DR SUNIL Kumar Nishad is a compulsive ‘Facebooker’, especially when on leave. On the surface, his barbs are aimed at anything — from EVMs to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. However, for Nishad, belonging to the Nishad community, which falls under the Other Backward Classes (OBC), ‘Brahmanvaad’ is the avowed enemy that has to be countered and called out. And he sees himself as a crusader on this issue on social media.
However, last week, some of his posts led to an FIR at the Parksite police station, in Mumbai’s eastern suburbs, following which Nishad was arrested, spent a night at the police lock-up before being released on bail on Thursday by a local court.
“The biggest problem is that people are equating Brahmanvaad with the Hindu religion. Brahmanvaad, like Manuvaad or Ambedkarvaad, are philosophies. I am against Brahmanvaad, which is a discriminatory philosophy encouraging practices like untouchability and considers one group of people superior to others on the basis of their caste. I am a Hindu myself but Brahmanvaad has nothing to do with any religion,” Nishad told The Indian Express.
“I am just following the principles of Jyotiba Phule, Shahu Maharaj and Dr B R Ambedkar, which talk about equality, fraternity and justice. Any philosophy that is against these principles, like Manuvaad, where a woman has to die because her husband has died, needs to be called out. What I post does not come from a place of hatred but for creating awareness. If anything, you are only improving your religion by doing this,” Nishad said. “I am, however, not a bhakt.”
“There is no point in becoming a devotee of someone. I am a follower of the thoughts of these great people. When Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule started a school for girls, people at that point had said that it was wrong, and harassed them. It was Fatima Shaikh and her brother who gave them a place to start their school. This is how people who follow a similar ideology — like educating girls in this case — come together. It has nothing to do with any religion,” he added.
Nishad, who originally hails from Noida in Uttar Pradesh, was born and brought up in Mumbai. He studied up to Class XII in the city before moving to Bengaluru to do a Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) course. He then returned to the city and currently practises from a clinic at Parksite in Vikhroli (West).
Ravindra Tiwari (47), a resident of the same area found his posts offensive and filed a complaint with the police.
Tiwari, who identifies himself as a social worker and a member of the Shiv Sena, said: “Nishad had been putting up posts against Brahmins and Hindus for the last two years. How can he say that he is a Hindu when he puts up posts saying that the Ramayan is fictional? Being a Brahmin, I found his posts hurtful… Over the last few days, the number of such posts had gone up manifold.”
“Recently, when someone went to his clinic for treatment, he started preaching to that person as well. That was when I decided to get a case registered against him,” he added.
Of the others who felt offended was Neeraj Upadhyay, a local resident, who is a part of the Bajrang Dal. “Even in the past, someone had put up similar posts. We had got a case registered against him, after which he stopped. We are hoping Nishad will also learn his lesson.”
When Nishad was produced in the court on Wednesday, he had a groundswell of support with seven lawyers filing vakalatnama for him. Dr Sunil Yadav, from the Indian Medical Professional Association (IMPA), who was present in the court, said: “I cannot understand how expressing views that the likes of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule had said in the past can be against the law. There were no grounds for registering an FIR against him.”
Will the police case change things for Nishad?
“Like any family, even my family (comprising his wife and a four-month-old daughter) has asked me to be careful. I showed them my posts and they agree with whatever I have written. I will write the truth and somehow try to put across that the intention is not to hurt anyone. Even today, practices like untouchability are followed and it needs to be denounced. Many of us are only academically educated, not socially educated. There is a need to make ourselves aware about our social realities,” Nishad signs off as he reaches his clinic to heal the ills that plague the body.
For those afflicting the mind, he has the social media