Mayawati did the right thing today, she didn't let anyone push her away from demanding the answer.
What if it was the Rajya Sabha, the House of Elders? Democracy better get over its hang-ups and think hard about Rohith Vemula and why he chose to commit suicide, the BSP chief must have thought.
All she wanted to know was whether there was a Dalit in the three-people committee probing the suicide of Rohith Vemula, the Dalit PhD scholar?
But HRD minister Smriti Irani had things to say, some pertinent and some extra-heavy duty TV hamming.
In the Rohith Vemula suicide, Irani, who has remarkably kept away from the JNU episode until today's statement, had to eat crow following an impulsively-called press conference. She had made a pointed reference to whether the suicide note which was doing the rounds then on mainstream and social media was actually written by Rohith.
|Smriti Irani in Rajya Sabha today.|
Irani had said if the investigating police had certified it to be the rightful copy of the suicide note. What was left unsaid by her was that she didn't think Rohith could write such moving prose.
Today, the live blog of a prominent newspaper pointedly said the House of Elders was anything but that.
The reason the blog noted that the House of Elders was besmirched was not because of Smriti Irani's attempts at public life but because Mayawati was not going anywhere without an answer. Thereby leading to adjournments.
Having lost the upper hand in the Upper House, Irani returned in the evening in the Lok Sabha where the BJP and allies hold a significant majority. Then she did what she's good at in a controlled atmosphere: a thorough denial performance, quoting among others, anti-communalism champion Teesta Setalvad , then some Roman whatshisname (makes pointed reference that if she had spoken of Chanakya, people would have made fun).
In this tearjerker, Smriti Irani, still seemingly rattled by the sight of a belligerent Mayawati, turned on the tearducts saying when she was speaking about a child (bachcha), how could people (read Mayawati) play only caste politics?
She then went onto divert Rohith's suicide by impugning something sinister on the Telangana Rashtra Samiti government.
The Constitution may say we are all equals. But privilege is the blind spot not one will see unless they are Dalit. Most people don't see the very real caste biases around them, for them caste lives in the villages. Don't people see the ever increasing number of rickshawalas who must have left their villages and moved to the city to time their work till the last Metro chugs in.
And by the sheer migration of peoples, hasn't caste migrated as well? And much before the Metro came by? It is hard for anyone not Dalit to imagine or even claim to understand what it is to be one.
There are many Dalit voices and websites on this topic for further reading, here's one.
Let Mayawati ask the questions and let's hope she gets the answers on Rohith Vemula's suicide and not suffer more diversionary attempts for the nemesis knows many feints and has a black (no pun intended) belt in it.
Let Mayawati ask the hard questions, 1) she's Dalit and 2) she doesn't suffer from the blinding of privilege that the Left and the liberals are stumped by.