Share your understanding and visions on how to deal with caste
questions of Dalits and other suppressed groups in India.
To have understanding and visions, first we need to know that what are the caste questions of Dalits and other suppressed groups in India. We hear many versions of India, one is “Incredible India” as a country that is rich in heritage, culture, and multi lingual. We hear some saying that India has very poor people. There are people who may agree or may not, but from where did this different versions come from. I will be talking about “Who are Dalits and what is the caste system regarding Dalits”.
The Varnasrama Dharma proposes by birth the hierarchy and divides people into four caste groups namely brahmin, kshatriya, vaisya and shudra and leaves another category out of this classification and deems them as outcasts or the untouchables. In today’s context the untouchables or the outcasts are being referred to as the scheduled castes by the constitution which includes only the outcasts or untouchables in the religion of hinduism, so they identify themselves as DALITS which encompasses even the untouchables who have converted to other religions to liberate themselves from this system of slavery in the hinduism called ‘casteism’. The dalits in india have been facing discrimination in many aspects of life such as social, political, economical, educational and employment through the centuries to this day.
Some of the discrimination faced by Dalits are —
- Marriage prohibition : Dalit and other suppressed groups can not marry with other caste members.
- Separate seating arrangement and utensils in restaurants.
- Prohibition on entering into village temples.
- Segregation in seating and food arrangements in village functions and festivals.
- Prohibition on entering homes of dominant/upper castes.
- No access to common crematorium,burial grounds.
- Sexual assaults on Dalit women
- Prohibited from wearing sandals or holding umbrellas in front of dominant caste members.
- Burning alive if a dalit fights for rights.
- separate neighborhood for Dalit in villages and many more.
Crimes Against DALITS:
According to National crime records bureau of india, a crime is committed against a dalit every sixteen minutes;everyday, more than four dalit women are raped by the caste hindus,every week, thirteen dalits are murdered and six dalits kidnapped. In 2012 the year of delhi gang rape and murder, 1574 dalit women were raped and 651 dalits murdered. The rule of thumb is only ten percent of the crimes against dalits are reported.
Dr. B.R Ambedkar, father of the Indian constitution dedicated all his life for the Dalit rights, fought against the Hindu doctrines and dogmas that has impounded Dalit people into the trammels of thralldom for ages.
My point is, there are still many places where Dalits are fighting for their rights and there are places where Dalits are treated as slaves. God makes people equal but only because of some people’s thoughts and “Paramparas”, there is inequality among humans. One side we say that, Our India is great country (that is sure thing) with different cultures, languages, beliefs, living under one name ‘INDIAN’ but on the other side, we discriminated our own ‘Indian’ family. To change the whole India, it will take time, but it will surely be changed. Change start with one small steps, we don’t need to wait for government to force the equality, we just need to clear our thoughts and take that one step.
In my opinion, there are few things that can help achieving our dream “INDIAN as ONE” faster —
- First and the most important thing is ‘Endogamy’, if government takes step to promote inter-caste marriage then it is the biggest step to remove inequality.
- Second thing is, Inter-dining, which is most common in villages. We all are humans, just sit together for dinner without thinking about gender, caste, religion, color, job. Imagine how lovely it will be when we see one doctor, engineer, peon, security-guard, maid, sweeper, labor eating on same table. When we see this we can proudly say “WE ARE THE ONE”.
There are many things that government can do to remove caste based discrimination, but I think if we don’t clear our thoughts and minds for equality then even government can not do this. Government can force us for equality and if we do not want in our mind then nothing can happen. It can hide but not erased and we need to erase the thought of inequality.