Since the start of the 19th century, there were many voices being raised for Dalits and oppressed peoples all over India. Multiple protests were being launched against suppressing activities against them. These led to the rise of many Dalit Movement during the period, which tried to provide a stage for them to get strengthen and feel free without being oppressed.
The term Dalit was used for 1st time by Jyotirao Phule around mid of 19th Century to refer to a class of untouchable who have suffered immensely at hands of the upper class for ages. Dalit forms the lowest section of society. This section of the population was there in the whole of India from Punjab (29%) to the South.
Beginning around the middle of the 19th Century the movement for the upliftment of Dalit also commenced along with the fight against Bhimrao Ambedkar as the most prominent early leader. He started schools for the advertisement of Dalit. Shri Narayan Guru was a prominent leader of Dalits in Kerala. Justice party was formed for political upliftment of Dalit in Madras presidency. Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar was the Father of the Dalit Movement.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi fought continuously against the evil of untouchability & he coined the word “Harijan” to refer to Dalit. Bhimrao Ambedkar emerged as the most prominent Dalit leader in 1930. He believed that political empowerment is the key to the upliftment of Dalits. Bhimrao Ambedkar demanded a separate electorate for Dalit during the round table conference. The communal award announced by Bengal Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald in August 1932 and it extended granted a separate electorate.
Grant of Separate electorate for these classes was strongly opposed by Mahatama Gandhi because he was believed that it was the experience of British policy to divide & rule, electorate granted to Muslims in 1909 to divide Indians on religion & grant to separate electorate for Dalit cadre. Gandhi went on fast until death to oppose Communal award, the issue settled in Puna pact on September 1932 through congress agree to leave 148 seats for Dalits in legislative council in place of 71 provided in communal awards. This fight for Dalit uplift continued even after freedom.
Prominent Dalit Movement
Since the start of the 19th century, many voices being raised against the pressing activities against the Dalit. Many Dalit Movement was aroused under the leadership of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. In this section, we will discuss a few of those Dalit movements which got either got converted into Political parties or made a very strong and effective impact in the course of India politics.
Independent Labor Party
It was established in 1936 – 1st Independent party of Dalit. Established by Bhimrao Ambedkar who believed that the path of emulsification of Dalit passing through politics. Political empowerment cadre as a precondition for their all-around upliftment.
All India SC federation (AISCF)
It was established by Bhimrao Ambedkar in 1942 as a political organization for Dalit. This party was established to unite untouchable under one bower so that their political right could be secured. The main purpose of AISCF was to bring all Dalits on a common platform so that their interest could be saved & eradicate untouchability. AISCF was a strong opponent of Congress. It was created as a Rebel organization to Congress to challenge the claim of Congress as representative of Dalit.
Republican Party of India
This party was announced by Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar in 1956. He even started a school of politics, where people will get training before entering Politics. The training for the first batch was conducted but that was the first and the last batch as before the establishment of the party, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar died. After his death, his followers established the Republican Party of India in 1957.
It was the 1st Political Party of Dalit established after independence in 1957. The objective of the party was to organize & to fight against atrocity. It raised issues concerning Dalit & demanded social eco-empowerment of Dalit shall be ensured by the government by suitable action.
However, due to thousands of followers all over the country, multiple Parties were established claiming the same name as the Republican Party of India. In 2009, all this faction except Prakash Ambedkar’s Party merged to form the Republican Party of India (United). But later Republican Party of India (A) led by Ramdas Athawale separated his way away from the Republican Party of India (United).
Dalit Panther Movement (DPM)
Dalit Panther Movement emerged after the de-integration of Bhimrao Mabedkar’s Republican Party of India in 1970. Inspire efforts made by Dalit government Dalit in Maharashtra suffering from social aversion. Dalit Panther Movement proclaimed all trios victim of social-eco suppression is our dies. Power – money prestige is our enemies. Panther movement was based on the ideology of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar but later on, it got inclined with leftism.
Backward & Minorities Community Employees Federation
It was established by Kanshiram in 1973 that emerged as a prominent leader of Dalit in 1970. The main objective of this organization was to the upliftment & empowerment of Dalit.
Dalit Soshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti
Established in 1981 by Kanshiram as non-political agitation of BACEF. It’s primary purpose– awareness of Dalit. Its constituent was unemployed Dalit, engineer, lawyer who could provide leadership who could spread awareness among Dalit.
Bahujan Samaj Party
Established in 1984 by Kanshiram to fulfill the aspiration (political) of Dalit. This party adopted the ideology of Bhimrao Ambedkar & very soon it emerged as the main banner in Dalit in Northern India. This party is said to be one of the strongest Dalit movement being initiated in India.
This movement was started for the upliftment of Dalit during 1920 but Dalit leaders of Punjab such as Vasant Rai & Thakur Chand. The main objective of this movement was to establish a distinct identity of Dalit in India so that stigma of untouchability could be removed. This movement rejected Hinduism, Sikhism, and Islam. It gained immense popularity in Punjab.
Started by Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar in Maharashtra for the upliftment of the Maharashtra community, a major untouchable cost of Maharashtra. Maharashtra was facing a socio-economic operation for ages at the hands of the upper cost of the area.
They were not allowed to take water from public wealth. Social isolation is imposed on them by the dominant caste. Ambedkar fought upliftment throughout their life. Initially, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar tried to ensure the upliftment of Maharashtra within the fold of Hindus but when Hindu society failed to respond to the needs and aspirations of Maharashtra committee to adopt Buddhism which was free from evils of caste & untouchability.