Ayyankali was a rebel with a cause. He firmly stood rooted in ensuring Dalits had their share of representation. But he did not play the role of a disruptor by going against the State. At a time when there was no space for Dalits in the public sphere, Ayyankali brought in revolutionary steps that sowed the seeds of future Dalit-led empowerment.
An open letter of resignation to the administration of the Nehru Memorial Museum Library (NMML) was recently issued by a so-called public intellectual, in protest against a particular appointment. In case you need reminding, Mr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a member of the executive committee of the NMML, has time and again questioned the integrity of the mandate given to the present central government. His latest action is nothing but a display of intellectual opportunism and unqualified arrogance.
In the name of social justice, opinionated reportage and columns are building up a case against the government in power at the Centre. Let us try and understand the Dalit problem from a dispassionate perspective instead. A perspective that transcends vilification and vindications, and one which is based on sound data and logical arguments.
It is important to remember that atrocities such as the one in Una are not new. They have existed across different political regimes. The Indian National Congress, for example, will have no place to hide if a post-independence analysis on atrocities on Dalits is done. Therefore, a pragmatic approach to integration lies in divorcing the atrocities committed against Dalits with the rule of any particular political party.