ILLEGAL ARREST AND INCARCERATION WITHOUT ANY END IN SIGHT
Sri Sharada Sarvagya Peeth
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.”
ILLEGAL ARREST AND INCARCERATION WITHOUT ANY END IN SIGHT
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.”
ILLEGAL ARREST AND INCARCERATION WITHOUT ANY END IN SIGHT
‘I say that as a result of the custodial violence/torture, mental stress, anxiety that were developed in the process, I was subjected to, I developed acute abdominal and kidney pains. I lost my appetite, became nauseous and giddy and prone to having bouts of unconsciousness’.
Sadhvi Pragya in 2008 Sadhvi Pragya today
https://sites.google.com/site/indiawikicable/home?pli=1 Update of March 26, 2011
Americans interfere on “Dalit” related stuff.
Viewing cable 05NEWDELHI4761, SOCIOECONOMIC FUTURE OF INDIAN DALITS REMAINS BLEAK
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05NEWDELHI47612005-06-22 13:012011-03-25 01:01CONFIDENTIALEmbassy New Delhi
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
221344Z Jun 05C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 NEW DELHI 004761
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/06/2015
TAGS: PHUM PGOV ECON ELAB IN
SUBJECT: SOCIOECONOMIC FUTURE OF INDIAN DALITS REMAINS BLEAK
Classified By: DCM Bob Blake for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
¶1. (C) Summary: Embassy interlocutors report that after one year of UPA rule, limited government efforts to improve dalit (formerly called “”untouchables””) socioeconomic status have shown little success, ensuring that they continue to face severe economic and social discrimination. Government reservation laws do not extend to the private sector, the largest and fastest growing segment of the economy. Most experts believe the key to ending discrimination is a comprehensive education campaign starting at the primary level to teach acceptance of dalits, a topic completely absent from India’s public school system. Despite the political success of dalits such as current Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ram Vilas Paswan, dalits’ failure to organize at the national level has limited their ability to demand equal rights. Until the Indian majority increases pressure to change the status quo, many dalits will remain trapped below the poverty line in manual labor jobs with few mechanisms for upward mobility. End Summary.
Discrimination Remains Despite Legal Protection
¶2. (U) Dalits, who make up approximately 16% of India’s population, roughly 166 million people, occupy the lowest position in the social structure and face constant and severe discrimination. Formerly called “”untouchables”” because “”caste Hindus”” believe they can be “”polluted”” by having any contact with them, most dalits remain trapped at the bottom rung of the caste ladder. In fact, most “”caste Hindus”” consider them to be so low as to be outside the caste system altogether.
¶3. (C) Despite the passage of the Anti-Untouchability Act of 1955 and the Prevention of Atrocities Act of 1989, crimes against dalits are still a major social problem, and discrimination is widespread. According to Jawarahal Nehru University Professor and Director of the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies SK Thorat, all of the trappings of untouchability remain in rural India and rampant job discrimination occurs in India’s cities and towns. Thorat recently told Poloff that the approximately 18,000 caste-related discrimination cases filed annually with the Indian government are only a small fraction of the actual number. Vastly more cases go unreported, because dalits in rural areas still live under feudal systems and cannot risk angering their high-caste landlords. Thorat also commented that only the most serious and well-publicized acts of caste discrimination receive the attention of the Indian authorities.
¶4. (C) Ram Nath Kovind, himself a dalit and a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, expressed a more positive view to Poloff recently, stating that “”open”” discrimination against dalits has decreased dramatically over the last decade, while the number of persons who genuinely care about helping dalits has increased. He maintained that while discrimination persists in the housing sector, employment decisions are usually free from bias. Executive Director of the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Center Ravi Nair agreed that employment discrimination against dalits has decreased over the last decade, while access to housing often remains based on caste.
The Reservation System
¶5. (U) The GOI uses a system of “”reservations,”” similar to affirmative action programs in the US, in an attempt to ameliorate the social and economic disparities resulting from the caste system. Under the system, dalits receive government-mandated, numerical quotas in government employment and education programs. The law requires the state to allocate approximately 16 percent of government jobs, seats in schools, the Parliament and State Assemblies, and public housing be to “”scheduled”” castes and tribes. These schedules contain a list of underprivileged groups determined by the government to need social assistance. There are no reservations for dalits in the military or the private sector.
¶6. (C) Nair argued that the reservation system has only been partially successful in empowering dalits, because they often discriminate against each other. For example, in North India, a subgroup of dalits known as the Jatevs have become very successful in the leather industry. Nair indicated that this group of dalits would never help other dalit groups in the area, such as the Bhangi, which they consider lower. He observed that due to the many strata within each caste, the reservation system has created a “”creamy layer”” of successful people within the dalit community. In general, these groups have focused on solidifying their own positions rather than helping to empower other dalits, Nair stated.
¶7. (C) Professor Thorat judged the reservation system as “”only a partial success”” and maintained that its effectiveness will decline in the future, because discrimination is rampant in the private sector, which is creating the most new jobs. Himself a dalit, Professor Thorat claimed that high-caste Hindus would almost always hire another caste Hindu over a dalit, even if the dalit were fully qualified for the job. He theorized that the religious basis of the caste system, which teaches that dalits hold their social position due to mistakes made in a prior life, allows caste Hindus to discriminate without guilt. BJP MP Kovind disagreed with Thorat, asserting to Poloff that current legislation has to a large degree been successful in protecting dalit rights, but that India still has work to do to end discrimination, citing increasing dalit access to primary education as a place to start.
¶8. (C) Centuries of discrimination have confined most dalits to the lowest paying jobs. Thorat claimed that 70% of all dalits live in rural areas, and over 90% work in the agricultural sector as unskilled or day laborers. Most of the remainder are employed in manual, unskilled labor jobs in urban areas. Given these facts, he argued that only 5% of the working dalit population has actually benefited from the Indian reservation law. He acknowledged that while GOI poverty alleviation programs help dalits, the government does not strictly monitor them and many are never implemented. Thorat asserted that the vast majority of dalits are denied upward socioeconomic mobility due to lack of access to education, land, and capital. Kovind commented that the true basis of discrimination is economic in nature rather than caste-based, as the “”haves discriminate against the have nots”” and use the caste system to perpetuate differences between economic groups. Comparing the caste system to the trade guilds in feudal Europe (in that certain groups performed specific jobs), he added that under the caste system persons acquire their trade at birth, while the guilds allowed job mobility. Caste factors are now used to protect jobs and livelihoods more than anything else, Kovind argued.
Poor Prospects for Improvement
¶9. (C) Thorat and Justice Party President and Chairman of the All-India Confederation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Organizations Dr. Udit Raj commented to us recently that despite India’s growing economy, the outlook for dalits remains bleak. According to Thorat, globalization and economic liberalization have actually hurt dalit prospects for progress and social mobility. Raj argued that liberalization will shift more of the economy from the public to the private sector, where hiring managers are almost exclusively from high castes and constantly discriminate against dalits, denying them the opportunities guaranteed by reservations. Unlike the United States, India has no equal opportunity law applicable to the private sector, which means that the rapidly expanding private sector is under no compulsion to hire dalits, while the public sector will have fewer jobs to offer. Kovind predicted that caste-based discrimination will exist for at least the next 50-100 years in India. He suggested that since the Hindu religion condones caste, it will take longer for the GOI to end caste discrimination in India than it will take to eradicate racial discrimination in the US.
¶10. (C) Sangh Priya Guatam, a dalit BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state and one of its poorest, agreed that dalits will be left behind in a globalizing world and that job reservations in the private sector would be an important tool to ensure equality. Guatam stated that the BJP favors private sector reservations and would like the UPA government to take up the issue in Parliament and not rely on the private sector to develop a solution. Thorat confirmed that a Ministerial Commission is researching the issue of reservations in the private sector. Raj did not expect positive results, commenting that the private sector fears losing competitiveness, especially in the information technology realm, should the GOI extend reservations to private industry. Thorat and Raj both denied that private sector reservations would hurt productivity, as many qualified dalit applicants could fill reserved slots. Kovind stated that the BJP favors reservations in the private sector and will pressure the UPA government to institute them.
GOI-CII Agreement on Reservations
¶11. (C) Thorat asserted that a June 2 agreement between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will likely prevent the extension of reservations to the private sector. Under the agreement, the GOI will not press for government-legislated private sector reservations for dalits. In exchange, the CII pledged to promote vocational skill advancement programs for dalits in the private sector. Thorat agreed that vocational programs are necessary, but will not help dalits as much as reservations. Raj concurred, stating that with a rapidly growing population and an excess of workers, high-caste hiring managers will always choose non-dalits, regardless of qualifications, unless the law forces them to do otherwise.
¶12. (C) Dalits view the GOI-CII agreement as yet another mechanism to maintain the status quo, according to Raj. He argued that with the BJP and Congress dominated by upper-castes with little interest in increasing opportunities for the lower castes, both parties have abandoned platforms aimed at empowering the poor and elevating the socioeconomic status of dalits, while Congress has exploited its secular identity to justify inaction. The high castes want to preserve the status quo because they benefit from it. A large segment of the population living in desperation guarantees a pool of workers willing to work for minuscule salaries and perform the most menial jobs. Raj anticipates that the CII,s promise to offer vocational training to dalits will never be adequately implemented and is unlikely to increase dalit employment opportunities.
¶13. (C) Education programs for Indian youth to increase egalitarian attitudes are the only way to truly break caste discrimination, according to Thorat and Raj, although they asserted that the initiative needed to centrally mandate such education in all public schools is absent. Raj proffered that the upper-castes have enjoyed thousands of years of free access to education, at the expense of dalits. These same castes remain in control of India’s educational institutions and, consequently, few administrators wish to mandate or incorporate education programs advocating dalit equality. Thorat and Raj contend that the human rights awareness classes currently offered in some schools are wholly inadequate, as they do not cover caste discrimination or critically investigate the unjust norms regarding interpersonal relationships between dalits and the caste Hindus still practiced today. Raj pointed out that until such education programs are implemented, schools will serve as breeding grounds for prejudice, and upper caste children will continue to learn that it is permissible to discriminate against dalits. He argued that the present system teaches caste Hindus that it is acceptable to cheat dalits and discriminate against them.
¶14. (C) Reservations in public education institutions have not translated into enhanced socioeconomic status for dalits, according to Thorat. Schools and teachers are unable to keep up with the growing numbers of children, and dalits are usually the first children denied an education when resources are scarce. Therefore, many dalits have no access to the primary education necessary to qualify for education-based reservations in the university system. Since public schools frequently offer substandard education, and the vernacular education they provide is held in low regard, few members of the Indian elite and middle class attend them. This leaves private, English-medium education as the principal tool for upward mobility. As a result, argues Raj, GOI-enforced dalit reservation in public schools has not led to increased social mobility, and most dalits with access to education remain in manual, unskilled jobs that others refuse to take.
¶15. (C) Raj also questioned whether the GOI was committed to taking effective action to end discrimination against dalits, claiming that most members of the Indian Commission on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which investigates violations of anti-caste discrimination law are from the upper castes and not genuinely interested in the plight of dalits. As a result, the Commission overlooks most day-to-day discrimination to concentrate on a few highly publicized acts of violence or discrimination, he stated.
Dalit Rights Movements
¶16. (U) Dalits’ perception of their plight varies from region to region, according to Thorat. He noted that the civil rights agitation for dalits began in South India with the “”self-respect movement”” in the early 20th century. Consequently, dalits in the South have seen more improvements than their counterparts in the North, where the movement for equality was much slower and began only after Partition in 1947. As a result, Northern dalits generally harbor greater ill will towards the upper castes than those in the South, because of the higher and more recent levels of discrimination against them.
¶17. (U) This finds expression in the bitter caste-based politics of the North India “”Hindi Belt”” which has spawned such parties as the dalit-based Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Uttar Pradesh and its fiery leader Mayawati, who routinely rails against the excesses of “”caste Hindus,”” while pledging to openly discriminate in favor of dalits. In South India, the dalit agenda has been largely absorbed by more broad-based regional parties such as the AIDMK and DMK in Tamil Nadu, or the Communists in Kerala.
¶18. (U) With dalits estimated to constitute from 16% to 27% of the Indian population, the lack of progress for dalits has both political and social implications. Their lack of access to jobs in the growing private sector, and limited access to land and capital, has led increasing numbers of dalits to convert to other religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, which have not institutionalized caste, in hope of obtaining redress. However, for many, interpersonal and economic discrimination has continued despite conversion, as most caste Hindus in their local communities continue to regard them as dalits despite their change of religion.
¶19. (U) Thorat argued that political organizations have also proven ineffective. After 1947, most dalits pledged allegiance to Congress, but many became discouraged by what they viewed as the party’s failure to live up to its promises in the ensuing decades. With the departure of many dalits from Congress, their votes have become fragmented between numerous and disparate political organizations, preventing them from forming a cohesive lobby capable of pressuring the GOI to address their concerns. Congress is trying to convince dalits to return to the fold, but with little success, and they remain divided. Thorat and Raj argue that massive religious conversions or political organization have failed to provide necessary social change. With these avenues proving largely ineffective, dalits remain discouraged and fatalistic. Kovind, who heads the BJP’s dalit cell, disagreed, asserting that his party is determined to help dalits and shed the image that it is only an “”upper caste party.”” He argued that only a nationalist party like the BJP will succeed in fighting discrimination against dalits, as India cannot become a world power until dalits and low-caste persons are brought up to the level of the rest of society.
¶20. (C) Prominent human rights expert Nair stated that dalits need to take their case to the courts if they want to achieve emancipation. He argued that laws protecting dalits exist, but that they have not used them effectively, and that dalit groups do not use the large donations they receive from the government, the donor community and private sources effectively. He said that they should mirror the civil rights movement in the US and set up legal aid defense groups. These groups of lawyers would ensure that dalit cases are heard and judgments rendered against those who discriminate. Nair warned that nothing will change until people who discriminate go to jail or face stiff financial penalties. He did not expect dalits to implement his plan, because their leaders are more interested in rhetoric than doing the hard work required to mount a meaningful challenge in the courts.
¶21. (U) Despite widespread discrimination, a number of dalits have become successful. The highest profile case is that of K.R. Narayanan, who served as President of India from 1997-2002. Ram Vilas Paswan, currently holding two Ministerial level positions (Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Minister for Steel), is a very successful politician from Bihar. BSP president and a three-time Member of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh Mayawati is also a well-known dalit. However, these persons have all benefited from the reservation system and local interlocutors stated it unlikely that they would have reached these positions without affirmative action programs. The Dalit NGO Dalitawaz lists dalits from a wide range of professions, including doctors, lawyers, engineers and civil servants, indicating that, despite the odds, it is possible for members of this disenfranchised group to do well.
¶22. (C) While the UPA has focused on bettering the lot of the dalit community, it is dominated by upper caste Hindus, very few of whom are genuinely concerned about the plight of dalits. This ensures that dalits will continue to be an oppressed, discriminated group in India. Although the GOI has passed legislation and established government bodies to administer these laws, it has failed to attack the root of the problem. There are success stories, but acts of violence and prejudice against dalits, combined with government negligence, persist and there is little upward mobility among the dalit population. Without a broader, more comprehensive approach to teach tolerance and equality early in primary schools, it is unlikely that the social acceptance of caste-based discrimination will fade any time soon. The increasing dominance of the private sector in the economy could also result in greater economic polarization if there is no mechanism in place to combat job discrimination.
DMK returns to waters to reap election benefit
DNA / Kumar Chellappan / Monday, March 21, 2011 0:10 ISTThe DMK manifesto for the April 13 election in Tamil Nadu has once again brought the issue of interlinking of rivers to the fore.
Releasing the manifesto on Saturday, DMK president and Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi demanded nationalisation and interlinking of major peninsular rivers spread across Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and Maharashtra.
The last time the issue had come up was in 2004. A common minimum programme drafted by a committee headed by Jairam Ramesh immediately after the 2004 Lok Sabha election had listed interlinking of peninsular rivers as a major agenda.
But after becoming Union minister for environment and forests in UPA-II, Ramesh ruled out such an interlinking, saying, “It will lead to environmental disaster.”
Interestingly, neither DMK nor its allies in the UPA pressured the Centre after 2004 to initiate steps to link rivers.
“Instead of taking it up now, he [Karunanidhi] should have talked to chief ministers of other states and convinced them of the project,” an alliance partner said.
AB Vajpayee’s NDA government had formed a task force in 2002 under Suresh Prabhu of Shiv Sena to draw up an action plan to link Brahmaputra, Ganga, Yamuna, Mahanadi, Godavari, Cauvery and Krishna to rid the nation of recurring floods and droughts.
Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, a think tank of scientists and engineers headed by APJ Abdul Kalam, had advised the government to take up interlinking of rivers on a war footing. Kalam, who later became president of the nation, claimed that the Mumbai floods of 2005 would not have happened if rivers in the country had been linked through a network of canals.
“Our idea is to get floodwaters transferred to rivers facing severe shortage. This will ensure year-round availability of water in all rivers, which, in turn, will help increase the country’s agriculture production. A national river grid will also help generate at least 30,000 MW of clean and green energy,” S Kalyanaraman, chairman of Saraswathi Research Centre, a Chennai-based institute set up to study rivers, said.
URL of the article: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_dmk-returns-to-waters-to-reap-election-benefit_1522334-all
——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Kalyan Viswanathan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 9:57 PM
Subject: WAVES Conference on Varna, Jati and Kula – July 29-31, 2011 – Call for Papers
On behalf of the Conference Agenda Committee, of the World Association of Vedic Studies, (WAVES), it gives me great pleasure in announcing the WAVES conference on the theme “Varna, Jati and Kula – A Conference on India’s Caste system” to be held in July 2011.
Please find attached a “Call for Papers” document that provides the details and parameters for presenting papers and participating in the conference. The main objective of this conference is to allow Academicians, Scholars, Activists, Community Leaders, Field workers and, hopefully, various Gurus and Acharyas from a variety of sampradayas and paramparas (or their representatives) to participate together in a dialog on the subject of Varna, Jati and Kula – the constituents of what is termed as India’s Caste system.
We anticipate that the conference will lay the foundations for the synthesis of a definitive reference document, that will comprehensively address the subject of Caste, their origin in the Hindu conceptions of Varna, Jati and Kula, their historical development, the real and perceived issues around Caste and Caste based discrimination, as well as the geopolitical issues associated with their representation both within and outside the sphere of Hindu Society. We hope that such a reference document will further lead to the creation of a policy paper will not only provide practical guidance for Hindu Society but will also gain the consensus of a broad variety of Hindu leaders and scholars, thus growing into a historic document.
We cordially invite you to participate in this endeavor, by presenting a paper at the conference.
WAVES Conference Agenda Committee,
President, Sanatana Dharma Foundation
“Na hi Jnanena Sadrsam – There is nothing equivalent to knowledge”
The Bhagavad Gita – IV.38
Varna, Jati and Kula
A Conference on India’s Caste System
Call for Papers
Conference Schedule: July 29th through 31st, 2011
Location: Radisson Hotel Piscataway-Somerset, New Jersey
21 Kingsbridge Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854
There is perhaps no other aspect of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma, that elicits as much debate and controversy as the subject of India’s social order based on its ancient conceptions of Varna, Jati and Kula. Contemporary discussions of the subject tend to be extremely divisive to say the least, and can generate far more heat than light, especially when Hindus attempt to frame a representative narrative of the phenomenon. The fact that much of this narrative has been generated by non-Indic scholarship in the past few centuries further vitiates our own understanding of this social order. The influence of Colonial scholarship on India is so pervasive that many well-meaning Hindus themselves tend to have a very distorted and incomplete view of this social order. Moreover there are many vested interests who have exploited the fissures that arise naturally within this social organization for multifarious personal ends, ranging from conversion of Hindus to other faiths, creation of political vote banks and other forms of personal advancement. In recent years, Caste identities appear to be acquiring a renewed strength and vitality based on Caste based political mobilization and reservations. In the year 2011, the Census of India’s population will once again ask people their Caste affiliation – a question they had not asked for 80 years since 1931, thereby placing Caste at the center stage once more. At the same time, Governments of many countries stand ready to indict India and its society for what in their view is its continued practice of Caste based discrimination and perceived human rights violations.
In this background, it is very important that Hindus have a well-articulated position on this topic, developed on the basis of a broad consensus amongst the various constituents of Hindu Society, that can be used both as a foundation for internal dialogue and understanding as well as for communication with the external world. While recognizing that building a consensus within Hindu society is as necessary as it is difficult, WAVES (World Association of Vedic Studies) would like to make a small beginning in this regard.
At the 8th biennial WAVES conference held on August 4 through 7, 2010 at Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the participants of the WAVES Conference recommended the need for a position paper, on the topic of Varna, Jati and Kula and constituted a committee to address this subject. On August 11, 2010 a group of ministers headed by the Finance Minister of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee recommended the inclusion of Caste in the decennial census in India. In September 2010, the Government of India cleared this Caste based census and decreed that it will be conducted during the months of June through September 2011.
A number of learned Acharyas and Gurus have called for observations and comments from a wide circle of credible voices from across the Hindu community, to build a consensus on the subject of Varna, Jati and Kula. The Board of Directors of WAVES decided in January 2011 to convene a Conference to facilitate this much needed discussion on Varna, Jati and Kula.
The objectives of this conference is to allow Academicians, Scholars, Activists, Community Leaders, Field workers and, hopefully, various Gurus and Acharyas from a variety of sampradayas and paramparas (or their representatives) to participate together in a dialog on the subject of Varna, Jati and Kula – the constituents of what is termed as India’s Caste system. We acknowledge the inherent difficulty of any one individual, one group of people or one organization being able to produce a definitive view on the Caste system, which as an institution has survived perhaps more than five millennia in India, and encompasses a vast population of nearly a billion people across the length and breadth of India. Through papers and panel discussions, we anticipate that diverse views on the topic will be granted space for expression, which will represent an opportunity for learning and sharing for all who participate in this dialog. We expect that minimally, a compilation of the papers presented at the conference will be published and will represent resource material for the future. We anticipate that the conference will also lay the foundations for the synthesis of a more definitive policy paper that addresses the perceived and real issues of Caste and Caste based discrimination and its representation both within and outside the sphere of Hindu Society. We hope that such a policy paper will not only provide practical recommendations but will also gain the consensus of a broad variety of Hindu leaders and scholars, thus growing into a historic document for Hindu society itself.
Submissions of papers are invited from Academicians, Scholars, Acharyas and Gurus (or their representatives), Activists, Community Leaders and Field workers, Leaders of NGO’s working with under-privileged segments of society. A preliminary list of categories, (by no means exhaustive) in which papers are being sought is given below.
Historical perspectives on Varna, Jati and Kula :
· Origin and practice of the Varna, Jati and Kula system through India’s history
· The major phases of development of the Varna, Jati and Kula system
· Socio-economic and cultural values of the Varna, Jati and Kula system
· Islamic Rule and its impact on the Varna, Jati and Kula system
· British rule and its impact on the Varna, Jati and Kula
· Bhakti and other Hindu reform movements and their impact on Varna, Jati and Kula
· Buddhism and Jainism and their intersection with Varna, Jati and Kula
· Post Independent India and Varna, Jati and Kula
· Voices of Hindu spiritual and social leaders on the subject of Varna, Jati and Kula
· Voices of foreigners on India’s social order through the ages
· Colonial and European studies in Caste and their impact
Scriptural – Shastra based perspectives on Varna, Jati and Kula :
· Scriptural support from Shruti literature i.e. Veda and Upanishad on Varna and Jati
· Smriti literature and their problems related to Varna and Jati
· Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita on Varna and Jati
· Other Shastras – Arthashastra, Nitishastra etc. on Varna and Jati
· Distinctions and relations between Varna, Jati and Kula
· Do Scriptures sanction Caste based discrimination and birth based hierarchies?
· The role of Dharmashastras in today’s Hindu society
Perspectives on Human Rights and Civil Rights :
· History of human rights and civil rights
· Is Caste a Human rights issue?
· The problem of viewing Varna, Jati and Kula through a Western lens
· Duties and Responsibilities versus Rights and Privileges
· Human dignity and Human rights
· Individual social mobility versus group social mobility
· Current problems of Caste based discrimination and oppression
· Lower Caste perspectives on Caste
Politicization of Caste after India’s independence :
· Empowerment of lower Castes
· Lower Caste movements in India
· Caste based politics and political formations
· Regional stories on Caste based politics
· Political parties and their exploitation of Caste
· Caste based reservations and their impact
· Reverse discrimination and its impact
Geo-Political issues related to Caste :
· HAF Caste report – Need, Approach, Impact, Value and Agenda
· Representation of Caste to Western Society – Challenges and Opportunities
· Is the US the best place to discuss Caste? Pros and Cons.
· Earning a seat and joining the dialog on Caste – Pre-conditions and prospects
· Exploitation of Caste issues through internationalization
· US / Western interference into India’s internal affairs
· Missionary propaganda, Conversion agenda and case studies in exploitation of Caste
· Dalit movements within and outside Hinduism and their prospects
Legal frameworks in India around Caste and Caste based discrimination :
· Constitutional provisions to mitigate Caste based discrimination
· Indian Constitution’s view of Varna, Jati, Kula and Caste
· Studies and Commission reports instituted by the Government of India
· State level provisions for affirmative action and Caste based reservations
· Case studies in legal proceedings pertaining to Caste
· Enforcement of the Law – Problems and Opportunities
Caste as social capital :
· Caste as a phenomenon that provides upward mobility
· Climbing out of the economic hole – Case studies on Caste
· Examples where Caste has played a positive role in recent times
· Caste Identity – Pros and Cons
· Caste as a Social Security – The role of family and Kula
· Endogamy – Marriage within the Caste – Pros and Cons
· Caste phenomena along the Urban – Rural divide in India
Field experiences in working with Caste based discrimination :
· Hindu attempts to intervene and mitigate Caste based fissures
· Hindu Diaspora and Caste
· Case studies in successful interventions – by various Hindu Groups
· Acharyas and Gurus and their role in promoting field level activities
· Challenges and opportunities in working in the field on Caste
· Promotion of Inter-Caste marriages – challenges and opportunities
· Marginalized sections of society and their prospects
· Re-conversion into Hinduism and the Caste problem
Caste and other religions :
· Buddhism and Caste
· Jainism and Caste
· Sikshism and Caste
· Islam and Caste
· Christianity and Caste
Formulation of a Policy Paper on Caste :
· Problems and Issues with the HAF report
· Outlines of a Process
· Participants – Writers and Reviewers
· Involvement of Acharyas and Gurus
· Engaging the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha
· Engaging Hindu organizations such as VHP, RSS and others
· Engaging Political points of view – BJP and others
· Peer Reviews by Academicians and Scholars
The following are expected from all Conference participants:
a. A 1 Page abstract or synopsis of your paper (with a title)
b. A brief bio-sketch with a front-facing digital picture
c. A full paper (of maximum length 12 pages or 6000 words)
d. A PowerPoint presentation (if presenting in person at the conference)
1Last Date for Submission of 1 Page Abstract April 30th, 2011
2Last Date for Submission of Full Paper – to be considered for inclusion in the Publication May 31st, 2011
3Last Date for Submission of Full Paper – if not being considered for inclusion in the publication June 30th, 2011
3Last Date for Confirmation of Participation (physically in the conference) July 15th, 2011
4Dates of the Conference in New Jersey July 29th, 30th and 31st, 2011
It is our intent to publish the papers in the form of a booklet prior to the commencement of the conference itself. In order to ensure that your paper is published, please adhere strictly to this timeline. Papers submitted after May 31st will most likely not be in consideration for inclusion in the conference publication.
All Conference Participants are requested to submit their papers by May 31st, to ensure consideration for being printed in the Conference publication.
E-Mail all your submissions to the following address
Conference Agenda Committee
a. Dr. Bal Ram Singh, PhD, Director, Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts
b. Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, PhD, Director, Saraswati River Research Center, Chennai
c. Ms. Aditi Banerjee, B.A., J.D, Attorney at Law and Author, New York
d. Shri Kalyan Viswanathan, President, Sanatana Dharma Foundation, Dallas
e. Shri Rajiv Malhotra, President, Infinity Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey
Conference Sponsoring Organizations
Considering the historic nature of this conference, and its potential impact, WAVES invites Hindu organizations to participate in this conference by sponsoring it in some form. At the current time, the following organizations are behind this initiative.
a. World Association of Vedic Studies
b. Sanatana Dharma Foundation
c. All World Gayatri Parivar
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PUDUCHERRY: Real estate businessmen J Murugesan and R P Dharmalingam were examined in the Sankararaman murder case here on Monday, when hearing resumed before judge T Ramasamy of the Principal District and Sessions Court. The prosecution witnesses from Chennai were examined by Special Public Prosecutor N Devadoss. Three more prosecution witnesses would be examined on Tuesday. The Kanchi mutt seers Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi are accused of plotting a conspiracy to murder Sankararaman, who was allegedly murdered on the premises of the Varadharaja Perumal Temple in Kancheepuram on September 3, 2004.
CHENNAI: Kanchi Sankara Mutt pontiff Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal on Thursday launched two new political outfits – Hindustan National Party and Thamizhaga Desiya Aanmika Makkal Katchi – in the presence of BJP leaders L Ganesan and former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi.The seer said the new political outfits were the outcome of longtime thought process and advocate Krishnaswamy and P Ravichandran, (founder of the TDAMK) had been seeking his permission for floating them for many years. Both parties would strive to safeguard the cultural tradition of India as well as propagate the importance of patriotism.BJP national executive committee member L Ganesan said despite being a functionary of the BJP, he chose attend the launching of a new party because of shared ideals. He said he treated the new party as the BJP’s sister organisation.Maneka Gandhi said whatever be the initiative of the Kanchi seer, it would bring good to the people of the country. Hindu Munnani organiser Rama Gopalan urged the pontiff to make an appeal to the people to vote for the BJP in the coming Assembly elections in five states. However, the Kanchi seer did not oblige.Dr Iliyas, leader of the All India Organisation of Imams and Mosques, offered felicitations.
Hindu Samhati 3rd Foundation Day.
Varun Gandhi on Sunday tied the nuptial knot with Bengali girl Yamini Roy Chowdhury at a temple on the banks of the Ganges here.
Varun (30), who was in a silk ‘kurta’ and ’dhoti’ with an orange ‘angvastram’, got married to Yamini, a graphic designer, at a ceremony in Kamakoti Temple which was presided over by Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati.
The ceremony took place between 7.30 a.m. and 9.00 a.m. in the presence of a select gathering besides Maneka included the girl’s mother Aruna Vasudev. However, no one from Sonia Gandhi’s family was present.
“The marriage went off very well. I have blessed the couple,” Jayendra Saraswati told reporters here.
The reception scheduled for March 8 in Delhi has been cancelled following the death of Amteshwar Anand, mother of Maneka.
The ‘haldi’ ceremony of Varun had taken place at the Kamakoti temple last evening.