– By V.T.Rajshekar
We have received many letters asking us the meaning of the word Dalit. The same question is also being put to us at meetings. What gives us great pleasure and pride is this word has become popular all over India and abroad in such a short time giving expression to the anger of the Untouchables. And gathering so much of charisma.
We are also happy to note that not only the militant Dalits but even some Hindu press have stopped using the hated word, Harijan, a Gandhian humbug, and switched on to Dalit. This awareness of their identity is itself a big step forward in the Dalit liberation struggle. The word Dalit symbolises the mood of this explosive commodity and connotes and denotes their protest. Hence the switch- over to this new word is itself a great improvement indicating a big leap in the search for their roots. Only three years back people barring those in the Hindi belt did not even know this word. It was not in their vocabulary. But as soon as they came to know this word and discovered its intrinsic value, its magic, its melody, they readily adopted it. Literally embraced it. “National” newspapers like the Times of India are using this word even in headlines. Even the Malayala Manorama, the largest circulated language daily of Kerala, has started using this word heeding our appeal. We call upon all our Dalit and other persecuted minority comrades to use only this word and persuade others to popularise it. If the English and language dailies start using the word, Dalit, in headlines it will soon catch up. Therefore, Dalits and their co-sufferers must go to newspaper offices and meet journalists and prevail upon them to use Dalit instead of Harijan or SC/STs. We will suggest the Oxford, Webster, Cambridge and other dictionaries to include it.