Meira Kumar, former minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and Presidential candidate, responded with a visceral tweet on Tuesday about the death of a 9-year-old child in Rajasthan. The boy was severely beaten by his teacher for drinking water from an elite pot. Her father, former Deputy Prime Minister and leader Dalit Babu Jagjivan Ram, said Meira Kumar, was beaten for a similar reason a hundred years ago. “Now, 75 years after Independence, India hasn’t changed. Nothing has changed,” she told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
100 years ago, my father Babu Jagjivan Ram was forbidden to drink water in school from the Hindu urn in Savarna. It was a miracle, his life was saved. 1/2
– Meira Kumar (@meira_kumar) August 15, 2022
“I asked my father.” Why do you fight for freedom? This country does nothing for you. It does not tell you or your ancestors.” He said, “Free India will change. We will have a less class, says Meira Kumar.
Things have not changed for her either, the 77-year-old added. In her case, there were “open remarks, gestures, statements made to me,” said Meira Kumar.
Recounting an anecdote showing how the caste system extended beyond India’s borders, she said when she was looking for a rental house in London, the owner, a Christian, asked about her level.
“I liked the house and said I would change. When he left, he shot one last question. ‘Are you a Brahmin?’ I said ‘No, I’m not a Brahmin. I’m a scheduled caste. Do you have a problem?’ He said “No. But he didn’t give me the house,” she added.
“People think Dalits are stupid. But Dalits are emotional, intellectual. We know when we’re insulted,” she said.
“My father achieved a lot but even today, he is called a Dalit leader. He achieved a lot, but is still divided by his caste… My father is The Deputy Prime Minister and him were humiliated and he was asked to go and was ridiculed by many people. was told,” she said.
From her father’s life, she shared another example. When Babu Jagjivan Ram, as Deputy Prime Minister in 1978, went to unveil the statue of Sampurnanand, he was humiliated.
“Jagjivan, chamar, go away,” they said. And they wash the statue with Ganga Jal. Because it is polluted. So you see, the caste regime embraces everyone,” she said.
When asked why classism exists and if it is possible to get out of it, she said that there must be political and social will.
“I asked my father, why did the caste system not change. He said, if your basic needs are met, like roti, kapda, makan (food, clothing and housing), money for care If you take care of your health, you need two things – love and respect. You can get love. It’s easy. But it’s hard to get respect. It’s hard work. You have to. It works very hard. Those who keep the system steady will never let it change,” she said.
Today, there are many examples of change in different fields. “But where’s the humanitarian factor? There’s so much poison, hatred, violence in the human mind. Everyone pity Dalits, I’m against that,” she said.
The political class is responsible for voting according to caste views, she said. “But just putting the burden on the political class and the political system takes away the problem. You don’t solve the main problem of how to get out of the caste system. That’s why I don’t want to discuss this. What state is the party governing. It’s just statistics,” she said..