The Indian Constitution guarantees equality for all, but the deep-rooted caste system in the society has never allowed the Dalits to be treated on par with the upper castes, opined former Deputy Director of Department of Collegiate Education H M Rudraswamy.
He was delivering a lecture on the ‘status of Dalit leaders in modern India,’ organised by Dr Babu Jagjivan Ram Study Research and Extension Centre to mark the 30th death anniversary of Jagjivan Ram.
Rudraswamy said that the concept of Dalit leadership evolved during the ‘Poona Pact.’ Dr B R Ambedkar and Dr Babu Jagjivan Ram stood out as two significant leaders who strived to uplift the downtrodden. “Since then there has been lot of changes and an increase in the number of representation among the Dalits with little freedom. The social base of political parties is casteism and even the caste system differs from state to state. So there is logic of perception. The candidate who contests polls is under the mercy of the party high command and senior party leaders. Besides, not much had changed in terms of social mixing or relations across caste barriers.”
Further he lamented that the Indian society has failed to define a communist and a secular leader. We have no particular criteria to call a person a communist or a secular. This may not be a problem for the upper class, but it matters to Dalits as secularism is their way of life. There is need to create a mass awareness on such issues to make Dalit leaders more powerful, Rudraswamy added.
Former minister M Shivanna, Central Adivisory Committee member Deepak Doddaiah, Dr Babu Jagjivan Ram Study Research and Extension Centre Chairman Sadashiva and Visiting Professor G S Bhatta were present.