Let’s go back in time, when we were living in ancient and medieval India, when we were yet to be raided by the British and were transformed drastically, and, yes the transformation was just on the surface. The British came with certain new ideologies, and tried to harbor a different and relatively modern mindset in the social fabric of our country.
Before them, we were a country trying to adjust our vast diversification. There were four castes- Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras. There are possibilities of the bifurcation of castes being focused on ideological factors or socio-economic factors. However, there is no denying that the concept is still deeply ingrained and has remained the primary social reality since a long time. The British did try to transform the caste-system, by putting the entire Indian population as a lowly class and British as the superlative one. However, after they moved out from our country, we didn’t turn out to be as united as we were by rebelling against the British troops. The society moved back to its old-rooted and regressive ideologies without any hassle.
After all, the past is nothing but comfortable, isn’t it?
Every other day, we are made aware of certain atrocities that are being committed towards the people belonging to ‘Dalit’ class. Though, the father of our nation, M.K Gandhi, spoke against the treatment of untouchables sternly, we still haven’t learnt the lesson. Almost daily Dalits are getting raped, beaten up for possession of cows- are we yet to constitute them as mere people, or will they always be ‘untouchables’ for the majority of our imbecile population? How long will it take for us to start treating them as person?
During the age of the Mahabharata, cow slaughter was an important festival and was important to honour the guests and it didn’t make them polluted and sinful. Then why, if the same is done by Dalits, the process is highly condemned and ridiculed? Many times, Brahmin priests can be seen performing rituals in Dalits festivals. The interesting question is how rituals performed by Brahmin priests can be pure in a Brahmin house and impure in a Dalit house?
The stigma of being a Sudra still plagues the Dalit class. They are still doing the jobs they were made to do in old times. Picking up garbage, taking care of dead animals, cleaning toilets, with the evolvement that has gripped us all, the Dalit are still far behind. With meagre job opportunities for them, they are still stuck in past when many of us are thinking and planning for bright future. They are no more than just pawns to be used while garnering votes.
Like everything else, their existence if not normalized, is highly politicized.
They are still the same people who were meant to be treated as belonging to ‘lower’ caste because they are still harboring the evils of their past. They are ridiculed and condemned if they indeed try to take up posts that are way too above them. Condemnation that plagues Mayawati is much more than her being a woman, it is about her belonging to a dalit family and finally raising herself to a post that doesn’t belong to her. After all, being a woman and a dalit, is a deadly combination, and more than once has this woman bore the burn of it.
However, when will be the time that the ‘lower’ caste people get higher social status? Till the time, we keep constituting people as belonging to certain caste, gender, or religion, the society will not be as inclusive as it should be.
If multiculturalism becomes the norm, if there will be no glorification of any particular culture over another, if there isn’t any hierarchy and discrimination, and if equal treatment is given every community, there won’t be any violence that grips us all.