Nine-year-old Indra, a fifth grade student from Rajasthan, was born into a caste family in a marginalized Dalit community and was punished for this ‘crime’.
Vikas Parasram Meshram | Same after 75 years of independence, Dalits suffer atrocities in the country. Such incidents happen every day. According to information provided by the government to Parliament, more than 1.3 lakh cases of atrocities against Dalits were reported in the country in the year 2018-2020, with Uttar Pradesh having the highest number of case. Then come Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. In the rest of the country, this number is relatively lower. But the reality is that instead of the number of cases against Dalits or lower castes decreasing, the number is actually increasing. Our leaders, our governments make promises about this, but it is only part of a tradition of empty promises. It is important to bear in mind that only 20% of these registered cases result in a decision. More than half of cases disappear or go unsolved due to social pressure.
Nine-year-old Indra, a fifth-grade student from Rajasthan, was born into a caste family in a marginalized Dalit community and was punished for this ‘crime’ on July 20 this year. Being born into a lower caste, he was not allowed to drink water from the water pot set up by the school’s supposedly feudal teacher. Unknowingly, he tried to obtain this right and the teacher who punished Indra beat him so badly that despite all the efforts of the doctors, Indra died on August 13, two days before the Amrutsav of independence. from India. Although the police say they have yet to find any concrete evidence that he was beaten for this reason, some villagers and children who studied with Indra say the police lie and are pressured.
It is hoped that the case of the “murder” of this child, who lived in a village in the district of Jalore in Rajasthan, will reach a logical conclusion. But the incident of his death, which occurred just two days before Independence Day, also raises questions. The incident is shameful and it is hypocritical to say that democracy is getting stronger. It looked like the Prime Minister would mention it in his speech, but his speech was “Bolachi Kadhi Ani Bolacha Bhaat‘ (everything speaks and does not show up).
This event is a poignant example of the challenges facing the country and society and also reminds us that the issue of social inequalities is also necessary and must be included in the definition of development. Unfortunately, whenever development is mentioned, it is limited to food, clothing and housing. Otherwise, our leaders talk about roads, demand toilets and running water in every house. Yes, all these things are necessary for our development, but it is not development. Somewhere, social considerations should also be part of our understanding of development.
The curse of social inequality must be removed from our lives, which is an essential condition of human development. The roads we must travel to get to the development highway we have chosen are neglected. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar gave us the constitution based on liberty, equality and brotherhood. We must also remember that he warned that if we do not pay attention to social freedom, our political freedom will also be in danger. He said that we have already lost our freedom because of the betrayal of our own people and that a betrayal is not only political. The truth is that those who oppose or ignore social equality are also traitors. Today, those who deceive us include those who continue to widen the gap of social disparity on the basis of caste, religion and varna class.
It is true that from time to time our mentors have called for reducing social inequalities, but what have we heard and understood? It is necessary to hold the hand of the socially backward to support them in the race for development. But more than that, it is important to awaken the awareness that those whom we or the ruling elements of society regard as backward or untouchable or inferior to us, are human beings like us. To consider them inferior to us in any way is to deceive ourselves and commit crimes against humanity.
Indra from Surna village in Jalore was punished for a crime he never committed because he was from a lower caste. The criminals who killed Indra believe in social inequality. Indra’s father, Devram Meghwal, says that even in the 21st century, he has to travel miles from his home to get his hair cut because the village ‘barbers’ consider him inferior. This punishment of walking miles for a haircut may not compare to the “punishment” inflicted on Indra, but the top-down concept divides our society. Our society is therefore weakening. When will our leaders understand this truth?
Not mentioning “Indra” in the Independence Day speech is not just a mistake. The truth is that our social conscience is corroding. It is true that a tribal woman is our president today. We can be proud of that. It will be a symbol of empowerment, but it is only a symbol. The sign must be true. This will happen when Devram doesn’t have to travel miles to get his hair cut, when drinking water from his supposedly high-caste teacher’s bowl won’t be considered a crime for any other Indra.