Samata Sainik Dal

Soldiers for social justice and human dignity representative of India’s Depressed class. It was in January 1920 that he started Marathi weekly paper Mooknayak to champion the cause of the Depressed Classes. Post his doctoral research that earned him a D.Sc. in economics of the London School of Economics in 1923, Dr. Ambedkar launched his first organizational attempt as a part of the struggle against untouchability in July 1924 by founding the “Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha”.
 
In an attempt to create awareness of their problems and ameliorate their conditions, the Sabha held numerous meetings of untouchables in different parts of the Bombay Presidency, its first major effort at mobilization being the Chavdar Tale satyagrah at Mahad in 1927. In April 1927 Dr. Ambedkar started the fortnightly, Bahishkrit Bharat, as an open forum to discuss the problems of untouchables and mobilize them in the fight against untouchability. The Samaj Samata Sangh to promote the idea of social equality was founded in September 1927. Another fortnightly, Samata, was launched in 1928. In the meanwhile in 1926 Dr. Ambedkar had been appointed member of the Bombay Legislative Assembly. It is in this context that the formation of the Samata Sainik Dal in 1927 must be viewed.
 
In those initial days when Dr. Ambedkar was fully absorbed in mobilizing, organizing and awakening the untouchables against the social injustice of the caste Hindus, he needed volunteers to spread his message far and wide and thus strengthen his hands. The first such dedicated group of volunteers was probably formed during the Mahad Chavdar tale satyagraha of 1927. The initiative for forming a group of volunteers of this kind may be traced to the effort of Comrade R. B. More who while a staunch communist was closely associated with Dr. Ambedkar.
 
In an article in Peoples’ Democracy, Satyendra More and Subodh More write that More formed an organization of Dalit youth in Mumbai and named it ‘Dr. Ambedkar Seva Dal’ along the lines of the Rashtra Seva Dal of the Congress. Dr.Ambedkar while approving of such an organisation changed its name to ‘Samata Sainik Dal’ or ‘Social Equality Corps’.
 
The purpose behind the formation of this group was to counter any possible attacks on Dalits during the Mahad Satyagraha. The formation of the group was helped by the support of the retired Dalit soldiers in the British army. A militant squad of Dalit youth was thus formed to spread the message of the second Mahad convention in December 1927.
 
The Samata Sainik Dal (SSD) was thus born with an objective to promote the idea of equality as also to keep away the mischievous elements from obstructing the implementation of the constructive ideas by the workers in the movement. It may be said to have evolved later as a non-political wing of the Indepandent Labour Party (ILP).

 

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