The Dalit Factor – Me and My Dalit Friend

dalitAs a follower of Sanatan Dharma I cannot accept caste system as NO Vedic Scriptures support it. But today’s reality: India thrives upon caste. Everybody says caste system is evil, but ALL political leaders directly or indirectly practices or promotes it.

Dalits face a social stigma developed through centuries old suppression and exploitation. They were constantly subjected to egregious violence and dehumanizing labour (such as manual scavenging).

My friend Ashok was from a poor Dalit family. His parents were daily-wages contract labourers in paddy farms. His life situation was terrible. The living itself was so miserable for him. The entire family used to go sleep with empty stomach most of the days… They faced extreme starvation, even beyond our imagination. Sometimes, they fill their stomach drinking dirty pond water and go to sleep. Mostly, they consume only boiled roots or tapioca. He used to say his youngest sister (2 year old) keep on crying throughout the night out of hunger. However, he needs not pay college fees and he gets a small stipend.

The society had stamped him with an identity – Dalit. The public won’t allow him to grow beyond this caste identity. Some rude boys from the so-called upper caste behaved such a way that Ashok should be felt ashamed of his caste. Most of the students neglected him. He didn’t have much social exposure. He had inferiority complex and conflicts in his mind. He would feel hurt very easily.
His situation made me feel very sad. We were good friends. He would tell me about his family and village.

Incidentally, let me tell you about our other two college mates. Sunil (not original name, he is a top politician now, hence do not want to tarnish his image) used to come by car (remember – during those times, only one or two people in a Taluk would own a car). His father was a spirit baron. But Sunil was not paying fees. He was getting ‘poor-aid fund’, a subsidy from the government because of his caste tag – OBC (other backward community) category. Another boy, Martin Joseph, again OBC, was also getting all these benefits. Martin’s father owned seafood Export Company. Incidentally his car driver was a poor Brahmin, whose son couldn’t go to college for lack of funds!

Clearly, the reservation (quota) based on caste/religion was not distributed evenly or properly then (30 years ago). I don’t know current situation, but given the political map of India, it should have moved from bad to worse. The quota was confined to the upper class or creamy layer among every reserved caste and religion. Hence, the benefits really didn’t reach the much needy Dalits, tribal and Scheduled Tribes.

Some of the upper caste boys hated Ashok. I used to tell them: “You can hate government’s reservation policies, which were implemented in a wrong way. Do not hate those poor guys who avail the benefit…”
Ashok was very much interested in politics as a path to uplift his community and help people in his caste. But I always maintained that any organized movement will end up in corruption and exploitation. “Indian political parties would define your existence ONLY in terms of caste and NOT as a human being. They utilize caste system for gaining votes in the election and would never uplift any.” I told him.

“The student wing of Marxist Party had asked me to join them,” one day he said, “They talk about equality…”

“I doubt it.” Even today I am doubtful. For instance, among the 15 Politburo members of CPM, there is not even a single Dalit. The party that was formed in 1925 didn’t promote a single Dalit to Politburo. How can a Dalit expect justice from them?…

For further reading please check the book : TIDBITS: From The Life of Pai
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By
Udaylal Pai
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6 Responses

  1. Madhu says:

    It is high time the Need to ban all religion in the world atleast in public personaly letthem pry if they want at home all religion is a law book created by that particular period by human most of the time with some statergy to help some section of peoples at that time ,for example Christianity promoted by the same people killed Jesus to suppress violent Judaism militants ,like Aryans promoted Hinduism to gain power and advantage over native Indian most of Indians 99% who are nonhindus now because because of they could not stand the harassment by this aryans philosophy ,now Islamic county they fighting each others first exploited women then rest of the people. if the same thing happens in india in the name of god our forefather’s suffered 1000s of years . what Gandhi and ambacker to some extent british also helped us to restore some harmony to our county now days selfish politician and some yoga gurus going to pull us back to 1000 year

  2. Guppy says:

    Raised in a brahmin family, I know the way Brahmins discriminate against the people classified as lower class. Your entire blog is an apolegitic argument that most casteist Hindus put forward. My blog above is from the heart and I don’t see any reason why I should deter from criticizing the practices of Brahmins that strictly believe manusmriti and don’t tell I’m a pseudo hindu because I have read manu smriti, the works of swami vivekananda and gospel of Ramakrishna. Sorry to say casteism is the child of upper caste hindu Brahmins and Brahmin children from poor background don’t need reservation rather they might need financial assistance. There are so many dalit families that dint even have a first generation graduate, are the upper caste Brahmins not responsible for that. Stop living in denial Sir…

  3. Mahesh Dange says:

    True,People always consider cast or relegion but need to consider VARN. And every person is separate individual. Cast is some thing which got documented and declared which may not correct. You would always surprised to see documented shudra but clever , documented as kshatriya but timid, documented as vaishya but not in business , documented as brahman but not so clever. This can be proved by VARN which would present in your Janmkundali. Because a documented (cast) shudra could be of a Brahman varn and vise varsa. So cast terminology is not correct. And this ‘varn’ terminology need not to consider as superiority or inferiority, but for self realisation, and progress of life as individual and of society and to create win-win situation, because the important 4 are equally important for all – dharma artha kaam and moksha. So varn need to be considered and not documented category. When the varn is identified as in your Janmkundali, all things would get answered and you will get answers of many chaotic questions. So next time when you come across to some contradiction, try to get the info of varn from janmkundali. Of course other factors are there to interfere but this is main. 🙂

  4. SAtish says:

    Gratitude .. ????????????

  5. R Subramanian says:

    Dear Mr.Uday Pal,

    You have expressed the feelings of many like me. It is a great article you have written. Well done.
    Thanks.

  6. Suresh says:

    Satyameva jayate, is it true?????????????

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