Its three year since the Khairlanji incident took place…..
Jhili Mallick of Kapileshwar village in Kendarapada district was burnt alive, Narayan Singh Kangaar of Shivapuri district (M.P) who was burnt, Two Dalit women sarpanches (Gundiya Bai Ahirwar and Premrani Prajapati) of the Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh being forced out of the villages, Bhagirathi, a Dalit sanitation worker was burnt in Varanasi, Dalit children not being allowed to serve mid-day meal in Kholada in Bundi district in Rajasthan- all are mirror to the continuing Khairlanji project by the caste Hindus post-Khairlanji (29 September 2006)
All the incidents I have mentioned reflect some sort of awakening among the Dalits and this not being tolerated by the caste Hindus. Priyanka Bhotmange in the Khairlanji issue was not tolerated for being bold and riding a bicycle and going to school and her mother for having fought for her own piece of land. Jhili Mallick for having protested against her offender, Narayan Sigh Kangaar for having demanded for loan papers back, Gundiya Bai Ahirwar and PremraniPrajapati for holding political powers, Bhagirathi for demanding full wages.
My friend and former colleague Sudipto Mondal would always tell me that such incidents are also quite positive in nature because there is some sort of awakening among the Dalits which can be seen in the form of protest and demand. He then would speak about the section of Dalits on whom awakening about rights is yet to dawn.
One R. Raman has recently spoken about him being made to eat human excreta by the “Brahmin” co-students of his during his student days (2002-2007) in IT-BHU. He also spoke about the Vice-Chancellor forming an enquiry committee when he complained and then the director of IT-BHU S.N.Upadhyay and the Dean V.K. Kumra deliberately suppressing the matter and pressurising him not to make any complaints further.
The case of R. Raman becomes more worrying for me because it took place in a centre of education which is “supposed to” bring light into the world. More disturbing to me is the case of the Dalit students not being allowed to serve mid-day meal in Kholada. The report about the incident said that the parents of the upper caste students took task of the teacher who let the dalit students to serve mid-day meal. But more disturbing is the fact that the upper caste students threw away the food saying it was “impure” because of the ones who served it.
What education is supposed to do and what is it doing I do not understand!
Cricket, the greatest Indian craze, if analyzed one would notice that except for Vinod Kambli there has been no cricket player in the national team who is from a lower caste. This phenomenon shows how we have failed to create an environment where a lower caste person can feel free to compete and associate with a higher caste group.
It is the same scenario even in the media realm where it is extremely difficult to find a media organization which is headed by a lower caste person. Though ‘Khabar-Lahariya’ a newspaper initiative by Dalit women in Kanpur (U.P.) is an icon of Dalit empowerment, we cannot neglect the fact that the lower caste people can not rely on other media where the Dalits have no freedom of speech and expression and have to resort to an exclusive Dalit newspaper.
Not just life but also in death the lower caste people are treated as ‘untouchables’. The demand placed before the peoples representative by the people of Mangalore Assembly constituency for burial grounds saying private burial grounds are not accessible to the Dalits is an evidence for the same.
“We’re going to enter into a new life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality and in social & economic life, we will have inequality,” is what Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said about republic India in 1949 while drafting the Indian Constitution. He continued to write, “We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy.”
Sixty years since the prophetic statement was made and the contradiction remains resulting in reported, unreported, voiced, unvoiced Khairlanjis and holoCASTEs….
And the beloved country continues to cry…
29 September 2009