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Dalits, Cows and Politics

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A middle class Indian.

The progressive image of a modern India has been tarnished by the recent incidents at Una. Our heads hang in shame while we watch the horrific scenes of violence carried out by the self-appointed protectors of the ‘holy cow’. With each passing day, multiple videos of brutality by these ‘Cow Terrorists’ are cropping up. They should be brought to justice, there can be no rationale for these crimes. These goons should be punished along with their political patrons, irrespective of their political affiliations.

However, there is an immediate need to objectively understand the Dalit problem and target the gross politicization of the issue. A section of the mainstream media has started targeting the central government for these crimes. The Prime Minister is being held personally responsible. The gross hypocrisy of the media is exposed when we realise that the same media never held the previous government accountable for the crimes committed against Dalits, which were higher, as per the National Crime Records Beaureu, under the UPA government.

Statistically speaking, the crimes against Dalits, as per this report in the Hindu, is highest in UP, Bihar, and Rajasthan. Two of these three states are not ruled by the BJP. Although it is a reality that according to some statistics, crimes against Dalits have increased in Gujarat (the state authorities deny it) since the last two years, but blaming it on the person who ruled Gujarat for 12 years and this close to the assembly elections is preposterous. There can be various reasons for it, one cannot rule out political conspiracy. We have already noticed the extrapolation of delicate communal issues by a section of the media, sometimes in cahoots with politically motivated intellectuals, to malign the Prime Minister and the central government. Such media frenzy and politicisation generally takes place close to important elections.

There is an ‘anti-modi’ brigade active these days. They start their day by posting a few unfunny memes about the Prime Minister, followed with a few editorials from the likes of Indira Jaising and Teesta Setalvad, and finally masturbating themselves to sleep while reading the results of selective RTI queries. These people become vigorously active during the time of elections. They don’t care whether their actions disrupt the communal harmony of the nation or increase the caste divide, all they care about is defeating Modi, even at the cost of human life and dignity.

But exposing these people is not enough, we have to fight these cow terrorists as well. We have to be open-minded and progressive. Such organisations should be punished strictly, their victims should be supported socially and morally. It is about time that the common Indian starts to fight for the rights of Dalits and minorities. This artificial feeling of alienation, propagated by a section of media and their supporters, needs to be tackled with our efforts at social integration.

The Prime Minister has shown great courage and leadership in the past two years. He has tried to empower Dalits symbolically and with the help of government schemes (some of which were launched on anniversaries of Dalit leaders) but this is not enough. The Prime Minister needs to speak out against this form of vigilantism before it gets out of hand. It would not only strengthen his support base but also bring the society closer.

It is disgraceful to live at the cost of one’s self-respect. Self-respect is the most vital factor in life. Without it, man is a cipher. To live worthily with self-respect, one has to overcome difficulties. It is out of hard and ceaseless struggle alone that one derives strength, confidence and recognition.
 – Babasaheb Ambedkar


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