A voice for the voiceless
In India, around 80% population belongs to Hindu Religion now, and earlier it was almost 100%. The Hindu Laws becomes the customary law, followed by all. Bhagavat GITA and MANU SASTRA are the two important VEDIC Books, considered as Holy Books of Hindu Religion. In both the books, it is described that Dalits are the bottom most people in the caste hierarchy. The story goes on like follows:
These are three prominent GODS in Hindu Religion
In addition to this, there are hundreds and thousands of GODS and Goddess. It is said in VEDA that the Dalits came from the feet of the Lord Brahma, where as others came from the upper parts of Brahma. So, others are the upper caste and the Dalits are the lowest caste.
The caste hierarchy is as follows:
Correspondingly, the occupation is also fixed from age immemorial.
Though the Government has brought out number of Acts like untouchability Act, Human rights Act etc., there is lack of will power among the rulers, officials and from the people to implement and reinforce the acts. Due to lack of spirit in implementation of such social legislations, the Dalits are still oppressed, depressed and exploited in many ways. They are the marginalized people, living in the Harijan colony (not allowed to live in the main village, but at the last part of the village, live in clusters, in a small thatched shed, with a mud wall and mud floor. Usually, their house is just 10’ x 10’ (100 square feet). There is no proper lighting, ventilation and privacy for the family to live.
During nights, they sleep at outside, subjects to various insects bite, street dog’s bite and even other animals. Absolutely, there is no social, economic and political security for their life.
Roughly 20% of the populations are Dalits, nationally and regionally. This includes tribal community also. They are locally called Harijans, Girijans, Dalits and untouchables. ‘Dalit’ is the name for liberation of the oppressed. The people are liked to be called as Dalits, rather than Harijan, Girijan and untouchables.
Customary laws are the unwritten laws, which is more powerful than the written laws. So the Dalits are the neglected people for the social functions and family functions celebrated by the upper caste. So the Dalits are unseeable at marriage function, religious functions and at certain traditional ceremonies at home. They make references from the VEDA for the existing nature of ‘unseeable’ of the Dalits. When the single Brahmin comes out of the house and walk on the Street or at the Road, a single Dalit or group of Dalits should not face them straight. So the dalits are branded as “un approachable” Dalits are eating low cost food like Ragi, beef, night left over food, Kanji etc. This is because their economic affordability to buy mutton. Polished rice, sunflower oil, mustard oil etc. They are the hand working people, cultivate the soil from the morning to evening under the hot sun. Their skin becomes black becomes their work under sun. Their body has the smell of the sweat. They are not allowed to dress well and participate in the devotion/pooja at all temples because they are treated as “untouchables”.
In hotels, schools and in public places, there are two types of cups. One type of low cost cups is exclusively kept for the purpose of the use of Dalits. Even at the public common well, the dalits are not supposed to take the drinking water. So, they are socially neglected, marginalized and degraded to the level of sub human.
Dalit children are not getting admissions in good schools on the ground that they are Dalits, marks are less, unable to get extra coaching at home from the parents, because the parents are illiterate, unable to pay the school fee in time. They collect the fee Rs.30,000/- to Rs.50,000/- at the beginning of the school year and some times, this is divided as term fee as I, II and III. In all cases, the Dalits are not able to get the good quality education from the celebrated, result oriented, established public school. It is their long desired dream to get admission for their children’s education. In order to prevent the Dalit children’s from such school, the Government (advised by the Burocrats) open the schools exclusively for Dalits. In such Dalit schools, there are number of deficiencies. Some of them are as follows:
In view of the facts mentioned above, the quality of school education is becoming low and the Dalit children become the school dropouts easily. There are other reasons, attribute the higher rate of school dropouts. They are as follows:
80% of the Dalits are landless and have no skills. They are the unskilled labourers at the farmland. They are un-organized and so they get very poor wage, far below to the minimum wage fixed by the Government. A moment they raise voice, they will be sent out from the work. They are at the mercy of local landlords, who are always from the upper caste and they get political support for their dominant role. The Dalit women are sexually exploited, and provided the less wage for the same work done as of their male counter parts. Violence against women at the working spot prevails for women from all age group in all the places. Another 20% of the dalits have only less land and they are called as marginal farmers and small farmers, who are for the dry lands cultivation. They cultivate groundnuts, Ragi, sorkam, red grams and other pulses. These crops also depend on the monsoon. The frequent monsoon failures made them to dispose their land and settled down in urban slums and migrate to other places in search of their livelihood.
Politically they are disorganized. Though they have around 20% of the population, they never organized together under one umbrella at any time from the age immemorial. This is because, the upper caste people never allowed themselves to be united because of the fear that if they are united, others will fall from their positions.
So they are insignificant in:
Dalits have formed two political parties under two Dalit Leaders:
These two political parties are never united at any time for any common agenda. These political parties are serving for their own personal benefits and not for the benefits of the Dalits.
There is a tremendous potentially to become leaders at the panchayat level and at State level, if they are organized and equipped properly.
Dalits are the hand-working people involve in the lowest and ugliest work. So they take alcohol after their hard work. This has become habitual and considerable portion of money is being used for this alcoholism.
Their food intake is less due to poor income and poverty and so around 70% of the people have protein energy malnutrition (PEM), the children are not fully immunized and around 80% of the women including the adolescent girls are anemic. During their pregnancy, they are required to increase at least minimum 10 kg of body weight from the day one of conceiving and delivery. But unfortunately their weight increase is around 5 kg and so they deliver under weight babies (less than 2.5 kg as national average). Around 60% of the Dalit babies have less than 2.5 kg birth weight. These children are prone to more killer diseases and the infant mortality rate is higher among the Dalit (under one age) children than to others. The same children, when they grow and enter into the middle age, they get diabetes, hypertension and other non-communicable diseases. When they are the children, they are affected by the communicable diseases like tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid fever, diarrhea, skin diseases and when they grow, they get into number of diseases like chest pain, strokes, diabetes and many infections due to the external factors so they are having very poor health status.
In general, their socio-economic education political and health status is very poor, far below to other people. So there is a need for immediate intervention. The Christian converted Dalits loose many of their constitutional rights because of the fact that they are converted from Hindu religion to Christian religion. This is challenged in to the Court of Law and at the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court and recommended the legislature to review the policy. But due to lack of will and due to the role played by many political parties, this is not yet reviewed. If such benefits are provided, the Government afraid that there may be more number of Christians which may go from 2% to 20%.