New Delhi, Nov 6: Writer and activist for Dalit rights Kancha Ilaiah on Friday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly not working towards promotion of the backward castes in the country.
"The question is what is he doing for the backward classes," Ilaiah said at an event here organised by Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies, New Delhi, ahead of the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru.
Claiming that Modi was engaged in only working for the welfare of the upper castes, Ilaiah said, "I thought once there is a OBC Prime Minister by declaration he will create OBC capitalists but what is he doing?"
"The present Prime Minister before he became the Prime Minster had said that if Sardar Vallabhai Patel would have been the first PM then India would have been different," Ilaiah said.
"I would say that but for Nehru being the first Prime Minister BR Ambedkar would not be allowed to write the first Constitution," the 63-year-old scholar said. "Ambedkar and Nehru's contribution to the nation has been to increase the span of life," he said.
The social scientist, who has authored a book on buffalo nationalism, said the RSS and the BJP wanted to protect the cow because of its association with the Aryans despite buffaloes producing more milk.
"The problem of inequality is even among animals. Buffalo produces 75 per cent of milk but Indian cow hardly gives 60 percent of milk but now cow is being protected and largest number of buffaloes are being killed in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Why?" he said.
He also attacked Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for not visiting the family of the person who was lynched to death in Dadri in Greater Noida. "When dalits were burnt alive in Haryana Jaitley did not go to Haryana ...but he preaches to the whole world of academicians including economists what is equality," Ilaiah said.
He also appealed to all political parties to not just work for votes but strive to establish equality in society.
Congress leader and former Union Minister Sachin Pilot, who moderated the discussion, said people of the country should strive to put the country first before all politics about food. "Elections come and go, it is not a big deal, but this country is much bigger than just one leader, one party or one ideology. And we have to adopt this principle," Pilot said.
Rajya Sabha member Prof Balachandra Mungekar, who is an economist by training, said,".. Nehru refused to make any compromise on freedom of the permanent human value" while adding that "unrestricted freedom would lead to anarchy."
Calling for freedom to be met with equality, Mungekar said, "Religion is the requirement of an individual. Religion has always created havoc in the society and precisely and unfortunately this what we are facing today."
Talking about gender inequality in the country, Vrinda Grover, Supreme Court lawyer said there was "selective silence" on economic and social subjugation of women.