Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Caste and Prejudices

Debrahmanise the Education’s holy cows

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Let me start this article with complimenting young Anoop Kumar, who has brought out a crude reality, the mess created by the caste prejudices in our educational institutions particularly those of higher learning. Anoop Kumar’s report on the conditions prevailing in Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, particularly in their treatment to Dalit students is actually not new. Those of us, who have been interacting with the Dalit students know well how these institutions are the domain of the brahmanical elites of India. We know how similar reports about IIT Powai also came out last year but passed as unimportant. Anoop Kumar need compliments for his work as it was timely and has helped highlight the issue of discrimination against Dalits at various level, particularly now at the centers of learning as Dalits are now challenging the brahmanical elite in their own caves.

Prior to the IIT’s discriminatory attitude, we had seen the prevailing conditions in AIIMS, India’s premier medical institutions which I renamed as All India Institute of Manuwadi Studies, as the students there were not really interested in learning and treating the patients but involved in controlling the institution. And one wonder why the Thorat
Committee report is pushed under the carpet which investigated the entire case of harassment of Dalit students in AIIMS. The way the anti reservation stir was created and publicized in the media shows how far the brahmanical mindset can go in denying the Dalits and other marginalized communities their constitutional guarantee as they rightly feel that once these institutions are debrahamnised, the hegemony of a particular caste will crumble and that is why such resistance against reservation.

It is also time to ponder as how just a few hours ago, the brahmanical friends of Dalits have been citing examples of the OBCs as being the real enemy of Dalits. Now time to think, whether, India’s elite institutions really have been debrahmanised. The Shudra slaves of the brahmanical system might be a cause of concern for the Dalits in the rural India but the fact of the matter is that they are no where in the institution of higher education and elsewhere to discriminate against Dalits. In these institutions of knowledge live the ‘soul’ of brahmanical order and they will go out and out to resist any changes in the structure in them.

Hence, it is time to take of their activities, expose their caste prejudices and use all methods that we have to debrahmanise them. These institutions dominated by the modern day Dronacharyas are a blot to civilization and time has come to make our final assault on them otherwise, they would never allow this to happen. They will use courts, media and even our political parties which want to look ‘modern’ and ‘progressive’ and are ‘interested’ in helping the ‘upper caste’ ‘poor’ students also. What should we do ? Expose them, unite all the oppress communities as hatred against them is common, push the agenda internationally also, send the reports to all international bodies like EU, American Congress, British Parliament and human rights bodies. Many nationalists would object to this, but definitely for us, when the media become a party to this whole
Nexus, it is important to make international community aware of such practices which still exist in India.

The games of brahmanical deception are bigger. They come through fake certificates in the name of Dalits to anything under the sun. that’s why transparency international finds India one of the most corrupt countries. Hence any one who is getting benefit under the quota for Dalits may not even be originally a Dalit. The case against an upper caste doctor in Delhi is still going whose ‘parents’ got him ‘adopted’ by his ‘Dalit’ servant. He did not know the game and signed things long back. So the upper castes are ready to become anything to get access to these institutions.

Even when the reservation never had an economic criteria and no body ever ask that the general seats should be filled with the poor students because the entire anti reservation debate is not based on merit but on total hatred and prejudice. It is an attempt to block the entry of Dalits into these institutions. If they enter by dint of their work, then they will be targeted.

About a year ago, our friend from United States send a general mail about a ‘poor’ Dalit
Student being kidnapped and kept as bonded in Badarpur area of Delhi. The mailer wrote a note that all the Dalits should help this guy from the clutches of the brahmanical forces. It was mentioned that this poor Dalit boy had done his MCA from Banarse Hindu University (BHU). The story goes like this that Mahesh hailed from a landless family near Faizabad. He had to take loan from some Vishwakarma ( MBC) for his education. Unfortunately, at the time of his final examination, his father fell ill and he had to further take the loan. Vishwkarma paid him the money but in lieu of it, he took the original certificate of this boy. When Manoj did not pay money, this man sold him to some truck driver in Delhi and since then he has been working as a bonded cleaner in the truck.

The contact number of this case was given. Out of sincerity, I decided to follow up the case by checking with a number of friends in Delhi. Since there was not much of information available about the person, I called Sanjay Chaudhury, our friend in Banglore, who was actually a friend of Manoj. Afterward, Sanjay became a dear friend. In him, I found a person really concerned about his fellow student friend. We both, kept in touch on phone and every day there was a new story coming up. Sanjay was passing me the vehicle numbers and I was becoming made contacting a few friends in the UP Police to find out. Sanjay too gave the details to a big legal luminary in Delhi who passed the information to UP’s police chief Vikram Singh. The police started calling me about it but they were too disturbed that every information that Sanjay or I was giving to them was turning out to be fake. For us this was a bad situation.

One day, I decided to put this information to some Dalit friends of BHU. I thought, it would be better to check with them the antecedent of Manoj and how come a person who has done his MCA, can be held like a mouse by a truck driver. All those police officers, I spoke to, actually felt that this person is absolutely of a brahmanical mindset, a slave. Our friend in BHU informed that Manoj was a very simple person but never really participated in Dalit programme. Ofcourse, the Dalit students used to collect funds for him to pay his fees because he was not in a condition to do so. I asked my friend Deepak Gautam, who is doing Ph.D. from BHU to investigate it separately. Let the police do the work, but let us also find out the details of this person, who he is and where he hails. In between Sanjay informed me that Manoj is not wanting the case to be pursued. I felt bad that for the past five six months, we had really felt disturbed because of his case, calling to different officials in UP, MP, Delhi and Chhatisgarh for help and this person has been telling us different stories and now he does not want us to follow. Something came up in my mind and I spoke to Deepak to go the Computer science Department and find out the details, the family of this boy. While the police was raiding different places and found that this person does not exist and all the addresses he has been giving us were fake. Our condition was becoming more embarrassing. Just when things were getting out of hand, Deepak informed me shocking news. ‘ Sir, Manoj was not a Dalit student, he was actually Manoj Pandey, and has betrayed us. For us the case was closed. I was keen the BHU Dalit student group file a case against him for forgery but nothing seemed to move.

The point I am mentioning here is how the Brahmins are ready to become Dalits, use their money and romanticize their poverty. Deepak informed me that University was not keen to pursue the case. Why will the university pursue a case against a Brahmin boy who has through forgery not only cheated the constitution but cheated the friendship of a number of his friends?

But the same facility is not available to the Dalits. Abhishek Priya Anand was a bright student pursuing a specialized course of Ph.D from National Law College, Raipur. A bright science student, Abhishek joined the university by dint of his merit and not through a quota. He completed his M.Phil on time. A change in the vice chancellor of the University changed his fortunes. The new vice chancellor, a shameless upper caste, never felt that he would be destroying the life of a bright student. He told Abhishek that the courses that he had applied for are not available in the University. Abhishek’s scholarship was also stopped. He complained to National Human Rights Commission. I filed the petition in the Commission but except for sending a show cause notice to the state, the Commission does not even know whether it has got the answer or not. These so-called autonomous bodies mean nothing for people who want justice. How long would a young boy wait for it. Today,. IIT’s students do not come out in open because they know that the teachers have the capacity to destroy their career. These modern day Dronacharyas want Eklavyas and modern day Dalit is not ready to follow the ideals of Eklavya. They are asking for their rights and share. The national institutions of repute could not save Abhishek. His vice chancellor threw him from the hostel for his blasphemous act of contacting the NHRC. Now, we talk so much but rarely find time for our fellow brothers. The person who fights the first hand knows it well that it is a difficult battle ahead. Abhishek dream of pursuing a Ph.D. lay shattered but then he is a dynamic boy and is pursing his dream from somewhere else. But not every one could be Abhishek. The family background of the youngsters shows that they can not wait for long. Parents want their children to send them money. They might not even know that their son or daughters pass through such a horrific test of life in these brahmanical institutions.

At every level there are such people who are out to harass the bright Dalit students. In 2001-2002, a bright young Engineer Jyoti Prakash Bishwas was harassed by his Bengali bosses on various charges in the PDIL Noida. Jyoti’s fault was that he was a bright engineer and could compete with any one outside the government. First, the officer charged him for dereliction of duty, simply because he responded to a caste remark made by the officer. Jyoti’s wife was a government teacher in Kolkata and precedence says that he should have been transferred there. Her medical expenses were rejected. Jyoti studied in the Rama Krishana Mission School in Kolkata so was still influenced by the Brahmanical values that time. He was tall and handsome and had never realized that he belong to ‘reserve’ category. After the harassment, he decided to quit the job and was getting offer in big multi national companies. The Brahmin bosses of Jyoti did not even allow him to resign. They were simply not pushing his application forward. Jyoti was a harassed person. I tried to help him out by investigating the matter through PUCL Delhi and submitting a report to NHRC and SC-ST Commission but nothing materialized. These commission can raise the political issues but when the life of a common person particularly a Dalit is concern, their officials behave according their castes.

Jyoti left Delhi. He decided to leave the job. We lost touch. He felt that these so called autonomous bodies are nothing but sham. The SC commission wanted a compromise because the connections of the higher up. He was frustrated man. But he still remembered me and used to send me greetings every year. One fine morning in 2004, I got a mail from him that He is happy with his children and wish me a happy new year. The most important point he mentioned was that he was going to Umra ( Haj), as he embraced Islam and became Abdur Rehman Vishwas. He was blunt that Indian institutions can not help the Dalits and their dignity whether we feel proud of our political class and political empowerment.

While One might not subscribe to the solution Jyoti offered in form of embracing Islam as it is entirely individual choices similarly as Baba Saheb embraced Buddhism, but Jyoti’s revolt against the system reflect he mindset prevailing over in our great institutions about the entire issue of representation of Dalits in our colleges, institutions and elsewhere. The teachers behave like defender of their caste, taking moral high grounds.

The institutions of higher learning are in control of this brahmanical elite and the religious rights of all variety are targeting Dalit and Adivasi children in to their educational system. Hence you find these Saraswati Shishu Mandirs in the rural areas. What is the attempt ? It is to catch you in the childhood and control the revolutionary spirit of a Dalit mind by pushing you to religion and religious practices. And that was the problem with religiousity as it converts you to nothing. Dalits battle for dignity is much bigger battle than a mere political one. It is the rejection of the murky world of brahmanical values which remain full of hatred, deception and betrayal. The war is multifaceted and can not be fought with corrupt political class which has been co-opted.

After the Mandal recommendation got implemented, a large number of Dalits and OBC students are qualifying there without using the quota but the UPSC is still pushing them in to quota bracket and therefore denying the others a right to enter. It is the fear of this elite that has made them respond like this. Initially they were blaming the Dalit Bahujan that these people lack merit, they can not compete with others but now when the students are topping the exams and entering into their domain through the merit defined by the brahmanical system itself, then they are bracketed into the OBC or Dalit category.

These unfortunately are the realities of Indian institutions. We have to get angry and ask questions. The power people of the Dalit community should unite and think of their own institutions in the similar terms of Christians and Muslims, to develop parallel institutions of excellence as Ambedkar tried in his last days, by sending Dalit scholars abroad and by starting educational institutions and libraries for Dalits in India itself. But then Ambedkar remained thoroughly committed to society and a man intellectually capable to hit the back bone if Brahmanism. Can we expect our friends to rise up the occasion and think on these lines? Debrahmanising the educational institutions is a must and for that Dalit not only should have alternative institutions so that their youngsters do not live in suffocation in these so called higher institutions, which actually are killing them inside, and making them lamb to be easily eaten by the power brokers and bhudevtas.


Anonymous said...

Dalit is a false political entity created by grouping thpousands of castes. Not all of them were oppressed and many werepolitically powerful. So nothing to be surprised ifsome amrginal caste person fakes up a certificate of SC or ST. These certificates are not sacrosanct. Just a ploy to get economic, educational and political sops. This will continue till rich dalits (there are rich and very rich dalits) stop benefitting from the reservation and make way for the poor and suffering. All you are now left from the 60 years of reservaqtion is a petty bourgeoius class of dalits. As long as you work on these political cliches of Brahmins-Bahujans - sarvajans these injustices will be always there. You can never zero in to the real toiling and suffering masses of India. Just play some power politics and write silly articles like these fooling yourself and others. Just junk.

Anonymous said...

Dalits should leave Hinduism and embrace christianity or islam. I wonder what is stopping them. We can finish the caste system and Hinduism in one month if sizieable number of Dalits convert.