New Delhi, May 24, 2016: Casteism is a serious threat and its most recent victim is the BJP leader Tarun Vijay who was hounded, attacked with stones, sticks and sharp objects after he paid a visit to a Temple in Chakrata, Uttarakhand. The catch?
He went there with Dalit community leaders. Yes, that was the provocation enough for the people to attack Tarun Vijay as the Temple bars people of ‘lower’ castes to enter its premises.
Tarun Vijay was there with equal rights worker and Dalit activist leader Daulat Kunwar and others and with them he had visited the Silgur Devta Temple which is in the Punah village, 180 km away from Dehradun.
Dehradun: Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat visits injured BJP MP Tarun Vijay at the hospital. pic.twitter.com/cNNdAwdnTT
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 21, 2016
His wife told ANI news that the only reason why Tarun Vijay was alive was because he hid from the attackers. Such was the anger of the attackers that they even pushed the car into a gorge.
He is in the ICU right now, stitches have been made. The villagers attacked him with sticks and stones: BJP MP Tarun Vijay's wife
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 21, 2016
So what was the need of Tarun Vijay to go there?
Well! A few days back in Chakrata, a Dalit constable who had gone to seek blessings at the local Mahasu, Vikar and Silgur found himself humiliated when the Temple refused to enter him and his newly wedded bride.
There are many such incidents that happen across India. In Tamil Nadu, a newly-wed Dalit man, was killed because he married a girl of the upper caste.
If these incidents have to be put a stop to, among the Hindu society, then a Tarun Vijay is needed. He is bold and he does not mince words when he speaks for equal human rights.
It is due to sustained efforts like Tarun Vijay’s, that today casteism is dying a slow death among the Hindus.
There are encouraging signs, like in the month of April, 2016, Dalits entered the Basaveshwara Temple. Tirumala Temple is ready to run certificate courses for Dalits to become Priests.
In 2014, Mangalore saw a revolution of sorts, the Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara Temple went ahead and broke triple barriers; two widows of the SC community are now the priests.
If this seems a rarity then do not forget that in 2014 again, Shri Vitthal Rukmani temple in Pandharpur, Solapur district, Maharashtra invited non-Brahmins and women as the priests.
There are several temples in Bihar like the 300-year old Mahavir Mandir that have had non-Brahmin priests for ages. These are some of the examples, but these are not rare and they should not be like that in any case.
In 21st century India, casteism still remains an irritant.
But people like Tarun Vijay have been trying to eliminate this practice. India recently elected Narendra Modi, who is not exactly a ‘high caste’ person either and comes from an extremely humble background. He held rallies in the Uttarakhand that had people from across the castes participating in them. If people can accept him as the PM, then why they cannot accept Dalits entering the Temples?
— Sanjay Bordia (@bordiasanjay) May 20, 2016
The spirit of Hinduism is the spirit of oneness. Hindus take pride in vasudhaiv kutumbkam or the entire earth is their family. It is very easy for them to accept foreigners and people of other religions but then why some of the Hindus fail to treat their own disadvantaged communities with the same respect is a question we must ask.
It is time to go full throttle on reforms and ensure that such human rights violation gets eliminated. Also, the fact that the BJP leadership and other political parties, media personnel, and human rights activists have largely remained quite on this issue is unnerving.
The fact that the Hindu religious gurus have also not said much on the attack is also lamentable. Especially, because they have an opinion on everything else.
It is time to speak up, and get counted, or else we will end up destroying our very roots. It is for this reason that the Hindu society must speak up and stand by Tarun Vijay and his fight against casteism.
P.S.: Last year Tarun Vijay said that Dalits were like Gods and those priests who endorse caste discriminations should be banned. Is that something that anyone can hate him for, in the present day Hindu society?