The Unwritten Writing: Dalits and the Media by D. Ravikumar


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The Unwritten Writing: Dalits and the Media by D. Ravikumar

  1. 1. PRESENTATION ON THE ARTICLE The Unwritten Writing: Dalits and the Media by D. Ravikumar
  2. 2. The Unwritten Writing: Dalits and the Media D. Ravikumar
  3. 3. Something about D. Ravikumar D. Ravikumar is a well-known Indian politician, social worker, Lawyer and former Member of the Legislative Assembly. He was elected to the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly as an Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi candidate from Kattumannarkoil constituency in 2006 election.
  4. 4. Who is a Dalit? “Dalit” is a designated name for a group of communities in India who were historically considered to be “untouchables” as they either held jobs that were considered to be very menial in Indian society, such as shoe making/repair, butchering, washing, sweeping, waste and animal carcass disposal, manual scavenging, cremation works and so on. These people were considered socially inferior and faced economic, political and social discrimination.
  5. 5. Dalit Literature Literature about the Dalits, the oppressed class under Indian caste system forms an important and distinct part of Indian literature. Though Dalit narratives have been a part of the Indian social narratives since 11th century onwards, with works like Sekkizhar's Periya Puranam portraying Dalit women like half-naked and sexually exploitable and praising the killing of thousands of Dalits on "Kazhumaram" in the hands of Gnanasambandan, Dalit literature emerged into prominence and as a collective voice after 1960.
  6. 6. First Part of the Article “The History” D. Ravikumar talked about the first book in an Indian language, Thambiraan Vanakkam, the Hicky’s Bengal Gazzette, the Madras carrier, and the Indian Herald. He also tells us about how print media was suppressed by Lord’s Wellesley’s Regulation of the press in 1799. To trace the history of magazine production in Tamil Nadu, Ravikumar discovers Iyothee Thass, whose work has witnessed a revival in the post- Ambdekar centenary phase, has recorded the fact that the Parayar were the first to publish Tamil magazines in the Madrass presidency. The Hindus also published several magazines like Thatthuvapodini and Viveka Vilakkam. The Hindu was founded by six angry youth who were members of the Triplicane Literary Society, in September 1878. Rettaimalai Srinivasan founded the magazine Parayan on October 1893. Swadeshamitram was founded in 1898. Magazines like Adi-Dravidar, Mahaavikada Toothan, Booloka Viyasan and Adi-Dravida Mitran were few of the earliest dalit writings.
  7. 7. Second Part of the Article “The Comparison” Ravikumar gave the comparison that The Hindu was founded in September 1878 with an investment of just Rs.1 and 12 annas- that too as a loan. Started as a weekly with eight pages selling for 4 annas, it initially had a print run of only eighty copies. Fifteen years later, in October 1893, Rettaimalai Srinivasan founded the magazine Parayan. It was started as a monthly with four pages for 2 annas. The total cost of production, including the advertisement, was Rs. 10. The Hindu could not survive the problem they face because of the fine so it was sold to Katuri Iyengar, their then legal advisor, for Rs. 75000 and it was run by Veerarghavachariar. The Hindu then afterwards got the support of rich and powerful people and because of that it survives till today. The Parayan however faced its end when Srinivasan went to London ‘for the cause of the untouchables’ because there was no one to run though there was good financial support from the
  8. 8. Third Part of the Article “The sight of the Dalit” Ravikumar talked about the launched of a dalit weekly Oru Paisa Tamilan, by Iyothee Thass on 19 June, 1907. The aim of Oru Paisa Tamilan is to teach fairness, the path of truth and honesty to those who cannot otherwise discriminate between the excellent, the mediocre and the bad. Swami Sagajananda produced several magazines pertaining the dalits like paranjothi, Nadarajar Thandavam, Aalayam Enbadu Arisanangalukke etc. Talking about dalit’s involvement in media, Political scientist Robin Jeffrey says, “‘If you ask an Indian journalist, ‘do you know any dalit journalist?’ the answer could be a long pause and then, ‘could you give me a couple of days?’ sometimes it was a considerate ‘no’. There were some dalit journalists in Malayala Manorama, but they worked in less significant position. When we look into the Tamil dailies like Dinamalar, Dinakaran and Dinathanthi we see that there were very few dalit journalist.
  9. 9. The Conclusion D. Ravikumar towards the end writes that ‘the power and influence of the press are very high…if the press uses its undoubted power to achieve democracy and equality, it will hasten social change. Since the press is regarded as one of the pillars of democracy, it plays a significant role in shaping democracy”. Ravikumar opines that demanding the inclusion of Dalits in the media should not be merely regarded as a plea for job. It is a demand for democracy, like that of the demand for dalit representation in the assembly, parliament or judiciary.
  10. 10. The Insight What should we learn from this article “The Unwritten and Writing: Dalits and the Media” ? There should not be bias in representing the view point of various sections of society. Media should be a means to educate, inform, entertain the rich and the poor, the high class and the lower class, the high caste and the lower caste, the white and the black. Media should bring justice, equality and job opportunities to all.