Before I start writing this I clarify, I am not much aware of the political activities carried out by Dalit/progressive intellectuals. But, as of now it seems Dalit politics is in utter turmoil (be it UP or India in general).
The present UPA government generates debates as a result of its new policies. However, Dalits’ view or representation in these debates are null (may be some whimper here and there).
Is that because the News media are biased against representing our views or that the Dalits haven’t woken up recently (who slept since protesting against Khairalanji)?? Let us analyse.
Starting from the war on LTTE (yes, that’s where we should start) most of the so-called intellectuals dissociated with the war stating that LTTE was an association which harassed the people who live in the hilly areas, that LTTE practiced Caste, killed many Dalits, etc. It was the “civil society” which protested against the war. For those who said that LTTE was practicing Caste, I would like to ask a question. LTTE is no more and at least now why don’t the Dalits question the Indian/Sri Lankan government because in Sri lanka too there are Dalits/tribals who are being harassed/abducted/raped etc.?
Last year Chief justice of Karnataka Mr. Dinakaran was in the focus of every news channels based on an allegation(though there were allegations earlier on West Bengal chief Justice, it did not become a major issue). Wasn’t Caste a factor in his issue?
Operation Green Hunt: In the name of fighting terrorism the Central government has started anti-naxal operation. Every dalit/tribal knew that this operation is basically against the Tribal population living in these areas. Still what was the Dalit (political parties, so-called intellectuals) response towards the same?
Women’s Reservation bill: though I have very little knowledge on Women’s Reservation Bill, I would still fight for caste reservation within it. Lalu’s and Mulayam Singh’s response towards the Bill was the playing out of a historical necessity. After the Janata government took the Centre, every national parties started playing caste card, as a result of upcoming Caste questions. When Mandal Commission was implemented, every national parties, civil right groups, progressive groups, pseudo-intellectuals, Outlook, Frontline, every other national/weekly magazines was against the Mandal commission, because they believed in merit (ACJ still follows it), and it was in their blood to oppose anything which targets to demolish the entrenched Caste system.
Still it was implemented and many changes have happened in Indian politics and in the intellectual community. Even after a decade, the same group which fought against Mandal Commission report is fighting for the “Women’s reservation” in Parliament. Women in CPI, BJP, Congress, DMK,etc joined hands for this reservation, I could not see them together even in Gujarat riot, Sikh riot, etc; not surprising though. We should not be surprise exactly because the present form of Women’s Reservation Bill is a Bill to negate all other Reservations. The people who supported Mandal commission are not supporting Women’s reservation with the present form (they wanted muslim and SC/ST/OBC reservation in it). But I feel that Dalit political parties are supporting it in the present form. Aren’t we to believe that since Dalit political parties and intellectuals are always male dominated and lobbying towards the Congress, BJP and other regional parties(to accumulate funds for their families), therefore they do not have problem with Brahmin women bulldozing Dalit-women’s reservation because it is not going to bulldoze their position in anyway? If they think like this then they are going to lose reservation also in near future.
Realize that in this Indian society Taslima Nasrin was physically harassed; Realize that most of the individual and group rapes happen targeting the Dalit and Tribal women; and do know that the upper Caste men’s wife is also well informed about the raping.
Most of the sexual workers are not from Brahmin community in India.
Most of the Tribals are raped by the Police and security men.
Do not think that the Brahmin women would fight for Dalit/tribal/minority women. Most of the scavengers are Dalit/Tribal women and not Brahmin women. There are many dalits/tribal women who are raped and do not have a voice and feel that they lost hope in life. Most of the Dalit wives face physical abuses from their husbands. And this list does not exhaust the atrocities faced by Dalit/Tribal women in their day to day life.
For these minimum reasons alone, it is our responsibility to stop sitting idle and raise our voice with our fellow women from our community.
Dalits(Elite, intellectuals, academicians, activist, editors, etc) must know that most of us have attained this position through reservation, and it is not we are the only member in the community. There are millions of Dalits who are still working as Scavengers, sweepers, leather workers, ragpickers , beggars, sexual workers , etc. and it is our little courtesy to oppose anyone who goes against this reservation. This opposition should continue till every Dalit gets educated and represented.
Dalit man should be representing these issues, with whatever resources they can gather.
It was for this very same reason I wrote earlier about Asian College of Journalism, that basically the institute, its magazine and newspaper speaks reservation, the Hindu is in the Frontline of writing and teaching Caste to cheat us in their characteristic BusinessLine into thinking that it is sympathetic (in all sportiveness like a Sportstar) towards Dalits and Tribals. How can we expect an institute which encourages merit rather Caste based reservation to support Dalits and Tribals. The institute is then like a Dalit minister in Congress or the BJP government. And the above issue on ACJ is well known among Dalits and other progressive “intellectuals” across India. But still ACJ portrays itself as “liberal”, “democratic” etc. We should not let N.Ram to become the mouth piece of Dalits and Tribals. Before ACJ talks of Dalits and Tribals representation in media, their institute should introduce Caste based reservation in the admission itself. This is the decade where Dalits talk of reservation in private sectors. Oh yes! ACJ is also a private entity.
Then why this silence??
My dalit/tribal comrade, if you in your dreams thought of applying to ACJ after they respect reservation, you are wasting your time. When Women’s Reservation Bill is passed, we will have a world without reservations. So, prepare for that world right now. Go ahead, and take on the ACJ entrance exam.
Change the future, but do not leave self-respect/representation in any form.
Maybe educated Dalit community feels comfortable with their family getting educated and occupying the full reservation without any competition from these communities. Thinking about this I feel that I should have not written this because as they are not interested in large scale issues.
This writing is not personal, it is political in nature.