Skip to main content

Message to 'high caste' attackers? Dalit leader's daughter rides elephant in wedding march

By Our Representative 

In what has been termed as “jumbo celebration”, a Gujarat Dalit rights leader belonging to Saurashtra region ensured that his daughter rides an elephant as part of wedding celebrations which took place in Vadhwan town of Surendranagar district. Natubhai Parmar, who shot into prominence for organising a unique protest against the notorious Una flogging incident in 2016, in which five Dalit boys were flogged as they allegedly slaughtered a cow.
Belonging to the Rohit community, whose traditionally live by skinning dead cows, in 2016, Parmar reached Surendranagar district collector’s office with vehicles full of carcasses of cows asking him to organise them disposal of, declaring, his community had decided not to continue with the caste occupation, as it had been termed cow slaughter by saffron vigilantes.
The decision to make his daughter ride the elephant, which he brought to Ahmedabad, was to send a message to members of the dominant castes, whose aggressive attacks on wedding processions consisting of Dalit boys riding mare accompanied by DJ team have lately shot up. Not taking down lightly, Gujarat Dalits are known to have filed many a police complaint, with some even seeking police protection during marriage celebrations.
More than two decades ago, Parmar, despite his desire, failed to ride a mare as the elders of his community insisted this would invite violent reaction from the dominant caste people. As his daughter, Bharti, turned 23, he decided to non-violently “retaliate” by ensuring that she rides the elephant instead of a mare during the wedding procession.
Riding on the decorated elephant, Bharti carried the big replica of a pen in her hand in order to send across Dalit icon Dr BR Ambedkar’s famous message, “Educate, Agitate, Organise” – which Parmar believes is the fundamental guide of empowering the underprivileged, including girls. As she rode, Ambedkar’s photo was one side, and a huge banner “Educate the Daughter...” on another.
Working as nurse in Surendranagar district’s Limdi General Hospital, Bharti was married on May 22 following Buddhist rituals. Himself a Buddhist, Parmar heads a Goseva Ashram named after Lord Buddha and runs an NGO Navnirman Sarvajanik Trust. A pamphlet distributed by him at the marriage procession asked participants to take the Buddhish pledge “not to kill any living being, not steal, not to do adultery, not lie, and not consume any liquor or any other intoxicants.”
In 2017, Parmar, continuing his war against cow vigilantes, organised a protest, stating it is not Rohits who are responsible for cow slaughter; rather, majority of the cows died because they consumed plastic. Led by a tractor, on which tonnes of plastic extracted from cows was displayed, he led a two kilometre-long Dalit rally which ended with an appeal to the state government to ensure higher castes didn’t blame Dalits for cow slaughter.
With a motto to seek ban on plastics, which according to him was the main reason for cows’ untimely death, Parmar’s ashram, operating in Vadhwan town, gives refuge to stray cattle. According to him, on skinning, a member of the Rohit community continuing the occupation extracted “11 iron nails, six staple pins, several bolts and other ghastly things, as also 53 kg of plastic and dead calf” from the womb of a dead cow.



New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

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. 

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

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.