These differences are hardly ever acknowledged or discussed within mainstream Dalit discourse. Scavenging is an occupation that has expanded because of governmental policies. Prasad and Wilson (2000) note in different writings that municipalities consciously recruit people from particular Dalit castes into scavenging jobs. In most states, people from scavenging castes speak a language different from the state's official language. Both these factors play a crucial role in suppressing people from these castes, and their struggles for rights and freedom. One example here is the scavenging caste in Kerala. Arunthathiyars do scavenging in Kerala, but Dalit discourse in Kerala has remained silent about them. Though scavenging castes have different histories, cultures, professions, yet these differences have been suppressed by mainstream Dalit discourse.

Following Ambedkar, we say that the most important way to eradicate the idea, itself, of scavenging, and the resultant caste stigma, is to encourage the present generation to educate themselves. Education in recent years has become very expensive, hence we have come together to start a scheme that will support students who have qualified for a university education, but who lack financial resources. Although our primary focus would be women students from scavenging castes, we will also support students from other Dalit castes who face discrimination.


Savitribai Phule, our goddess of learning and knowledge - Savitribai was a "Vidya Jyoti" for all those who want to do something in the field of education.

SAVITRI BAI PHULE - Mother of Women's Education In India http://dalitvision.blogspot.in/2013/03/savitri-bai-phule-mother-of-women.html <http://dalitvision.blogspot.in/2013/03/savitri-bai-phule-mother-of-women.html>

....  Reading Paine’s famous book “The Rights of Man” revolutionized the young mind of Jyotirao Phule and he in turn influenced the tender mind of Savitribhai, who also took an oath to help her husband in his fight for Social Revolution even at the cost of her life and comforts.

They jointly opened the very first Girl’s School in 1848 against the vicious campaign launched by orthodox upper caste Hindus for such an act of the Phule couple, as education to girls was coded as unlawful in the laws of orthodox Hindus, although they claimed to possess the most knowledgeable books called “VEDAS”, but practically treating Shudras & women worse than animals. No upper caste Hindu teacher came forward to teach in this newly opened Girl’s School in which Untouchable girls, besides Hindu girls were admitted. Therefore, Savitribai was appointed as Headmistress of this school on 1st January 1848 by Jyotirao Phule. This school was run from the house of a Brahmin in Budhwara Peth, with majority of Brahmin girl students. The orthodox Brahmins raised a great hue & cry against women's education including those of Shudra girls, which stood banned by Hindu scripture. ... they opened another school on 15th May 1848 in Untouchable’s colony and it was run by her widowed sister–in-law Smt. Suganabai. On this again the reactionaries raised objections and threatened Govinda Rao (Jyotirao ’s father) with dire consequences if he failed to dissociate himself from the activities of his son & daughter-in-law. So he asked the couple to leave his home as both of them refused to give up their missionary endeavor. ...

... She was first Indian women leader, who worked for the upliftment & dignity of women & children and was a staunch opponent of orthodox laws including Untouchability. She was mother to helpless orphans, a teacher to illiterates and solace to the suffering masses. She deserves to be honored as the “Mother of Women Education in India”

She is even now a source of inspiration for establishing a rule based on equality, justice and fraternity. Let us draw inspiration from her life & work and re-dedicate ourselves for the service of the down trodden and Dalits, besides those sections of society who are deprived of equal opportunities of life.

... Savitribai and her adopted son, Yashwant, opened a clinic to treat those affected by the worldwide Third Pandemic of the bubonic plague when it appeared in the area around Nallasopara in 1897. The clinic was established at stern outskirts of Pune, in an area free of infection. Savitribai personally took patients to the clinic where her son served them. While caring for the patients, she contracted the disease herself. She died from it on 10 March 1897 while serving a plague patient.

Jai Sen

jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>
www.cacim.net <http://www.cacim.net/> / http://www.openword.net.in

Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 

CURRENT / NEW publications :

Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?, Indian edition.  New Delhi : Authors Upfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
Recent publications :

Jai Sen, ed, 2016a  – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?  and Jai Sen, ed, 2016b – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance (both forthcoming in 2017 from New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press), ADVANCE PREFINAL ONLINE MOVEMENT EDITIONS @ www.cacim.net <http://www.cacim.net/>

Jai Sen, ed, 2018 – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance.  Volume 5 in the Challenging Empires series (New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press)

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