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.