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Radical Views
M C Raj
Ilavarasan comes alive after death 06 July, 2013
Yes, he is dead. He has been murdered. It is such a stereotype in India. We have dealt with many cases of murder that are immediately put up as suicide. It takes a lot of struggle to bring out the truth of a murder. Ilavarasan was not the stuff for suicide. He fought valiantly against the caste maniacs, the Vanniars in Tamil Nadu only recently and his community paid a heavy price for his audacity to fall in love with a Vanniar girl and marry her.

This was in Dharmapuri of Tamil Nadu where hundreds of Dalit houses were razed to the ground by Vanniar madness and their fire of fury. The country then was more pre-occupied with rape, one after another in North India, especially in its capital Delhi. Dharmapuri is nothing compared to what happens in Delhi. Dalits are non-entities compared to what happens to caste entities in India.

In Karnataka we have the famous myth of a Madhiga (Dalit) boy daring to love and marry Maramma, a Brahmin girl. He hid his caste while loving and marrying his darling. But it was not long before his caste was discovered and Maramma herself cursed him before murdering him and sending his spirit into the body of a buffalo, the Dalit ancestor. Such is the madness of caste and its anti-history in India. When my wife and I narrated this story village after village in an effort to stop free caste labor, many of our Dalit brethren accused us of raking up old stories in order to create a chasm between Dalits and caste groups.

But what is Dr. Ramadoss doing in Tamil Nadu when human love blossomed between two young hearts? He painted a horrible looking picture of caste color around what can otherwise be called a beautiful blooming of love between a young man and a woman. What Maramma did in mythical times to Kadaraiah her Dalit husband, Ramadoss has done to Ilavarasan of Dharmapuri. There are no fissures between mythical times and modern times when it comes to love and caste. Caste separates lovers and caste unites murderers.

The death of Ilavarasan has understandably raised a lot of dust that will take some time to settle down. Unfortunately, anything that happens to Dalits in this country just disappears in the annals of anti-history. If only Dalits can understand what is anti-history in their life! The anonymous girl who was raped in Delhi will become part of history and Ilavarasan will disappear into anti-history only because he is a Dalit.

Understandably, Dalits raise only dust that often legitimizes the quiet burial of their history year after year, decade after decade, century after century, millennia after millennia. They will not move a finger to turn the pages of history to discover how much of their history has been given a ceremonious and quite burial thus making the history books of India indestructible monuments of anti-history.

Quite a few writings of Dalits in Tamil Nadu are so abusive of Ramadoss that the weight of what they want to say gets easily buried in the heap of invectives that they produce. Their love for Ilavarasan becomes blatantly tragic by the type of vituperative they use against the very same caste forces that normally abuse them in such despicable fashion.

Martyrdom is shredded into pieces by the very same Dalits who should be building up Dalit revolution. Compulsive anger and splashed letters in place of words take the sheen out of real anger. At a time when Dalit communities should stand up as one unassailable edifice what one finds is a blatant manifestation of many weaknesses in times of tribulations. In revolutionary societies the death of every martyr becomes the foundation of the rising of thousands of such young people who would fight for the future liberation of their communities.

What one sees painfully in Dalit community is an inexplicable artistic use of invectives in the air. There is no scope for airing genuine views but only for scattering words in the air aimlessly. The blood of thousands of Ilavarasans should have become the seeds for the sprouting of revolutionary spirit in the young people of the community. The Dalit leadership has set a stereotype on all such occasions all over the country. Cry foul at the caste society, go on the streets in protest, blame the authorities for not taking adequate ‘action’, present a petition to the same authorities, keep repeating the blame game for some more time and allow the issue to die down without drawing any lesson for the future. Such stereotyping is typical of some States in India and one can confidently assert that Tamilnadu will stand first in such talented development of useless stereotype.

Many Ilavarasans are crying aloud from the womb of Mother Earth for deliberately strategized lethargy against unmitigated violence on Dalit communities all over the country. But Dalit leadership has developed this extraordinary talent to give a quite burial to such uprising anger with its empty rhetoric. The caste forces in India know well this Dalit stereotype and they are in full anticipation. They will allow the Dalit leadership to let the steam out for sometime and continue to do what they have strategized to do against the Dalits. The ‘self’ of the Dalit leader becomes much more important even at such unfortunately miserable times than meaningful ‘revenge’ that will teach some bitter lessons to the caste forces so that they take corrective measures for the future.

The Dalit farmers of Pabna district who engineered the Indigo Revolution in Indian history will be turning in their graves by the shameless cowardice of the present day Dalit leaders. It makes no difference if Ilavarasan was murdered. The apparent Dalit anger will dissipate within a very short period. The ordinary Dalit people in villages and in slums are unfortunately the receivers of the retaliation of caste anger against Dalit leadership.

There is a tangible change in the present case of Ilavarasan’s murder. The stereotype has gone through some metamorphosis, borrowed from incidents of peripheral successes that Dalit leadership manages to gain occasionally. This time around the blame game is not completely directed against Ramadoss but also equally against one of the tallest Dalit leaders of Tamilnadu, namely Thol. Thirumavalavan MP of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK).

Once again empty rhetoric is directed against this leader, blaming him for not taking adequate steps to prevent the death of Ilavarasan. I live in Karnataka and not in Tamil Nadu. Therefore, I cannot enter into a judgmental mode on this blame game. But one question comes to me naturally. When hundreds of houses were burnt down because of the love affair of Ilavarasan, any normal person should have anticipated the serious threat to the life of the young lovers. All those who cry foul at Thirumavalavan must have come together to protect him. They failed to do that. No one seems to have lifted a finger to protect the life of Ilavarasan. Now that he is dead they feel horribly guilty and want to hide their irresponsibility and failure. The easy scapegoat is their leader. They know well that he is the one who will understand their anger against themselves being taken out on him. They know quite subconsciously that they cannot even raise a single hair of theirs against Ramadoss even if he goes to their street.

Thol. Thirumavalavan must keep his counsel to himself and ask his followers to challenge such Dalits as to what they have done to protect Ilavarasan today and what they plan to do to protect many Ilavarasans who will arise in future. This blame game is a retrograde step that half-baked Dalit leaders and intellectuals are taking. This is going to harm the Dalit community in the long run. By blaming their own leaders at such difficult times, they must realize, that they will be playing into the hands of fellows like Ramadoss. This will be suicidal.

The question that I fail to understand is this: When Dalit leadership in many other states is picking up its lessons though slowly, why is Dalit leadership in Tamil Nadu playing into the hands of the very same caste enemies whom they want to fight? Is it a clear indication that their own survival depends on such rhetoric fight against their own leaders?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
M C Raj is a human rights activist and award-winning author of more than 18 books. He has initiated a national campaign for proportionate electoral system, popularly known as CERI, in India. He is deeply involved in Climate Change issues.
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