Sheema Zehra: Millions of years of human existence and humanity exist nowhere. The story of the partition of societies into many parts whether its color, religion, caste, gender, norms and so on exists since long. No matter there has been the revolutions and changes but the sense of division still survives.
According to Hinduism, the people are divided into 4 parts and they labeled these parts as “castes”. Caste is decided on the basis of birth and defines the individuality of a person and his social status.
• Brahmins-The upper caste which include priests and intellectuals.
• Kshatriyas-These are the warriors.
• Vaishyas-The merchants, traders or the land owners.
• Shudras-They perform menial tasks like that of servants or farm workers.
Besides these castes there is the fifth group of people who are considered outcastes and contaminated since birth. These are Dalits who also are known by “untouchables” according to the traditional belief system.
Dalits are the part of the society assigned to do the hereditary duties that are considered filthy. They work as the cleaners of human waste and dead animals, cobblers, leather workers and sweepers and in all this their individuality is lost, the individuality which is said to be at odds in people and which specify a person.
The Dalit population in India is estimated to be 300 million which is about 1/6th of the total population and such massive population is considered to be the one oppressed. No doubt India is a secular country and discrimination on the basis of caste, race, religion, gender and others is illegalized according to the Article 15 of Indian constitution but India can’t stand as the country with its citizens enjoying equal rights till date. According to the hindu rituals, Dalits are marginalized due to their own previous actions and this punishment to them is to be continued.
December 25, 1968, 44 dalits were mass slaughtered by the landlords of village Kilvenmani. The victims included 16 women and 23 children and their fault, demand of higher wages. In 1991, 13 Dalits were massacred in Guntur district when a young Dalit boy was beaten up in a cinema hall. Then in 11th july, 1997 11 Dalits lives were put to an end by the police in Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar Colony,Mumbai among which was a child too. There are thousands of other cases of atrocities on dalits which have compelled them for the revolt.
Oct 14, 1956 was a historical movement when over 3 lakh dalits rejected Hinduism and chose Buddhism as their religion under the committed leadership of Dr. Baba Sahib Ambedkar to set themselves free from the slavery and cruel rituals. After all the things Dr. Amhedkar did for Dalits, they consider him as the spiritual father of dalit movement and celebrate his birthday on 14th April each year.
Nevertheless, after sparing no effort and a lot of struggle, some people among dalits have defeated the rituals. Dr. Ambedkar, the one who wrote the constitution of India, Ram Nath Kovind, the currrent President of India and K.R Narayanan the tenth president of India, the famous actor Ajay Devgn all are the flowers blossomed from the dalit community.
Though some dalits have prospered in their lives, there is the majority who are helpless and badly off. Poverty and caste both unite together to determine the existence of a person but we humans could never unite determine our own existence.
Change to minds is the change to the society and will lead to prosperousness.