P.S: Where are the visionaries?

By ChandraBhan Prasad

Memorandum submitted by 13 Dalit organisations of Andhra Pradesh to the President:

The crisis is growing and so is the distrust between the Touchables and Untouchables. We all know the truth. That Dalits create wealth but do not possess it. "India" is a nation for all its citizens. But to us, the "quasi-citizens," India is only an idea, with a dubious past. Our exclusion was an accepted rule. This rule was accorded a divine sanction. We laboured for the happiness of you all. You know "labour" lacked dignity. Or you all laboured hard to take away dignity from "labour". You hated "labour" but enjoyed its fruits. That is your history. We loved or rather, we're taught to love "labour", without any fruits. This is our history.

When India evolved into a republic, it sought to mature into a nation. The two identities, of Dalits and of the others, were to wither away. A civil society was to evolve, a point of convergence was to emerge. Our exclusion was to end. We were to emerge as equal partners. That great goal still remains a dream. The masters of the republic have even stopped dreaming. The dream itself appears to have withered away. A new context came into being but with antiquated notions of exclusion. The crisis perpetuates. You hate us. We hate you. This is mutual. We love hating. The wealth we created unwillingly though, has turned "life-less". It is a motionless wealth without "feelings". We lost the opportunity to nurture it. Thus, the wealth you possess, has turned into a heap of dung which has even stopped stinking. Or you didn't smell the stink coming from it, so immune have you become to it. That is horrible. As horrible as your notions of life, of vision. The institutions you own do not look good, are all lifeless, like dead bodies dragged for miles, for centuries.

Awake. Criticise your past, your history. Condemn your notions, your ideas, your world-view and your conscience as well. A holy dip in Kumbh will not clean off the dirt. The dirt is inside. Inside your soul, your mind, your conscience.

Democracy is a wonderful doctrine. It helps everybody. It helped the West. Democratise ownership patterns. Democratise the work force of institutions you own. Make them look good. Call the creators. Rather, invite them. We can revive them. We possess "magical" powers. We practise black magic. It works. Make us partners. Accord us our due representation. Your rotting culture, too, can turn vibrant.

Be true. True to us, true to yourself. Be complete humans with human qualities. You can look good, even feel good. The fear in you will disappear. You will learn the lessons of love. You can even begin enjoying your share of wealth, even your institutions.

This happened in America. The America of the Clintons. Slavery. Racial aggression. White Americans had "made" them create wealth but they were excluded from creation. Enough was enough. The foul smell was noticed. The wealth turned into a burden, a heap of dung.

It all began in the 60s. A crisis erupted between White and Black, between Wrong and Right. The violence came. Came from within. The US, as a nation, witnessed a process of churning. White society was quick to realise this. They took a decision, a decision to share their fruits with the creators. A decision to share assets and institutions. They stopped calling them Black. The Federal Government does it. The African-Americans, the Natives, the Hispanics who comprise about one fourth of the US population, were invited to share jobs under the State. They were invited to share wealth under the command of the State. Media establishments called them into newsrooms, into TV studios. In all departments, they are being given representation. Coca-Cola does it. Ford Motors. Microsoft. They have all begun doing it. Name any private organisation. Name any government organisation. Even NASA, the world's most sophisticated scientific and technological organisation does it. All have "diversity" departments. The department has the job of locating talent from creators. They are hired and trained. Peace has returned in US society. For social democratisation has begun there. US society now looks better than ever before.

Fifty years have passed, our exclusion remains. The two societies remain, with all their divisiveness. Mutual distrust and hatred are only growing. The State has done a bit. Only the State. Because there is a Constitution. Because there was a Constitution maker. You know, that great, grand man in a suit. We are there as MPs, MLAs and ministers. Even as heads of the republic. We are there as collectors, as inspectors and as babus.

But the society we mean, the private world, where are we? What has it done to us? Who will end this? And when? You will, "Forward!" Thus, come forward. Come. Join hands with us. The cause is common peace and prosperity to all. Full citizenship to us. You have taken away our rights, only you can give them back. All our rights. Make your private, public. Private is not above public. If you import capital and technology from the US, import vision from there as well. Thanks

Referred by:Dr. KP Singh
Published on: January 30, 2001
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