Dalit Diary : 1999-2003

Dalit Diary : 1999-2003

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Author: Chandra Bhan Prasad
Publisher: Navayana
Year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 244
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8189059041

Description

India churns out 43, 828 publications, including 4890 dailies, in 18 principal languages and over 81 small languages and dialects. In 1998, the total circulation of the Indian press was 127 million. According to Unicef, the Indian press reflects the country’s immense diversity. However, dalits, who constitute one-fourth of India’s billion-plus population, do not form a part of this diversity. Their exclusion from the print media, and probably other media as well, is near-toala. In such a context, CHANDRA BHAN PRASAD writes Dalit Diary, the only column by a dalit in a mainstream newspeak, the Pioneer Dalit Dairay opened up new avenues for the dalit movement in India. Most significantly, it resulted in the Bhopal Document (2002) which made a case for the implementation of the diversity doctrine in India, the first major accretion to the discourse of dalit rights in post-Ambedkr India.

Unlike nondalit jpurnalist who dwell only upon the number of dalits killed, mained raped, brutalized- a reality, no doubt- Prasad effects a paradigm shit by speaking the language of rights. For him, the exclusion of dalties from the faculty of Jawaharlla Nehru University is a more unpardonable crime than the violence that the Ranvir Sena unleashes.

As Robin Jeffrey wirtes in his Introduction to this book, Chandra Bhan’s writing may equally provoke the shankaracharyas of Puri, Kanchipuram and India Internatioanl Centre. Week after week, Prasad relentlessly voices the aspirations of millions of dalts with controlled rage, clothses facts in orginal perceptions and demonstrates how untouchability stares you in the face at every turn, in every corner.

Untouchability is such a doctrine that it does not fully liberate even the most rational, most emancipated, progressive-minded person from practicing it, howsoever unconsciously. Contrary to the popular perception that untouchability is a social evil, it is in essence a doctrine of exclusion, if there is not a single dalit who is an editor of a national daily, an anchor on T V channels, or a member of the Confederation of Indian Industry, it is not by accident, but because of the doctrine of untouchability.
-From Dalit Dairy, 9 April 2000

REVIEWS

Chandra Bhan Prasad’s struggle for a dalit identity and voice encompasses the struggles of all those seeking to reform a socially conservative society.
-SAGARIKA GHOSE, Senior Editor, The Indian Express

A dalit has the right to judge every community’s role. If my shudra community commits atrocities against dalits, I certainly have to share the blame for these historical crimes. Dalitization of all communities is the only way out. For that, voices like Chandra Bhan’s are very important.
-KANCHA ILAIAH, author of Why I am Not a Hindu

Dalit Diary compares in its vision with Booker T Washington’s writings on the economic and educational empowerment of blacks.
-K P SINGH, University of Washington

Dalit Diary is a passion and a romance without which a mass of facts, figures and arguments will degenerate into sophistry.
-D Shyam Babu, Fellow, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies

Dalit Diary is a passion and a romance without which a mass of facts, figures and arguments will degenerate into sophistry.
-D SHYAM BABU, Fellow, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies

Chandra Bhan has made The Pioneer proud.
-CHANDAN MITRA, Editor, The Pioneer