Letter to the Hoot—Dalit empowerment?

BY Kartik M| IN Opinion | 07/01/2003
The print media did not distinguish between empowerment and abuse of office in Mayawati’s case.

The media`s report on the lavish birthday party of the U.P. CM has
compltely overlooked or rather failed distinguish two aspects.
They have gone ahead without second thoughts and used the
occassion to praise the empowerment of dalits.

There are two issues involved here. One, the unashamed flaunting
of wealth and two, the empowerment of dalits. Mayawati has used
the public ex-chequer to fund her birthday party, which part from
displaying her arrogance did not convey anything else. Where does
dalit emancipation and empowerment arise here? She has become
elitist and her anointment as the chief minister does not signify
anything. Even her renaming of districts and parks after
Dr.Ambedkar does not go beyond symbolism.

Like any other upper-caste leader she has also abused her office.
Here it doesn`t matter whether she is a dalit or not. It has to be
condemned in unequivocal terms.

Second, if dalit emancipation is going to bring such kind of
people, then our policy makers should have an honest rethink.
Rather than such reservations they should help them at the village
level and give them economic freedom and education, which would
liberate them from the clutches of the castes. Such kind of
misused freedom would send in the wrong message. The dalits like
any other people are disconnected from her. The Indian print
media has failed to make this distinction and hailed her birthday
party to be the result of dalit emancipation.

Thanking you,

Karthik M.

Student, Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media




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