Skip to main content

In a somersault, Gujarat govt says it never wanted CEPT University to "review" NGO study on untouchability

Navsarjan report
By Rajiv Shah
In a complete about-turn, the Gujarat government has asserted that it never asked the CEPT University to review or refute an NGO study by Navsarjan Trust on wide prevalence of untouchability in Gujarat's rural areas. The NGO study titled "Understanding Untouchability", carried out in 2010, was based on a survey of about 1,600 villages. The statement is in total contrast to what the introduction to the CEPT report says -- that the state government had sponsored it in order to "review" the NGO study and find out if there was such wide prevalence of untouchability as the study claims. It is not known what has prompted the state government to make a change in its stance.
The statement -- issued to refute media reports that the CEPT report was meant to prove that the NGO study's findings on untouchability were unfounded -- also states that the CEPT University was merely asked "to suggest ways on how to remove caste discrimination in Gujarat". It says this despite the fact that several earlier government statements, including a government resolution (GR) issued two years ago, had all along been saying that the state government had asked the CEPT University to find out if the allegations of untouchability in the NGO study were correct.
The statement does not stop here. It simultaneously declares that allegations of untouchability in the NGO study -- which was carried out by a couple of world-class scholars hired by John F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights for Navsarjan Trust --are "misplaced", claiming, "The social justice and employment department sent its officials to several of the 1,589 villages where the NGO survey was carried out, and they found that the allegations of wide prevalence of untouchability are totally wrong."
While the statement does not say when did it send officials to 75 of these villages to find out the "truth" about untouchability, a top knowledgeable source has told www.counterview.net that "Dalits in several of the villages were forced to declare, on affidavit, that they did not face issues of untouchability in their village." The source said, "It did this taking advantage of the Gujarati version of the NGO report, 'Understanding Untouchability' -- Abhadcched ni Bhal -- which gives a profile of 75 villages to cite examples of untouchability in rural areas."
Interestingly, the CEPT University report -- running into 300 pages -- says that it report's findings are based on survey of five villages of Gujarat to "review" the NGO's untouchability study in 1,589 villages. Prepared by a team headed by Prof R Parthasarathy, a scholar known for his expertise on water resources, critics have wondered why was a senior sociologist not chosen for a "review" on untouchability in Gujarat. Notably, Parthasarathy's report sets aside issues of "discrimination" in villages (it does not even use the word untouchability) as a matter of "perceptions", continuing for generations.
No doubt, the CEPT report does give certain examples of caste discrimination in villages, as found visible during cultural functions, but believes that such differences exist even within families. It also finds such examples like refusal of Dalits entering into temples as something normal, born out of Dalits' own desire. And if Dalit youths do not participate in such functions as Navratri by mixing up with youths of other castes, this is because -- the report seeks to declare -- the Dalit elders wisely advise them not to do so to avoid any quarrel! In fact, the report even states that the Dalits are happy with their own festivals like Ambedkar Jayanti in the same way as upper caste people are happy with their own festivals!

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

India's "welcome" proposal to impose sin tax on aerated drinks is part of to fight growing sugar consumption

By Amit Srivastava* A proposal to tax sugar sweetened beverages like tobacco in India has been welcomed by public health advocates. The proposal to increase sin taxes on aerated drinks is part of the recommendations made by India’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian on the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the parliament of India.

Turkey meet tries to 'resurrect' Maoism, seeks to apply people’s war concept universally

By Harsh Thakor*  An International Maoist Symposium was organized by Umut Publishing on 6-7th April in Turkey commemorating 130th birthday of Mao Tse Tung. On the first day of the symposium two sessions were staged. The first session started with Volkan Yaraşır’s presentation on “Dialectics of the Chinese Revolution and Mao Zedong”.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).