The gruesome death of Dalit youth Ilavarasan, whose Vanniyar (upper caste) wife disowned their one-year-old marriage that sparked violence in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, last year, has rightly created strong suspicions in the minds of many because “honour” killings have become rampant in India. Democracy will indeed be rendered hollow if we fail to generate a feeling of oneness among all sections, irrespective of religion, caste and creed.
K. Nilamudeen &
The unfortunate happening is certainly a victory for caste outfits. Those who believe in social justice should unite to fight casteism.
Ever since violence broke out following the Divya-Ilavarasan marriage, the couple was under tremendous pressure. Divya was forced to walk out of the marriage.
Ilavarasan’s death has brought to the fore yet another disturbing story of the politics of caste, power, marriage and suicide. Caste is so pervasive in India that every cultural, social, and political institution talks about it. It has been misused by political parties to garner votes; abused by culture to reinforce itself in the minds of people; and overused by society to maintain the status quo. It is people’s mindset, not the law, that needs to be changed.
Human history is all about the struggle for equality. Many, including Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, believed that the best way to end caste discrimination was inter-caste marriage. He compared caste identity to rivers flowing in the mainland. As long as rivers flow in the mainland, they are called Ganga, Yamuna, etc., but once they merge into the sea, they lose their identity.
Caste can be eliminated only if there is a political will to eliminate it. Our politicians exploit caste and the outcome — perpetuation of caste identities, violence and denial of dignity to young couples to live according to their choice.
The Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi, which thrive by exploiting the sentiments of caste, are largely to blame for Ilavarasan’s tragic death. That said, had the Tamil Nadu government taken action on learning that he was underaged when he married and counselled him, the matter would not have become so serious.
The young woman’s father (who committed suicide) and Ilavarasan might have been alive today.
The PMK is not against Dalits but against love affairs. What its leader Dr. S. Ramadoss says is correct. In the Dharmapuri love episode, the young man was only 18. His wife was older and both of them were yet to settle down economically. What was the hurry to get married? Couldn’t they have waited till they matured mentally and attained some stability?
Tamil Nadu is a State where eradication of caste is overtly talked about, and caste is covertly supported by politicians. Dravidian leaders have failed to go to the root of the problem. Over the years, they have only created new caste-based organisations and sub-organisations for their personal gains. Caste-based reservation is also one of the reasons for enmity among different caste groups.