Dr John Mohan Razu
A man from a dominant caste urinated on a Tribal’s face few days ago, has infuriated many.Pravesh Shukla, from Kubri village, 20 kms from the district of headquarters and 630 kms east of Bhopal, in Madhya Pradesh, was arrested and booked under. National Security Act (NSA). Police arrested the person who shot the video and booked him under the IT Act. A question that arises at this juncture is: why was he arrested under NSA for which no explanation has been given thus far. He faces charges also under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and IPC for obscenity and intentional insult to provoke thereby breaching peace.Expressing regret over the incident, the Chief Minister of Madya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, expressed regret over the incident and thus apologized to the victim.
The CM said that he was overwhelmed with anguish and spoke to the victim’s wife over phone. He then invited the victim, Dashmat Rawat, works in a mandi as loader and unloader to his residence and honored him with a shawl and washed his feet. He sent a video of him washing the victim’s feet with a message:“This is an attempt to share your pain. I also apologize to you. For me, the public is God … I am sharing this video with you so that everyone should understand that Shivraj Singh Chauhan is in Madhya Pradesh, so the public is God. Atrocities against anyone will not be tolerated. The respect of every citizen of the state is my respect.” Along with the victim the Chief Minister planted a sapling and enquired about his family.
In another incident, two young men, a Dalit and an OBC man were subjected to brutal torture in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, over alleged claims of sexual assault. This incident took place on the 30th of June, 2023, in Warkadi, in the Narwar area of Shivpuri. They were beaten black and blue, their faces blackened, forced to ingest human excreta (faeces), and humiliated them by parading through the towns. The dominant caste groups numbering about seven including two women attacked them without any basis. After investigation by the police, it was found out that the allegation of sexual assault was baseless and seemed to have been linked to land-related issues.There were falsely implicated and faced all-kinds of attacks by the dominant castes.
Atrocities against the Dalits and the Tribals continue across the country. Both the incidents happened in Madhya Pradesh. Expressing anguish, washing the feet, draping shawls, inquiring about the family remains only as a symbolic gesture. Symbolism is important, but should not remain at that level, but should trickle down from head to feet leading to caste annihilation. The psyche of the dominant castes is corroded and polluted with binary and hierarchy. Even in the year 2023, the Dalits and the Tribals are treated as the ‘other’, avaranas, vanachals, and‘non-humans’. The victims are traumatized and thus feel that the perpetrators would come back and take revenge. Though the victim a Tribal who went through grave humiliation and lost his worthiness was assured by the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh that police security be given for which he said that they would be there for a couple of days, after that I should face the brunt. This clearly shows his vulnerability and precariousness.
In a chilling reminder of how intimidating caste dominance still is in many parts of the country, Dashmat Rawat, a tribal youth on whom a man had urinated at his official residence in Bhopal added that “I did not complain about the incident. I thought let it be; he’s a Brahmin, so I did not say anything and accepted whatever he did.”The accused, Pravesh Shukla, urinated on the tribal man’s face continued smoking even the outrageous act was captured on camera. This shows the arrogance and audacity of the dominant castes. Incidentally, there were three persons, Pravesh Shukla, Aadrash Shukla and Deep Narayan Sahu. It was Sahu who shot the video. They fought with each other at the police station and then Pravesh admitted that he had done it. Till then, I was only telling cops that: “Sir, it is not my video’. I was lying, but after Pravesh admitted to the crime, I finally accepted that it was I in the video), the victim told TOI.
The victim said that he had no idea why Pravesh urinated on him. “I had no dispute or quarrel with him. He did it just like that. He was drunk.” Caste matrix has its own dynamo and dynamic that offers leverages to those belonging to dominant castes. Right from Brahim down the ladder their caste tags offer them those ‘privileges’ and ‘care-a-damn’ attitude. Without any reason, he had the audacity to urinate on another human being just because he happened to a tribal. The dominant caste categories even now stoop down to such levels urinating in the aircrafts on the head of another human, forcing a Dalit to swallow human excreta, parading them across the town or village, and many others. The feudal mind-sets engulfed with casteist venom are more visible in such horrendous ways makes many to wonder how could rational humans behave in this way. This is what the caste schema does.
These two incidents happened in Madhya Pradesh, within a span of few days which is dominated by the Brahmins though they are in tiny number, but wield enormous political clout in Hindu-speaking belt,dominated and regulated by dominant castes manifests the dominance of the system of caste that roosts strongly. However, as we are told, see, experience, and come across that all forms of oppression and atrocities that are manufactured and executed stems from the head of the Brahmins. Though their visibility is minimal, but behind these discrimination and oppression against the Dalits and the Tribals,the Brahmins play a pivotal role as to writing the scripts, planning and executing, and thus offering their thought processes. For all these, the originators are the Brahmins in collusion with other dominant caste groupings.
Gestures, symbolism, promises, and gimmicks keep surfacing to woo the Tribals and Dalits for various reasons. Many political parties and dominant caste categories think and want to exploit their vulnerable conditions and so that they can easily be wooed and dictated for different purposes such as keeping as vote banks or objects of charity. However, assumptions and equations keep changing as Dalits and Tribals are increasingly becoming as subjects of history and duly play active roles in policy making and decision taking processes.