Thanks for giving me this chance to speak again on this issue.
Dalit is a negative term (though I myself have often used it). If the name 'Harijan' is bad, then Dalit is bad to the power of infinity.
Some one here said that many people in India use the word Dalit proudly. What a hypocrisy! The writer does not even know the demography of India ! South of Maharashtra, it is a different country , a different culture.
For example, in Tamilnadu, we have many castes, among Harijans, three being major- Sakkiliar, Pallar and Parayar. No ordinary member of any of the community calls himself as Dalit or Harijan. In fact they do not know such terms. They simply call themselves by their castes. I have seen matrimonial ads in many classified sections where they proudly mention their castes. Between their castes they have hierarchies and no bridal give and take happens. (even in case of conversion ! The Harijan converts are treated like herds of sheeps inside the prayer houses- which are usually separate than the caste Christians).
You asked me whether I would put the name girijan in front of my name. I would. The fact remains that my mother wanted her marriage to my brahmin father be concealed and wanted to prevent her children from contacting her relatives up the hill. This happened when I wanted them to be invited to my marriage. I told her " If you are ashamed of your relatives or apologetic about your marriage, then we children are also born of a shameful aspect. Do you believe this ?" Finally, my aunt, my uncle and my cousins visited me and blessed us.
I never hesitate to mention to all my friends about the revolutionary marriage of my father under great threat to his life. Even today, I adore my maternal grandfather (who was a great scholar who learnt hindi to learn Urdu to learn arabic to study Qoran. Such was his perfectionism! My mother tells me day in and day out that I resemble my grand dad Motha Gowder to the last mannerism). Mr Rana, if you are willing to hear it, I will send you a separate mail with My name and the suffix of Girijan added and repeated a hundred times.
And this will answer the other question that I am not qualified to comment on Harijan issues. I did not clamour for the governmental benefits that comes one's way when one declares his caste. My mother wanted her children to be brought up as brahmin children and my father agreed.
I have a christian employee, who calls herself 'Nadar' Christian. Nadar is a caste name and this caste is just above the harijans. She told me one day that in her ancestral home near Tirunelveli, they even will not allow the harijans/ converts to enter their backyard even ! I chided her for this and asked her to correct this.
At the same time, I have a harijan employee,a turner and who is a charming young man, who dines with me in my house whenever he comes to meet me during sundays or some visits. If he comes early in the morning for some unusual consultations, he will enter my pooja room and sit with me in Bhajans and Arati. Only after I complete my one sloka of Gita, he will depart, taking the prasadam. My younger son will always be in his lap whenever he comes to my home and when I take my son to my factory.
Brothers and sisters of Jharkhand list, my binding to my countrymen is a very subtle one. The force that binds with my countrymen is Dharma, whatever you make out of that term. Caste and position does not matter to this so called Brahmin.
If the use of the word Harijan is not agreeable to some, I ask the moderator to conduct a poll on this issue. And, I be allowed to issue an appeal explaining my position on this issue and the contender also can be allowed to record his/her objections. Whatever be the outcome of the poll, I will abide by it.
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