The initiative began in the month of September 2010. Mohan Siddi began the process immediately after completion of his Master of Social Work from
; he decided to devote his professional skills for the development of his own Siddi community. A brief note on the progress made during this period is given below; Bangalore University
1. Initially a small study was undertaken in couple of villages of Ankola, Yellapur, Mundgod and Haliyal taluks to have first hand information and comprehensive understanding of real life situation. During the period of the study interaction with different age groups both at individual and in group held on varied issues related all spheres of lives of siddis revealed the gravity of situation and gave insights into nature extent of problems which have resulted in holding wide range of consultations.
2. Series of intensive consultations were held with leaders & members of Siddi community in the villages, where in the members expressed the need for an independent organization of siddis to avoid dependency on other organizations and NGOs also to work on availing education for children, to resist injustice and human rights violations, access to government schemes, to handle police harassment, to fights against atrocities through legal interventions, getting bail, etc.
3. A Society called Siddi Jana Vikas Sangh as formal identity with members of Siddi Community belongs to Hindu, Islam & Christianity has been registered under Karnataka Societies Registration Act in the month of December 2010. The society has three women and four men in the society and all are educated and well informed about the situation of siddis.
4. Conduced a quick survey to get to know the number of dropouts, reasons for it and identify educated youth and their occupation after completion of their education in 28 villages of Yallapur, Mundgod, Ankola and Haliyal. The survey revealed that there were 23 youth below 15 years dropped out of school, all of them are still interested in continuing studies if opportunities are provided and the remaining 8 do not want to pursue their studies. The reasons for discontinuing studies economic problems, lack of interest in studies & parent’s ill health resulted in their discontinuing education.
Similarly, of the 58 educated youth identified in the survey 46 expressed that they are still interested in continuing studies if opportunities are provided. It is disheartening to note that these youth after completion of their education, remain in their villages and working as coolies in agriculture fields, construction workers, forest nursery & bamboo cutting, loading & unloading, processing of areca nut, road formation under contractors, in case if they do not have any work they go to forest to collect forest produce. Because of non availability of jobs, the parents are discouraging their children not to pursue studies. 42 youth revealed that they discontinue their studies because of economic problems, one said that he has not got seat & discontinued studies. This shows that there is a need for proper guidance and support to get opportunities either job or self employment.
5. Detected a very big cheating incidence of Siddis by Syndicate Bank manager, Ankola branch, exposed the issue resulted in harassment by Bank manager & police, led to the illegal arrest of Siddi leader Mr. Beneth Siddi, Kutchgoan, Yallapur, taluk jailed for a week, filed a non-bailable case. With the help & intervention of Citizen’s Committee for Social Justice and filed complaint against Bank Manager with Syndicate Bank head office, Human rights Commission, and sought the legal assistance form Alternative Law Forum & got the anticipatory bail from High Court, subsequently from bail from District court and still fighting against cheating case pending in the District court.
6. Picked up & fighting to reclaim the 5 acres of land which was purchased by Ashirvad, Bangalore for the development of Siddi community, later handed over the land to a Committee of Siddis has been taken over by the Revenue department giving procedural deviations & nonpayment of fine as reason without the knowledge of Siddi Committee and allotted the same land to private a party. This incidence land alienation was located by the Siddi Jan Vikas Society and attempt is being made to reclaim the land from the government.
7. An incidence of encroachment of land belong to Louis Siddi by local dominant community was detected in Pansuli, Joida taluk, a complaint has been registered with police on the guidance of Alternative Law Forum & Citizen’s Committee for Social Justice, and further encroachment prevented for the time being and the process to reclaiming the land by producing relevant documents is in progress.
8. Geetha Siddi a 7 years old child was suffering serious abdominal complex disease very badly needed an operation was found during the visits to villages, the parents were very poor did not have the money for this and did not know where to get treatment. It was at this stage, the society members intervened and mobilized resources from various sources and managed to get her operated in
Goa, the child is out of danger without this intervention the child would have died.
9. As usual the Siddi like other backward communities are very weak in English subject, many Siddi students failed in english and used discontinue studies. It is at this stage, the Society intervened and organized a Spoken English class with help of
, Minahalli. The residential English coaching class for twenty Siddi children for two months is in progress. The resources for this mobilized from the church. It is proposed to mobilize resources for such coaching classes from the department of Social Welfare & from other sources in future and coach large number of children in English, science and mathematics. Holy Cross Church
10. In addition to the above, the members of the society had come across different types of youth without any guidance would have discontinued their education, such incidences have been identified and put them on track. Mr. Rehaman Siddi after completion of his 12th standard has been guided to seek admission for Batchlor of Pharmacy with hostel facility in
. Mr. Pinto Siddi, discontinued his studies 9th standard has been identified, persuaded him & parents to send him back for studies and he is studying in 9th standard in Tamil Nadu. Mrs. Mankali Siddi, aged about 80 years without any any children was orphan was begging and living on her own, the members of society was able to get her Anthyodaya card and application for oldage pension submitted which as been approved, she will get pension and manage on her own with that money not by begging, are some of the examples of individual assistance extended by the members of the society in a very short span of time. Bangalore
11. The members of the Society made attempt to send Siddi youth to a selection camp being organized by Sport Authority of India in
to select candidates for intensive training for Judo. The authorities have agreed to have a camp for two days at the cost of candidates, the enrollment application as already submitted, mobilizing travel and food cost for candidates. Bangalore
12. Established organized contacts and networking with Alternative Law Forum and seeking legal advice in handling cases filed against Siddis and necessary support in different aspects. This has become biggest strength and moral support for the society to establish claims as a matter of right.
13. Sought help, support and assistance from Citizen’s Committee for Social Justice,
in terms understanding issues in ideological perspective, organizing community, research, investigation, strategies to deal with problems including registration and management of society. In fact, for the time being their office has become the secretariat of Siddis or state unit of Siddis in Bangalore access this space even for stay and using other facilities of the office. This office has become centre of spirit and guiding force for all our ventures being planned. Bangalore
The society is looking for help, assistance & support to initiate action for translating the short term objectives in to reality from your organization initially on the following;
- To conduct a comprehensive survey of siddi families in Karnataka as a first step to bring all of them together in an organized manner.
- To ensure enrollment of children in schools convincing parents and sustain them in schools simultaneously encourage school dropouts to continue their education by way of organizing coaching classes also revive coaching talented youth with sports skills
- To assist those who complete their education end up doing coolie in the villages to get employment or pursue self employment for their livelihood.
Mohan Ganapati Siddi
Siddi Janavikas Sangha, Yallapur,
Uttara Kannada District