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Dalit politics and real questions

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2 communities that are frequently used as commodities in Indian politics are Muslims and Dalits. They have been used fairly and squarely to get votes in elections. Unfortunately, both of them have been languishing at the bottom of Indian growth pyramid ever since the independence. The main culprit is indeed the Indian National Congress (because it ruled the country for most of the time). At the same time, these communities should blame themselves as well because it seems many of them have not opened their eyes yet. The recent killing of Dalit youths in Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal reaffirms this hypothesis.

Trilochan Mahato, a young BJP Dalit activist gets killed in West Bengal. Mayawati, Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi keep mum. Derek O’Brien, without showing any remorse for the murders happening in his own Trinamool Congress-ruled state, takes pride in talking about the number of murders which happened under different regimes. Even Prakash Ambedkar (the grandson of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar), who likes to portray himself as a neutral politician and a person who has utmost care for Dalits, completely ignored the Trilochan murder case (in the same manner as his grandfather was ignored by the Congress).

Take a look at another example. When Rohit Vemula killed himself, so many politicians visited Hyderabad and harped on poor man’s death. Here are some of the reactions from political leaders.

Rahul Gandhi: While calling out Rohit Vemula’s suicide as murder, Rahul Gandhi’s compared Rohit to Mahatma Gandhi

Mayawati: she demanded the resignation of Smriti Irani.

Arvind Kejriwal: Using the cliche ‘murder of democracy’, he went on to blame (no prizes for guessing) PM Modi for the incident.

Derek O’ Brien: He echoed Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi’s sentiments and disregarded the loss of parliament session

Prakash Ambedkar: The grandson recently celebrated Rohit’s death anniversary as Shahadat diwas.

I want my Dalit friends to think for a minute. 2 incidents and 2 different reactions. Ask yourself just 2 questions:

  • Was Trilochan Mahato a lesser Dalit than Rohit Vemula?
  • Do dalits really matter to these politicians?

Politicians talk so much about Dalit, their betterment and upliftment. But in practice they just use poor people as pawns or in raw words, ‘use and throw’ articles. Why would some Dalits, who think of these political parties as their messiahs, themselves not question the double standard of these politicians? 

When Bhima-Koregaon incident happened, they rightfully questioned Maharashtra CM. But when Rohit Vemula or Trilochan Mahato or incidents like the rape of a poor Dalit woman happen, they don’t seem to question the respective state governments headed by Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress or Oommen Chandy of Indian National Congress. Our Constitution, which is a result of hard work put in by our founding fathers including Dr. Ambedkar, states that Policing is a state subject. So the State governments should be held responsible for such reprehensible acts. Then why our outrage is selective? Aren’t we demeaning Dr Ambedkar’s principles?  

I would like you to think and decide which footsteps you would like to follow. Notwithstanding all the differences Babasaheb Ambedkar and Nehru had, no one can imagine Babasaheb asking people to disrupt Nehru’s sabha by throwing chairs in the air. That’s exactly what a new Dalit leader, Jignesh Mewani, had asked everyone to do during Modi’s sabha. Is he really following Babasaheb’s footsteps? I’m sure even Babasaheb would have condemned such acts and therefore a question must be asked if you want your children to follow footsteps of such foul-mouthed people like Mewani?

Dalits and the nation as a whole must try to find answers to these questions if they really want to progress in the right direction. Otherwise there is no end to politicians’ hollow spiral talk.

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