In an exclusive chat with Telangana Today, Macwan, said that even after 75 years of Independence, India was still plagued with inequality, untouchability, poverty and suppression of weaker sections.
Hyderabad: Expressing concern over increasing incidents across the country of rising communal differences and atrocities on weaker sections, especially dalits, Dalit Human rights activist Martin Macwan said the continuation of such a situation could soon turn India into a lawless land.
In Japan and other countries, school children talk about innovation, but here, unfortunately, youth were getting dragged into casteism and ignoring constitutional rights, he said.
In an exclusive chat with Telangana Today, Macwan, who founded the Navsarjan Trust in 1989 to promote rights of Dalits, address land rights issues, minimum wages and women’s rights, said that even after 75 years of Independence, India was still plagued with inequality, untouchability, poverty and suppression of weaker sections. Both the Congress and the BJP had failed miserably in addressing these issues due to lack of political will.
Pointing out that people were fed up with the violence and hate the country was witnessing, Macwan, a reputed academician as well, said this gave ample space for emergence of a strong political force that could chalk out a new political ideology focusing on constitutional values. That’s where Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi could play a role,” he said, adding that, however, a collective fight was the need of the hour.
“Things are changing and people are getting aware of their rights and demanding welfare and development,” he said, pointing out that in Iran, women were on the streets protesting violence, while in Sri Lanka, people had demanded the President to quit.
“Anything is possible. Leaders from South can emerge as a driving force,” he said.
On the much-hyped Gujarat model, Macwan said it was all about how development and inequality could coexist. Development in Gujarat now was only in terms of the ever widening gap between the rich and poor.
Dr BR Ambedkar defined development as the progress of women in different sections, but here it was about physical infrastructure. If fraternity and equality do not exist and malnourished children are found just eight kilometres away from Amul, Asia’s biggest cooperative dairy society, what was the so-called development worth for, he asked.
“In 2010, Navsarjan Trust conducted a survey covering 1,589 villages in Gujarat and 98 forms of discrimination were identified. We are in 2022. That discrimination and atrocities still prevail and that is the Gujarat model,” he said.
A few parties that came up to fight for dalit empowerment in northern States had gradually lost connection with the people. That is what happened in Uttar Pradesh.
Appreciating the Telangana government’s Dalit Bandhu scheme and similar welfare measures, he said the major reasons for atrocities were land issues. “If Dalit Bandhu could be replicated in other States, it can help in Dalit empowerment,” he said.
On Telangana’s demand to increase reservations for scheduled tribes, Macwan said it should not be confined to a particular State. All State governments should demand and approach the Supreme Court for this, he said.
Over the Centre’s discrimination towards a few progressive States, he said it was unfortunate that such an approach persisted in the country. “A king cannot have a partisan approach. It does not augur well for the nation,” he said.
Macwan will be speaking at the Centre for Dalit Studies lecture series at the Press Club, Somajiguda from 11 am on Sunday.