'Mahad Day symbolises first Dalit fight for civil rights'

'Mahad Day symbolises first Dalit fight for civil rights'

Ambedkar was firm on ending Manusmriti culture: Activist

Social activist Prof K Phaneeraj has said that Mahad Day should be commemorated every year as it marked the great changes in the course of political and social movements held in the country.

Speaking at the Mahad Day celebrations at Hindi Bhavan, he said that the day was also instrumental in symbolically expressing disloyalty towards the ideologies preached in the Manusmriti. “The outrageous act of upper caste men was strongly condemned by the Dalits, who made their first attempt to fight for the civil rights,” he reminisced.

He said that the occasion saw the first incident of bloodshed that took place against Dalits. “The Dalits were punished and victimised for raising their voice against the general notion of being believers to get the privileges of food and water. Dr Ambedkar, who stood firm and opted for justifiable means to establish the civil rights, can be proclaimed as the revolutionary who upheld the concept of civil rights for the first time in the country. He was firm on ending the Manusmriti culture. His ideologies always echoed these two goals. The Dalits agitated against the dominance of the upper caste people, who were very few in number. They demanded social equality and not divine equality,” he explained.

Stating that Bhakti movement was instrumental in questioning the inequality during 16th century, Phaneeraj said the movement tried to bring in social changes.

Dalit leader Jayan Malpe said that Ambedkar should not be a topic for mere talks. “Rather, he should be a role model for life. Dalits should understand the ideologies of Ambedkar in depth and through which they should build their self-confidence. Dalits should not be the commodity,” he advised.

Thinker Rajashekhar said that the upper caste people should treat Dalits as humans for the well-being of the society. Social outcast system still prevails, he lamented.
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