Caste In The Times Of Drought - Story Of A Village In Madhya Pradesh
The worst reality of modern, independent India is the unwarranted importance given to caste, which makes us behave illogically even in the face of natural disasters. The village of Tikamgarh is not only affected by the vagaries of nature in the form of drought but is also the victim of its own narrow-mindedness. The fields here have stopped blooming and the parched lips of villagers narrate the sorry state of water bodies there. But drought apparently is not the biggest of their problems.
The Dalit Basti in the village has been particularly hit hard by this drought. Even during good times, it never had a hand pump to begin with. Even after repeated pleas to the officials, nothing was done. They borrowed Rs. 5000 and gave it to the sarpanch for constructing a handpump but their appeals fell on deaf ears.
The rainfall has not been in their favour since March 2015, and the yield has gone down by almost 50%. Whatever meager income these people residing in Dalit colonies had has vanished.
Now left with no choice, Dalits would have to walk to the nearby Yadav neighbourhood that has a handpump, and come to face to face with the ugly reality of caste-based discrimination. More often than not they have been driven away without drawing even a drop of water because of the prevailing untouchability.
Now even that handpump has dried up and the Dalits, as well as the Yadavs, have turned to a well that belongs to the wells. While the Dalits use that water for drinking, the Yadavs use it only for washing clothes and bathing. The Yadavs enjoy access to a borewell dug by one of their fellow caste brothers that still has water.
The poor and the oppressed of this country have nowhere to go in calamities like these. Even in normal circumstances they have to face stigma in their day to day life, but it gets uglier when a disaster strikes. They are poor, lacking in power and influence and are left to the mercy of nature.
The Logical Indian is of the opinion that no matter how much we try to deny caste-based discrimination, reality is it is spread everywhere. Forget about rural Indians, even educated urban leaders practice it.