Govt seeks caste proof of known Adivasi writer

via By R Ayyappan @ www.expressbuzz.com published on September 22, 2009

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: South India’s only adivasi writer and Sahithya Akademi award winner Narayan’s request for financial assistance to meet his medical bills has been turned down by the SC/ ST Department. Reason: The writer of the Mala Araya tribe had not submitted his caste certificate along with his application.


Narayan had suffered two successive heart attacks in November 2008 and January this year. “It was a senior official of the Folklore Academy who told me to apply for assistance. I had spent nearly one lakh rupees at the hospital. But I did not have all the bills. So I could submit only bills worth Rs 64,000,” Narayan said.

The request was sent early this year to the Minister for Culture, with a copy to the Minister for the Welfare of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes. In the copy to the Tribal Welfare Minister, Narayan had inserted an additional line that roughly said he thought he was entitled to get assistance from the substantial funds earmarked for tribal welfare.

The request was forwarded through the Kerala Sahithya Akademi, which had already given Narayan an assistance of Rs 10,000. Narayan’s novel `Kocharethi’ had won the Sahithya Akademi award in 2000. Narayan is also the general council member of the Akademi.

A few months later, in a letter addressed to Narayan in August, the Akademi said that the application he had sent to the Tribal Welfare Minister could not be considered as he had not submitted the caste certificate.

The Culture Department, till date, has not responded to Narayan’s request.

“I felt this as an insult. I am not in the habit of telling lies to anyone. Never before have I asked for a single paise from any government,” Narayan said. “Fact is, I thought the certificate was not necessary as the Akademi itself was forwarding my request,” he added.

Narayan does not possess a caste certificate (he had it earlier but its validity had expired), but he is not going to arch backwards to secure a new one.

More than arrogance, it is his failing health that seems to have prompted such a decision.

“I am not supposed to travel, my doctor has advised rest. If at all I decide to get one, I will have to travel to Kudayathur, a hilly region in the interiors of Idukki.

Only my distant relatives, who do not even remember me now, live there. And there, I will have to go through the entire bureaucratic rigmarole. I am 72 and I do not have the will nor the health for all that,” said Narayan, who now lives with his wife in a rented house at Elamakkara in Kochi.

Narayan presently receives a meagre pension. He had retired as a sub-postmaster, a non-gazetted post. Kerala Sahithya Akademi is all set to bring out the English translation of a collection of his 12 short stories titled `Cries in the Wilderness’.

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HK Comments

Though crores of Rupees is earmarked for the welfare and upliftment of SC-ST’s Kerala Goverment is notorious for diverting the funds . Corrupted officials will make sure that a major share of rest of the fund allocated will go into their pockets. In top of all these there are Missionary snakes in these forests which are more venomous than a King Cobra waiting to pounce upon them when they are vulnerable.

  

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