October 17, 2011

Indian society: when will you be civil enough?

A heart-wrenching article on atrocities on dalits has appeared in yesterday's DNA. In Maharashtra, the report says, dalits are not free even to bury their dead. I have visited many places throughout the country but what I never noticed that burial ground was such an issue. Also, I did not know that Sikhs too practice casteism, that too of a highly despicable kind. Just read this:

Though Dalits form 30% of Punjab’s population, and though Sikhism frowns on discrimination in the name of caste or creed, untouchability against the Mazhbis and Ramdasias, the two Dalit castes among Sikhs, is well established. They have been forced to live in separate settlements, contemptuously called thhattis or chamarhlees, and forced to reside on the western side, away from the main area of the villages, so that the winds blowing over them don’t pollute the upper castes. All the Sikh organisations, from Sikh temples to the political parties, are under the control of the Jat Sikhs, who refuse to consider Dalit Sikhs equals even after death. The former disallow cremation of the latter’s dead in the main cremation grounds. Over the years, such harsh discrimination has forced Dalits to establish separate gurdwaras, marriage places and cremation grounds. This, in many ways, is the biggest paradox of Sikhism, which is often characterised as ‘emancipatory’ and ‘revolutionary’.

Full article is available here: DNA's dalit burial ground report

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