Sunday, March 26, 2006

KARACHI - As many as 300 million Dalits (untouchables) live in India who have been subjected to discrimination based on caste system, according to Mukul Sharma of World Dignity Forum.

Talking to The Nation on Saturday during WSF moot, he said that their movement was against ‘politics of exclusion’ which did not recognise dignity to humans. He regretted that still acceptance was not being given to untouchables by ‘high-caste people’ of India, however, in recent times, Dalits’ social mobility has increased due to education and their relative participation in the politics.

‘’Dalits were churning in society in a big way,’’ he maintained. Mukul Sharma who formed the World Dignity Forum two years ago, pointed out that there were 100 members of Dalits among total 534 members of Indian Parliament as they have become ‘strong in politics.’ He believed that Dalits take part in politics and democracy in big way on account of getting presumed social mobility. He said that despite many flaws, Indian democracy has contributed in their education and social mobility. He pointed out that around 500 million ‘untouchables’ live in South Asia with different names. He said that about 300 groups of such people have joined World Dignity Forum. ‘’Our basic purpose was to ensure human dignity for such communities,’’ Mukul Sharma declared.

Meanwhile, Kolhis of Pakistan who called themselves as indigenous people held a seminar on this occasion. Bhooromal Kolhi, Bhoorji Bhell, Haman Motwani, Tanveer Arif, Rehman, Bharu and a woman representative from Finland spoke. The speakers pointed out that around two million Kolhis were living in Sindh province, mostly in Tharparkar and Nagarparkar areas where 70 pc population live in miserable conditions. However, with Kolhi community’s efforts since 1970s, thousands of boys and girls were getting education. They pointed out that since 1973, around 12 students belonging to Kolhi have become doctors, seven lawyers and 100 were government servants. The speakers pointed out that 25 per cent Kolhis in Thar were suffering from TB while women faced a lot of feminine disease. Besides frequent droughts in Thar have adversely affected their lives. Kolhis also sung a song written by Bharu Mal Ammrani on this occasion: ‘Oh! Master of land long live! Oh! Kolhi long live! Who has given birth to Ropo Kolhi Lap of mother long live Whose every stone has colored the Karoonjhar with own red blood Dajo Mado long live Thy group long live Hostility of landlord is similar today, as invaders did in the past Disgust with them long live The words of right long live Follow the books instead of Gulell (hunting weapons) Must be stiff sign of skill and education stepping forward long live Growing speedy surf long live Oh! Friends this is the era of development, we also ought to follow that path Justification of instant long live Lapidate for truth long live.

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