The Bridge Builder

Hey Reema,

I normally really enjoy your posts and am always moved by their beauty and sensitivity.

I was disturbed by your post today and the seeming callousness of it. I'm sure it came from a great place and so I wanted to see if I could clarify some of your questions.

I'm sure you've read of the affair at hand - the very intentional defiling of the statue of a Dalit leader just a day before a huge Dalit celebration. At the celebration itself there was a group of right wing hindutva activists who began attacking this peaceful gathering. Injuring many and killing two (one in police and media reports).

I've a very dear friend who is a young Dalit activist and he was present at this meeting. And watched his friend who is about our age die right in front of him. I asked him if he was going to protest today and whether I could join him. He came home instead and went on to explain why it wouldn't be safe to go and the extent of state violence against Dalit protestors.

By his account and I could easily take his word for it, almost, if not every single person at the protests today knows why they are out there. Even the Dalit community and the leaders including Prakash ambedkar do not support violence. Hence it is only empty best buses targeted. The violence at display - which is not one I promote either - is an act of self expression - of a community that has been and continues to be gravely oppressed and marginalized.

An act of protest physically manifest through the body - a body that is consistently attacked and humiliated. It is hard for me to understand this violence because I have never experienced it in my life. But for this youth, that sees state and other violence inflicted on their community every single day - violence takes on another meaning - one to express outrage, one to mark the call of defense and strength. I do not encourage it but I do encourage you and other friends on your comments to empathize with it.

I don't mean to sound condescending here. I am only just learning about caste issues in india and I just wanted to share some of what I learned. These are not protestors who are out there from the lack of anything to do. These are protestors out there braving arrest or worse state / rift wing violence to make a show of power and rights that they are perpetually denied.

I'd be happy to speak more about it if you feel something I said was unjust. Hope you're doing well, hugs.

Oh wow, thank you so very much for shining a light on this ((*))

Seeing how it comes from an understanding developed with a very real and close experience of one who directly suffers by itself is more than enough to have anyone pay attention to what you have shared and I reallyyy thank you for sharing the same. This definitely adds much depth and insight to what occurred yesterday. I did note the fact that no human life was lost and I am still marinating and processing the act. I would love to know more! I am myself very very amateur if we are to look at an understanding of caste issues.

Let me now take it one at a time.

Im amazed and thankful to firstly get to know that you appreciate the posts shared from my end and I love the way you worded it 🙏

Next up, it comes as a surprise for me to know that the post may have appeared callous and it makes me reflect and is a gentle reminder of how important it is to not forget to speak from a perspective of the whole instead of taking sides. So thank you again. Honestly, I see that it was an outsider's surface level response to seeming violence and honestly again I assumed and presumed it was the right wing guys at it again and I also see how easy it has become to take it for granted and lightly label any such disturbance to have come from their end, thus overriding an effort that is actually making a point as you have highlighted.

Next, yes I did read up about the defiling of the statue thanks to the post by Amita immediately after my own post. And I did read up about the death of a youngster at the celebration which was cause for grief. Again I must let you know that I had no inkling that this bandh was arranged by the Dalit community and activists. I assumed it to be another stunt from the right wing troublemakers.

Thank you again and again for highlighting the scenario and the actual intent and turn of events. Do convey my apologies to your friend and yes, apologies to you too for the ignorance of ground level facts from which the post arose.

Reading up about your perspective on this act, an expression, does surely highlight something that we missed clearly.

Lastly, you were not at all condescending and I did not find it unjust at all because you conveyed your concern most humanely and went on to highlight the reason for the same so very considerately! Truly appreciate the same and yes, I would love to know more and extend any kind of support or if it's possible to even meet your friend and maybe just do an informal interview of sorts and do a blogpost to shine a light on the consistent attacks on Dalit integrity and identity or anything else that can help, let me know.

And yes I am well, hope everything at your end is great, lots of love and regard for your spirit <3

PS: I would like to copy paste the highlights from your input in the comments section on the post, once I have your permission so all who associated with it may know of the true chain of events. Also, I am inclined to do a new post with the complete version of your message, again only with your permission. What I really love is how you managed to compassionately convey a side I ignored in my own zeal for "figuring it out" and how now it adds a much deeper dimension to actually hold this differently as an experience.

Take care, and looking forward to more!

Thank you for your open mind and caring heart. It takes a kindred soul to listen to an alternate opinion.

I wouldn't mind you using anything I wrote although it's not well written - i am generally shy of social media, id be more than happy to not be credited.

And in case of the conversation I'd love to help have many more - it is what will drive change and positivity in the future. :)

Agreed cent per cent with your latter set of words!!!

And thank you for permitting me to share your perspective, I shall credit it anonymously.

I will act on this later in the day when I can give quality time outside office commitments :D

Looking forward to everything (*)
And honoured for the kindred soul association <3 🙌🙏


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