Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Bangalore Declaration

The Bangalore Declaration
Adopted Unanimously By
All India Consultation: For A New Course of Cultural Politics of Indigenous People towards Critical Social Action for Transformation
Organised by
NAFRE –People’s Movement
Held at, Bangalore between 13-15th of October 2008

We the representatives and social activists from NAFRE peoples movement, assembled at the All India Consultation at Bangalore between 13-15 October 2008, to deliberate on the origin, machination and implications of the Contemporary Cultural Politics of Social Exclusion, Religious Marginalisation and Communal Fascism as experienced by the vast majority of indigenous people of this Indian Sub-Continent:

Declare our belief in establishing a democratic society based on the culture of Justice, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity, as envisioned by Buddha, Mahatma Jyothi Rao Phule E.V.R.Periyaar, and Baba saheb Ambedkar,
Reveal that for centuries our Children from marginalised communities are snatched of their potential childhood where they are continued to be deprived, divided, excluded, enslaved, victimised and continued to be imposed with worst forms of violence unleashed by every structure of oppression/exploitation and exclusion which are sustained and controlled by the politics of hegemony.

Understand the ploy that Brahmanism has already laid strong foundation in the larger Indian mindset with Varnashrama Dharma, it polarises the entire society and ascribes caste, religious, gender, national, cultural based identities that becomes the source of all forms of discrimination, segregation, exclusion and persecution.

Recognise that the hegemonic ideology of Brahmanism is born out of the segregation of society into various unequal social groups with graded inequalities, destined by the birth of a person attaching with the notion of purity-impurity in order to produce, reproduce and sustain power, hegemony and control ,

Understand that the various streams of native philosophical structures basing itself with the common chord of materialism starting from Shramanism to Buddhism have been either co-opted or wiped out based on its levels of resistance against Brahmanism,
Identify that the contemporary crisis as imposed by the cultural ideology of Brahmanism and its functions through structured institutions like Caste, Patriarchy, Religion and Nation State.

Recognise that contrary to Brahmanical cultural Ideology, the indigenous cultural streams have promoted the Dignity of Individuals and Community, belief in Collective Ownership, Collective Wisdom, Collective life, celebrating symbiotic relationship with nature and belief in non-exploitative and non-hegemonic cultural fabric for thousands of years,

Recognise that Women, Dalits, Adhivasis, coastal communities all other Indigenous communities who continued to uphold the mantle of anti-Brahmanic, anti-Varnashrama cultural politics are the ultimate critical mass who will create and lead the alternate political culture ,

Analyse that the institutions of family, caste, religion, culture, politics where women from various social strata are subjugated to different levels of violence, discrimination, intimidation, cultural slavery and persecutions, including the dehumanised practice of prostitution are the creations of Brahmanical patriarchy.

Recognise that women especially from Dalit communities face multiple forms of discrimination and marginalisation including caste based, religious based and patriarchal ideology and practices,

Recognise that under the yoke of caste system, the entire social groups as Scheduled Castes (Dalits) are denied of any civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and are destined to live in servitude,

Recognise the fact that the theory of one Nation was promoted by the dominant caste groups led by the ideology of Hinduism (Brahmanism),curtailing the aspirations and natural evolution of several independent nations/nationalities in this sub-continent,

Understand that Brahmanism that got consolidated during the period of British Colonialism has also entrenched itself as Hinduism in state, Politics, Governance, Economics, culture and continue to rule and divide the people into imaginary majority and minorities to discriminate and persecute members of other religions like Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, etc

Understand that in the name of Religion what is attempted by the protagonist of Hindutva is not an issue of faith alone, but more the politics of polarising communities one against the other like Hindu vs Muslim, Hindu vs Christian, Hindu vs Dalits, Hindu vs Adivasis, etc in order to consolidate the Brahmanical Political hegemony,

Identify that the politics of Brahmanism and its culture of intolerance have already played havoc, more so in the post-independence period by unleashing communal tensions, wars where loss of life and blood shedding has seriously broken the canvass of cultural harmony resulting in communal fascism leading to mass murder and xenophobia

Recognise the fact that the remaining tribals across the sub-continent are under perennial and heavy pressure of the same Brahmanical forces to come under the system of slavery and in collusion with imperialist forces has been massively depriving not only their livelihood, resource base but also tribal’ culture and religious distinctness,

Recognise the ongoing war on the Nagas, Mizos and others of the North-Eastern Region is the ploy of the same Brahmanical Exclusion and in opposition to that the People’s aspiration towards self-determination to be upheld and implemented,

Understand the fact that the very intent of our constitution - equality, Democracy, freedom and Secularism – have been defeated by the successive governments and instead promoted the politics of hegemony in every structure and systems like - governance, legal and judicial system, economy, politics, education, infrastructure and control over natural resources and therby denying life with dignity to all historically marginalised communities.

Understand that the historical ploy of excluding the vast majority of the indigenous people from accessing quality education is to deprive human development by excluding them from knowledge and scientific/rational thinking, and this ploy creates the fertile ground to advance the rule of hegemony basing itself on mass illiteracy and ignorance ,

Recognise the fact that today the neo Brahmanism has colluded with the Neo-imperialism has brought draconian development policies (like SEZ, CMZ, all round privatisation) have further marginalised and excluded the historically disadvantaged communities, and imposed acute conditions of human existence (malnutrition, suicide and hunger deaths), livelihood crisis, deprived human development, forced migration, large scale displacement, etc have all resulted in shattered community life of vast majority of the indigenous people,

Recognising this form of vulgar development has opened the gate for restriction of development of people’s science, technology, art and literature and massively repressed individuals of all communities from the natural flow of healthy development but emerged as a source of Brahmanical version of capitalism, industry, trade, banking and all other branches of human life,

Analyse that clearly that the political hegemony of Brahmanism today has undermined the spirit of Socialism- being the core of our Constitution and enacted wholesale Privatisation blatantly denying the right of the vast majority of Indigenous Communities, from the access and control over the natural-common property resources and their rightful share in the country’s wealth (Land, Water, Forest, Coastal and Marine, mines and Minerals, Energy sources,) including Market,
Recall the struggles that innumerable leaders like Jyothiba Phule, Narayanguru, Ayothidas Pandithar, Periyar EVR, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Paditha.Ramabai, Rettamalai Srinivasan, have waged valiant struggles for the emancipation of the indigenous people of this country fighting the conspiracy of Brahmanism,

We, the undersigned unanimously consider these declaration vital keeping the future of our children at centre , Resolve to re-dedicate ourselves to take forward the struggle of the indigenous community to end all forms of domination, oppression, exploitation and achieve the human liberation and a life with dignity for all..

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Uttar Pradesh: Diary of Gahru Musahar

Uttar Pradesh: Diary of Gahru Musahar

Shruti Nagvanshi/Tara 24/4/2008 7:59:44 PM(IST)

My village is Belwa, Badepur in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, there are two brick kilns in my village, but I don’t work there. One brick Kiln owner is of Ramashraj Singh and the other one is Rajendra Tripathi. I had a dispute with Tripati.

I have a pending case against him, where I was working. There were many labourers with me, out of which my sister in law dies, she required money, I was the head of labour, and on getting no money from Tripatti. Then I went to another brick kiln, in Prem Nagar of Nand Nal Chaurasia’s brick kiln. There is one vehicle Tiwari’s 10-12 people came to abuse me, and surrounded me, and then I told them that you have abused my mother. If you go ahead to abuse my sister or daughter, it will not be right. You are more people and we being less, then what? We will hit you with brick-stone whatever we will get.

Then I said it’s all right if you want, I should accompany you and warn for you. So I am ready, then I returned to Belwa. I was not well. I was sleeping at home. Tiwari’s advocate and police came to my home. They asked me if I worked at brick kiln. I said, “yes”.

They said come along Saheb (officers) has come and calling you. SDM (Sub-divisional Magistrate) did not visit Tiwari’s home and there were some of my relatives who were labours. Magistrate asked whether they had any problem. They did not reply under fear as to they had no problems. When he asked me, I narrated all my problems as to I have to work forcibly. On asking our wages, they say as to whether I have worked for him and earned. I answered, “I have worked as a laborer there, why I am demanding money?”

There was recorded in writing, my 1420 Rupees was due, magistrate to get down to police station, all went to police station Ajay Rai (Mafia MLA), Baba Singh influential Ex.block chief (Block Pramukh) were present from Tiwari’s side. They were staring me, I was afraid. I still face them -----. SDM the magistrate said that from the time I was posted in Mirzapur since then I was hearing complaints about Tiwari Pradhan (village chief).

I said we are working since years for him. Had he cared us, he would have improved condition. But the barren Pond, lake all has been taken possession by him. Tiwari said, “I will give money tomorrow. Then the magistrate said you give money just now, and then his cashier went and brought money and gave us. After this I change my way for reaching home. On the way I thought few people are moving around to kill me, on the other side Patel’s of my village worried about me whether they might kill me, I narrated the whole story then they got relief.

My elder brother Bhothu Musahar when asked for wages from Tiwary, Tiwary in front of his door and hardly gave Shabby abuses and beated him, and threaten to kill him of which a complain was made to Dr. Lenin of P.V.C.H.R. by my elder brother due to this administrative people come. When those people surrounded us, I told my brother that we are only two and they are around fifty so here we have to keep quite otherwise we would be in danger.

Tiwary used to say that his money was due on the other hand we people use to make 1200 to 1400 bricks per week then where was our wages? At that time I with my family use to work there. Every week they pay for fooding allowance where the rest wages, rest wages is with him. If we take 4000 rupees in advance then we will reimburse them after the few weeks of working but owner always showing deficit on us. We also calculate our wages that now we reimburse all advance now its my earnings but owner fails our calculations and we were remain in deficit. This year my health is not good that’s why I don’t want to work there but I have advance amount by the owner that is why I am here for reimbursement.

From police station our case closed then I go to P.V.C.H.R.’s office with my brother Bhothu then case started again now it is pending in court.

After this I went to Chanddigarh [capital of Haryana and Punjab] in a meeting there were many peoples talking about rights.

I don’ have good relation with Ramashray Singh earlier I worked with him around one year, my wife was pregnant at that time and she was severely ill, for her treatment I demand my wages with him he refused, from that day I never use to go in his brick kiln. He didn’t pay my wage, he was just giving 75 rupees to me what can we do with 75 rupees. Then I put the jewelry of my brother in laws wife as security and got 1200 rupees and then went to my father in laws home there I saw my wife gave birth. After that I went with my family to Deen Dayalpur where my sister is living, there we start working and there also dispute due to improper payment of wages that’s why we left that place also. After that I went to Surat for six months there I worked in mango orchard and getting fix amount of rupees 2500 per month.

There people quarried by me that how much you earn per month then I told them then one man ask to me that if you collect the fallen mangoes from ground and you sell them in market you earn more money. I used this and I earn 1000 rupees. But I was not feeling well there because my 4-year-old daughter died named Rani due to Diarrhea, within two hour she died I couldn’t do anything for saving her life. Due to this I turned unconscious. If I did not left my place then certainly I turned to mad, there I feel that another daughter (Jeera) is not well. Then I talked with my employer if you don’t give me leave then I must ruined your orchard with stick. Then he tried to convince me and said ok after some day I will arrange your ticket then you go back to your home. My ticket was of general class and I sat in sleeper class, due to this I was penalized by TTE in train. The rupees, which were earned by me of selling mangoes, spent there. Neither had I bought cloth for me not for my family members. When I reached home I heard that draft for rehabilitation is there amount of rupees 20,000 for me. Then I quarried with my brother why you didn’t receive that draft? He replied that he will come back then I give him. Same day I went to Dr. Lenin’s place and from then Lenin and I went to labour office. Lenin consulted with assistant labour commissioner. On second day shruti and I went to labour office and received the draft. There ALC quarried with me, what do you do with these Rupees? I replied sir neither I use to drink liquor nor I gambler and not a cheater also. We are hard working people’s and we follow the way of truth due to this we are deprived. I want to graze goat from this amount then officer objected no goats died due to diseases then I said I graze pig. I bought two pig kids of rupees 5000, and from rupees 2000 I bought husk and other eatable materials for pig kids. Up to now I spent nearby 12000 rupees on pigs, when I sold them then I recovered my investment, if I sell them now I can’t recovered my investment now its time to feed them properly and sell them after one or two year. In home every people demand money from me but I denied and reply them that I daily wage labour I am working and earning I can’t withdraw that money you people eat and enjoy with my wage. I have to return some money to moneylender but I am not using this money for return them. I promised with labour commissioner that I would graze pig I am grazing pig only from that money. When I opened my bank account at that time I with drawled 500 rupees for medicines and food for family after that nothing with drawl. I have to pay back loan of Chunnu singh and Pancham.

I had to pray on 9th day of navratri, one priest meted with me and he suggested me for special prayer I made arrangements by taking loan, but priest didn’t come he ditch me, then I will make prayer by myself and give back money to Chunnu singh and Pancham Singh rupees 500 each. Now I give them some money with joined hand, sir please receive this much rest I will give you later if you want now please make us bonded we will work at your home. I took 1500 rupees by Pancham for prayer. And by Chunnu Singh for giving bribe to village development officer (village secretary) at Gazipur district. That fellow was dalit and he promised to me I will arrange loan from bank to you then you start your some business but you have to spend some money before. I thought if I got loan then I do some business. For this 1000 or 2000 if I have to invest then its ok. I took 5000 rupees by Chunnu singh and give him, I had some fix deposit I withdrawal that also and give him. During receiving loan we five people use to go there because the amount is 80,000 to 85,000 rupees, we are afraid of robbery on way, for this I have to bear fare and other expenditures of way like eating and smoking and we are not working those days.

My brother sold his land, we have two sisters, and I bear all expenditure of their marriage by my wages then after selling land my brother gives money to me I refused and said keep it in your account then brother said no marriage of sisters is your responsibility that’s why you keep this money. Due to the village secretary my fix deposits spends and on my head there is loan also.

The land was 10 biswa having name of lalchand, there is another 10 biswa land having name of Ramdular but on that land muscleman are possessed.

I don’t have good relation with my upper caste villagers, they can’t pay properly. Other place if I got less 10 rupees I fought for that, here in this brick kiln I am watching if they don’t pay properly I will make powerful legal case against owner. Owner knew that I am associated with P.V.C.H.R. that’s why he behaves with me kindly but he use to misbehave with other peoples. Alternate day he comes to the brick kiln and we have gossip also and once I helped him in his problem.

I will tell you later when it will right time to tell. If he follows the right way then its ok otherwise we will see. Here at this brick kiln I am working for makeup the loan this year, if I will success in makeup then from next year I will work at my home and I will increase my pig grazing.

My other villagers took the loan but they didn’t come to work that’s why I am working here for makeup, when I will go back then there must be quarrel with my neighbors that here I am working in such hot and crucial situation and they are enjoying at home.

I am very transparent in account some time I had dispute with my father, I always use to say take money with me and give me the particulars it doesn’t matter whether you enjoy with money or do something.

At 12 or 2 am I awoke, as the soil is wet and start working up to the sun become hottest during this I can’t take rest of little bit. From 10 am to 12 pm preparing the food and after eating take rest up to 2 pm then again started smashing and wetting soil for tomorrow it will take 5 hours then manage the dry bricks and up to 9 pm after taking the dinner I go to bed for rest. Its very tough task you can’t talk with any one if you talk then you have to work late night. No any spare time sleeping is possible is in noon only. Due to very hot no sleepiness at night.

Shruti Nagvanshi is founder of Savitri Bai Phule Women Forum(SWF) and Ms. Tara is associate of SWF.