National Convention of
Mulnivasi Mahila Sangh and BAMCEF Women Wing
Date : 18th – 19th October 2008 (Saturday – Sunday)
Bharat Scouts and Girls Guide Hall, Savarkar Marg,
Shivaji Park, Dadar, Mumbai-28
All Mulnivasi Women are sufferers of the three tier oppression of caste system, poverty and patriarchy. But the solidarity of Mulnivasi women has received a rude shock from the unjust Brahmanical social order. They now stand divided into many castes, and as closed groups distanced from their co-sufferers. But essentially the problems of the ST, SC, and OBC women are same; the severity (of the problem) depends upon their position in the caste ladder (hierarchy).
The ST women (at the most bottom rung) are worst sufferers of inhuman indignities. Hunger, disease, starvation, is the way of life for them and their children. Mass trafficking, prostitution, homelessness & depraved existence on streets is the norm.
The status of SC women is no different either. The attachment of notion of impurity to their being and their emergence as a group resisting oppressive forces of patriarchy and caste has exposed them and their children to unimaginable atrocities and ignominies. The once warrior clan women have been reduced to the level of animal and no better.
The situation of OBC and MBC women is even more pathetic. Even when SC and ST women are seen sporadically putting a brave front and releasing themselves from the shackles of bondage, the OBC women stand totally unaware of the enslavement in the Brahmanical thought and culture. Not knowing the real nature and cause of their oppression they cling to and strengthen the Brahmanical system. Merged in deep slumber they are oblivious of the dangers of the present time. In absence of a strong movement in the OBC groups they are directionless and out of pale of education, employment, a dignified living and future for their childrens seems bleak.
The National statistics (National Sample Survey) shows that in villages the OBC and MBC women, are devoid of land and any source of income, they are in huge debt and their men are being driven away to suicide. In each and every “basti” of cities, the OBC and MBC women live in abject poverty surrounded by filth, squalor and are engaged in most low paying jobs and flesh trade.
In stark contrast, all talks regarding the progress of women in this country, their ever increasing participation in education field their presence in art, culture and jobs which earlier were the preserve of men pertains to upper caste women only. It is only the upper caste women who have greatly benefited in the last 60 years. The mulnivasi women are nowhere near them. There is a clear cut demarcation line between the upper caste women and mulnivasi women. The former under the garb of women unity and feminism are out to fool and use mulnivasi women for their own caste interests. They try to keep the Brahmanical system alive and have never revolted against the system. Instead they have engaged themselves in all superfluous, superficial, rehabilitative activities, akin to striking a stick on placid water which only creates a few ripples, never going to the root cause of caste system and patriarchy. The upper caste women have never risen in revolt against Brahmanism. Hence we do not seek their support or participation but believe in creating our own strength.
BETRAYAL OF THE CONSTITUTION
It is true that the greatness of any nation can be gauged by the status of the women. If this principle is applied to India, Indian society cannot qualify as being a civilized progressive society. The status of women is so pitiable that the Indian society can aptly be labeled as primitive society. Whereas in the Constitution of India provision for upliftment of women are made in article 15(39) it is seen that the spirit of the Constitution is not reflected in the society.
Since 1950 (after the transfer of power from British to Congress) 60 yrs have lapsed but there is a rapid downfall in the position of women.
The percentage of Mulnivasi women reaching up to higher education is a dismal 5%. The drop out rate from school is as high as 60%. They are grossly under-represented in the job sector. They form the most unorganized sector. They are nutritionally malnourished and anaemic. In absence of nourishment they are inflicted with many diseases. One in every 10 child in their family dies of want for low cost treatment. The health related expenditure of their family is second most common cause of debt and 70% of the families of Mulnivasi women cannot afford treatment for their children.
This state of affairs spells betrayal of the Constitution by the people whose responsibility it is to see that it is implemented in letter and spirit. The mulnivasi women are victims of callous indifferent and hateful attitude of upper castes who are in power in politics, economic and religious sphere.
ROOT CAUSE OF OPPRESSION- CASTE & PATRIARCHY, SPRING FROM BRAHMINISM
Matriarchial system was the way of life in Mulnivasi culture before the invading Aryans (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas) destroyed it systematically by adopting methods of coercion, by instilling fear, by creating legends and by declaring it as word of God.
Both the instruments of suppression i.e., caste system and patriarchy (male domination) has its origin in Brahmanical tradition, festivals, stories, epics, legends and most importantly the scriptures right from Vedas to the Puranas, which are held, sacred by the women. Sacredness prevents revaluation of its value, once sacred – always sacred and this phenomenon has lead to the perpetuation of the abominable system.
IGNORANCE OF THE MULNIWASI WOMEN HAS TO BE UPROOTED
Not aware of the real nature and motive of religion and traditional notions, Mulnivasi women out of there ignorance are seen to be clinging, strengthening and preserving the very system which degrades them.
The ignorance of Mulnivasi women has to be removed. Our renaissance leaders like Jyotiba Phule, Savitri bai Phule, Periyar Ramasami, Narayan Guru and Babasaheb Ambedkar all strived and struggled their entire lives to remove the ignorance. But a lot more has to be done. The magnitude of the problem is of such proportions that the efforts are highly inadequate. To come out of the despondency and dependence a nationwide movement of the mulnivasi women along side the existing Phule-Ambedkarite movement run by BAMCEF is required.
NATIONAL CONVENTION FOR NATIONWIDE AWAKENING & PROTEST
The National Convention will prove be a milestone in the history of struggles of Mulnivasi women. It is for the first time since 1950 that SC, ST, OBC women will be coming together as a united force. It will blow the bugle of emancipation of Mulnivasi women. It will herald a new era.
The Mulnivasi Mahila Sangh activists are already working in areas of education and creating awareness on relevant issues. However a Nationwide Campaign will be launched to address the following issues urgently.
1. Free and compulsory education to Mulnivasi women upto graduation and higher budgetary allocation for education in the Annual Budget. Privatisation of education has affected the Mulniwasi Bahujan Samaj the most. It will not be surprising that if left unfettered the next generation will be largely illiterate. The activists will establish mass public contact to pressurize State and Central Government to implement various schemes and programmes throughout the country.
2. Free Health Services: It is the responsibility of any welfare state to make health care affordable and mostly free. On the contrary, it is seen that India’s health care system is the most privatized in the entire world (78%). The state funds only 2% of the health expenditure. Corporation funding is a mere 3% and NGO funds only 0.3%. Rest comes directly from the citizens. Instead of strengthening the Public Health System, Government Hospitals and Medical Colleges, the Govt is allowing a free hand to the corporate sector. For eg: In Andhra Pradesh the Congress Government under the project -Rajiv Gandhi Arogya Shree is giving money from government treasury to all corporate hospitals. We will expose these ruthless and merciless power brokers and create a mass awareness. The doctors and health professionals from Mulnivasi Bahujan Samaj will be actively working on this front to strength Health care system & ensure good health in all stages of life from birth till old age.
3. Movement against SEZ: Cleverly camouflaged under the term “economic development”, the SEZ’s are virtually proving to be “special elimination zones’ – eliminating the lives of Mulnivasi Bahujan Samaj. Large amount of fertile cultivable land – the only source of livelihood, is forcibly been taken away from Mulnivasi Bahujan Society. The Mulnivasi women and the children are starving and men being led to suicides. The same land is given away at throw away prices to real estate owners and pseudo industrialist as lease for a life time. Employment is provided to handful as daily wage earners adopting the “hire and fire” policy with no food or financial security. Mulnivasi Mahila Sangh will actively participate in staging protests against the SEZ all over the country.
4. Women Reservation Bill: The bill is a clearcut conspiracy by the upper castes and their political parties to usurp 33% seats (i.e 81 seats out of total 543 parliament seats) by filling upper castes women in these seats. Surprisingly even the Left Front which proclaims to be working for the masses is against giving any representation to the Mulniwasi women. We will awaken the public in this regard and expose the poisonous fangs of the so called “progressive men and women” from various organizations, and parties.
All the above issues will be discussed thread bare. Information is power and during the two days of the Convention we will empower our women with information.
An all India signature campaign is underway to place our view as regards the Women Reservation Bill wherein we have made it clear that since women constitute 50% of the population, instead of 33%, actually 50% of seats should be reserved for women and 85% representation should be given to SC ST and OBC women within the 50%.
The campaign will culminate in the Convention. Thereafter we propose to give a representation to all concerned at the helm of affairs including the President of India.
We request you to attend the convention in large numbers and strengthen the movement for the liberation of the Mulniwasi Women in this country.
JAI BHEEM! JAI MULNIWASI!! JAI BHARAT!!!
Conference Secretary – Preethi Wasnik- +919290591468
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