“Untouchability is the greatest sin against the humankind”, and “Provide 27 percent Reservation to OBCs” are the new mantras which are in vogue in JNU. The campus is fully colored with the slogans of ‘revolution’ and social ‘justice’. JNU provides every new comer with an optimist picture of Caste-less, Class-less, ‘secular’ atmosphere in which s/he is free to explore her/his potentials for a better future. If you believe in these slogans and think that JNU is indeed a sensitive campus for social justice then LET US ASSURE THAT YOU ARE LIVING IN A FOOL’S PARADISE. To cut the story short, yesterday the campus witnessed yet another incident of Brahmanical casteism. The recent incident in the Periyar hostel, where the Dalit student was discriminated and penalized by the Warden for pasting Dr. Ambedkar’s photo on the common wall of the room is another burning example of the prevailing casteism in the campus.
After the above mentioned incident, we have noticed several ritualistic criticisms by political organizations and by the students Union with an argument that such kind of incidents will not be tolerated in the campus. “Dalit hiton ka hanan hua to Khun bahega sadko pe” etc. etc. We would like to pin point one thing here; Jawaharlal Nehru University is not a separate plateau or island. It represents the social, religious and cultural values of India. Here, in the most shameful way the degraded values of casteism are not only practiced but also the worst and rotten orthodox manuvadi brhamanical traditions are valorized and celebrated. Therefore such tokenism on Dalit issue is of no use as you are unable to understand the deeper sensitivity and bond involved in the Dalits’ relationship with the portrait of Babasaheb Ambedkar. The insensitive role of the progressive and Left political organizations over this issues represents a narrow middle class artificiality without taking in cognizance the way in which Ambedkar’s portrait have spread historically in the consciosness of the Dalits, and the meanings and stakes involved for the people who mobilise around it.
Babasaheb’s statue or portrait stands as a major feature of the Dalit movement in India today.
The conjecture is that the imposition of icons through statues in public places has enormously contributed in developing a sense of pride and dignity among the Dalits through which they are projecting their ideas of alternative state, nation, culture and political ideology. These statues and public and private display of Ambedkar’s photos represents the renewed aspirations of the Dalits towards inclusive democracy and greater equality. The iconisation of Ambedkar in public is the most assertive gesture of growing democratic consciousness of Dalits in India. The portrait or the statue of Babasaheb is the living symbol of human values and of a struggle towards establishing liberty, equality and fraternity in society. Ambedkar’s photograph represents the struggle against casteism for its total annihilation and therefore the manuvadi mind is unable to digest such a heroic representation which thrashes their casteist bravado and false pride of superiority. Last year after the desecration of B.R. Ambedkar’s statue in Kanpur massive violence was triggered in Maharashtra the next day, with angry Dalits torching two trains, buses and other public properties. Besides three people being killed by state’s bullets, more than 100 were injured in police firing and more than 3000 people were arrested in various parts of the state. On 4th December when the Dalit political parties decided to organize a massive demonstration in front of State Assembly at Nagpur, all major Dalit leaders were arrested and thousands of Dalit activists are arrested under pre-emptive measures.
Dalit movements throughout the country uphold the philosophical doctrine of Babasaheb Ambedkar and fight the Brahmanical forces by keeping our full faith in the cherished democratic constitutional setup. We fight for our rights, dignity and self-respect without falling prey to the violent-rowdy means of protest even at the heights of provocations. Our matured sensitivity gives us strength and courage to fight uncompromisingly against Brahmanical forces. In JNU we also respect the peaceful and democratic means to fight for our rights and dignity. But the casteist goons should also understand that our sincere democratic mode of protest should not be understood as our cowardice, or that we don’t know how to Kill the Satan. We are committed to the principles of democracy and peaceful co-existence which does not allow us to adopt violent means to show us our anger. We warn the casteist goons to desist from their vicious agenda, the time has changed, every mind of Dalit youth is not ready to supplement to the doctrine of democracy and peace. In future, every culprit of caste atrocity will have to face the anger and resentment which is burning in the hearts from more than 2000 years. We are discriminated not because they are powerful or in a majority, the simple reason is that we are not unified. We are not seeing the victim as our brother or sister but see him or her as a political instrument. We have failed to develop a moral and fraternal community amongst us which can fight tooth and nail against any act of atrocity or discrimination against our own people. Also we have failed to understand that to fight against Brahmanism is the foremost duty and responsibility of every educated Dalit. We therefore, appeal to the progressive section of this campus especially to the scattered Dalits to understand the gravity of the situation. This is high time that we follow the slogan given by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: “Educate, Unite, Agitate”, and raise our voice against the continuous attacks on Dalit students rights in JNU.