(Gist of article: We have never opened the gates of business to Dalits. Still, they are working or they have to work as cheap laborers filling the pockets of rich caste Hindu people. And why this?)
Our PM and other dignitaries regularly go to foreign countries and their one point agenda is attracting investors and telling them “We have a red carpet for you, Please come, Invest in our country, Do business and make our country rich.” Well, that’s all happening since 25 years where we are celebrating its silver jubilee means India signing GATT agreement and brought to our country LPG (Liberalization, Privatization, Globalization). Liberalization, the question is are we liberal to downtrodden businessmen? Have our governments signed a General agreement on trade and tariff with our own people viz Dalits? The answer is absolute No.
We have never opened the gates of business to Dalits. Still, they are working or they have to work as cheap laborers filling the pockets of rich caste Hindu people. And why this? Begging foreigners to invest here keeping out our own people from the circle of business? Definitely, this is nothing but casteist mindset of our Hindu brothers. Independence is all along completing its 70 years of history and our constitution had also completed its 67th anniversary, it is dictating equality should be given to all in all aspects. Then where is equality for Dalits or so called SC/ST’s in business? Does it mean these people had no capital stock? Or does it mean they don’t have that kind of skill? The answer is simply no. They can invest, they have the skill, they have education, they have creativity totally they have everything but the only thing is they have no platform to show their talent of business and to make this country richer! Yes, the reason is the ugly untouchability.
To tell an example one of my friends recently retired from service and he got a lump sum amount of more than 50 lakhs as a retirement benefit. Did I tell him why can’t do your own business investing all those money in a firm? He simply laughed at me and told me “Are you misguiding me to lose all my money? I was totally embarrassed from his answer. Then he only soothed me and told that we have no such kind of weather in society. If I opened a shop who will come to my shop? Who will be my customer? So if I invest it will be a dead business. So, I simply kept quiet.
Yes, untouchability which still prevails in society, In fact, which is growing to a dangerous level where caste is taking importance in every aspect of life, life is becoming more hazardous to Dalits. Adding salt to this wound our society is regularly blaming Dalits for enjoying reservation in government jobs since independence at the same time not allowing them to grow in another field of economics! Then what these people can do for their living? Through what other sources do they earn money? Do they all fall into Arabbi sea? And suppose if they all wanted to simply become wholesale laborers of caste Hindu enterprises does it nothing but a modern type of bonded labor system typical to which they were doing it for centuries in the lands of caste Hindu landlords? If it’s so then what is the use of constitutional obligations which proclaims liberty equality fraternity to all its citizens? Yes, it’s absolutely true that Dalits have no liberty to chose their own kind of livelihood hence equality is kept at bay where fraternity is becoming irrelevant.
The remedy is Dalits must have scope in the field of business and entrepreneurship and government must do strict rules or create a conducive weather where everyone can do business without facing any kind of discrimination. To make this thing practical our government especially central government must bring separate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules (Foreign because Dalits are treated as outsiders or foreigners. Babasaheb Ambedkar himself had mentioned this and he had written a book indicating this titling “Waiting for Visa”, means Dalits are waiting for Visa to enter streets of caste Hindus) for Dalits to invest, separate economic zone for them and also separate marketing zone. And if local customers can’t buy from them government should provide separate exporting facility and rules for them. So, that an alternate market must be created for them at least in abroad. Governments must take immediate steps to fulfill the business dreams of Dalits through which they can escape from economic exploitation and become self-sustain in all fields of life then only they can be liberated from this bloody hold of untouchability.
Author – Raghothama Hoba, Mysore
About Raghothama Hoba
Raghothama Hoba is a writer and he has written three books in Kannada on Dalit issues and Ambedkar thought. He contributes articles regularly to Kannada dailies “Prajavani”, ” Varthabharati”, “Kannada prabha” and weekly “Gouri Lankesh”. He edited a monthly “Prabuddha Bharatha” in Kannada for 3 years.
His Kannada books are –
1.” Gandhi Horata yaara viruddha?”(Whom against did Gandhi fought?)
2.” Ambedkar emba Karaganda bands” (Ambedkar: A rock which doesn’t melt)
3.”Edege bidda Gandhi” (Gandhi fell on our chest)