I saw two posts on FB yesterday which made me think of their revolting similarities in different contexts.
The first post from VT Balram, an MLA from Kerala, explains his disgust at the opposition’s (CPM) attacks on a young Congress MP, Ramya Haridas, for the Youth Congress workers’ attempts at getting her a car at their expense. Personally, Ramya Haridas’ win was something that made me happy, not for any political affiliation, but for her grit and determination that led to her success. And if VT Balram wanted to express his anger, there is nothing wrong in it. What is wrong is the way he chose to do it, the way they all choose to do it. In the first paragraph, he writes about an incident from yesteryears when the then-Kerala CM EMS Nampoothiripad, sent a letter with this daughter to a friend of his asking him to give her some clothes on credit. He goes on to say that he has financial difficulties and he would give the money from his next month’s salary. A chapter from the good old days when people weren’t enemies for ideological differences maybe. What is wrong with VT Balram’s post is how he says that the primary reason for people thinking of this story as an example of modesty and complete lack of corruption is that the CM here was a Brahmin in addition to being a Communist leader. Even while criticizing the Communist party, his predominant weapon is caste. When he explains how Ramya is from a family with many financial problems, he makes it a point to write “Dalit girl” specifically. And then he elaborates again how the Communist party members (he quotes Ambedkar’s words “a bunch of Brahmin boys”) only care for the “covert poverty of the Savarnas at the peak of the strata of privileges”.
This guy could easily condemn the attacks on Ramya without bringing her caste into the picture (because honestly, it was in no way necessary) and also without belittling EMS Nampoothiripad only for being a Brahmin by birth (it was, again, in no way necessary). He could do so without the “divide and rule” tactics and nauseating political agenda; he could do so without talking down about a community in general and their ‘covert poverty’ (as if their poverty is a ‘privileged poverty’); he could do so with a simple message that stated the facts without wrong comparisons because this was in every way a political issue, nothing else. (In some ways, it was also funny because I hear Communist party members using the Savarna-hatred card in the most irrelevant contexts every now and then and here they were probably being given a taste of their own medicine.)
The second post was from an amazing lady who has found the most amazing reason to complain about after the Chandrayaan mission success. When the entire country, irrespective of political affiliation, region and religion, was rejoicing the huge milestone of ISRO, this wonder-woman found a way to infuse caste-hatred in the most unimaginable context. For her ISRO is ‘Brahminical’ because apparently the name of the mission is from a Sanskrit word which she can only relate to Brahmins. (Yes, you heard that right!) And a mission to moon for her is ‘technology shit’ because it is far from ‘her people’. I was thinking ‘Who the hell are her people???” I don’t think anyone would want to be branded as ‘her people’ after this nauseating display of unreasonable hatred for an organization that has been striving to put us on the same league as the other super-power nations and has succeeded in brilliant ways. But sadly, there are, as seen from the comments under her post. I am not a Brahmin; my mother tongue is a Dravidian language. And still I was least concerned about the name of the mission, because the mission in itself was what was important.
I have written this before too and I am going to repeat it over and over again. Our country still has a bad caste system that has to be wiped off, yes. But if you think the way to do that is to keep bringing in caste everywhere with no relevance, to spew hatred on Brahminism or all the castes you feel are privileged and generalize them all as the bad guys, to continue making Dalits believe that they are weak because it works well for your political agenda, to keep dividing people using the same evil you say you are fighting against, then there is nothing different about you. You are perpetrators of the very same evil, only with a role reversal. You are the same as the age-old zamindars who you say you are fighting against. The fancy words don’t change that. These two posts are only two examples of the shameless caste-based politics and division that people resort to in the name of rebellion. If you believe this is rebellion and this is the way to a better tomorrow, then God bless our future generations!