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Re: Alternative Media - To Henry & other Dalit Protagonists

Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
are likely to be summarily rejected. Thanks for your understanding. IPI
Dear Shashi,

        Sub:  IPI debate - India Policy - Alternative Media and Dalit

Greetings!  I am thankful for your response, which has raised whole lot
issues for you. It is not necessary that one should live in slum to
understand the dehumanising conditions of the life of Dalits.  Many of
persons working for Non-Governmental Organizations working for the poor
voluntary social workers though do not live under the dehumanizing
conditions, by constant interactions of people living in deprived
socio-economic conditions are able to empathize with people, out of the
and anguish of experiencing the suffering of the poor. They are able to
reflect and come out with some possibilities of solutions. The conflict
not so much with elitists, and the deprived Dalits.  It is dichotomous
basically between the haves and the have-nots. These economic class
divisions when combined with the social inequalities and social
the situation becomes more difficult to tackle.  It is one thing to deal

with economic issues. When economic issues get mixed with social issues
religious beliefs like "it is my Karma to born poor and suffer", this
attitude robs initiative to liberate oneself from the clutches of
People remain inhibited, oppressed, and exploited because of belief
brainwashing human beings to keep a class under servitude.

I disagree with you on number of things.  It may be an argument to say
we live in a world of scarce resources. As Gandhi once said: " there is
enough for every one's need but not enough for everyone's greed". I have

heard from the economists that there is enough food in the world to feed
people of the world.  But the access to get the food and knowledge to
the food and the mind to get and give the food is not there.

How do you describe when foodgrains given to the famine affected States
Africa, like Somalia one tribe waits for the supplies to reach and then
prevents them reaching the famished people of another tribe! The
conflict in
Eastern Europe where man made disasters abound making people to suffer
starve. Consequently people are afflicted with disease of malnutrition,
of who are children, women and aged people.

If you neglect certain conditions in life, in society, they are like
eating your body.  These cancerous social factors will destroy the
eventually, though not immediately.  For example in India 300 million
are living below poverty line.  If this 300 million people would pick up
stick and axe and come in the streets of the town and will start causing

violence, what will happen to all the shops, computers, electricity,
telephone lines, etc.  This is what happens during mass riots triggered
by some unknown factor. For example, when MGR, our matinee-idol Chief
Minister died, the damage people caused to the shops, etc in Chennai is
disturbing. Something happened in recent caste violence riots in
districts of Tamil Nadu. So it is in our own interest to see that our
out of deprivation, frustration, not able to get food, clothes, jobs
not become violent, reversing the process of progress, civilization in
society. It is in our own self interest that we care for the poor and
for removal of poverty, discrimination, etc.

I incline to agree that science and technology could come to our aid to
solve some of our problems of poverty.  There are people who are in
groups but are in a better position to reflect and to care and to
concern on the problems of poverty. Amartya Sen demonstrated it
When people are worried about their day to day survival and not able to
think of solutions to problems they are facing.  There is nothing wrong
living in an urban life and enjoying the modern amenities if that would
make you a good human being, to express concerns on justice and social
issues, which confront us. Many persons seem to express their concerns
India by debating the policy including the uplift poor people and
marginalised and socially exploited Dalit people.  Even though by my
education, travel abroad, living in the urban area, I am an elitist in
eyes of the poor, I have great concern as my heart experiences the
of the people, of what it is to live in the pavements of streets in
to be without drinking water, toilets and a bed or a fan in the hot
summer!   My getting educated, living in a city does not prevent me to
interact with the urban and rural poor and the socially deprived and
out what their problems are and to seek solutions by participating in
activities with them.  If we enjoy certain knowledge and benefits, we
not become selfish and consumeristic to ignore certain trends that are
cancerous.   How violence and terrorism arose in Assam and some parts of

Andhra Pradesh where people's war groups have started asserting and
kidnapping, murdering people.  It is from this perspective we have look
all the problems of caste and the economic deprivation. We must see that
world is not divided and increasingly isolated, losing the sense of
community in a global village. We are the people who should be willing
bridge the gap and isolation of communities.

Most of your arguments are from your point of view that is one point of
of elitist and not looking at the point of view from suffering masses.
think in the last four paragraphs of your email you are quite positive
lead to some points which can bring more interactions and solutions I
like to encourage this kind of interactions irrespective of our
which has plans and ideas to works out solutions.  As an example I would

like to point out that through the India debate policy Mr.K.S.Sastry of
Hyderabad who was in a Senior Government position in the Ministry of
Finance, though comes from an elitist Brahmin family volunteered to
me by visiting me recently. He saw the work I am doing and offered some
advice as an example of the possibility of how we can interact and work
together.  This is really a positive development, an expression of human

solidarity.  Not only through email we get ideas but also we can also
personally understand each other and see how we can work together. It is
this purpose I have created The Delta Project Center at the River Palar
Delta site, 80 kilometers south of Chennai, on the East Coast Road,
where we
are creating a Training Center for Youth to live together, learn
and work together. So we can be practical in handling some problems
confront us.

This is my initial reflection on your email.  Best wishes

Henry Thiagaraj

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