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Home Articles and Raigar Literature Raigar Articles Representation to include Raigar (Jatia) Caste as Schedule Caste in Gujarat State

Representation to include Raigar (Jatia) Caste as Schedule Caste in Gujarat State

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 Representation to include Raigar/Jatia Caste as Schedule Caste in Gujarat State under Article 341 of the Constitution of India

THE ALL INDIA RAIGAR MAHASABHA {REGD.}

SHRI GANGAMAI MANDIR, GANGA NAGAR, NEAR KEVDAJI KI CHALI,
THAKKARBAPANAGAR AREA, AHMEDABAD. PIN- 382350. GUJRAT
 
September 20, 2009
 
To,
The Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Government of Gujarat,
Gandhinagar.
 
Dear Sir,
 
Sub: Representation to include Raigar/Jatia Caste as Schedule Caste
in Gujarat State under Article 341 of the Constitution of India
 
 
The All India Raigar Mahasabha forwards the present representation to your goodselves with a belief that the Raigar/Jatia community may be declared as Schedule Caste in the State of Gujarat in terms of Article 341 of the Constitution of India.

Brief History:

The Raigar, Raiger, Rehgar or Regar, spelt in various forms, is a community of leather tanners. They are also known as Jatia. The word “Raigar” is a corrupt form of Raingaya, i.e. those who engage themselves in leather tanning. The Raigar community embraces its origin in 7-8th century and since then marked their presence in Rajasthan. They migrated from the erstwhile State of Rajputana (now known as “Rajasthan”) to different parts of India in the drought poised to earn their livelihood way back in 19th and 20th century to various states including the State of Gujarat from Rajasthan. They converse among themselves in Marwari and use the Devanagari and Gujrati script for writing.
 
Subgroups/ Gotras:
There are three subgroups, namely Raigar and Jatia. Marriages take place among all the three. These subgroups are further divided into about 450 numbers of clans (gotras), such as Bandarwal, Dhuriya, Jajoria, Kankheria, Rachoiya, Mauria, Jaggarwal, Atolia, Jaluthria, Dotania, Devatwal, Sablania, Jatolia, Sunwasia, Balotia, Khatnavalia, Chorotia Bakolia, Fulwaria, Singhadia, Nogia, Kurdia, Khorwal, Bansiwal, Barolia, Dolia, Bora, Gusaiwal, Sonkaria, Tongaria, etc…

Occupation:

The traditional occupation of the Raigars is the tanning of hides and skins and the colouring of leather. Some of them have now started making shoes, chappals, pagarkhis/jutis. A tiny section of Raigars community has taken up other occupations, like service, tailoring, masonry, labour and jute bag repairing. The Raigars are a landless community.
 
Religion:
They are Hindus and worship Bhagwan Ravidas, Lord Shiva, Ramdevpir, Hanuman, Bhairo and Ganesha etc. Women take part in social, ritual and religious festivals and fairs like Holi, Diwali, Dussehra, Teej, Gangore, and Ramdeojee ka Mela. They profess Hinduism and worship Shankar, Lakshmi, Durga, Hanuman and Ganesh. Sacred specialists are from their own community. Their sacred centres are Hardwar, Gangaji, Lohagar, Triveni, Gaya, Siddhpur, Chanod etc.
 
Indian society historically had a rigid, occupation-based, hierarchical caste system in which the relative place of a caste in the social hierarchy was determined largely by its traditional occupation. In particular, those performing 'unclean' or supposedly 'polluting' tasks viz. Raigar came to be regarded not merely as 'low' castes but as untouchables which has resulted in great injustice to the members of the concerned castes because they were discriminated against in every respect, and denied ownership of productive assets like land, as well as basic rights like education and equality, which resulted in perpetuation of extreme socio-economic deprivation of members of Raigar community in addition to other depressed classes.
 
Social Status:
The Raigar community, since long, has been a “depressed community” and witnessing extreme social, educational and economic backwardness arising out of the traditional practice. Since their migration into the State of Gujarat and rendering their services in building the state of Gujarat, the social, educational and economic condition of an average/common Raigar is miserable. They are unable to send their children for education in higher classes.
 
STATISTICS:
Though the Survey reports and other statistics related to Raigar community must be available with the government, a general statistical data is produced hereunder just to throw light on the miserable position of this weaker section of the society.
 
Particulars
Statistical data
Population of Raigars in the State of Gujarat
 
35,000 (approx.)
Economic status – Per capital income of the members of this community
Rs. 1,000/- – Rs. 1,200/- per month
 
People below Poverty line (BPL)
 
Most of them
Educational status - Literacy Rate
10% approx. as against the average of Schedule Caste lying at around 67% as per the Annual Report for 2008-09 of Department of Social Welfare.
 
Representation of SC/ST in State Government service
Negligible – Maximum 10-15 persons out of 35,000
 
Social security
Not in good shape.
 

Status in various other states

:

This depressed community has been declared by the Union of India, State Government of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Union Territory of Chandigarh and Delhi. Copies of the relevant notifications issued by the aforementioned Union of India and various States are enclosed herewith as annexure “A” and “B” for your kind perusal.
 
Status of earlier Representations made to State Government :
The Raigar Panchayat Samiti, Gujarat state, Ahmedabad made several representations to the Government of Gujarat to include the Raigar/Jatia caste in the Schedule Caste List. A copy of the said representation made to the Government of Gujarat is annexed herewith for your kind perusal and ready reference as annexure “C”. After considering the representations, the Department of Social Welfare, Govt. of Gujarat, vide Letter No. F. No. S.C.05/1098/M-28/H dated 28th October 1998 directed to conduct the survey of the population and the status of Raigar(s) community residing in the state of Gujarat.
 
Pursuant to the aforementioned directions, the Research Officer of the Department of Social Welfare conducted a door-to-door survey at Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Deesa, Gandhidham, Jamnagar etc. A copy of the said Survey Report which is available with the Government shows that Raigar are living in pathetic condition in the State of Gujarat.
 
The statistics and the Survey Report of the Government would reveal clear picture regarding the socio-economic, educational backwardness, in-adequate representation and unequal status of this depressed, despicable and helpless fraction of the society.
 
Since the Raigars are not getting any benefit of the Government Schemes meant for economically and socially backward persons, as the community of Raigars are not incorporated in the Notification declaring them as member of Schedule Caste issued by the state of Gujarat despite the fact that the said community has been declared by the Union of India, State Government of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Union Territory of Chandigarh and Delhi.
 
Since the community of Raigars has not been notified as Schedule Caste by the State of Gujarat, we are forwarding the present representation so that this depressed class may be declared as Schedule Caste in terms of Article 341 of the Constitution of India and be given the apposite support so that this weaker section may be able to fight with social and economic backwardness in which they are living.
 
The status of Scheduled Caste should be granted to the Raigar/ Jatia community to ensure the advancement of these socially and educationally backward citizens and providing them a fair opportunity to bring them at par with other segments of the community. The provision of Scheduled Caste status should be and must be adopted to advance the prospects of this weaker section of the society. Reservations should be granted to ensure the advancement of these socially and educationally backward citizens to make them equal with other segments of the community. Reservation should be and must be adopted to advance the prospects of the weaker sections of society.
 
Also, Dr. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly has regarding equality said that “… We must begin by acknowledging the facts that there is complete absence of two things in India society. One of these is equality. On the social plane, we have in India society based on the principle of graded inequality which means elevation for some and degradation for others. On the economic plane, we have a society in which there are some who have immense wealth as many who live in abject poverty”.
 
Further, Dr Rajendra Prasad at the concluding address of the Constituent Assembly stated that “… To all we give the assurance that it will be our Endeavour to end poverty and squalor, and its companions hunger and disease to abolish distinction and exploitation and to ensure decent conditions of living. We are embarking on a great task. We hope that in this we shall have the unstinted service and cooperation of all our people and the sympathy and support of all the Communities”.
 
The link between “caste” and its “occupation” is an unbreakable bondage to which the cast system has condemned the backward classes. Whether a backward caste man carries on his traditional occupation or not, he continues to be socially identified with the said occupation. The link between the caste and the occupation has not been served for thousands of years and it cannot be broken by arguments and theories. The ground reality is that every caste in every village is identified by its traditional occupation. It is pointed out, for example, that throughout the country in 6.5 lakh villages, it is a barber communities carry traditional occupation of hair cuttings and no other community has taken up the said occupation.
 
The Constitution never prohibits the practice of caste and castism. Every activity in Hindu society from cradle to grave is carried solely on the basis of one’s caste. Even after death, a Hindu is not allowed to cremate in the crematorium which is maintained for the exclusive use of the other caste or community. Dalits are not permitted to be buried in graves or cremated in crematoriums where upper caste people bury or cremate their dead. Christians have their own graveyards. Muslims are not allowed to be buried in the Hindu Crematoriums and vice-versa. Thus, caste rules the roost in the life of a Hindu and even after his death. In such circumstances, it is entirely fallacious to advance this argument on the ground that the Constitution has prohibited the use of caste.
 
The Constitution of India provides several special safeguards for the Scheduled Castes, so as to ensure that they are able to attain equality with the other social groups in the shortest possible time. These safeguards enable reservation in Government jobs, elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies etc.
 
Moreover, another leading authority in the field of social class theory also identifies caste with hereditary status. He attempts to tie his interpretation with the situation in India a procedure not often followed by the other sociologists. He writes thus,
 
“Caste as unchangeable status:- the feudal order approximated to a caste system. When status is wholly predetermined so that men are born to their lot in life without hope of changing it then class takes the extreme form of caste. This is the situation in Hindu society.” Every Hindu necessarily belongs to the caste of his parents and in that caste he inevitably remains. No accumulation of wealth and no exercise of talents can alter his caste status and marriage outside his caste is prohibited or severely discouraged. Caste is a complete barrier to the mobility of class.”
 
Constitutional footing:
Article 341 of the Constitution of India, define as to who would be Schedule Castes & Scheduled Tribes with respect to any state or Union Territory. The relevant Constitutional articles are quoted below:-
 
341 (1) The president may with respect to any State or Union Territory and where it is a State after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification specify the castes races or tribes or parts of or groups within castes races or tribes which shall for the purposes of his Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Castes in relation to that State or Union Territory as the case may be.
 
341 (2) The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory and where it is a State after consultation with the Governor thereof by public notification specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall for the purpose of this Constitution be deemed to be Schedule Tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory, as the case may be”.
 
The object to declare a particular caste as schedule caste under Article 341 of the Constitution of India is to provide additional protection to the members of the scheduled caste having regard to social and educational backwardness which they have suffered for considerable length of time. The determination of the caste would depend upon several factors, including customary law. As Raigar community is socially and educationally backward due to having their poor background and involved in traditional business.
 
The Supreme Court of India has also observed in Akhil Bhartiya Soshit Karmachari Sangh v/s. Union of India reported in AIR 1981 SC 298 that “there are sufficient indications in the Constitution that the Scheduled Castes are not mere castes. They may be something less or something more and the time badge is not the fact that the members belong to caste but the circumstances that they belong to an indescribably backward human group.”
 
The Preamble of the Constitution resolves to constitute the country into a secular democratic republic securing therein to all its citizens, in furtherance to justice, social economic and political liberty of thought, expression and belief, faith and worship; Equality of status and opportunity and to promote among all fraternity, assuring dignity of an individual. To achieve this ideal and objective, the Constitution, while guaranteeing the right to equality before law (Article 14), prohibiting discrimination (Article 15) and ensuring equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment (Article 16) as Fundamental Rights, also enjoins on the State to strive to promote the Welfare of the people by securing and protecting, as effectively as it may, a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life [Article 38(1)], and “in particular strive to minimize the inequalities in income and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in Status, facilities and opportunities” [Article 38(2)].
 
Further, Article 46 states that “the State shall promote with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and in particular, of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation”. Thus, special status has been assigned and certain safeguards have been provided to them in the Constitution.
 
Thus, the object is not only noble and action bona fide keeping with the avowed policy of the State in striving for building up a socialistic pattern of society but also keeping with the directive principles laid down in the Constitution. There is a reasonable nexus between the classification and the object in view, that it is in the consonance with the directive principles of the Constitution without offending the Fundamental Rights enshrined under it.
 
The Supreme Court of India further observed in Akhil Bhartiya Shoshit Karmachari Sangh (supra) that “……the Constitution provides not merely for adequate representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to services and posts under the Union and States, but also provides for reservation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Legislatures. It is beyond any doubt that the founding fathers have assigned to them a special place and shown towards them special concern and charged the State with special mandates to redeem these handicapped human sectors from their grossly retarded situation. Indeed, they are not merely backward but are the backward most and cannot be equated with just any other caste in the Hindu fold.”
 
Equality clauses contained in Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India may in certain situations have to be considered as the basic structure/features of the Constitution of India. The Constitution of India professes to bring the socially and educationally backward people to the forefront. Only for the purpose of invoking the equality clause, the makers of the Constitution thought of protective discrimination and affirmative action. Such recourse to protective discrimination and affirmative action had been thought of to do away with social disparities. So long as social disparities among groups of people are patent and one class of citizens in spite of best efforts cannot effectively avail equality of opportunity due to social and economic handicaps, the policy of affirmative action must receive the appropriate attention. Thus, affirmative action in essence and spirit involves classification of people as backward class of citizens and those who are not backward class of citizens.
 
The grant of this social status to the Raigar/ Jatia Community as Scheduled Caste by your goodselves would entitle them for a preferential treatment by the State and play a vital role in ensuring the implementation of Constitutional safeguards in the matters like entry into public services and public sector enterprises, award of scholarships, admission to educational institutions including technical and medical colleges, allotment of lands, contesting elections to State Vidhan Sabha, Municipal Corporations, Gram Panchayats etc. to this despicable and helpless community.
 
Sociological conditions of the Raigar/ Jatia community prevailing in the State of Gujarat, thus, demands leverage to be advanced to them by the State and a provision of preference to this class which is embedded in our constitutional scheme vide Art. 14, 15, 16, so that the members of this Community may be able to combat their degraded and subservient position, come to the forefront and join hands in the overall development of the State.
 
Sir, since most of the members of this depressed class are earning their livelihood with occupation in leather tanning and allied sector and since without any aid and facilitation from the Government of Gujarat, and further due to lack of education, the members of this down trodden class of society are confronting terrible and horrifying days, which is making it difficult for a member of this helpless community to sufficiently earn and manage bread and butter for two times a day; more so in the times when the whole State of Gujarat is rejoicing the golden period as “Vibrant Gujarat”.
 
This despicable and helpless community, thus, looks forward with high hopes towards your goodselves to provide an opportunity of overall upliftment by according it a status of Scheduled Caste, so that this weaker section may gain a respectable socio-educational-economic status in the society and be an active part of the dream coming true being Vibrant Gujarat in its true sense.
 
Jai Hind.
 
Yours Faithfully
On behalf of The All India Raigar Mahasabha
Laduram Gusaiwal                            Mishrilal Sunwasia
Udaram Baroliya                               Tarachand Fulwadia
Baluram Jajoria                                Bhanwarlal Singhadia
Jagannath Chordia                           Devendra kumar Kurdia
Gopilal Kurdia                                   Bharatkumar Gusaiwal
Punamchand Sunwasiya                   Manoharlal Bakoliya
Ramchandra Gusaiwal                      Nandkishore Fulwaria
Jagadish Devatwal                            Dashrath Bhatt
Revatram Khorwal                             Shrinarayan Devatwal
Girdharilal Dolia                               Khemaram Balotia        
Durgaram Singhadia                        Hariram Bansiwal
Girdharilal Changeriwal                    Asulal Kurdia
 
     Copy to:- for similar necessary action -
  1. The Hon’ble Minister, Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of Gujrat, Ghandhinagar.
  2. The Hon’ble Chairman, National Commission of Scheduled Caste, New Delhi.
  3. The Hon’ble Leader of Opposition, Legislative Assembly,Govt. of Gujrat, Gandhinagar.
  4. The Hon’ble Chief Secretary, Govt. of Gujrat, Ghandhinagar.
  5. The Hon’ble Minister, Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India, New Delhi.
  6. Shri Lal Krishna Advani, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Gandhinagar.
  7. Shri Harin Pathak, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Ahmedabad.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 31 January 2011 01:32