Dalit is the one who has undergone ‘Dalan’ at the hands of someone (जिसका दलन हुआ वह दलित). So we can say that the one who has been destroyed or crushed emotionally, physically or both is a Dalit. In the Hindu prayers you will often find the word ‘दुष्टदलन’ (dushtadalan) used in the praise of God which means God is the one who destroys those who are evil in our society and also the evil in our heart.
Just by the sense of the word (not by constitution or anything law related), it can be said that some rapist or murderer severely punished by the government is a Dalit at the hands of the government (सरकार ने उस दुष्ट/पापी का दलन किया). On the other hand, those good people who were/are destroyed by corruption in the system can also be called Dalits and not just those who were born in particular castes.
When Roma went to Chennai for job, she started looking for a house on rent. The house rent was 25,000 rupees but the landlord was asking for 10 months rent as security deposit. After some negotiations he agreed on 200,000 rupees. Roma had the money so she gave it but think about those who don’t have this much money in their accounts. What would they do?
People are forced to compromise. The heavy security deposits asked by landlords are not even discussed as an issue in Indian media.
Anita, her husband and their three year old daughter were traveling by train to their hometown. They had booked tickets in first AC thinking that it would make the journey more comfortable but both of them got upper berths. Those on lower berths were senior citizens so they did not ask for a seat change and neither did the senior citizens care to ask if they needed help.
TTE said that it was not in his hands anymore to allot them different seats even if they were unoccupied. Anita and her husband had no option but to somehow manage their 24 hour journey on the upper berths and felt like destroyed (Dalits) at the hands of the system.
The wives who get beaten or abused by their drunken (alcoholic) husbands on regular basis are also Dalits at the hands of their husbands. The husbands who get accused for false cases by their wives are Dalits at the hands of the system. The parents who want to talk to their children and getting nothing but negligence can also be called as Dalits.
Several people I know who work very hard for their organizations. They work for extended hours and are available on phone 24/7 but when they ask for leaves, they are denied by their managers or they get reduced number of leaves. Many people in India find it difficult to ask their employer for a month off for their marriage.
You might know how much pressure the sales and marketing people (depending on organization policies) have to face in the name of achieving targets. Use of swear words by the managers are common in some fields. It is interesting to note that people invest lot of money in MBA to learn etiquette and business strategies and what many of them learn in the field is swear words.
If you go by the sense of the term Dalit (disclaimer again – just by word, not by law or constitution), they can be found in every part of the society. Many of us might have faced situations where the circumstances were totally against us and we felt helpless.
In fact they can be anyone and not just humans, for e.g., rivers and tourist places that are polluted for miscellaneous reasons, animals who are eaten in the name of protein, birds that are kept in cages for fun, noise pollution for miscellaneous reasons (honking, music etc.) and others.
It is the circumstances that makes one a Dalit. The circumstance may not be permanent and Dalit may or may not be a good person. Dalit may or may not be a rich/poor person. Dalit may or may not be good at heart. Being Dalit is in respect to someone or something. Just being born in a particular community or caste does not make someone a Dalit.
Author - Archit
लाभस्तेषां जयस्तेषां कुतस्तेषां पराजयः I येषामिन्दीवरश्यामो हृदयस्थो जनार्दनः II