[INDOLOGY] Fwd: Savitribai Phule Scholarships

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Tue Dec 26 19:54:16 UTC 2017

---------- Forwarded message ----------

For those who wish to support this important initiative,  please make
cheques payable to 'Premalaya Social Development Society' and post it to
Shiva Shankar, CA4, Seabrook Apartments, 4th Seaward Road, Valmiki Nagar,
Chennai - 600041, India.

Begin forwarded message:

*From: *Shiva Shankar <sshankar at cmi.ac.in>
*Subject: **Savitribai Phule Scholarships *
*Date: *December 20, 2017 at 6:59:57 PM PST
*To: *undisclosed-recipients: ;

Educate!  Agitate!  Organise!

Savitribai Phule Scholarships
Empowering castes engaged in manual scavenging

We are extremely priveleged to announce the Savitribai Phule Scholarships
in time for Savitribai's birthdate on 3rd January.

We request your help in creating a corpus, out of whose interest we will
support young women from 'scavenging' castes go to college. Our wish is to
contribute to the war against caste and untouchability, whose most criminal
manifestation is manual scavenging, by helping them in their higher
education. Our struggle will not have started in earnest till large numbers
of young women from these castes are doctors, scientists, professors, and
in positions of administative importance.

We have made a beginning towards creating this corpus, thanks to extremely
generous donations from Dr.Anandalakshmy and Mrs.Ganga-Parvathi. The
scholarship scheme will be a part of Premalaya Social Development Society
so that we can provide you with a reciept which you can use for income tax
deduction under 80G.

The scholarships will be managed by the folowing committee:

 R.Lakshmi (Janodayam), President
 Isaiah Addhanki (Premalaya), Secretary
 Shiva Shankar (Chennai Mathematical Institute), Member

(Dr.B.Ravichandran (Dalit Camera) and G.Israel (Janodayam) will help in an
advisory capacity.)

Please forward this appeal to friends who might help!

Thanking you,
Shiva Shankar


The Savitribai Phule Scholarships - B.Ravichandran

"Shudras and Ati-shudras (Dalits) now have the right to education, and
through English, castesism can be destroyed and Brahminical teaching can be
hurled away." - Savitribai Phule

Indian society is divided into different castes. Ambedkar has observed,
"Caste is not a physical object like a wall of bricks or a line of barbed
wire which prevents the Hindus from co-mingling and which has therefore to
be pulled down. Caste is a notion and it is a state of mind." It is in a
smiliar spirit that Ambedkar has also said that in India, a person becomes
a scavenger not because of his profession, but because of his birth, and
this is completely irrespective of whether s/he wants to take up scavenging
or not. Many Dalit writers have written the same.

Omprakash Valmiki in his autobiography 'Joothan' writes:
One day the headmaster Kaliram called me to his room and asked: 'Abey, what
is your name?' 'Omprakash', I answered slowly and fearfully. Children used
to feel scared just encountering the headmaster. The entire school was
terrified of him. 'Chure ka?' Headmaster threw his second question at me.
'All right ... see the teak tree there? Go climb that tree. Break some
twigs and make a broom. And sweep the whole school clean as a mirror. It
is, after all, your family occupation.'

It is not only the scavenging castes that face such discrimination, indeed
no caste within the Dalit community can escape oppression in some form or
the other. Going a little deeper, we also see various forms of
discrimination amongst the Dalit castes too. In Tamil Nadu, Arunthathiyars
suffer discrimination from Paraiyars and Pallars, and in turn oppress
others. Therefore caste is a notion that needs to be fought across all
sections of the society, Dalit or not.

However, there are a few crucial differences between scavenging castes and
other non-scavenging Dalit castes. These differences are hardly ever
acknowledged or discussed within mainstream Dalit discourse. Scavenging is
an occupation that has expanded because of governmental policies. Prasad
and Wilson (2000) note in different writings that municipalities
consciously recruit people from particular Dalit castes into scavenging
jobs. In most states, people from scavenging castes speak a language
different from the state's official language. Both these factors play a
crucial role in suppressing people from these castes, and their struggles
for rights and freedom. One example here is the scavenging caste in Kerala.
Arunthathiyars do scavenging in Kerala, but Dalit discourse in Kerala has
remained silent about them. Though scavenging castes have different
histories, cultures, professions, yet these differences have been
suppressed by mainstream Dalit discourse.

Following Ambedkar, we say that the most important way to eradicate the
idea, itself, of scavenging, and the resultant caste stigma, is to
encourage the present generation to educate themselves. Education in recent
years has become very expensive, hence we have come together to start a
scheme that will support students who have qualified for a university
education, but who lack financial resources. Although our primary focus
would be women students from scavenging castes, we will also support
students from other Dalit castes who face discrimination.


Savitribai Phule, our goddess of learning and knowledge - Savitribai was a
"Vidya Jyoti" for all those who want to do something in the field of

SAVITRI BAI PHULE - Mother of Women's Education In India

....  Reading Paine’s famous book “The Rights of Man” revolutionized the
young mind of Jyotirao Phule and he in turn influenced the tender mind of
Savitribhai, who also took an oath to help her husband in his fight for
Social Revolution even at the cost of her life and comforts.

They jointly opened the very first Girl’s School in 1848 against the
vicious campaign launched by orthodox upper caste Hindus for such an act of
the Phule couple, as education to girls was coded as unlawful in the laws
of orthodox Hindus, although they claimed to possess the most knowledgeable
books called “VEDAS”, but practically treating Shudras & women worse than
animals. No upper caste Hindu teacher came forward to teach in this newly
opened Girl’s School in which Untouchable girls, besides Hindu girls were
admitted. Therefore, Savitribai was appointed as Headmistress of this
school on 1st January 1848 by Jyotirao Phule. This school was run from the
house of a Brahmin in Budhwara Peth, with majority of Brahmin girl
students. The orthodox Brahmins raised a great hue & cry against women's
education including those of Shudra girls, which stood banned by Hindu
scripture. ... they opened another school on 15th May 1848 in Untouchable’s
colony and it was run by her widowed sister–in-law Smt. Suganabai. On this
again the reactionaries raised objections and threatened Govinda Rao
(Jyotirao ’s father) with dire consequences if he failed to dissociate
himself from the activities of his son & daughter-in-law. So he asked the
couple to leave his home as both of them refused to give up their
missionary endeavor. ...

... She was first Indian women leader, who worked for the upliftment &
dignity of women & children and was a staunch opponent of orthodox laws
including Untouchability. She was mother to helpless orphans, a teacher to
illiterates and solace to the suffering masses. She deserves to be honored
as the “Mother of Women Education in India”

She is even now a source of inspiration for establishing a rule based on
equality, justice and fraternity. Let us draw inspiration from her life &
work and re-dedicate ourselves for the service of the down trodden and
Dalits, besides those sections of society who are deprived of equal
opportunities of life.

... Savitribai and her adopted son, Yashwant, opened a clinic to treat
those affected by the worldwide Third Pandemic of the bubonic plague when
it appeared in the area around Nallasopara in 1897. The clinic was
established at stern outskirts of Pune, in an area free of infection.
Savitribai personally took patients to the clinic where her son served
them. While caring for the patients, she contracted the disease herself.
She died from it on 10 March 1897 while serving a plague patient.


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology/attachments/20171226/473ba468/attachment.htm>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list