Maratha Kranti Morcha – Are Marathas against Dalits?

The Maratha community in Maharashtra has been protesting for their right and justice for a rape victim in Kopardi. As usual the print and electronic media largely ignored this unrest and tarnished it via rumor mongering. Upper caste media tried to paint these protests as anti-Dalit.

Marathas have been upset for a number of reason. Kopardi incident only served as a breaking point for community’s patience. Plight of farming, non-affordable education, cultural attacks on Maratha icons, etc. Along with these problems the community feels that Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been misused largely to settle personal and political rivalries.

The Marathas for the first time gathered unanimously in large numbers to fight for their rights and took a stand for future of community. That’s how Maratha Kranti Morchas were born. Now they have decided to take their fight to next level. On 31st January 2017 Marathas will be blocking roads all over Maharashtra.

Are these protests against Dalits?

The answer is big NO. Marathas are angry at their traditional leadership and governments. If you look closely these protests are apolitical and any political leader showing up is sent back.They are angry at the state of matters, not any community. Even on 31st January 2017 members of community from Akola district suspended the roadblock for passage of dead bodies of Dalit jawans.

Do they want Prevention of Atrocities act scrapped?

Again the answer is big NO. This rumor is one of the product of hate campaigns run by upper caste media. Marathas have been demanding amendments to the Prevention of Atrocities act to avoid its misuse, not for its scrapping. Maratha community has a long tradition of social reformers and they have been at the helm of social change for decades.

It’s a right of every community to protest for their right in democracy. The Maratha protest has shown an exemplary model for protests around the world. Millions of people marched but not a single person was affected. No destruction of public property happened. Now, it’s up to government to solve their problems and our fellow countrymen to lend an ear to their plight.

Maratha Kranti Morcha – Why are Marathas taking to the streets?

Maratha Kranti Morcha, Maharashtra

While reporting about Maratha Kranti Morcha (Literally: Maratha Revolution March), English and local media have repetitively accused these Morchas of being politically motivated and Sharad Pawar being the instigator of these agitations.

Nothing can be farther from truth. These rallies, albeit well-organized are not sponsored by one political party or ideology. This is a rare moment when Maratha community has gathered under one banner, cutting across political spectrum as well as different ideologies. For the first time, politically and ideologically fragmented Marathas have gathered together to lodge their protest for different problems faced by community. These Morchas are receiving tremendous response from all parts of Maharashtra.

Many of the so-called political pundits have predicted that these Morchas won’t receive response beyond Marathwada. Their incompetence and prejudiced ignorance will be exposed when these Morchas go down in every districts of Maharashtra. Many of the district organizers have already declared the dates of these Morchas from all parts of state with a large rally planned in Mumbai to conclude the series of Morchas.

These pay-rolled political pundits are determined on declaring these Morchas failure as they have blatantly declared Marathas of being aggressive and destructive in past. They fear their incompetence will be exposed if these Morchas are conducted peacefully. Some of them are so prejudiced that they have a problem with the cleaning drive taken up by volunteers after these Morchas are concluded.

The rape and murder of a minor girl from community has served as an instigating point for Marathas to take to the street for their longstanding demands and problems faced by a larger section of community. Being agrarian community, Marathas have been taking the heat of falling prices of agriculture produces. Education is beyond reach of common Maratha despite many Marathas running prominent educational institutions. Barring the 5-7% Marathas in politics and  industrialists, the community suffers severe economic problems.

The current and previous governments have ignored their plight for so long. Ban on James Laine’s controversial book had been lifted by court and B.M.Purandare, one of the people Laine had thanked in his book has been awarded with Maharashtra Bhushan. He is known for his falsified account of Shivaji’s history and twisting facts in his writings, the award is seen as an insult to the community. Community’s long demanded Maratha reservation is also stuck in the court.

Demands put in these rallies are simple.

  1. Justice for the victim of Kopardi rape and murder with stringent punishment for the culprits
  2. Reservation for Marathas in education and jobs
  3. Financial aid to Late Annasaheb Patil Economical Development Corporation
  4. Implement recommendation Swaminathan Committee report for farmers

Barring these four major demands, the community feels that SC & ST Prevention Of Atrocities Act has been misused to settle rivalries. There is a strong notion that this act was used as a tool against the family of Kopardi rape and murder victim. They demand that act be amended appropriately to prevent its misuse. This demand of amendment has been wrongly portrayed by media as a demand to scrap the law, which is utterly false.

These Morchas neither target any community, nor any political party. There are no slogans raised. No speeches given. No leader. Five girls from every district read out the memorandum to be given to the district collector before the community members in each rally and these girls only hand over the memorandum.

Marathas are putting forth their demands in peaceful manner and in large numbers. There have been repeated attempts by some fringe elements to incite violence by posting hateful comments and articles against the community on social media. But the community is undeterred and pronounced towards putting their demands in constitutional ways.

Picture: Maratha Kranti Morcha, Beed
Photographer: Shivraj Mane

Professor K.R. Gawade on Maratha Reservation

Professor K.R. Gawade delivering a lecture on problems and solutions about Maratha reservation. A must watch to understand the truth and facts about Reservation.

प्राध्यापक के.आर. गावडे यांचे मराठा आरक्षण – समस्या व उपाय यावरील व्याख्यान. आरक्षणाबाबतीत सत्य व तथ्य जाणून घेण्यासाठी अवश्य बघा.