Respected Prime Minister,
My name is Ratan Lal and I teach history at Hindu College, Delhi University. I belong to the Dalit community. Following my research on the contribution of nationalist historian Kashi Prasad Jayaswal for my doctoral studies, I have published several books on this subject. Apart from teaching and writing, I have also been participating in work related to social issues, like any person in academia should be doing. Alongside this, I also participate as a commentator on various TV and YouTube channels, etc., in particular on channels such as AmbedkarNama.
As a member of the academic world, it is my job to review, critically analyze, and comment on developments in government and society. In this work, at times I have also critiqued your government. I engaged in this kind of work even during the previous UPA government’s term in office and indeed, I thoroughly critiqued many of their policies. However, there is one difference between then and now – when I offer a critique of your government or make comments on various topical socio-religious matters, many anti-social elements start to intimidate me. Many times these reach the point where threats are made to kill me.
Once, in such a situation, I even had to lodge a complaint at the Maurice Nagar police station.
Initially, I did not take these threats seriously. However, given the recent attacks made by anti-social groups and members of alleged student organizations against professor Ravi Kant Chandan of Lucknow University, who, like me, belongs to the Dalit community, it has become necessary for me to write this letter. I remember that you once said, “If you want to shoot then kill me, but don’t attack my Dalit brethren”. But it seems that your words are not being taken seriously even by those who support your politics. They continue to attack Dalits despite the fact that you have made such a momentous appeal.
Like you, I do not wish to see Indigo down the path of violence, rather I also want to see India follow the path of Buddha, and steer it in that direction. Hon’ble sir, you too will agree that we have an instinctive right to self-defense, and the laws of our country also grant me this right. If the attackers were few in number, then one can defend oneself with the help of some batons or sticks, but these attackers come in the form of a mob. So without access to appropriate arms, it seems it will be difficult to protect oneself from them. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure one is adequately prepared.
I request you to provide me with two bodyguards with AK-56 rifles. If this is not possible, then the appropriate authorities should please be notified to issue a license for an AK-56 rifle for me. With this in place, I will be able to protect my family and myself from such a mob of anti-social elements if that became necessary.
The cost of the rifle is likely very high, because of which it will not be possible for someone on the income of a teacher, like myself, to buy it. Therefore I request you to authorize commencing the process of issuing the license very soon so that I can arrange the necessary amount with the help of donations of Rs.1-2 from the members of my exploited community. I also request you to arrange command training for me to learn how to use the rifle so that if an occasion arises, I will not let you down.
Not only hope but I also have full faith that you will take due cognizance of the gravity of the subject matter of this letter.
Dr.Ratan Lal, Associate Professor
Hindu College, University of Delhi
17 May 2022
Hon’ble President of India
Hon’ble Home Minister, Government of India
The Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Government of India