One central challenge facing contemporary India – caste as an institution of oppression and social discrimination and its relationship to class, justice, and democracy. This challenge has to be viewed largely through the powerful lens provided by Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life, struggles, studies and experimentation in ideas in the social sciences, supplementing this with some fairly brief concluding observations on this subject.

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BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR a Compassionate Rebel

S.N. Sahu, Joint Secretary, Rajya Sabha Secretariat

In the annals of India’s modern history spanning our freedom struggle two towering personalities—Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Dr B.R. Ambedkar—rose on their own and that too not under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Dr Ambedkar was one of the worst victims of untouchability. He was deliberately humiliated and excluded just because he was born as a Mahar, one of the lowest category of castes in the Dalit community in Maharashtra. After he came from Columbia University and joined the office of the Maharaja of Gaikwad, a progressive ruler, peons belonging to high castes, instead of handing over files to him, used to throw them at him.

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Women in India

Women are generally understood as marginalised section of the society at large ordinarily dependent on her father  before marriage, the husband after and on her son, if her husband predeceases her. All opportunities to develop themselves are frustrated leading to psychological, social and mental health problems. This has been the position all over the world. The position of women in India has been dismal, notwithstanding that some of the gods being recognised as female goddesses and the fact of equality is recognised in Arthanareeswara concept of the god being a part male and part female.

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‘Not allowed’ to depose, writes to Bombay HC seeking inquiry.

A civic official, who believes in Buddhism and professes atheism, wants himself heard by either the Bombay High Court or the Supreme Court over what he says is a “neglected issue” when it comes to atheists such as himself. Sunil Bhalerao, in a letter written to the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, said that he was not allowed to depose in a local court as he refused to take oath on the Bhagavad Gita.The law degree holder, who also has a PhD, said that for him there is nothing beyond the Indian Constitution and he would rather take its oath in court on the Constitution.

During the Lok Sabha elections last year, Bhalerao, an Assistant Municipal Commissioner with the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation, was on election duty. Bhalerao and his Static Surveillance Team (SST) were on the lookout for any anomaly during the movement of vehicles, especially with the code of conduct in place. On April 5, 2014, at around 4.23 pm, his team intercepted a white Maruti Swift at Bhiwandi’s Sai Baba junction having the label of a political party and searched the car. The surveillance team, comprising a police constable, a videographer, a driver and Bhalerao himself, recovered Rs 6 lakh from the car’s boot. “As an officer on election duty, I had magisterial powers at that time. So, I arrested the owner and two others who were in the case and took them to the Shanti Nagar police station and got a case registered,” said Bhalerao, adding that the car belonged to a person named Ashok Thawani. A case was then registered under relevant sections of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. The first hearing in the case was in a Bhiwandi magistrate court before judge D P Kale on March 4, 2015. “As a crucial witness in the case, I had to depose before the judge giving the evidence,” said Bhalerao.

As he stood in the court’s witness box to give his evidence and statement, Bhalerao was to take an oath on the religious book. However, he refused to place his hand on the Gita and take oath, saying that he does not believe in God. The Assistant Municipal Commissioner, who believes in principles of Lord Buddha, finished his schooling in Thane and went on to purse Bachelor of Science in graduation at Mumbai’s Siddhartha College. “I went on to pursue LLB and LLM later from University of Mumbai,” he said.

“I told the judge that I do not mind taking oath on the Indian Constitution as I had done previously on three occasions in the Thane Sessions Court before judge Giridhari. However, the judge asked me to leave and I was not allowed to depose,” said Bhalerao. He said that the judge’s refusal not to allow him to take oath on the Constitution also amounts to its insult. “There should be an inquiry and the judge should be directed to record my evidence,” he wrote. For Bhalerao, readings on Dr B R Ambedkar and Buddhism changed his mind when he had just entered college.

“After I started believing in Buddhism, I realised one does not need to believe in God. Like how Hinduism, Islam and Christianity asks for believing in God or its messenger, I do not think I am a son of God. I am a son of man and that is what I want to believe in,” said Bhalerao.

Courtesy : The Indian Express

Editor answers

Q : I heard there was a hole in the wall of the Thiruchendur Subramanya  temple and the backward class people were allowed to enter through this hole to see and worship the deity there. Is it true?
- K.M.Sivanesan, Thenkasi

Ans : Yes. It is true, true, true. There was such an ingenious way of making collections from  such poor people making use of their devotion and ignorance!

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