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

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

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. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.