December 14, 2014

Lines of Hatred

G Mamatha

I HATE lizards. Not because they look ugly. But because of the miseries they had caused. Before you think that I am some sort of a superstitious person, let me elaborate. Lizards from a village in Haryana have led to social boycott of dalits and that is the reason why I hate them. Surprised? In India, anything can happen. Hear this from a participant in the recently organised convention of the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch. It seems some lizards from the field of a dalit farmer crossed over to the adjacent field of an upper-caste farmer. The upper-caste farmer got angry and beat the dalit farmer for this 'grave' crime of trespass. His anger not subsiding, he gathered all the villagers from his community, the famous 'khap panchayat', which had decided to enforce social boycott on the dalit farmer. That is the reason why I am angry on the lizard. If the lizard is an Indian lizard and has some minimum intelligence, it should have been aware that there is an LoC between the two fields. Not the LoC between India and Pakistan, but the LoC between dalits and upper-castes. It is the Line of Caste. The line that runs through the entire country, touching upon all of us, identifying us, dividing us and even distancing us from each other. This line will not always remain a line, at times it gains strength and becomes a wall. See it in Trichy. See it in...See it everywhere. There it is visible. But invisible, it exists everywhere. Omnipresent! From the convention, I learned that only lizards cannot see the line. What a pity! I hate them. I hate the police. Not because they are ugly and menacing. And again not because they too like lizards do not see the LoC. They in fact see it, more clearly than you and me. They see it thick and broad and many a times draw it even thicker, lest we miss noticing it. If by chance any of us assumed that our country is a boundary-less, seamless territory, where everyone of us can freely travel, stay and work, as the Constitution of our country states, the police remind us with a line on our body, as thick as their belt. The police see the line while we are at home, while we go to our villages and even while we go to our places of work. They see it in every crime that is committed in this country. If it is a theft, they come to our houses to arrest, crossing the line. If it is a robbery, they come to arrest us. If it is anything suspicious, they arrest us. They do not bother about crossing the line. After all, they are not bothered of violating the rule book and the Constitution of the country. Is there any other reason why there are 33.2 percent dalit under-trials in the jails in our country? It is because they are on that side of the LoC. There are times when the police do not cross the line. If there are attacks on dalits, they do not cross the line. They search for all the invisible lines. The boundary lines demarcating the jurisdiction of police stations will be searched. The lines and in-between lines in the rule book will be searched to see that dalits cannot register a case. Lines and in-between lines will be searched to ensure that the upper-castes are let off. If they are forced to register a case, the sections will be chosen with lot of care, in spite of their best of efforts they cannot 'find' evidence or will be tampered, investigation will be tardy, all to save the better-offs. What else will explain why there are only 35 percent of cases of crime on dalits, registered under the SC/ST Atrocities Act? It is for this, I hate them. Surprisingly, it is not just police of our country. Police even in the 'great' United States of America too are like our police it seems. They too have lines in their country. Their LoC is called Line of Colour. It separates black and white. One cannot be colour blind in that country! You might be Obama or Garner or Martin or Brown. First you are black, only then you are whatever you are. What else can explain the 43 percent of under-trials in the US? If you don't believe ask the people in Ferguson. If you think that it is a remote place, just go to New York City and ask the Statue of Liberty. Hope it does not have a blindfold around its eyes, as the statues of justice have! Coming to judiciary, I hate the judiciary too. Not because they wear black, but because they remind us that we are black and dirty – those on the other side of the LoC. As it is, only a few cases come before them for trial that concerns dalits. The police filter them with a great regard for the judiciary, as they do not want them to be further burdened. There are already lakhs and lakhs of pending cases! Even those few that come before them, we find the line in action. Here it is invisible. How else can one explain Bathani Tola, Lakhimpur, Tsundur and Karamchedu. Did the dalits die in these places? Yes they did. Who killed them? No answer. Draw an invisible line. Remember the English rhyme – Johnny, Johnny, Yes Papa...Re-read it. …. …. (add the names), Yes papa, Killing Dalits, No papa; Telling Lies, No papa; Open your hand, Ha, ha, ha! Ever wondered why our learned judges quote from various cases around the world, while delivering judgements? I thought that it is to show how learned they are and how judicious they are. But Ferguson and New York city taught an important lesson. Did Garner die? Yes he did. Did Brown die? Yes he did. Who killed him? No answer. Draw an invisible line. Judges of the world, have got nothing lose. Only we have got to in the system. Coming to the system. I hate the system. Not because it is dark, but because it reminds us that we are dark and dirty. Yes we are dark and dirty. But why are we like that? To keep you white and clean, we work in the sun and dirt. We are proud of our work and our colour. We are true to our work and our conscience. Can you, who claim to be so clean and pure claim that? You might, given the history of lies that were repeatedly regurgitated, it is not hard to believe. But you know and we know, the truth. Who drew the line? Who beat the dalits? Who killed the dalits? Who escaped the law? I hate the system, because it protects the high and mighty, not the one who sweats and cleans. I hate the system. It protects the corrupt, compromising, wrong-doers. I hate the system, because it draws a line on the air we breathe (If you think this is exaggeration please read an article in The Washington Post: The racial divide in America is this elemental: Blacks and whites actually breathe different air), water we drink and the land we walk. I like to fight against whatever I hate. Be it lizard, police, judiciary or the system. I like to fight because I love to live and I want to live.