Open Drinking Water Sources To Dalits, Not Rastapathi Bhavan
Guntur: The RSS and VHP driven NDA government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had named Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, as its candidate for the Presidential elections. While it is clear that Kovind is certain to make it to the Rastrapathi Bhavan, succeeding Pranabh Mukharjee, the Dalits of the land are not so happy about it. Kovind is not the first Dalit to make it to the highest office of the land. K R Narayanan was the first citizen of this nation two decades ago. It is now Kovind. But, in the last two decades nothing much had happened in the lives of the millions of Dalits.
Narayanan did nothing much to address the issues concerning the Dalits except creating a sort of history by standing in queue to vote in the general elections, which majority of the Dalits do in every election. The Dalits still suffer the discrimination on the basis of their caste. They have no access to the drinking water sources of villages and not allowed to walk on the roads of the dominating and exploitative caste people’s habitations. Their houses are still burnt and their women are still raped. Their youth are beaten and humiliated even in the institutions of higher learning. A look at a girl of these dominating and exploitative castes causes death punishment. They are not even allowed to approach the police to complain against the social boycott or discrimination. They are now, under the dispensation of the Chaiwala, they are prohibited from eating meat.
The Father of the Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar, dreamt of a social revolution in the country through reservations. He wanted the reservations to continue for just 10 years believing that the reservations would educate and empower the neglected sections, particularly the untouchables. But, over the years, nothing has changed and the reservations continue making the employed and elected representatives remaining secondary citizen. The elected representatives in the reservation category are made just slaves. They have no voice and their voice is the voice of the leaders who head the political parties.
Right from the Sarpanch of the village to the President of the country, the elected representatives in reservation are just rubber stamps in the hands of the dominating caste leaders. They have no freedom and are made spineless.
Now that the Modi’s dispensation had come up with Kovind’s name, the Opposition too is looking for another rubber stamp to beat Modi with the same coin. The whole nation is set to debate on the Dalit issue for the next two to three weeks in the name of Presidential elections, but the fact remains the same in the villages across the country with the Dalits facing the discrimination and humiliation.
What is required for the Dalits in the country now is not the Rastrapathi Bhavan, but the drinking water sources, access to quality education, health and freedom in asserting their power in politics. The Dalit leaders who have been claiming big about BJP naming Kovind or the Congress coming up with yet another Dalit name, should stop beating the drums for these politicians. The question is not having a Dalit as President, but a Dalit in the country having the right to live a dignified life and have access to the resources including drinking water from the common pond or well.