A team of journalists and academicians, led by Pramod Ranjan, editor of FORWARD Press, will embark on an all-India tour to study Bahujan literature and traditions. Starting from India Gate in New Delhi on 5 January 2016, the team will travel by road to Kanyakumari via Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. The journey will last almost a month. On its way back, the team will have stopovers in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Anil Varghese, editor (English) of FP, and sociologist Anil Kumar will be part of the team.
The main objective of the “yatra” is to understand the changing social equations in villages, studying Bahujan-Shraman traditions and documents related to those historic social movements that the academia has overlooked. As a mark of respect for and gratitude towards writers, thinkers and activists who identified with the masses, the team will visit their birthplaces. During the yatra, the team will also call on the discerning readers, writers and well wishers of FP. Those interested will be able to preorder both books published by FP (see here) and bound sets of all issues of the FP magazine.
The team will study the forgotten Bahujan heritage; the expectations of the people from democracy and from governments; the attitude of mainstream media towards the deprived sections and the expectations of the latter; the local issues, both visible and not so visible, affecting the national scenario; the local heroes and their struggles; today’s politics in folksongs; social media’s reach in rural areas and its impact; education and health facilities for the poor, etc. The members of the team will be reporting on these issues and on the impact of demonetization both for forwardpress.in and leading newspapers and magazines. On their return to Delhi, the members of the team will be putting together comprehensive articles based on their experiences and observations.
The FP team’s first stop will be Hanumangarh district in Rajasthan, where, besides meeting local residents, it will also visit the excavation site at Kalibanga where the remains of Harappan civilization – one of the oldest in the world – have been discovered. The next stop will be the birthplace of the Bhakti-period revolutionary poet Mirabai at Kudki, near Jaitaran, in Pali district. Then the team will travel to the birthplace of poet Dhanna (born 1415) at Deoli in Tonk district, followed by the birthplace (in Udaipur district) of Motilal Tejawat (1886-1963), the hero of Rajasthan’s Tribal movement, and the birthplace (in Dungarpur district) of Bhogilal Pandya (1904-1981), the founder of Harijan Seva Samiti. The last stop of the team in Rajasthan will be Mangarh, where the British, with the help of local feudal lords, gunned down more than 1000 Tribals demanding their rights under the leadership of Govind Guru (1858-1931).
The second stage of the journey will begin when the team crosses the state border into Madhya Pradesh. We do not have a detailed itinerary for Madhya Pradesh ready yet in view of the uncertainties related to fog. We will be updating details of the journey on WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms. As the objective of the journey is to understand rural India, as far as possible, the team will make night halts in villages or small towns instead of big cities.
We welcome your suggestions. Please get in touch with the team on the following email and phone numbers. The team would also like to meet you during the journey.
To join the FP WhatsApp group, please send a WhatsApp message to: 7827427311
Forward Press also publishes books on Bahujan issues. Forward Press Books sheds light on the widespread problems as well as the finer aspects of the Bahujan (Dalit, OBC, Adivasi, Nomadic, Pasmanda) community’s literature, culture, society and culture. Contact us for a list of FP Books’ titles and to order. Mobile: +919968527911, Email: email@example.com)