Dalit ‘Bhojanmata’
According to a newspaper report, a Dalit woman was appointed to the post of ‘Bhojanmata’ in Sukhidhang Inter College, Champawat, Uttrakhand. It was told that the students of the upper caste were so angry that they refused to eat food prepared by the woman’s hand. However, officials say that the students got angry because the appointment of the woman was done in a wrong way. But what should students have to do with the appointment of Bhojanmata; they should be concerned with getting food.

According to the report of Hindustan newspaper, 230 students study in Government Inter College Sukhidhang. Out of these, 66 children of classes 6 to 8 come under the mid-day meal. But on Monday, December 20, only 16 students of SC category ate mid-day meal. At the same time, no student of general category came because ‘Bhojanmata’ of SC category had prepared the food. Many such children had brought tiffin from home. At the same time, some did not even eat food. After that there was a dispute. The news appeared in the local media.

The next day there was a meeting of the school’s management committee, parent association and others. After investigation, AD Basic Ajay Nautiyal, Chief Education Officer RC Purohit, BEO Anshul Bisht declared the appointment of Bhojanmata as illegal and cancelled it.

According to the report, a few days ago the school had put out an advertisement for the appointment of Bhojanmata. For this 10 women applied. According to the villagers, Pushpa Bhatt was appointed as Bhojanmata in a unanimous open meeting in the presence of the Guardian Association and the Management Committee. But it is alleged that in the meantime another woman was appointed as Bhojanmata. However, the school management committee is outright rejecting the appointment of a general category woman in the open meeting. They say that Bhojanmata was appointed as per the mandate. But some people did not like it. Due to which people are protesting.

According to the news of Amar Ujala, due to the appointment of a Scheduled Caste woman as Bhojanmata, the students of the general category refused to eat food from her hand. After this, the Chief Education Officer asked the Block Education Officer to investigate the matter and submit a report.

The Chief Education Officer said that after hearing both the sides in an open meeting and checking the records, the appointment of Bhojanmata was found to be illegal. Hence the appointment was cancelled. Now soon a fresh release will be issued and Bhojanmata will be appointed.
David, Uttrakhand

Poverty of Intellectuality
Poverty is variously spread throughout the globe. It is deeply rooted everywhere. It is also a driving force in all spheres of people’s daily lives. In a democratic country like India, poverty is the prime focus of all political parties. On the other hand, it is a parameter to measure richness. Rich is rich because of poverty. Rich has no existence without poverty. Relation between these two is like day and night. It is used to determine the depth of inequality and injustice, deprivation or exploitation in the society.

In India, poverty reduction is the prime concern in the manifestos of all political parties. And each political party shows their sleepless thinking, planning, and publicity to remove it forever. But it is a deep-rooted stone that is almost impossible to throw out. Ultimately, poverty-alleviation talk by politicians becomes a gimmick.

In truth the political party in rule undertakes the so-called anti-poverty schemes as an eye wash. Actually, each effort for poverty reduction is to buy captive voters anyway. It is an effort to make the poor dependent on the government or the particular political party in office. It is nothing, but making the poor a beneficiary of the political party in power. At least, nature of a scheme and selection of beneficiaries (politically biased), etc. witness the same.

Dole giving activities make people beggars. ‘They are also happy with this’. At least, they get something for their vote. They forget it as their fundamental right. It makes them politically blind. No ideology functions for some dole. They have no question against this at an open place. Only the political parties in opposition criticise to gain political mileage. They are competitive in their mind. People are rarely with the opposition because of this dole.

Beside the opponent, the great critics of a government are the intellectual society. It has tremendous power to create public opinion against the faulty and mass poisoning policies of a government because people have huge faith in them. Farmers’ movements against Firm Laws are an example. This intellectual society has the power to rectify government’s acts, and it has the ability to draw international attention against any wrong policy of a government.

It has been noticed that Modi government in Delhi and TMC government in West Bengal do not bother the voice of intellectual society. Modi directly applies law and order to kill intellectuals’ voices. To some extentTMC follows the same policy. But both of them have some strategic plan to purchase intellectuals with the offering of sponsorship or prizes, and so forth. In case of Bengal government, it is very much prominent.

As a result of this, intellectuals are either silent or they praise the government. They are silent and blind about the anti people policy or how the government is destroying people’s interests day by day. Even they are silent when leaders of the political party in rule are involved in corruption and other unlawful activities.

West Bengal witnesses a critical crisis economically, socially, culturally and politically. Loan amount upraises daily for unplanned dole giving ceremonies. No employment is generated. Sale of liquor has become the prime venue of revenue collection, and it is dangerously affecting the society and societal relations, and family and familial relations. The violence also upraises. The culture has become a culture of a particular political party. The political environment has become a monopoly and there is an effort to kill the opposition. Every poll witnesses a deal of match fixing through scientific rigging. Real voters are restricted to cast their rights democratically and liberally. Today, democracy is in the ventilation.

Are intellectuals afraid of it? Or they have lost their self-identity for some benefits offered by the government. How long the intellectual society remains silent. Have they forgotten their acceptance to society and their responsibility towards society? People believe in their voices because it inspires them to organise and raise voices against an autocrat ruler. Their poverty of intellectuality will be hated by future generation.
Harasankar Adhikari, Kolkata

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Vol 54, No. 29, Jan 16 - 22, 2022