Dec 5, 2006

Ambedkar Statue & Mob Hysteria

Back to my favorite blogging topic -- Politics --

A sequence of events highlighted in media

Date : Nov:29 : Baba Ambedkar's statue vandalised in Kanpur. Media reports indicate that it was beheaded. Immediate protests in UP, but police able to control the situation.. The detailed reports of the incident splurged across the nation by media.

Date : Nov:30 : Angry protests rock Maharashtra. Stone pelting and rioting across the Marathwada region. Four dead, more than 60 injured as per the official estimates.

Date : Nov:30: Four coaches of Deccan queen torched by protesters. The burning coaches fuel disgust among the general public.

Dates : Dec 1,2 : Blame game. .The uppermiddle class points the finger at police, Police blame the media, some people blame Dalits for getting into this hysteria ( if u can call that ), some blame politicians..This goes on.

-- These are the main events that everyone came across..However, there is a backdrop to this. which was not highlighted very much by the media (atleast the national media )--

Those are ...

Date : Sep-29 : At Khairlanji in Bhandara district , Four Dalits of a family including two women are killed ..Reports indicate that two women ( Mother and daughter ) were gang-raped and killed .Subsequent cover-ups by the police and politicians led to mass protests..Supposedly owing to political pressure, the IGP at Nagpur made a premature public statement that the killings did not involve rape. But, the regional media highlighted it and protests began to mount..Some sanity into the probe was restored. The preliminary probes by the Government indicted a top cop. The case is finally with the CBI. Some of the related news links are 1, 2 , 3 , 4
And manymore if u search in Google ..

My take
I firmly believe two wrongs cannot make a right. But thats not the case with everyone.Think about why rioting took place in Maharashtra ...Is it because the state has more Dalits -- No, Uttar Pradesh has the most..Is it because opportunist politicians wanted to exploit the Dalit votebanks ? - No, because the elections are not impending in Maharashtra, its coming up in U.P.. And there are equally good opportune politicians in UP and Bihar ...Then why did the riots happens there ? In reality Dalit anger was simmering in Maharashtra over the past two months or so over the Khailranji killings and subsequent attempted cover-ups. Coupled withthe already deteriorated agrarian crisis and the routine farmer suicides, this was just an outlet of frustruation..If not the desecration of statue, some other incident would have comeup over that..It could have been done by someone in U.P to incite a mass protest there and polarise the votebank before the elections ( As per the U.P police , a person in an inebriated state vandalised it and no politcal motives were attached to it ) . I would say , its time to treat the root cause , rather than symptoms..

Even after decades of Dalit mobilization and Mandal politics, the condition of bulk of Dalits remain the same ..To get a feel of that, take a journey through rural Andhra / Karnataka.. Illiteracy,poverty, insanitation and much more will make you wonder where the money spent for Dalit upliftment has gone to..
The purported 'saviour of Dalits' - the Republican party of India is splitting and forming new groups every now and then..As per the latest stats, there are six groups claiming to be the real representatives of R . P . I , not to speak about the numerous factions. These goes on , and nothing other than votebank politics result from these...Unimaginative politicians fight for quotas in higher education for a populace which doesnt have primary education. And, none of the much 'acclaimed' upliftment plans of various Governments reach the needy people..

For the bulk of the high-class Indian citizens, the images of burning Deccan Queen would have added nothing but disgust and hate towards Dalits..At first I too was shocked by seeing the images..Only a few would have really looked into what the actual picture is. In couple more weeks, the media would get a new issue and the old ones will be relegated, atleast thats what has been the sacrosanct tradition of Indian Media.

An angry and discontent populace produces sporadic incidents like this..It'll destabilize the democracy. If not now, it'll lead to bigger troubles.. Its high time that we focus and bring the needed focus into the neglected masses., the other side of 'shining India'...Dedicated work in the field of education, housing , employment etc has to happen...The big Q is, " Is anybody bothered about that ??? "



Serendipity said...

. I would say , its time to treat the root cause , rather than symptoms..

Cant agree more

..Unimaginative politicians fight for quotas in higher education for a populace which doesnt have primary education.

True in a country where hunger deaths are prevalent, establishing quotas in higher education is no solution.It would only help those who can even otherwise get a seat.

In tamilnadu most of the reserved seats for the SC/ST goes unfilled.

And politicians have become so vote hungry that the power comes before the state or the nation for them. But then as u said "Is anybody bothered about that ??? "

Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

@serendipity -- Thanks for dropping by... >> In tamilnadu most of the reserved seats for the SC/ST goes unfilled. >> Thats true to a certain extent in Kerala too..

>> power comes before the state or the nation for them
>>> Unfortunately, yeah..thats Indian politics.

Anonymous said...

Dude..junk CAT and prep for the civil services exam.

or you could try a management degree in social services.. but i guess IRMA is the only feasible insti in India for that.. There are a lot of good insti's in Europe providing MBA in social services

Flyaway Mind said...

i never knew this side of the story, regarding the dalits's murder..the media just over sensationalise certain spicy news,that the real info sometimes gets downplayed.. while reading the newspaper i was left wondering, whether it's not like making a mountain out of a mole hill..

do completely agree abt "fight for quotas in higher education for a populace which doesnt have primary education"

Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

@sanjiv -- Well, I though about that sometime back itself..But rather than being part of a corrupt politico - beaurocratic setup, its good to for a corporate life and some NGO work..I may turn into the NGO stream at some point in my life seriously..But now, cash is important for me..

@flyawaymind -- Yeah, Media oversensationalise some spicy aspects..Thats how they garner ads nowadays.

Hitchhiker said...

Fantastic piece of journalistic investigation. That side of the story does explain a few things.
I kept thinking of reasons why it could have happened. The excuse of agrarian unrest seemed valid but it couldnt have been a trigger per-se! Finally I had to settle with the explanation that mischief-mongers took advantage of the statue-issue and scaled it to suit their own purposes. But even that did not seem to be a satisfactory explanation : I mean consider this, a state which had shown such solidarity during the Mumbai blasts cant simply break out on an issue taking place miles away! This kinda puts things in perspective.

And bout primary education, completely agree with you on that - it has to be THE primary issue mebbe extended by quotas as and when needed.

Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

@hitchhiker -- Thanks for the compliment :) .. Mischief mongers would have definitely taken some advantage of this..But then,as u said thats not the root cause.. Think about this..Maharashtra politicians simply duck the press questions over the Khailranji killings by giving some awkward explanations..From the circumstances , I feel , this indeed was the reason...

Ranjit said...

I agree with you, it's a sense of injustice. The guilty are not punished appropriately by the state so the people get more frustrated and destroy property / lives of random people who may have nothing to do with the original crime. This cycle keeps on. And why do we still have a caste system?

Anonymous said...

What happened is very unfortunate, both the disrespect shown towards the statue of Ambedkar and the disrespcet shown towards the civilised and tolerant culture our country is supposed to represent. Check out my views of the whole thing in Mental Floss

Anonymous said...

Its stupid to be silent, when majority of India thinks that violence against statue vandalism of dr.ambedkar is hooliganism while the same majority could have said it "natural" over some other national leader or deity. Of course, I would agree that it is result of the murder of dalit family in Maharashtra, though its no where related to farmer suicides, in fact land owner are the greatest oppressors to dalits in rural india. Its like you might find more whites associating themselves with black then Indians or Chinese associating themselves with black. Moreover I am glad that the news has taken a national proportion then the murder of dalits which had taken regional proportion. I am sure most of the people were unaware of the news.