News Update 08/02/2003

A temple car and caste tensions
in Sivaganga

Machinations by caste-Hindu groups and lack of firmness on the part
of the administration deprive Dalits in a Tamil Nadu village of their
right to participate fully in a temple car festival

MORE than five decades after untouchability was declared punishable
under Article 17 of the Constitution, which ensures equality to all
before law, Dalits, who form one-fifth of the population, continue to
suffer caste-based discrimination and disablement in many parts of
the country. They are left with no choice but to fight for their
Constitutional rights, in courts or on the streets. Dalit assertion
in most places is met with stiff resistance from casteist forces. The
resistance is often severe; it even takes violent forms when the
matter of dispute of rights relates to temples, festivals and
rituals. Enforcing court orders in favour of Dalits is a daunting
task for the administration.

Tamil Nadu has been witness to incidents of temple-related
confrontation between Dalits and sections of caste Hindus in recent
years. At Koothirampakkam village in the northeastern district of
Kancheepuram, Dalits are locked in a prolonged legal battle to assert
their rights relating to the local temple (Frontline, June 6). Dalits
of Kandadevi village in Devakottai taluk in the southern district of
Sivaganga have been asserting for over five years their right to pull
the temple car of Sri Swarnamoorthi Eswarar temple, during the annual
festival along with the Nattars, who belong to the caste-Hindu Kallar
community. The leaders of Nattars, Ambalams, are the self-styled
heads of the people in four "nadus" lying in Sivaganga and adjacent
districts. The district administration failed in its attempt to help
conduct the temple car festival on July 11 with the participation
of "all Hindus irrespective of caste, creed or community". The temple
car was to be ceremoniously pulled after other rituals involving the
heads of "nadus", in accordance with a 1999 order of the Special
Commissioner of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments
Administration Department, as directed by the High Court. A piquant
situation arose when the heads of the four "nadus" walked out after
being honoured at the temple. The Ambalams refused to participate in
the ceremonial pulling of the temple car. Their supporters alleged
that the officials were not impartial and the situation was not
conducive to their participation in the pulling of the car. Later, it
was announced on behalf of the district administration that there
would be no pulling of the temple car. Dalits, who had gathered in
large numbers to pull the car, were disappointed, and there was
tension in the area for a few days. In less than a week, the
Collector and some other top officials were transferred to other
districts, leaving the people wondering whether it was a mere

THE Kandadevi temple car festival, which takes place in the Tamil
month of Aani (June-July), attracts devotees including a large number
of Dalits from about 200 villages around Devakottai. Although,
traditionally, the heads of the four "nadus" were specially honoured
in the temple, and they led the pulling of the temple car, Dalits and
people from other communities also had specific roles to play in the
ritual. This, Dalits say, had been the practice "from time
immemorial". However, in 1979, after an incident at Chinna Unjanai,
which comes under Unjanai Nadu, one of the four "nadus", in which
five Dalits were killed following a dispute over a temple festival,
Dalits stopped participating in the Kandadevi temple car festival.

In fact, in 1997, the sole Dalit participant in the car festival was
allegedly beaten by a section of caste Hindus. Following this
incident, Puthiya Thamizhagam president and a member of the State
Assembly, Dr. S. Krishnaswamy, who toured the area, demanded at a
press conference that Dalits be given equal rights along with other
communities in the temple car festival. In 1998, Dalits staked their
claim to participate in the festival, which was scheduled for July 7.
Local leaders of the Puthiya Thamizhagam, a party that generally
champions the cause of Dalits, announced that Krishnaswamy would lead
the Dalit participants in pulling the car. Fearing that `a law and
order problem' might arise, the police and revenue officials held a
series of meetings with leaders of both Dalits and Nattars. Dalits
demanded that they be given police protection to enable them to pull
the temple car.

Meanwhile, Krishnaswamy filed a writ petition in the Madras High
Court, wherein he had pleaded for a direction to the State
administration to enforce the provisions of Article 17 to facilitate
participation by Dalits in the temple car festival on an equal
footing. The petition sought an interim order to protect the Dalit
participants in the festival. The High Court directed the State
administration on July 6, 1998, a day before the car festival, "to
ensure and take appropriate steps, which are according to the
situation, and in the interest of the administration to avoid an
explosive situation on the spot and at the same time ensure that
peace-loving citizens are able to participate in the rituals in a
peaceful manner". The direction was given after the court heard from
both the contending sides that they had no objection "if the
petitioner or the public, irrespective of the caste and creed is
permitted to pull the car after the rituals have been performed
according to their traditions, say within an hour of performing the
rituals and the car being pulled by Nattars."

On the day of the festival tension was palpable as thousands of
people thronged the temple. The district administration felt that
an "explosive" situation was developing "because of the large-scale
mobilisation of people by both the parties within and from outside
the district". Prohibitory orders under Section 144 (2) of the Code
of Criminal Procedure Code were issued. As a consequence the pulling
of the car was cancelled, although other rituals were gone through.

People from both sides were disappointed, and angry demonstrations
were held defying the ban order. Dalits were arrested in large
numbers while only some Nattars were arrested. Several cases of
assault were filed against people from both sides. Scores of people
were injured and hospitalised. There were also reports of assaults on
police personnel. Prohibitory orders were extended periodically.

Meanwhile the "heads" of the four "nadus", R.M. Ramasamy Ambalam,
S.P. Ramasamy Ambalam, M.V. Periaiah Servai and S.P. Karuppan Ambalam
filed a petition before the Joint Commissioner, Hindu Religious &
Charitable Endowments, Sivaganga, pleading that their traditional
right to pull the temple car be established. The Joint Commissioner,
in his orders issued on April 8, 1999, stated that the Nattars had
the right to hold the "vadam" (rope) and pull the car, besides
receiving temple honours before the pulling of the car. Krishnaswamy
challenged this order in the High Court. The High Court held, on June
25, that the matter be decided by the Commissioner "according to the
law" after hearing the parties. (In the meantime, the Sivaganga
Devasthanam, which has been managing the temple, announced that the
car festival would be conducted on June 27, 1999. Periaiah Ambalam
approached the High Court for a direction to the District Collector,
the Superintendent of Police, Sivaganga, and the Joint Commissioner,
H.R. & C.E., against any intervention by them in his "right" to
conduct the festival on June 27 in keeping with "the customs and
traditional rights" as held by the Joint Commissioner.) The court
ruled that "we find that since a disputed question of fact is
involved and that needs consideration, we deem it proper to direct
the petitioners to agitate the issue before the authority concerned
at the time of disposal of the matter and the authority concerned
will be free to pass appropriate orders, keeping in view the law and
order situation." Krishnaswamy accordingly preferred an appeal before
the Commissioner, H.R. & C.E. The Commissioner passed orders on June
26, 1999, stating that during the preliminary rituals, honours such
as patta, parivattam and malai be conferred on the four heads
of "nadus" and after that, when the car procession per se
started, "all Hindus irrespective of caste, community and creed shall
be entitled to partake in pulling the car". On the day of the
festival, amidst the "tension" caused by the large police presence as
well as the presence of Dalits and caste Hindus, the Nattars refused
to accept the "customary" honours. Following this, the hereditary
trustee of the Sivaganga Devasthanam, which manages the temple,
decided that "with a view to protect(ing) lives and property and to
maintain(ing) peace," the pulling of the temple car be abandoned. An
announcement to this effect was made by the Joint Commissioner, H.R.
& C.E.

In the following year, district officials held a series of meetings
with both parties in an effort to conduct the festival on the
Commissioner's guidelines, but again, under compulsions
of "maintaining law and order" and on the grounds that continuing
with the car-pulling after the heads of "nadus" refused to receive
honour would be in violation of the guidelines, the pulling of the
car was once again abandoned. The temple car could not be pulled in
2001 either.

But in 2002, for the Jayalalithaa-led All India Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam government, holding the Kandadevi car festival became a
prestige issue, because the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
government could not conduct it for four years in a row. And it did
succeed in holding the festival, without the full participation of
Dalits. Nattars, particularly women, gathered around the temple in
full strength well in advance to pull the car, leaving practically no
room for Dalits to join. The Dalits complained that it was a planned
move by the Nattars "with the tacit approval of the police" in order
to frustrate their efforts to assert their right.

This year it was a different story. Dalits had assembled in full
strength hours before the scheduled commencement of the pulling of
the car, but the Nattars outwitted them for a second year in
succession by adopting a different strategy. After receiving the
temple honours, the four heads of `nadus' trooped out with their
families amidst noisy protests from their supporters against, what
they called, the `partiality' of the officials, particularly the
Collector. Threats were also reportedly issued by a section of caste
Hindu women that they would commit suicide if Dalits pulled the car.
Dalits alleged that the protesters raised slogans calling Dalits by
their caste name, which is an offence under the Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The Collector's
efforts to continue the festival by persuading both sides proved
futile. After a few hours of waiting, the Collector announced that
there would be no pulling of the car, "in view of the tension and
with a view to maintaining law and order."

COMMENTING on the cancellation of the pulling of the temple car,
civil rights leader and advocate P.V. Bhaktavatsalam, who argued
Krishnaswamy's case in the High Court, told Frontline that the state
apparatus had always seen the Dalits' demand that their statutory
rights be enforced only as a law and order problem. "Particularly
when questions relating to religion and `tradition' are involved, the
administration becomes nervous," he said. "But nothing can be above
the Constitution." The Dalits' right to equality had been enshrined
in the Constitution and they cannot be deprived of it in the name of
protecting "traditions". The Nattars' objection to Dalits'
participation in pulling the temple car rested on the claim of the
heads of "nadus" that their right regarding the pulling of the temple
car was part of the "customary rights and traditions" they had been
enjoying. They were handed these "rights" under the zamindari system
and these rights went out with the abolition of the system under the
Estates Abolition Act, 1929, Bhaktavatsalam argued. "When Dalits are
denied their rights in the name of tradition," he said, "that becomes
an offence by itself."

Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary N. Varadarajan
criticised the government's failure to hold the car festival in
accordance with the court orders and ensured Dalits' right to
equality. M. Arjunan, secretary of the Sivaganga district unit of the
party, said this year the district administration had obviously made
an honest attempt to hold the festival on the guidelines of the H.R.
& C.E. Department but it was not firm enough to take the effort to
its logical end. "The transfer of all the principal district
officials will only send out wrong signals," he said.

Krishnaswamy expressed Dalits' disappointment over the cancellation
of the concluding part of the car festival, which was very
significant for them, and saw in the district officials' actions a
lack of firmness. However, he was critical of the transfer of the
officials because it would only embolden those who oppressed the poor
with the power they derived from anachronistic institutions such
as "nadu".

States within a state'

S. VISWANATHAN The attractive temple car (ther in Tamil) that is at
the centre of the controversy, belongs to the Sri Swarnamoorthi
Easwarar temple at Kandadevi, 4 km from Devakottai. The village was
part of Ramnad district until 1985, when the district was
trifurcated. The district itself was earlier part of a larger Madura
district. Edgar Thurston, the renowned museologist and ethnographer,
states in his Castes and Tribes of Southern India (1909), Vol. III;
in the entry on Kallan: "Portions of the Madura and Tanjore districts
are divided into areas known as nadus, a name which, as observed by
Mr. Nelson, is specially applicable to Kallan tracts." (page 72)
(Kallan or Kallar denotes a caste group, which is part of the
Mukkulathor, now a dominant caste in the southern districts of Tamil
Nadu. Maravar and Agamudaiyar are the other components of the
Mukkulathor community. The Chola country of Tanjore is stated to be
the original abode of the Kallars before they migrated to the Madurai
region, the then Pandya kingdom. Agriculture was said to be their
major occupation.) On the whole there were 37 "nadus" in the two
districts, of which 14 were said to be in the Sivaganga region.
("Nadu" was a group of villages under the Chola administrative
system.) Thurston writes: "Round about Devakotta in the Sivaganga
zamindari there are fourteen nadus, representatives of which meet
once a year at Kandadevi, to arrange for the annual festival at the
temple dedicated to Swarnamurthi Swami." That the four "nadus"
[Unjanai, Semponmari, Thennilai and Eravuseri], whose so-called heads
have now been asserting their "customary" rights over the pulling of
the Kandadevi ther, are part of these 14 "nadus" and the four
constituted a group and the `Tennilai nadu' was considered the
chief "nadu", "where at caste questions must come up for settlement".
Each "nadu" is headed by an Ambalakaran (president of an assembly)
and the Ambalakarans took upon themselves the power to adjudicate
disputes that arose among the inhabitants in the "nadu", belonging to
different castes. They used to hear complaints, hold inquiries and
punish the offenders. They wielded considerable powers to intervene
in any kind of transaction or transfer of property among the people.
No land could be alienated from one man to another without the
permission of the Ambalakkarans. They were known for awarding crude
punishments and collecting oppressive taxes from the people. Although
stripped of much of their powers during the British Raj and later
after Independence, they are still said to hold sway over a section
of the people, with money, muscle power and political support.
Describing the "nadus" as states within a state, advocate
Bhaktavatsalam said the so-called heads of these "nadus" had no
powers to adjudicate or award punishments. The power they claimed to
enjoy had no legal basis whatsoever, he said. "In areas where they
hold influence, they don't allow anybody to sell land to Dalits,"
Bhaktavatsalam alleged. The entire Kandadevi region and also the
adjacent places in the old East Ramnad district have been known for
atrocities against Dalits for over a century. Dalits have been
victims of deep-rooted prejudice and untouchability, which still
manifest themselves in several forms. Their resistance against
oppression is also nearly a century old. The first conference of
Dalits was held at Paramakudi in the district as early as in 1810.
Struggles have been waged against untouchability since the 1850s.
Mahatma Gandhi visited Devakottai in 1934 to condole the death of
Poochi, a Dalit, in the movement against untouchability, and held
discussions with Dalits and Nattars, who were opposed to Dalits
wearing shirts. From the Mudukulathur riots of 1956 to the multiple
murders at Unjanai in 1979, the region has seen scores of incidents
in which Dalits were the victims. Although there have been clashes of
such magnitude between Dalits and Mukkulathor, there have also been
several occasions when the people of these two caste groups, most of
whom are poor agricultural workers, have unitedly fought against the
colonial rule and also against landlordism. Hundreds of people from
both the castes participated in the 1942 Quit India Movement. In the
police firing at Devakottai, more than 75 persons lost their lives.
Amidst the tension over issues such as the denial of rights to Dalits
at the Kandadevi festival, several Dalits said that despite such
clashes the caste Hindus had not been unfriendly to them in day-to-
day life. The head of the Unjanai "nadu", Rm. Ramasamy, told
Frontline that for most part of the year "we have been maintaining
cordial relations. We are mutually dependent. Without unity we cannot
produce even a single grain". Dalits are not unaware of the reasons
for this contradiction. When A.S.A. Karuppiah, treasurer of the
district unit of the Puthiya Thamizhagam, explained that in the past
Dalits had been allowed to participate in pulling the temple car
along with others and wondered why they should not be allowed now, a
woman in the same family, Muthu, interjected: "It is very simple. In
those days they had to pull the temple car along roads filled with
stones and thorn and they needed you for your physical labour. Now
that they have a tar road, they don't need us."


A tale of torture
S. VISWANATHAN A case of serious police torture comes before the
Human Rights Commission in Tamil Nadu.
During the discussions which took place on the Indian Code of
Criminal Procedure in 1872, some observations were made on the
reasons which occasionally led native police officers to apply
torture to prisoners. An experienced civil officer observed, `There
is a great deal of laziness in it. It is far pleasanter to sit
comfortably in the shade rubbing red pepper into a poor devil's eyes
than to go about in the sun hunting up evidence.' This was a new view
to me, but I have no doubt of its truth. - Sir James Fitzjames
Stephen, quoted by Ed Denson in his article "Pepper Spray, Pain and
Justice", The Civil Libertarian, 1998. POLICE torture of prisoners is
a colonial legacy and red pepper spray was one of the tools the
police in British India used to extract confessions from prisoners.
Hence the debate over the inhuman practice is over 125-years-old,
though the colonial police resorted to it only "occasionally". Is
laziness, as seen by the senior civil officer and endorsed by Sir
James Fitzjames Stephen, Member, Viceregal Council for India, an
English legal luminary and the architect of the Indian Evidence Act,
1872, the major factor responsible for torture or is there something
more to it? The debate continues. The police in independent India
resort to torture more frequently and have added more weapons to
their armoury. The Supreme Court, in the D.K. Basu case (1997),
drafted guidelines to be followed by the police for arrest and
interrogation, with a view to giving little scope for illegal
detention or improper interrogation. Later, the court directed the
State human rights commissions (HRCs) to ensure that the guidelines
were adhered to. Yet, complaints about the violation of norms are
increasing by the day. In Tamil Nadu alone, according to a study
conducted by the Campaign for Custodial Justice and Abolition of
Torture, 36 complaints were investigated and proved correct between
May and October 2002. Notable among these cases was the one relating
to the police brutality against 10 persons, seven of them belonging
to a tribal family, under the pretext of investigating a theft case
(Frontline, June 21, 2002). The State Human Rights Commission is
going into the numerous complaints it receives, and recommending
action against erring police personnel and awarding payment of
compensation to victims. One of the complaints the Commission
received recently relates to an alleged incident at Vittukkatti near
Thiruthuraippoondi in Tiruvarur district. On May 23, People's Watch -
Tamil Nadu, a Madurai-based human rights organisation, produced
before the Commission a group of persons, most of them Dalits, who
complained that they had been tortured at Thiruthuraippoondi and
Thirukkalar police stations between May 10 and 16. Statements signed
by 15 persons were also filed. Trouble started for these persons
after three decomposed bodies were removed in May from a house that
was found locked. The bodies were those of Padmavathi (56), her
second daughter Jeeva, and Brahadeeswaran, the two-year-old son of
Padmavathi's first daughter. While Padmavathi's body was removed on
May 9 after neighbours intimated the police of foul smell emanating
from her house, the other two bodies were removed only the next day.
This angered the local people, who staged a road roko in protest
against police indifference. The police registered a case of murder
and started the investigation. Between May 10 and 16, more than 40
persons, including three women, from the village were reportedly
taken to the Thiruthuraippoondi and Thirukkalar police stations for
interrogation. Some of them were detained for up to two days without
being presented before a magistrate. The statements of the persons
gave detailed accounts of the torture by the police, including senior
officers. The people alleged that they were beaten up and humiliated.
A woman complained that nasty questions were put to her. The police
used abusive language against the complainants, called them by their
caste name, beat them with lathis, and kicked them, they said. When
one of them asked for water, a police offiicer asked for a bucket of
water, dipped his shoes in it and asked the person to drink it, a
statement said. Another victim complained that when he asked for
water, a police officer urinated into his mouth. Strangely, even
after one person, Senthil, was arrested and the police filed a charge-
sheet against him, those who were brought in for interrogation were
reportedly kept at the police stations for two days. They were also
asked to report at the police stations for some more days. The State
Human Rights Commission deputed an investigating officer to the
village. The officer, L. Purushothaman, recorded the statements of a
few of the arrested persons. They also identified the officials
against whom they had complained to the Commission. Deputy
Superintendents of Police N. Moorthy and M. Abdul Razak, several
inspectors, sub-inspectors and constables appeared before the
investigating official. DEMONSTRATIONS, mass fasts, processions and
public meetings were organised by the Communist Party of India
(Marxist) at several places in Tiruvarur district to condemn the
police torture. State CPI(M) secretary N. Varadarajan, in a letter to
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, demanded stern action against the police
officials and the payment of compensation to the victims. People's
Watch - Tamil Nadu executive director Henri Tiphagne told Frontline
that the Tiruvarur District Collector should have taken suo motu
action and ordered an inquiry by a Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO).
He demanded action against the Collector and the police officers
involved in the incident, under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. G. Ramakrishnan, CPI(M) State
secretariat member, said: "There has been gross violation of almost
all the guidelines of the Supreme Court on the subject and the
government should initiate not only departmental action but also
legal proceedings against the erring officers." Ramakrishnan said
that the Tiruvarur police had been emboldened to indulge in such
inhuman and perverse activities not only by the government's failure
to take prompt action against such human rights violations in the
past, but also by its action in even defending erring officials.
Ramakrishnan pointed out that though the murders had occurred within
the limits of the Thiruthuraippoondi police station, the police had
taken the Dalits of Vittukkatti to the Thirukkalar police station
located in an isolated place. That was perhaps a strategy to avoid
publicity for the torture designed by the police, he said.


The intricacies of bi-polar setting
Chandrabhan Prasad
Daily Pioneer

Every dilemma demands an unprejudiced response. Chaste-beating only
clears the passage to doom. Placing Dalits' sorrows independent of
the social contexts they live in will always be a crazy enterprise.
Post-Ambedkar Dalits lay all their eggs in a Shudra basket and then
proceed to indulge in some Brahmin bashing, without even turning back
to see whether the Shudra is nursing those eggs, or relishing anda-

We must decode the Shudra-Brahmin riddle, and the Dalits' role in it.
In Punjab, Dalits make up 28.3 per cent of the population, yet in the
last Assembly elections BSP failed to win a seat, getting only 5.69
per cent of votes. In Haryana, Dalits account for 19.75 per cent, and
yet BSP got only 5.74 per cent of votes, winning just one seat.

But, BSP reached the 100 seat mark in UP, getting more than one-
fourth of votes. In Bihar's last Assembly election, BSP won five MLA
seats, and got 1.89 per cent of total votes. During the last Assembly
election in Madhya Pradesh, BSP won 11 MLA seats, and 6.15 per cent
of votes. In Rajasthan, BSP won two seats, and 2.17 per cent of
votes. In all the above states, where the Dalit movement hardly has
any presence, Untouchables comprise a mere 14.55, 14.55 and 17.29 per
cent respectively, and Tribals account for 7.66, 23.27 and 12.44 per
cent respectively. The question is how does BSP manage to achieve
breakthroughs in UP, make inroads in Bihar, MP and Rajasthan, but
fail to replicate the same in Punjab and Haryana? To understand this,
one needs to travel down to the South.

In Tamil Nadu, Dalits comprise 20.26 per cent (including 1.08 ST). So
what's stopping the Tamil Dalit movement to win even four MLA seats
independent of any alliance? In Karnataka, Dalits comprise 20.64 per
cent (including 4.26 per cent STs) but BSP managed to win only one
MLA seat. In Andhra Pradesh, Dalits comprise 22.44 per cent
(including 6.31 per cent STs), but the Telugu Dalit movement is
probably in no position to win even one MLA seat today. One can
afford to forget Kerala, as Dalits comprise a mere 10 per cent and
are mostly dispossessed.

Today, Dalit movements in the southern states, as well as Punjab,
Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra put together, may not be able to
match the electoral performance of BSP in Bihar where it won five
seats without any alliance. One can legitimately attribute BSP's
Gangetic belt breakthrough to Kanshi Ram's political prudence,
sacrifices, focussed work and united Dalits. Also in Mayawatiji,
Kanshi got a perfect messenger. One can hardly disagree that Kanshi
Ram must be rated only next to Ambedkar, as his commitment to the
cause doesn't need any certification. But why have Kanshi Ram's
efforts failed in Punjab or Haryana?

Those who consider truth as a reliable tool to comprehend India's
social dynamics must recollect that the Republican Party of India
(RPI) had won 10 MLA seats in UP in 1967, perhaps more than the total
number of seats won by RPI all over India. At that point of time, UP
Dalits neither had a Kanshi, nor any credible record of anti-Brahmin
movements. The Punjab region was the first to chase the Brahmins out
some four centuries ago, followed by the Tamil land in the last
century. The Tamil experience echoed in the entire South, as well as
West India. Brahmins became irrelevant as a social force. By Brahmin-
bashing theoretical theatre, Dalit movements should have flourished
in all those regions where Brahmins are extinguished as a social

That didn't happen, and my own fears are that the Tamil Dalit
movement may not match what RPI achieved in 1969 in UP, even in the
next 50 years! Then how do we decode the Brahmin mystery?

What we know for the record is that the Gangetic belt has the highest
presence of Dwijas presided over by Brahmins. In UP, Brahmins (9.2
per cent), along with the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, comprise 20.5
percent, almost equal to Dalits, and Bihar, MP, and Rajasthan follow
in that order. The Gangetic belt is a tri-polar society: Dalits, Dwij
and Shudras as three formidable, competitive social forces. Punjab,
Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and the entire South have bio-polar
societies - Dalits and Shudras pitched against each other. Is the
Brahman-led Dwijas' absence, as a social force, a real road block to
Dalit political movements? Unwittingly, Brahmins turn into social
moderators. In bio-polar social settings, Shudras are destined to
regulate social life, where they are pre-destined to de-democratise
society. The Dalits of the Gangetic belt, once condemned by Brahmins'
high presence, now seem to be blessed by the same. The thinking Dalit
minds must come out with an unprejudiced response as chaste-beating
only perpetuates a problem, and never offers a solution.

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