Skip to main content

Gujarat govt doesn't want to reveal: Cept Univ untouchability study suggested massive economic discrimination

Cover of the Navsarjan report
By Our Representative
The Gujarat government may have refused to table the Cept University’s “alternative study on education” titled, “Impact of Caste Discrimination and Distinctions on Equal Opportunities: A Study of Gujarat”, in the state assembly, giving the technical explanation that it has not been prepared by a commission appointed by the state government.
However, ironically, following several Right to Information (RTI) pleas, top Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust forced the state government in 2013 to part with the Cept study, which runs into 300 pages.
The study was handed over to Navsarjan Trust activist Kirit Rathod, who sent the RTI plea, following a State Information Commission (SIC) order in June 2013, asking Gujarat’s social justice and empowerment department to part with it “within a month.”
Earlier, refusing hand over the report, in a strange explanation, the state government trued to argue out that providing information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act on prevalence of untouchability in the state would lead to “a sharp rise in incidence of enmity in the rural areas of Gujarat.”
Downloadable HERE, significantly, the Cept University study, commissioned by the state government, was supposedly meant to “counter” a 2009 Navsarjan report, “Understanding Untouchability” (click HERE), which had claimed, on the basis of a survey in 1,589 villages involving 5,462 individuals, that untouchability was part of way of life in rural Gujarat.
Prepared by a group of scholars led by Prof R Parthasarathy, formerly with Cept University and currently director, Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR), the study, despite saying that caste discrimination in Gujarat is “largely related to perceptions”, agrees, through a plethora of data from the five villages it surveyed, that economic discrimination has remained intact.
The five villages it surveyed were Khavda in Kutch district, Kherva in Surendranagar district, Nava Nesda in Banakantha district, Transad in Ahmedabad district, and Menpura in Kheda district.
Samples taken by the scholars reveal that 65.3 per cent of Dalit of scheduled caste (SC) households in the five villages are dependent on agricultural labour as the main source of income, as against 30.6 per cent other backward class (OBC) households and just about 4 per cent other castes and community (OCC) households.
They Cept study said that while just about 12 per cent of SC households are dependent on regular employment, where it is possible to earn a higher income over a longer period of time, compared to 22.4 per cent OBC households and 34.7 per cent OCC households.
The study revealed, among the cultivators, 63.2 per cent of the SC households own less than one hectare (ha) of land, as against 29.8 OBC households, and just seven per cent OCC households.
The study suggests, a larger number of SC and OVC households are forced to migrate to other places for agricultural work with family because of poverty. “Households were enquired if any members undertook migration for work in the last three years…” Among those who migrated, “whereas 55 per cent of the households are OBC, 42 per cent are SC, there are just one per cent OCC households.”
Coming to assets, 53.7 per cent of SC households and 51 per cent of OBC households live in pucca houses, as against 90 per cent OCC households. Further, only 26.7 per cent of the SC households and 20 per cent OBC households have toilets at home, as against 87.6 per cent of OCC households.
Just about 8.6 per cent of SC households own scooters or motorbikes, as against 17.9 per cent OBC households and 61.1 per cent OCC households. And, 6.3 per cent SC households have fridge as against 9.7 per cent OBC households and 62.2 per cent OCC households.
The study also shows that 63.40 per cent SC households are below poverty line (BPL), and are dependent on subsidized BPL ration, as against 37.2 per cent OBC households and just about 4.40 per cent OCC households.
Interestingly, while the Gujarat government asserted in the state assembly on Tuesday that the Navsarjan report “Understanding Untouchability”, was “one-sided and anti-government”, possibly the reason why the Cept University was commissioned an alternative study, top scholar Prof Ghanshyam Shah believes there is little reason to brush it aside like this.
According to Shah, who critiqued the Cept University study in 2013, the Navsarjan report has been authored, among others, by well-known scholars attached with the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center), USA. Three of them are from academic institutions in the US – David Armstrong, University of Wisconsin, Christian Davenport, University of Notre Dame, and Allan Stam, University of Michigan.

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Across the board, among Muslims, Hindus, there's enormous fury at Delhi Police: Report

Counterview Desk
A quick report, prepared by Delhi's concerned citizens, "Let Us Heal Our Dilli", based on one-day visit (February 27) to several areas and mohallas of North East Delhi affected by the riots that gripped the country's capital -- Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Chaman Park, Shiv Vihar, Main Mustafabad (including Bhagirathi Vihar and Brijpuri) -- has said everywhere there is "zero trust" towards that the police.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.