On July 14th one of my cousins’ wife gave birth to a baby girl and she is the first girl in his family after two generations. All my family members were happy, but I was partially happy. The reason for my sadness was the “girl” who gave birth was just 19 years old. While same age women of the oppressors flying to all parts of the globe to get the best education, our girls are delivering babies and pushing themselves into poverty as child marriage is one of the causes of poverty. Why can’t we change this menace?
After going through a lot of internal reflection, I requested my cousin to name her as “Aaditha Swaero” (It means a beginner of a new era). I chose this name so that she will not get married like her mother at a young age but by hoping that she will show a path to the next generation. “Swaero” is an indication that parents want their children to be superiors in their life.
Dr R S Praveen Kumar, an IPS officer and present secretary of residential institutions on his Facebook wall posted about how derogatory surnames/names recklessly imposed on marginalized sections by citing an example of a woman whose surname is Lan*apally which means a villages/colony of sex slaves. This is an example of how we have been reduced by reducing our identity. And in the same post, he has also shared a list of “power names”, these all power names define a new identity and I call this names book as a beginning to become the most powerful. Having mere power names does not give us power, but it will give a strength to become powerful.
I thought of writing this article to Roundtable India but I realized that I should write it for “Velivada”. You might have named this website as “Velivada” to protest/resist against the oppressors. But I feel protesting or resisting is not the only option we have, but we should also focus on changing our identity from weaker to the stronger. What I mean to say is let us rename this website to a name which reminds us of our glorious history and shows a great future. I named myself as “Swaero Likith” even though my birth name is no way related to the Hindu religion.
To change our identity, we some of the beneficiaries of Babasaheb’s struggle have stopped using the terms like “Dalit, weaker section” as it means broken and we started using the term SWAEROES (State Welfare Aeroes, Aeroes means the sky is the limit). We are spreading a word that we are inferior to none and we have all the potential to achieve anything.
Every day, we criticize a religion festival by analysing the content of those festivals. I do agree that there is nothing in those festivals. But are we showing any alternative festivals to our people?
Members of SWAEROES International, under the leadership of R S Praveen Kumar, alumni of Harvard University, have been doing a program called “Bheem Deeksha” every year from March 15th to April 14th on the birth anniversaries of our heroes. The only intention of this program is to show an alternate culture. During this Deeksha, members of this organization open Ambedkar libraries in our colonies among many other things.
Let’s get into the field to know how SWAEROES have been working to change the identity of oppressed people.
Vamshi Swaero, a degree student proudly says on FB that now an RTC driver shouting “Swaero colony” has arrived get down, please”.
Finally, what I would say is we must change our identity.
Computer science students study solving a problem in naive approach and the best approach. If a solution to all our problems can be solved by political power (best approach), but the path to the best solution would be achieved by starting with the naive approach. I call re-engineering our identity as a naive approach.
Join us in this new identity revolution. Future is undoubtedly ours.
Author – Swaero Likith
Swaero Likith is a techie.