Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rahul Gandhi to accept Dalits' "largest" national flag, "refused" by Gujarat chief minister as he didn't have space

The national flag spread in DSK premises
By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the BJP, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will be “accepting” one of the largest national flags of India, prepared by Dalits at a technical institute off Sanand, Gujarat’s new industrial hub, which houses some of the most “prestigious” industrial units, including Tata Nano and Ford.
Taken by Dalits in a rally from to village Nani Devti, where the technical institute, Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), is situated, to Gandhinagar about four months back in a 50-km vehicles rally, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani’s emissary refused to accept the flag saying the state government did not have “adequate space to keep it safe”.
As already reported, on insistence, Rupani’s emissary gave it in writing that once facility for preserving the large sized national is created, “we would approach you and take the national flag”. Rupani personally “did not have the time” to receive the national flag, hence he directed the district collector, Gandhinagar, to meet Dalit activists. The National Flag was brought in a tractor.
The rally was organized as part of the Abhadchhed Mukt Bharat Andolan (Untouchability Free India Movement): Mission 2047, launched by Gujarat’s well-known Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan. Macwan also heads DSK, where mainly Dalit girls and boys are trained into different types of technical skills that would enable them to get a respectable job, even as empowering them to fight discrimination.
The national flag in Gandhinagar
A communique issued by Mission 2017 has called upon Dalits to reach DSK, situated on the Sanand-Bavla road, in large numbers on November 24. Gandhi, said the communique, would arrive at DSK at 12 noon. Earlier, the Congress leadership had offered Mission 2047 activists to hand over the flag at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, Gujarat’s Congress office in Ahmedabad.
Refusing to accept the “offer”, Macwan told the Congress leaders that the national flag, which a symbol of Dalits’ national mission to fight untouchability, would be handed over to Gandhi “provided he reached out to us”.
The communique said, by refusing to accept the national flag, the Gujarat government has “insulted the national flag”, adding, “On August 11, we took the national flag, which we prepared, to highlight our mission. Hundreds of Dalits, who were part of the 50-km long national flag rally, were visibly angry after they received the message that the Gujarat chief minister wouldn’t meet them.”
A 125 x 83.3 feet national flag, the communique said, would finally be accepted by Gandhi with “due respect” on November 24. The length of the national flag represents the 125th anniversary of top Dalit icon and father of the country’s constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar.
Gujarat CM emissary scribbled:"We
don't have space for national flag"
The National Flag, which was brought back to DSK, was prepared by Dalit students and teachers after spending 25 days. It is made of khadi, which is generally woven by the Vankar sub-caste of Dalits. Its designing, colouring and sewing was done by DsK students, mainly girls, with the help of teachers.
Interpreting the national flag, Macwan said, the Ashok Chakra symbolizes social equality, which is “one of the 12 basic principles of Lord Buddha, and the spokes in the Ashok Chakra represent exactly that.” By offering the National Flag to the chief minister, we wanted to remind him about his constitutional duty to annihilate caste.”
Along with the national flag, the Gujarat chief minister was asked to accept a large-sized supda (winnowing basket), which carried a one-line memorandum, asking him to name one Gujarat village untouchability free on the Independence day, August 15. While the supda and the memorandum was accepted, the chief minister hasn’t yet named a village untouchability free.

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