A new Dalit revolution is brewing in Telangana

Published on Aug 20, 2017 07:57 AM IST

Dalits in the state are adopting the title of ‘Swaero’ for solidarity and pride.

Andey Bhaskar carried the suffix Swaero while sending out wedding invitations.(HT Photo)
Andey Bhaskar carried the suffix Swaero while sending out wedding invitations.(HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad | By

When Botla Karthik, a Dalit youth from Mulug village of newly-formed Jayashankar Bhupalpalli district, got an Aadhar card for his two-year old daughter early this month, it generated a lot curiosity. Her name on the card read: Botla Abhaya Swaero. 

The suffix “Swaero” in the girl’s name might appear surprising, but it has now become a buzz word among the Dalit communities in the Telangana that has given them a new identity. Instead of being referred to as Dalits or SCs or marginalised sections, they now prefer to call themselves “Swaeros.” 

The letters SW in stand for social welfare, while the word “aeros” refers to sky, suggesting that sky is the limit for them. 

The new identity revolution for Dalits, launched by senior IPS officer and secretary of the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society Dr RS Praveen Kumar, is fast spreading among the Dalits, with the students of these institutions taking it up as a mass movement to find a sense of pride and esteem for them in the society. 

Among two lakh-odd students of the social welfare institutions, the word Swaero has almost become a suffix for their names. They have been spreading the word “Swaero” extensively on social media platforms so that every Dalit has started using the word as his or her surname. 

“Gone are the days of calling the SCs as Chandala, Harijan, Dalit, Badugu, Nimna.. etc. We are Swaroes. This is our new identity to discover our true potential,” says the IPS officer, an alumnus of Harvard University. He also prefers to be called “Praveen Kumar Swaero.” 

The movement has become so strong in the recent times that the Dalit youth have started proudly carrying the word Swaero on all the occasions. When Botla Karthik got the Aadhar card for his daughter in the name of Botla Abhaya Swaero, it got wide appreciation from all the quarters in the community. He also got the birth certificate for her in the same name. 

Sharing it on his Facebook page, Praveen Kumar commented: “This is my new identity. Now I chose a name that truly reflects my aspirations and my bright future. Call me Abhaya Swaero now. It is official.” 

Even in the wedding invitations, the Dalit youth have started carrying the suffix Swaero in their names. For example, Andey Bhaskar and Ganga Jamuna, both alumni of the social welfare institutions, who got married at Andey village of Mirdoddi in Siddipet on May 14, had carried the suffix Swaero in their names while sending the wedding invitations. “I am a Swaero," Bhaskar said at the top of the invitation. 

In Thandriyal village in Jagitial district, the Dalits renamed their colony as Swaeroes Colony. A degree student from the village Vamshi says on his Facebook page that he feels proud when the RTC driver stops at the village and shouts “Swaero colony has arrived. Get down, please.” 

Praveen Kumar feels that the word Dalit is imposed on a section of the people and it only acknowledges their oppression. “The Swaeros movement is aimed at rediscovering our true potential. It has been following 10 commandments, first of which says I am inferior to none and the last one says I shall never give up,” he points out. 

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    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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