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Gujarat Dalits to begin anti-untouchability brass coin yatra to Parliament on Aug 1

By Our Representative 

Gujarat’s top Dalit rights leader, Martin Macwan, is all set to carry a unique 2047 mm diametre brass coin, with the question: “Will the 1947 dream of untouchability-free India be a reality in 2047?” engraved on it, to Parliament in the first week of August, along with hundreds of his supporters.
Said Macwan, “A special letter will be sent to the President of India, the speaker of the Lok Sabha and the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha to collectively accept the brass coin and to place it in the new house of Parliament as a reminder to abolish untouchability.”
Minted from donations received mainly from Dalits from various states of India, consisting of brass and copper utensils, the coin has the image of Dr BR Ambedkar, on one side, and Lord Buddha in his bhumisparsh mundra, on the other.
In a media communique, Macwan said, the purpose of the coin is to raise an uncomfortable and painful question before the Indian Parliament: “Why as a nation we have failed to abolish untouchability de facto?” He added, “The programme raises the question before Parliament, since it is the collective failure to abolish untouchability of all Indian political parties.”
Apart from brass utensils, said Macwan, “People have also contributed Re 1 per member per family as a donation to the Indian Parliament. This donation is not towards the construction of the new house but to strengthen its resolve to abolish untouchability. Thus far, about 25,00,000 such coins have been collected, and more keep on pouring in from different parts of India.”
Navsarjan Trust, the NGO founded by Macwan, is navigating the initiative, said Macwan, adding, “The entire campaign has been funded by the community.”
According to Macwan, “The coin brings together the 12th century story of Veer Megh Mahya, the Dalit who sacrificed his life to remove untouchability, and the 1947 promise of independent India to itself to become a nation free of untouchability.”
The seven-day long March with the coin and the donations from the citizens of India, he said, will begin on August 1, 2022 at 8 am from the Dalit Shakti Kendra, an ITI-type institute founded by Macwan in Ahmedabad district’s Nani Devti village with the aim of empowering Dalits, and will reach Delhi on the evening of August 7, 2022.
At the same time, said Macwan, “A copper replica of the coin, weighing 72 grams and a diametre of 60 mm will be sent to all the members of Parliament, along with the letter asking them to support the demand for untouchability-free India.”
He added, “We will also personally take a brass coin replica to all the chief ministers of India in the next few weeks before the march.”
Giving details of the programme, Macwan said, “There will be 312 people joining the march in six buses. We are having six night halts on the route holding several meetings in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. The food and the night stay is taken care of by the rural communities, and in Delhi by a Gurudwara.”
“All the people joining the march are contributing Rs 1,100 and some who can afford to pay the full cost of their travel (Rs 3,250 per person)", he said, adding, “We will be in Delhi for 24 hours. If the coin and the donations from the community in the nature of Re 1 coins (about 25 lakh) is not accepted, we will return to Gujarat.”

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