India

“We are Hindus day before elections, and the day after we are Dalits” — Prof. Ratanlal

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

New Delhi: “We are Hindus the day before the elections, and the day after we are Dalits…” said Prof. Ratanlal in a street meeting on Sunday.

This street meeting was organised by United Against Hate which was held at 40 Foota Road, Shaheen Bagh, Okhla on 23rd December.

Prof. Ratanlal further added that “It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to raise questions against the rulers in a democracy. The casteist communal elements, the Hindutva forces prepared well through several decades to reach here. We didn’t prepare well enough to save the day. But today, we must voice our just demands strongly. The Constitution drafted by Ambedkar gives us the right to raise our voices and do so fearlessly.” He said that the rulers have been fooling us. We must question the rulers and expose them.

Quoting Lohia, he added, ”The day silence takes over the streets, the Parliament will become ‘awara’ (vagabond). It is the resolve of United Against Hate to continue to hit the streets against BJP and RSS’s politics of hate-mongering, lies and fear.”

Swami Agnivesh said, “I don’t believe in caste, I don’t believe in hierarchies, between men and women and between Hindus or Muslims. Some say ‘garv se kaho hum Hindu hain’. I say ‘fakr se kaho hum Insaan hain’. Because humanity is the biggest religion.

Arfa Khanum Sherwani in her speech emphasized the need for Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis to form alliances. “Muslims must speak up when Dalits, farmers or Adivasis are under attack. We must forge unities,” she added.

Anupam from Swaraj Abhiyan warned “Don’t think even if Modi loses somehow, our task is over. Because our fight is not just against one person. Our fight is against an idea of hatred. Till we can defeat that ideology of hate, our task will remain unfinished.” He further added that “Our society has been damaged irreparably, our ganga-jamuni tahzeeb has been viciously tampered with. Even our institutions are being tampered with today. We must fight to defeat all these attempts.”

Ovais Sultan Khan warned against the false binaries of “Good Muslim” and “Bad Muslim” that is being peddled by various means. He emphasized the need to steer clear of such binaries and foreground everyone’s right to equal citizenship in this country as per the Constitution and unitedly fight against the forces of hate.

Umar Khalid concluded the meeting with a pledge wherein the entire audience resolved in the words of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to be equal stakeholders in the building of this country and lay claims to it.

In this street meeting, United Against Hate also condemned the brutal killing of Sanjali, a 15 years old Dalit girl in Agra who was burnt alive. It also condemned the absolute lawlessness under Yogi-raj where Dalits and Muslims are being targeted and brutalised with impunity.

Poojan Sahil’s political songs and Mumtaz Ali Rizvi’s poetry added to the spirit of the audience. Their verses blended with the speeches of the evening and exalted the need to uphold truth, justice, equality and fraternity against the divisive and diversionary politics of the Hindutva forces.

Apart from central hall meetings, fact findings, reporting, sending of immediate response teams, legal support to survivors of hate crimes, and protest demonstrations, one of United Against Hate’s constant emphasis has been organizing mohalla-level meetings spreading political consciousness around notions of justice, equality, secularism and constitutional values. The meeting in Shaheen Bagh was in continuation of the same objective titled “Abki baar Nafrat ki Haar”.

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