Balagopal, K, Dalitha (Telugu), Hyderabad, Perspectives, 2011, 209 pp, Rs 120/-

Dalitha is a compilation of various articles and a few interviews of Human Rights leader and activist Dr K Balagopal, by some of his close associates on various aspects of dalit issues, especially form ‘dalit identity and oppression’ point of view. The publication of this volume comes from the ‘Perspectives’, and the sole marketing distribution rests with the Vissalandra Publishing House. Dr Balagopal was also one of the active founder members of this publication division and many books were published from this division since May 1988 and the present publication is a continuation of such efforts, which is numbered as 41 in the series. The Perspectives claims to be inclined towards Social Sciences and Literary scholarship. In this respect, the Perspectives team in their introductory prologue and epilogue – Dr K Satyanarayana and Prof G Haragopal respectively wished to bring about further series of Dr K Balagopal writings in the days to come, especially in Telugu, subject to availability of monetary and other resources.

The present volume comprises of various dimensions of dalit issues, in various forms like the articles and a few interviews of Balagopal published by various dailies/weeklies of Telugu vernacular, which are from both well familiar and unfamiliar circulation agencies. All the articles and interviews were incorporated in a chronological order starting from the year 1985 to 2008, the year before the death of Dr Balagopal. Almost all the articles touches upon the rights discourse, whether in civil, political, social, etc nature. The short, precise, direct comprehensive writing style of the writer is impressive, as his well logical (legal, commonsensical, literal, etc) arguments were put forwarded in most direct and understandable manner. As the articles were mainly intended to the general public of day to day news readers’ nature the arguments and composition of the articles were in most scholarly lay perspective. The scholarship of Balagopal in various spheres of life activity like either from professional background like mathematical, statistical, judicial, literal, etc strands and from professional and committed social service nature like from his civil rights activism in the state of Andhra Pradesh is imbedded in all these well précised direct writings and interviews.

The biased nature of the Indian social system, which was based on unequal (religious) social order, which in-turn got reflected upon the public and political spaces, gets counters from Balagopal, from legal and rights points of view, as he stood for liberty, equality and fraternity of the social and political orders in his life time. He went on to suggest and re-emphasise alternative and innovative policy suggestions for the effective implementation of SC/ST welfare activities; while same-time resenting for improper implementation of already provided legislative provisions in protection of these sections.

The high balanced nature of writings and analysis of his contemporary issues is worth commendable. He was balanced enough to point out the faults of dalits, dalit leaders and dalit movement’s discourse when the situation so warranted, as per his personal ideological convictions. In this regard we can observe his balanced faulting nature of both the Madiga Reservation Poratha Samith (MRPS) and Andhra Jyothy daily, when the former attacked the latter’s office at Hyderabad for alleged assassination of social movements’ character in journalistic guise, which was asserted as right under journalistic freedom (by Andhra Jyothi). Same-way, he was highly critical towards the dalit movements’ discourses, for its high political aspiration to capture and sustain political power, even though, in his opinion, the ideological aspirations of their dalit-bahujan thinkers like Jyotiba Phule and Dr B R Ambedkar is to fight more for democratisation of the Indian social order and bring about (first) social democracy, rather than capturing political power in a hurried manner. In this respect, he was also critical towards the Bajujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) inclination towards Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its transformation from ‘Bahujan Samaj’ nature to ‘Sarvajan Samaj’ nature for sustaining of political power, which in his opinion was an unholy ideological assassination!! He was also critical towards various naxalite groups for their vexed ambition to sustain among the masses in various uncompromising (from political, ideological, ethical) situations too. His scholarship and analysis of contemporary political economy dimensions were worth recognisable too – like his analysis of rights discourses and rights assertions, and their relation to the changing political economy perspectives in the form of Globalisation and Liberalisation!!

This book is suitable for all those who are interested in the nature of the Indian social and political nature from rights points of view (especially in relation to the state of Andhra Pradesh), with an emphasis on the dalits and their rights discourse. And, this book is also well suitable for those researching on dalit issues, especially in relation to atrocities against the SC/ST and their identity concerns in the wider social and political spheres. This is a worth book to place among the volumes of any library for wider exposure of this scholarship for generations to come and debate upon from other perspectives either already aired or yet to be aired.

At last, but not the least, as the author takes a particular stand in almost every instance, it would be better if the readers can also get an opportunity to know about other scholars and writers views on all such and more issues for much more better comprehensive understanding to deliberative and comprehend from one’s own perspective!!

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