Foreword:The following post is a loud-thinking to myself. I am not sure if I am politically correct because I don't in this issue really understand what exactly a Dalit-identity is. Several people claim several things and the existing corpus of Dalit-literature, created by self-proclaimed Dalit writers themselves, does little to clarify too! So, rather than taking an angry stance, if any comments, please try and clarify than taking cudgels and arms against the post. - Author
News: Dalits among Muslims and Christians must also be considered for Reservation.
Post: I have a serious doubt. Are the Dalits of India (pronounced by my foreign connections as Day-lights of Indeea!) a religious lot or a community (which I interpret as caste-based) or a class (economy based)?
If they claim to distance themselves - like the Dravidians of Tamil Nadu do - from Hinduism by such expressive means as "Name conversion ceremony from Hindu (and hence Aryan) to a Dravidian or Neutral Non-Hindu Language-based Name" (Eg: Srinivasan or Seshadri or Vinayakamurthi becoming Thamaraikannan, Ezhilazhagan etc etc), then Dalit movement by itself becomes a religious affliction. For, any scattered bunch of people who happen to be brought together or who happen to come together upon commonly identified and accepted code of so-called guiding principles or tenets or ideals of belief to conduct a certain way of life is a religion. It has been the case of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Taoism, Santeria, etc etc... irrespective whether it is pagan or heathen or genteel school of belief. Then, there can be no Hindu Dalits or Christian Dalits or Islamic Dalits and hence the news above is just another politicisation for someone's ballotry gains.
If they are a community or a caste, then they automatically become Hindus, since according to anti-Hindu believers, caste system is a Hindu evil, which nevertheless they aim to for their vote-banks. According to those who harbour the grudge theory that caste is a Manu-invention (originally based on the type of labour one did) and is discriminatory, caste is a Hindu subventive theory. Then, those who call themselves Dalits and still seek to identify with a certain section of Hindu sentiment, belief, whatchumight call it (the boundaries being very thin!), are not dissimilar to the so-called Christians by religion (right to conversion of belief) but constitutionally Hindus by community or caste (this is one time they never derecognise the Constitution); which idea is the most dubious notion of existence one can have. I have always wanted to ask this question to someone to seek an appropriate answer: how can one be a Christian Nadar or Muslim Mudaliar. Nadar and Mudaliar are Hindu casteist denomination which have only managed to vanish from the Road signposts! You can't technically belong to two places - neither physically nor in terms of identity. We know those terms Asian American or Afro-American are only classifications brought about for convenience. Those terms do not fetch anyone any special status.
Although technically you can belong to two spaces, to use it for profit means is sheer exploitation or manipulation or taking advantage of a system. This cannot be considered being contributive to the country's common good. And, in 9 out of 10 cases this is what is happening in India today: EXPLOITATION OF THE SYSTEM and MANIPULATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL GUIDING PRINCIPLES IN THE NAME OF INTERPRETATION.
Once upon a bluemoon, our national leaders and politicians sought to erase casteism. Today's politicians are self-styled national leaders and decision as well as law-makers (and -breakers), who in turn are anyway nothing but a bunch of goondahs and criminals seeking to further casteism and further divide the society to kingdom come and thrive on discrimination. We have eschewed the policy of "We are all God's children and are part of an Ekta-Nation" in order to embrace and engender an Ekta Kapoorish nation that believes in revenge and betrayals, bent on building a revanchist country compartmentalised by communal differences. And the train of Bharat continues to rush through a Kafka-esque tunnel towards some blood-thirsty landscape, God help it!
I am terribly convinced that today if we draw a guideline map of India, we can easily start dividing it with white plot-boundary marker stones that can very smoothly fall into areas of community concentration. Anyway, back to issue at hand. If these Dalits are a community then why divide them into Hindus, Muslims and Christianity? If they are entitled to their own beliefs as well as literature, not to mention songs of ode as well as lullabies, then they are entitled to their own existence. As a self-respecting individual, any person who has consciously decided to shirk the binding cord to one -ism and break the so-called oppressive shackles of a way of life or path of belief so thrust upon one must seek to identiy one's own uniqueness. It must be clear cut. Not borrow the best of both to convenience.
I just am not able to fathom this duality. Do we call it a corporatising of community in today's adaptive world of best practise theories!!! For soon when the day comes that all Day-lights of Indeea realise the need for a separate sun and moon and stars to behold and their own Cauverys and Gangeses, they would want to convene en messe under their own blue skies unsullied by other blue skies, unaided by a Dyer or a James Custer. Then there would be a Dalit Nadu or Dalit Pradesh or Dalitchal or Dalitistan or Dalitland, depending on how they congregate where. Would we probably also have Dalit-Deras? What use is having divided conferences and branch offices? Else the Dalit National Identity would suffer, as so many other identities have. (As such we have a IOK and POK and an independent J&K. We are already marching towards Chinese claims to Indian Occupied Arunachal Pradesh and vice-versa) Then you cannot seek a separatist country status as did the Khalistanis of the 80s, the Baloch of Pakistan, the Nagas of Nagaland etc, etc. Then I cannot seek a visa to go to these lands, so near and yet foreign countries within the sub-continent.
India is the next EU in the making. We soon shall have an Indian Union - a continental sub-continent with 50 country states and neighbouring Bangla as well as Nepal, Kashmir etc seeking I.U.Status. Especially Kashmir! And there would soon rise an Orhan Pamuk of the Kashmir. And etc, etc... And this year we are celebrating 60 years of Indian independence!
The point is: why do we need a centralised governing body in the name of a county that is so pseudo-secular. Secular in spirit but not in body? What is this Indian-ness that I must cling to? And why the once in four years tamasha called elections? Call back the Pommies. We were more united under them before 1947 and had a better sense of oneness.
Cry, my beloved country!