Scholar, activist and writer Anand Teltumbde on Monday said that the central government is aiming to homogenise India, which is the “museum of diversity.”
Teltumbde was delivering a talk, organised by ‘Dakshinayan Abhiyan’ at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao.
Speaking further, he said, “Today, investments are falling, economy is at stake, and there is an absolute drop in the employment generation, which has happened for the first time in the history of independent India.”
Explaining about the Battle of Koregaon, fought on January 1, 1818, between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy at Bhima, Koregaon, Teltumbde said the company triumphed with lesser soldiers.
“The battle is of legendary importance for the Dalits. A victory pillar (Vijay Sthamb) was erected in Koregaon by the British, commemorating the dead soldiers,” he added.
“Dalit leader B R Ambedkar led the first commemoration ceremony there. Since then, on January 1 every year, Dalits gather at Bhima, Koregaon to celebrate the victory,” he said.
“Violence broke out this year, after an annual celebratory gathering at Bhima, Koregaon,” he said adding the gathering consisted largely of Dalits, and an “interference” with the gathering resulted in the eruption of violence.
“There were protests, resulting in one death, and 30 policemen were injured,” he mentioned.
According to Teltumbde, there were many things related to this episode that were not covered minutely by the media.
He said, “I got entangled in the episode. Several people were picked up during the raids across the country. The police alleged that the activists had ties with Maoists, apart from the links to the Bhima-Korgaon incident.”
Teltumbde further said, “I wasn’t present for the event in question. My house was raided as if I was a criminal.”
Commenting on the state of democracy, he said that “many people believe in democracy and Constitution. Today, even the minimal aspirations of the people are designated and they don’t want anyone to think. Those who raise questions, they are after them.”
Teltumbde has authored many books (translated widely in most Indian languages) on various issues relating to peoples› movement with emphasis on Left and Dalits.
He is a senior faculty member at the Goa Institute of Management (GIM).