Tuesday, August 4, 2009

All in the name of Dalit Empowerment

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

There was uproar all over the country over the alleged wastage of money for building parks and memorials in the name of Dalit Empowerment by UP Chief Minister Mayawati. Rather than being apologetic about the irresponsible expenditure of public money in a poor state like UP Mayawati hit back at Congress for having built such monuments for the Nehru-Gandhi family for years all across the country. Well do two wrongs make a right?

Now if all that was not enough she had demanded an additional Rs 500 crore to establish more memorials of Dalit leaders and herself. Stone statue of elephants are being erected all over Uttar Pradesh as a symbol of Dalit Empowerment. From when did the might elephants become the mascot of Dalits across the country? How would a Dalit starving in rural Uttar Pradesh find solace in stone elephants being built in Lucknow and other major cities.

Thanks to Indian democracy Mayawati can spend Rs. 2500 Crores on building her own statues ignoring the fact that one-fifth of India's poor reside in her state. Total number of people below the poverty line in Uttar Pradesh has crossed the 5 Crore mark. Mayawati might have also ignored the fact that literacy in her state stands at a dismal 56.27 % which falls to 42.22% in the case of women. She is building the statues in the stone same UP where basic healthcare system is in dire straits and infant mortality rate stands at 69 against the national average of 55. These figures become worst when it comes to the Dalits and the other backward communities.

Mayawati's political hypocrisy can be understood from the fact that none of her deputies in the party are from the Dalit community. She prefers Brahmins and Thakurs near her so that there is no direct threat to her from within the party. Although her social engineering worked in the Assembly elections her failure to empower the Dalits or bring in development to the state resulted in other parties grabbing a share of the Dalit vote bank.

It is now for the Dalits in the state and the country to decide. Do they see education, employment and health care as the real symbol of their empowerment or find solace in stone structures.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP