MP and former Union minister of environment, Jairam Ramesh, inaugurated the ‘Devaraj Urs Centre for Development Studies’ (DCDS) at MYRA School of Business in city, recently.
DCDS is established with the objective of focusing the attention on the development challenges of the “excluded.” The centre is dedicated to D Devaraj Urs, a social reformer and champion of the backward classes.
Jairam Ramesh lamented that India is the only country in the world to exclude people on the basis of birth. “While India might have provided unique ID to its more than a billion populations, the unfortunate fact remains that the identity of caste, creed and religion has stuck to the people and we are far from moving away from such identities.”
Whether the GDP is eight percent or more, it should be expanded to include the excluded, he said and further added that ‘politics’ has become very inclusive where the excluded are in a majority. “While Mayavati was inconceivable 50 years back, today she is a formidable political force.”
He said that D Devaraj Urs was the champion who was able to bring about a social revolution sans violence within the democratic framework.
Jairam Ramesh quoted Dr B R Ambedkar’s ‘Educate, agitate and organise’ concept and said that it has given meaningful message to the people in the context of true development. One must first get ‘educated’ before ‘agitate’ for rights to begin the movement so that people can ‘organise’ with support, he explained. He called upon the students to study the issues of exclusion in depth as it would make them aware of the ground realities.
Answering a question about getting the government to respond on social issues, he said that public outcry and demand, judicial intervention in addition to the executive were perhaps the best strategy. Citing the example of Nirbhaya Act, Jairam Ramesh said that the UPA government came up with this Act in a record three days in response to the public outcry.
This was preceded by a symposium on ‘Development – what it means to the excluded.’
Prof B K Chandrashekar, former chairman of Karnataka Legislative Council, Prof P K Misra, former Director, Anthropological Survey of India, Mysuru; Dr Tarun Chhabra, a practicing dentist and founder and managing trustee; Edhkwehlynawd Botanical Refuge (EBR); Dr Shrijay Devaraj Urs, executive director, MYRA School of Business, Prof Panini, Dr Sudhindra Seshadri, senior associate dean of the institution and others were present.