Since the UP elections, where data suggests that Dalits voted for the BJP, there have been accusations in the media that the RSS has influenced young Dalits, resulting in the desecration of Masjids and riots in a few Hindu Processions. In India’s socio-political circles, there has been a claim that “Dalits are being used as RSS foot troops.”
Some Muslim voices, in particular, believe that Dalit youth have become radicalized. Some even believe we’ve passed the point of no return. Let us examine.
There have been accounts of Dalits participating in religious processions and the desecration of Masjids, but they were all led by UC leadership. It’s only natural that young people, particularly young guys, are vulnerable to the brainwashing practiced by RSS. Integration and ambition are two factors that motivate young people in every community. RSS satisfies both of these requirements. RSS excels at this, distributing crumbs to the less fortunate while devouring the entire cake.
However, I agree that this is a problem that must be addressed. It will happen sooner or later; Dalit, Bahujan, and tribal movements have all seen course corrections over the years. The UC Savarnas occasionally find a chink in their armor, forcing Bahujan movements to rethink and restart. Every 10-20 years, we have to go through some form of post-independence cruel Karmic cycle.
But does the fact that certain young people have become radicalized qualify the statement “Dalits have become RSS foot soldiers”? No, because there is a great deal of evidence that refutes this notion.
Dalit leaders lead Dalit members in various sorts of processions and pad yatras, such as Ambedkarite/Bahujan processions. You will never see them misbehaving with Muslims or any other group of people. In fact, historically, Muslims march alongside Dalits in these processions. On Ambedkar Jayanti, you’ll never hear of Dalits scaling Masjids.
Tribal processions have never been accused of upsetting Muslims. Passing through Muslim Mohallas, playing degrading music, chanting obscene slogans, and hurling obscenities.
We don’t hear of tribal, Bahujan, or Dalit leaders conducting ‘Bahujan Mahasabhas’ inciting the rape of Muslim women or calling for a Muslim genocide. There is no Bahujan or tribal organization that uses racial slurs such as Madarsachap or Punctureputra or publicly advocates for Muslims to go to Pakistan.
When Muslims are oppressed, you will never see Dalit/Tribal leaders or socio-political organizations clapping on the sidelines. Although this is anecdotal evidence, I feel compelled to say that I have found the most sympathy and understanding for the Muslim cause, both online and offline, among Dalit, Bahujan, and Tribal friends and acquaintances.
This is sufficient proof that the claim that “Dalits are foot soldiers” is both hugely exaggerated and harmful. Dalits and tribals are mostly involved in social movements, and most of them sympathize with Muslims who are oppressed.
Bahujans, like any other tribe, have their share of nasty apples. It’s natural when the majority of people aren’t like that. But we Muslims, have a big problem if we can’t learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Tribal communities believe they were not given their due in the Dalit-Tribal discourse. They are correct. In India’s political discourse, tribals have the smallest voice. Nothing is perfect in India. There’s always something to work on. India is plagued by severe inequity and injustice, and things will never be easy.
But aren’t you falling for RSS propaganda?
When do you portray Hindu samaj as homogeneous?
When you engage in name-calling and false equivalences?
When the vast majority of Dalit/Bahujan/Tribal people are on your side? Yes, I agree that some Dalit/Bahujans are Islamophobic, but aren’t you saying exactly the same thing when you claim “Dalits are foot soldiers”?
Are you not using a single brushstroke to paint the entire community?
Yes, there are those melodramatic and clout-seeking Dalit intellectuals who blame Muslims; thus, singling them out rather than the entire community. But aren’t there some nasty Muslims?
The RSS’s hegemony is most threatened by the Bahujan-Tribal-Muslim coalition. Please don’t get taken in by their ploy. Nothing is more hurtful for India’s underprivileged than a breakdown in communication between Bahujans, tribals, and Muslims.
Bad apples, clout seekers, and communal bigots must be called out. However, don’t be fooled by RSS propaganda. Returning to discourse rather than blind fury is critical for our collective destiny.
Let us be mindful of our differences. It is necessary to have a COMMON MINIMUM PROGRAM. We need to unite and support one another.
Our grievances must be publicly discussed and shared. This discussion should perhaps dispel a few myths and falsehoods. I’m also hoping that we can all start over and talk to one other instead of arguing or bickering.
Let us hope for peace, which is impossible to achieve without justice. And in order to achieve justice, we must all fight together.
[This article is by Storyteller, Eternal Activist, & Screenwriter Darab Farooqui. You can contact them on Twitter: @darab_farooqui]
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author. The Mooknayak is not responsible for the accuracy, integrity, practicability, and completeness of any information contained in this article. All the information in this article has been presented as it is. None of the information or facts or views expressed in this article are those of The Mooknayak, and The Mooknayak is not responsible for them in any way.