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Random confessions of a young Dalit

 

Arvind Boudhh

(Some notes from his Facebook wall over the years)

Confession #14 (first caste atrocity as a child)

arvind boudhhIt was the time when I used to play cricket. I was about 6 years old and we were playing cricket with a plastic ball and a wooden plank as improvised bat. India being a puritanical country can never solve the problem of sanitation and waste management. so when I was batting I hit the ball and it took a dip in the naali that flows fearlessly open in our locality, like it does in most of the Indian localities. It became dirty. The bowler picked it up and bounced it on the ground to clean it up. And when the next ball came. it was a full toss and I hit it. It flew and hit a boy of about 16-18 years, passing by.

He stood up and looked at me like he was going to kill me. I was sorry and afraid. He asked me to come nearer to him. I, considering my mistake, approached him and murmured sorry, but he did not listen to it. He straightaway shot out a tight slap to which I bent down, but it did hit me anyhow. That was not the end. He abused me by my caste (I wonder how he knew my caste when he lived in a different locality) and by some other auxiliary abuses. His face is imprinted on my mind with full clarity. Sometimes, I imagine killing this man someday, in a mysterious manner, so that no one could ever find out, to take revenge for the insult. But growing up in this country I got to hear more caste abuses now and then. The thought of killing such persons has died as I need to be a new Angulimal if I start doing it.

But some scars never go away. Some wounds just become fresh every now and then, till there is breath in this body. Time does not heal such things, it just makes us accustomed to live with the pain.

 ~

Confession # 11 (Parents vs me)

I can't remember the last time I had to feel afraid of my parents. It must be at least 15 or more years ago. They can easily be taken into confidence for anything. They have accepted my each and every decision, no matter how risky it could get. They literally give a damn about the cruel society and stand with us for our happiness, no matter what they have to face in their daily lives from the people around, for their support to us. They definitely get to hear that their children are no more in their control because they(we) do what they(we) want.

Since last one month, my father is having pain in his leg and he has tried many things that are available. There is a misconception in the villages that for internal pain, one should get it stamped with a red hot iron rod (locally called dagh). Unfortunately, it helps a few people so the practice has been continuing for centuries, I guess. I was always afraid that the unbearable pain might compel him to try this option, so I warned him about it and he said "I am not stupid to try such things". As the situation seemed to be aggravating, I got tough and asked them to see another doctor today itself. He agreed and promised that he would see one, no matter how difficult it was to reach the doctor. It got very difficult for him to stand and walk but he saw a doctor today, in the nearby town and the doctor said it was sciatica which was causing the pain.

After the consultation, papa confessed to mummy that he got the dagh (stamp of red hot iron rod) two days ago when no one was home. He asked mummy not to tell me. But when I called, mummy told me everything. And then she gave the phone to him. I inquired about the pain and warned again that he should not be stupid to get dagh. He, like a child, agreed, but the next moment he confessed he got it two days ago. Mummy beside him burst into laughter. I laughed too and reminded him about his promise not to do it. He said it was unbearable so he had to try it.

I said, now it should not be repeated and lectured him about the determination and principles of life. In the last few months, I had to scold both mummy and papa the way parents scold their child. I made them do the things (I tell them). I never felt grown up, but these moments make me feel I am really grown up now. Mummy and Papa behave like innocent children when they have to face my lecture and scolding. They have taught me democratic values through their actions and behavior. I hope the new treatment helps him to get rid of the unbearable pain. I may not be a good son but they are exemplary parents. Lecturing your parents and then seeing them behave like children can really make you feel like a grown up, and love gives us the strength to bear the pain.

They are the Santas for us.

Merry Christmas and Happy Manusmriti Dahan Divas to all.

~

Confession #7 (savarna merit)

Since childhood I believed that Laloo is an uneducated fellow. It is only this year that I got to know that he is a well educated man (unlike many parliamentarians). I got to know how he stopped the communal forces in the past and this year as well. But the interesting thing is how the brahmanic propaganda succeeded in creating a bad image for every bahujan leader, from Mayawati to Laloo. And it killed aspirations of others during the nascent phase of their careers itself.

Today, Laloo's son made national news for fumbling. The so-called brahmanic scholars have been fluently speaking multiple languages to propagate their ideology of blind faith, hegemony, inequality, and inhumanity and it was quite scholastically acceptable.

And please don't open your mouth on corruption because Maya, Mulayam and Laloo are there for the last twenty years or so, and in just 3 states. The whole of India has been looted by you, your fathers and fore-fathers since ages. If one has to take a survey of the most hated politicians in India, these 3 will perhaps top the results and the people who always spit venom (we all know who they are) will not come close to them.

Communication skills matter in this corporate world. Dalits, Adivasis and BCs who have always been suppressed and mentally conditioned to keep mum find it very hard to express themselves. Imagine the lives of the children who are abused for their castes (while you take pride in your castes and sell it on the flexes of your shops, showrooms, thelas etc). How can they dare to speak fluently? The degrees of suppression vary, so do their skills to speak.

If truth has to come out, let it be out for all.

~~~

 

Arvind Boudhh, a graduate from IIT Bombay, is preparing for the Civil Services exams.. He is an egalitarian.

Cartoon by Unnamati Syama Sundar.

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