For Dalit Women’s Representation: Women of Pratyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha

[Below is the retrieved part of a petition that was submitted to the Protector of Depressed Classes in Travancore by the women of the Pratyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha, which represented not just the spiritual but also (indivisibly from it) the material rebirth of the dalit people in parts of Travancore]

[From V V Swami, E V Anil, Pratyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha: Orma, Paattu, Charithrarekhakal, Adiyardeepam Publications,p. 259]

For the Kind Consideration of the Maharajamanyarajyasri Tirvitaamkoor Dewan, the petition submitted by the undersigned women who belong to the communities of the Sambavar, Cheramar, Ainer and others which have been designated Depressed Classes by our Esteemed Government.

We women of the depressed communities form a sizeable share in our population. We are without any of the means for prosperity such as learning, employment, handicraft skills, trade, many kinds of banking, chitti savings and so on, and we have no experience of any of these either. We have mastered only a few kinds of labour working under various masters, such as planting paddy, harvesting the crop, and so on. These kinds of work are not available always. There are a very large number of us women who are suffering immensely in these times of the economic depression from the lack of work that we know and with no other means of livelihood whatsoever. We have no other way but to appeal to God Almighty and our just Government. Many women representing many communities have been appointed to the Praja Sabha and the Legislative Council. But it is not clear whether our issues, those of the women of the depressed classes, are being addressed. It is necessary for us to bring the suffering and losses that we are undergoing to the notice of the Government through the Praja Sabha and other forums. And therefore we pray for the Government’s valuable consideration to include our [representative] in the next Praja Sabha …


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