International Journal Of Dalit Studies (IJDS)

PROPOSAL AND DRAFT FOR CIRCULATION

This process started in October 1998 in Kualalumpur conference where we had an informal discussion on the possibilities of bringing out a Dalit

Research Journal. Though informal, but it was a strongly felt need that some concrete steps must be taken in this direction. In the last few months a number of things have been discussed between Raju Kamble, Dr. L.N.Berwa, Dr. Anand Teltumbde, Ms.Rajni Tilak, and Myself. During the informal discussion, it was felt that this Research Journal must have International Orientation, and we must take concrete steps towards this. Therefore, consensus emerged that the idea of the research journal be translated into reality. Therefore, the first step was to name this journal as International Journal of Dalit Studies. So far, this process remained informal, and everything was discussed as the interests of few-concerned Dalits. This is the first formal draft for bringing out the International Journal of Dalit Studies. This draft is presented for the consideration of Dalit Community as a whole.

Though, few people have taken initiative in this direction, but members should not feel restricted to come forward and discuss things in the minutest detail. In depth discussion resulting in a broader consensus could make this attempt a great success. In the following paragraphs we discuss the details of this journal. We also discuss the strategic need of this kind of journal, and a possible strategy that can make this journal an organ of the Dalit Thought. We list the commitments that many of us have given for bringing out this journal. We also list the small work that has been done so far, and detail the amount of the work that lies ahead.

ROLE OF RESEARCH

Researches have played a vital role in the development of the mankind. However, aims of research vary from organisation to organisation. A Multinational Organisation may be more interested in market research to know how markets behave so that it can plan its marketing strategy to capture the biggest share of the market. Governments carry out research into the areas that justifies its policies, welfare or market. Similarly, public interest groups or marginalised communities carry out research to lobby their interests. In US, the black Ideologue and the founder of the NACAP Dr. W.E.B.Dubois was the one who conceptualized the idea of interests based research to focus on the issues of the Afro-Americans or the Blacks. Research that he carried out with a number of concerned blacks led to the exposure of indifferent attitude of the US government towards the blacks. These research findings provided ammunition to the blacks and their organizations to mobilize black masses and force US Government progressively to take steps in improving the overall conditions of the blacks. The results of these researches helped in destroying the stereotype thinking of the US masses perceiving the blacks as un-intelligent and mediocre. Babashaeb Dr. Ambedkar, the Liberator (Muktidata)knew the importance of this kind of research. He carried out numerous researches himself and used his findings to expose the Policies of the British Indian Government that were undermining the interests of the marginalised sections of Indian society. The memorandums that he submitted to the three Round Table Conferences, Simon Commission, Commissions on Education, Lothian Committee and various other committees ultimately compelled the British Government to take concrete steps to improve the conditions of the Untouchables, and the backward classes. Whatever issues Baba Saheb took up, he studied hard and gathered voluminous data. He used them to expose injustice, inequality, humiliation and cruelty towards the Dalit masses. He based his arguments on his findings; therefore, his recommendations could hardly be ignored.

Above examples are sufficient to prove the crucial role that researches have played in furthering the interests of the communities worldwide. Research can be used in innumerable ways to further the interests of Dalits. For example:

This journal will establish Dalit Studies as a subject. Over a period of time we can lobby to make this as a compulsory component Indian curriculum. It has potential of opening an entirely new branch of sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, Dalit Art and Culture etc.

It can be used to find out how the Policies that Centre and various State Governments make and implement affect us.

Research can be used to find out the weaknesses that as a community we may have and we can act to remove them.

Dalit Organisation can utilize these research studies as a common rally point to initiate necessary action.

Research into the areas of health, habitat, atrocities and their pattern, Governmental action or anything that we consider important can lead to formulation/improvement/change/ or scrapping of certain policies.

Research Findings can be utilized to educate our 121 MPs to take up our problems at an appropriate level.

Research Findings can be utilized to educate the International communities, which in turn can pressurize the Indian Government to stop the injustice with the Dalit.

These researches can be utilized to document the Dalit History, which so far dalit have paid no attention to document.

We can list thousands and thousand reasons emphasising the role that research play in lobbying, and strengthening the interest of the Dalit. Therefore, it can be emphatically said that there is concerted need to initiate and take systematic steps in developing conducive environment to carry out the research on the issues affecting us.

WHY INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DALIT STUDIES

As far as we are aware no journal that specialises on the issues of the Dalit research has been brought out by any body in India and abroad so far. Though, there are few Newsletters, house journals, magazines and newspapers that specifically covers Dalit issues, but hardly touch the wider issues of Dalit interests and thus research into the Dalit issues have been left untouched. Is it not really surprising that the research issues affecting more than 250million Dalits is still not considered a serious issue?

For the researchers of non-Indian origin who live and work outside India, it could be hard to believe that there is no research journal that focuses on Dalit, a population as vast as the population of many countries. When we discussed this matter with few foreign scholars they were quite shocked. For them it was just unimaginable to imagine that the Indian intellectuals were involved in systematic suppression of issues and areas that affect Dalit Masses. However, those who know India, its castes system and the social composition of Indian Intelligentsia, it is quite understandable as to why the issues of socially and economically marginalised sections of India do not interest to the Indian intelligentsia.

A number of reasons can be given to explain as to why Indian intellectuals did not venture into the area of Dalit research. The main reason that could be given is the control of publishing and printing houses by the Brahamanical social groups that are consciously opposed to the welfare and the development of marginalised Dalits. These social groups and commercial interests see the research into the Dalit issues as unfolding of the crimes that they have been committing since the time immemorial. One must remember that their social, economic and political hegemony rests over the ignorance of the humanity in general and the socially lower classes of India in particular. Dalit research could provide ammunition to challenge this hegemony. Thus, and thus the rise of the Dalit Research is a potential threat to them. The edifice of caste that they have built so labouriously over the centuries will naturally be the first to be challenged in the Dalit research.

Another reason that could be assigned is the opposition of Brahamanical forces in sharing the resources, be economic, intellectual or of any kind. It is not a mere coincidence that a minuscule community like Brahmin that devised the philosophy of Varna-ashram system to perpetuate water-tight compartmentalization of Indian society, still monopolise most of the academic positions in schools, colleges, Universities, other research and development organisations and Media etc. One must remember that the Empire that Brahamanism have built and maintained will give Dalits no chance to overthrow it. It is in the interest of the Brahamanical forces not to allow any movement that inspires people for the acquisition of knowledge. Therefore, their strategy has always been to kill the movement that spread knowledge either by assimilation or annihilation. Stronger enemy is annihilated and weak enemy is assimilated.

Whatever may be the reason, the bottom line is that there is no systematic research into the areas of Dalit issues. Therefore, it is obvious that the idea of Research Journal that focuses on the Dalit issues never struck to the so-called intellectuals in India. Therefore, as Dr. Ambedkar said, those who want to liberate have to strike themselves. Therefore, this journal aims at initiating a systematic beginning of researches into the Dalit issues. It also aims at publishing all the known and unknown research that has taken place so far. It also aims at bringing the results of the latest Dalit research so that Dalit community can take necessary action.

We appreciate the efforts of committed Dalit Professors and Scholars who are carrying out research on the issues affecting Dalit. However, they have to work under the guidelines provided to them either by the Governments or their institutions. Interest of these institutes and the Government may not necessarily be the interest of the Dalit. International Journal of Dalit Studies would provide them with a platform that they could use to conduct independent research pertaining to the interests of the Dalits. PERIODICITY OF THE JOURNAL

In the beginning, IJDS will be brought out twice in a year. First issue of the Journal is planned for October 1999. Subsequently, journal will be published in the first week of April and October each year. Depending upon the resources, support, and membership of the Journal, number of IJDS may be increased to four per year.

SUPPORT TO THE JOURNAL

As indicated above, the idea of the journal initiated by few concerned Dalits living overseas. Most prominent among those were Mr. Raju Kamble (UAE), Dr.Laxmi N. Berwa USA), Dr. Anand Teltumbde (Bombay-India), Ms.Anita Gujrati (Australia), Ms. Rajni Tilak (New Delhi India) and myself (Australia). However many more people have extended their support. Presently, the journal has received assurances of support from Mr. Karunakaran (Brunei) and Mr. C.Gautam (UK).

WORK DONE SO FAR Following things have been done since April 1999 when this idea started taking shape:

Paper for registration of name International Journal of Dalit Studies have been filed with the office of the Registrar General of Newspaper in India.

Domain name for the website of the journal has been registered and money has been paid. The domain name of the site is www.mooknayak.com Many International and National Authorities on Dalit Research have been requested to be the part of the editorial board of the Journal. So far, Prof.Owen M.Lynch, Professor of Anthropology in the City University of New York, and Dr. Eleanor Zelliot (USA), Prof. Mohammad Shabbir (International Islamic University, Malaysia) and Dr. Gopal Guru (Poona University) have already given their consent for becoming the member of the editorial board. We are contacting many more learned Prof. all over the world.

What we have done is a minimum. A number of other things remained to be accomplished. They range from advertising to membership drive to raising material resources for this journal. However, at this point detail discussion may help to turn this research journal into a successful venture. We request all the members to discuss this proposal in thid Dalit forum. For further clarification on any issue query may be sent to Mr. Ashok Bharti at mooknayak@yahoo.com or at anita.gujrati@flinders.edu.au.

International Journal of Dalit Studies (IJDS) TEAM


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