uDECCAN HERALDv

GULBARAGA
TUESDAY,NOVEMBER,12,2002-
Dhamma Dikshe in October 2003

5Lakh Dalits to embrace Buddhism
Gulbaraga,Nov11
Around five lakh Dalits in Karanataka would be embracing Buddhism
at the state-level "Dhamma Dikshe"convention to be held in Bangalore
on October14,2003.
Announcing this to the press here today ,Bhante BodhiDhamma stated
that as a prelude to this he had undertaken a tour of the state,and also
the neighbouring states of Kerala,Tamilnadu,Andhra pradesh and Maharashtra
towards creating awareness among the Dalits to embrace Buddhism.
He said during this 40-day tour of his ,which had begun at Bijapur
on September1,2002,he had seen that even after more than five decades
of Independence,the status of the Dalits had not changed .
"Even today ,they are being looked upon as lesser mortals ,
and are subjected to inhuman treatment by the upper castes people ",he added.
Giving an example ,he said ,at a village 15 kilometers from Trichy in Tamilnadu ,
some Dalits were made to eat human excreta recently.The reason was,
they had dared to ask the money they had given to the landlord to get houses
constructed for them,he added .InHarayana ,five Dalits were killed because
they were removing the skin from a dead cow ."For the people who killed these Dalits,
the dead cow was more important than the lives of five Dalits."he said .
these are not the only cases ,Many cases are reported of Dalit women
being paraded naked ,and other atrocities committed against the
Dalits,he said .And this was happening in India where the Constitution speaks
of equality and justice ,he added.
Though no religion preached hatred and violence ,at present ,violence and hatred ,
especially against the Dalits ,was being perpetuated in the name of religion,he said .
Thereby,as religion itself had become a stigma for the Dalits ,and was cause of
their suppression ,awareness was being created in them to leave their religion
and embrace Buddhism like Dr.Babasahib Ambedkar,he added.
Stating that Dr.Ambedkar fought the caste system and had ultimately embraced
Buddhism ,Bhante BodhiDhamma said that towards creating awareness
among the Dalits to embrace BUddhism,the Nagpur-based International Buddhist
Youth Organisation was formed in 1994.
Bhante Bodhi Dhamma claimed that the Tamilnadu Goverment had promulgated
the anti-conversion ordinance as many Dalits there were converting to Buddhism .
moreover,he said ,as there were no forceful conversions ,this ordinance was uncalled for .
Seeking co-operation from all sections of the Dalits for the October14,
programme at Bangalore ,he said nearly five lakh Dalits would be embracing Buddhism on that day.
He would meet Chief Minister SMKrishna and Home Minister Malllikarjun Kharge in this regard ,
he addded Bhante BodhiDhamma is the member of the Sogenji Monastery at Okayama in Japan ,
and is propagating the praching of Buddha and Dr Ambedkarin Japan since last 15 years.


uThe Hinduv
Tuesday,12Nov.2002


Legislations cannot stop conversion:Buddhist monk
Gulbarga,Nov.11.
The founder president of the International Buddhist Youth
Organisation ,Bhante BodhiDhamma ,today said that conversion of Dalits and
oppressed classes in India would continue despite the ban imposed in TamilNadu
and a few other states against "forcible"conversion.
The Japan-based Buddhist monk ,who undertook a tour of Karnataka,Kerala,
TamilNadu,and AndraPradesh for 40 days between september
and October,told presspersons here that lesislations could not stop people
from choosing their religion to escape from the humiliation heaped on them.
He termed the TamilNadu legislation motivated and unconstitutional,and
said that the constitution gave the right to the people of India to practice
and follow a religion of their choice.The TamilNadu goverment by enacting
a law was attempting to force dalits and the oppressed classes to remain
in Hinduism without taking steps to end the atrocities on them.
Bhante Dhamma said he would visit TamilNadu next year to participate in mass
conversion of dalits and the oppressed classes to Buddhism ,and challenged
the TamilNadu Goverment to take action against him."I would rather
prefer to go to jail than accept such a reactionary law,"he said.
Citing the lynching of five dalits in a Haryana village recently for allegedly
skinning a cow ,the shameful part of the incident was that there were some
Hindu leaders who defended it and placed the life of a cow above the lives of
human beings.
He said the dalits had realised the futility of remaining in hinduism ,and after
the Haryana incident more than 100 of them had converted to Buddhism,Islam ,
and christianity in the village.
Bhante BodhiDhamma ,who lives in the Sogenji monastery in okayama city ,
said conversion was the only answer to the continued humiliation in the caste
system followed by the hindus where the dalits were treated as untouchables.
The rape of dalit women had become common ,and steps had not been taken either
by the centre or the states Goverments to curb atrocities on dalits ,he
charged.
The monk said that if all dalits converted to Buddhism ,there would be a revolutionary
change and the dalits would be able to lead a honourable life.
During the 47th Dhamma chakra paravarthana day on October 14 next year ,
more than five lakh dalits would convert to Buddhism at a function organised
by the International Buddhist Youth Organisation in Banglore ,he said .
The monk appealed to dalit organisations and others to make the event a success.
The Gulbarga District president of the organisation ,Devendra heggade,
the senior dalit leader and former GDA Chairman ,vittal Doddamani,
and the dalit leader ,B.V.Chakravathi, were among those present.,