City SundayInterview

Dileep Narasaiah: Voicing dalit sensibilities

Dileep Kumar M is a city-based writer well-known as Dileep Narasaiah among Kannada news readers. He is a research scholar pursuing academics in Mass Communication and Journalism at University of Mysore He articles ave been published in few of Kannada newspapers including Andolana daily, Rajyadharma, Prasthutha fortnightly (Mangaluru), Karijana fortnightly (Vijayapura), Prabhudda Bharatha monthly and Samaja Parivarthana monthly. Being a part of academia in journalism, he is deeply concerned about mainstream media being biased regarding dalit issues. He has been voicing his opinion on the issue from time to time.

 Dileep Narasaiah is launching a book titled ‘Dalitaru Mattu Madhyama’ (Media and Dalits), a collection of his articles published in various Kannada newspapers, expressing his concern towards various aspects related to the betterment of oppressed class in our class-based society. He claims that the mainstream media has been dominated by upper class, which deliberately ignores the news articles filed by reporters belonging to oppressed class.

Writing articles on issues of oppressed class, do you believe that it could help get justice for people who are unaware and illiterate? What kind of awareness do you want for oppressed people who earn their bread through tedious jobs with poor salaries- such as pourakarmikas?

My main major concern is to solve the issues being faced by oppressed people. I am looking to strengthen people in lower grade services in our class-based society.  I know it can be quiet difficult if we ask them to use mediums like protest or provocative speeches to raise their issues. Therefore, understanding the ground reality of people and keeping future developments in mind, I have written articles with statistical information to alert the governance. I even received positive assurance from the Health Minister U T Khadar after I published an article related to health of rural people, which has been documented in the book ‘Dalitaru Mattu Madhyama’.

Born and raised in heritage city, have you ever experienced such discrimination?

None whatsoever. Though I was born and raised in Mysuru city, I was smart enough to understand the emotions and attitudes of people in our society. I did not experience any ill-treatment during my school days, as I studied in a school in Jayanagara which belongs to Jain community. There was no discrimination there against any community. However, when I joined to Maharaja’s College and University of Mysore respectively, I started understanding the politics of discrimination when I started studying Indian history. Then I observed several situations based on certain social perceptions, which gave me clear ideas on discrimination which the oppressed class has adopted as their culture and is reflected in their behaviour – which is very close to slavery. You need not experience ill-treatment to comprehend it. All that matters is how we perceive the society.

‘Dalitaru Mattu Madhyama’ (Media and Dalits)

Do people support your views?

Off course, they do. The educated class can easily understand what I have been trying convey through my writings. Once the people carrying out the discrimination consciously or unknowingly under the banner of so-called mainstream culture understand the facts, there are high chances that discrimination against dalits will reduce drastically.

What is your opinion on the architect of Indian constitution Dr B R Ambedkar?

He was a great statesman. Moreover, he was a great economist who was deliberately ignored in India, due to upper-class domination in the governance. The Reserve Bank of India is brain-child of Dr B R Ambedkar, but no one thought of having his photograph on our currency notes. It is unfortunate that despite providing education in line with the progressive initiatives made by Dr B R Ambedkar, very less people are supporting the architect of Indian Constitution. I can understand the helpless condition of people hesitating to support Dr Ambedkar. However, we need to raise our voices in favour of this visionary social reformer of India, so that the people hesitating to support truth can get courage. The oppressed class is not yet ready to side with Dr Ambedkar’s views against dominant class for the fear of facing social hurdles and degradation, which may also harm the future of their children.

What do you think of national and regional media? Are they ensuring media ethics?

No. All I see today are biased narrations in media – especially electronic media which impacts more audience today when compared to print media. Newspapers and news channels keep projecting unhealthy thought processes. Despite having many issues to be discussed openly, the media never focus on those issues. Moreover, the mainstream media ignores most issues related to dalits. Perhaps there is a major lack of dalit representatives in mainstream journalism. This is happening in many countries against interests of the oppressed class, and it is happening in Indian journalism, especially in the vernacular news channels and newspapers. The oppressed class is unable to start its own media house to raise its voice democratically. It may take hundreds of years for dalits to enjoy constitutional privileges

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