Category Archives: Moderators’ page

Speech of Dr. Drona Rasali deliberated remotely at the Global Forum event in Denver, Colorado, the USA: Global Consultation on Ensuring Dalit Right for Democracy, Dignity and Justice.

Distinguished guests, President and all members of the Global Forum, Organizing Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen,

With my due apology for my inability to be there in person, I thank you so much for this opportunity to speak remotely from Canada to your august gathering in Denver today to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

On remembering Sharpeville incident at this cherished event, I would like to bring solidarity to this cause, from Nepaldalitinfo, an international information resources network that has been supporting Dalit movement to eliminate caste discrimination in Nepal since its inception in 2003.

The commemorative event we are observing today is still so imperative to keep the momentum going for our just cause. The incidents of caste discrimination are still rampant on everyday basis. The horrifying incident that happened last December in a village, Kavre District of Nepal, where Laxmi Pariyar, 32, died in result of extreme form of Dalit atrocities meted by a school teacher in a broad day light, with her 10-year old son witnessing and begging a mercy for his mother will not be forgotten.

LaxmiPariyarSon

We do remember Rohith Vemula of Hyderabad University in India who was forced to commit suicide for his struggle and fight against discrimination little over a year ago; we remember him in order to reject victimhood, to reclaim resistance and to demand justice that has yet to be given for him.

RohitVemula

 

In this event organized thankfully by the Global Forum against Caste-based Discrimination, we recognize our common global problems faced in South Asia or elsewhere, our common goal of Annihilation of Caste for elimination of all its negative effects, our common goal of securing our equal rights, privileges and accountability in the mainstream society, and our common path of struggle to achieve these goals.

What is the cause that Dalits are fighting for? A number of demands provides the answer:

  • Current demand for Dalit rights and their just position in the society is a basic human right that is not against the people in general nor is against ‘Dalit friendly’ just and democratic government and associated political parties.
  • Dalit rights stand against the traditional status-quoists who in the guise as so-called ‘society’s responsible individuals’ in the name of religion and traditions undermine or remain apathetic to Dalits’ dignity, e.g. Many of such individuals are even the responsible people such as village priests, village heads, school teachers, the law enforcement personnel and those holding power or authority.
  • Dalit rights stand for unnegotiable freedom from such traditional norms and practices that license the traditional status-quo to oppress Dalits for ever. Such a status-quo is simply not acceptable to Dalit people.
  • Dalits’ demand is simple: it is righting the wrong of the past that is still causing unacceptable damages causing all round disparities and trauma through generations.
  • Constitutional rights established in India and now achieved in Nepal must be exercised in full, unconditionally.
  • We whole heartedly welcome our allies working for our cause.

In the context of the topic given to me to speak on at this event, which is the “Role of Diaspora in the context of South Asian Dalit movement”, we as Diaspora can take many significant strides such as:

  • Networking with academic leaders of the Universities around the world to motivate them to conduct research on Dalit people and communities of South Asia, especially in young democracy of Nepal.
  • Networking with famous writers and travellers of the world to motivate to visit Dalit villages of South Asia to experience their lives with them, and write about their life of misery and resilience, surviving through centuries with their hidden culture of tolerance, unrewarded but highly skillful occupations and many other aspects of their livelihoods.
  • Networking with philanthropists of the world to spend their generous giving to Dalits, the most disadvantaged lot among the people around the world.
  • Networking with international communities and agencies, with advocacy for the cause of social justice.
  • Giving back to own communities in South Asia at the national, regional and local level for empowering them to come out of the shell of discrimination-laden caste barriers to grow in the mainstream society like anyone else.

In our routine practice, we can also play a role in concrete deeds such as:

  • We can run a global networking such as Nepaldalitinfo runs for Nepal that can be further enhanced as a vibrant, meaningful means of global communications; its website and blog site can be source of information to the public world-wide.
  • We can organize international Dalit conferences in South Asian countries and abroad on regular interval to bring stakeholders from academia and field of action to a single platform. I call upon everyone to support one such international conference to be organized in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, later this year in December.
  • We can establish a very much needed centre of excellence in every country including India, if there is none yet, to host many important artifacts of our heritage and archival information for exchange. The physical and anthropological evidence, images speak for themselves, and researchers and stakeholders taken take advantage of them for meaningful discourses in the mainstream society.

Finally, I thank you all once again for making me part of the meaningful event.

DrDronaRasali

Dr. Drona Rasali

Founder Moderator, Nepaldalitinfo International Network

Vancouver, Canada.

March 18, 2017.

Belated tribute to Muhammad Ali

Paying a belated tribute to Muhammad Ali, we remember and internalize a bold defining message he gave in 1970 when he said, “I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me — black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.” Clearly, he teaches us to become “confident” and “cocky” for making the society just and fair.

Ali, the legendary boxer of all time, who was named Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. at birth died on June 3 at age 74. A part of his activism of remaining defiant against those who do not recognize his roots, the people of color, is inspiring.

Dalit friendly ‘nudge’ to Pawan Kharel

Nepaldalitinfo International keeps watching both friendly and negative behaviors to Dalits in Nepal by the state functionaries, social groups and individuals in Nepal. Those who express friendly behaviors publicly are be felicitated as ‘Friends of Dalits’, and those who exhibit any tormenting, hating or ostracizing behaviors to Dalits will be first nudged to become Dalit friendly in a positive reaction, and those who continue practicing unacceptable behaviors will be pursued for corrective actions including legal actions under the Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability  (Offense and Punishment Act, 2011) of Nepal so that they will be ultimately nudged to adopt a positive behavior.

Recently, Pawan Kharel, a very prominent official of Nepal Police in the rank of Special Superintendent of Police (SSP) gave a rant that unacceptable behavior of a responsible person in public office and is tantamount to an act punishable under the law.  Various responsible governmental and non-governmental agencies and civil societies such as National Dalit Commission and other entities of Dalit organizations are expected to pursue reactions against the rant at various levels. Nepaldalitinfo International Network awards him a reminder tag of ‘No Untouchability Practice’ (छुवाछुत ब्यह्वार निषेध) as a ‘nudge’ that would help him stay Dalit friendly.

Pawan Kharel

Babasaheb’s 125th Birth Anniversary, a turning point for transformative social change

April 14, 2016

Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s 125 Birth Anniversary was celebrated world over today. Iconic architect of India’s Constitution was remembered globally with much enthusiasm, not just because he was a leader who was born in a Dalit family and became a national hero of India in the historic past, but especially because his relevance is much more today than ever before. He stood up high in his times for liberty, equality and fraternity that are utmost important for the mankind even today. In a traditional society such as that of India of his time, there was no other greater revolution for social change, either in magnitude or in human values, in the world than to fight against the caste based discrimination handed down from centuries, which meant fighting against the majority of the people who are the perpetrators of the ill-nurtured Hindu tradition. The struggle against atrocious caste system spearheaded by Babasaheb was so humongous that it could not have been attempted by anyone else ever after. Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar was a true visionary of the past century, who could see the future centuries in a clear vision. Many noted scholars and social thinkers of today, who have observed very closely the magnitude of the caste based problem still existing in the 21st century, have realized that Babasaheb needs to be resurrected right here and now. Rohith Vemula’s compulsion to commit suicide was one very manifestation of the compelling evidence that Dr. Ambedkar is needed in India now more than any time in the past to bring justice to late Vemula, his family and Dalit community at large. He is needed in Nepal now to bring down the ever heightening social norms of people being ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ by descent. He is needed in the world now to spearhead the global transformative social change through his principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, making  his 125th Anniversary a turning point.

Dr. D.P. Rasali

Founder and International Moderator

Nepaldalitinfo International Network

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125th Birth Anniversary of Babasheb Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Celebrated in Kathmandu

Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar resurrected on his 125th Birth Anniversary for liberty, equality and fraternity

 

 

Tribute to the respected elder Pandit Padam Singh Bishwakarma

Nepaldalitinfo international network pays a respectful tribute to Dalit elder and leader Padam Singh Bishwakarma who is no more. We are deeply saddened by his sudden passing away at the age of 86 early this month, while being treated for an illness of pneumonia at a hospital in Pokhara. He was one of the earliest Dalit leaders who fought against the caste discrimination and untouchability in the era of Nepal’s autocratic Rana regime, when raising voice against the discriminatory caste system was a severe crime against the state and the ruling class.

Late Padam Singh Bishwakarma was the first Chairman of National Dalit Commission founded by the Government of Nepal in the initiation of the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. Ever since then, he has been demanding for making the National Dalit Commission a constitutional body, which has been a reality after the new Constitution of Nepal came into effect on Sept 20, 2015.

Late Padam Singh Bishwakarma was the third among early Dalit leaders of Bishwa Sarbajan Sangh (World’s All People [Equals] Association) founded by Late Bhagat Sarbajit Bishwakarma, while the second Dalit leader was Pandit Riplal Bishwakarma. They fought in their times fervently against caste discrimination in Nepal and were jailed by autocratic Rana regime government prior to BS 2007 peoples’ movement. Under the leadership of Bhagat Sarbajit, they fought against the caste discrimination and oppression placed on Dalit communities by the society and the law of the land. All of the three leaders were educated in Sanskrit and Hindu religion whilst they lived in India, receiving the knowledge and skills of Hindu priesthood. Upon their home coming to Nepal, they challenged many Brahmin priests in Shastrartha (debates on Hindu religious scriptures), and pointed out Brahmins’ erroneous interpretations of Hindu scriptures in their own favour leading to oppressing and discriminatory treatment of Sudras in the society.

padamsingh-bishwakarma

Pandit Padam Singh Bishwakarma

He served as a head master and teacher in the High School of his village in Baglung district shortly after his home coming from India, until the time he got involved in Dalit movement and democratic politics more actively in 1950s.

Bishwakarma had led many incidents of protests and campaigns against caste discrimination and oppression in Nepal. His contributions to the Dalit movement in the country has earned him as the most respected elder leader of Dalit movement in recent times.

In the national politics, Bishwakarma was a democratic leader in the history of Nepal, who had contributed significantly to peoples’ democratic movements of BS 2007, BS 2046 and BS 2062. He was a dedicated active member of Nepali Congress Party for long time. He was instrumental in establishing Nepal Dalit Sangh, a Dalit wing of the party for consolidating the role of Dalits within the party.

Late Padam Singh Bishwakarma will be remembered in the history of Nepal and Dalit movement in the country for his legacy of an inspiring political leader, a respected Dalit elder and a teacher.

Related News:

Dalit leader Bishwakarma passes away at: https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/dalit-leader-bishwakarma-passes-away/

New year 2016 greetings!

Dear Nepaldalitinfo Network members,

Firstly, I would like to greet everyone of you for the New Year 2016 with a renewed hope that Dalits of Nepal and elsewhere can live a life of full dignity and respect moving forward into the future starting now.

The year 2015 has been a significant year of both despair as well as joy for Dalit people of Nepal. They continued to suffer in the daily lives in more than one way with all the disadvantages that came with disastrous Earthquake, political instability and more recently the undeclared blockade of supplies of essential goods and services through the Nepal-India borders. Undoubtedly, in any such chaotic situations, Dalits being the most vulnerable people in Nepal would suffer the most among Nepalese populace.

On the other hand, Nepal’s new federal and democratic constitution puts Dalits in joyous mood of freedom with their rights defined, their suffering from the age-old atrocious spell of untouchability abolished by law and their National Dalit Commission institutionalized through constitutional provisions- of course. all these demand a rigor in enforcement through appropriate Dalit friendly laws and regulations as stipulated by the constitution.

Special mention should be made that access to education in Nepal up to higher education is now a constitutional right of Dalits in Nepal that must be guaranteed in REAL practice, but not merely in the paper as penned downed in the highest statute of Nepal. Towards this end, the governments to be formed at all levels- federal, provincial and local, must be wary of their responsibilities to meet the mandatory constitutional provisions for free education of the Dalit people. One of the ways, this could be achieved is through the open and distance education at the University level, especially to those who have been dropped out of schools due to their lack of resources and means, despite their talents and ability to learn and educate themselves. In the beginning of this month of December, I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to attend the 29th Asian Open Universities
Conference, where I presented a paper titled, OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NEPAL: A
GLOBAL VISION OF HIGHER EDUCATION FOR THE DISADVANTAGED PEOPLE in the co-authorship of three of my colleagues with whom I have been sailing with the Open University of Nepal initiative as the flagship project of Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) since 2010. The paper by virtue of its theme and contents is dedicated in spirit to the disadvantaged Dalit people who rank the lowest in the higher education attainment in Nepal. I am sharing the full text of the paper here with you all in the format as published in the Conference proceedings at: http://s170.oum.edu.my/aaou2015/sites/default/files/AAOU_Proceedings.pdf.

Lastly but not at the least, I express my due apology to you all for not being able to meet in person many of you in Kathmandu where I was for about 3 weeks this month of December, and also for not being able to touch-base with you for several months now. I hope, the frequency of my communications with you through Nepaldalitinfo network will improve in the year 2016.
Thank you,
Sincerely,
Dr. D.P. Rasali
Founder Moderator,
Nepaldalitinfo International Network

January 1, 2016, Canada.

New constitution leaves revolution ‘unfinished’ in Nepal

Some of the provisions made in the new Constitution of Nepal, especially establishment of Dalit rights and dignity, free schooling and higher education for Dalit children and youth, elimination of caste discrimination and untouchability, and establishment of National Dalit Commission as a constitutional body are the main achievements of Dalit movement.

– Nepaldalitinfo.

New constitution leaves revolution ‘unfinished’ in Nepal

source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/new-constitution-leaves/2134978.html

Nepal’s new constitution will come into force on Sunday after years of negotiations and armed struggle, yet not everyone is pleased with the final outcome.

KATHMANDU: Former Maoist guerrilla Sukh Bahadur Roka Magar spent his youth fighting for greater equality in his native Nepal, a goal he had hoped to see enshrined in a new constitution that was voted into law this week.

But the 47-year-old farmer says the long-delayed bill, aimed at cementing the Himalayan nation’s transformation from feudal Hindu monarchy to secular democratic state, has left the revolution he fought unfinished.

“Thousands of lives were lost during the conflict for the sake of a new constitution that could guarantee people’s rights,” he said.

“The monarchy has gone, but power has not yet shifted to ordinary people.

“I had a different vision of the new Nepal. But many compromises have been made.”

The new constitution endorsed in parliament this week is the first to be drawn up by elected representatives of Nepal’s people after centuries of autocratic rule.

It is the final stage in a peace process that began when the Maoists laid down their arms in 2006 after a decade-long civil war with state forces and turned to politics, winning parliamentary elections two years later and abolishing the monarchy.

Work on the bill began in 2008 and was initially supposed to finish by 2010, but the Maoists were unable to secure enough support for the two-thirds majority needed to push it through parliament.

After years of disagreement, the three biggest parties finally reached agreement in June, spurred by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake two months earlier that killed nearly 8,900 people and destroyed around half a million homes.

They agreed to divide the country of 28 million people into seven federal provinces, a move aimed at devolving power from the centre.

But before voting even began, violent protests broke out over the proposed borders, which historically marginalised groups including the Madhesi and Tharu ethnic minorities say will leave them under-represented in the national parliament.

More than 40 people have been killed in over a month of clashes between protestors and police, among them two young children and a police officer lynched as he was driven to hospital in an ambulance.

It was some of the worst violence Nepal has seen since the end of the conflict nine years ago and prompted neighbouring India to issue a statement expressing concern and urging “flexibility on the part of all the political forces”, even as voting on the draft was under way.

‘FLAWED, BUT NOT FATALLY’

A clause that will make it more difficult for women to pass their citizenship onto their children has also attracted fierce criticism, with rights activists calling it a backwards step.

Journalist and political commentator Kunda Dixit said the three main parties had “tried to bulldoze a formula that serves their own immediate political interests rather than have an inclusive, sustainable solution that can bring stability to the country”.

But in a blog posted as the voting drew to an end on Wednesday, he said the controversial bill was “flawed, but not fatally so”, and was flexible enough to be improved.

Bhimarjun Acharya, a constitutional lawyer, said the bill included provisions for improving the involvement of low-caste groups, women and minorities in national politics, although he said some of these were not clear-cut and success would depend on how they were implemented.

Political leaders had argued that passing a constitution — even an imperfect one — was preferable to the continuation of the political limbo that some say has held up crucial quake aid.

This week, parliament finally passed a bill formally establishing a National Reconstruction Authority that was set up to oversee rebuilding after the April quake, but had been unable to start work until its status had been enshrined in law.

The new constitution will come into force after a ceremony on Sunday evening and will trigger the resignations of both the government and the president, although the timing of those changes is unclear.

Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known by his nom de guerre Prachanda, or the fierce one, hailed it as a “victory of the dreams of the thousands of martyrs and disappeared fighters”.

Magar, the former rebel who fought under Dahal’s command, was not so sure.

“We need to raise our voices until Dalits, women and indigenous people are empowered,” he told AFP.

“Only then will I believe that the goals of 10 years of civil war have been achieved.”

Nepaldalitinfo Intenational Network adds:

Dalits demands are simple: Righting the wrong of the past

The Joint Political Dalit Struggle Committee is formed by the Dalit parliamentarians from political parties, including the ruling parties, NC and CPN-UML and the opposition party CPN-Maoists, within the framework of the minimum common understanding among them for ensuring Dalit rights. All three major parties, in principle, are deemed to be committed to Dalit rights. Dalit people have never questioned about that. Majority of Dalit people have been unconditionally supporting the respective parties of their heart and expect the parties to address the questions of their just demands. Especially, the ruling parties NC and CPN-UML are expected to respond positively to rightful demands of Dalits made through the peaceful demonstrations. Still, the government machinery under the same ruling parties struck heavily on the peaceful demonstrators on August 3, using brutal police force injuring several Dalit parliamentarians and activists in unprecedented manner to suppress the peaceful demonstration for their demands. This may be surprizing to ordinary bystanders, but not to Dalit communities, who by virtue of their extreme tolerance to centuries of oppression and discrimination know the reality very well.
The ground reality is that all the major political parties where most of the Dalit parliamentarians belong to are headed and run by those of very Dalit friendly leaders, whose traditional Brahministic value loving families and cronies want the status quo of caste discrimination to prevail even after the new constitution is promulgated. The same case goes across the government machinery, which is fully dominated by so-called ‘high caste’ officials and security personnel, whose Brahministic families would not favor any change for humanity. In the words of impression vented out by Nepaldalitinfo International Network’s founding moderator Dr. Drona Rasali to Himalayan Radio yesterday that it is unbelievable that the home minister Bamdev Gautam himself would have given any direct order so as to strike a brutal police force on peaceful demonstrators. It is understandable that the trigger for police personnel charging the batons on Dalits could have come from the inherent Brahminism within their heart that motivated them to falsely inflate the peaceful incident into a case of demonstrators turning violent.
Clearly, the demand of Dalits for their rights is not against the supposedly ‘Dalit friendly’ political parties now in power, but it is against the crude age-old Brahmism hidden in the hearts of their political leaders, security personnel and all those holding state power at any level. The demand of Dalits is for freedom from Brahminism that wants to cling on to the traditional status-quo oppressing Dalits for ever in the manner of adamantly inhuman villagers of Nainpur in Siraha district denying rights of Dom people to touch the public well for fetching water for themselves.
In the 21st century, Dalits deserve a better deal, with inclusive provisions of rightful representations at all levels of governments and societal structures in compensation to all those oppressions that emanated from the statutory provisions made by Jung Bahadur Rana’s Muluki Ain (Civil Code) of 1854. Dalits demand is simple: it is righting the wrong of the past causing damages through their generations. Unless the new constitution compensates adequately for the state-led oppressions of the past, which they tolerated for so long remaining in silence below human dignity, Dalits will not have gotten their full rights as they deserve, and the new constitution with ‘socialism’ painted in the preamble is not going to be right.

Police brutality, and ongoing atrocities on Dalits in Nepal: Stern actions demanded against the perpetrators

Nepal’s National Dalit Commission has drawn the attention to the act of police brutality obstructing a peaceful public demonstration held on Srawan 19 (August 3, 2015) in Bijuli Bazar area of Kathmandu to voice against the provisions to reduce Dalit rights and representation in the preliminary draft of the country’s new constitution. A press statement issued by the Commission’s Chairman Man Bahadur Nepali says,”Brutal force used by the police on the peaceful demonstration organized by the Joint Political Dalit Struggle Committee has seriously injured and humiliated several Dalit leaders and activists including Parliamentarians Man Bahadur Bishwokarma and Baljeet Shreepali”.

Also, pointing to a case of atrocity meted out to Dalit community in Nainpur village of Dhangadhi VDC-3 in Siraha District, by other villagers not allowing Dalits to touch the well to fetch their water, the Commission’s press statement says, “Members of Dom community there have been harassed, physically beaten up and forced to be displaced out of the village”. The Commission has demanded legal actions against the perpetrators of police brutality as well as atrocious traditional practice of untouchability.

Nepaldalitinfo International Network deplores the use of brutal police force obstructing the public demonstration peacefully demanding Dalit rights and also condemns the acts of all kinds of untouchability practice, including inhumane cruelty of villagers on Dalit community in Siraha District. Nepaldalitinfo joins in solidarity with National Dalit Commission demanding stern action against the perpetrators acting against Dalit rights. The rights of Siraha’s Dom community should be restored by punishing the perpetrators of ongoing atrocities under Caste-Based Discrimination and Untouchability (Offense and Punishment) Act, 2068 (2011).

Report by:

Nepaldalitinfo International Moderator

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जागरण मिडिया सेन्टरले खिचेको दलित आन्दोलनमाथी भएको प्रहरी दमनको भिडियो

  • २०७२ साउन १९ -जागरण मिडिया सेन्टर । नेपाल प्रहरीका “उच्च अधिकारी”ले अनलाईन खबरलाई आज दलित सभासदहरुले प्रहरीमाथि हातपात गरेको कारण बल प्रयोग गर्नुपरेको भन्ने जवाफ…

Police Burtality on Dalits (video)

Some Glimpses of the First Dalit Rights Global Conference organized by ICDR in Washington DC

Pictorial glimpses of the Dalit Global Conference (Photo courtesy: Dr. Maria Suchowski)

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REMOTE PRESENTATION:”Is higher education a factor in caste based socio-economic deprivation in Nepal?” by Dr.. DP Rasali.

A Global Conference Presentation by Dr. Drona Rasali

RELATED NEWS: Dalit Global Conference in US Advocating an End to Caste-based Discrimination