Dalit Horrors Remembrance Day: Commemorating the weeks into 75th Independence Day

By Legal Wires 58 Minutes Read

Let us tell you a joke.

What does a Caste-Hindu hates more than a Dalit who got some benefit of reservation?

Think…..think…

Simple!!

A Dalit who made it through the merit!!!

But hold on a second: was that really a joke?

Well yes!!

Thanks to Oscar Wilde. He warned us well before-hand as we thought of venturing into writing editorials. He said sternly, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” (Advice well taken, sir)

But I bet Mr.Wilde would not have imagined of Munawar Faruqui[1], the comedian whose jokes (which he was, and still is, yet to make) had hurt the Hindutva government’s sentiments even before he made them. I bet Faruqui’s name was a mockery enough for their fetish of a ‘mallich-mukt’ Bharat. But a Muslim comedian is not our subject here. Today we got another equally, if not more detestable subject to deal with, someone who if left uncheckered would pose perhaps the greatest threat to the fabrics of this great country:

A DALIT WITH A MERIT.

How can a Caste Indian imagine such a creature within the folds of this universe. Maybe the Gods are playing a cruel joke. She might just be like the lowly Karna, a born Kshatriya who does not know of his noble blood and raised by the low caste charioteers. Afterall, a Dalit with merit is preposterous!! He cannot outperform anyone, unless his bloodline has been contaminated with those of the God-ordained Aryans. If some offshoot of merit does springs up from these weedlings, it must be eliminated for the sake of order in the Aryavarta land, don’t you think, Dronacharya? (ahem, ahem Eklavya..ahem, ahem…thumb…ahem, ahem, guru-dakshina).

Vandana Katariya.

The Indian prodigy, who was India’s top goal scorer in 2013 Junior World Cup.

The Hockey India Player of the Year 2014.

Got us Silver at Asian Champion Trophy 2018, and declared the Player of the Tournament Award.

A veteran who shouldered India’s prestige in numerous international matches;

The lady who roared a Hattrick (becoming the 1st Indian woman to do so) against South Africa. And then played a pivotal role in defeating the iconic 3 times Olympic champion Australians in 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ending their dominant streak.

The hero who brought us the best finish in 41 years.

Suddenly the nation was jerked alive into a new consciousness. The entire country would tune in to witness history being made when the Indian Women’s Hockey Team would face off against the World No. 2 Argentina in the Semi-finals. From temples to churches, in those never-ending cannisters of begged demands to Gods, another wish was flipped by the nation’s millions of devotees: Bring home the Gold!!!

But the Gods know us well. They knew of the deeper malice in our hearts.

‘For decades, you Indians slouched and deliberately ignored the efforts of these girls. You called them names, branded their passion as ‘wastage of time’.  You scorned off their achievements as distractions and corruption to their marital duties (yes, Indians still believe a woman’s sole object in life is to get married and raise kids). And now you want a share in their moment of triumph? You scoundrels, you don’t have the heart to share them in their fall, but you have the audacity to rip into their success?’

Perhaps that’s what they thought.

How can they let us ride over the hardwork and struggle of these girls?

They refused.

Semi-finals. India rubs Argentina to the noose, but the Gods won’t have it. 1-2, they favoured the better Argentinians, their nation’s prayers, perhaps, far more sincere.

They knew us better than what we think of ourselves.

And we did not disappoint.

One loss. And we got men gathered outside the house of India’s star-player. Bursting crackers, dancing naked, celebrating and throwing slurs and execrations at the family which dared to nurture its daughter against all odds to become the Nation’s wunderkind.

But hold on, there’s a catch.

These hooligans were not angry or disappointed at the loss.

THEY WERE CELEBRATING.

They were happy that the Indian team lost!!

Why?

Because at the helm of the team was a Dalit. She was not an extra player. She did not get there by any quota. She earned her place. A Dalit with a Merit!!! And that so a woman!!! Imagine the plight and misery of these caste-hindus. Had the team won, how could they have brought themselves to negotiate their hyper-national pride with their jingoistic caste pride. The loss saved them from this blasphemous dilemma. Afterall she isn’t a Suresh Raina[2] or Ravindra Jadeja[3] or the proud Janeu-dhari Sachin Tendulkar[4]. It’s a Dalit and a Woman. How can they tolerate a doubly handicapped individual climb the ladders of success. Its insulting both to their caste and patriarchal sensibilities.  

After all its the nation’s worst-kept secret that as soon as PV Sindhu wins a medal for India, the google search for ‘PV Sindhu’ caste would skyrocket 700% to become the most trending search on google, even surpassing the search for her name ‘PV Sindhu’.[5] Indians are far more concerned with the athlete’s caste than the athlete himself/herself. No wonder Vandana Katariya had it coming.

An average Caste-Hindu has a conflated image of national pride to be synonymous to caste pride, and makes a virtue out of it. Suresh Chavhanke, the poster boy of rabid Hindutva forces made sure of reiterating it in his latest controversial stint. On his propaganda-cum-news channel Sudarshan News, Chavhanke applaudingly exhorted Neeraj Chopra’s Olympic Gold Medal to be an attribute of his caste ‘Chopre’ instead of his hardwork and talent.[6]

In this context, Dr. Ambedkar rightly pointed out that a Hindu derives his national pride from his caste pride and in case of a conflict between the two, would unquestionably prefer caste pride over the national interest. In ‘Annihilation of Caste’, he said, “Hindu society as such does not exist. It is only a collection of castes. Each caste is conscious of its existence. Its survival is the be all and end all of its existence. Castes do not even form a federation. A caste has no feeling that it is affiliated to other castes except when there is a Hindu-Muslim riot. On all other occasions each caste endeavours to segregate itself and to distinguish itself from other castes. Each caste not only dines among itself and marries among itself but each caste prescribes its own distinctive dress. What other explanation can there be of the innumerable styles of dress worn by the men and women of India which so amuse the tourists? Indeed the ideal Hindu must be like a rat living in his own hole refusing to have any contact with others. There is an utter lack among the Hindus of what the sociologists call ‘consciousness of kind’. There is no Hindu consciousness of kind. In every Hindu the consciousness that exists is the consciousness of his caste. That is the reason why the Hindus cannot be said to form a society or a nation………. The capacity to appreciate merit in a man apart from his caste does not exist in a Hindu. There is appreciation of virtue but only when the man is a fellow caste-man. The whole morality is as bad as tribal morality. My caste-man, right or wrong; my caste-man, good or bad. It is not a case of standing by virtue and not standing by vice. It is a case of standing or not standing by the caste. Have not Hindus committed treason against their country in the interests of their caste.”[7]

Standing his ground in his discourses, Baba Saheb Ambedkar (opposing the myopic conception of India as a nation propounded by Congress and Gandhiji), would infamously remark, “Gandhiji, I have no Homeland… How can I call this land my homeland and this religion my own wherein we are treated worse than cats and dogs, wherein we cannot get water to drink? No Untouchable worth the name will be proud of this land.”[8]

Thus, how can a low-caste represent national pride? Low caste must not claim dignity, let alone pride. The dignity of a low-caste threatens the corruption of religion of upper caste. To elevate their absurd aspirations and achievements to echelons of national pride!! How can then I brand my caste pride as national pride? All fault of this Constitution. Giving rights to women and Dalits. Considering them humans!! And that so equal to US!! Ghor Kalyug!!

Vandana Katariya is not the first to face the wrath for her caste identity and certainly not the last. The Commonwealth Bronze medalist Jyoti is an acclaimed freestyle wrestler. Throughout her career she had to face systematic discrimination both on-field and off-field. In her words, “Being a Dalit has its own disadvantages. I have come across so many situations when I felt that I was being ill-treated owing to my low caste. Once in a domestic tourney I was deliberately made to lose a semifinal bout despite being a clear winner and I knew it was only because I was a Dalit. Stunningly, the bronze medal play-off bout was originally scheduled for the next day, but the organisers conducted the play-off bout the same day so that I do not get adequate recovery time – it was a deliberate attempt to deprive me of a medal.[9]

Meanwhile Helen Thulasi, hailed as the “Lady Muhammad Ali of India”, owes her tragic downfall to her tussle with the caste-politics of the Federation officials. She was coerced to submit to sexual gratification and bribes to these officials, if she wanted to rise up her career ladder.[10] But the proud lady defied and took them to court. But as expected, it all ended in vain. Her defiance to submit herself as an obsequious slave to caste motivated sexual depravity would result in a death knelt to her career.

Unlike the upper castes, Dalits don’t have a social security net. They occupy the lowest position in terms of economic capacity. While the Constitution explicitly guaranteeing them access to all social spaces and public places, the truth is that they are still socially boycotted from public places and social gatherings. She, like many in her community, does not have the financial capabilities to afford the training, diet and facilities. A national level player, but she can mostly be found driving an auto or delivering Pizzas. Having merit is a greater crime after-all for a dalit, than the slurs they face everyday for availing reservation. There are thousands of such stories in every arena of Indian socio-political affairs, millions of such dreams, which are immolated everyday on the pyres of the Caste system. Sports therefore, is no different, nor is it isolated from such influence.

Dr. Ambedkar would often highlight such kind of isolation which Dalits face in everyday life. He says: “Untouchability is the lowest depth to which the degradation of a human being can be carried. To be poor is bad but not so bad as to be an Untouchable. The poor can be proud. The Untouchable cannot be. To be reckoned low is bad but it is not so bad as to be an Untouchable. The low can rise above his status. An Untouchable cannot. To be suffering is bad but not so bad as to be an Untouchable. They shall some day be comforted. An Untouchable cannot hope for this. To have to be meek is bad but it is not so bad as to be an Untouchable. The meek if they do not inherit the earth may at least be strong. The Untouchable cannot hope for that.”[11]

These instances are, therefore, to illustrate the readers that the often-held ill-informed notions amongst the High-castes that Reservation propitiates and entrenches the Caste-system, hold little to no credibility. If an ecosystem of caste-based discrimination can thrive and prosper, within a government framework which owes a constitutional allegiance to an anti-caste protocol, it very well demonstrates how our social reality is out of sync with our political ideals and constitutional commitments. More importantly such aggressive atrocities are often eulogized by upper caste pressure groups in public and social media, and endorsed by upper-caste dominated government machinery through a Nelson’s eye. While one may presume, that such endorsements would often be passive and behind the public glare. But the new benchmark proudly set by the UP Police and the State Government in the Hathras Gang-rape case[12] has considerably raised the stakes (on a contrary note, the 2014 Badaun Gangrape does offer a strong precedent to it, wherein two girls were gang-raped, murdered, their bodies hung from a tree. The CBI received worldwide criticism for its connivance in botching up the case to help the accused men). Earlier the active abetment of Police and politicians would be censored into action, the moment their participation would be revealed in the press. Rapists such as Asaram and Kuldeep Sengar were the unfortunate victims of those times. The brazen display and the public valorization of the collusion of Police and government system with the upper caste pressure groups in recent times, makes one wonder, maybe Asaram and Kuldeep Sengar, were punished for being unlucky rather than being guilty for their crimes. In India the public has, through experience, grown to take acquittal in every criminal case with a pinch of salt. It’s after-all not a new phenomenon, if Mathura rape case and Badaun gangrape case are to go by. The Judiciary sponsored institutional murder of Stan Swamy[13] is the most recent block to this chain.

To sum it up, the unfortunate truth of the day is, in India, the Upper-caste is punished for his luck while the Dalits and Muslims for their identity. Activists and women are punished for their voices while Leaders for their political affiliations. It very rare (and often a result of public outrage) we hear someone punished for their crimes. The day, the crimes of men, become the biggest (if not the sole) contender to factor into their culpability, we can say we are moving towards the ‘India of our dreams’. Until then, the ‘India of Realities’ shall brow-beat us into abject disappointment every single day.

With men such as Suraj Pal Amu, Yati Narsinghanand, Pinky Chaudhary and Ramgopal Bhakt, increasingly occupying public spaces in recent times, with complete impunity (and often rewarded with Police protection and BJP tickets); who publicly champion themselves over the murder, massacres and hate-crimes, the situation seems to be far off from our aspiration for an ‘India of Dreams’. Amusingly Kapil Mishra, the BJP leader, infamous for his role in Delhi Riots is running a crowd funding to help Yati Narsinghanand achieve his Mission (the mission is well known and well-elaborated by Narsinghanand and his followers on many occasions).[14]  When Uttam Upadhayay, a sangh affiliate who led the calls for genocide of Muslims with slogans “Jab mulle kaate jayenge, Ram Ram chillayege” still featured as an ‘Unknown Person’ within the official diction of Police investigation[15] and the students going to file FIR against such hate-speech were arrested as criminals, we know the system has been subjugated into a serfdom of caste-Hindus. We need to realize that these caste-patriarchs derive their hatred of minorities from their allegiance to caste-system ( The caste-system labels followers of any religion outside Hinduism, categorically as ‘Mallichas’, the lowest of creatures as per caste hierarchy, even below the Untouchables). As we started writing this monologue, a 9 year old Dalit girl has been raped, murdered and forcibly cremated. Another 6 year old Dalit girl has been raped and fighting for her life in AIIMS[16]. While in Sonipat, two Dalit sisters aged 15 and 11 were gangraped in front of their mother and forced to drink insecticide. Both girls would die agonizing deaths the next day.[17] Meanwhile another video has started doing the social media shot on 14th August,2021 which shows another mob of men, pleading PM Modi to call for and orchestrate a nation-wide genocide of Muslims on the eve of 75th Independence Day.[18]

Dalits in India, just like Indian Muslims are facing an existential crisis, as India prepares to celebrate its 75th Independence Day. A day before, PM Modi declares 14th August be officially designated as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day‘[19]. However we are yet to hear him break his silence on the Horrors of Present Day India happening under his watch. He is a certain visionary indeed, to have such high expectations from Indians, that they would prefer mourning the death of their ancestors two generations ago, than the murder and rape of their kin and children happening everyday in the name of caste, religion and rabid nationalism. The Government-Sangh nexus propaganda shall make sure that the public sentiment engages with the Pied Piper’s call and suffers amnesia to its current state of horrors. But PM Modi does deserve our praise, for it is one of the very rare instances when he has been seen acknowledging facts. The horrors of Partition and the hate-crime of that era has caused an inter-generational trauma to the sub-continent. Addressing them is a positive step towards addressing the grief that has pervaded our national consciousness for many decades now. And on the same line, we believe we must personally, dedicate the 75th anniversary of Independence Day as ‘DALIT HORRORS REMEMBRANCE DAY’, to honor the victims of caste violence and to acknowledge the wrongs which they have suffered. The horrors of partition are over, but the horrors of caste tyranny are livid and very well thriving in a closed nexus, both within and outside our institutional and social fabrics.

The relevance of having a day to commemorate caste atrocities can be grasped from the fact that there was no public outrage in any of the above-mentioned recent incidents of Dalit atrocities. The deliberate silence of the national conscience every time a Dalit atrocity is reported has always been conspicuous. Even the most heinous of them fail to evoke a public reaction. Yashica Dutt, the winner of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2020, addresses this culture of silence in her book “Dalit: A memoir” : “In the days following the attack, Jyoti became the symbol of protest against India’s rape culture and violence against women, and was dubbed Nirbhaya – one with no fear – by the mainstream media. While the information regarding her caste (Pandeys are Brahmins) was not released till much later, the media reported enough to indicate that she was ‘one of us.” Contrasting the Nirbhaya rape case and the equally horrific Jisha rape-murder case she says, “The Twitter handle @DalitLivesMatter said, ‘Why Jisha is not Nirbhaya?…No State, No Centre Sheds tears. No candlelight vigils. No mass rallies.’…The silence surrounding Jisha’s murder, according to many , is linked to another evil deeply ingrained in Indian society – that of caste. Unlike Jyoti Singh…Jisha belongs to the dalit community. Atrocities against Dalits are hardly accorded comparable media real estate.”[20]

The deliberate silence over the caste motivated harassment of Vandana Katariya’s family, therefore, given our prejudiced temperament, hardly perturbs us. With the exception of Rani Rampal, the Captain of Indian Women’s Hockey team, there was no prominent voice which condemned the attack: be it ministers, athletes, sports authorities, or celebrities.[21]

To understand such apathy of our society, it is of primary importance that we acknowledge and realize that the Indian society harbours a deep-rooted hatred for Dalits. Social reformation movements in the past have made attempts to uproot them. But these attempts have been half-hearted and often more of PR exercises to whitewash the deeper malaise, as Ambedkar would say. All upper caste led social reformation movements in the past have either been disruptive protocols to diffuse the genuine Dalit movements or in rare instances, when then had an ingenuine nature, they failed to make any significant impact because of the opposition met by caste-Hindus.

Dr. Ambedkar would remark in this regard that:

“Whatever opinion anybody may possess about the Hindu social reformers, I personally have a nausea for them. I have no regard for them. I have had very bitter experience of them. That those people, who live in their own caste, die in their own caste, marry in their own caste, should befool the people with false slogans, saying, “We will break the caste!”, is really surprising. And if the Untouchables do not believe them, they get annoyed with them! Is it not astonishing?
When I hear the slogans shouted by these Hindu social reformers, I recollect the efforts made by the American white people for the emancipation of the American Negroes. Years ago, the condition of the Negroes in America was just the same as that of Untouchables in India. The difference between the two was that the slavery of Negroes had the sanction of the law; while that of your [people], by religion. So, some reformers were trying for abolition of the slavery of the Negroes. But can those white reformers be compared with their counterparts, the Hindu social reformers in India? The American white reformers fought battles in war with their kith and kin for the emancipation of the Negroes. They killed thousands of whites who defended the slavery of the Negro people, and also sacrificed their own blood for this cause.
When we read these chapters through the pages of history, the social reformers in India cut a very sorry figure before them. These so-called benefactors of the Untouchables of India called “reformers” need to be asked the following questions: Are you prepared to fight a civil war with your Hindu brethren, like the whites in America who fought with their white brothers for the cause of the coloured people? And if not, why these proclamations of reforms?
Now let us take the example of Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest of the Hindus who claim to fight for the cause of the Untouchables. To what extent can he go? Mahatma Gandhi, who pilots the non-violent agitation against the British Government, is not prepared to hurt the feelings of the Hindus, the oppressors of the Untouchables. He is not willing to launch a peaceful Satyagraha against them. He is not even prepared to take legal action against the Hindus. What is the good of such Hindu reformers for us? I don’t see any.” [22]

But why is it so?

Perhaps it is the religiously doctrinated and culturally nurtured eco-system of caste isolation and distaste for others, that the psyche of an average Indian has been moulded into that of what Ambedkar calls a ‘caste-Hindu’.

Psyche of a Caste-Hindu

If we put the psyche of a casteist privileged brat in very crude terms: A Gutter is a Dalit’s paradise, meanwhile stages such as Olympics or Oxford are the quagmires for their eternal doom. Lower castes after -all face the constant threat of being polluted and corrupted by these wretched big platforms, don’t they? Just as a Higher Castes are baptised with water from Ganges, a Dalit needs regular baptization with sewage and gutter water else he shall lose his revered place in the God-ordained Chaturvarnya scheme of universal salvation. That is what we logically deduce when our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi says that the Valmikis’ have their “experience in spirituality” through their centuries-old caste-based vocation – of cleaning up others’ filth, including toilets. In his (later withdrawn) book ‘Karmayogi’ he says that: “I do not believe they have been doing this job just to sustain their livelihood. Had this been so, they would not have continued with this kind of job generation after generation…..At some point of time somebody must have got the enlightenment that it is their (Balmikis’) duty to work for the happiness of the entire society and the Gods; that they have to do this job bestowed upon them by Gods; and this job should continue as internal spiritual activity for centuries.”[23]

Thus, how can their upper caste compatriots let these gullible Dalits befall such trenches of eternal oblivion. No, they shall save their dalit and shudra brothers from the lures of this unjust maya, and take them back to their temples of salvation: THE GUTTER!!! Only a casteist brat can imagine the karmic agony of such unfortunate dalits, the painful writhings of their Dalits souls as they gain some sense of dignity when the world starts acknowledging them in the imagination of an individual with some agency. How come a dalit claim individual agency over the authority of Manusmriti with respect to his body, soul and all his successive and preceding generations? Article 21 might grant him dignity of existence but how can it grant him dignity of salvation in the Chaturvarnic courts of Gods? Wouldn’t it be better to rip them off their sentience, their dignity, tear down the last pieces of their humanity so that they do not leave their place, and thus not attract the ire of the Omnipotent God?

That is why when Ramdas Athawale, the Honourable Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment proudly declares in Rajya Sabha that not a single death was reported by manual scavenging in last 5 years[24], we know he is telling the truth: For a soul never dies; it merely transcends to its salvation. There must definitely be some error with the records earlier, when the Ministry reported 282 deaths due to manual scavenging from 2016 to November 2019.[25] Strangely the number kept on increasing to 340 by 2nd February, 2021.[26] The Safai Karmachari Andolan is definitely lying when it says that the actual number of such deaths is atleast 1763.[27] An enquiry must be made in such erratic claims by the Ministry in the past, as well as, the asinine list given by the Safai Karmachari Andolan to delve into the truth of affairs. We after-all repose our full faith into the monumental claims by the Minister. We are pretty sure there is an anti-national hacker somewhere in the world who must have planted the ‘fake’ list of these dead people in the computers of the Ministry and Safai Karmachari Andholan by using a malware.[28] The Minister, just as Caesar’s wife, is of course above our suspicion. Afterall, the Minister himself belongs to the Dalit community, and is a self-professed Ambedkarite.

Late Kanshi Ram ji had written an interesting commentary for such legendary Dalit leaders who have trampled upon Dalit lives and their movement, for gaining political mileage, titled ‘Chamcha Yug’. Mr. Athawale, has styled himself as the chief protagonist of the commentary since joining the BJP during the 2014 Modi wave.

Morality of a Caste-Hindu

Indian society for centuries, has been having its own theatre run of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. Its moral conscience and values suffer an inverse entropy the moment the subject crosses the boundaries of caste and religion. What is moral and good for the Upper caste is inverse to what is good and moral for lower caste. While it’s an essential ritualistic duty of Higher caste groom to arrive to his wedding on a horse/mare[29], it’s a karmic sin for a Dalit groom to ride one, often resulting into violent riots. It’s a virtue to wash the feet of Brahmin with water (even Dr. Rajendra Prasad, often hailed for his visionary outlook, found fancy practising it while occupying the highest post of a Secular Republic propelled into existence by a Constitution having a severe anti-caste bias) and gulp it down one’s throat[30] but a Dalit’s shadow on the pavement outside the house of an upper caste can pollute the canonical sensibilities of the Savarna. The virtue of feeding the Brahmin first is a mark of dharmic reverence but an accidental touch to the food-laiden plate of an upper caste can result in life-ending lynching for the Dalit man.[31] Wealth is a virtue. It is personified as a Goddess for Upper Caste, especially Baniyas, but when it comes to Shudras, Ati-shudras and Dalits, the Manusmriti explicitly lays down that wealth is a sin for them. A Shudra should not amass wealth even if he has the ability for a Shudra who amasses wealth annoys the Gods. He exists only for the service of Brahmins.[32] In Chaturvarna scheme of affairs, if “a Brahmin ‘kill a cat or an ichneumon, the bird Chasha, or a frog or a dog, a lizard, an owl, a crow or a Shoodra’ he is absolved of his sin by performing the ‘Chandrayana Prayashchit’ a fasting penance, perhaps for a few hours or a day and requiring not much labour or trouble. While for a Shoodra to kill a Brahmin is considered the most heinous offence he could commit, and the forfeiture of his life is the only punishment his crime is considered to merit.“[33]

But there is a confusion which one often faces in such discourses when the savarana personified RSS and its ideologues asserts that all castes must be respected and untouchability must be done away with. The BJP has also followed the footsteps and have maintained this stance both theoretically and in its political manoeuvring (the recent Cabinet shuffle and the 127th Constitutional Amendment which grant State governments to dictate the listing of castes in OBC category before 2022 UP Elections are few such examples). But the moment the political gamble of vote-bank politics ends with the election session, it has always retracted into according blanket protection to perpetrators of caste violence. To them (just like Congress), while one Dalit is equivalent to one vote, he does not hold value as a human. This strategical positioning and deviation of ruling classes with respect to Dalits, as a matter of fact, is of recent origin. Let see how?

Savarkar, just like Ambedkar would call for the abolition of untouchability and ask for the unity of all Hindus as one single nation. (A fact often conjectured to draw parallels of affinity between Savarkar and Ambedkar by the Upper-Castes and the Sangh Parivar).

Ambedkar in his pursuit, has often iterated that his movement is that of a freedom struggle for the emancipation of Dalits from the Hindu-fold, for Hinduism is religiously premised on caste-system. He vehemently denied that his was a movement for reformation of Hinduism or caste-system.[34] In fact, he strongly advocated that conversion of Dalits and Shudras into other religions, as the only solution he can offer to them to emancipate themselves and gain social dignity. In this regard he declared, “A bitter thing can be made sweet. The taste of anything can be changed. But poison cannot be made Amrit [nectar]. To talk of annihilating castes is like talking of changing poison into Amrit. In short, so long as we remain in a religion which teaches man to treat man as a leper, the sense of discrimination on account of caste, which is deeply rooted in our minds, cannot go. For annihilating castes and untouchability from among the Untouchables, change of religion is the only antidote.”[35]

Such proposition of conversion by Ambedkar caused furore in the caste-Hindu organizations who had Savarkar as their ideological mentor. Savarkar on the other hand, made it no secret of his outrageous hatred for the Muslim community. He propagated that in order to eliminate Muslims from the country, all Hindus need to unite as a single banner of Hindutva. In his book ‘Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History‘, he condemns the caste division of the Hindus which has weakened the Hindu-fold by segregating it into different tribal castes, thereby making them vulnerable to foreign attacks (specifically the ones by Muslims). He said that in order for Hindus to cleanse the land of Muslims, they would need all their numbers. And since majority of the Hindu belongs to the Shudra and Dalit caste, such an objective cannot be achieved without wooing these lower castes to remain into Hindu-fold. In Chapter VIII of his book, he made explicit calls that Hinduism must also let go of their moral ‘virtues’ and employ even the most gruesome of vices and deceit, if necessary, to achieve the Hindutva political objective of Hindu-rashtra. He said, “In fact virtues or vices are only relative terms.……….The vilest of vices recorded in the catalogues of the religious texts could never have been more detrimental to the welfare of mankind, more harmful to the national interests and so, more detestable than such virtues as give rise to horrible atrocities and the greatest of sins. Naturally whoever cultivates and lives upto, such virtues thoughtlessly and foolishly and with slavish adherence to the religious texts, and also with fanatic obstinacy, is bound to perish individually and bring about disaster of the nation in which he lives.[36] Advocating for deploying every means, either by hook-or-by-crook, Savarkar maintained that holding the Dalits and Shudras within the Hindu-fold is of prominent political advantage to the interest of Hindus and every effort must be made to appease them into it.(An advice well heeded by both Congress and Sangh Affiliate Political parties alike.)

Thus apart from the traditional hatred which a caste-hindu has inherited through inter-generational indoctrination; in Independent India, he has also equipped himself with the political strategies of Savarkar to mask his contempt with gestures of tokenism towards lower castes. The average-caste Hindu expects Dalit to vote as a Hindu, live as his caste and die as disposable.

Conclusion

Today we are celebrating 75th Independence Day. But what kind of independence are we celebrating, apart from political independence? Our Freedom Fighters and the members of Constituent assembly were in unanimous consensus that political democracy was not an end to itself. It was a means to an end. Jawaharlal Nehru believed that political independence was the first step to bring about social revolution in India and rid it of its economic, social and regional disparities. In his 25th November, 1949 speech in Constituent Assembly, Dr Ambedkar would lay down a warning, “The third thing we must do is not to be content with mere political democracy. We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life.“[37]

But what do we mean by social democracy? Ambedkar said Political democracy considers one man equals to one vote. In an ideal socio-economic democratic order, one man will be considered equivalent to one value. In our opinion, the most appropriate definition for what ‘social democracy’ connotes was given by Shri H.V. Kamath, the learned member of constituent assembly in his 23rd November, 1948 speech, “Dr. Ambedkar said that to his mind, political democracy means one man, one vote; economic democracy means one man, one value. I, Sir, would say that social democracy, to my mind, means: all men, one class; all men one caste; and I hope, Sir, that we are moving towards the creation of a casteless and classless society which Mahatma Gandhi envisaged for the social order in India.” [38]

While we as a nation commit to the principles of “Equality and Fraternity” as envisioned by the Indian Constitution. Our affairs in everyday life have been none short of betrayal and fraud upon our constitutional commitment. India is a politically independent country. True!

But is India a socially democratic country? Unfortunately, it is not.

A country which legally sanctions punishment of inter-faith couples to exercise their most intimate right to chose a life-partners; whose cogs of institutional redressal framework, start moving only after verifying the status of one’s caste; which solicits and actively abets the violence over the exercise of one’s choice of food; which prides itself over exploitation, massacre and land-grabbing of tribals and Dalits in the name of development; which would endorse the killing of woman to exercise as small rights as choice of cloths; which believes in gagging dissent, out-shout and brute-force its countrymen into chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ rather than reassuring them of security enough, to entertain such a sentiment; which harbours caste-chauvinism and khap panchayats with impunity, has no moral right to even invoke such a claim. We are yet slaves in that regard. Bhagat Singh said in his last address, “Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist so long as the Indian toiling masses and the natural resources are being exploited by a handful of parasites. They may be purely British Capitalist or mixed British and Indian or even purely Indian. They may be carrying on their insidious exploitation through mixed or even on purely Indian bureaucratic apparatus.[39]

Achievement of any goal requires a strategy. And a strategy which is cut-off from ground facts is bound to fail. Strategy therefore, needs to be built on hard facts. It must be understood that to achieve any goal, be it of social democracy, thus, it is of primary importance that we acknowledge the state of affairs. And the brutal reality of today’s India, is that Dalits and Shudras have suffered, and are still suffering monumental atrocities in every nook and corner of the country. Same with Muslims, Christians, Women and Dissenting voices. While we have limited ourselves in our ambit to only illustrate you the portion of the crisis which concerns Dalits, and that so, the major developments in the last two weeks, we do acknowledge that atrocities of hate-crimes are suffered by various other sections of the Indian population also. As a matter of fact, such inability on our part to portray all of them, supplements to our assertion that we as a nation are suffering with a grave and widespread humanitarian situation. And the least such a crisis demand of us, is that we do not neglect or negate it off our public consciousness.

After all, we are positive that if the country can designate a full day to mourn for hate atrocities more than seven decades ago, it can certainly find some room to introspect and deliberate over the atrocities it is committing in present.


[1] Munawar Faruqui: Bail for jailed India comic who did not crack a joke, [2] Gaurav, #IsupportSureshRaina trends on Twitter after Suresh Raina faces backlash for ‘I am also Brahmin’ comment, CrickTracker (23rd July, 2021),
[3] Pandey Aditya, Fans Defend Jadeja’s Pride In His ‘Rajput Boy’ Identity After Raina Was Bashed For The Same, MensXP (23rd July,2021),
[4] Lobo Kieran, “Indian cricket’s refusal to acknowledge caste privilege cannot mask reality of its pervasiveness”, Firstpost, (5th November, 2020)
[5] Fore more information read:
Bhatia Akanksha, PV Sindhu & Lovlina’s Caste & Religion Trend On Google Search. Is This The India Of 2021?, ScoopWhoop (2nd August, 2021), ; Mishra Mayank, “Why Are We Obsessed With Hima Das’ and PV Sindhu’s Caste?”, The Quint (17 June, 2018), ; Venkatesh Nikita “PV Sindhu wins her second Olympic medal, but Indians want to know her caste”, The Siasat Daily, (2nd August, 2021)
[6] SudarshanNews Suresh Chavhanke on Neeraj Chopra,
[7] Ambedkar Bhim Rao, “Annihilation of Caste, Chapter III, X
[8] Keer Dhananjay, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Life and Mission, 2018 Edition, Popular Prakashan,  Page 167
[9] Barua Suhrid, How sports still remain an uphill task for Dalits, The Bridge (22nd December, 2019),
[10] ibid 4
[11] Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, Conversion, Page 11
[12] Ara Ismat, Hathras Gang-Rape and Murder Case: A Timeline, The Wire (28th October, 2020),
[13] Ferreira Arun, How the system broke Stan Swamy: A cell mate recalls the activist’s last days in prison, The Scroll (12th August, 2021)
[14] Kapil Mishra’s Twitter, Mandir
[15] Saxena Shivangi, ‘Population jihad must be stopped’: Meet the men who shouted anti-Muslim slogans in Delhi, Newslaundry (10th August, 2021), [16] The Quint Staff, 6-Yr-Old Dalit Girl Allegedly Raped by Neighbour in Delhi, Admitted in AIIMS, The Quint (12th August, 2021),
[17] Sinha Jignasa, Sonipat sisters’ gangrape-murder: ‘They were crying for help, I couldn’t do anything’, The Indian Express (13th August, 2021),
[18] instagram
[19] SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTNEW DELHI, PM Modi declares August 14 as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’ The Hindu (14th August, 2021),
[20] Dutt Yashica, “Dalit: A memoir”, Rupa Publications India (2019) Page 146-147
[21] NANDY ASMITA, “Caste Rifts in Olympics: Vandana Katariya an Indian in Victory, a Dalit in Loss?”, The Quint (10th August, 2021) ,
[22] Ambedkar Bhim Rao, “What Path to Salvation?” Chapter 15
[23] Shah Rajiv, Modi’s spiritual potion to woo karmayogis, The Times of India (December 1, 2012), 
[24] For more information: HT Correspondent, No deaths of manual scavengers reported in last 5 yrs: Govt in Rajya Sabha, The Hindustan Times  (30th July, 2021) ; Legal Wires Team, No Manual Scavenging death reported in five years says Central Government, The Legal Wires, (29th July, 2021) 
[25] Singh Shiv Sahay, Manual scavenging left 282 dead since 2016, The Hindu, (21st December, 2019),
[26] The Special Correspondent, 340 sewer cleaning deaths in past 5 years: Government, The Hindu (2nd February, 2021),
[27] Ibid 8
[28] For more information, read:
Express News Service, Elgar accused Rona Wilson urges HC to allow expert to probe if malware was planted on computer, The Indian Express (4th August, 2021) ; Balraj, Evidence planted on Bhima Koregaon accused Surendra Gadling’s computer, Techstory (7th July,2021)  ; Agrawal Poonam, Bhima Koregaon Case: Govt Can Find Out Who Planted Documents, Says Cyber Expert, The Quint (9th July, 2021) Sukanya Shantha, Surendra Gadling’s Computer Was Attacked, Incriminating Documents Planted: Arsenal Consulting, The Wire (6th July, 2021) ; Sukanya Shantha, Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line, The Wire (18th July, 2021) , ; Srivas Anuj and Agarwal Kabir, Snoop List Has 40 Indian Journalists, Forensic Tests Confirm Presence of Pegasus Spyware on Some, the wire (18th July, 2021),
[29] Chandra Sailesh, आखिर शादी में घोड़ी पर ही क्यों बैठता है दूल्हा, घोड़े पर क्यों नहीं?, Indiatv.in (13th July, 2017)
[30] “The feet of a Brahmin are holy. In his left foot reside all the holy pilgrimages and by dipping which into water he makes it as holy as the waters at the holiest of shrines.” For more information read: Phule Jyotirao, “Gulaamgiri”, Preface Page 6
[31] Kakvi Kashif, Dalit man killed for touching food plates of upper caste men in MP’s Chhattarpur, National Herald India, (10th December,2020) ,
[32] (विप्रसेवैव शूद्रस्य विशिष्टं कर्म कीर्त्यते ।
यदतोऽन्यद् हि कुरुते तद् भवत्यस्य निष्फलम् ॥ १२३ ॥) Manusmriti X: 123
[33] Ibid 27
[34] “If we are to die in our struggle for freedom, what is the use of fighting at the wrong place? To reform the Hindu society is neither our aim nor our field of action. Our aim is to gain freedom. We have nothing to do with anything else. If we can gain our freedom by conversion, why should we shoulder the responsibility for the reform of the Hindu religion? And why should we sacrifice our strength and property for that? No one should misunderstand the object of our movement as being Hindu social reform. The object of our movement is to achieve social freedom for the Untouchables. It is equally true that this freedom cannot be secured without conversion.” Ambedkar Bhim Rao, “Which Path to Salvation?”, Chapter 16
[35] Ambedkar Bhim Rao, “Which Path to Salvation?”, Chapter 12
[36] Savarkar Veer, “Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History”, Chapter VIII, Page 149
[37] CAD Volume 11 (25th November 1949) Page 979
[38] CAD Volume 7 (23rd November 1948) Page 533
[39] Bhagat Singh’s Last Petition, https://www.marxists.org/archive/bhagat-singh/1931/x01/x01.htm

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