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Ever Suffering Dalits

By Rahul Kumar Balley

01 November, 2011

No doubt ,India is making progress by leaps and bounds in every sector but the condition of the Dalits in India is deteriorating day by day in the society .Development of any nation has no meaning when a particular section of the society such as the downtrodden are socially & economically segregated from the mainstream . The situation is critical when we measure the overall development of the country in absence of equal opportunity for the minorities . Article 17 of the Indian constitution forbids the practice of untouchability .It runs as “Untouchability is abolished & its practice in any form is forbidden .The enforcement of any disability arising out of :untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law .Dalits are barred from temple entry in many states of the country even after independence .The District officers ignore the sufferings of the Dalits. Caste discrimination has made the life of the Dalits miserable and intolerable . They are ill treated by the upper caste officers in each department of the government .Dr B.R.Ambedkar was of the view that “caste has ruined the Hindus ***the reorganisation of the Hindu society on the basis of Chaturvarna is impossible because the varna Vyavastha is like a leaky pot or like a man running at the nose (Ambedkar ,B,R. Annihilation of Caste ;Appendix –II:A reply to the Mahatma ;Jalandhar ,Bheem Patrika Publications ,1987 P144)

It has been observed that successive governments at the centre as well as at the state largely ruled by the upper caste Brahmins are to be blamed for their worsening condition on all fronts . Data given by the Ministry of Home Affiars says that the country is on the rise in the crime against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes .The report says ,in the recent years 40,000 cases were registered during 2008 about 3600 more that the previous year .Uttar Pradesh has the highest registered cases in the country followed by Madhya Pradesh and Bihar .The data by the National Crime records Bureau (NCRB) , a nodal agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs indicates a total of 49,810 people were convicted out of 1,90,857 arrested between 2006-08 under various sections of the Act .

There has also been an alarming increase of violence against women. A study of 500 Dalit women's cases of violence across AP, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and UP between 1999 and 2004 revealed that the majority of the women faced several forms of violence from either or both perpetrators in the general community and the family . The most frequent forms of violence were verbal abuse (62.4%), physical assault (54.8%), sexual harassment and assault (46.8%), domestic violence(43.0%)andrape(23.2%).

Thousands of cases of atrocities against the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes are found to be unreported & unregistered due to political clot of the upper caste Brahmins who exercise money power as well muscle power to nip such cases in the bud In the existing atmosphere of deep rooted prejudice I am of the opinion that even a Dalit Prime Minister can not prevent atrocities against the Dalits in India unless or until mentality of the larger section of the people is not changed in favour of the Dalits in India . The Dalits have rightly nursed serious apprehensions and insist that Hinduism played a role in their social oppression. Sections of the secular lobby have rejected Hinduism as irrational and unscientific. The cultural nationalists have given it a bad image through their strident advocacy of a militant and aggressive Hindutva. Many feminists are shocked by patriarchal texts like the Manu Shastras. These are enough reasons for the liberal intellectual to consider throwing the baby out with the bath water. With all these serious anomalies would it not be better that Hinduism is at least ignored, insofar as that is possible, since it is unlikely to die a natural death in the near future ? Dr Ambedkar embraced Buddhism ,a religion of peace and p rosperity and adviced millions of so called Dalits to follow suit to lead a dignified life .

On Nov 2, 2006 , addressing the annual conference of the minorities commissions, the Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh had said “It is essential that communal peace and harmony should be maintained and the minorities get a fair share in Central and State Government and private sector jobs”. He also stated that the minority youth should be trained with skills which will enable them to get their legitimate share both in public and private sector. It seems these are talks and talks only nothing substantial is being done to ameliorate the worsening condition of the Dalits .

Congress party having ruled the country for larger period has not made sincere efforts to ameliorate the conditions of the Dalits in India . Welfare schemes launched by the central government as well as the state governments proved to be ineffective to improve the pathetic conditions of the Dalits since a large chunk of the funds earmarked for the welfare of the poor Dalits are eaten away by the upper caste Brahmins who control the government machinery . It has also been observed that some unscrupulous Dalits in connivance with the corrupt officials of the government are also involved in looting the welfare funds meant for the needy,poor Dalits .Fake NGOs in the name of the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes being run by greedy Dalits need to be exposed .A new trend has been witnessed in the coming days that some of the upper caste Brahmins found to be running such NGOs and getting funds from different government ministries . The central as well as the state government should bar such fake NGOs running across the country and stop the loot .

Eminent social scientists have been warning the respective governments to take care of the minorities before a volcano of discontentment engulfs the country .Abraham Lincoln said You may fool all the people some of the time: you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all the time.

Rahul Kumar Balley is Director of Buddha Education Foundation
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