Before commenting on the validity of their objection, I will introduce you to Sheetal Sathe.
She is a Dalit. Lived in a slum dwelling but deeply influenced by Phule-Shahu-Ambedkar ideology.She is MA (Gold Medalist) of Pune univeristy. She could have spent here life with all luxury but chose to be a social reformist. She joined Kabir Kala Manch, a suitable platform for all here goal. There she met Sachin Mali, another dalit intellectual. Sachin writes poems and Sheetal has nice voice. So they decided to spread the awareness through songs. In 2011, while they were doing their work passionately, ATS alleged them for being involved or supporting Naxalite movement.
Having introduced Sheetal, its morally obligatory for me also introduce ABVP. A right wing student union based on the lines of RSS, BJP and VHP, often alleged (really..??) of being involved in many Hindutva-saving activities or as they call it nationalism.They have also been on several occasions for seditious activities and speeches. They were Charged for spreading unrest during promotion of ‘Jay Bhim Comrade’, a social documentary based on caste system.
After allegations of being supportive to Naxalite movement, Sheetal Sathe even surrendered herself to the police, repeatedly denying the charges but, still surrendered by showing faith in our democracy.
What are the mistakes committed by Sheetal ?, spreading the ideology of Phule-Shahu-Ambedkar? aware people about female infanticide? showing full faith in our democracy? or dedicating her life for the upliftment of downtrodden? For me, she was doing something that a humble follower of Ambedkar would do.
Event organised at St. Xavier’s was a social gathering where debates, speeches and awareness on social issues in fair manner has to happen. They surely did, but were they fair? Refusing a Dalit ideologue to deliver her speech when this issue is having centre stage of our social and political arena since the time immemorial, doesn’t patronise me.
Freedom of speech has been granted to us as fundamental right by our wise men. They are being reduced to piece of paper by organisations like ABVP. Irony is that ABVP is a student body. If lessons of petty politics are learnt by students at such age, no wonder if our country becomes democractic mockery in near future.
This situation can be best represented by Harry Kalven’s Heckler’s veto. Parallel censorship, moral policing are some forms of it.
What was expected is strong state intervention, as it is violation of article 19 which provides freedom of speech but, state failed to do so. Whats dismaying is that such events are on the rise these days. Either state should ensure rights of its citizens by strongly fall on such paracital elements of society or just amend the constitution to make it perfectly consituted. Its very horrowing to think in which direction are we moving. If this continues, it wont be a surprise if state chooses the latter option.
By: Dhammapal Avhad