‘Modi Govt Did Nothing For Us’: Agra Dalits on Ambedkar Jayanti
14 April marks the birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, man who lived and died for the rights of Dalits and the marginalised. But 70 years after Independence, the community is still facing discrimination in many parts of India.
The Quint’s Chaupal reaches Agra to talk to the youth of the Dalit community ahead of Ambedkar Jayanti and the Lok Sabha elections.
“According to me, we haven't been able to make the kind of India that Babasaheb wanted. He always advocated for equality. We haven't been able to achieve equality,” says Aditya, a student from Agra.
Manoj Gautam, a youth activist, has a similar opinion. “Communalism has spread so much that we have started discriminating in gods as well. They are talking of the caste of Lord Hanuman now, saying he was a Dalit and what not,” said Gautam.
‘Haven’t Achieved Babasaheb’s India in 70 Years’
Asked if it was the mentality of the people or the lack awareness in them, most of the participants said that both factors were responsible for atrocities against the community.
“Both are two sides of the same coin. The problem is the system. If we want awareness, that can only be achieved by the education system,” said Gaurav Singh, a student.
“I feel some changes have taken place, but only in the minds of our generation, not in the minds of the generation before us. Children are asked to stand up in class to ask who is from SC or ST. When all are studying together, how does it matter? We have to hear things like 'you're from SC, you will benefit a lot, you'll get reservation,' etc. ” said Singh.
‘BJP, Modi Did Nothing For Dalits’
Talking of the government, the participants were of the opinion that the atrocities against Dalits have increased under the current government.
“I don't think BJP has done anything. They have done things to show off, but maximum cases of atrocities have been under the BJP government,” said Aditya.
“The atrocities on Dalits have been highest under the Modi-Yogi government. They don't want the community to develop,” added David Asvariya, a PhD graduate.
“We want the right to equality. We don't want anybody to ask us what caste we belong to. We are Indians and we follow the ideology of Ambedkar, that's it,” said Gaurav.