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Dreams of lowest of the lowly subaltern!
Dreams of lowest of the lowly subaltern!, K S Chalam, political power. This is an age of dreams. Everyone starting from the former President of India down to the current Presidents of various business groups prod the young Indians to dream.
This is an age of dreams. Everyone starting from the former President of India down to the current Presidents of various business groups prod the young Indians to dream. The activists are dreaming to put an AAP man in the PM chair and different social groups particularly in Andhra Pradesh are dreaming to capture political power. Perhaps the hallucinations of intelligent people with media (print and electronic) support, of late, are becoming dream projects for many. Yet, none of them has given sufficient and reasonable indications as to how to realise the dreams in the absence of resources and opportunities. Prof K Rmakrishna Rao of Andhra University was the first in the country to establish a dream lab in the Psychology Department to study telepathy and dreaming. Now dream labs are a big business venture.
The young and opulent sections narrate stories how they realised their dreams while the devious experts colour them. This seems to be a tactic to put on the back burner the traditional methods of perspective planning to achieve set goals of an economy or society followed in all civilised nations at one time. The present fad for dreams looks like a process of change from scientific planning to vision documents and presently landing in a dream circle. However, it is not in any way close to what Martin Luther King Jr. spoke 50 years ago in 1963 against “the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination” (I have a dream).
This brings us to the circumstances under which the most desolate babies of Muslim refugees in Muzaffarnagar camps are dead (40) and the resultant gloomy silence all over. Then, who are the lowest of the lowly in this great Karmabhumi of 1.25 billion people. Everyone is sacred, but there are few who are profane and despicable, may be due to their past karma. What we the mortal humans can do except dreaming and praying for their sins in temples, churches etc. Therefore, agendas of the political parties have no place for them except for those who can contribute or reciprocate. The term poor are moved out and Aam Admi is taken its place. Now CM Kejriwal has clarified that Aam Admi need not necessarily be a poor man as there are many good people among the rich corporates. It is now simple to locate the lowly as those who are beggars, wretched of the earth, the asocial people as in Europe, ex-criminals, ex-untouchables, tramps, traipses, vagabonds and several other names given in the English dictionary. Interestingly, India is not short of such categories, we have structurally and philosophically developed sorts that have been surviving here for ages without much modification.
The history of man is full of stories of rebellious movements against injustice and tyranny starting from Spartacus down to French, Russian revolutions and many anonymous engagements in different parts of the world.Yet, most of the movements and struggles are carried in the name of the lowest of the lowly in every generation with the subaltern remaining as a residue. This number has remained substantial in India due to our social norms and religious/spiritual practices. Therefore, we have a scheduled caste community today in Bihar surviving only by eating dead or hunting rats called as Mushar. Bhangi or their equivalent names in different parts of the country are the people who eke out their living by carrying the night soil on their heads not only in the remote rural areas but in urban regions and in the so-called secular sectors like the Railways. They are not few and to the amazement of our executive, they are in millions as per the Safai Karmachari Andolan. Strangely, we have untouchables among the Brahmins who do the menial jobs and preta karmas of the upper castes and are dreaming to enter mainstream.
Thus, it is difficult to identify the lowest subaltern. The Planning Commission and our colleagues in the profession are busy in churning out the number of poor to be limited to 30 per cent of the total population (to satisfy MDGs). But, one committed civil servant (retired) placed the number around 50 per cent for the Ministry of Rural Development. Then who are they and where do we locate them?
It is reported that 80 to 85 per cent of Adivasis in Jharkhand, Odissa, Chattisgarh and parts of Andhra Pradesh (isolated) live below the poverty line. Majority of them eat tamarind and mango seeds, tubers etc during summer or drought spells and have developed indigenous methods of animal instinct to survive. The experts sitting in Columbia and Delhi have decided that the body mass index has undergone a change and therefore Indians do not need the minimum of 2100 and 2400 calories of food per day in urban and rural areas respectively. They have elegantly demonstrated in their international publications that liberalisation has reduced poverty in India and there is no place for the lowly. Perhaps this has impelled some of our civil society activists to concentrate on corruption (not private frauds under liberalisation) that is inhibiting public provisioning. Some left and radical groups (parties) have been addressing the oppressed class for the last several decades and seemed to have failed to locate them yet, while the AAP smiled at Aam Admi. AAP have a national agenda now and the left and socialist outfits will be soon made redundant to lick their wounds of rhetoric.
Women and the differentially-abled particularly from the socially disadvantaged groups are subjected to double marginalisation. The nation has suddenly waked up to discover that US has outraged the modesty of Dalit Devayani but, the civil society never troubled to look at 33,655 crimes against dalits and 2,44,270 women victims in 2012 ( CRB). Several traditional occupations of the ostracised groups like fisher folk, weavers and even professional dancers are appropriated by others making original artisans jobless,dribbling in silence.
The number of roofless victims succumbing to cold waves has made the apex court to pass an order for night shelters. There is suffering and anguish no doubt, among the middle classes and even the rich in getting safe drinking water, sufficient parks, sparkled roads, enough flights to roam about, sufficient Demat securities etc. But, the misery and desolation of the indigent paupers are so grave that the compassionate should appeal to the political class to pay some attention to their woes.
In the absence of feign service or even crocodile tears before elections, the lowest of the lowly who constitute 50 per cent of the official poor( 30 crores) have no alternative except dreaming for a future deliverance. Is there anyone to heed or at least glimpse at them?