What night is donned upon my nation, lord?
“Atleast she has an employment guarantee.”
“Even if the employment is manual scavenging”
“Someone will do it, why not she”
“She is a little child. She also has a right to education and decent livelihood.” Ah! I then realized what void argument have I given. Who will provide them education and what will it fetch them? “She is anyway having two meals.”
And yes so true is that. Food is much more important than dignity. Even if they are maltreated it is their destiny. The concept of destiny has always remained a puzzle to me. And this destiny is based on the social status of their parents. Yesterday there was a shraaddh ceremony in my village. It is organised to worship, to acknowledge our ancestors. Therefore I made a rare visit to my village. While serving the food I saw two little girls, wearing tattered clothes and with unkempt hairs. On enquiring I came to know that they belonged to scheduled caste. One of my cousins told me that they are engaged in cleaning others’ excreta manually. I could not believe it. They were barely 5-6 years old. I was astonished at the fact that how agreeingly they had given in to the social discrimination. I gave them a sympathetic look but they didn’t react. They didn’t care about by compassion, they just wanted food. My sympathy would not satisfy their hunger and hunger is the most prominent feeling they have.
They don’t need dignity or education which will not bring them food. They don’t care if they have to clean gutters or do manual scavenging. They are not aware of their rights under Article 15, Article 17, Article 21A or Article 24 and they don’t give a damn to it. I wonder if the twinkling of stars ever reach their eyes. The time running on our wrists seems frozen in their eyes. How hopeless seem their eyes! They don’t question anyone. But once you see them it is impossible to escape (Tears fill my eyes). I wish the oppressor would also look at them once. We have made their life so blunt. Its a crime, I tell you people, it is a crime to kill even the hope of hopes. And then they talk about religion. What religion? Whose caste and cultures? Is God only of the rich and powerful? Do the oppressed have no God? A sin it is. I speculated if they were also acknowledging their ancestors these days. What will they thank them for?
Poverty and gloom is their inheritance and ignominy their heritage. Even after spending their entire life doing these odd jobs they gain nothing and remain trapped in this vicious circle. Nothing changes and generations after generations exhaust their life in it. Will someone come to their rescue? When I went to serve them meal I was precautioned many times by my kins to be very careful about keeping the utensils substantially far to keep them (obviously utensils) “clean”. Even after continually encountering social seclusion they remained undeterred. “You should be grateful and proud that you are born in human race, in a hindu family and that too in a BRAHMIN family.” According to my family being born in a BRAHMIN family was the biggest achievement of my life. But after seeing what I had lately seen these declarations seem so hollow. I feel pity, I feel guilty for being a brahmin. Where is humanity, God? “What night is donned upon my country, lord?”
Night which gets darker with the sunrise (as its the time to make the world cleaner and their life dirtier). Now the question arises is that how will it change? And more importantly who will bring the change? The more I try to find the answers the more disheartened I am. Who will provide an answer? Politicians- Though the law considers all the people equal but law-keepers don’t. If the casteism and thus untouchability ends, how will their shops run? How will they gain votes by dividing the society? They would not let this stigma end. Education- Even if they go to schools they will be discriminated and secluded. That learning has no meaning which leaves them despondent and unemployed. There is no use of education unless it is free and practical. Bureaucrats- Most of the officials are ignorant and indifferent towards these people though many people from their community are obtaining significant positions.
They do little or nothing to improve the condition of these people. Government policies- It is well-known that policies are never rightly implemented in India. Reservation is a fine example. The prosperous are the beneficiaries whereas the poor remain poor and needy remain needy. Common people- It is the foremost responsibility of privileged castes to be humane. I often think if really there is some God we would be punished, our life can’t be so perfect (though it really is not). I would like to summarise my message as FEAR NONE BUT GOD. However I often doubt the presence of God. I really can’t follow a religion which renders people hopeless and suppress their rights. My conscience is my God. And for the unprivileged sections, “God helps those who help themselves.”
So be courageous, be aware and send your children to schools rather than to clean gutters as it is not only about them but even the fore coming generations. Education is much more important than a little more money. I won’t end it on a sad note. The morning of this dark night will definitely come. I urge the people in power to visit these people and see how they have given up the hope to rise, how the dogmas of caste has ran down to their veins. And I request the advantaged sections to restudy the vedas and let these people choose. Make humanity your religion. And do remember that you are not following the Brahmin rules, so don’t push them back. I challenge you to beg for living before pressurising the oppressed to do this inhuman work. Rise! O rise! Before you fall. Let the positivity penetrate into their skin and get to their blood.
Let them live before they die. Provide them opportunities to learn the magic of words. Give them a fair chance to realise their potential and talents and choose their work so that Ambedkar becomes their soul and they his shadow. “…………………This division of labour is not spontaneous; it is not based on natural aptitudes. Social and individual efficiency requires us to develop the capacity of an individual to the point of competency to choose and to make his own career. This principle is violated in the Caste System, in so far as it involves an attempt to appoint tasks to individuals in advance—selected not on the basis of trained original capacities, but on that of the social status of the parents………………..” – B.R. Ambedkar