July 23, 2017 3:37:16 am
University of London’s Prof James Manor on Saturday said that accommodation between Dalits and upper castes was increasing despite an increase in anti-Dalit violence.
“I believe they are increasing more than the increase in violence and atrocity,’’ Manor said on the second day of an international conference on B R Ambedkar here. “I cannot prove it but I am fairly sure. There are, however, exceptions like Haryana and parts of Tamil Nadu.’’ Manor said that individual conflicts are increasing because there is greater social tension because Dalits are no longer accepting caste hierarchy. “The challenge to the hierarchy creates resentment among the so-called caste Hindus’ therefore you get more social tension.’’
Political psychologist Ashis Nandy argued that there was a slow change in the situation. “I do believe there are reasons of hope. There are number of countries with a caste system and untouchability. In Japan, the Burkamins are considered untouchables. If a country like Japan takes 150 years to break the back of a caste system, we should have some patience.” He said that there is no doubt that Dalits are victimised. “But there are sources of resistance, resilience. Dalits are not a passive receivers of welfare or violence,” he said, adding, “Despite their suffering, they also have their own culture of music and art and we must celebrate it.’’
Dalit feminist and Tamil writer Bama begged to differ and said that the caste system is a reality in Indian villages. “…people really suffer untouchability and exclusion for using common places,’’ Bama said. “Without tackling caste issues, we cannot live as human beings with dignity…’’
Bama said that she has little hope of caste being eradicated because casteism is increasing. “The more we try to liberate, the more we are suppressed. Look at this beef eating issue,’’ she said. “While paying the price of our rebellion and struggle against injustice and inequalities, we have also learnt to celebrate the strength of our rebellious culture and this gives us a heady and exhilarating sense of being human.’’ Bama said that this is much needed amid a lynch culture.
Bama said that 96 per cent of attacks on Dalits have been in the name of cow protection after the NDA government came to power. “This happens because their idea of India is based on fragmented humanity and narrow identities. As against this we have Ambedkar’s ideas and assertion of equality…’’
Bama quoted Ambedkar and said that “a religion that compels the illiterate to be illiterate and the poor to be poor is not a religion but a punishment. Hinduism based on a divisive caste culture will ruin the Hindus and ultimately India’’.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.