Desi mid-life crisis

“Sir, you look pretty young, must be in twenties!” The callous bubbly girl remarked.

I never realised how swiftly I entered into 30s and close to heading what they say ‘midlife crisis’ or ‘frustrated forties’.  Could have been a genius-in-day-hoodlum-in-night kind during my college days, and then the pursuit of Dilli-waali girlfriend (read my old blog). Unbound uninhibited. For most of the born middle-class, this fool’s paradise gets over with a simple-yet-effective word called ‘marriage’. Its a symbolic end to any imprudent or luscious desire.

For many mischievous incorrigible young goons, marriage would be ultimate weapon to bring them on track. “Beta! Abb to shaadi ho gayee. Abb to sudhar jaao.”  (Now you’re married. better fall in line!). Even people like Ajay Devgn began doing movies like ‘Bhagat Singh‘ and ‘Singham‘ after marriage, while skimpily clad gyrating Kajol decimated her career to kid movies and Alpenliebe chocolate ads.

So, it wasn’t inapt for me to ignore the lively charming girl. Given a choice between Katrina Kaif or Konkana Sen, I prefer to go for Konkana’s movie which carries some substance-as they say. Wonder why these calculative producers pay so much to Katrina, a woman without substance? These ‘hot’ and ‘oomph’ don’t quite register in mind……anymore. The definition of ‘substance’ for me has flipped for good, like ‘Congress-to-BJP’, a character reversal, moderates to hard-core rightists. No other women. No indulgence. No freedom. No wits. Restrict to roman code of ethics and the supreme boss- your spouse. Konkana couldn’t hold me for long, and gradually the interest for movies died. TV soaps or those millions of singing idol shows were equally brutal.

Aren’t men cheering up Sachin and Yuvraj while gobbling on chips and drinks becoming rarer? I don’t remember when I last watched a test match. What would men do if they are stripped of historical ‘couch potatoes‘  status? With women conquering the couches watching all TV shows, should we begin calling rather ‘couch tomatoes‘?

To make it worse, era of ‘bigbasket’ and online shopping confiscated the lone birthright of indian husbands- shopping vegetables. I remember men enjoying evening walks to shopping ‘haats’ and fish-markets, a healthy respite from family woes. They would drift around, have long chat with buddies, have a ‘bhang-sip’ or a small ‘drink’ based on local preferences, discuss women may be or an unchaste joke. And there was no mobile to track you down either. Deprived of this casual pleasure, I have slowly forgotten the contours of gourds, and colour of flours. Big Bazaar revolution eliminated the pleasure to explore.

While driving back home, I was crooning an oldie, “O bade miyan diwaane, aise na bano” (an old song based on a moonstruck middle aged fellow). The girl who complimented in morning suddenly flashed in the rear-brain. She must be in her twenties or could be even younger. Huh! a kid. Yet, she brought in me a conceited grin, a quick look on car mirror and a stroke through own beard. May be I am still so young and charming! Day-dreaming I reached home. My spouse was surprised to see an exuberant beaming face instead of routine insipid fatigued profile. Mirror was even more surprised to find me staring at it for long. Everything seemed in tone, except the bulging tummy. I began coming home early and rushing to the gym. After lifting plenty of married life burdens, those weights and dumb-bells looked so wispy and light. Soon, my gait transformed from kyphotic bent Neanderthal to a Modi-style bold bloated stance.

Funky T-shirts, kamaal-khan sunglasses, a goan rejuvenation escapade and counting female stranger ‘likes’ on facebook. The new life had begun. Essentially, a suave doc was turning into a silly lampoon.

The tummy kept its contour intact not even budging for an inch. I sweated, panted, pushed up, tread-milled. Futile attempts of revival. God pushes you into such a karma-cycle that the only girl who would ever genuinely appreciate you, is your wife, sometimes more imposingly termed ‘life-partner’. A sacred elaborate marriage ritual and those seven-pheras glue you forever to somebody. Bond becomes even stronger with kids stepping in. The concept of ‘yours’ , ‘mine’ and ‘ours’ kids never crept much in Indian familes except a few like famous Mukherjeas where family lived like a riddle never knowing which son or daughter have come from which womb.

Coming back to the bubbly girl. She deserves some credit for bringing a sense of revival in me. A life lost in undesired burdens and imposed routine. A much early mid-life crisis which engulfs most of the married, divorced, or never-married people, is simply unwarranted. A ball-room dance with spouse may be extreme for many, but may be a bunch-of-roses would do.

What nonsense is buzzing in background when you write such a serious blog? ……Daddy mummy nahin hain ghar pe…….uncouth lyrics, oafish gestures.

Note: All characters (including me) are fictional and any resemblance is mere coincidence.

Continue reading “Desi mid-life crisis”

The origin of curses

An untold history of indian gaalis.

ITO Circle, New Delhi. Summer 2009

A Toyota Camry brushed past my Maruti Alto embossing a subtle scratch; Somebody appealed, and somebody caught the Camry driver off-guard like a third umpire. Camry took the brunt of Delhi-Wallah’s enviable collection of curse-words with his entire feminine genealogy denigrated within minutes. The victim, myself, could just mumble to pardon him, and was snubbed off with a hackneyed delhi phrase,

Aap tension na lo. Hum dekh lenge ji.”

(‘Dekh lenge‘ verbatim means ‘will look after’; it practically means a barrage of abuses and may be a slap or two)

Although, its a blasphemic topic to talk about, I was always curious about the origin of curses and abuses in India. Who was the first man on Indian soil to plant abuses on another? I look back at history in chronological order.

Pre-historical mythical era:

A still from Star TV serial Mahabharat
A still from Star TV serial Mahabharat

Ramayana and Mahabharata, the grand-epics of war with epitomic bad-men ‘Rakshasas’ and ‘Kauravas’ never mentioned about any abuse. Else, Bibhishana and Sugreeva would have been blasted black-and-blues with ugliest of abusive inventory. But, nothing! No such mention in Ramayana. Duryodhana and Karna did improvise a bit abusing Pandavas and Draupadi, when Karna called Draupadi ‘unchaste’ (dramatised by these TRP freak serial directors as ‘veshya’ and what not). Ved Vyas too would have scandalised the issue a bit. Still I believe, event was much milder in terms of curse-words as compared to ITO affair. And above all, disrobing kulvadhu‘s pride and womanhood can’t be compared with some random Alto car being brushed. If 100 curses were reason to kill Shishupal, half of delhi would have been dead by Krishna’s sudarshan.

Medieval era:

Ashoka-Colors
Chakravarty Ashok Samrat: A colors channel TV serial

Neither in Romila thapar nor in Satish Chandra’s medieval history, curse-words are accounted.

They might not be apt for a written history, but people like Huen-Tsang or Megasthenes could have mentioned about them. Why would the outsiders care to maintain decorum?

Pali language of those days could have had some encrypted ‘gaali’. But, why didn’t archaeologists find anything? As a natural reflex, they should have decoded all porn and banned stuff first.

May be all was burnt like Nalanda legacy. I don’t quite buy that argument either. Even if somebody nukebombs our country, atleast one curse-word would remain somewhere, on some facebook status, or some piss-sprinkled wall, or some public toilet or some chetan bhagat’s novel.

The muslim invasion and origin of ‘gaali’:

A still from TV serial Jodhaa-Akbar
A still from TV serial Jodhaa-Akbar

Only reasonable period attributable to earliest indian abuses, could be the period of Delhi Sultanate. In one of my childhood textbook lesson on Ibrahim Gardi, Ahmedshah Abdali called him, “Dozakh ke kutte“. And, that stays first documented abuse of Indian history in my memory. As most of these invaders belonged to land of unrest in middle-east, probably those war-cries and angry exhanges had permanently scarred their vocal cords. Words like ‘Dozakh‘, ‘Haraam‘, and ‘sahabzaade‘ crept over the people of India who were already tired of Sanskrit tongue-twisters like ‘kimkartavyavimudh‘. Soon, mutations and combinations gave rise to ‘apbhransha‘. How ‘Haraam‘ would have mixed with ‘Sahabzaade‘, and when ‘Matri‘, the revered maternal term, became ‘madar‘ and later to ‘Mother’, is pretty comprehensible.

Did Mughals really invent abuses?

Mughals or earlier muslim invaders are not to be blamed for curse-words for present day. Arabic language or present day Urdu are one of the most disciplined and respectful lingos, which has a certain ‘adab‘ and ‘lihaaz’, and distinct place for elderly and women. A sharp contrast still prevails between Delhi and Lucknow day-to-day usages.  In Lucknow, some would ask, “Aur zanaab, kaise mizaaz hain aapke?“. In a Paharganj hotel in Delhi, my friend was welcomed by morning chai-wallah, “Aur bhai! neend aayee ya machhadon ne maar lee?

British period

A still from movie 'Lagaan'
A still from movie ‘Lagaan’

Its pretty natural British would have pounded umpteen of abuses during their rule. But, only accounted and popularised abuse is ‘bloody Indian’. British and most of europeans even till date, aren’t much into sex-linked abuses, rather they are into scatological abuses like- bloody, scum, shit, faeces, dirt…and so on. That would have barely hurt Indians who never used a toilet-paper and loved to shit in open.

North-Indian origin: The aryan legacy or something else?

Coming back to counter muslim origin, my other contention is muslims of those days (and some even in present day) had consanguinous marriages, i.e. marrying within the family with some sister or cousin. North-indian Hindus stayed away from such traditions (rather its blasphemic to even think about such relations). Recently, one of the high-class polygamous woman is accused of murdering her daughter on this behest. Abuses based on such incestual innuendos are most prevalent today, and I believe they must have been brain-child of north-indian orthodox hindus for whom an incest could be the worst abuse.

Its not like south-indians would be less abusive, but their inventory must be much smaller than average delhi guy. Sweet-tongued bengalis probably have only one curse-word based on bengali word for stupid- ‘boka‘. In our college ragging days, we were told to utter abuses to the ceiling fan till it stops whirring. People from all states ranging from Bengal, Bihar, Madhya pradesh, Rajasthan tried their best but could not utter little more than filmy abuses like ‘saala‘, ‘kutta‘, ‘kameena‘ etc. But, when a punjabi began his ‘O teri ……’ , ceiling fan was almost shaking and about to fall at his toes.

Award winning scene from Movie ‘Omkara’.

While traditional crime hinterlands of Bihar and UP improvised on double-meaning Bhojpuri songs with roadside romeos uttering some cheap innuendos chewing paan, Sardaars (sikhs) and Jats of north innovated some hard-core abuses. A simple reason I could think is Punjab witnessed gory days of partition and terrorism which made the funniest and most gayful community burn in anger. Abuses may have emanated since Jaalianwalla Bagh and flourised till golden temple incident of 80’s. On the other hand, feudal lands of Bihar-UP witnessed suppression of dalits and lower caste by landlords in a derogatory way. So, the abuses were invented to laugh and scorn at them- subtle and punishing ones.

The days are over, and India progresses towards egalitarianism. From Dr. Dre to Honey Singh; Vishal bharadwaj flicks to Chetan Bhagat’s novels; MTV roadies to AIB Knockout; Rave parties to casual facebook posts. Abuses are a universal vogue entity. Some days back government was contemplating whatsapp monitoring. All they would have had is – porn and abuse collection for next decade. The beeps in movies prompt you to say it aloud, and the **** studded words appeal us the most.

Even if great Subhash Chandra Bose rises back from his grave, he would go back to sleep if he hears, “Bhaag bhaag DK Bose…….D K Bose.” and wonder if his land of ‘dharma’ has become land of ‘curses’.

If you are searching for some funky abuses for Nehru and Gandhi in his letters, remember it wasn’t us. It was the great orator and visionary Bose. Abuses are created by us, and hope next generation doesn’t get hold of them.

Jai Hind!

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Disclaimer: Author has expressed his fictional opinions and interpolations, which does not claim to have any relation to actual history.

Read also:

The complex origin of our favourite ‘gaalis’

Born immigrants of India

Years back, when I was studying in Pune, I had a friend who never travelled beyond Bombay, forget out of state. A proud marathi fellow, who loved his state and his culture, and never dreamt of foraying anywhere beyond Maharashtra. Its altogether a different story, today I see him hopping from one continent to another. He wasn’t a born immigrant and neither are a lot of Maharashtrian, who are proud to be grounded to their origin and their culture. But, country do have set of born immigrants, who are born to wander, some erasing their footprints and some carrying their old soil wherever they go.

#5 The wealth creators: Gujratis and Marwaris

A herbivore species, with an accented speech and a basic degree in commerce or sometimes just a matriculation, knows to mint money out of scraps. Birlas or Ambanis, or owners of any small Baskin Robbins outlet in US, they are everywhere. Given a choice, all gold and diamond of world would love to be kept in their custody. They know their value, every bit of them. The sweetness haunts you when they try to sell, or when you are employed by them. Most difficult employer to quit in my life, was one of them, as I could never have enough arguments with him in spite of disagreements. No wonder, we have a prime-minister with wide acceptance in spite of plenty of dissents.

#4 The intellects: Bengalis and Tamils

Exactly opposite of Gujratis, Bengalis are fish-gobbling, sophisticated (oily-haired bhadramanush is past!), and highly educated individuals who barely care for money. May be ten years from now, only people you would find doing a PhD would be Bengalis. The protectors of Classical music, Rabindra Sangeet, and wearied old literature from Shakespeare to Sharatchandra, all would have a thick spectacle if they get their eyes checked properly. Similar description goes for Tamils, who too would reach the heights in science, have penchant for music, and yes, spectacles are equally universal. Yet, both of the groups would have their own coterie who would chit-chat in their language, bengalis with their rolling tongues and rounding lips, and tamils with their vibrating vocal cords and cluttering teeths. When I spent some unsuccessful years in PhD course in US, university was studded with Bengali research grads, and sight of some eminent Tamil faculties.

#3 The paramedics and gulf stormers: Malayalis

Not a corner this country would have a hospital without a Malayali nurse. How this crept in the culture is not well understood by me, but they are the best in healthcare industry, be it my field of radiology or any discipline. An incomprehensible one of the most complex south indian language, an even more complex cast and religion mix-up, and most butchery culinary habits from minced beef to chips-and-pickle made out of fish, yet they have wide presence in nation. Well, sea route could serve an access to gulf, but India has a huge coastline, yet migrations happen most from the ‘god’s own land’. If you throw a stone in Arab lands, chances are more of hitting a malayali than an Arab.

#2 The honest hippies: North-easterns

Inherting a covert culture hidden in ‘chicken-leg’ of Indian map, they are true outsiders with different physique, face contours and a non-native accent. They could never hide their identity, never could gel completely within the mainland. Delicious chinese cuisine cooks, a trusted security person, or a smiling masseur, they choose such professions where nobody could ever contend them. Vogue hairstyles and dresses, some junkies, some musicians, some boxers, some just plain dumb humans, they are the inherent nomadic hippies of India.

#1 The ambitious commoners: Biharis and Punjabis

This may sound weird to club two contrasting cultures, but in essence, their reasons to immigrate are similar, and have similar earthly roots. Years back, when we had some squabble in college days, one of our seniors pointed, “Both of you are equally rustic (“ganwaar” was the actual word). One says ‘ishkool’ and other ‘askool’, none of you can pronounce ‘school’ correctly.” While Punjabis began moving from the days of partition, or when became terror-capital state, or after ’84 riots, Biharis ran out of suffocation in undeveloped corrupt state. In punjab, many people still carry two dreams- one, to go to Canada, and another, to release their music CD. Biharis who could dream became IAS, one who couldn’t dream, opened a Paan-shop. When I moved from one city to another, I changed my accent or learn the local language, trying to gel myself with the culture. I got dissolved in local culture like a ‘dispirin’ tablet. Punjabis love to keep their accent, sing bhangra, and drive the cab with pride.

One erases the footprints left behind, and other carries the soil with them.

footprintstop
Courtesy: illerah.com

Baahubali: A lesson from Lanka.

While scrolling through facebook posts, I come across umpteen of innuendos about Dalits, Muslims, ‘We upper class’, Sardars, the Hindus, Brahmins, Biharis, We Indians, Those Pakistanis, and so on. The fight for claiming one as better race never ends. And we condemn Hitler? Anyway, back to Bahubali.

Baahubali of my story wasn’t anybody close to the muscle-men of movie, rather a disproportionate figure sledged once as ‘overweight fat cunt’. On top of it, he was heading a crew beaten and bruised since its inception for last fourteen years.

He belonged to a strife-torn kingdom fighting war of races since years. A country debt-ridden. A country so small mimicking almost a ‘tear-drop’ on world map. A country infamously called Lanka, the land of demons. The ugly ones.

Entire Baahubali’s kingdom denounced the minorities,  suppressing them, burning their houses, decimating them. Mutthu’s house too was burnt when he was a kid. While many Dalits turned Naxals, Mutthu rose beyond the ashes believing in the place he belonged. His skills were unique when he could spin the ball beyond human imagination almost like the leper ‘Kachda’ from Lagaan movie.

While many would have resisted, but Baahubali must had spoken like Aamir Khan, “Kachda khelegaaaaa!”. And so he played.

Baahubali took his newly shuffled bunch alongwith ‘Kachda’ to the land of whites down in a southern island of world. They were thrashed and booed. Kachda’s bowling action was made fun of, when he was asked to bowl seven times on the ‘Boxing day’. This wasn’t a dalit being made fun of, but a Lankan. All the majority upper class in their own country have been reduced to ‘dark uncouth race’ in the land of ‘whites’. This all caste and race thing is so relative. A brahmin in India would be a ‘brown indian’ somewhere else. All the barriers vanished, and Baahubali’s crew stood firmly with Mutthu.

A calm determined Baahubali took up the task to organise himself and take the revenge. He just looked at the bunch, their playing order, and shuffled it. Man at the top goes down, and men idle at bottom comes up. Lying at bottom for many years, when somebody get a special privilege, he thrives to do his best. To prove himself. Like first dalits who were renamed ‘harijans’ or uplifted by ‘reservation’, didn’t dance with joy but had tear in their eyes and thrived to sustain themselves. Sanath and Kaluwitharna proved giant killers.

Baahubali wasn’t alone. Another land of Moslems were too blamed for ‘fixing’ by the southern-islanders. And the prosperous land of Gandhi joined them naturally.

The supreme south-islanders had reason to laugh and scorn when an embarassing ‘bomb blast’ happened in Lanka right before the world cup. They refused to even step into the land of demons. What the world saw in return was unprecedented. The ever-fighting people of two lands- The Pakis and Indians joined to form a single team, and played an exhibition game with Baahubali in that very ‘blast-struck’ land. When Waseem Akram couldn’t find his T-shirt, he accidently wore the Indian captain Azhar’s T-shirt. Quintessential enemies were joyous together every time they took a wicket. The borders were broken as if they never existed.

Bahubali’s top men fired from the first ball. No defense. No pause. No adapting to situation. It was just blasting the bowler from the word ‘go’. This kind of cricket was never played before, and the same kind would be played now onwards. They changed the pattern of game forever. Sanath Jayasuriya rose from nowhere to ‘Man of series’, and ‘Most valuable player’ . Mutthiah Murlidharan shined with his swerving, dancing, mysterious balls, and what more? (Oh yes! Coach was Dave Whatmore).

Top batsmen of world cried at the pitches; Pace bowlers flummoxed by attack resorted to spin bowling; Spectators couldn’t bear the brutal thrashing of Baahubali’s team and vandalised the Eden Garden.

The murderous lankans reached to coveted finals with Australia. The Baahubali’s revenge to South-islanders.

For the first time, entire Lahore of Moslem was roaring for somebody from other land, flagging Lankan flags. A nation so neglected and deprived was getting a full-house crowd of supporters, that too in a jingoist Islamic country.

Baahubali knew he had arrived. He achieved the pride he never had.

Top order collapsed, but Baahubali was calm, assured. A Kumbhakaran look-alike Gurusinghe and Bibhishan look-alike De Silva have joined together for Lankan pride, and Bahubali kicked the final shot to glory. The world was conquered.

sri-lanka-cricket-world-cup-victory-1996
Arjun Ranatunga: The Baahubali, lifting World cup in 1996

#Abolishcaste

Dilli waali girlfriend

Morning newspaper had a photo clipping of Salwar-clad thinly built girls with two long hair-locks (colloquially called ‘chotees’) jumping across an iron-grill gate, since they were late for pre-medical exam.

Nothing attractive about them. No tight-fitted jeans. No lip gloss. No funky tops or overblown assets. No attitude. No X Y Z factor.

Morning newspaper was ofcourse the quientessential boring ‘The Hindu’, read by only two class of people- IAS aspirants or one who dreamt but never became one. They prefer to be called an elite class now. Moment I began counting myself as one, I terminated my ‘Times’ subscription, switched to ‘The Hindu’, and also changed my reading desk from study table to the toilet commode. And then, long verbose facebook posts and blogs followed, in efforts to bring myself in the elite league.

But, this fascination with elite class haunted me since my days in school. Asking for ‘the hindu’ was certainly not in a kid fascination. It was a blue-eyed urbane sophisticated convent educated girl who could speak fluent english. She seemed just out-of-reach, yet I began brushing up my english, practicing a heavily accented english in school backyard. I could never get the girl, instead aced my english papers.

Med-school ragging days followed, where a Bihari senior would gang-up all Bihari freshers and command like a Jehadi commander, “Saale! Tum log sab ke sabb yahan tak to aa gaye. Par aage ka raasta kathin hai. You all should aim for a ‘delhi-waali girlfriend’. “

Now, this was more than plain english. The overtones, the attitude, the out-of-place humour, the food habits, the body language. Delhi-waali girlfriend seemed like a golden-bicycle toy I cribbed for, my parents could never afford. Only way that came in my mind was old adage, “beta! Padhoge to sabb kuchh milega”. So, I studied hard and kept doing well in exams. Efforts were underpaid, when all I could get was a ‘patna-waali girlfriend’ (PWG).

I wasn’t ready to accept any fault in my DNA, instead something was wrong with the country. I moved to US, lost my PWG, and gave up any dream of DWG. This had suddenly brought me to end of road, with no further girlfriends to aim. I made many more friends, with no delhi-waali, no tags, no premonitions. In that country, all India-waallahs carried the same tag as a Bihari in India. The underdeveloped underprivileged unsophisticated accented people, all of them in dream of better opportunities.

Back to India, tilism was broken. I was in Delhi, a city of ogling, groping, teasing men and bold, energetic and lively girls, who would be afraid, self-conscious and listless at times. Delhi-waali-girlfriend would be equally praised and scorned for.

I finally did have an ephemeral delhi-waali girlfriend and a delhi-waali wife, yet the DNA didn’t haunt me ever again.

Courtesy: google images

Cracking the paanwallah code

I never learnt to whistle and it wasn’t my piece of cake to attempt eve-teasing but I always wished to understand the psychology. Paanwallahs, barbers and some frequent train travellers used to be one of inherent philosophers and observers. They observed life in raw form everyday, every minute.

Paanwallah has his small cubicle on one of the busy streets in Bangalore, next to a wine shop, probably an ideal ‘adda’ of hooliganism and raw manhood. He told me a woman would step down the pavement some 50 meters ahead of shop, staying at a fair distance from shop. I made a bet it wouldn’t be true for a ‘fearless (nirbhaya)’ woman in this cosmopolitan city. Some 43 (yes we counted!) females passed, with pretty good accuracy of 50 meter down-stepping.

What worst could happen at a Paan-shop on a busy street? May be some ‘whistles’, some ‘lewd remarks’, or just a ‘look’. Standing at the shop, I felt myself standing a ‘culprit’ or at least an ‘accused’ to these street ‘victims’. I never whistled in my life, because I could never learn it properly, but when an attractive girl passes by, my head does turn or at least sway a bit. But, the look doesn’t have that dangerous appeal probably. Remarks could have been lewd in closed hostel rooms, but never on a bustling street or in front of woman.

A good look or a bad look, a good touch or a bad touch, a woman could recognise much easily, which actually never existed in men’s dictionary. Where to step down, what to wear, where not to go in night, good corner, bad corner,…….. umpteen senses irrelevant to me.

Only way I see to eradicate this social stigma is to improve the interaction. A sexual autism prevails in India, where many of men talk or interact only with men, and believe women could be either mother, daughter, sister or wife. As if, rest of women are some creature to look, make remarks or whistle. More eyes would meet, and smiles shared, the world would look more uniform.

ratio-men-women-world-population_5afd68eb596fbafb
Courtesy: Google images

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.