The proverb, “Give a man a fish; he’ll eat for a day.Teach a man how to fish; he’ll eat for a lifetime,” is as apt for Dalits today as for any other community. The constitution which promises to provide equal status to all the people irrespective of their caste has pushed this community to oblivion.
India is a functional democracy. Democracy ensures equality among all. But does the country give equal rights to the Dalits as well? Looking at the recent incidents of mistreatment, the democratic status of India stands contradicted. The question that strikes is whether they are enabled to get what they are entitled to? For every political party, the Dalit community often turns out to be a prized pawn which can help them win more seats and get in power. Before the elections, Dalits are entitled by the political parties to important statuses in the society, but then comes the reality into the frame when after the elections, the situation for this community remains grim devoid of the enablement.
This explains how parties embark upon enabling the constitutional rights guaranteed by the government to the Dalits, as a scheme to garner marginalised support, which suffers a flipside when the reality strikes, amid the contours of dirty politics. Thus making no considerable positive change in their social status.
Gujarat’s recent case of vigilantism has shed substantial light on how Dalits are being discriminated. A Dalit family had been publicly beaten up for skinning a dead cow. The fact that the so called gau rakshaks had wrongly accused the family of slaughtering a cow, and taken law in their hands, is highly objectionable. Would this have been possible, if this family did not belong to the Dalit community?
While, this increasing involvement of Dalits in politics could be seen as a good development for the community, their usage as a mere political, is rather problematic. The seed of this problem is still untouched – the constrained mentality of the society.