Article by Vidya Bhushan Rawat
A Television actress more known for her flirting ways than any acting exposed her caste mind when she said: Lip tint ko halka sa blush ki tarah laga liya hai because main YouTube pe aane wali hoon aur main achha dikhn chahti hoon. Bh***i ki tarah nahi dikhna chahti hoon.” Simply translated is that I am planning to speak to you through my YouTube channel and hence I want to look beautiful and not like the ‘Bhangis’, a derogatory term used for the community of those engaged in sanitation and manual scavenging work. The term is officially prohibited now but the Brahmanical mindset continues to use this term to humiliate the community.
The actress Munmun Dutta later issued a statement by saying that she never ‘meant to ‘hurt’ the people and it was a goof-up because she is not a ‘native’ Hindi speaker though it is another matter that she is an important player in Tarak Mehta ka Ulta Chashma which started in August 2008. If you have watched the show, it might look ‘light’ ‘entertainment’ with ‘comedy on day-to-day issues but frankly, it is also a way to inject the Savarna cultural values where ‘traditions’ and ‘past’ become supreme as ‘prescribed’ by the RSS.
Munmun Dutta’s so-called ‘apology’ is nothing but a clever attempt to escape from the ‘criminal offense’ after the hashtag to arrest started gaining momentum on Twitter. The fact is that what Dutta said is common in the echelon of the caste Hindus and they are part and parcel of the feudal casteist society particularly in the northern belt, proudly referred as ‘The Cow-Belt’.
Abuses and slurs on the basis of one’s jati ie. caste, gender, disability is part of our ‘culture’. A common abuse in our day-to-day life is ‘behanxxxxd’ and it comes in our mouth as if like a ‘mantra’. Terming ‘Langada’, ‘Loola’, ‘Andha‘, ‘Behara‘ for physically challenged persons with Polio, blind and deaf, is also common. For women who can’t conceive the term is used as ‘Banjh’. Similarly widows, single women too were called various derogatory names.
The idioms and ‘sayings’ in Hindi have absolute brahmanical abuse against the people on the margin. I would call that brahmanical abuse of the grammar. The abuse against the Dalits and women are part of language and used to get the maximum claps. Political leaders, ‘orators’, have always used such ‘caste’ narrative to ‘build’ up their ‘case’. One should not forget in the aftermath of Mandal Commission report, many Savarna boys organised ‘unique’ protests where they were ‘sweeping’ the street and some of them ‘shining the shoes’ of the people while the girls ‘cried’ with ‘slogans’ if all the boys are ‘doing’ this ‘work’ then where will we get our ‘husbands’. The contempt for the work that Dalits have been engaged in and the thought that it is the work they deserved while our ‘work’ is to dominate and rule, makes the Savarnas think that they are ‘meritorious’ and deserve all the important position by virtue of their caste supremacy. Accepting that non brahmins and Dalits in particular can have merit and perhaps better than them is a rare thought and difficult to fathom.
India need a serious introspection as such nasty thoughts that some people are born unequal while others have born merit in them is an idea which might have emerged two thousands years back but in the modern times when we have a constitution and are rule based, such thoughts itself must not merely be serious condemned but thoroughly punished so that there is no chance of their repetition. India need a hate crime law which can take such issues on a serious basis and punish the guilty. Our schools, colleges and dictionaries need a relook and student must be informed from the child hood how caste system is killing human inside us and how this system should be thrown into garbage.
In the meanwhile, it is time that Munmun Dutta’s utterings should be taken seriously and she must be prosecuted. Aim is not the punishment but the message must go what ails our society and why it is essential that such thoughts does not appear in our mind. Caste discrimination must have the same kind of intolerance from us as world is dealing with racial prejudices. Our children must know from their homes that we are living in society where constitution is supreme and it deals every one as equal. Caste discrimination and caste system must be not merely condemned but thrown in the dustbin and for that we must put ‘annihilation of castes’ on our agenda but will that be possible if our students are not taught about the dirty relic of our past which the caste system is and how Baba Saheb Ambedkar fought against it. Let this ‘Bambai cinema’, which often make jokes on the colour of your skin and glorify the ‘past’ start taking a lesson from Dr Ambedkar’s life and mission. We hope more and more Indian families would read Dr Ambedkar, Jyoti ba Phule, Periyar and others who preached humanism and human values. Once we become humanists in true sense, the dirty edifice of the caste system will automatically collapse. The task is tough as those enjoying power and patronage for centuries would not leave their privileges and hence international community, anti caste groups and Bahujan masses should join hand to do the needful and get an alternative as shown by Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar.
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