– Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Two kids who happened to born in the Valmiki community became the victim of deep rooted caste hatred which the caste Hindus have been nurturing since centuries. What was the fault of these kids. The fault is their being Dalits and that too of the community which is ‘supposed’ to keep the street, houses, ‘clean’. A community which has kept India clean, and carried the dirt of the caste Hindus for centuries is not allowed to live a life with dignity. Most of the Valmiki Bastis are out of sight for India’s politicians and officials. Not even the activists go at their place.
About two decade an English journalist wanted to do a reporting on the conditions of the manual scavengers in India and she asked me that she would like to visit a family. I took her to a friends house in Trilokpuri. She was in her car and it was summer season. She was not willing to come out of the car when she saw the condition of that locality yet I insisted. She came to the home but could not sit there for more than a minute. While I remained there she decided to be in her car. This was the story of Delhi but elsewhere, India has criminally kept the community outside the developmental work.
That is why, I said the motives of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan must be questioned and are questionable if it does not have meaning for millions of those who have been kept untouchables and isolated just for keeping India and our families clean. Why did Narendra Modi or his party not speak of the rampant discrimination that Valmikis and other manual scavenging communities face. where are the homes, the schools, the rehabilitation for the community who suffer untouchability and discrimination not only from the Savarnas but at many places from OBCs as well as some other Dalit communities who feel that they higher in the caste ladder.
Look at the situation of this village in Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh where Avinash,10 and Roshini 12 years belonging to Manoj Valmiki’s family were killed brutally by Hakam Yadav and Rameshwar Yadav. Why was the killing ? The two were defecating in open. Nobody asked why ? According a report in the Indian Express paper today, there are 300 families of Yadavs in the village, followed by Jatavs but the Valmikis who lives on the absolute outskirts are merely two families. Both of them live in the semi constructed house and do not have any toilet. As the village is dominated by the Yadavs, it is for sure that these Valmikis must be used for cleaning their dirt and since they might now have the toilets at home, they would definitely get upset with the community as what is their work. The children clearly inform that there is deep rooted caste prejudices and untouchability against them in the schools.
The villages in India are the copy of Manu’s model and every basti is based on the caste. The caste system is followed fully and in great adherence. The other communities have no sympathy with your issue. Look at this village. Two children are murdered brutally and there is not a pain, not a shame or remorse to this 300 families of Yadavs. In fact some of them are defending the act, some are suggesting that Hakam Singh was ‘mentally unstable’ and he would have killed any one. So these are pretext to save them. Where were others when this happen. In village, nothing happen in isolation, people gather in large number when things happen but when they realise that it may be problmatic, they keep quiet.
Can you imagine that two kids were murdered by two caste Hindus who consider themselves caste superior, and none of the villagers ever bother to visit the families of these two. The community is defending the criminals and has no time to assure the families of these children that they are with them and they will get justice. This is caste hatred. That even after the crime, you shameless morons dont even think it to go and meet the families, apologise them, assure them. No, the cowards and criminals will get polluted if they visit the families of these untouchables. Where will you get such a barbaric society where after murdering the kids the castes dont even bother to attend their funeral just because they fear of getting ‘touched’. This is the power of caste that it blinds you. Right and wrongs become caste based. The criminals get strengthen from it because caste stand with them. This is pure caste preveledge and I can say even the police will fail the case. After some days, the case would be forgotten and things will come back to normal. If this Valmiki family make noise, they will try to shut the mouth with money or threaten them to leave the village.
The big question is why dont we speak against it ? When did our schools taught our children that untouchability and caste discrimination is a crime ? Did Swachcha Bharat and its proponents ever speak about it ? Why is the entire campaign to clean India not reach the Valmiki Basties or dom bastis ? Do the officers or civil servants who have Janeu and red tikka over their forehead, or wearing rings given by different Babas in their fingers or big rudraksh thread, ever visit these Bastis ? Can they do justice with the poor and marginalised if they continue to live in their caste glory. Why no severe action is taken against students, teachers, staff, parents, gram panchayats if cases of caste discrimination come to light.
India’s constitutional provisions have not worked hundred percent on removing untouchability. Constitution actually did not eliminate caste. Baba Saheb Ambedkar always talked about social democracy and felt in the absence of it, our political democracy will fail. Our politicians have ensured that we remain Manu-ised socially to ensure that this constitution fail because if it succeed then we will have an egalitarian society based on equality, liberty and fraternity but such a society would annihilate the caste privileges being enjoyed by various communities and their leaders. It is because of these privileges that the Manuwadis dont want the caste to go.
Coming back to this case, what is Kamalnath’s solution to this issue ? What is the compensation on the issue ? If Congress is sincere, it must take the task of honorably rehabilitating the Valmikis and other communities engaged in manual scavenging. Give them land for farming, provide their education hostel facilities and take full care of their education, give them employment in non sanitation work and declare untouchability as crime against humanity and punish all those who do it irrespective of castes. Will our leaders ready to take this ? Will our progressive find time to discuss the damages that manu-streamed polity has done to this country ?
Murder of Avinash and Roshini is a hatre crime, a crime against humanity and India need to give this issue top priority and not to side track the issue under certain pretext. All claims of progress, great power, great civilisation are bogus and Hippocratic as long as we have untouchability and caste discrimination in our society.