Dear fellow dalit bahujan students of LSR, I am writing this letter because I want to let you know that it’s okay. It’s okay if you are not feeling like a part of some group, it’s okay if you feel that you don’t know as much as your fellow savarna students.
I know what struggle you have to face everyday, especially in your first year. There are many who will deny your experience saying that it is as identity politcs that we are talking about and will disregard your opinion. But I am here, along with many other on my side who all are a lot to be named, to tell you that stand up! Fight! Make your own space, make bahujan space, make adivasi-Dalit-bahujan space, go get those rights which are granted to every citizen by our own Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Today I want to share my experiences which is common among every one of us and my views on the savarna space in which we are living.
In my first year, I had been through the same. It was like a dream for me to enter any society in the college. My parents were too busy trying to survive in the brahmanical system in my hometown to focus on anything other than my studies. And I must say that I am lucky compared to many other bahujan students because I could manage to have a childhood not dipped in financial crisis. But that certainly doesn’t differentiate our experiences on the basis of caste and gender.
When I entered the college, good clothes and fancy phone was there to give me some level of confidence, and it made me feel that I can hide my identity of reserved category student behind them. But later all these things became curse as questions were being raised that why someone who can’t score 97.25 is having all these stuff. It felt bad. And I fought. We fought. And then I realised how important it is to fight and create space if a bahujan student has to get good education.
Slowly I came to know Ambedkar more closely, I read about the fight of Phule for education, the struggle of Savitrimai and I read about Birsa Munda and murmu women who fought against odds. It filled me with courage and hope and the will to accept my identity.
I am not ashamed of my identity. Yes, my caste is dhobi and I’m not ashamed of it. I know who I am and I will continue my fight with this identity giving me hopes and strength.
Babasaheb’s those three words- Educate, Agitate and Organise, is the key to my achievements ( whatever it is). From heading the posts of editors to organising talks on caste with other Ambedkarites in the college kept me moving forward. You must acknowledge the importance of education, and when I say education, it means whatever you can do the best. I am not good with art or anything but my understanding of caste, gender, class and marginalise communities along with my subject makes me feel confident to pursue my education further. May be you haven’t figured what you enjoy to do, but when you do please remember the struggle of everyone and give your best to it.
”Education is the only way, my dear friend. I dream of the day when Phule, Ambedkar, periyar, birsa, kanshiram will be taught in the schools. I dream of that India when all the bahujan students will be aware of the legacy that they share, that they are a part of continuous struggle and will not be ashaomed of their identity. I dream of a LSR where bahujan students will lead the college and they will know their responsibility towards those Dalit bahujans who are still deprived of their basic rights”.
Ever wondered the meaning behind including agitate and organise after educate? He could have stoped right at the fight for education but our Babasaheb knew that this is not possible. Our everyday life is a struggle and we have to agitate against this brahmanical system and organise ourselves to take forward the legacy of bahujan leaders. And for this you need to form an association in the college. Come together dear fellow strugglers. Remember what babasaheb said that if you can’t take this forward, don’t let it go backwards. This was the minimum that he asked for, let’s give me more.
There is an increasing gap between those bahujans who are getting educated and those who are not able to reach till here. There are differences among bahujans also we remember what Sahab kanshiram said about 15:85. Get educated my friend, and don’t forget your identity. Mark my word that the day we all start accepting your identity and stop getting ashamed of it, that day we will (educated bahujans) be able to rule this country. And this should be our dream. To rule India, because we are its mulniwasi.
Those of us who are getting education many of us often hide our identity and become stooges, whereas those who are still not able to reach till here have accepted their identity as the only truth which stops them from imaging a day when we will not be ruled by Brahmins. And we have to bridge this gap, we have to take up the responsibility to enter every space, occupy every post and bring all the resources to them.
Start occupying spaces editors, leaders, teachers/professors, collector, research and every possible positions you can think of.
Like Babasaheb said “aim for the best” and this should be our only goal. Aim for the best, occupy positions, become leaders, and help other bahujans to get all that which they have been deprived of.
Love and Rage,