Dalit Foundation is a non-government organization, the first grant making institution in south Asia working for the empowerment of dalit communities, established in 2003. Dalit Foundation organized a series of Regional Dalit Cultural Festivals “UTSAVA” – A celebration of struggle against oppression, from all over India, showcasing and celebrating Dalit music, art and craft, theatre etc. The events are highlighted in this document.
Dalit Foundation is a non-government organization, working for the empowerment of Dalit communities. The Foundation is committed to support individuals, community-based organizations, and networks that work to secure social change and protect the rights of Dalits. The Foundation operates under the guidance and governance of an Honorary Board of Trustees. The trustees are highly experienced individuals in their areas of expertise and provide guidance and strategic direction for the activities and programmes of Dalit Foundation.
The Dalit Foundation Brochure
The focus of Dalit Foundation’s current outreach encompasses the issues of caste violence, eradication of manual scavenging, enhancement of dalit women leadership, rights over natural resources, health and education. The aim is to support and encourage dalit leaders, working to create a public understanding of equality, rights and dignity.
Dalit Foundation is affiliated with many organizations in India and abroad, working for the eradication of untouchability and the establishment of a just society. These organizations include, Navsarjan Trust of Gujarat, People’s Watch of Tamil Nadu, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS), New Delhi, to name a few.
The donors of Dalit Foundation include, Asian Foundation for Philanthropy (UK), Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, U U Holdeen India program, to name a few.
Dalit Foundation is also a member of two international networks working to reduce injustice the world over. These are the International Initiative to Strengthen Philanthropy (IISP) and the Foundations for Peace Network. Dalit Foundation had already covered 17 states and is still expanding.
The Young Professionals Programme entailed holistic development of young professionals through perspective trainings, research and intensive participation in grass root level activities.
NC did the English and Hindi brochure for Dalit Foundation.
Utsava - the event
The series of Regional Dalit Cultural Festivals, UTSAVA, provided a much-needed platform, to Dalit cultural groups from all over the country, to showcase their talent, celebrating Dalit art and culture, while providing a platform to establish a positive identity of dalit community in the eyes of the masses. The national event in Delhi was the official launch of UTSAVA.
The exhibition of Godna paintings, by a group of female Godna dalit artists from the Madhubani district of Bihar, provided these women not only an alternative and good source of livelihood but also promoted the Godna art form. In the evenings of both the days, various dalit cultural groups from different states of the country performed street theatre, folk dances and song. The background sufferings of the artists had been highlighted. The women artists faced a lot of backlash from the upper caste for doing Godna, as it was seen as an opposition to the Mithila paintings, which are of much value for the Brahmins and the Kayastha women of the village.
The Dalit theatre group performed a street play, based on the 1857 mutiny and honored the memory of the forgotten dalit martyr ‘Matadin’. The street plays by the scavenging dalit community in the slums of Kanpur, conducted advocacy and awareness generation, urging people to discard the caste-based occupation of manual scavenging.
Different forms of dance, songs, musical plays, group plays took place. ‘Vizhuthugal’ from Tamil Nadu, ‘REDS’ from Karnataka, and the ‘Bhavai’ from Bihar to name a few are the dalit groups who performed various arts, including puppet shows, whose shows were laced with subtle social criticism and pungent humor towards the high caste people.
New Concept managed the areas of travel, food, venue, coordination with guests and photography for the entire event. NC also designed the nametags, poster to advertise the event, a specific brochure for the event, signages and banner.
New Concept had provided all the support in the activities of the event.