Union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti shocked every audience of the Indian republic when she made a distinction between the Ramzaades and Haramzaades at an election rally in Delhi a couple of days ago.
The Opposition has sought criminal action against the minister in relation to Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code which holds accountable anybody who promotes enmity between different groups on religious grounds and do something detrimental to harmony.
Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's words can't be supported but what about the other conservatism?
What the Sadhvi said is by no means fit for a healthy polity and the BJP can not allow such language to flourish even if it has absolute majority in the Parliament. Such hate speeches and the subtle reflection of the ‘Hindus versus the rest' theory in those remarks are extremely dangerous for a pluralistic society in India.
But keeping aside the hate speech episode, there was also a display of conservatism of another kind in this issue and that is how the elitist media avoided the Sadhvi's Dalit identity while attacking her saffronic being.
How conveniently the Sadhvi's Dalit identity was concealed?
Or putting it in another way: How conveniently did the elitist media evade the Sadhvi's 'Dalit' identity and treat her as the worst 'Saffron' thing to have happened on the earth. Do Dalits belonging to the 'secular' camp of Indian politics also get treatments at par? Or do then the word 'Dalit' becomes bigger than the crime committed?
OBC tea-seller Modi also had a similar experience before the polls
The same had also been seen with Narendra Modi, an OBC, in the days before he became the prime minister of India and was an outsider in Lutyen's Delhi. The Congress and a section of the elitist media had hurled the most humiliating of expletives at him when there was clearly no way of stopping him advancing towards the national capital.
The problem is that the so-called secular voices engage in a complicated game of identity politics when it comes to dealing their right-wing political opponent.
The elitist circles prioritised the Sadhvi's saffron identity over the Dalit
In case of Sadhvi, the identity of ‘Saffron' became more important than that of the 'Dalit' unlike cases in the past where a leader uttered shocking speeches and yet found a shelter under the umbrella of backwardness. But for a Saffron Dalit, it is difficult to avail that avenue just because the colour is different.
When a secular Dalit says something unwanted, there are more escape routes available
It would be interesting to note that the secular and elitist political forces or the media don't speak in the same volume when a Dalit fails to find empowerment either in the Parliament or on the roads. The Congress president chose to empower women in various capacities when the UPA was in power at the Centre for a decade but how many Dalits did the party really empower during this time?
Ok, Meira Kumar was an empowered Dalit but she was more a darling of the elite than the masses
Okay, Meira Kumar was one but then again, the woman who served as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is more a darling of the elite than the masses.
It was certainly her identity as the woman which felicitated her empowerment and not the Dalit identity. And moreover, even if the case of Meira Kumar is considered, history is witness to the fact how the dream of her father Jagjivan Ram, a popular Dalit leader was shattered in the 1970s after his son's sex scandal was made public.
Jagjivan was considered as a powerful opponent to Indira Gandhi then and the scandal was enough to derail his ambition.
Hence, it all comes down to political expediency when ‘secular' forces execute their 'liberal' plan of action.