In a shocking incident, three people were murdered and their mutilated body parts dispersed in a farm in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district. In what appears to be a case of caste violence, a Dalit family of three was savagely murdered and their mutilated body parts dispersed in a farm. The gruesome murders of Sanjay Jadhav (42), his wife Jayashree (38) and their teenage son Sunil (19) took place after midnight on October 21 in the sparsely populated village. Relatives strongly suspect the incident to be a case of ‘honour killing’. Rumours of an illicit affair between a married lady in an upper-caste household, who lived adjacent to Jadhav’s farm, and a member in the Jadhav family, had been festering for more than a year. This may have led to such a savage retribution. An ominous silence has descended on the village and the Dalit hamlet of Jadhavwadi in the aftermath of the triple murder, with tight police security in place for the funeral. The incident has drawn sharp condemnations from the Dalit community.
We entered the 68th year of Independence but we Indians are still unable to adapt to the very first Article of our constitution which says “Bharat as a Union of states” and the principles of preamble (equality, fraternity etc). Racist, harsh and discriminatory attitude towards the dressing, physical features, complexion is rampant in our society. Is this the “future” that our forefathers thought of? We are progressing superficially but nothing has changed much. Still, Dalits are discriminated in some parts of India. They are not allowed to enter in kitchen or temples. There is no social acceptance for down-trodden people. On the other side, if we see in metropolitan cities then Dalit youth wants reservations, but they do not accept merits. They are seeking every advantage from jobs to studies, but they do not want to come in main stream competition. We call this nation as an independent country but we lack in mental growth and human progress. I am terribly upset with so called ‘Dalit leaders’ and autocrats, they never bothered about their community. They just play politics on community’s name. If Mayawati, Ramvilas Paswan and Ramdas Athawale, who claim themselves as Dalit leaders, instead of self growth had concentrated on community’s prosperity the way Baba Saheb wanted then today this community would have been more liberated and prosperous.
Even the most tolerant person can never accept an open minded thought because, in a cognitive sense, each new experience must be amalgamated with the previous before it can be processed. Based on what has been learned about prejudice so far, human beings have a great deal to learn about each other before prejudice can be reduced. Even in the earliest civilisations, people felt that guilt and misfortune could be shifted from one man to another, known in modern times as projection. Discrimination helps to boost the self-esteem. One guaranteed way to maintain high self-esteem is by having someone to look down on. Stereotyped characteristics are, in some cases, a displacement of personality traits which are undesirable. Guilt, fear, anger, anxiety and greed are some of the most prominent, but not the only emotions for which prejudice serves a functional significance.
The cognitive, social and humanistic perspectives rely heavily on each other to provide a full explanation of prejudice. Woman’s plight is even more pathetic, verbal abuse as well as accusing them of illegal and immoral trade exposed the mindset of our Nation. Only people who have experienced the horror and the brutalising effects of the caste system will understand what it means to be a Dalit in Indian society. A Dalit is considered to be untouchable, invisible, and unapproachable and even, in a way, unthinkable.
Dalits have been suffering, humiliated, martyred from the last two thousand years. Does the world know about this man-made tragedy? Even though untouchability was officially abolished by law in the 1950’s in India, the Dalits still experience the agony of untouchability very deeply in all walks of life: social, economic and political. For Dalit children, the future does not look much better. Fifteen million children are bonded labourers, working in slave-like conditions, and the majority of them are Dalits. Thousands of girls are forced into prostitution even before reaching the age of puberty. Devadasis, literally meaning “female servants of god,” usually belong to the Dalit community. These girls are pretty and have caught the fancy of a higher caste man. Once dedicated as a devadasi, the girl can become the playmate of such a man. Afterwards, she is cast aside and auctioned off to an urban brothel. As a devadasi, she is unable to marry forever.
Dalit women also suffer another form of abuse. They are often raped as a form of retaliation. Sexual abuse and other forms of violence against women are used by landowners to inflict political “lessons”, and crush dissent within the Dalit community. It’s really shameful for all of us that such activities are taking place in our country. After independence, everybody was scared how a country like India can remain united out of it diversity in all walks of life i.e. caste, tribe, religion etc. No religion or nation preaches intolerance or endorses the view to look down upon anyone. If we feel that looking down on someone who is not from our background is justified and flaunts it as our nationalistic attitude, then we must realise that it is time we review our understanding. A prejudice is a belief about a group of people based on their religion, ethnicity, race, gender, handicap or any other factors. It can be positive or negative, but as a prejudice involves passing judgement on a large group of people regardless of their individual qualities, hence it is considered to be unfair. Prejudice which causes unfair treatment is called discrimination, and in many cases discrimination can be illegal. Prejudices and discrimination can result in serious problems for both the people that hold them and the people that they are prejudiced against. Most of the people who discriminate against a group do so because of upbringing or societal reasons. However, some prejudices are due to a bad experience with a certain person or a traumatic life event that has caused an individual to stereotype an entire group. Many prejudices develop from fears or misunderstanding of a certain culture or race.
Conflict of interest in job and education are very unfortunate. It may start trust deficit among the Indians. Are we becoming a nation of bigoted folks? By committing hate crimes against the people of the north eastern states, we are sowing the seeds of dissension. If the police don’t apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice, we are putting our pluralistic structure of our country, of which we are so proud, in real danger.