Need to struggle on multiple fronts by disabled of lower strata of society

By Sheshu Babu

“Caste is another name for control. Caste puts a limit on enjoyment. Caste does not allow a person to transgress caste limits. In pursuit of his enjoyment. That is the meaning of such caste restrictions  as inter-dining and intermarriage…” — Dr BR Ambedkar in “Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition”

Caste violence and animosity are spreading deeper into the social fabric and almost every community is becoming a victim to caste -based hatred. Even the disabled, the sick and women are not being spared and they are being harassed  humiliated and brutally massacred even in broad daylight. A recent incident bears testimony to rapid deterioration of social and human values.

The incident

In Rajanna Sircilla district  Boinapally Mandal Sthampally village, a blind father of two sons belonging to Mudiraju caste was brutally tortured and killed for his sons loving and marrying girls from  Gouda caste by the people of the Gouda caste.

Laxminarayana was a 100%  blind man who used to do his work independently without others support. When he heard of his sons intention of love marriage with other caste girls, he wholeheartedly accepted their views even though they belonged to other castes. But the parents of the girls did not accept the marriage proposal .. The girls eloped with their lovers.

The parents got angry and they dragged the blind father out of his house, beat him till his body was bruised totally and he cried ,”Son! Please  save me!” But inhumanity prevailed. He was mercilessly and cruelly tortured  till he bleed profusely  and died after four days in hospital. No one could do anything except  expressing sympathy…

The whole incident has been described in Telugu by Buram Abhinav  of the Kula Nirmulana  Samithi,  the  committee  struggling for eradication of caste  in  a  Facebook timeline post published in avaninews.com  (2020-11-04  04.25.11).

Problem of lower castes

The problem of discrimination is faced not only by Other Backward Castes but more so by Dalits. Being on the lowest ladder of caste system, dalit disabled persons are tortured more if they dare inter-caste marriages.

“Acting on simultaneous as a social and physical condition disability — which varies in form and severity, and may be present from birth or developed during the course of a person’s lifetime  —  is considerably more prevalent among Dalits than upper castes: 2.4 percent compared to 1.8 percent, according to one report” (Pal. G. C. ‘Dalits with Disabilities: The Neglected Dimension of Social Exclusion’,  Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, Working Paper Series, Vol. 3, No. 4 2010, p. 8).

Dalits are also more  likely to have severe forms of disabilities  generally, and more specifically to acquire them at a young age (‘Case Study: Dalits with disabilities in India,  Minority stories’, stories.minorities.org). The intersection of caste with disabilities can compound the myriad faced by Dalits.

Thus, not only upper caste and lower caste   people are nursing hatred towards each other; even sub-castes among OBCs and ST, SCs are  also at loggerheads with each other.

Dangerous trend
This increase of caste conflict is a matter of grave concern and needs to be tackled urgently. Social activists must carry out aggressive campaigns highlighting the root cause of the problem. Only ‘annihilation of caste’  might solve the vicious practice in India.

Caste supremacy should be abolished and equality of all people alone can stop incidents involving brutal killings of disadvantaged people. As  Jyothsna Phanija said, “As long as we acknowledge the supremacy of the other, we never achieve our own dignity .…” (‘In Conversation With Jyothsna Phanija: Where Caste, Disability and Gender Meet’, by Pragya Roy, December 3, 2019, feminisminindia.com).

She further says, “Caste system and oppression against the disabled , still continue because of the sustained prejudices.”  Hence, there is a need to struggle on multiple fronts by disabled of lower strata of society.

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