Skip to main content

Gujarat Dalits to hand over India's largest National Flag to CM, ask him to declare one village untouchability free on I-day

DSK students preparing the National Flag
By Our Representative
Alleging that even 70 years after Independence, untouchability is practiced against those who weave khadi clothe, Dalits, Gujarat’s Dalit rights activists led by Martin Macwan have decided to hand over India’s “largest-ever” National Flag made of hand-made clothe to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani to remind the latter about his fundamental constitutional duty – to abolish caste discrimination.
Proposed to be handed over to the Gujarat chief minister on August 11 by Macwan and his colleagues following a march to Gandhinagar with the participation of 1,500 villagers, the National Flag, made of khadi as a symbol of Dalit rights, would be 125 feet long and 83.3 feet high. Along with the National Flag, the activists would also be handing over a supda (big-sized winnowing basket), which is usually made by the Dalits’ Valmiki community to earn a livelihood.
The Ashok Chakra of the National Flag
“We would give our memorandum – a one liner, asking him to write down the name of one Gujarat village as untouchability free on August 15, Independence Day. The memorandum would placed in supda, which would be handed over to the chief minister along the National Flag as our reminder to him that the Dalit community is still not free of any type of discrimination in Gujarat and in India”, an activists’ communiqué says.
The communiqué, prepared by under the banner Abhadchched Mukt Bharat Andaloan: Mission 2047, says, “The chief minister recently visited Runi village in Kankrej taluka of Banaskantha district of North Gujarat to see for himself the grave flood situation. Even in this village, today, the Valmiki community makes supda, its hereditary profession, to earn livelihood.”
Students colour the National Flag
The National Flag has been prepared by girl students and teachers, majority of them Dalits, at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK). The decision to hand it over to the chief minister has been taken, says the communiqué, because India’s top Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar was a member of the National Flag Committee, and his main thrust was to abolish untouchability. As for its length, it matches Ambedkar’s 125 birth anniversary.
Prepared after working on it for 25 days, which included washing the cloth, sewing it and colouring it, even as printing a 25 ft x 25 ft Ashok Chakra in the centre, the National Flag is 2,120 of sq metres. The total cost in preparing has come to just Rs 53,000. The cost of labour in preparing it has not been counted, says the communiqué.
Martin Macwan examining preparation of the National Flag
Pointing towards the importance of Ashok Chakra, the communiqué says, its 24 spokes symbolize Gautam Buddha’s dharma chakra, which consists of 12 basic principles of life – one of which is equality, underlining, the Mission 2047’s campaign is to free India of untouchability on its 100th year of Independence, and is the same as that of the Buddha.
The decision to hand over one-liner memorandum on supda along with the largest National Flag was taken on July 15 at the Dalit Shakti Kendra, of Dalit Empowerment Centre, which trains young girls and boys into technical skills. Founded by Macwan in 1999, DSK offers more than 20 courses, including tailoring (pants, shirt, blouse for sari, salwar kameez, and industrial), furniture, driving, beautician, basic computers, computer tally, secretarial training, handicrafts videography, photography, etc.

Comments

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Drèze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.