Chandra Bhan Prasad's book talks of a casteist society

He calls it the longest fought war in the history of humankind: the war between untouchables and non-untouchables. Chandra Bhan Prasad, a leading Dalit intellectual of the country, has added a new term to the dictionary of medical science: Dalit phobia, which according to him, is more vicious and pervasive than apartheid."It is time we see Dalits in the present context and find out why Dalits are hated," said Prasad at the occasion of the release of his book "Dalit Phobia - Why do They Hate Us". Suraj Bhan, former MP and Chairman of the SC/ST Commission launched the book in New Delhi this past week.Drawing parallels with French phobiain Italians and Bolshevik phobia in the U.S. and Europe after the Soviet Revolution, Prasad stated that Dalit phobia was a medical problem and needed to be treated scientifically. He even drew the conclusion that this problem is transferred genetically. How else could one explain the same contempt towards Dalits among different strata of society, he asked. "Mind is the initiator and controller of the body, and nervous system has been manipulated by long held ideas. Non-Dalits are therefore a medical case," he claimed, adding, "Dalit phobia is genetically transferred."

Upper caste psyche

To elucidate how deeply this hatred is entrenched in the psyche of the upper castes he cited of tragedies failing to build bonds across the caste barrier. He recalled the Gujarat earthquake and Tamil tsunami where survivors refused to share dining halls with Dalits in relief camps.Speaking on the occasion Krishnanand, an expert in Buddhist studies said, "It is not the touch-me-not attitude. The psychological conditioning of mind that develops unnatural criteria is what I call untouchability." That it persists even today hardly needs verification. Adding figures to words chief guest Suraj Bhan stated that 38000 cases of atrocities had been reported in 2004 against Dalits, and they include physical as well as mental trauma inflicted upon them.If you are looking for a comprehensive analysis of centuries of social ostracism the Dalits have faced in India, this book will provide a different outlook and perception Will it also bring about a more egalitarian society? from the grassroots.

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