Independent MLA and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani attended a special screening of the movie, Article 15, organised by the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikaar Manch in Ahmedabad on Monday.
“There are forces in this country who don’t want this movie to be screened and then there are forces like us who will ensure that it is screened and there is a dialogue on it. We can’t ignore caste as a phenomenon in India,” Mevani said at the event. Over 200 activists and volunteers belonging to various pro-Dalit organisations in Ahmedabad also attended the screening held in Bapunagar.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mevani said that caste as a phenomenon remains an “elephant in the room”, which nobody wishes to address. “The phenomenon of caste has distorted life in India. Yet, unfortunately, we as a nation are not ashamed. We have the desire to reach Jupiter planet but don’t have the courage to throw the caste system away. Instead of addressing, debating and discussing about caste as an issue, we have only tried to put it under the carpet,” said Mevani.
Article 15, directed by Anubhav Sinha, is based on a 2014 case where two teenage girls were allegedly gang-raped, killed and then hung from a tree in a village in Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh. The movie speaks about the caste dynamics in the hinterlands of India and actively asks viewers to shun the system.
The movie faced protests from various pro-Brahmin and right wing organisations in various cities, including Ahmedabad. “A movie like Article 15 is a good beginning to ensure that there is an opening of dialogue on the issue. Caste is just not an issue of Dalits but that of entire India and sooner the realisation comes, greater is the chance that we can discard it,” said Mevani.