//Need editor, 'only dalits can apply'

Need editor, 'only dalits can apply'

VACANCY RESERVED: A Pondicherry-based publication house advertising for the vacancy for an editor

Pondicherry: At a time when reservation and caste issues have created a storm and stirred up a national debate, a Pondicherry-based publication house has advertised for a dalit editor.

The Navayana Publication House placed an advertisement on their website, which, apart from stating the basic qualifications, requires the applicant to be a dalit to be eligible to apply.

The innocuous advertisement restricts the choice of the aspirants to a particular category saying, 'only dalits need apply here'.

The move is being seen in the light of the recent debate about media being dominated by the 'upper caste'.

"Even though we are sensitive about dalit issues, we need many more things from the applicants," Publisher, Navayana Publication House Ravikumar says.

A recent study conducted by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) showed that a vast majority of editorial decisions in most media houses were being taken by 'upper caste' editors.

The role of media in covering the recent stir over reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) issue was also widely debated.

Media was squarely blamed for selectively highlighting the plight of the anti-reservation camps, while not giving much print space or air-time to the pro-reservation voices.

The unusual advertisement has already attracted the attention of many dalit writers/editors.

"Nehru understood oppression not caste system, Mahatma Gandhi understood caste system but not oppression. He understood caste system as part of the Hindu social hierarchy which must be retained," Dalit writer Chandra Bhan says.

In 1996, a foreign journalist while reporting an incident related to the then Bahujan Samaj Party chief Kanshi Ram, wanted to talk to a dalit journalist.

Out of the 600 accredited journalists, he couldn't find even one dalit journalist.

Even after ten years, when reservations for backward classes has been hiked to a considerable extent, the situation remains the same.