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The Oppression of Shudras in India, Part IV: Sections 7-8 of "Problem of Dalits"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

By the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

The views and opinions expressed in this essay do not necessarily reflect those of the creator of this blog and are the sole responsibility of the author. Essays expressing opinions similar to and counter to those of the creator of this blog are strictly for diversity and to start thoughtful and meaningful discussion.

This essay is taken from sections seven through eight of Resolution Adopted at the All India Convention on Problems of Dalits by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in New Delhi, India on Feb. 22, 2006.

7. IMMEDIATE TASKS

Taking into account the severity of the caste problem, Com. E. M. Namboodiripad wrote in 1979, “One has to realize that the building of India on modern democratic and secular lines requires an uncompromising struggle against the caste-based Hindu society and its culture. There is no question of secular democracy, not to speak of socialism, unless the very citadel of India’s ‘age-old’ civilization and culture, the division of society into a hierarchy of castes – is broken. In other words, the struggle for radical democracy and socialism cannot be separated from the struggle against caste society.”

On the basis of above understanding the convention calls upon all the units of the Party to take up the social issues as an important task of the Party. Party units should study the position of social oppression in their area and work out the concrete demands to organise campaign and struggles. The mass organisations should take up the specific problems of dalits and organise special campaigns and struggles to achieve their demands.

8. CHARTER OF DEMANDS

This convention sets out the following charter of demands to ensure a better life for the crores of dalits in our country and it calls upon them to join the common movement of all toiling, oppressed and exploited sections of our country to win these demands and also to effect a radical social, economic and political transformation of our country.

1. LAND REFORMS: The central and state governments mus immediately set in motion a process of land reforms whereby land will be redistributed to the landless agricultural labourers and poor peasants gratis. All loopholes in the present laws must be plugged. All schemes to reverse land reform legislation and give away land to multinational corporations and big business houses should be scrapped forthwith.

2. RESERVATIONS: All the backlogs in reserved seats and posts and in promotions for SCs, STs and OBCs must be filled forthwith with special recruitment drives. The three Constitutional amendments made to correct the three OMs issued in 1997 diluting reservations for SCs and STs should be implemented. The pre-1997 vacancies based roster should be restored. A comprehensive legislation covering all aspects of reservation for SCs/STs in employment and education both public and private institutions should be enacted.

3. SPECIAL COMPONENT PLAN: Special Component Plan should be properly implemented in all the states with proper allotment of funds according to the population of dalits. A National Commission should be set up to assess the real position of dalits including reservation. The state level commissions should be set up to oversee the implementation of all schemes connected with the SCs including reservation.

4. INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT: Infrastructure development in the scheduled caste areas like road, water, health, culture and other needs has to be given proper importance. When allotting fund for infrastructure development, a separate allotment for scheduled caste areas should be provided.

A comprehensive National Programme of Minor Irrigation for all irrigable but unirrigated lands of SCs and STs through wells, community wells, bore-wells, community bore-wells and tubewells, bandheras, check-dams, lift, etc., should be immediately undertaken and implemented.

5. ROOTING OUT UNTOUCHABILITY: All forms of untouchability must be rooted out of the country by strengthening the relevant laws, ensuring their strict implementation and most importantly, by launching a mass movement of the people.

6. PROTECTION FROM ATROCITIES: The Central Government should amend and strengthen the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, providing for special courts with judges, investigating officers and public prosecutors unburdened by any other work. Social and economic boycott and blackmail should be included as substantive crimes. Full economic rehabilitation of victims and their survivors must be ensured.

7. EMPLOYMENT: The privatisation drive should be stopped as it leads to loot of national assets, greater unemployment, a curtailment of reservations and also a spurt in corruption. The Central Government should enact a bill to provide reservations in the private sector, which has been a long-standing demand of SCs and STs. Special schemes to provide self-employment to SC youth should be started. The Right to Work should be incorporated as a fundamental right in the Constitution.

8. EDUCATION: The commercialisation of education should be stopped since the massive fee and donation structure of private educational managements is something that socially and economically backward students cannot afford. For this, the central government must increase its own outlay on education to 6 % of the GDP. SC/ST students should be given special scholarships to pursue their studies. The stipends in Social Welfare hostels should be raised and the quality of these hostels improved. Steps should be taken to universalise primary education and expand secondary education. Special measures to curb the drop-out rate among SCs should be undertaken.

9. AGRICULTURAL WORKERS: The Minimum Wages Act for agricultural workers must be stringently implemented throughout the country. A comprehensive bill for agricultural workers is another long-standing demand and it must be enacted without delay. Homestead land must be provided for SCs, STs and agricultural workers.

10. RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE SCHEME: The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act must be strictly implemented all over the country by involving the people, their mass organisations and the panchayati raj institutions. It should be extended to all districts and also to urban areas of the country.

11. PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM: The public distribution system must be universalised to ensure food to all. Until this is done, BPL ration cards must be issued to all poor families, many of whom are from SCs and STs. The grain under the BPL scheme should be made available at Antyodaya prices.

12. CREDIT: Agricultural credit to peasants and agricultural workers must be made available at 4 % rate of interest. For SCs and STs in both rural and urban areas, credit facilities should be expanded and the credit given at concessional interest rates.

13. BONDED LABOUR AND CHILD LABOUR: The total liberation and full rehabilitation of bonded labourers must be ensured. The pernicious practice of child labour must be abolished and children properly rehabilitated and educated. Similarly, total liberation and full rehabilitation must be ensured for Safaqi Karmacharis who are engaged in scavenging.

14. SCAVENGERS: Ensure total liberation and full rehabilitation for scavengers (safai karamcharis), ban engagement of contract labour in safai services and other services where SC and ST numerically predominate and instead introduce necessary improvements by involving such Karamcharis; and reactivate the Central Monitoring Committee for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis and State, Municipal and District Level communities.

15. INTERCASTE MARRIAGES: Intercaste marriages should be encouraged by giving special subsidized housing and other facilities to married couples immediately after their marriage. We should consciously try to uphold such inter-caste marriages and make them an event of big social participation and sanction.

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One Comment
  1. bhupinder singh permalink
    Wednesday, September 27, 2006 11:18 pm

    I have been following the chain of posts on your blog on the CPM’s resolution on caste in India.

    The trouble is that the Communist movement in general and the CPM in particular has been led primarily by Brahmins. Hence it’s resolutions and documents are little more than lip service.

    The mainstream communist parties in India- the CPI and the CPM have provided little space for those from the non- Brahminal/ dominant castes.

    This is one of the reasons that despite that resurgence of lower caste politics in the last 2 decades, the communist parties have not gained anything from this resurgence.

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