Meals with the Dalits: Does Sharing Food with ‘Selected’ People Make India Progressive?

“ Progress every day is development, and progress for one day is Indian elections. “ – Pronita Tripathi.

We, in India, have the most creative elections. Everyday, you can expect a new propaganda in disguise. Instead of being called the largest democracy in the world, we may as well be called the most creative democracy in the world. The latest addition to the innovative list is consumption of meals at Dalit households, by certain politicians. Of all the things this country needs to develop, guests at lunch time in Dalit homes is not even near.

If we spend our maximum lives, doing everything except what is expected of us, where will we end up? Possibly upside down in a gutter of discarded items! The direction in which the politicians of this country are headed, where will it lead India to after 50 years? Surely, no educated and well bred person will make a conscious decision to live on in this land of rotten mind-sets and snail-paced development. Very soon the majority of the brightest Indians are going to become NRIs; especially the lot of the younger generations.

Now, here we are not being traitors or weaklings. We are being sensible because the way things are going on in India, in the near future there will be no place in the society for the educated and the intellectuals. When a nation does not value her most prized citizens, then people are not going to wait and watch. It is a journey of immense hard work and sacrifice with which most of the Indians excel. Why will they let their merit lie in vain, in a country that cannot even ensure minimum dignity of living , if not the luxuries of life?

These are very important questions and the Indian Government needs to perceive the sensitivity of this issue. When merit is replaced by ascribed status, the country lacks qualitative growth. In reality, we do blame it all on the Government and expect to be taken care of by the authorities, but the fact stands that it is difficult to look after every single need of 1.3 billion people. But, all we are asking is : thoughtless acts of apparent brotherhood in a time when needs are urgent and desperate, is not acceptable. In a country, where a million people starve to death, and lakhs of the population sleep with a rumbling belly, it is not justified to attend uninvited luncheons in the house of the poorest of the poor. Instead of invoking a fellow feeling of belongingness, it mocks the 179.6 million people living below poverty line. India with 17.5% of total world’s population, had 20.6% share of the world’s poorest in 2011. What more can be said about our actual state of affairs?

Considering only the Dalit community as well, how is this afternoon practice going to replenish their starved souls? Being the netas of the nation, you are supposed to be working for the betterment of your people for 48 hours a day instead of 24 hours. And you have all the time in the world, it seems! When the Government wants to eradicate the Dalit status from the Indian society, then why is it making such an elaborate effort to recognise it on its own part? It is ridiculous! If you want the Dalit status to be forever condemned, then stop extending a particular provision of the Constitution every 10 years. Unless you educate the underprivileged, no privileges will be sufficient.

The educators of the society are going to be the torch bearers of change. Instead of waiting for the torch bearer to come, let us all strike a match and start running, start educating.

Instead of looking up to anyone, let us look up to ourselves, first.

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