R.D. Bhardwaj “Noorpuri”
It was really bad in taste and disgusting to note that the Panchayat of Village Dangariya in Rajasthan, has passed an order that henceforth, all Dalit women of the village, when passing in front of the houses of upper caste people, shall take off their slippers / shoes etc. and may wear them again only after they have crossed the entire cluster of houses of the upper caste people.
It is pertinent to mention here that the derogatory practice of untouchability was officially banned in 1935, much before India became Independent and anybody still found practising untouchability is liable to be punished. It is all the more disappointing to note that it the Panchayat of village Dangariya, which has passed such a draconian order, which deserves to be condemned severely; as it subjects the Dalits not only to an unlawful practices, but it also amounts to insulting and humiliating them. Hence, such high handed people do not simply deserve to be in the positions of power in village Panchayats (or any where else) and should be summarily dismissed and huge financial penalty be imposed on them for heaping insult on the Dalits.
It is not out of place to mention here that in many parts of Rajasthan, many upper caste people do not allow the bride-grooms of the Dalit families to ride on horse-backs when their marriage processions proceed towards the bride’s house for the solemnisation of marriages. It is because of such kind of perverted / repressive minds in society that the under-privileged strata of our society is not able to make some discernible progress and rise in life. Accordingly, the police should also initiate legal proceedings against all such Panches of the said village Panchayat and put them behind the bars.
Not only that, the law enforcing agencies should also ensure that no member of the Dalit families is subjected to any punishment for refusing to abide by that derogatory and casteist order. The matter should be investigated thoroughly and the guilty brought to the book immediately.