O rey manjhi!

Being born in a Brahmin family instilled with supremacy of ideas and thoughts since childhood, whenever I looked upon ‘dalit’ or ‘mahadalit’, there were gradual variations in my perception. Word ‘musahar’ itself seemed funny to begin with. Thank god I wasn’t a born ‘musahar’. Things changed as I moved to a congressi-style school, reading Gandhian and Nehruvian ideologies, leftist thoughts in teachers, and changing political scenario in Bihar. Soon, Brahmins were made fun of, in political rallies. In some of the speeches in school, I stood to talk about Oppression of lower class by Brahmins from centuries, receiving thunderous claps from audience. It grew to the extent that I began cursing myself being born ‘Brahmin’. What if I were born ‘musahar’? There is a lot to it.

A dalit remains a dalit for a life, may be mellowed to ‘harijan’, may be they would have a joyous clamour on Ambedkar Jayanti, may be they claim a coveted quota seat, may be they get appeased by politicos, yet a dalit remains a dalit. Like a ‘hologram’, like a ‘rubber stamp’, its his trademark, something he wouldn’t be able to change by conversion, ghar-wapasi whatever.

But, what’s wrong in being one?

When a mahadalit took over as chief-ministership in Bihar, it might have been circumstantial. He wasn’t the only one who rose from grassroots to the royal seat, prime ministers like Chandrashekhar and Narendra Modi have scaled through economic and social hardships. Its how you hold the seat, how you perform, and how you grow yourself from your caste-identity to governance? A ‘musahar’ is no more a ‘scavenging’, ‘rat-tracking’ dalit, but a chief-minister of state. His profile has changed. Even if he takes a pride in his roots, he should uplift ‘dalits’ by promoting education, creating jobs for them, and setting his success as an example. I would vote for such ‘musahar’ forever and ever.

But, there may be more to it. He may have been booed from background, when gets up to arrange a meeting. He might be rejected by his own people as a lowly ‘musahar’. His not-so-sophisticated statements, and immature thoughts were made fun of. Afterall, a dalit remains a dalit for life.

To erase the ‘rubberstamp’, and ‘dalit’ tag, probably people should reject caste-based politics. Doesn’t matter if a prime-minister or chief-minister is dalit or mahadalit or a brahmin, how he delivers in governance should matter.

Many years back, there was a man, who met a ‘musahar’, and gave up his clothes forever to stay like one. Some years ago, there was a ‘manjhi’ who alone made his way through a mountain. ‘Jaativaad’ should end in our lifetime. The day when ‘musahar’ would be a history, and people won’t celebrate a ‘black president’, but a man with credibility.

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