Lenin Raghuvanshi and Bezwada Wilson have been recognised with numerous awards for their work on national movements for the abolition of caste system and untouchability. Daily India Media recognised the contribution of 13 Indian stalwarts from various spheres like politics, business, academics and entertainment with Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar, at the glittering awards ceremony held in New Delhi on 30th August 2018. Those recognised for their contribution to society and championing the cause of equity, humanity, social justice and human welfare include: Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Yuvraj Singh, Ashutosh, Bibek Debroy, Uma Tuli, Flavia Agnes, Pramila Nesargi, Anita Ahuja, Lenin Raghuvanshi, Bezwada Wilson, Atul Satija and Pravin Patkar. Each awardee received a trophy, a citation and a cash prize of 50,000 INR. Lenin Raghuvanshi donated his award money for the Neo-Dalit process, and veteran actress and social worker, Shabana Azmi, donated her award money for the Kerela flood relief. ‘For being voice, body and soul of a nationwide movement for the right to a life of dignity, for his lifelong endeavour to eliminate every form of exploitation of children, women and the socially oppressed and his committed crusade for the complete abolition of the caste system’, was a part of citation to Lenin Raghuvanshi.
In his acceptance speech Lenin Raghuvanshi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenin_Raghuvanshi )says,“It is a landmark honour for me, my colleagues, think tanks and advisors at the Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), partner organizations especially Child Rights and You (CRY), Global Fund Children (GFC)– USA, FK-Norway, INSEC-Nepal, IRCT (International Rehabilitation Council of Torture Victims), FORUM Asia, Tata Trusts, Indo-German Society of Remscheid and associates, Ms. Helma Ritscher from Germany, Shruti Nagvanshi of Varanasi and Ms. Parul Sharma of Sweden, to receive the Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar fighting for the dignity of the poor, marginalized and the “untouchables” of India. Thanks a lot to distinguished Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri ji and Power Brand.”
The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, portrayed an authentic picture of the marginalised, “Political parties and the media ignore the poor and marginalised. When they are victims of crime, they hesitate to report it because they do not trust the police or courts. Corruption is widespread. Poor people are forced to pay for protection and services which, according to human rights law, should be free. The economic crisis only makes things worse, providing an excuse for politicians to blame the victims rather than help them.”
He also said the main problems faced in India emerge from two things: The implementation of a ‘culture of impunity’, which is a shared belief that few can act without being accountable for their actions, at the social, economic and political level and the cognitive problem in the context of market democracy and economic globalisation. This explanation reveals how the combination of these two factors– cognitive and contextual, allow the rise of a neo-fascism state, an authoritarian state; which wants a country with one religion and one language, and the implementation of aggressive neo-liberal capitalism, which perpetuates social and economic injustice.
After that, a way to correct and change this situation by calling for the creation of a ‘Neo-Dalit’ movement, combining Shudras and Ati-Shudras from all regions, which would formulate popular movement against the ‘culture of impunity’ through mobilisation of opinion among leaders from all communities was proposed. The Neo-Dalit movement is a sign of hope, honour and human dignity for the most marginalised people facing discrimination based on race, caste, religion and gender. The Nelson Mandela model is the path for PVCHR’s Neo-Dalit movement- to bring unity of different communities against the caste system, feudalism, communal-fascism and neo-liberalism, through reconciliation for justice and human dignity against the culture of impunity based on silence. It promises to contribute, in posterity, to the pluralistic democracy in the world.
The multifaceted problems of our country are interconnected. To understand and solve these, we must view the dire problem in totality, not in isolation. We need a comprehensive multi-layer and multi-dimensional approach that considers economic, cultural, political and social factors. The People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) and its partners are actively attempting to fill this opportunity space by courting constructive dialogue with others- all stripes, spots and ideological leanings. Focusing on the diversity of caste experience, rather than being counter-intuitive to movement’s goal of creating Dalit self-esteem, is a primary step towards making a lasting structural change in the process of strengthening Dalit self-esteem.
There are a lot of practices based on innovation, resilience, cost-effectiveness and participation of children and other target groups being carried out to meet this goal. Elimination of the culture of silence, fear and phobia of organised violence and torture are the predominant factors of resilience to inculcate social transformation. It contributes to poverty elimination. The stories of Sarai and Sakara villages are the classic examples of how change happens. The success of Sarai village, achieved by the people of Sarai is creating waves and resilience in the struggle against poverty, injustice, caste system and torture and organised violence, with a slogan: ‘You Can!’ Government of India needs to implement learning of grassroots level for quality, social justice and human welfare.
Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th century, and recipient of Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1913, rightly described the value of India in his following poem in Gitanjali:
“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the
Dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Into that heaven of freedom,
My Father, let my country awake.
Martin Luther King rightly said, “The urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgment and sound integrity– leaders not in love with money, but in love with justice; leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with humanity; leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause.”
Lenin Raghuvanshi said, “India needs a better government that protects its people and brings them together to build a strong nation-state, and to give them dignity and honour. A step towards a different India, grounded on the values of justice, freedom and integrity.” Hence, in all humbleness and humility”. With this he accepts the Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskara.
Over the years Power Brands have instituted numerous awards and prizes to the likes of Dr. Zlatko Matesa- 6th Prime Minister of Croatia, H. E. Dr. Mohammed Waheed Hassan, 5th President of the Maldives, Nobel Laureates- Muhammad Yunus and Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Bindeshwar Pathak, Medha Patkar, Swaminathan A Iyer, Gurcharan Das, Dr. Kiran Bedi, Dr. Devi Shetty, T N Seshan, E. Sreedharan, the Iron Lady Irom Sharmila Chanu, Kumar Sangakkara, Sushmita Sen, Y. C. Deveshwar, Pankaj Munjal et al.