Dalits in Punjab: Silent no more

Little over a year ago, this blog had posed the question:

There is a deafening silence on part of dalits in Punjab. One wonders why, and for how long.

To which a naive comment from a reader was:

Presumably if Dalit oppression was blunted by Sikh philosophy, if not absolutely at least comparatively, Dalits might not have felt need for a movement.

Over the last two days, my question as well as the comment to the post have been answered loud and clear.

Author: bhupinder singh

an occasional blogger

6 thoughts on “Dalits in Punjab: Silent no more”

  1. Sachmuch jordaar post hai. Maine ise fir se poora parhaa. panjab aur sikhism ko lekar bahut se stereotypes ko yah saaf karti hai. lagataa hai ki ek wakt dharm ne jaat kee sachchai ko chhipaane kaa kaam kiyaa tha, aaj vahee dharm jaat kee sachchayee ko Ugharne ka kaam kar rahaa hai. kyaa yah fir bhee dharmik daayare mein hee rah jaayegaa yaa fir siyaasat tak pahunchegaa??

    1. I think that the Dalits in Punjab have faced a crisis of political leadership. Remember that the BSP in the Punjab got off to a flying start at one time along with UP and MP. In the 1995 elections it got 9.33 % of the votes and 3 Lok Sabha seats. Subsequently, the tempo could not be maintained and its vote has plummeted. That way, it really is a tribute to Mayawati and the dalits in UP that the political assertion has been by and large maintained.

      In other words, dalit assertion has been trying to take various forms- political, social, religious and literary. The maturity of the movement in each of these may vary.

  2. its is very interesting, my own idea of sikhism was little different, previously thought of it in more modern nationalist light. But now these recent development shows it also same to other part of India as with layered social presence in same class status.
    i think mostly bhakti movement all over India done some reform again upper caste domination and push masses one step ahead and again this also layered in same class.
    But urge of people to come out of a brutal social hierarchy, discrimination, day to day humiliation is inevitable and it is spontaneous.
    This need to be seen with more Marxist analysis.

    1. You are not the only one to think so. Most non Dalit Sikhs I have spoken to on the subject seem to have a similar perception about Sikhism. The reality is that casteism may be less blunt than in Hinduism, but it certainly exists as a major fault- line in Punjab/ within Sikhs.

      There has been a lot of academic interest, particularly from scholars on the left, on the subject. Some of these papers are linked to in the post ‘Deafening Silence of Dalits in Punjab’

  3. I think ,We mulniwasi should kept in mind that caste is reality now a days. So we need to identify our real enemy.Brahmanical system is resposible for our all ailments.Fight against caste system.Follow the path of our great Guru Ravidas,Satgur Kabir,Namdev,Sain,Walmiki@Baba sahib Ambedkar.

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