Speech made at the protest by BAPSA on 16th March, 2017 against the Institutional Murder of Muthukrishnan (Rajini Krish)
I am Jitendra Suna, and I am from a remote village named Pourkela in the District Kalahandi, Orissa. I completed my high school from B. R. Ambedkar Uchhavidyapitha Pourkela, but never really knew who Dr. Ambedkar was. When I was in 8th standard I lost my mother, she was the head of our family. My mother wanted to send us to a science school but she died and my family did not have enough money to send us to a science school. After completing my plus two (higher secondary) I came to Delhi for earning some money. I used to go to work with my brother. He was working in IGL (Indraprastha Gas Limited) as a helper, I also joined as helper. There was one fellow worker, I am unable to remember his name now, but his last name was Murari. He always used to ask my brother, 'what is the meaning of Suna'? My brother always tried to divert the issue and never mentioned his surname and caste. I saw this uneasiness throughout my stay in Delhi. After working for one year, I went back to my village and took admission for a BA degree.
Untouchability and caste practices are like a barbarous phenomena in my village as well as throughout Orissa. In my childhood I used to have a close friend who was from my village. I used to invite him to my home on special occasions and ask him to have food with us at my home. He would eat only after we requested him many times. Whenever I used to go to his home, I would be given some food outside the home, not even in the veranda. After having food I used to wash the utensils and give them back. This was because I was from a Dalit community. It was a day-to-day phenomenon; it was the 'commonsense' of our life. I could not think that it was wrong or right, because I have seen it since I was born. One day when talking to my friend I went near to the door, his mother suddenly got furious when she saw that I had touched the door. She suddenly shouted at me saying, "how dare you come inside my home, you are like fallen water of roof that cannot enter inside the room". I was shocked. I was not able to think what to say at that moment. I stood there like a statue for a minute. I sat down and after few minutes I was able to talk and asked my friend, "henta ken (is it so)?" Then he said 'yes, what will people say if you will come inside the room, it's not good'. After that incident I was not able to sleep, eat and talk properly, I was totally disturbed and depressed. I stopped going to his home. That time I did not know that there is an act called Prevention of Atrocities (SC/ST) Act or an act against the practice of untouchability. Even when Dalits knew about these acts, they could not do anything about those abhorrent, heinous, and degrading practices.
Link of the speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h3JdObYGUs