Khairlanji verdict expose our national concern on violence against Dalits
Posted On: 20-Jul-2010 05:42:57 AM By: Vidya Bhushan Rawat Font Size:
Khairlanji verdict expose Indian concerns over violence against
Khairlanji's verdict is out. The Bombay High court did not find the
case rarest of the rare. Though, the Maharastra government is going to
challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court and we must wait for the
same, the verdict has left most of us who were following the case
But for me the High Court's judgment not finding it as rarest of the
rare reflect that, such things are happening regularly at different
parts of the country and we are habitual offenders of the dignity and
self respect of the Dalits in the country. Hence if the 'honorable'
high courts give capital punishment on 'such normal things', then a
large number of our friends will have to face gallows.
We all know how judiciary is being put to pressure by media and
political forces. They will shout loudly over the issues and convert a
non issue into a national problem but when the issues which should be
discussed and focused the media keeps that for a one minute byte or
into the middle pages of their news papers.
We can easily establish how media publicized the issue of Jesica Lal
or Ruchira case that their families become 'social activist' rather
than a respondent and played an activist role asking people to protest
and come in the street.
How can the same media completely sidelining the case of Khairlanji?
Why is this that the issue of boycott of Dalit cooks in Uttar-Pradesh
and other parts of the country do not attract the same space as
Jessica Lal or Ruchira case?
The news of Indians being targeted racially in Australia has always
made headlines in almost all the news channels and some of them
actually following each and every incidents involving Indians in that
country. The size of the news is enormous and many of the reports
regarding Indians being racially targeted turned out to be faked.
Yet, the outrage is high in this country which takes morally high
ground against 'racial prejudices' yet the news in its own home turf
do not make headlines. It is passed as another incident of 'violence'
against the Dalits. It is not termed as the basic nature of Indian
society which has not been able to digest the fact that we have a
constitution that empower each citizen of the country and that the
Dalits are equal citizens with equal rights.
Our editors do not shout and grin as they do on Maoism or terrorism,
that this country should hang its head in shame when children learn to
discriminate. We always sang song that the children are innocent and
do not believe in the caste system, do not know who is big and who is
small but if you read what is happening in different parts of the
country including Uttar-Pradesh, then we will have to hang our head in
Why don't we discuss this issue so seriously and take the governments,
the officials to task. Why does not it become our campaign against
prejudices in our society?
Why the feelings of our editors and news reporters are not hurt the
same way when they shout on any issue and turn the non issue as a
Well, we have to understand that for these racist, the wedding of
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was more important than the racial prejudices of
children who refused to eat with Dalit children or refused to eat food
cooked by the Dalit cooks at school. Unfortunately, rather than
taking action against them, the government seem to buckle under the
pressure as if that has hurt the sentiments of the upper caste
children. Is it because there is no one speaking for them? Is it
because the media has conspicuously kept silent on this issue?
The irony is that a few weeks ago, a UP court asked police to file
cases against some of the ministers and publishers of 'Ambedkar
Today', a journal in Hindi, for 'hurting' the sentiments of 'Hindus'
by writing vitriolic language against their Gods. Some years ago, the
activists of Vishwa Shudra Mahasabha in Lucknow, were charged for
'hurting' the sentiments of Hindus.
Periyar is out of Uttar-Pradesh and its BSP's icon list as the upper
castes do not want him as he is the most famously known Ram bashers.
The Hindutva brigade said 'Ram-drohi' is desh drohi i.e. anti
So, writing on any fictitious things hurt the sentiments of others but
killing as well as justification of killings and discrimination does
neither hurt our sentiments nor compel us introspecting our literature
and religious texts.
'How can they hurt our sentiments, traditions given to us by our
ancestors', said a supporter of ban. 'But I consider Buddha, Kabir,
Raidas, Ambedkar, Phule, Periyar, Bhagat Singh as my ancestors', I
told him, and added that I too am bound to respect their sentiments
too. All of them asked me to be a humanist and questioned the
religious texts too. All of them were rationalist humanists who fought
against the ugly racist caste order.
How can one enjoy the festivals that celebrate the victory of a racist
order on the others who they claimed were 'Rakshashas'. Times have
changed and a thing of 3000 years back may not be true to us and may
not be respected. How can our judicial system justify those years old
texts when we know well that our constitution which is just 60 years
old has the flexibility of changing according to the needs and demands
of the time? Why can't we dump these holy text which continue to guide
our children and deny some of them right to live with dignity while
give a false sense of superiority complex to others.
We need to learn from France in this respect where the constitution
wants citizens to follow the egalitarian and secular values of its
constitution. W do not need a secular constitution which glorify every
act of regression in the garb of multi-culturarlism and where every
act of questioning 'hurt' the 'sentiments' of those who never cared
the sentiments of the others.
One is amazed to see why our sentiments are never hurt when children
are told to discriminate against each other. How can a country
planning to host Common Wealth Games, going to tell the world that
racial brahmanical disorder is a thing of past. Is it possible to
demolish the caste structure in this country which is suffering from
Caste is the biggest issue in this country. Daily the maximum violence
that the Dalits face is because of caste. It is nothing but a false
passport to superiority and further developing the clan culture where
a few 'respected' men decide about the fate of others. Children are
being brutally killed and we do not feel shame on it. In fact, we feel
proud of 'protecting' our honor by killing our children who dared to
Love is the most hated word in the town but watching the C grade
'colored' films are not bad in these sacred heartlands from UP to
Bihar to Rajasthan. I do not believe much in the theory that some
Indians are better than others as often comparative notes are given to
us like Delhi is worst or Mumbai is better or Chennai superior to
Hyderabad. All the diversity in India has a commonality of caste and
gender discrimination. North, East South West caste seems to be the
best for Indians who can not live with out, who are told infinite
virtues of their caste and the great achievements of it.
My point is that as far as feudal structure is concerned, that remain
intact in India despite a secular constitution. It is a bullying
tactics to make all those who look different or dissenters to either
fall in line or perish. Hence, if Baba Saheb Ambedkar writes something
on the riddles of Hinduism, the protesters are up in arms to burn the
Even if somebody makes an expose of a so-called holy book on our
religious faith that hurts the Bahujans and Dalits, he will surely
face criminal action for hurting the sentiments of the people. In
Indian context we will have to understand the exploitation and
annihilation of the Dalit culture by these fascist elements.
Yet, they want no further study on the subject. The subaltern history
is coming with new ideas and new explanation of every brahmancial text
and that is creating ripples in the minds of these elements. Hence a
film like Teesari Azadi was termed as ' Zaharili CD', a poisonous
propaganda material by many in the media asking for a complete Ban on
it while the film was just explaining how crooked our caste system was
and how the Brahmins manipulated the system for their benefit.
What is wrong in it? Have we not seen the annihilation of Buddhist
culture, and its cooption as well as destructions of Buddha Viharas by
the brahmanical forces? Why are the historians and social
anthropologists silent on it?
One has to understand the movements of the Dalit Bahujan and their
effort to get out of the clutched of the brahmanical value sytem. One
will have to understand the meanings of these festivals. Every major
festival is a celebration of some killings or work of treachery over
the Dalit Bahujan masses. How can any right thinking person celebrate
such festivities, but these forces want us not to question those
festivals, not to question those celebrations. Fine, but why should we
celebrate them. Not celebrating them becomes a droha, a challenge to
the country. Whatever we do but new thesis, new question will always
be raised on these texts and we must be prepared to face all of them.
If we know the Indian system and how work then we should not be
surprised. As a nation, we have not grown and develop into an
egalitarian democratic society. A democratic society is only possible
where social system is based on democracy. A society segregated so
much on caste lines cannot really built a democratic culture in the
country. Here, we feel proud of our caste being higher then the other
We continue to bow to those in ascending order and regularly assault
and humiliate those in the descending order. It is not surprising
therefore that we still have millions of manual scavengers, carrying
human excreta manually and we do not feel any shame in it. Our heart
does not melt when we see young children who should have been in the
school but carry night soil. How will our heart melt when the so
called civil society, opinion makers, middle classes have a small
chhotu at their home who take the heavy bags of their children to
school bus and regularly do the service. How can we ever feel the
shame when we have employed these chhotus at our home virtually buying
them from their helpless parents?
Khairlanji verdict shocked us but still the reaction is calm unlike
the time of the incident that raised fire in Mahrastra. We thought a
new movement is on the way when the Dalits protested there. A few
committed workers worked on the case while a majority of forgot it
after a few days pilgrimage. Why should case of such a magnitude which
shook us is termed as a Dalit issue alone? Why as human being and
fellow national we do not feel the same pained and agony on these
issues? The attitude of Mahrastra government was disgusting. See the
contrast. When you have fight against Muslim accused, the media, the
Hindutva and the 'nationalist' all join hand in the common
'national'agenda but Khairlanji does not bother them, the denial of
dignity to Dalit children in school does not bother them.
The basic question is why is there a regular denial of justice? Who
will judge the judges who do not take these issues seriously while
give certain judgments that hurt the basic premise of our
constitution? Our government and political class will have to think
on these issues more seriously. How can a judge leave the cases in the
absence of 'credible' evidence? But the fact is that the state has no
desire to get justice. It does not provide any credible evidence and
then want us to blame it to the judges only.
The word of Baba Saheb Ambedkar remained prophetic as ever when he
describes the nature of our villages. Truly, the villages still live
in darkness, in caste identities, in feudalism. Yes, when I went to
Allahabad recently where upper caste goons tried to molest a Dalit
woman, demolished her home, beat her mercilessly along with her child
and her husband and to my deep shock and anguish none 'saw' the
incident. Not a single person in the village 'saw' it. There are
numerous incidents where we have brought to the notice of the
authorities but do not have 'credible' 'evidence'. That does not
exist. Once, I filed a report on manual scavenging and I am still
getting letters that it does not exists in that part because the
municipality say so. How interesting is this system is that you file a
complaint against some one and the same person is made responsible to
answer your question.
How can you get credible evidence when an entire village turns up
against the person belonging to a particular community? Where is the
credible evidence against those who are killing their own children in
the name of 'honor'? Is not it a shame when those who kills people in
the name of honor terming it their 'culture' and asking the government
to 'bend' on their whims and fancies and look how it is 'crawling' to
the demands of such 'civilized' people.
Indian society is still a primitive society which has no space for
dissent despite its pretensions to look modern and democratic. Whether
it is Khairlanji or Tsunduru, Dalits face violence for being biggest
dissenters of the brahmanical system. The fact is once you realize the
treacheries of the system, you will become a dissenter. Asking for
your right to live with dignity and self respect has become the
biggest obstacles for the brahmanical forces.
They have turned these democratic demands as dissent and seek to
suppress it with violence. Such violence is happening daily but the
struggling masses do not cow down to such intimidations. The courts
verdict on Khairlanji is similar like what happened in Kanpur where
authorities just let the incident happen. But these have raised
serious issues of propriety. As a democratic nation which is claiming
to become world leader, should such incident be allowed to go
When the Indians make so much noises of discrimination against them
outside India, why should we not make similar demand from the Indians
who go abroad? Should not the government ask its employees to take
oath in believing in secular constitution and asking its people to be
non religious and non casteists. Should we not ask the foreign
government to be very strict with Indians and Indian government on
these issues of caste discrimination and caste violence?
The issues of violence against Dalits in India put serious question
mark about our judicial system. Why do the Dalits not getting justice
in our institutions. India is already facing tribal revolt at the
moment, a Dalit revolt will only add to its woes and it would be
difficult for it to recover. Let the democracy and its institutions
prove that they honor equality and dignity of human being and are
capable of providing justice to each and every citizen of the country
without any racial discrimination.
Khairlanji's incident has proved that our courts have not yet
sensitized to the Dalit cause. The incidents of children not eating
food cooked by the Dalit cooks also reflect that Indian constitution
has not yet been able to prove its supremacy over the rigid and
outdated laws of Manu. The various forms caste violence, honored
killings and inability of children to mixed up only reflect that
Indian state has failed in secularizing the people and most
importantly the political class itself has no faith in secular values
except using it to satisfy the whims and fancies of caste and
religious thugs. Nothing could be more shameful for a nation claiming
to be a superpower in the 21st century. It's a wake up call for all.
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