Casteism is a backbone of the hindu religion. Hinduism is full of discrimination, casteism and degradation, without all of these there is no hindu religion. Recently, the so called hindus forced Penguin India publishing house to withdraw The Hindu – An Alternative History book by Wendy Doniger on the argument that this book offend hindus. Hindus had earlier defended Salman Rushdie’s book Satanic Verses in the name of ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘freedom of speech’ or what not but didn’t accept the book by Wendy on the same logic! Ironic but true face of Hinduism and so called hindus. Here, in this post, I want to ask, why so called hindus are not offended when so many atrocities happen on Dalits in day to day life? According to a UN report, approximately 110,000 cases of violent acts committed against Dalits were reported in 2005.
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit kids are forced to do toilet cleaning work at schools?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit students are purified by sprinkling cow urine on them in schools?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit women are seen and treated as only sex objects?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit people are killed just because they had same name as some upper caste people had?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit homes are separated by building walls in villages?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits have to remove their shoes while passing in front of upper caste homes?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit students’ scholarships aren’t issued on time?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit homes are burnt daily, just because they are Dalit?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when food cooked by Dalit women isn’t accepted by so called upper caste students?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit kids are made to sit separately in schools?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit women are paraded naked, raped and forced to commit suicide?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits are offered menial jobs and exploited at workplaces?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit students seats at colleges are filled by upper castes having fake Dalit certificates?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit students seats in colleges are left unfilled?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits are not allowed to enter temples?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when there are separate barber shops for Dalits?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits have to sip tea from separate tea cups?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when there appear caste wise columns in matrimonial pages?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits have to wait for years to get justice in courts?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits are shown as degraded characters in movies?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits have separate office timings?
Why aren’t the hindus offended whenin Dalit home there is no postal delivery, just because upper caste Postman don’t want to go there?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits and Muslims are denied renting homes, even in metro cities?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit and Muslim are kept in jails for years without any crime?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when their own shankracharyas are caught for the involvement in rapes, murders and killings?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when they see there are still thousands of devidasis (temple prostitutes) in India?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits are forced to work as manual scavengers?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when statues of Dalit leaders are maligned or destroyed?
Why didn’t the hindus get offend when 21 Dalits were slaughtered by the Ranvir Sena in Bathani Tola, Bhojpur in Bihar?
Why didn’t the hindus get offend when Kherlanji massacre happened?
Why didn’t the hindus get offend when Melavalavn massacre, TN, happened? 6 Dalits were killed by so called upper caste people?
Why didn’t the hindus get offend when 16 Dalits were killed in Muthanya incident, Kerala?
Why didn’t the hindus get offend when 58 innocent Dalits were killed at Laxmanpur Bathe, Bihar?
Why didn’t the hindus get offend when Bant Singh case of Punjab happened?
Why didn’t the hindus get offend when 42 innocent Dalits were killed in Kilvenmani massacre, TN, by the gang of upper caste landlords?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits are boycotted in villages?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits change their names/surnames to escape caste discrimination?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalit kids are forced to play in separate play grounds?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when job openings come with – ‘Dalits need not to apply’?
Why aren’t the hindus offended when Dalits can’t buy flats in a colony n ads come – ‘only for Brahmins’?
I get this picture in the email today and thought I must share it with everyone.
Isn’t it true? Years after year, Dalits have been denied of their rights, their dignity. They are kept at the lowest rung. Years after year, Governments have betrayed Dalits and Dalits’ trust. Now is the time to wake up and make our community aware of the discrimination Dalits’ facing in all the spheres. Unless we unite and raise voice against injustices, nothing is going to happen, wake up!!
From the director of movie Shudra – The Rising, another movie is going to come into picture, named 500 – The Battle of Koregaon.
You can check out the trailer of the movie from this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS1QDz0H6X8
It is a story of glorious victory of few hundred untouchable soldiers over numerically superior Peshwas army in the battle of Koregaon, fought on 1st January, 1818. I had written on it almost a year back, you can read about it at 1st January, 1818 – The Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
You can also check out the official page of the upcoming movie at http://sanjivjaiswal.com.tracs.in/?page_id=166
It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep –Malcolm X.
After I wrote the last article on Untouchability & Satyamev Jayate, I got an email asking me -so do I think no upper caste person does any good for Dalits? It is a perfect time for this question. I had wanted to write on the same topic for some time now as there was a discussion going on in a forum on almost the same topic – do organisations owned/run by upper caste people really do any work for Dalits?
Before, I answer this question; can anyone tell me an instance in history where upper caste people ‘collectively’ have done anything for the upliftment of Dalits? You may point to some individuals who have done their bit but if you check out the history of India, there is no such instance where upper caste people ‘collectively’ have done anything for the betterment of Dalits. All that upper caste people want is power and upper caste people have perfected the art of projecting themselves as friends of Dalits. By winning the friendship/support of the Dalits, so called ‘progressive upper caste people’ are able to use Dalits as a pawn in the social-economic-political game. Dalits are nothing but a game played by ‘progressive upper caste people’, based on tokenism or false promises of equality. In this game, played on the rules of deception, only upper caste people have gained and Dalits have remained on the bottom rung.
Many so called ‘progressive upper caste people’ are just like foxes, they keep hiding their true nature and they misguide till the time comes to put their jaws on the misguided. Such people are more dangerous than the people who snarl openly against Dalits. I have never seen a ‘sincere’ upper caste person helping Dalits without any real motive.
Few days back, I watched the episode “Untouchability – Dignity For All” on the Satyamev Jayate show on 8th July, 2012. Many people rated it as a ‘great’ show but I don’t accept it as a ‘great’ show. It was just another show made with the intention of earning profits and TRP. There was nothing on the show which common public didn’t know apart from the clippings from Stalin K’s documentary – India Untouched. (And if you are a bit conscious on human rights, you would have already seen that documentary!) We all know Dalit students face discrimination; Dalit couples are killed because of inter-caste marriages, who doesn’t know that caste remarks are not uncommon in India? (Read “I have a Dream” for more detail, describing where Dalits face discrimination and what a Dalit dreams about.)
The episode started with the heart touching story of Dr. Kaushal Panwar, professor at Delhi University. She spoke about her upbringing and the caste discrimination she faced during her childhood and during her student life. Her life story is no different from that of most of the Dalits in India. Discrimination that Dr. Kaushal faced at JNU is of no surprise because even today Dalit students are murdered in professional colleges due to caste discrimination.
Next on the show comes Stalin K– he was the only man, apart from Bezwada Wilson, who impressed me on the show. Stalin K is the director of the documentary named “India Untouched” created in 2007 and he also runs an organisation named Video Volunteers. He has done a remarkable job, has travelled more than 25,000 km in India covering caste discrimination. The show took the readymade clippings from his documentary and presented it! I don’t think Aamir Khan and his team would have put any effort in producing this episode as everything was readymade and conveniently available. At one point Stalin K rightly pointed out – if you don’t know your caste you must be from upper caste because society don’t leave a single chance to remind you that you are from lower caste.
At another point on the show, someone from the audience compared ‘ragging’ to ‘caste discrimination’ and that point was praised by the host! What a joke! Unless ragging is based on caste it can’t be compared to caste discrimination. And ragging with Dalit students, unlike with other students, is played only on caste lines, so comparing ragging with caste discrimination is completely illogical and out of context when we are discussing caste based discrimination. For most of the times on the show, the host seemed to me an ignoramus. Was he pretending to be ignorant of all the facts, or didn’t he really know about all the discrimination– I couldn’t figure that out. I seriously doubt if Aamir Khan has read or knows anything about the Sachar Report!
Then there comes a so called progressive Brahmin on the show – Dharmadhikari! He praised Gandhi, and at the end prescribed a solution to the caste problem. His solution: we will not ask anyone about his/her caste and we will not let anyone know of our caste. What an incredible solution! How could Dr. Ambedkar have missed such a brilliant solution? I couldn’t figure out how letting no one know about caste or not talking about caste will solve the problem of caste discrimination? People ask each other – which part of the village do you live? Oh! Western part? You must be Dalit. Caste will still be there in society, whether we discuss it or not. At one point on the show, he was opining that with this episode, untouchability has been brought into the national level media and it will get the attention of higher authorities and at another point he was putting across just the opposite viewpoint: don’t discuss caste. How ridiculous!
Further, he said inter-caste marriages will solve the problem of caste discrimination. I seriously doubt the efficacy of this solution as did Dr. Ambedkar, who said:
Caste cannot be abolished by inter caste dinners or stray instances of inter caste marriages. Caste is a state of mind. It is a disease of mind. The teachings of the Hindu religion are the root cause of this disease. We practice casteism and we observe Untouchability because we are enjoined to do so by the Hindu religion. A bitter thing cannot be made sweet. The taste of anything can be changed. But poison cannot be changed into nectar.
There is no nation of Indians in the real sense of the world; it is yet to be created. In believing we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion. How can people divided into thousand of castes be a nation? The sooner we realize that we are not yet a nation, in a social and psychological sense of the world, the better for us. – Dr B R Ambedkar
As all of us welcome year 2012 and greet each other with open arms, I visualise a dream. I have always said that I am a dreamer. Yes, I do have a dream, a dream (Begumpura) that Guru Ravidas saw about 650 years ago for everyone or a dream (Utopia) that nourished by Dr Ambedkar or I have a dream that Martin Luther King Jr. saw for the blacks of America. Here is my dream for Dalits of India almost along the same lines what Guru Ravidas, Dr Ambedkar, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others saw for better world.
I have a dream that one day; Dalits will break the chains of caste discrimination and free themselves from the chains of slavery that has ruined Dalits for thousands years. Yes, it’s my dream to see casteless society. I do also dream that Dalit houses won’t be set on fire or Dalits won’t be boycotted anymore. Dalits won’t be killed for the same name as of upper caste people or Dalits won’t be forced to change their names or Dalits won’t hide their names to escape caste discrimination. I also dream with open eyes that untouchability will become history and there will be no untouchable.
I have a dream that one day; for Dalits justice won’t be delayed or justice won’t be just another word or justice won’t be alien to Dalits. I anticipate that Dalits won’t be told to wait, wait and wait bit more for justice; a wait that always meant never. A day won’t be far when everyone will be treated equal and will live with dignity and pride. That will be the day, when Buddha will smile upon India again!
I have a dream that one day; Dalit women won’t be paraded naked, raped or forced to commit suicide for nothing wrong. Not only the Dalit women but whole women society will not be forced to do menial jobs. Women won’t be disrespected, exploited, neglected or won’t be treated as a sex-object only in Indian society. I dream that one day, equality will come in all spheres and women suffering will come to end.
I have a dream that one day; Dalit students won’t be made to sit separately in classrooms, or won’t be discriminated and forced to commit suicide in schools and colleges. A day will come when Dalit students won’t be purified via sprinkling cow urine on them and Dalit students’ seats won’t be left unfilled in schools and colleges. No Dalit student will be forced to do cleaning work in schools, no student will deny food cooked by Dalit cook and Dalit students will be able to use the same playing grounds as other caste students do.
I believe till now everyone might have heard about the upcoming movie on Dalits of India, i.e. “Shudra – The Rising?” In case you have missed the news, here is the news! Movie is produced and directed by Sanjiv Jaiswal and movie will be of 120minutes. We all know we can’t express the pain and suffering of Dalits in 2hours movie but still I believe it’s an ideal runtime for a movie and it will be advantageous.
A bit of storyline:
Movie is based on story of 250million people born as untouchables (and today’s Dalits) in Hindu caste system and subjected to humiliation and slavery since ancient times. When aryans came to India with the intention of looting, they enslaved the peace loving natives. Manu – Hindu guru – imposed laws on untouchables and barred them from reading, writing and listening holy mantras. Natives were treated less than human, impure, unclean and were forced to do menial jobs.
In the movie you will see, Shudra denied water, (Dalits still fight for such rights) a Shudra child’s nose chopped off for chanting mantras, (Dalits are still not allowed to enter many temples in India), a pregnant Shudra women forced to sleep with upper caste people (Dalit women still are raped on Day to day basis in India) and many more heart touching scenes – the only crime of theirs – they are born untouchables. Movie seems to be based on real events, if not real I bet, you might have heard such incidents once in a while in your life-time. It is believed that nature took ages to make man out of animal, but it took moments for certain men to make their fellow human animal again. “Shudra – The Rising?” highlights the depth that evil human mind can succumb, to cling on to power and supremacy.
Recently, the “Shudra – The Rising?” team has received screening Invitation for “Shudra – The Rising?” from South Asian Film Festival which will take place June 13-17, 2012, in Vancouver, and in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada.
My best wishes to the team
I strongly believe that movies on social issues should be made and given more emphasis. Sanjiv Jaiswal has chosen an important issue of caste discrimination, which has ruined millions lives and hopes. After watching trailers of movie, I can say that it’s a sincere effort by the team to put forward the caravan of Dr Ambedkar. I wish the team a grand success!
P.S.: Movie is going to release in Feb. 2012 and you can visit the movie site at http://www.shudrathefilm.com for latest updates. You can also follow producer and director – Sanjiv Jaiswal – on twitter at @sanjivjaiswal and join the facebook page of the movie at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SHUDRA-the-rising/102558246496607
Few months ago, after raising the toast on the success of Jan Lokpal Bill, Anna & Co. started demanding right to recall, electoral reform and voicing pro-death penalty. Since then Anna is in controversies over his comments on Sharad Pawar’s slap-issue, over his treatment with drunken people in his village and then his comments on women and pregnancy pain. Anna’s latest stint with fast at Mumbai was unsuccessful. All these news remind me that in my previous articles, I’d promised to write on Right to Recall and Dalits. So, here I am.
I don’t want to discuss the cost of election, re-election and re-election because I do have other concerns, concerns much more important than the cost of election or re-election, such as how Right to Recall will affect Dalits-Bahujans. (I also don’t buy the argument that India is a poor country, especially when there is a hell lot of corruption.) I also don’t want to discuss how cumbersome this process of Right to Recall would be i.e. practical difficulties. It would be almost impossible for such a populated country like India to implement Right to Recall. (In the countries, where Right to Recall is working require certain number of signatures (about 70%) of people from the area where people are demanding to recall and then verification is also required for the signatures, only after that re-election takes place. And we also have to keep in mind that those countries (such as Venezuela and few states of USA) where “Right to Recall” is working do have much less population.) But, let’s ignore all these difficulties for the sake of argument and concentrate on few other concerns.
Three states of India, i.e. Punjab, Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh already do have provisions to recall leaders at the local level. “The Punjab Panchyati Raj Act” says,
…no-confidence against a Sarpanch be made to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer by a two-thirds majority of the total number of Panches of the Gram Sabha.
Punjab’s Dalits get a raw deal; and this is deepening caste fissures in the State. Problem arises in the villages when few upper caste panches files no-confidence motion against the Dalit Sarpanch due to caste prejudices or those upper caste panches don’t want to see Dalit ruling them or the village. Getting two-third majority for influential upper caste panches is not a big deal. As the result of caste politics and money at the village level Dalits suffer.
I wanted to prove that we all have our honour, whatever our origins, our caste, the colour of our skin or our sex. — Phoolan Devi
I was about sixteen years old the day Phoolan Devi was shot dead at Delhi. I don’t remember whether I know anything about her at that time, all I remember is that I had heard her name before. Maybe, I had read about her somewhere or watched her on television or my father had talked about her. So, the day she died I felt like low-caste people of India lost someone important. That’s all what I remember about the day, yes dated 25th July, 2001 the day Phoolan Devi was shot.
Days rolled and years passed when few days back I got my hands on the book named “I, Phoolan Devi – The autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen”. As, I was turning pages while reading the book my heart sank many times and every time same question came to my mind why us? Why low-caste people have to suffer in their own homeland, why? Is it because, low-caste people were born under the dark stars? When will we be able to live peacefully without being assaulted? (After reading the book, I also watched the movie named “Bandit Queen” by Shekhar Kapoor and I must admit that the movie shows just a fraction of the sufferings Phoolan Devi endured and what I hate the most about the Shekhar Kapoor and his movie is that he didn’t even dare to meet Phoolan Devi once for the movie!) I was born brought up in a village and I’ve witnessed the pain and suffering women have to undergo. While reading the book, I decided that I’ll review-cum-summary the book as a tribute to the Phoolan Devi for her courage and suffering in the hands of so called upper caste people.
Book, “I, Phoolan Devi – The autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen” is a true story of Phoolan Devi, as narrated to French authors Marie-Therese Cuny and Paul Rambali. Phoolan Devi was born into a family of Mallahs, considered lower caste, in the village named Ghura Ka Purwa (Uttar Pradesh). This is a story of a woman who stood against the brutality of Thakurs and woman who decided not to be docile Indian women. Phoolan Devi’s mother always encouraged her not to accept injustice. In Phoolan Devi’s own words:
“The poor must bow down and touch the feet of the rich. The poor eat a few grains of millet while the rich feast on mangoes. The pain of hunger in the belly of the poor produces fear and submission. I tried to submit, as my father said I should, but I was unable. I was like my mother. There was too much anger in me.”
Even at the tender age of ten, she took fight with her cousin, Mayadin, who had grabbed her father’s land; she forced the Panchayat to reopen the land case. She fought with Mayadin when he tried to cut Neem tree, which belonged to her family. At the age of 10, she could hold snakes without fear. She was a brave fighter from the start, never accepted the degradation and kept dignity above everything. There were times when her family had nothing to eat and her mother cursed for giving birth to girls. Mallahs as other lower castes were expected to do all kind of worst jobs such as herding the Thakurs’ animals, cut grass for those animals, collect dung, massage Thakurian’s head, and the worst was they were not allowed to ask anything in return. If, anyone refused to do work for Thakurs, they were beaten; even Phoolan was beaten more than once for refusing to do menial chores for Thakurs.
“I Have a Dream” – A speech of Martin Luther King Jr. delivered on 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
Text of the speech at http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm
I have same dreams for the Dalits of India.