When Corona was causing havoc throughout the world, we were making fun of it. And finally, when the government decided to take preventive steps, we stepped into panic mode; the panic has not eased yet. From thinking we will die of Corona we have reached a stage where we have to learn to live with it. From renowned economists to ordinary people, everyone is now worried about the challenges that we may have to face in the post-corona world. It is heartening to note that many good-hearted people are helping in their own way to lessen the hardships faced by the poor. Crimes have also come down, except the crimes against Dalits.
It is tragic that even Corona and the lockdown is not able to prevent atrocities against Dalits in India, particularly in Tamil Nadu. Caste is proving itself to be more virulent than Corona. More than 30 caste-based atrocities against Dalits have been reported during this lockdown alone. This shows Corona can kill humans but not the deep-rooted hatred against Dalits.
From the casteist abuse on T.Konagapadi panchayat president Mrs Amsavalli to the brutal double murder in Tuticorin last night, these caste-based atrocities are happening everyday without any fear or qualms.
Tamil Nadu is a progressive state. The state is proud of its learned people, progressive political parties, and anti-caste organisations of every hue and colour. But it is really disheartening to note that inspite of our progressive record on many fronts we have utterly failed to prevent atrocities against Dalits. We must accept the fact these atrocities have increased tremendously during the time of Corona. We must accept the fact that no “ism” is able to make a dent on caste. What is even more troubling is that none of our representatives elected from reserved constituencies even voice their opinion on these issues. They do not even stand with the victims of atrocities.
Accepting our failure on this front, it is our duty now to open our eyes, interrogate ourselves dispassionately, and find ways to annihilate caste, and annihilate anti-Dalit feelings among our people. It will be a great tragedy of our times if we don’t it even now.