Kajal Chatterjee
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had asserted “I tell you, religion is for man and not man for religion”. Perhaps his words have turned “antique” and so immediately requires to be junked.
Presently man is for religious shrines, epic and mythological figures, mythical unseen rivers urgently in need of “rejuvenation”, “holy” animals and “sacred” books. Today religion is not for married couples even, rather matrimonial bonds are for religion; with divine love getting interpreted as “jihad” of sorts.
So by ignoring all “stories” revolving poverty-malnutrition-hunger-illiteracy-child labour-human trafficking-unemployment; let’s invest all our energy, time and resource to commemorate epic figures monopolised by the “religious” brigade and revolve our precious lives around myths, rituals and “sanctity” of animals. Never mind if billions of fellow citizens remain deprived of minimum dignity and rights entitled to human beings! After all, man is for religion. Man was/is also for Caste as well.
Pre-Islamic or Pre-British “Hindu” India was such a “great” land mass of “humanity” “principles” “values” and “liberalism” that the Dalits had to hang a metallic object around their neck so that if their path crosses with an “upper caste”, the latter will get alert by the metallic sound and move away from the “untouchable” shadow of the former. In Kerala, Dalit women were barred from sporting any piece of clothe on their upper bodies. Hiding modesty remained the “sole preserve” of the “upper caste”. And when the Dalits rebelled and asked their women to sport dresses on upper bodies, the “upper castes” barbarically engaged in a mass massacre of the Dalits. Oh what a specimen of “Indian unity” in the land of Yoga.
And this Yoga has still not succeeded in “unifying” the nation despite the passing of centuries after centuries as that venom of casteism is still thriving in full swing! In many rural areas of this “elite” nation of attaining Mars orbit, Dalits often get beaten up for using wells or ponds “reserved” for the non-Dalits. In “highly modern and technological” Karnataka, Dalits of a village (not far from “progressive” Bangalore!) were reported to walk about 12 kilometer to and fro to a town for a mere haircut or shave. Why? Not for absence of saloons, but a blanket ban had been imposed on the barbers not to entertain the Dalits as the saloons are frequented by the people of “higher caste hierarchies”. In that “model of development” named Gujarat, Dalits had not only been notoriously beaten up publicly in Una, news arrived of a Dalit woman been physically assaulted for daring to sit on a chair in a village school! Often Dalit grooms get beaten up from Punjab to Gujarat for their “sin” of riding a horse during marriage procession! Somewhere they get assaulted for keeping a moustache also. And right from Rajasthan to Tamil Nadu, Dalits are often not allowed to be cremated as the crematoriums are perhaps the “paternal property” of the “upper caste.
Yes, Yoga-enriched India, advising the world on “unity”, doesn’t spare even the corpse of a Dalit. What a shame and disgrace. All “proud” Indians should hang their heads in disgust by witnessing such a series of barbaric inhumanity. Only dialogues after dialogues with not a single meaningful constructive step to speak of.
Babasaheb Ambedkar had to follow the lecture of the teachers by remaining outside the classroom so that his entry did not “pollute the environment”. “Hindu brotherhood” indeed! Unfortunately in many parts of the country, the situation in this respect has hardly improved.
So one and only establishing a strict sense of law and order with the culprits being handed harshest possible punishment for daring to physically assault another human being or woman, for his/her “fault” of being born to a particular caste, can improve the situation. Yes, only when the likes of casteist violent brutes would be prosecuted, awarded exemplary punishment and thrown behind bars for several years; their fellow-minded counterparts will think twice before indulging in such barbaric violence — both physical as well as cultural or psychological in the form of caste. And on that day we can pay proper tribute to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar through practical deeds, not mere words.

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