Has Dalit Uprising Given Birth To A Movement?
By Mari Marcel Thekaekara for New Internationalist Blog. While most of India was busy celebrating its 70th Independence Day, many people were trying to comprehend and make sense of a sudden Dalit uprising in Gujarat. Gujarati Dalits had begun a huge march for dignity and respect culminating in a rally on 15 August, Indian Independence day. They were demanding justice for four young Dalit men who had been stripped, tied to a car and viciously thrashed for hours in public on 11 July, by cow vigilantes, known locally as gau rakshaks, for skinning a dead cow. Every single day I receive a report of collated Dalit stories. With sickening, mind boggling regularity I read about Dalits who have been raped, flogged, humiliated and murdered, every single day, in some part of the country. Yet this particular incident, the flogging of four young lads from the leather tanning community, for doing a job their forefathers have done ever since anyone can remember, that is, skinning two dead cows, created an uproar not just in Gujarat but in Dalit circles all over India.