Skip to main content

Rahul Gandhi accepts tricolour "insulted" by Gujarat CM amid Dalit concern of Congress failure to fight untouchability

Rahul Gandhi with Martin Macwan at DSK
By Our Representative
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who reached out to the non-political Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK) off Ahmedabad to accept the "largest" tricolour of India, refused by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani on the ground that the state government "did not have enough space for it", was in shocked to hear that his party in Gujarat had done "pretty little" in raising issues of untouchability.
Welcoming Gandhi for taking the tricolour with "full dignity", DSK director Martin Macwan told the Congress leader in front of about 7,000 Dalits, who had come from all over Gujarat, "We prepared the 125 feet long, 83 feet wide national flag at DSK with our sweat as a symbol of Dalits' national mission to root out untouchability from the country."
He added, "We took the flag to Gandhinagar on August 11 with our one-line demand to present it to Gujarat chief minister: name one untouchability one untouchability-free village on Independence Day, August 15. As many as 1,215 Dalits from 120 Gujarat talukas went to Gandhinagar in a 70 km vehicle rally. Rupani refused to accept the tricolour. His emissary gave us in writing that they didn't have any space."
Rahul Gandhi accepting tricolour
Pointing out that they came back to DSK with the tricolour "feeling insulted", Macwan said, "The students and teachers had prepared the tricolour, colouring and stitching it, in 25 days after the clothe, made of khadi by three Dalit weavers in Surendranagar, was handed over to us. It hurt Dalits, who had come from far, when they learnt of Rupani's refusal."
Addressing Rahul directly, he said, "We are happy that you came to DSK to take the national flag with dignity, which was insulted", adding, the DSK's mission to end untouchability will continue. It has found expression in the Mission 2047, launched by Macwan being about an end to untouchability in Gujarat.
Dishing out figures, Macwan said, "Even 70 years after Independence untouchably has not ended. In a survey we found that in 90% villages Dalits are not allowed to enter into temples, in 55% schools, Dalit children are asked to sit separately during midday meal. In other areas of life also untouchability was found to be rampant."
Even as criticizing the ruling party, BJP, for doing next to nothing to end this state of affairs, Macwan emphatically told Gandhi, "I want to tell you that even the Congress in Gujarat has not done anything in this direction. It has failed to raise untouchability issues in the state assembly."
Dalit gathering at DSK
Set up by Macwan 1999, DSK provides employable technical training to Dalit young girls and boys, even as educating them in empowerment. During the two-hour programme, the Dalit participants, many of them members of Macwan's Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust, confined their slogans in praise of India's Dalit icon, Babasaheb Ambedkar. Largely a non-party crowd not carrying any Congress banners and refrained from shouting any pro-Congress slogans.
Addressing the gathering, Gandhi said, he was "surprised" to hear that the chief minister did not have any space for the national flag, which is why he decided to take it. "They have space for only for five to ten industrialists, and not for Dalits, tribals, OBCs, small traders", he said, adding, "Only they are given land at concessional. If this was Modi's Gujarat model earlier, it has now been exported to the entire country."
Claiming that his heart has enough space for the national flag, which he would keep in Congress premises with full dignity, referring to Macwan's criticism of Congress for not taking up Dalits' untouchability issues, Gandhi assured him, the Congress has always stood by the marginalized communities, and would do so with renewed strength in future.
"We have shown sensitivity towards Dalit issues. I personally stood by the Una victims, and met them. Similarly, we have stood by Rohith Vemula. I stood by the cause he flagged. He did not commit suicide. It was murder. Union ministers are responsible for this", he asserted.

Comments

Uma said…
No matter what RG does, BJP is going to win in Gujarat. The only hope is that the number of votes garnered by BJP comes down considerably.

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Top ex-Gujarat babu tells Modi: Not yoga but solar system is our biggest source of energy

By Rajiv Shah  An email alert to Counterview from a top ex-IAS bureaucrat, termed as Gujarat’s turnaround man for revamping loss-making state public sector undertakings (PSUs), has sought to take a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark on the Yoga day – that the ancient Indian exercise provides an “infinite solutions” within ourselves, offering “the biggest source of energy in the universe.”

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.

Covid fear? Cremation rituals gone upside down, Dalits asked to do Brahminical rituals

By Abhay Jain, Sandeep Pandey*  As Covid consumes human life in a very conspicuous way we are confronted with additional problem of disposing of human corpses. Cremation grounds are lit with continuous pyres, graveyards are running out of land and now Ganga has become a mass grave potentially polluting its water.