Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Message to a young Dalit Professional

In the past, dalits used to hide the fact that they were dalits. Nowdalits (and many non-dalits) are queuing up to get themselvescertified as dalits to claim a share of state patronage. So in fact,most of the current generation is very much open (in fact eager) todeclare that they are dalits. No one can officially discriminateagainst them. Babasaheb has ensured that. But "there is still a resistance toacknowledge the fact that the social optima doesnt lie in thediscrimination". We dalits have to show the non-dalits the truth of this by our words and actions and evolve win-winsolutions. This nation needs to travel some more distance to enablethe dalit segment of its population to have access to opportunitiesto reach the very top of this nation in the arts, business andmilitary spheres. But it is making progress, albeit slow. I say thisonly from personal experience.Sceptism, nepotism, back-room politics are common even among non-dalits. So do get disheartened by the sceptics. We dalits have tocontinuously keep proving ourselves. But remember, that keeps us onour toes and makes us stronger if we persevere.I would really love to understand what you mean by wanting your nextgeneration to be "free". Are you not free? Is there some station thatyou cannot achieve if you set your mind to it. Have you even triedyet? Have you given this nation (which let Ambedkar enshrinereservation in the constitution) a chance yet? Unless you are talkingabout the nirwana type of freedom, I wonder what you refer to. Thisparagraph is personally for you only, since I am given to know yourparticular context. People like you are very important. You areplaying the game by the tougher set of rules (non-relaxed standards).The station you acheive in your life will prove for all of us whetherthe nation has made any progress.Regarding the reference to Maslow, I can tell you this. Every humanhas multiple identities. Evolving an integrated identity, which givesmeaning his life is his task in life. This is what the Maslowcategory psychologists say. As one evolves towards such an identity,the importance one assigns to some of ones identities falls away. Thestuff that remains is the real you. E.g. I am a computer scientist, afinance researcher, a dalit and an amateur economist. As I grow as aperson, some of these identities will occupy less of my personalidentity. I will think less and less of them.The final question you ask is the most complex. It takes a life timeto figure it out...:-)
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