Tuesday, January 17, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Skim the Dalit creamy layer



Skim the Dalit creamy layer

By Rajesh Ramachandran

Last updated at 7:46 AM on 17th January 2012

A golf-playing mother in Delhi badly wants her bright young kids to
grow up preparing for the civil service examinations.

Her father was in the service, so is she and she hopes her kids would
keep the family flame live.

And their entry into the service is almost sure. Not because her kids
are endowed with a superior intellect or are extremely hardworking.
Lucknow: Congress general secretaries Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh
at a UPCC meeting in Lucknow on Sunday

Lucknow: Congress general secretaries Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh
at a UPCC meeting in Lucknow on Sunday

But they belong to the elite among the Dalits who have apportioned the
Dalit quota for just themselves stealing the jobs of the needy poor
for perpetuity. The golfer sure is not alone.

Actually she is in illustrious company. The first Dalit President KR
Narayanan's daughter got into the Indian Foreign Service through the
quota route.

She wrote her exams, probably, when her father was a globetrotting
diplomat destined for even higher things in life. What a travesty of
affirmative action!

The ruling party, the Congress, has finally woken up to the misuse of
quotas by the elite among the Dalits and decided to break the category
into Dalits and Mahadalits.

But it is more of a political act without any real application of
mind. It has come simply because Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati
belongs to the Chamar or Jatav caste which is the dominant group
within the Dalits in north India.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati belongs to the Chamar or
Jatav caste which is the dominant group within the Dalits in north

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati belongs to the Chamar or
Jatav caste which is the dominant group within the Dalits in north

The Congress has merely flattered the Nitish Kumar government by
copying even the term he used to split the Dalit quota without any
application of mind.

In Bihar's case, the rat-hunting community of Mussahars, or other
miserably poor farm labourers might get a slice of the quota cake for
their children if the new policy is diligently implemented, but for
the rest of the country the new policy really doesn't make much sense.

Interestingly, Chamars are also listed as a Mahadalit community by the
Mahadalit commission set up by the Bihar government. Elite In India's
mind blowing caste matrix, there have always been elites among every
caste group.

Only rank outsiders have made the mistake of imagining the caste
hierarchy as a strictly pyramidal structure where Brahmins are on top
and the Dalits are at the bottom.

Sure, it now suits the Brahmin to believe that such a structure
existed in the hoary past. But the truth is something else. Just as
many Brahmins lived off alms from the wealthy peasant castes, there
was a class of leaders among the agricultural labourers.

Something akin to the Subedar Major in the British Army, the highest
post a native could aspire for. Subedarsaab, as he was respectfully
referred to by the young commissioned officer, was the real veteran
who took his men to war, all the while letting the young officer
believe that he was in charge.

Similarly, there were headmen among the slaves bonded to feudal lords.
For instance, in some parts of Kerala they were referred to as

Thalapulayan, literally the Head Pulayan. Like the Subedarsaab, the
headman was treated with a modicum of respect, with his children
spared of rape and beatings in a terribly oppressive system.

Dr BR Ambedkar had violently reacted to such a comprador class, while
seeking a separate electorate for the Dalits during his momentous
fight with Gandhi that ended in his defeat and the Poona Pact.

He had then argued that if the electorate remains the same, only the
loyal Head Pulayan would be chosen by the mainstream parties instead
of Dalits choosing their real representatives. Ambedkar was proven
right when he was defeated by the Congress candidate in the first ever
Lok Sabha elections.

Ambedkar Ambedkar's vision of empowerment was of Dalits representing
themselves with leaders emerging from within the community owing
allegiance to no philosophy other than Dalit emancipation. Now,

Ambedkar's defeat is complete with the golf-playing beneficiaries of
his great liberating tool stealing the quotas from the shanties of
manual scavengers and keeping the biggest jobs in the country for
their children forever.

Ambedkar coined the word Dalit against Gandhi's 'harijan' in order to
establish a new order where the oppressed are no longer tied to the
feudal dole-outs of the benevolent master. But feudal lineages of
Dalit lords have sprung up instead of creating a brave new casteless

This is well illustrated from the case of Meira Kumar who contests
from a reserved constituency despite being the daughter of the
legendary Congress leader and former defence minister Jagjivan Ram. Is
it not time to skim the cream and take it out of the Dalit decanter?

The Congress' move to provide a separate share of quota for
Mahadalits, though it appears a step in the right direction, will only
create a new creamy layer among certain extremely backward Dalit

Targeted quotas in the real sense will happen only if the creamy layer
principle is applied, as in the case of other backward classes (OBCs)
and the most backward classes (MBCs).

The quotas have so far been dominated by the agriculture labour
classes among Dalits like the Mahars of Maharashtra, Malas of Andhra
Pradesh, Pulayas of Kerala, Pallars and Paryans of Tamil Nadu, Holayas
of Karnataka and by Chamars in North India.

These self assured castes never inter-marry or mingle with the manual
scavenging castes like the Valmikis of north India or Thottis of the
south. It is no coincidence that Ambedkar was a Mahar, the first Dalit
chief justice of India a Pulaya or the first Dalit President a Parava.

They have been the traditionally empowered castes for various reasons.
The Mahars have been warriors since the time of Shivaji and had
actually defeated the Peshwa army, fighting for the British in the
Anglo-Maratha wars.

In fact, Ambedkar's father and grandfather were Subedar Majors in the
British army. Similarly, other agricultural worker castes among Dalits
had greater access to information and education compared to the
butcher, the leather worker and scavenger castes among Dalits.

But identifying these Mahadalits and giving them a special sub-quota
now is a futile exercise because in just a few decades this would give
rise to another elite group that would never allow the real
Mahadalits, the scavengers and rathunters, to escape from their hell

The need now is to ensure that a bureaucrat's child or a minister's
daughter does not avail of this facility. Income need not necessarily
be the only cut-off factor.

But the quotas should definitely end with just one generation in the
case of legislators, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and judges.

The biggest challenge to our democracy arises from the growing tribe
of Gandhis, Scindias, Pawars and Gowdas and now the neo-feudal
families of Dalit elites are joining their ranks.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2087541/Skim-Dalit-creamy-layer.html#ixzz1ji0HIZoV

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