By YKA Staff:
In yet another shocking incidence of caste based violence, a minor Dalit girl was beaten up by ‘higher’ caste women in Ganeshpura village, Madhya Pradesh, on 13th June. According to a report by PTI, a case was filed at the Gadi Malhera police station on the very same day by the girl’s father. The complaint says that the incidence happened when the victim was fetching water from a village hand pump and her shadow fell on muscle-man Puran Yadav (belonging to a higher caste) when he happened to pass from there. The women of his family beat up the girl severely and even threatened to kill her if she was found at the hand pump again. A case under sections 323, 341, and 506 of the IPC has been registered against the accused.
Such incidences are symptomatic of a larger malaise that ails the social fabric of our country and cannot be seen in isolation with one another. It is important to address why the perpetrators, in this case, carried out such violence with impunity. What made them feel entitled to do so? Not long back, a Dalit man in Ahmednagar was killed for having a ringtone praising Ambedkar. A simple internet search would throw up thousands of results detailing such incidences happening everyday across the country, and these are the lucky few that find space in the media. The historical oppression and criminal abuse inflicted on those labelled ‘lower’ caste can not just be wished away, concrete and pro-active measures have to be undertaken to ensure that the order of the law prevails.
Awareness and acknowledgement are very crucial to understand how caste is an enabler, it is only after we have acknowledged the privilege a ‘higher’ caste grants us that we will start to understand the logic behind affirmative action. A lot of us living in urban India believe that discrimination on the basis of caste is a redundant idea and happens only in ‘backward’ rural areas, that we are more modern, liberal and tolerant as a society. But the fact remains that positions of power and privilege are denied to people from lower castes. Their representation in institutions such as media, colleges and universities, even state institutions, remains dismal. Of course there are laws against discrimination and provisions for reservations but their active implementation is not possible until those responsible for the implementation unlearn the social conditioning of caste bias and relearn to see them as fellow human beings deserving of equal status.