Despite a great threat to their own existence inside the JNU campuses which is being ‘cleaned’ to maintain Brahmanical hegemony (it was always there but in a better ‘coordinated’ and sophisticated way) the young Ambedkarites of Birsa Ambedkar Student Association ( BAPSA) today protested against the killing of a young Dalit boy in Telangana a few days back. The brutal killing of Madhukar whose only fault was to have fallen in love with a girl belonging to Kapu community of Chiranjivi fame. Those who saw the chopped personal parts of Madhukar were shocked. Obviously these incidents will shock to anyone in a civilised society but definitely, these are not aberrations. We are habitual of these things and the high density of intensiveness on our part even in the protest. Now, why should protest on this issue be organised by an Ambedkarite or Dalit group? Why is this just a Dalit issue?
It is important to think about these issues. I wish other like-minded student organisations should have joined BAPSA’s call or could have coordinated with them. Today’s India needs all young forces to join hand who want to eliminate caste, caste system and therefore, Manuwad, as Baba Saheb Ambedkar had wished. It is only possible if all the thinking people join hand, express their solidarity wherever possible, organise yourself on a common minimum programme. One by one institution are being targetted, our freedom is under assault.
The killing of the person who loved a girl who happened from a so called high caste community is a racist criminal offence but then it won’t affect the societies which live and enjoy in the commune or what I would say along with its caste identities. The anti-Romeo Squad in Uttar Pradesh is beginning to work where politicians of all variety want us to confine us to our own communities and that too they would like us to be like an obedient slave of the rotten customs where parents like feudal lords would decide your choices and you have to just follow. It is not that those who followed the dictates of their parents and married according to their choices did not face any problem. If that were not the case, we would not have heard of dowry deaths, burning of the bride, killing of young girls by their husbands and parents in laws but then we have never seen any social movements by any of these caste Hindus and their champion organisation. The problem is how will you oppose dowry when you consider woman as a burden who has to be sent to other person house and has to be gifted by the father. Parayadhan to Kanyadans is being glamorised and justified through high decibel TV programmes.
Love can demolish all the forces of hatred which exist in our bellies and is very much visible in our social attitude and brutalities towards those who challenge this system. Love is a challenge.
Love is a challenge to the caste system of manuwadi vernavyastha. It is the challenge to the supremacy of caste.
Many years ago, an untouchable boy from India, who was a brilliant artist but was a non-entity in open space where Delhi’s Palika market did not exist once upon a time. A beautiful woman from Sweden had just come to Delhi for an India tour. Charlotte fell in love with Pradumna at first sight and then started one of the finest love stories of our age. They romanced. They went to Jaipur and other places before getting married in Odisha. Charlotte loved India and hence Pradumna gave her new Indian name called Charulata. Pradumna did not go along as he wanted to go earning his own money. Of course, it was very difficult for him to earn that much of money through making portraits of people who used to visit him but he decided to honour his love and one day he decided to go to Sweden using his bicycle and thus began a historic journey. It took nearly six months for him to travel from Delhi to Stockholm where he finally got united with her. Pradumna really never knew who his lover was, I mean, the family background, as she belonged to an aristocratic family which owned nearly 5000 acres of land, a huge lake of not less than 10 kilometres. I had the privilege to enjoy his hospitality in his beautiful place near Gutenberg.
I narrated this story because the way Indians are not ashamed of even killing a person who loves and wants to make their own choices related to marriage. Why the hell are we in awe with castes. Is it because it has privileges and is like red bacon cars of our uncontrolled politicians?
Democracy can play a level playing field but our political system will never allow this. Invented by the power elite, this electoral system will not allow the poor and marginalised to have a fair in power structure. So, we will only have those in the drawing rooms of ruling structure those who can learn to ignore the interest of their own communities. All those who are feudal and believe in the feudal caste based social structure, caste system, will represent us in the name of democracy. If we were really a democracy we would allow our children to have right to choice, right to freedom of expression, right to enjoy life as per our ideas but then it is not acceptable. Why ?
The why shows that we as a society are afraid of democracy and that is why we continue to kill our youngsters. We will continue to kill them for the sake of our ‘Ijjat’. There is no honour in killing. It is a crime and criminals must be dwelt with legally and brought to justice. Politics has become the biggest tool to justify everything right from killing individuals, hitting them, insulting and humiliating them, all, in the name of culture and nation but at the end, it is trying to protect the feeble wall of the castes and caste system. The caste hierarchies will crumble one day and that is why the casteist forces are showing sign of desperation. They can’t debate. They can’t discuss and reason with you and that is why they bring non-issues and when they fail they hit at you, intimidate you and want the state to follow their dictates.
Yesterday, African Mission envoys called India a racist country and threaten to go to UN Human Right Council for growing racial violence against Africans students living here. It was an unusual show of strength and power. As I say here that we Indian stand with our African brothers and sisters, our own north eastern brothers and sisters who face the tyranny of the hidden apartheid exists here. Yes, India is not a racist country. It can’t be. The fact is that over 90% of our people suffer from the worst form of discrimination called as caste system and untouchability. This can not be an internal matter but a human rights issue and we must fight it together with all those who are victims of similar kind of discrimination based on caste, colour, race, region, gender and disability.
One of the best ways to eliminate caste system, caste discrimination and untouchability was to implement the Constitution of India in letter and spirit and convert the constitutional morality as the socio-cultural morality of India. Unfortunately, those who swear by the constitution have not really respected it that way and hence we are witnessing the Brahmanical moralities being imposed on Indian nation resulting in growing cases unrest, chaos and anarchy. If India is not to become a Hindu Pakistan or we do not have a Talibanised Hindu priestly class then, the only way is implementing constitutionalism along with all the international covenants that we have signed. That is the only way to keep us united and progressive.
KCR government in Telangana has completely failed in protecting the Dalit interest. The chief minister is more bothered about Tirupathi and pleasing different religious gurus to keep his throne safe but that would keep people restive. A brutal murder is being converted into a suicide just for the sake of keeping the Kapus happy is the most dangerous thing but that is why most of the political parties doing. Shockingly, we are not witnessing any protest by political parties against such goondaism and murder because they are afraid of losing votes. The problem is that for the sake of votes you may win elections but the whole edifice of our constitution and idea of a secular progressive inclusive India is getting defeated each day. The threat to real democracy comes when our young lives are lost for the sake of maintaining the purity of caste system in the name of culture and customs. India’s caste system bomb is dangerous and it can only be defused and saved by following the path of liberal secular constitutional democracy.
Author – Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Human Rights Activist