Narrating the discrimination against Dalits

Incidents of humiliation and atrocity witnessed since childhood days prompted Vijaykumar Sigaranahalli to write a book, “Boodiyagada Kenda”, which means fuel that has not become ash. Native of Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk, the writer has seen poverty, bonded labour system, atrocities on Scheduled Castes in the name of religion and blind beliefs throughout the 30 years of his life.

Interestingly, his book is ready for release, even as his native village, Sigaranahalli, is in the news for upper caste people allegedly imposing penalty on four Dalit women for entering a temple in the village.

“Many people around me often spoke as if atrocities on Dalits have ended. Their views actually prompted me to record the day-to-day experiences of my family members and neighbours in the Dalit colony in my village, besides what I witnessed since my childhood days, in the form of a book,” said Mr. Kumar, who is also a journalist.

Farm labourers

Born in a family of Scheduled Caste agricultural labourers, he grew up with elder brothers, who worked as bonded labourers.

In a family of eight children, he was the youngest and he could only complete graduation with the support of his elders. “Even today, people living in my colony are restricted from entering temple and a community hall in the village. I and my family members have faced difficulty in getting houses for rent in places like Hassan. A few years ago, my sister’s family was forced to vacate the house within minutes, after the house-owner learnt about her caste. I too faced such ordeal, when I moved to Hassan after getting a job,” he said. He has narrated these incidents in his book.

As a journalist, he has travelled across the district and witnessed how Dalits are being treated. Dalits were never given entry into Chowdeshwari temple at Kaginahare in Sakleshpur taluk. Members of the temple management committee have maintained that even Sakleshpur MLA, a Dalit, had not entered the temple.

“These are not old stories, but happening every day. In my village, upper caste people do not have meals with Dalits. The upper caste people have to be served food in hotels, when they attend Dalit marriages,” he said.

The book will be released at a function organised by Bayalu Sahitya Vedike, in association with Hampi University, at Hampi in Ballari district on Saturday. Aharnishi has published the book.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 10:11:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/narrating-the-discrimination-against-dalits/article7717866.ece

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