Shoshit Samaj Dal presents five-point charter of demands to President
On 14 November, the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda, the Shoshit Samaj Dal (SSD) staged a sit-in at Jantar-Mantar in Delhi to protest the excesses against the Dalits, OBCs and the minorities. A large number of farmers, workers, students and women from Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Maharashtra joined the protest.
A delegation presented a five-point charter of demands to the President. The demands include free, compulsory, common education throughout the nation up to the 10th grade, election of Dalit people’s representatives only by Dalit voters, only Dalits in boards interviewing Dalit candidates for jobs, making literature on and of Dr Ambedkar available in public libraries, reservation in proportion to population, parity between prices of industrial and agricultural products and bringing more agricultural land under irrigation. The protestors voiced their anger against the oppression of Dalits in Gujarat.
The programme began with tributes to the SSD martyrs. The participants resolved to fulfil the dreams of the martyrs. Ramvilas Prasad, minister in the Bihar government, welcomed the participants with garlands. Delhi-based Deep Niharika Kushwaha delivered the welcome address. She appealed for the building of an egalitarian and humanistic society.
Raghuniram Shastri, SSD’s national president and famous Ambedkarite litterateur, chaired the function. Rambabu Kannojia, editor of the weekly Arjak, inaugurated the function. Former national president and humanistic thinker Laxman Chaudhary was the chief guest while national president of Arjak Sangh S.R. Singh addressed the gathering.
Among others who addressed the function were Kunwar Lal Sachan, national vice-president; Usha Sharan, national secretary; Vishwanath Saha, national treasurer; Prof Baijnath Pal; Dr Bhoop Singh Savarwas; Jagdish Chaudhary; Arun Kumar Gupta; Ram Prasad Singh; Rampravesh Singh Yadav; Brajnandan Singh; Guput Singh; Ramdular Maurya; Dr Sevaram Patel; Dr Ram Uday Sharma; Umesh Patel; Radheshyam; Shivdas; Mathura Prasad Akela; Tenger Paswan; Rajendra Prasad Singh, advocate; Poonam Devi; and Urmila Bharti.
The speakers called for an end to the politics based on feudalism, communalism and dynasty and for the establishment of an egalitarian and socialist society. The speakers alleged that the BJP government was playing into the hands of corporate houses and was implementing the agenda of the RSS. Ramchandra Verma, national general secretary, made the concluding remarks. Former judge Adhyasharan Choudhary, the convener of the event, proposed a vote of thanks. Ramlakhan Arjak, Sant Bhikari, Mandal and Ramkumar Verma presented revolutionary songs.
In his inaugural speech, Rambabu Kannojia extended his support to the demands of the protestors. He said, “The nation can be strengthened only by making fundamental changes in the system of education.” Kannojia added that the children of government employees and officers and ministers should compulsorily study in government schools. “The objectives of the Arjak Sangh can be met only by strengthening the Shoshit Samaj Dal,” he said.
The chief guest and national president of Arjak Sangh, S.R. Singh, said that the Shoshit Samaj Dal was the only political party that had fully embraced the ideals and policies of the Arjak Sangh and was opposing communalism with all its might. He appealed to the people to remain cautious of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which, according to him, were steeped in nepotism and were led by authoritarian leaders.
Referring to the problems of the farmers, Laxman Chaudhary, former SSD vice-president, said, “In no other country are fertilizers, seeds, insecticides and electricity taxed while in India, the government was out to break the farmers by heavily taxing farm inputs, forcing thousands of farmers to commit suicide.” He emphasized that there should be parity in the prices of industrial and agricultural goods.
National president Raghuniram Shastri raised the issue of growing atrocities against Dalits in the country. “No other political party in the country has a solution to the problem of Dalit atrocities and an agenda for the rebuilding of the nation,” he said. “All parties want to get the votes of the Dalits but are not ready to do anything for protecting their rights, self-respect and dignity.” He said that the Shoshit Samaj Dal was the only political party which had concrete policies, programmes and principles for solving the problems of the Dalits and rebuilding the nation.”
Shastri added: “Ambedkarite literature should be provided in all libraries, only Dalit voters should choose Dalit representatives and only Dalits should interview Dalits candidates for jobs. This is the only way to end the oppression of the Dalits, and Shoshit Samaj Dal has been fighting for them since the day it was founded. All landless Dalits should be given land and reservation should be given [to communities] in proportion to their population.”
Arjak’s Sangh’s demands regarding education
The following day, 15 November, Arjak Sangh held a sit-in at the same venue and released a memorandum of demands addressed to the President. In the run-up to this release of demands, the Sangh had held demonstrations at district headquarters and capitals of different states.
S.R. Singh, a chartered accountant and national president of Arjak Sangh, chaired the programme. Inaugurating the programme, the national president of the cultural committee, Raghunath Singh Yadav, said, “No country can progress if its education system is based on a belief of rebirth, fatalism, caste system and miracles. That is why, since its inception in June 1968, the Sangh has been fighting for their abolition.”
The keynote speaker, Raghuniram Shastri, SSD national president and an Ambedkarite journalist, said: “The government wants to push the country into the morass of superstition and exploitation by teaching the Vedas, astrology, and the Gita and the Ramayana in schools. This will not do any good. That is why the Arjak Sangh is in favour of an education that fosters scientific temper and preserves the unity and integrity of the country. Education should be common and free and Arjak Sangh has been agitating for it. Shoshit Samaj Dal has also joined this agitation.”
Special guest and former SSD national president, Laxman Chaudhary, said, “All humanists and socialists should support the Arjak Sangh’s agitation on issues of education because only an education policy in consonance with the Arjak Sangh’s ideas can help bring about a comprehensive development of the country and society.”
Rambabu Kannojia said that the government should immediately accept the Arjak Sangh’s demands regarding the education system. The author of this article and former chief of the cultural committee, Upendra Pathik, recalled Ramswaroop Verma, the founder of Arjak Singh, saying that if the Sangh’s demands were accepted, crime, illiteracy, superstition, unemployment, terrorism and naxalism would be wiped out from the face of the country and the incarcerated population would come down. “The Arjak system of education will open the doors to humanism,” Pathik said.
Usha Sharan called on the TV channels to immediately stop telecasting programmes that promote superstition and to only present such programmes that are based on scientific reasoning.
Among other Arjaks who addressed the function were Adhya Sharan Choudhary, Bihar state chief Arun Kumar Gupta, national treasurer Shivnandan Prabhakar, Ram Prasad Singh, Rajgrihi Bhagat, Uttar Pradesh chief Ramjo Verma, Vijay Pal, Ravindra Katiyar, Chandrabali Patel, Umesh Chandra Patel, Arvind Yadav, Bhoop Singh Sarwal from Haryana, D.D. Ram from Jharkhand, Ramsagar Das, C.D. Rajak, Braj Kishore Singh, Ashok Sharma, Ram Uday Sharma, Umesh Patel, Lalita Kumari and Poonam Kumari. All of them said that the demands of the Arjak Sangh should be accepted without any further delay.
Ram Mahto, the national general secretary, Ram Mahto, thanked the Arjaks and guests for making the programme a success.
Thousands of Arjaks from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and other states joined the protests.
The demands listed in the memorandum addressed to the President include:
- The objective of education should be to promote national unity and self-respect.
- The Constitution should be amended to make education a union subject so that a common education, which can protect the nation’s unity and integrity, can be imparted.
- Education up to 10th grade should be humanistic, nationally common, free and compulsory.
- Only nationalism, citizenship, maths, science and geography should be part of primary education and there should be no reference to rebirth, fatalism, caste system, untouchability and miracles in any academic text.
- After the 10th grade, further education should be divided into two streams: technical and professional, and higher education.
- Textbooks at all levels should promote the principle of equality and it should be mandatory for the students to treat all their schoolmates as equals.
- Technical, professional and scientific educational institutions should be established in sufficient numbers in the country so that all students can obtain employment-oriented education of their choice and become self-dependent.
- There should no interference of any individual or religious or social organization in education.
- The budget for education should be equal to the defence budget.
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