'Urgent need for Dalits to change their attitude'
New Delhi, Dec 19, DHNS:
There is an urgent need for the marginalised like Dalits in India and
African-Americans to change their attitude and consider themselves as
equals, said historian Gyanendra Pandey at a seminar on Monday.
"Prejudice is omnipresent in India and African-American colonies
central to the question of caste and race. There is abuse and
exploitation which is not even articulated or archived in history as
many say that this is common and there are no records to define these
incidents as history. Word of mouth and sense of power reveals the
true picture what in India is referred to as untouchability," said
Pandey at a seminar titled Un-archived Histories: Reflections on the
struggle against caste and race in India and the US.
Pandey, currently a professor at America's Emory University, gave the
example of Balwant Singh, a Dalit IAS officer, who was demoted in 1964
for retaliating against discrimination in society.
He was asked to shut up and not behave like a Tehsildar. He described
this as a reflection on how Dalits have not been able to come out of
their shell and consider themselves equal members of the Indian
Nigers in the African-American colonies share a similar belief. "They
still refer to each other as blacks and whites. If blacks move one
notch above to the status of a middle class member and shift to a
better society where whites also reside, the whites move away from
that area. This is still prevalent in these colonies," he said.
Mahesh Rangarajan, director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library,
added that the story of discrimination will always be a part of any
society till people change their attitude and shed "all complexes".
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