Friday, December 1, 2017

Forced to lick his own saliva, barber's nefarious condition possesses a question on India's social justice

During colonial era British used to consider Indians as low class people. It was visible in their value system and behavior. Indian judges were not allowed to decide on rape cases where victim is a British woman and accused is an Indian; during World War II life of Europeans become more import than that of Indians which resulted in the diversion of food Bengal to Europe). This of course resulted in tragic Bengal famine. What more, there were separate places for Europeans and Indians to watch movie in theatres.

Millions participated in independence movement, to escape from these inhuman conditions. They might have expected that independent India will be different. But no, see where we are now. When British left India's caste hierarchy just lost top layer; rest remained the same. New masters came and continued to treat those below as second class; those second-class people considered castes below them as third class... So, on and forth.

Consider these incidents,

a. Barber Forced To Lick His Saliva For Trying To Enter Sarpanch's House In Bihar. The barber's misery did not end there as he was then beaten by women with their slippers in full public view - NDTV

b. On 21 April 2010, 18 Dalit homes were torched and two Dalits—17-year old Suman and her 60-year old father Tara Chand—were burnt alive. The incident happened after a dog barked at Rajinder Pali, son of a Jat while he passing buy Balmiki colony at night on his bike - IndiaTimes

c. 11 July, 1996, 21 Dalits were slaughtered by Ranvir Sena militiamen in Bathani Tola, Bhojpur, Bihar. Among the dead were 1 man, 11 women, six children and three infants, who were deliberately singled out by the attackers. More than 60 members of Ranvir Sena, a private militia of Bhumihars in Bihar descended on the village and set 12 houses on fire.  The attack was reportedly in retaliation for the earlier killing of nine Bhumihars in Nandhi village, by the CPI(M-L) - IndiaTimes

d. In 1991, a young dalit graduate was beaten up  after his feet unintentionally touched a Reddy man in a Cinema hall. The dalits of Chundur village in Guntur district supported their youth. Irked by this, the dominant Reddys of the village massacred 13 dalits. - IndiaTimes

e. A dalit family was stripped naked on road including a woman by none other than police in Greater Noida near the Capital. - India Times

f. Hari Om Katheria, 35, his wife Meera and brother Shyam Sunder were thrashed by Chhotey Lal, an upper caste Thakur, for not greeting him with a ‘Ram Ram’ - HT

g. Group of youths belonging to the Dalit community who were skinning a dead cow were beaten up by cow vigilantes, alleging that they had killed the cow - The Hindu

h. EIGHTY DALIT families from Kadkol in Karnataka's Bijapur district, The Hindu reported last month, were "punished" by caste Hindus of the village with social and economic boycott for drawing drinking water from the village tank to which they had been denied access for decades - The Hindu

i. Since June 2013, Tamil Nadu has seen the murder of 80 young men and women who dared to marry or fall in love in violation of strict caste rules but not a single conviction - HT 

j. Bhanwari Devi is a dalit social-worker from Bhateri, Rajasthan, who was gang raped in 1992 by higher-caste men angered by her efforts to prevent an early marriage in their family. She was ill-treated by the police and the court acquitted the accused. A state MLA organised a victory rally in the state capital Jaipur for the five accused who were now declared not guilty, and the women’s wing of his political party attended the rally to call Bhanwari a liar. She was ostracised by members of her own caste and community and when her mother died, her brothers did not even allow her to participate in the funeral - FeminismInIndia

Problem with caste is, it's a birthmark, a kind of fingerprint. Being good or bad in life is not going to change that person's caste. It is to be remembered here that, victims of this caste hierarchy are also not above blame. Those in upper ladders of lower caste hierarchy treat those below in almost in the same way as upper caste treat them.

Unfortunately, this caste division is not going to end any time soon. Education can change it, but now-a-days education is a shortcut to become doctor or engineer; not for creating scientific temper or reasoning ability (other than the one required to pass exams).

What is required is a focused drive to empower the lowest layer in caste hierarchy by conducting workshops among them, reason with them, make them landowners, break the ghettos and give them a viable lasting job to meet day to day expenses. Conventional methods are not going to work with the speed we need. Those who want to see a model can study how Kerala - once notorious for caste divisions - broke the entire system by redistribution of land, universal education and mass social reforms organized and driven by passionate people. Let’s move away from conventional methods and do something different this time.


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