It is jarring, to put it mildly, that Times of India, a leading daily, engaged in a high-profile ‘Teach India’ campaign should publish a front page story mocking the unlettered. This story exhibits a strange callousness in its reporting about the very constituency of people the campaign is hoping to address…or ‘uplift’…
The story published in the TOI on December 20, smacks of arrogance as it speaks disdainfully of an unlettered woman legislator recently elected in Rajasthan’s assembly elections. Golma Devi, elected from the Mahuwa constituency is the butt of ridicule and lament in this article authored by P J Joychen. The author, it seems, cannot get over the fact that an unlettered person like Golma Devi has been elevated to the rank of a minister in the Ashok Gehlot government.
No, she is not a history sheeter; nor does she have a scam hot on her heels. She is nevertheless an offender – in the sense of ‘offending’ your ‘sensibilities’ – in the supercilious eye of the media; an object of ridicule. Her offense: her of lack of reading and writing skills.
[This detailed report was prepared by Kavita Srivastava, the Jaipur-based general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties. Posting this here to make it publicly available as it is not on the PUCL website. Please note that this was a rough draft. ]
State Violence and Caste Confrontation in Rajasthan
I. Outline of the week long movement for ST Reservation by the Gurjars
Soon after independence the Bhil Meenas got reservations in the Districts of Dungarpur, Banswara, Chittorgarh and Udaipur. At the time of 1931 census the Bhil Meenas were over 20, 000, however today they have reduced to half they are only 10,000 in number.
This was an issue of contention for the Meenas as they felt that they also deserved to be STs so they decided to raise their voice against this injustice as they called it. Under the leadership of Lakshmi Narayan Jhirwal they organized themselves.