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Mainstream, VOL L, No 17, April 14, 2012

Merit, a Curse for Dalits? Elucidation of Discrimination

Saturday 14 April 2012, by A K Biswas

Part-I

Blazing Bullets greeted Dalit Merit!

An English daily, February 28, 2012 dateline Chandigarh, reported a chilling incident under the caption, “Upper caste boys kill boy from lower caste for ‘topping class’†. That efflorescence of talent and excellence could bring in its train a tragedy so tormenting in dimension is not only shocking but unbelievable also. However, this is the truth. Merit does invite blazing bullets in India, if it does not manifest itself in the comely social class. This makes the story spectacular and unparalleled anywhere except in our holy land!

The victim, Pradeep Kumar, was a II-year student in mechanical engineering of the Kalpana Chawla College of Engineering and Technology, Hisar in Haryana. According to the daily, “The incident took place at around 9.30 am outside the Kalpana Chawla Institute of Engineering and Technology. The only son of his parents, Pradeep (22), a topper of the mechanical engineering branch of the college, was stopped by two of his class-mates, Rajkumar and Kalyan, both belonging to the Jat community.†1 The youths pumped four bullets into Pradeep from point-blank range, leaving him dead on the spot. Hisar demonstrates again and over again its ferocity that it is the graveyard for the Dalit communities. The local police said that Pradeep belonged to the Khatik (carpenter) caste. “The two accused, who belong to affluent Jat families, did not like that a back-ward caste boy was dominating studies and topping in all the semesters.†2 The two accused habitually passed casteist remarks at Pradeep, who kept ignoring them. The victim’s superior talent had ridiculed the caste pride of the murderers.
Khatik in Haryana is a relatively small caste. In 2001, they were 44,707 souls, accounting for one per cent of the State’s total Scheduled Castes who aggregated at 40,91,110. One anthropological note reveals: “Found throughout India, the Khatik community began as hunters and butchers, though some claim warrior caste origin. Because they once handled carcasses, they are among the lowest in the Hindu social system. Some castes will not eat or drink with them. Today, most are in animal husbandry, agriculture, service indus-tries, and government agencies [.............] they value education, about 50 per cent of their populace is literate.†3 Khatiks in India stood at 2,229,000 of whom Uttar Pradesh returned 889,000, Rajasthan 388,000 and Andhra Pradesh 275,000 persons. They are found in Pakistan also. The Presidential Order declares the Khatik as a Scheduled Caste of Haryana. The tragedy would terrorise the upward-moving community across India. This had happ-ened with the Kotal tribe when its first graduate committed suicide in West Bengal in 1992 under caste-based persecution. Their school-going children started dropping out as a result.

The behaviour of the Jats towards the socially disadvantaged accurately symbolised the intolerance and arrogance that epitomised the mythological archer-trainer Drona of the epic Mahabharata. In Kurukshetra, the Nishad youth, Eklavya, had to chop off his right thumb deman-ded by this Bhardwaj Brahman for his guru dakshina (gift as mark of respect to teacher for imparting education and training), and presented it to him. All over the country, Dalits are ridiculed as meritless. Pradeep Kumar defied the hackneyed stereotype. But his sparkling merit and ingenuity earned him six bullets, unerring four of which brought him down in his blooming youth right at the gate of his Alma Mater. He was stopped on the track to prevent him from reaching the destination.4 A promising life has been brutally snuffed out. The merit of the Dalit was a curse for him.

Part II

Does a Dalit get Justice in India?

JUSTICE eludes the Dalit and tribal communities even though they are victims of tens of thousands of heinous crimes in democratic India. Except during elections, they are nothing more than second-class citizens of their motherland. Ramsey Clark, who was the United States’ Attorney General (1967 to 1969), had observed candidly as to who more often fell victims to injustice and were given capital punishment, ‘It is the poor, the sick, the ignorant, the powerless, and the hated that are executed.†In India, it is the deprived and discriminated Dalit and tribal communities, who are destined for similar fate. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer of the Supreme Court of India speaks: “Any economic-penological survey will reveal that, by and large, death penalty laws’ wrathful majesty, in blood-shot equality, over periods of history, deals the fatal blow on the poor, not the rich, the pariah, not the brahmin, the black, not the white, the under dog, not the top dog, the women, not the men, the dissenter, not the conformist. Capital sentence perhaps has a class bias and colour bar, even as criminal law barks at both but bites the proletariat to defend the proprietary.†In hundreds of cases across India we have the same universal picture. Indians are not ashamed, nor embarrassed, nor even mortified at what they do to their disadvantaged countrymen. On the other hand, they go about proudly propagating their superior culture and civilisation across the globe from their position of power and authority.

Many may recall the massacres of five Dalits in Dulina of district Jhajjar in Haryana. This case is too well known to reiterate: On October 15, 2002, five Dalits were lynched in police presence at Dulina thana premises on suspicion of cow slaughter and carrying hides in their vehicle on auspicious Dassehra. The Dalits notably held the licence issued by the State Government to ply hide trade. When some of the accused were arrested, the confederation of Khap panchayats of the Jats issued threats to paralyse the State. The murderers were Jats while the victims Jatavs. On August 9, 2010, after eight long years, a Jhajjar Special Court sentenced seven to life term whereas 30 accused were acquitted. Charges under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 against the accused were, strangely, rejected, throwing the special Act out of the window. In Haryana, nobody heard a word of sympathy for the Dulina victims nor a word of condemnation against the murderers. Rather, markets and schools were closed down; public transport paralysed in sympathy for the murderers. We do not know if the local government has yet challenged the perverse verdict in a higher court as a majority of the accused were acquitted by the Special Court. The acquittals were the result of the prosecution’s dereliction of duty to prove the charges against them. Life term instead of death sentence for the murderers points to lack of professional honesty and dedication of duty of all concerned in Haryana.

Part-III

A Toothless National Watchdog for Dalits

ONE of the Chairmen of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the 1990s in a private discussion candidly told me that his tour programmes for certain States afflicted with endemic Dalit atrocities were routinely opposed and foiled. The ruling party in the State at the point of time was an ally of the ruling party at the Centre. Pressure was mounted on him from both ends to forestall the Chairman’s visit to places of Dalit atrocities, lest he acquainted himself with causes and factors of the genocidal massacres, inviting even international media attention. The Commission’s annual reports, though ritually tabled in Parliament every year in compliance to constitutional provision, have rarely been discussed. Neither the parliamen-tarians nor the fourth estate of the country have ever shown any interest in the dignity and security of the Dalit and tribal communities. Haryana has witnessed systematic atrocities against the Scheduled Castes in the last several years: Dulina, Gohana, Mirchpur and now the Kalpana Chawla College of Engineering and Technology stand out as crying evidence. On Feb-ruary 16, 2012, a Jat farmer chopped off a thirsty Dalit labourer’s hand as he drunk water from the former’s pitcher. The behaviour of the Jats—educated or illiterate, rustic or urban, sophisticated or uncultured—it seems, is identically monstrous towards the Dalits per se.

The Central Government in recent years has shown commendable promptitude in addressing the grievances of Indians abroad. Official reactions espoused by media hype every time wanted us to believe that Indians were subjected to racial discrimination. The same, if not worse, has been happening in State after State or even around the national Capital against Dalits or tribals in hundreds of cases. The Central Government maintained stoic silence and enigmatic apathy towards victims of those barbarous incidents. A junior Minister of the Ministry of External Affairs a decade ago was flown down to Durban to tell lies in a World Conference that dalit atrocities and discrimination in India were anecdotal in nature and not racial.5 His observations were greeted with loud derision. The government did not edify India with glory by these lies.

In Haryana, we are constrained to believe, the Jat attackers and oppressors of Dalits enjoy tacit political and administrative blessings as a fellow casteman is at the helm of affairs. That instils in them a sense of immunity for criminal actions. In this context Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s observation sounds prophetic: “The effect of caste on the ethics of the Hindus is simply deplorable. Caste has killed public spirit [. ….........] Caste has made public opinion impossible. A Hindu’s public is his caste. His responsibility is only to his caste. His loyalty is restricted only to his caste. Virtue has become caste-ridden and morality has become caste-bound. There is no sympathy to the deserving. There is no appreciation of the meritorious. There is no charity to the needy. Suffering as such calls for no response. There is charity but it begins with the caste and ends with the caste. There is sympathy but not for men of other caste. […........] The capacity to appreciate merits in a man apart from his caste does not exist in a Hindu. There is appreciation of virtue but only when the man is a fellow caste-man.[.........]. Have not Hindus committed treason against their country in the interests of their caste?†6

Those who have committed atrocities, usually if not invariably, are implicitly sure of support or protection from powerful quarters either due to their politico-caste affiliation, connection, higher social status in relation to their victims or power of money they can use to influence and divert the course of investigation, prosecution or even trial. Incidence of fudging of medical report when dalit/tribal are concerned is too common.

Part-IV

Power of the Persecutors and Oppressors

A teenage poor Dalit boy’s ears were pulled out with such brutal force by policemen in Sagar district, Madhya Pradesh that a big, bloody chunk came out, which surgeons could not stitch back. The victim, Narendra Ahirwar (13), was picked up by the police on suspicion in a theft case and beaten black and blue, before two of the cops bodily lifted him upward by his ears. His left ear came detached in the hands of one of his tormentors. His assailants, Assistant Sub-Inspector Ghanshayam Dubey and constable Vishwanath Mishra, were suspended and booked under various sections of the IPC and Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.7

The country’s politico-administrative-judicial system and culture is so heavily biased against the underprivileged, the euphemism for Dalits and tribals, that justice to them is a miracle and its abortion a routine. This shocks or puzzles none. While torturing or committing atrocities on the Dalit servant, Ghanshyam Dubey and Vishwanath Mishra were hundred per cent sure that they would pass their unbridled barbarism off as part of legitimate official duty. There would not be any dearth of people to buy their contention and support their logic. The beasts in khaki would carry implicit certitude more than a penniless dalit accuser. The disadvantaged sections usually are subjected to monstrous torture leading to custodial death. Justice to the Dalit or tribal victims for police torture is non-existent

Charges under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 were slapped by the prosecutors against the accused in Dulina massacres but the trial court rejected it on plea that the accused did not know that the victims were Jatavs. We can prejudge right away that the same or similar plea would be taken against application of the Special Act in the case of Narendra Ahirwar too. This is the perspective which prompted a trial court in Delhi to go on record that “Unfortunately one comes across growing instances of cases where the provisions of this Act have not been invoked for the betterment of those it seeks to protect...........â€

The same court also expressed strong resentment that provisions of this Act are being misused randomly to settle personal scores. This might be true to a certain extent. But it is difficult to believe that its abuse has assumed endemic or gigantic proportions. If we look at other special laws, aimed at social reforms and safeguarding human dignity, instances of misuse were not unknown either. The Dowry Prohibition Act and Domestic Violence Act might be cited here to buttress my point. But there is, however, a growing but unobtrusive campaign in some quarters specifically demanding repeal of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on the ground of its misuse. Many of the campaigners formerly were dispensers of justice in various capacities. No empirical data are available in India to show the extent of misuse or even application of the provisions of the special anti-atrocity Act. Nor are there any definite data on denial of justice or discrimination in dispensing justice against the disadvantaged Indian humanity. We are ignorant how often they have been punished by the law disproportionately vis-a-vis their privileged countrymen. The United States of America is on sound footing on this issue. According to noted Civil Liberty scholar, and Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Tufts University, Hugo Adam Bedau, “Since 1930, 89 per cent of those executed in the United States for rape have been black, as were 76 per cent of those executed for robbery, 85.5 per cent of those executed for assault by life-term prisoner, 48.9 per cent of those executed for murder, 100 per cent of those executed for burglary. All together, 53.5 per cent of those we have put to death in this nation since 1930 have been black. Study after study turns up the same results, one can conclude that there is a pattern of discrimination. One study shows that prosecu-tors seek the death penalty most often when the victim is white. Prosecutors sought the death penalty twice as often when the victim was white as when the victim was a member of a racial minority.â€

In the absence of such fool-proof data, there will always be spacious room for advocating for or against misuse, abuses or application of provisions of the special Act enacted for safeguarding the interests of 300 million SCs and STs. All the same, articulated campaigners have been fomenting discord and misinformation against the Act. Pertinently, India officially admits that the conviction rate in crimes against Dalits and tribals is a mere 2.48 per cent. No need to stress that the whole nation seems inimical against them though they are victims. The police are averse to apply this Act, the court, in Krishna Iyer’s language, “bites the proletariat to defend the proprietary†. The Act virtually exists on paper only!

Part-V

Victims of Higher and Professional Education

EDUCATION emancipates man from ignorance, social orthodoxy, morbidity and also leads him to light from darkness. An enfranchised man is a rebellious soul. He is like a lighthouse in the dark horizon of any nation. A torchbearer, he provides new hope and aspiration to his people. If a people have to be kept under perennial subjugation, the cardinal principle is perpetual denial of education to them in the first place. All avenues and doors to education should be tightly shut on them. India did it since time immemorial under scriptural ordinances with a veneer of religiosity.

In modern times, denial of education raises storms of criticism from human right activists at home and abroad and hence this is not feasible. India, plagued with the caste virus, does not favour education for everybody, irrespective of caste, sex or religion; because it is likely to obliterate hereditary distinction and social superiority that certain sections lustily enjoy. So these sections do not like the inherent blessings of education to empower and enfranchise everyone and demolish the line of distinction they proudly enjoy. They particularly dislike quality education reaching the underdogs at all. They do not demur literacy, which they know is a sham structured not to equip and carry the Dalit or tribal far and long. Anybody who manages to cross the age-old boundaries are undesirable as also unwelcome elements to the upper echelons. Efforts are, there-fore, made to stop them on their tracks by means which are anything but ignoble and dubious.

These days we read or hear often cases of suicides in temples of learning and excellence.

The victims in them usually, if not invariably, belong to the social catchments dominated by the accursed backwards. Here is a list of SC and ST students who have committed suicide in presti-gious institutes, colleges etc. since 2007. We do not claim it is conclusive; the list is merely illus-trative. The date of tragedy along with the institute and courses is shown against each in brackets: 1. M. Shrikant (final year, B. Tech, IIT Bombay, January 1, 2007); 2. Ajay S. Chandra (integrated Ph. D, Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore, August 26, 2007); 3. Jaspreet Singh (final year MBBS, Government Medical College, Chandigarh, January 27, 2008); 4. Senthil Kumar (Ph. D, School of Physics, University of Hyderabad – February 23, 2008); 5. Prashant Kureel (first year, B. Tech, IIT Kanpur, April 19, 2008); 6. G. Suman (final year, M. Tech, IIT Kanpur, January 2, 2009); 8. Ankita Veghda (first year, B. Sc Nursing, Singhi Institute of Nursing, Ahmedabad, April 20, 2009); 9. D. Syam Kumar (first year B. Tech, Sarojini Institute of Engineering and Technology, Vijayawada, August 13, 2009); 10. S. Amravathi (National level young woman boxer, Centre of Excellence, Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, Nov-ember 4, 2009); 11. Bandi Anusha (B. Com final year, Villa Mary College, Hyderabad, November 5, 2009); 12. Pushpanjali Poorty (first year, MBA, Visvesvaraiah Technological University, Banga-lore, January 30, 2010; 13. Sushil Kumar Chaudhary (final year MBBS, Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (formerly KGMC), Lucknow, January 31, 2010); 14. Bal Mukund Bharti (final year MBBS, AIIMS, New Delhi, March 3, 2010); 15. J.K. Ramesh (second year, BSc, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, July 1, 2010); 16. Madhuri Sale (final year B. Tech, IIT Kanpur, November 17, 2010); 17. G. Varala-kshmi (B. Tech first year, Vignan Engineering College, Hyderabad, January 30, 2011); 18. Manish Kumar (IIIrd Year B. Tech, IIT Roorkee, February 13, 2011); and 19. Linesh Mohan Gawle (Ph. D, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, April 16, 2011).8
Add to this list the suicide of Anil Kumar Meena, a tribal student of Rajasthan doing MBBS in AIIMS, Delhi, on March 4, 2012.9 He sought an audience with Director Dr R. C. Deka, AIIMS, ten days prior to the tragedy. The insensitive man refused to meet the tribal student. Caste cancer has been exposing itself from the north to south, east to west, embracing the national capital Delhi to the financial capital Mumbai, the cyber hub in Hyderabad to the Silicon Valley in Bangalore alike. Dalit persecution is the common thread in all. Students in technology, management, medicines, sciences, immunology, agriculture and even sports which equip them with some distinctive qualities are exposed to grave risk, if they belong to the SCs or STs. The law does not catch up with the criminals, the judiciary is incapable of puni-shing them, the police is conniving and subser-vient and government is weak-kneed before the savages. There is no word of condolence for the victims or condemnation against the aggressors. Neither are assurances of justice held out by the authorities in these cases when bright precious lives are extinguished. It’s the victim’s lone family and a few helpless friends who silently mourn and suffer the tragedy in a nation of billions of souls and millions of leaders.

Part-VI

Merit, Curse for Dalits?

COLUMNIST Vidya Subramaniam focused on the shattered dream of two Dalits, Jaspreet Singh and Bal Mukund Bharti, both of whom committed suicide in the face of grave and sustained pers-ecution. While Jaspreet wanted to “become a doctor†Bal Mukund Bharti wanted to “settle abroad to escape humiliation of being born a Dalit†. The columnist elaborated Jaspreet’s case, that he, “unable to bear the insults and taunts†, killed himself in his college library. “The suicide note recovered from his coat pocket charged his Head of the Department (HOD) with deliberately failing him and threatening to fail him over and over. Seven months later, a three-member group of senior professors re-evaluated his answer-sheet and found that he had in fact passed the test.†Medical student Jaspreet Singh, a Dalit by birth, wanted nothing more than to become a doctor. “Tragically, he fulfilled his ambition posthu-mously.†A year later, his young sister, a student of Bachelor of Computer Application, also committed suicide, heartbroken at the injustice done to her brother. Jaspreet was in the final year at the Government Medical College in Chandi-garh. He was an excellent student throughout, and had never failed in any subject until he reached the fifth and final year. “His HOD told him that he might have entered medical college using his Scheduled Caste certificate but he would not go out with a degree. The professor failed him in Community Medicine, a crucial subject, and told him, according to the suicide note, that he will not let him pass. Jaspreet had set his heart on an MD degree from the prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh. The threat cut short that dream.

Jaspreet’s father, Charan Singh, told The Hindu: “I have no reason to live anymore. What more evidence do they want?†Evidence is clinching in this case. Jaspreet’s suicide note; a certificate affirming Jaspreet’s handwriting from the Direc-torate of Forensic Science, Ministry of Home Affairs, Shimla; testimonies from Jaspreet’s friends; and finally, the re-evaluation of the answer-sheet by a three-member body of doctors from the PGI, Chandigarh loudly cry and speak against the accused. The doctors—Rajesh Kumar, Amarjeet Singh and Arun Kumar Aggrawal—specialised in Community Medicine, the subject in which Jaspreet was failed; they are at large yet. No action till date has been taken against the guilty HOD or his colleagues.10 They have quelled the storm, if there was any. Drona of Mahabharata demanded and got the right thumb of Eklavya. Rajesh Kumar, Amarjeet Singh and Arun Kumar Aggrawal of the PGI, Chandigarh settled for nothing less than the life of their bright Dalit student.

In Bal Mukund’s case, the AIIMS authorities perversely seized on the fact that there was no suicide note. Their version was that Bal Mukund, who had attempted suicide once earlier, killed himself in depression. But his parents plaintively ask: “Who and what drove him to depression? He had repeatedly told us that he was harassed because of his caste. He was about to change his name. He also wanted to settle abroad to escape the humiliation of being born a Dalit.†No justice has been done to Bal Mukund. The culprits in both cases are yet to be brought to justice. Justice is a moonshine for a Dalit if the other party is belongs to upper social echelons. The Health and Family Welfare Ministry data disclose that there are 5.5 lakh allopathic registered doctors in India.11 The entry of few SCs/STs in the half-million brigade is prohibited by the self-appointed guards.

The pan-Indian thread of persecution of Dalit or tribal students in temples of excellence or schools of higher learning is a reality. The pattern is identical. They are alleged to be brainless, laggard and indolent. They are perceived to be unfit to bear stress under the burden of the new challenges. Therefore unable to stand depression, they commit suicides as an escape route. They do not see the subterranean turbulent cross-currents of friction and conflicts marked by cascading arrogance and hatred. Their teachers, non-teachers and students from the upper social background in the campuses join against them.

A student of MA Anthropology of Vidyasagar University, Midnapur, Chuni Kotal, in the so-called highland of culture committed suicide on August 16, 1992 in the face of vicious, unabated persecution waged by her teacher, Falguni Chakraborty. The extent to which this philistine in bhadralok’s clothing had gone to humiliate her is revealed in a letter of the victim published posthumously in a Calcutta daily. She wrote: “Today (three days prior to her suicide) in the seminar Falguni babu (Chakraborty), quite off the context, referred to the Lodhas as thieves and robbers. In the corridor, he threatened me, I’ll see that you don’t sit for the examination in September. I am a Lodha. So I shouldn’t have dreamed of higher studies. I complained against the offenders, but they remain untouched. Unnecessarily I wasted two years, attended classes but was not allowed to sit for the examination.†12 The Jyoti Basu Government very reluctantly appointed one-man Inquiry commission with retired High Court Judge S. S. Gangopadhyay. He exonerated Falguni Chakraborty. The dispensation of justice is circumscribed by the vision and interest of sect/community.13 Jaspreet’s killers in the PGI, Chandigarh are still at large, safe and unmolested. So are Bal Mukund’s. The prestigious AIIMS, Delhi, PGI, Chandigarh, IITs and IIMs or Vidyasagar University in West Bengal have dons with deadly venom running ferociously in their veins against Dalits and tribals. Their scriptures do not approve of pure Hindu blood being shed for justice to an untouchable.

Every boy or girl from the disadvantaged section faces gigantic hurdles on their way to reach up to the gates of an IIT, IIM, AIIMS, or engineering or a medical college. Each starts from their bases in village beyond the pale of shining India’s culture and civilisation. They move on bare foot. Their path is muddy and strewn with thorns all along. Being first generation learners, they have none in their families to guide or help in their strange world. Most have no access to news-papers, radio or television. They begin with the vernacular language which does not take them beyond the periphery of their villages. Most, if not all, studied in village school, where teachers from urban centres would regard as curse a tenure of posting. With urbane attitudes, sophistry and preferences, they would fail to communicate intelligibly with their pupils. Nonetheless, if any rustic boy or girl breaks the barrier and reaches the gates of the modern temple of excellence, his/her achievement in metropolitan perception is not considered eventful. There they encounter an unknown world marked by uncertainties and challenges.
In almost cent per cent cases their parents are illiterate, daily wagers, vegetable vendors, farmers, rickshaw pullers or the like. These students sur-vived on inadequate food; in insanitary condition and dingy accommodation. In colleges many are to contend with the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment’s paltry scholarships. Ironi-cally their stipend is released and/or disbursed some 15 to 18 months after the academic year elapses. Finally, formidable tormentors, propelled by feelings of hatred, ill-will and antipathy, ambush the adventurers and destroy their career. The dreams of the parents and family lie shattered behind.
Ultimately it is the Hindu’s ancient belief and faith on the one hand and modern, democratic and pluralistic India’s enlightenment on the other that are at loggerheads. It’s a conflict between the exclusive Hindu arrogance and underdogs’ over-reaching aspirations which the former want to crush by any means. They feel no embarrassment and moral indignation for the means adopted to achieve it. They are rather worried at the thought of unwelcome forces invading their exclusive paradise. So injustice, immorality, depravity, betrayal, fraud, dishonesty, brutality, forgery and perjury are their weapons while countering the advance of the underdogs. No matter even if such behaviour and attributes portray the privileged in darkest hues!

ENDNOTES
 
1. The Indian Express, Chandigarh, February 28, 2012.
2. Ibid., Indian Express
4. The Drona award given by the government for excellence in sports coaching smacks of institutionalised injustice and moral depravity coupled with cruelty and discrimination in modern democratic polity. The award comprises a bronze statuette of Drona, a scroll of honour and a cash component of Rs 500,000. The award was instituted in 1985. As the best sportsperson award is named the Arjuna Award, authorities believed that the coaching award to be named after Drona, as he was the Guru of Arjuna though he was not superior to Eklavya and Karan. These awards bear indelible marks of intrigue and conspiracy. Conscientious men and certainly Dalits and tribals cannot understand or appreciate why at all the national award for archery was instituted in the name of a person who was morally so depraved and vindictive. Similarly Arjuna, bereft of conspiracy and intrigue, was not the best archer of his time.
5. Omar Abdullah represented India in the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa (August 31 to September 8, 2001).
6. Writings and Speeches of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste. Vol-I.
7. Deccan Herald, February 7, 2012, datelined Bhopal.
9. Times of India, March 5, 2012.
10. The Hindu, Chennai, May 8, 2011.
12. Chuni Kotal’s letter to the editor, Daily Bartoman, Calcutta, August 25, 1992.
13. Justice Rauf Abdel Rahman, a Shia, sentenced Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, to death. Many believe that a capital sentence by a Sunni judge was out of question.

The author is a former Vice-Chancellor, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Univrsity, Muzaffarpur, Bihar. For comments and observations, if any, please contact him at atulb64@gmail.com

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