Our Struggle for Emancipation: The Dalit Movement in Hyderabad State, 1906-1953
July is important for two dates. On July 26, 1908, P R Venkatswamy was born to fi ght for and document the Dalit struggle for emancipation in the first half of the twentieth century. He died on July 17, 1986. HBT has just released his book in hard cover, available for the first time after its first print 65 years ago. Please order your copy immediately.
The Dalit Movement in Hyderabad State,, 1906-1953, P.R.Venkatswamy, 648 pages, hard case, Price Rs. 500/- ISBN : 978-81-907377-9-
This is the iconic book which details the history of the Dalit movement in Hyderabad State from 1906 till about 1953. It spans one of the most exciting periods of Hyderabad’s history – the Nizam’s rule, opposition to it from the Congress and Andhra Mahasabha, the rise of small-scale organizations of the dalit castes, their metamorphosis into a full-blown anti-Hindu movement, the rise of the Razakars and the take-over of Hyderabad State by the Indian Union. The movements were not just about the reform of caste cultures as much as about asserting the rights of the dalit castes and the mechanisms of upper caste domination. The Hyderabad movement and perspectives were closely associated with Ambedkar and opposition to Congress and the Gandhians. Venkatswamy himself was an active participant and the book is a fascinating ringside view of the events of the times.
P R Venkatswamy (1908-1986), all through his studies, involved himself in social service activities, particularly among the Scheduled Castes under the sabhas of different organizations. Steeped in the Ambedkarite tradition, he continued this work all through his life. A principled and outspoken personality, he was a staunch follower of Dr. Ambedkar, and was in constant touch with him for his advice and suggestions in connection with the activities of the Scheduled Castes. Venkatswamy was not against religion per se – he took his children to places of worship. He was against those Hindus who adopted and practiced ill-treatment of the Scheduled Castes, though they are the original inhabitants of India. Venkatswamy’s sole aim was to ensure that the Scheduled Castes were on par with caste Hindus in every aspect of life, particularly with respect to education and economic betterment, in order that they could lead a life of dignity. He abhorred the use of intoxicants like liquor and nicotine which ruined the lives of the Scheduled Castes.