‘Democracy day’ was being celebrated yesterday on social media where political leaders ‘greeted’ their ‘bhakts’ and hailing India as one of the ‘biggest’ democracies of the world. Things are moving so fast these days that it has become too difficult to focus. The power of information sharing has reduced the power of ‘thinking’. Visual world is so attractive that we are unable to think beyond our own ‘publicities’. The culture of ‘selfie’ has actually made us extraordinarily self-promotional looking for ‘accidents’ to share information, share our concerns and forget the incidents after few days.
The results of JNU Student Union Elections are out and the left has won handsomely but then this year showed the desperation of the right wing ABVP to win at all cost. Prior to that, the Delhi University Student Union Elections saw the worst fear that India is having with the electronic voting machine. With 42% votes the ABVP won elections but not without the charges of rampant favoritism and malfunctioning of EVMs who incidentally were brought up in the Delhi market and not supplied by the Election Commission. Whether we win or lose, the fact is that the right wing has got huge support and acceptability in India and that is the worry. If our Universities and colleges are still supporting the right wing politics it clearly reflect the crisis that we are facing. It is not surprising though shocking that an undemocratic society is using ‘democracy’ to strengthen the social superstructure which encouraged and promoted inequality. Baba SahebAmbedkar had warned against this social inequality which could be detrimental to democracy if not resolved on time.
Today, DrAmbedkar’s warning is coming true. India is at the cross roads. It may be declared as one of the most dangerous countries to visit but the fact is for a huge number of Dalits and Adivasis in this country, the society has been a nightmare. Every day, we witness such cruelty for which words are not enough but the last four years have only strengthen those forces who have perpetuated the caste crime. Prior to that, there was a bit of acceptance and guilty conscience feeling but now it is more as a right and show of absolute disregard towards the democratic constitutional norms. I have always maintained that this country has given youth a right to vote and elect our prime minister or our government which we all feel extremely proud of, yet the youth in this country decide who to love, what to eat and what to wear and who to marry ? In the last four years, these issues have been aggravated. The entire campaign against self-arranged marriages in this country in the name of ‘Love Jehad’ was basically nothing but to stop parents supporting any such marriage. Parents do not support intercastes, inter-faith marriages except for a very tiny minority who stand with the choice of their children but a majority do not accept it. Most of them accept after several years when they become ‘grand-parents’. Here too, the case has not merely a caste bias but patriarchical element too. If the girl is a caste Hindu while the boy a Dalit, the acceptance is difficult. You have to change. The humiliation is complete. I know a friend from Tamilnadu, now settled in Delhi, faced this dilemma. His sister fell in love with a Brahmin boy. The marriage was to be solemnized in Chennai and the entire family went there. The Brahmin family did not allow the bride’s maternal uncles to ‘perform’ the ‘kanyadanam’, instead they asked their own people to do it. The bride’s family was kept completely isolated during the marriage ceremony. They all return with deep resentment though the girl got what she wanted. She even compelled her mother to give her dowry. Many times, our youngsters want to get everything even at the cost of humiliating their parents. These marriages do not have a clear understanding of social cultural situation and hence after the temptation is over, they face the brutal realities of our life.
There are two important cases where the victims are the Dalits. One officer of the Indian Police Service in Uttar Pradesh committed suicide just a few days back. Though not much was heard about him but Surendra Das, Superintended Police, Kanpur took poison and died. According to news reports his marital life was not running well. His wife was a doctor and belonged to the so-called upper caste community. It was also reported that he searched on Google the pattern to commit suicide. The marital discord resulted in his suicide reflect the uneven nature of relationship between a person belonging to the Dalit community and that from the other castes.
Every year many young couples are butchered to death by the false pride of the castes. These shameful murders in the name of protection of ‘caste identity’ or its supremacy is the biggest threat that India has and unless we resolve to become a social democracy, our political democracy would be in a peril and just for the name sake. India is a hugely diverse country with multiple languages, religion and regions yet there are certain common traits right from the north to south, from east to west, between the Hindus and the Muslims, the Christians or Sikhs and that is the culture of caste supremacy and a hatred against the Dalits. All religions and regions of India have castes and practice the pernicious caste system and untouchability. The hatred towards those who challenge the basic supremacy of the caste system is enormous and they face the death penalty.
Murder to protect caste pride
Pranay and Amrutha were in love since 2011 when both of them were students.Pranay belonged to Christian community though his Mala identity remained with him. The girl belonged to Vaishya or Bania community and her father was a realtor. They got married on January 31stand were planning to settle abroad. Pranay had done is B.Tech and his brother was doing his MBBS in Ukraine. The 24 year old Pranay and his wife decided to stay put because of the pregnancy of Amrutha. On 14th September when Pranay and Amrutha were going to the doctor for the her medical check-up, a person attacked him from the back and killed him on the spot.Amrutha had always feared about the same as she was threatened by her father MaruthiRao and her uncle yet despite their opposition and protest she decided to be with Pranay showed that love will always conquer hatred.
MaruthiRao is a Bania or Vaishya caste person. Remember, a few months back how they opposed author KanchaIllaih for his remark about the community. For several days, they were abusing him and were really seeking his blood. Political leaders used the opportunity to fan the protest. Children were asked to urinate on Illiah’s photograph and women shoeing his photograph. Today, MaruthiRao killed his daughter to protect his caste pride. He has no shame in doing so. We don’t know what is left for him or whether he is too much confident of getting thing done in the courts. It also reflects the dirty Indian minds who are caste supremacists and refuse to change. Our education, our economic growths havenot change our attitude towards life. We remain deeply a psychic society unready to accept the growing changes in the society. Have we heard any Hindu organisations, Babas, SanghParivar, Hindu Mahasabha, Spritual leaders speaking against this heinous crime ? Will the Banias or Vaishyas as they are called in Telangana, speak up against this murder and isolate like Rao?
When KanchaIllaih was attacked, most of the political leaders did not come in support of him. They felt he crossed the limit. Many felt that they have business and work with all the communities so cannot annoy them. Even today, I can bet, most of the Hindus will have the same attitude. They will not speak thing openly but they would definitely justify the act of MaruthiRao. Let us see how this case moves ahead.
MaruthiRao as reported in the newspaper justified his act and admitted doing so. The New Indian Express reported on the issue“During interrogation, MaruthiRao reportedly told police that Pranay and his daughter were in a relation from class IX. When the couple were in intermediate, they had reportedly run away. “I managed to bring her back. I did not want to trouble Pranay, so I did not file a case against him,” he is reported to have said. According to police sources, MaruthiRao also said, “I love my daughter very much, but I am not interested in her love marriage with Pranay.’
I tried to convince her several times, but she did not listen to me. I am more concerned about my status in the society than my daughter. I am not worried about killing Pranay. I was prepared to go to jail and planned the murder.” Both the duo and the contract killers were nabbed in the city. Police also found that MaruthiRao had forced DrJyoti, who was treating Amruthavarshini, to abort her child. He reportedly offered a huge sum for the exchange of favor.”
Amrutha knew her father’s attempt to stop her friendship with Pranay. After marriage, she was aware of the threat to the love of her life but somehow they were unable to do so. You can’t trust the administration and police to protect you once you challenge the social norms. Pranay lost his life to absurd and rigid social norms of India prescribed the Manu and now justified by numerous babas and their political chelas just for the sake of their vote bank. A politics of hatred has emerged out of these love affairs. The term Love Jehad was created to hound the Muslims but the fact is that the Hindutva’s followers do not want people to mingle beyond their castes. The varna dharma has caste supremacy based on the purity of their sex. They don’t want children outside the wedlock of their own castes and maintain the purity of their ‘blood’. The entire issue of purity is nothing but concept of racial supremacy which has not got exposed.
The slogan Hindus must unite is very easy and the easiest factor for them is to keep on their anti-Muslim ranting. How will the Hindu dharma get united when it does not allow people to marry beyond their castes? Will prime ministerNarendraModi, Amit Shah, RSS or art of living Baba speak on these issues as why our youngsters are being butchered in brutal manners. All those who are worried of Hindu dharma must speak up against such butchery. You have killed Pranay but more than that you have killed your daughter and her happiness. The psychological scars that she must have been facing today of this barbaric act would take a lot of time and courage to fill.
Amrutha is courageous which is why she chose her love over the money and everything that her father had offered. Love transcends everything.
According to The Newsminute report
“When they knew that I was talking to him, my uncle manhandled me,” she said. Speaking to the channel, Amrutha said that she had known Pranay since 2011 and that the two of them were planning to go abroad and settle there soon. However, they postponed their plans when they came to know about the pregnancy. She further added that she will not abort the fetus and said, “I will keep the baby with me as his gift.”
Will Amrutha emulate Kausalya
The stories such as Amrutha and Pranay are plenty in this country. The loveless country never wants young couples to enjoy their life and fun. Already, our lives are filled with troubles and hatred and whatever time and opportunity that we get to make love is consumed in worries of future and social acceptability. Youngsters have been killed for just being in love as their parents felt their caste supremacy was important and must remain pure and intact. Marriage beyond caste and religion actually threaten their ‘purity’ and hence they have no shame in even killing their own children.
In March 2014, we saw one of the most brutal murder of Shankar who happened to be a Dalit, for falling in love with Kausalya who belonged to a powerful OBCs who resented her affair with Shankar even when Shankar’s parents had accepted her. Kaushalya’s parents and other relatives hatched a conspiracy and murdered Shankar in the broad daylight in a busy street of Coimbatore city. Again the murder was very brutal but Kaushalya stood up with Shankar’s family and fighting to get her parents punished. She has shown exemplary courage in fighting against this social evil and today she has become a role model in Tamilnadu, a voice of reason fighting against caste discrimination.
Amrutha has the biggest challenge. She has to take care of herself besides standing with the parents of Pranay. We wish her strength and hope that she will see that the murderers are prosecuted and brought to justice. I salute her for her stand and I hope she remains on that solidly like Kauslya. They are far superior to those women who have seen such cases and yet surrendered to their families and kept their mouth shut. There are many such stories where compromises are done.
I wont say don’t love as being in love is the most dangerous thing today but I would definitely advice the young couples to ensure that they are economically independent and are not depended on their families. Please never trust your families. The problem is once they marry they feel that they are safe and the parents would accept them. It is not that simple. In most of the cases, it seems, the girls are in touch with their parents particularly mothers or others. In our caste based society, women don’t have any say and hence mothers mostly become part of the project that father hatch. It is sad but reality of our time. Things have not changed in India that way where parents could respect your choices beyond caste identities.
Let us hope that the criminals like Maruthi Rao get severest punishment but we need to do much more than this and not merely been reacting to them. It is time when we focus on the social and cultural crisis that India suffer from and try to resolve it. Politicians and governments won’t do it for sure. Power will never touch these issues. Only an awakened society can do it. As love bloom in the air, hatred will disappear and caste supremacy will have to go and that is the reason why we are afraid off. India’s current crisis revolves around its anti-democratic society which does not allow its children to enjoy life for the fear of losing the caste purity. Only a complete annihilation of caste will ensure success of our democracy but will caste supremacists be ready for it ?
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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