Few days back, I watched the episode “Untouchability – Dignity For All” on the Satyamev Jayate show on 8th July, 2012. Many people rated it as a ‘great’ show but I don’t accept it as a ‘great’ show. It was just another show made with the intention of earning profits and TRP. There was nothing on the show which common public didn’t know apart from the clippings from Stalin K’s documentary – India Untouched. (And if you are a bit conscious on human rights, you would have already seen that documentary!) We all know Dalit students face discrimination; Dalit couples are killed because of inter-caste marriages, who doesn’t know that caste remarks are not uncommon in India? (Read “I have a Dream” for more detail, describing where Dalits face discrimination and what a Dalit dreams about.)
The episode started with the heart touching story of Dr. Kaushal Panwar, professor at Delhi University. She spoke about her upbringing and the caste discrimination she faced during her childhood and during her student life. Her life story is no different from that of most of the Dalits in India. Discrimination that Dr. Kaushal faced at JNU is of no surprise because even today Dalit students are murdered in professional colleges due to caste discrimination.
Next on the show comes Stalin K– he was the only man, apart from Bezwada Wilson, who impressed me on the show. Stalin K is the director of the documentary named “India Untouched” created in 2007 and he also runs an organisation named Video Volunteers. He has done a remarkable job, has travelled more than 25,000 km in India covering caste discrimination. The show took the readymade clippings from his documentary and presented it! I don’t think Aamir Khan and his team would have put any effort in producing this episode as everything was readymade and conveniently available. At one point Stalin K rightly pointed out – if you don’t know your caste you must be from upper caste because society don’t leave a single chance to remind you that you are from lower caste.
At another point on the show, someone from the audience compared ‘ragging’ to ‘caste discrimination’ and that point was praised by the host! What a joke! Unless ragging is based on caste it can’t be compared to caste discrimination. And ragging with Dalit students, unlike with other students, is played only on caste lines, so comparing ragging with caste discrimination is completely illogical and out of context when we are discussing caste based discrimination. For most of the times on the show, the host seemed to me an ignoramus. Was he pretending to be ignorant of all the facts, or didn’t he really know about all the discrimination– I couldn’t figure that out. I seriously doubt if Aamir Khan has read or knows anything about the Sachar Report!
There is no nation of Indians in the real sense of the world; it is yet to be created. In believing we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion. How can people divided into thousand of castes be a nation? The sooner we realize that we are not yet a nation, in a social and psychological sense of the world, the better for us. – Dr B R Ambedkar
As all of us welcome year 2012 and greet each other with open arms, I visualise a dream. I have always said that I am a dreamer. Yes, I do have a dream, a dream (Begumpura) that Guru Ravidas saw about 650 years ago for everyone or a dream (Utopia) that nourished by Dr Ambedkar or I have a dream that Martin Luther King Jr. saw for the blacks of America. Here is my dream for Dalits of India almost along the same lines what Guru Ravidas, Dr Ambedkar, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others saw for better world.
I have a dream that one day; Dalits will break the chains of caste discrimination and free themselves from the chains of slavery that has ruined Dalits for thousands years. Yes, it’s my dream to see casteless society. I do also dream that Dalit houses won’t be set on fire or Dalits won’t be boycotted anymore. Dalits won’t be killed for the same name as of upper caste people or Dalits won’t be forced to change their names or Dalits won’t hide their names to escape caste discrimination. I also dream with open eyes that untouchability will become history and there will be no untouchable.
Searching for a Dream? (Photo Credit: Ravi Shankar Suman)
I have a dream that one day; for Dalits justice won’t be delayed or justice won’t be just another word or justice won’t be alien to Dalits. I anticipate that Dalits won’t be told to wait, wait and wait bit more for justice; a wait that always meant never. A day won’t be far when everyone will be treated equal and will live with dignity and pride. That will be the day, when Buddha will smile upon India again!
I have a dream that one day; Dalit women won’t be paraded naked, raped or forced to commit suicide for nothing wrong. Not only the Dalit women but whole women society will not be forced to do menial jobs. Women won’t be disrespected, exploited, neglected or won’t be treated as a sex-object only in Indian society. I dream that one day, equality will come in all spheres and women suffering will come to end.
I have a dream that one day; Dalit students won’t be made to sit separately in classrooms, or won’t be discriminated and forced to commit suicide in schools and colleges. A day will come when Dalit students won’t be purified via sprinkling cow urine on them and Dalit students’ seats won’t be left unfilled in schools and colleges. No Dalit student will be forced to do cleaning work in schools, no student will deny food cooked by Dalit cook and Dalit students will be able to use the same playing grounds as other caste students do.