Members of the Ambedkar Navyuvak Dal (Ambedkar Youth Party), which has been working for securing the rights of the Dalit community for several years, follow a unique rule. They have barred the entry of Brahmins into their homes. Boards proclaiming “No entry for Brahmins” have been put up outside their houses. They neither eat food cooked by Brahmins nor allow the Brahmins to touch anything owned by them.
Last year, during the campaigning for elections to Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, a Brahmin candidate for the corporator’s post entered the house of the state general secretary of the dal, Banshilal Premi, seeking votes for himself. Banshilal was so upset and angry that he got every corner of the house thoroughly washed and performed a “Shuddhi” (ritual purification).
One of the workers of the dal related an interesting tale. “Once, after attending a function, we were returning from Delhi to Ludhiana by bus. On the way, the bus stopped at a big highway restaurant. The waiter had just laid our food on the table when the eyes of one of us fell at the owner of the restaurant, who was sporting a huge tilak on his forehead. We immediately got up, called the waiter and told him that we had not eaten anything and so he can very well take back the food or else; we were ready to pay the bill. The owner rushed to us and sought to know why we had left the food untouched. We told him the reason. He was curious to know as to which higher caste we belonged to that we were not ready to eat the food even in a Brahmin’s hotel. When he insisted, we told him that we were Bhangis and Chamars. How the face of the Panditji fell on hearing this is something we cannot forget till now.”
Though this can’t be called modern progressive and entirely justifiable thinking, the Ambedkar Navyuvak Dal believes that Brahmins deserve complete boycott. That will make them realise the trauma the Dalits went through and Dalits will gain self-respect.
Published in the August 2013 issue of the Forward Press magazine