I read with interest the article “Missing from the Indian newsroom” (April 9) and the letters that followed. Undoubtedly, Dalits need support from the rest of society. At the same time, Dalits and the organisations advocating their cause need to do some soul searching. Why do educated Dalits distance themselves from their own brethren once they reach a level? Dalits are constantly told that the other communities have cheated them over the centuries and it is now their turn to assert themselves. This is far from the truth. Every community has worked its way up. Let us stop blaming other sections for poor Dalit representation in many fields. Instead, let us study the pattern of development among Dalits and its impact on lesser privileged Dalits who still live in sub-human conditions.
Robin Jeffrey has concluded that Dalits are missing from Indian newsrooms based on serious research. If similar research is undertaken in other areas, we will find that Dalits are missing from many fields. Equality and fraternity are fancy words for them. Almost all sectors have kept them out. India has a huge private sector thriving on financial and non-financial help from the state. But Dalit entry into it is still a mirage for want of political will and courage. In all big industries, recruitment is based on the so-called merit of “our own boys.” Most Dalits are landless agricultural workers, traditionally bonded to upper caste landlords. They are scattered by caste, language and dialects unknown to one another. So the unification of Dalits is practically impossible. They remain silent spectators of their own destructive destiny.