Thursday, January 28, 2016

Rohith Vemula story

from severtal people Rohith Vemula-An Unfished Portrait
I am enclosing some of the comments I made on different FB walls: Benjamin P Kaila, Pramadahnath Sastry, and J.K. Mohana Rao. I made contacts with some Dalit activists through Benjamin Kaila about ten years ago.
1)I am a bit surprised by this statement in the article "He says that there were only a few casteist elements on campus and most of the teachers were secular at the Hindu College in Guntur." If it is true, there is hope. I used to chat with people of my father's generation who studied in this college. My impressions is that many kammas who studied here in thise days resented the brahmin dominance ( many leaders in political parties , Pattabhi Seetharamaiah, Perepa Mrityijajudu... , were brahhmins) and cut their teeth there for political representation and later dominance. Anyway, my imporession is some of the castes who came up, did that throuh cooperative societies, hostels, entrepreneurs who were helped by their communities to start new enterprises (kammas, Nadars, Iranian chai restaurants..). Most communities have poor people and in our endoamous societies people tend to help their relatives. So one strategy may be somewhat seperate casteist enterprises by dalits.
2) Related thoughts from a few years ao (some of the links do not work now)
3)More recent. For the last ten years, I have been invoved in some dalit struggles but from afar. Two years ao, i met a dalit boy who finished B.Tech. via resrvations , but could not find a job and was working as a agricultural labourer along with his parents. Interestingly a brahmin classmate of his who came up through regular channels did well and immediately ot a job. She liked the boy and wanted to marry him. He did not want to marry until he got a job and helped his parents. I advised him to take training and job-placement courses and forced some money on him He went to Hyderabad but tried to save money on food and got sick. Meanwhile I wrote to several people for advice and placement possibilities. There was no response from any dalit activists I contacted. I saw an advertisement about a dalit placement aency in Vijayawada and could not decide whether it was bogus or not. One brahmin Ph.d. student and another non-dalit IT professional Avineni Bhaskar offered to help. Meanwhile the boy got an apprenticeship in an a government enterprice, just enouh to get by, and is progressing. It seems that dalits are not really using their market power to build enough institutions in which they can help themselves. There should be some focus on building cooperative socities, institutions which help dalit entrepreneurs... And role models are movin away to cities or foreign countries to avoid oppression back home. Some stray thoughts from an outsider.

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