Lokesh Sori: Dalit son battling poverty and cancer

Despite the mounting expenses on treatment of his disease and his lack of resources, Lokesh Sori is now coming out from the depths of depression and is making plans for the future. If the cancer allows him to live for five more years, he says, he will shape at least 50 Lokesh Soris to take on the exploitative brahmanical system and its traditions. Forward Press reports

Lokesh Sori hit the headlines first on 27 December 2017, when he reached the Pankhajur police station in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh to register a complaint. No, it was not a case of theft, murder, arson or physical attack. When he related his complaint to the police station in-charge Dhirendranath Dube, the latter lost his cool and abused Sori. The issue which Sori raised was linked to his cultural identity. His complaint was that the Durga Puja organizers were insulting his ancestors by portraying the slaying of Mahishasur at the hands of Durga. Perhaps, this was the first time in the history of India that in a society dominated by the Dwijs, someone had gathered the courage to complain to the police against a Dwij tradition.

Lokesh became the talk of the town in Chhattisgarh, sending the police administration from Kanker to Raipur into a tizzy, especially because he was a local BJP leader and came from the Ganda community, which is recognized as an SC in the state. The officers of the upper caste could not believe that anyone can file a complaint with the police against Durga Puja and that too, quoting the Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Lokesh Sori at the Cancer ward of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital, Raipur

Before telling you what became of the case, let us talk about the present state of Sori. He is now occupying bed number 11 in Ward No 23 of the Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital at Raipur. He is suffering from maxillary cancer and is having difficulties breathing. He had started losing his hearing some time back.

Condition serious, but doctors out to discharge him

He cannot even eat solid food. He is surviving on liquid diet, served to him by his brother Khamesh Sori. On 23 October 2018, he underwent chemotherapy. That has stopped bleeding from his mouth and nose but pus is still oozing out of his nose. According to doctors, the pus was accumulated in his head and is coming out through the nose.

Lokesh Sori with his younger brother Khamesh Sori

Dr Richa, who is treating him, says that Lokesh doesn’t need any surgery. He can be treated through chemotherapy and fomentation. She said that on 29 October, he will be given fomentation and then on 14 November, he will undergo chemotherapy.

Khamesh says, “The doctors keep on saying that my brother would be discharged. The moment his condition improves a bit, they ask us to leave. I have told them that we live at Kanker, about 200 km from Raipur, and it would not be possible for us to make frequent trips to Raipur. Looking at his condition too, he should continue to stay in the hospital.” The doctors, however, discharged him on the evening of 27 October saying that a large number of patients suffering from infectious diseases were coming to the hospital and that the hospital is short on beds to treat them and also that his brother is better now.

Obviously, when pus is oozing out of his nose and he is unable to breathe properly, discharging him would be playing with his life.

Khamesh Sori says that now that his brother has been discharged they have no option but to live under the sky on hospital premises.

Sinus problem was diagnosed after release from jail

Two days after Lokesh registered a complaint with the police, describing Ravan and Mahishasur as the ancestors of his community he was arrested and sent to jail. He was charged with making a disparaging comment about Durga on a WhatsApp group. He was released from jail about one and half months later, after a court granted him bail.

After his release, his supporters took out a bike rally at Kanker and addressing them, Lokesh called for intensifying the movement against the exploitative Dwij traditions.

Amid all this, he began suffering from a sinus problem. He started having difficulties breathing. A visit to the local doctors revealed that he was, in fact, suffering from cancer. Lokesh felt his world crumbling around him. His thought his dreams of quitting the position of district unit head of the BJP Dalit cell to intensify the agitation against Dwijs had been dashed to the ground.

Brahmanical elements spread rumours about Durga’s ire

As his condition worsened, the Brahman-vadis intensified their attack on him. It was rumoured that he had got afflicted with cancer due to Durga’s ire. Some even said that unless he rubs his nose before Durga’s idol, he would not be freed from his disease.

We have referred to this well-thought-out conspiracy of the Brahman-vadis in an earlier report.

After the publication of this report, the supporters of Mahishasur Day are sending SMSs and WhatsApp messages to RSS people asking them which god’s ire had led to their revered Guru Golwalkar dying of cancer.

Please do not blame gods and goddesses for cancer: Manohar Parrikar performing puja at a Goa

Lokesh Sori’s associate Degree Prasad Chauhan, who met him recently, says, “Lokesh is mentally very strong. During our conversation, he repeated that he doesn’t care how long he would live. But till his last breath, he will continue to militate against the Brahmanical traditions. He also said that two top BJP leaders – Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar – are also suffering from cancer. Parrikar was associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement while Anant Kumar is an ardent devotee of Durga.”

Cancer is a major tragedy of human life. It can be cured by treatment not by performing puja: Anant Kumar (left) performing a havan with Amit Shah and other BJP leaders

In a WhatsApp message to FORWARD Press, Lokesh writes, “My salutations to Baba Saheb, who secured their rights to the Dalits and the Adivasis and Jai Bhim to all the Bahujan heroes of SC, ST, OBC and DNT communities. It is being said that I am suffering because of Urvashi’s (Durga) anger. But my morale is high. Those who are after me are weaklings. Had I got even five more years, I would have taken my mission forward. Changes are easier in the field of politics but a cultural and social battle is different. I know how difficult it is to associate even one person with you. I only wish that I can handover my mission to a person who is capable in all respects.”

He further says, “I also wish that I my son Dev Sagar Sori should take this mission forward. That is why I have got him enrolled him in Naglok (a private school). Although, I do not want to pressurize him into doing this or that and I leave it to him as to whether he takes up social work or does a job or business or any other work.”

At the end of his message, he thanks FORWARD Press and signs out with “Jai FORWARD Press, Jai Baba Mahishasur (Paidurpath), Raven Baba ki Jai.”

Lokesh’s disease is treatable; no need to bow before any god

Dr Surya Bali, a doctor at AIIMS, Bhopal, who is also an ardent opponent of Brahmanical dominance, says, “They (Brahmanical elements) want to scare those agitating against them on the pretext of Lokesh’s disease. They want to send out the message that if anyone talks about his ancestors like Ravan and Mahishasur instead of their gods and goddesses, he too would suffer like Lokesh.”

Dr Surya Bali, AIIMS, Bhopal

Dr Bali says, “Lokesh can be cured and for this he need not bow his head before any Brahmanical god or goddess. I am in touch with Dr Vivek Chaudhary, senior doctor at Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital, Raipur and if a need arises, I will extend all possible assistance to him.”

Despite passing through an economic crisis due to expenses on his treatment, Lokesh is emerging out of depression and is planning his future activities. He says that his movement is his first priority and his son Dev Sagar Sori’s education, the second. He reiterates that if cancer gives him five more years, he would shape 50 Lokesh Soris to take on the exploitative Brahmanical system and its traditions.

 

Translation: Amrish, copy-editing: Lokesh


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The Case for Bahujan Literature

Mahishasur: A people’s hero

Dalit Panthers: An Authoritative History

Mahishasur: Mithak wa Paramparayen

The Common Man Speaks Out

Jati ke Prashn Par Kabir

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