Born Dalit!

I always thought that there were two kinds of Dalits – the first ones who thanked the noble soul of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on 14th day of April for bestowing them a holiday filled with processions, liquor and street dances. Whereas, the second category has always been pondering at their pitiful social statuses and wondering what under the sun made this man so famous and great. Even after more than sixty years of Independence, the plight of a common Dalit living in the slums of the nation seems to be the same.

Caste-ism has always been deeply rooted into the veins of the Indian culture which is something that I hate to be proud of. In a society where last names are only meant to identify the sect, sub-castes and creed of a person, how can we really expect a change to happen in terms of social and economical upliftment of the poor? Slums have always been looked upon as the vote banks by the modern political leaders. It is sad but true that it is easy to lure them by enacting a pretentious savior or throwing away unforeseen promises. It hurts to see a significant number of followers to the leaders and political parties that are trying to categorize the citizens based on the language they speak. Their malicious and undemocratic division of the nation will only ruin the ethics and the cultural heritage of our country. In this course, the simple yet powerful teachings of Bharatratna Dr. Ambedkar often go unheard.

He was a born ‘dalit’ – that is how he was tagged when he made his entrance to this wicked world. Things were never as they look like today. It was hard to breathe a life of an untouchable – to affix a broom behind your waist and wipe off your footprints on the village streets, to not have the right to fill or drink water from the common well and to feel ashamed of oneself when a non-Dalit abused you after your accidental touch. The rights to education and to choose a profession of your choice were the options that a Dalit of that time wouldn’t dare to dream of. Ambedkar never wanted to be a leader in the true sense but yes he was a struggler. During his lifetime, he was humiliated every single day and I reckon, that must be his source of inspiration to fight against the society and get educated to such a great level. He was a thinker who strongly believed that man is the creator of his own destiny. All his life he tried hard to inculcate this ideology into the minds of the downtrodden sections of the society. Society is a no person and neither is the government. Every person has to fight his own battle to survive and excel. He was a man with exceptional abilities, immense confidence and a strong willpower. But to the deprived society, he was a messenger in the true sense.

A majority of the young non-Dalit population of modern India thinks that Dr. Ambedkar was all about creating unjust reservations in the constitution of India and that he is up to a certain extent, responsible for stretching the unjust practice of Caste-ism. I must recite that such thoughts are a result of shallow thinking and a narrow outlook towards our much broader society. A society with equal opportunities is never built in a day. When one feels that he lost his hard earned seat of an Engineering or Medical college to a less deserved Dalit candidate, he is just not covering the entire picture. It is just that he never owned a stake in the seat secured by the Dalit candidate. Colleges are mere representatives of our society. And when they are representatives, they represent the population. It is a hard fact that several Dalits are not even aware of something called as reservation. Many a times, reserved seats are helplessly allotted to a general candidate due to lack of eligible candidate from the reserved category. This shows nothing but the grim level of awareness among the masses.

In the world of today, to regard that every Dalit is poor would not be wise. There are handfuls that have progressed to a considerable level. But the progress is just not enough with regards to the huge Dalit population. Given that zillions of them are battling for their daily bread and butter, it is very hard to imagine them actually coming up and availing the benefits of reservation. Things were never easy and would never be; struggling and working towards self appraisal is the only way out. Ambedkar had a very clear motive towards generating reservations. These are no tools but mere means for the social upliftment of the long deprived Dalit population.

Today, the nation is celebrating 119th birth anniversary of one of the greatest gems of our country, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. No matter, his teachings will keep on inspiring many generations to come. I feel sad to see huge hoardings of Dr. Ambedkar conjoined with the local political leaders all around the city streets. In his pretext, they will continue to dance with joy and bliss. Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations will gain a true meaning only if a common Dalit really understands what this great soul really had to say.


  1. So very true. The entire Indian scenario has changed.. It is a sad truth of society that all our leaders aim for just power and money and no welfare.

    I agree with all of your mentioned points, Neeraj!

  2. "Reservations" was not the idea of Ambedkar. His idea was "Upliftment through Reservations". But that has been a lost cause. Even Dr.Ambedkar considered reservations to be temporary. The idea being that with the gradual upliftment of the SC and ST people, the reservations would also proportionally decline. But today, reservations have been so blatantly politicized that the Supreme Court was forced to put a cap on them.

  3. Dear Neeraj,
    Very nice article on Dr. Ambedkar.
    My name is Vasu, and I came here from Indiblogger.

    I belong to the young, non-dalit population you refer to, but have tremendous respect for Ambedkar, and what he has done for the upliftment of a community that has been having a very raw deal for centuries.
    I have to say I am ashamed I did not know today was the birthday of one of our countries founding fathers. He is one of those elite politically active people in our history whom I refuse to use to tag with the label "politician". I really appreciate how much I have learnt from Ambedkar form your article.

    It is important to look at the present status of dalits in india and assess Ambedkar’s controbution. Without Ambedkar the dalits would not have been noticed and treated as equals in the country; without him there would have been no Kanshi Rams and Maywatis. But with him around, there would be none of the ugliness that is associated with the modern BSP party.

    I think the modern dalit leaders such as Mayawati have raised teh pitch and created a polrized world where we tend to look at issues in black & white: Dalit Vs. Non Dalit, “Oppressed” vs. “Privileged”, and “We are flaunting our success after centuries of oppression”, Vs. “Why are these people making so many Maywati statues” brigades.

    I wish the media highlights the greed, corruption, and narcissism of other leaders as much as it does show the ugly side of Mayawati; but at the same time Mayawati becomes content with the money and power she has, with her clout amongst dalits, and uses it to actually develop her state by remembering that she is the C.M of all U.P people and not just its dalits.

    As a non dalit, born from a simple background, I did not mind that reservation denied me a premium college seat; I took it as an opportunity to raise my bar and worked that much harder, while bearing no ill will to a dalit guy who scored less, but whose parents or grand parents were treated as untouchables.

    The key is to look at the grey areas and have a balanced outlook & give up any traces of vindictiveness, or resentment any side may have. We need to move towards a more prosperous future for all. Two wrongs never make a right, and building a zillion status of a megalomaniacal Maywati, is not going to change the historical wrong of every other street, nagar, hospital in our country named after the Nehru / Gandhi dynasty.

    In many ways, I doubt Ambedkar would have sided with the present Dalit leadership, just as Gandhi would have been disgusted with the politics of people sharing his surname and chief ministers from his land.

    Ambedkar left us with am ever lasting legacy of the Indian constitution; I hope one day Mayawati realizes that such a monumental work is timeless, and people will forget her statues soon.


  4. Dear Vasu,

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments on the article. They are indeed commendable. All I feel that you have beautifully ellaborated the points that my article has briefly tried to put forth.


  5. I read this article yesterday, but did not comment.. back here today I am not sure if I am with you on this about Dalits and all.. I know i am going ot open a pandora box by saying what i am going to say. WHY DO WE HAVE TO OBSERVE DALIT DAYS OR anything like that..

    I am very much against this division of people, on one thing or the other. The reason we are in a state today is because of all this , EVERYONE knows that leaders take advantage EVERY ONE.. even the so called DALIT knows it ..

    BUT STILL WE VOTE FOR THEM.. cause it helps us also we get different avenues.. Do these leaders when they are sitting in there ALISHAAN houses they think of the DALIT who voted for them..

    THERE SHOULD BE NO reservations , no nothing simple..

    you touched a point about a seat reservation.. Why should a seat be reserved..

    Does a Dalit study more harder then a Rich man's son.. If he does then he should score more marks and he doesnot need reservation..

    we as individuals are so narrow minded, basically we do things as and when it suits us.. if we cant get something we try to find different avenues to get it, right or wrong...

    All these reservations that were made , were actually made for SOME TIME, they were not supposed to carry on for year and years and years..

    Basically some people are poor , some rich, I have worked my ARSE off, and YES i have worked harder then loads of DALIT people, to get where i am , I would hate it if someone else gets picked before me. I have toiled in our lands as much as the dalit who worked on our land.

    Its the same as i come to uk and start to use the BROWN SKIN card. NO

    Thats why on Vaisakhi day, 5 men were converted to PANJ PIARAS.. and these were from mostly lower caste and all turned to KHALSA .. one caste.. END OF...

    Till we get rid of these divisions we will always be a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.. no matter what..

  6. It's nice to know that someone is so concerned about those whom other normal people doesn't give much right as human.

    i agree ... nothing actually has been done for these people .... n yes there is a difference bet. a poor n a rich - a poor may not even afford to buy his books to study where as a rich - he can hire a private tutor to guide him the best .... so there shouldn't be any comparision.

    i guess ur govt. should pay attention on poor people or those under poverty line .... which are mostly lower caste people ... that might help to a progressed India !!

  7. first time on your blog
    you write with passion. very thought provoking post.

  8. Why do those who swear by him , remember him only on 14 th April
    Once we respect him, we must never misuse his name for political gains.

  9. I feel the country and its problems are in safe have imbibed the essence of India and a generation of our type can change India for ever!...WAY TO GO!

  10. If someone does not the Vows of God B.R. and does not follow them.
    then he does not know him.

  11. I agree with you. I also admire Dr Ambedkar immensely. I agree with all your points in this post.

  12. The start to the post was brilliant. I mean categorization of two kinds of dalits and then expressing their characteristics.

    An intelligent and well framed post.

    Keep writing


  13. i still dont know whats the concept behind tagging some1 as dalit our of any caste and providin with advantages and everything for votes, y cant we just help poor and needy irrespective of this caste n all..nice post.. :)i wish we were born just human..

    do visit my post and do promote it if you like it.. :)

  14. Hi Neeraj..

    Your thoughts are really good.
    But on the contrary, I see many 'educated dalits' talking nothing but hateful things about 'so called higher castes'.
    In my opinion, your thoughts are matured and real. If only they could borrow this from you.

    Keep up the good work.


  15. Hai Neeraj,

    You put it aptly in a mature tone.

    It is not the Dalits alone,the majority of the Indian population living today suffer from the impacts of the discrimination their previous generations were made to suffer, in one form or the other. Yes Ambedkar was there to represent the dalits. At his time reservation might have made some sense. But he never had even wished that reservation would be an effective tool that would help his future generation to acquire eqaulaity with the rest of the Indians.

    Things are happening in a fast developing India that would make him certainly disappointed.

    That there are people who do not want to accept that India has a history of discrimination and that Dalits are a people of innate disability who cannot develop on their own, should be taken as a challenge by the Dalits, on a positive note. And similarly the politicians' way of using them as vote-banks.

    It is time, India's historically oppressed come out of the reservation is our life-line thinking mode. This can be possible only with the initiative of the developed Dalits. There should be a new awakening among India's historically oppressed to do things for themselves, which was as you have pointed out Ambedkar's wish too.

    By the way I am new to the Indiblogger. While I was familiarizing my self with other blog posts I chanced upon yours. This is a topic of my interest too.

    I am linking with your blog.

    This is my blog. please read it if you wish so and say what you think about what I have written in my posts.

    All the best

  16. I simply don't understand why you need reservations? It should depend on your merit. I know people who have come up due to reservations and some of them are just not good enough for the jobs. So there is discrimination.