Skip to main content

'Save Constitution, remove Manu statue': US Dalit, Hindu rights groups support campaign

By Our Representative 

In a major campaign, as many as 11,000 villages will light a lamp on November 26 to "honour and protect" the Indian Constitution, which is allegedly under great duress today. As part of the campaign, spearheaded by Martin Macwan of the Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust, Gujarat, he has also sought support from all sections of public for the removal of the statue of Manu from the premises of the Rajasthan High Court.
Covid surges and other hurdles curtailed the planned conclusion of the campaign on August 15, 2021. However, in a "new' and "urgent" circumstance,Macwan has issued a fresh call to "protect and honour" India’s secular constitution on November 26, Constitution Day, the day that Dr BR Ambedkar presented the draft Constitution to the people of India. Contending that India's secular constitution is being pushed to "darkness", a campaign call claims, "Almost every pillar of democracy has been weakened or even removed altogether."
Meanwhile, two diaspora groups, Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC), California, and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), New York, have lent their support to Macwan's campaign, which includes garnering lakhs of ‘missed calls' in India. A joint AKSC-HfHR petition In the US, which has gathered 5,000 supporters, seeks to light a lamp on November 26 to honour the Constitution and say "no" to Manu on court premises.
The petition, floated by Raju Rajagopal of HfHR, and distributed though the Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre (PMARC), insists that "a public statue of the author of the infamous Manusmṛiti has no place in India’s pluralistic society", adding, "We support the call for the removal of Manu from the premises of the Rajasthan High Court."
The petition says, "We stand united in sending a message across the world that caste bigotry and violence against Dalits must end. We shall light a lamp on November 26, 2021 to honour and protect India's secular constitution", pointing out, Macwan, "recently wrote an Open Letter to India's Congress Party demanding that it order the immediate removal of the statue of Manu, considered to be the author of the Manusmṛiti, from the Rajasthan High Court."
The petition argues,"The Manusmṛiti is unarguably one of the vilest treatises among the body of Hindu scriptures. Many commentaries have been written about it and we will not repeat them here. Suffice it to say that it lays out detailed varna/caste rules and specifies consequences and penalties for trespassing them, including the misfortunes that may befall in one’s next birth(s). It also contains the most horrific and graphic descriptions of the prescribed treatment of the forebears of today's Dalits."
It recalls, 'In America today, a major effort is underway to recognize that confederate monuments aren’t merely historical in their intent, but serve as continuing reminders to Black America of the daily discrimination that they still face. The George Floyd protests and the resonance of the Black Lives Matter among all Americans has energized calls for the removal of all such monuments."
From Manusmriti
"It is in the same spirit", the petition says, "India must forthwith remove the statue of Manu, the most visible symbol of centuries of caste discrimination and atrocities on the basis of one’s birth. Most certainly, the author of the Manusmṛiti does not belong in a place dedicated to defending India’s constitution, which promises equality under the law to every citizen of India."
Seeking more signatures, the petition, forwarding the List of Initial Signatories of the Open Letter to the Congress Party from every State of India and from the US, says, "It is high time that each one of us who cares for India’s democratic and constitutional values does our part, however small it may seem, to end the caste system and its cruel vestiges."
It points out, "It may be worth noting that it was a small act of courage by a Belgian teenager, in front of the statue of King Leopold II that resulted in the current King of Belgium sending his 'deepest regrets' to the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the "suffering and humiliation" his nation inflicted while it colonized the region over a century back."
Also seeking support the missed call campaign that is underway by calling 9823157779 (India) the petition quotes Macwan for the support he received from diaspora groups for signing the letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi for removing the statue of Manu. A copy of the letter has been forwarded to the Rajsthan chief minister and the Rajasthan high court chief justice.
"A total of 609 people signed the letter. We are updating the list as more than 150 signatories have just joined in", says Macwan, adding, "To ensure that this movement becomes widespread and reaches to many more especially the rural communities, we launched the missed campaign" whose update suggests "more than 20,00,000 people" have supported it.

Comments

TRENDING

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.

Critics of your government should not be in jail: PUCL shoots open letter to Modi

Counterview Desk In an open letter, Ravikiran Jain, national president, and Dr V Suresh, general secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have taken strong exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s view that raising human rights issues can ‘tarnish’ the country’s reputation, stating, those who raise human rights concerns do it “through established United Nations mechanisms such as the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights.”

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".

When judges behave more like priests, delivering sermons from high podium...

By Ajit Singh*  The theory of separation of power found its origins in ancient Greece but with the passage of time it became widespread in other parts of Europe. Early proponent of the theory Greek philosopher Aristotle in “Politics” argued that implementation of constitution in letter and spirit can only be possible if the three elements among whom the power has been distributed are well arranged.

Covid appropriate behaviour? Why masks can't be suitable in hot, humid climate

By Dr Amitav Banerjee* Appearances can be deceptive. So can be Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB). An anecdote illustrates this well known cliché. A man who is very particular about hygiene decides to eat out. After a rather long search, he spots a restaurant which has a spotlessly clean exterior and he walks in.

Muck being thrown in Uttarakhand rivers: Villagers face 'existential' crisis

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The Uttarakhand government must act fast to clear the path of Dhauli Ganga river about two kilometres ahead of village Neeti and about one kilometre from Ghamsali village, which is about 90 kilometer from Joshi Math town in district Chamoli. The creation of an artificial lake due to throwing of muck and mud can create a catastrophic situation like what happened on February 7, 2021-- the Rishi Ganga-Dhauli Ganga tragedy at Tapovan and Raini village in which over 200 people lost their life.

How Indore turned into water minus city after authorities 'managed' Water Plus title

Water harvester cleaning up hyacinth from an Indore river By Rahul Banerjee*  Recently, the city of Indore was declared the first Water Plus city in India under the Swachh Sarvekshan programme of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development for its ostensibly exemplary waste water management. However, the reality is quite different as a detailed study of the prevailing wastewater management situation in the city shows.

UP govt 'ignoring' demand to fill up teachers' posts despite unemployment: Rights groups

Sandeep Pandey with Shikha Pal Counterview Desk  Commenting on the unique protest undertaken by Shikha Pal atop an overhead water tank for nearly four months, the Socialist Party (India), in association with several civil rights group, Yuva Shakti Sangathan, Socialist Yuvjan Sabha and Rihai Manch, have wondered why has the Yogi Adityanath government is so “insensitive” towards her demands and is looking the “other way.”

Restricting use of public places for religious purpose: Will Gehlot govt respect HC order?

By Kavita Srivastava*  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, has welcomed the judgment of the Rajasthan High Court dismissing the petition by Pooja Gurnani which challenged a circular of the Rajasthan government which restrained the construction of a ‘Pooja Sthal’ in the premises of a police station.

Rehabilitation site 'offered' to 6000 displaced Khori villagers not livable: Team Saathi

By Our Representative  Second round of the Chitthi Andolan (letter movement) of the Khori village residents, whose more than 6,000 houses were demolished as they were allegedly built on forest land, has begun, with hundreds of them telling the authorities of the Municipal Corporation, Faridabad, that no one has received the promised financial assistance of meagre Rs 2,000.