Mumbai: As Maharashtra crippled for two days due to violence and bandh, Dalit scholars and ideologues urge people to not fall prey to divisive politics. Writers and scholars feel the issue is being dragged pitilessly and should move ahead rather than getting stuck in past.
Analysing the Maharashtra bandh, noted writer and member of Republic Jana Shakti Arjun Dangle said, “It is time we enter the same year as the others are. We cannot look at 1818 and live in 2018. Maratha and Dalit communities are just an example, but each community should script a fresh narrative.”
Dangle added the violence is nothing but an excuse to create a wedge between Marathas and Dalits. “For 200 years, there was no problem and suddenly there was an uproar which ended in Maharashtra bandh. I feel people should not fall prey to these divisive politics,” Dangle said.
Dalit scholar and writer JV Pawar said it was not a communal violence but it was floated as one. “There were people from 225 different outfits that had congregated in Bhima-Koregaon but it was portrayed as if there were other only Dalits. All politicians and political parties are communal. And for their vote banks, they can go to any extent,” Pawar said.
Pawar added that casteism is here to stay until people take a stand against it. “In a country like India, violence will further strengthen casteism instead of reducing. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a stand. The unity plan hinges on support from common Dalits and not second and third-rung functionaries,” Pawar added. He is also the general secretary of Bharip-Bahujan Mahasangh, of which Prakash Ambedkar is the president. Scholars also said Dalit activists have been looking for a narrative and searching for a community leader since Babasaheb Ambedkar.
“They (Dalits) are lost. Every community needs a leader who will help people see clearly. Violence is the easiest way out for everyone. All the communities need is a leader who will change the meaning and concept of religion,” said writer and analyst Anand Teltumbde.