Modi is saving Indians from their own caste biases

The PM's statement has upset that mindset of maintaining a safe distance from Dalits and using them only for political purposes.

 |  6-minute read |   08-08-2016
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An assault on Dalits is an assault on the prime minister of India - that's how Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned those who are taking the law into their hands and attacking the scheduled castes in different parts of the country in order to damage the national social harmony.

PM Modi's statement, straight from his heart, will save the Hindus, and fail the conspiracy of those who were eager to use this issue to fragment society and sow the seeds of division for their nefarious games.

It's the biggest move to keep the social fabric intact.

Salutes to the timely intervention of Modi and the support he has received by the RSS through the very strongly-worded statement of general secretary Bhayyaji Joshi.

Also read - Why I'm not convinced with what Modi said about Gau Rakshaks

Seldom in the history such synchronisation has been seen by the Hindus. It's a momentous occasion indeed when in one stroke the massive plans of the poisonous social disintegrators has been failed.

The petty-minded secularist will not be able to fathom the meaning of this move though. He stands exposed and flattened.

Prime Minister Modi's words carry weight of conviction and sincerity and hence the message has gone in its strongest ever form.

No other prime minister would have dared to give this stern warning unless there was a strong commitment.

91_big_080816105831.jpg We treat our cows terribly. 

The way Modi has taken up to build the five places connected with Dr BR Ambedkar's memory - as Panch Teerthas - showed his imaginative dedication for the rejuvenator of Dalit society in an incomparable manner.

The incidents of atrocities against Dalits brought the anger in him to the fore. He was angry with all those who were plotting these incidents in a meticulous manner, bringing bad name to the Hindus and getting anti-social elements to create nationwide disturbance.

They thought that they could get away with their unpardonable acts in the name of fake gau raksha and sham religiosity. Hindu dharma shouldn't be held to ransom by these assaulters, those who wanted to kill Dalits for the "sin" of a temple darshan and those high caste writers who justified stone pelting in the name of a manufactured violation of rituals.

Modi has come down heavily on those who treat Dalits as a vote bank of Hindu society. In fact, these elements seem to be working in disguise to help anti-Hindu forces.

It's ironical that in spite of a long period of reformism and stalwarts like Shahu ji Maharaj, Dr Ambedkar, Swami Dayananda, Swami Vivekananda and Dr Hedgewar working to create an equal, non-discriminatory society, we have landed in an era when Dalits are murdered for just marrying a girl from a "higher caste", children leave school if a scheduled caste woman is appointed as mid-day meals in-charge, 22 sewer cleaners die of suffocation and poisonous gases and Parliament remains silent, a Dalit groom is assaulted because he "dared" to go to his bride's home astride a traditional horse, because that privilege is reserved only for the higher castes.

That's the India of today when Dalits go for a temple darshan with a sitting MP and they are stoned by an educated young crowd of higher castes and that stone pelting is "justified" by their co-traveller columnists and politicians.

The caste-based discriminations and a contemptuous behaviour by the so-called "higher caste" people towards their less fortunate brethren has become the biggest cancer of hate today.

Also read - Was Modi's message to Gau Rakshaks stern or hollow?

Politicians of all hues keep a studied silence on atrocities on Dalits if they don't see any electoral benefit in it. I have personally witnessed this in Uttarakhand.

The sudden rise of gau rakshaks, the segregation of the "low caste" people, playing with their pride and self-esteem became routine with sections, who were giving enough fodder to the anti-Hindu elements and creating disaffection against each other to help foreign funded mercenaries of faith.

The NGOs became active to inflate passions against the Hindus and we saw suddenly the leftists and Islamists jumping into the fray, in the guise of neo-Hindu reformers.

They had nothing to do with Dalit empowerment, nothing to do with keeping social fabric intact, they were the people who teased and mocked at Hindus by threatening to organise beef festivals and tried their best to wean away the Dalits from the principal body of the Hindus.

The die-hard, "high caste" Hindus, cast in the fossilised mould of ritualism and blindly following of yesteryears irrelevant dogmas, never thought to help cows saved from painful death by eating plastic bags, or to keep temples in order or to keep Ganga clean and pilgrim centres administered through well-trained priests well-versed in Sanskrit scriptures.

They never gave a thought that most of the night soil and waste of the hotels thrown in Bhagirathi near Gangotri is through the commercial places owned by pundits.

Also read - Gau rakshaks are anti-Dalit, BJP must worry

Once in Haridwar, I humbly suggested that the priests must have some decent, appropriate clothes while performing puja at Har ki Pauri for devotees, who come from far off places from villages and abroad too.

I had seen them wearing jeans, flashy shirts and reciting wrong Sanskrit shlokas, and that had hurt me most as I have been a Sanskrit student and have performed puja many times at home.

They burnt my effigies by twisting my statement and turned my advice into a sacrilegious act.

There are some very well maintained temples, great tradition of priests and highly inspiring gau shalas in the country. Honest gau devotees serve cows genuinely as their mother.

But the other side of this also exists and we must accept that too. We treat our cows terribly: give them special injections to yield more milk in a painful manner, starve calves and sell the non-milch cows to slaughterers. The milk we get is no milk at all. It is a white liquid sold in the name of milk.

The bitter truth is most of the gau shalas are run scandalously in an undesirable manner. And since long this factor has been embedded in our folklore.

Long back, in the '60s I had heard this filmy folk song from Punjab:

"Ram Naam Japade Te Khande

Gau Shala De Chande.

[They chant Ram's name but gobble up donations given for gau shalas.]"

True, most of the leaders who provided Dalits a place of honour and fought to get them equality in society were also Brahmins. Babasaheb Ambedkar's teacher was a Brahmin and so were Mahamana Malaviya and Savarkar.

But we hesitantly followed them.

Political persons were happy to use the weaknesses within the Hindu society for their vote bank gains. Modi has risen beyond that and has given a message of strength to the Dalits, making them feel one with him, and not treating them as a vote bank.

Till now we were going to the conventions of Brahmins, Thakurs and Vaishyas to sermonise on social harmony, collecting our medals of social work from them and coming home satisfied.

We never paid attention to the fact that hardly any scheduled caste appears on our guest lists for marriages, house-warming celebrations and Holi or Diwali parties.

We never cared for that.

But Prime Minister Modi's statement has upset that mindset and disturbed the status quo of maintaining a safe distance from Dalits and using them only for the political purposes.

Its impact will be felt in years to come.

Writer

Tarun Vijay Tarun Vijay @tarunvijay

The author is a former Rajya Sabha member and has directed a ten-part serial on the Indus river.

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