UDUPI: "If the downtrodden by strengthening their caste organisations obtain the deserved benefits from the government, it does not amount to casteism," said former deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah. Siddaramaiah was speaking after inaugurating a seminar on ‘Dalit Voice editor V T Rajashekhar’s life and movement – an analysis’ organised by Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samiti on Sunday.
He said: "Many people question why there should be reservation only for the backward people when the upper castes also have poor people. I say that those untouchables or those looked down by the masses, however rich they may be, are not treated on par with the upper caste people.
But it is a pity that even those Dalits or the downtrodden occupying key posts treat their fellow members cheaply compared to their counterparts in the upper castes. This shows that even the educated people from the backward caste have not become self-reliant. Unless they shed their slavish mentality, they cannot bring out any change," he said.
Siddaramaiah warned the members of the backward castes and Dalits that upper caste people tried to drive a wedge between various castes. Moreover by preaching ‘Karma’ theory and orthodox beliefs, the upper caste people wanted to maintain the status quo in the caste system. Siddaramaiah called upon the backward class, Dalits and the minorities to expose the plot of the upper caste people.
Dalit Voice editor V T Rajashekar called upon the Dalits to include women in their movement. Rajashekar said: "At present the Dalit movement is the only movement existing in the country. Unless you include women in the movement, it would not succeed."
"Deve Gowda is a born ‘anti-backward and anti-minority. When he was elected an MLA for the first time, he had opposed the Havanoor and Mandal reports. But both the reports were minority and backward friendly," Rajashekar said. He called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Chidambaram agents of World Bank. He said: "Both speak development in terms of GDP. But educational and financial development are not the types of development that are needed for the country. We need to progress in social and cultural aspects also."
He added that though DK and Udupi districts were educationally and financially developed, they were socially and culturally backward. Rajashekar called upon Siddaramaiah not to pursue politics to become chief minister. "People have seen a ray of hope in ‘Ahinda’.
You need to keep up their aspirations. You have to strengthen the ‘Ahinda’ movement and the chief minister’s post will come to you on its own," he told Siddaramaiah.
Brahmavar MLA K Jayaprakash Hegde presided over the programme. Dr Gananath Ekkaru, Vinay Kumar Sorake, U Ananda Mendon, Abdulla Parkala and Renold Praveen Kumar also spoke. DSS activist Jayan Malpe made the introductory remarks. Shyamaraj Birthi welcomed the gathering.
Monday February 6 2006 11:40 IST http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEK20060206011844