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Dalits look to youth power for liberation

Two Dalit activists, Chinna Krishna and Ganesh Kolager, on Thursday conscientized SJC students pursuing a PG degree in social work about the situation in the slums in Bangalore and how factors such as caste, social hierarchies, education and economics are inter-related. The activists pointed out that youth have the power to change the dynamics in the country and the power of the youth which can change the dynamics of the country.

Chinna Krishna, a pioneer in the Dalit movement initially launched a student movement as a protest against a Dalit student’s murder that led to the strengthening of the Dalit movement in Karnataka. To him, the student force is a real and powerful force which can change India. He spoke with pain about the addictions and the drugs that plague the lives of youth and diverted them from their actual course of development and change. Education in the earlier times brought about a community feeling but today education has made us individualistic and promotes social inequality. We need critical education that can help resolve social inequalities, he added.

In terms of economics, India has much land, food and other resources, but the social injustices that hover around the nation prevent people from having access to the common benefits. Institutionalized religion and oppressive religions promote the caste system. It is the diverse group coming from different ideologies which they believe will save them that can destroy the caste system in the slums, he suggested. For this, one has to know the Constitution, he said.

“Most of us do not follow the Constitution. The only time we read the Constitution is in schools or college and then we fall back to our own religions. Dr. Ambedkar questions these societal hierarchies. Ambedkar is an example of Buddhist and a Dalit who understood that individual ideologies will hinder the economic situation of Dalit movement to make progress. We need to know how to liberate our ideas,” he said.