Search for Better Identity and Dilemma’s of Ex-Untouchables – II

This blog post is a continuation post to one my previous post titled ‘Search for Better Identity and Dilemma’s of Ex-Untouchables’.

III

The sustained movement and activism of Madiga’s had a widespread impact on various caste organizations, especially upon the Mala’s. Due to the predominant projection and recognized assertion of the Madiga’s; a few Mala organizations and individuals have been in a dilemma on which name they should organize, project and conduct their activities. For long, various Mala organizations have been successful in the name of Ambedkar, SC/ST Employees, Dalit, etc. But, the continued successful activism of Madiga’s pushed a few sections of Mala’s into a dilemma. As a result, a few organizations have started to emerge, organize, assert and project on the name of Mala, in-addition to existing Mala’s predominance in the shade of Ambedkar, SC/ST, Dalit, etc. One of the dilemma’s of Mala’s on which name to continue resulted in the inauguration of All Mala Students’ Association (AMSA) on April 10, 2013 at Hyderabad. Mala students at various educational institutions were grouped under organizations titled on ‘Ambedkar/SC/Dalit’, etc. But, Madiga students were grouped under Madgia Students’ Front (MSF). The successful continuation of Madiga’s under MSF made a few Mala groups to get united under direct caste name Mala; as a result organizations like AMSA emerged or emerging. As of now, AMSA is not widespread and popular on educational institutions. We have to wait and observe how AMSA discourse may get rooted.

On a personal front, I’ve come to know about a few Mala organizations and individuals difficulty to organize, project and conduct on a name other than ‘Mala’. At the University of Hyderabad, the Mala’s are well organized and well carried out under Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA), since 1993. The birth of AMSA made a few Mala students’ at the University of Hyderabad to ponder over the option of abandoning ASA and get united under AMSA. But, as of now, the ASA leadership rejected such a thought, taking into consideration various parameters peculiar to the University of Hyderabad and their required role at this institution, particularly as part of the annual University Students’ Union elections, etc.

Though the Madiga’s were well organized on the name of ‘Madiga’ in various walks of life like employees, students, etc., at times, as per my personal observation, a few Madiga’s too faced and faces a dilemma on which name to organize, conduct and project? A person is known to me, whom I shall pseudo as ‘X’. This ‘X’ had the wish to organize Madiga’s under one platform. But, after prudent self-deliberation he avoided to name his organization after ‘Madiga’, instead chose the word ‘Dalit…’, while naming. In his view, at a certain point, the name ‘Madiga’ will diminish the prospects and limits one’s conduct in various spheres of activity. Thus, in his view, even Madiga’s, like Mala’s should organize, conduct and be successful under the name of ‘Dalit’, instead of Madiga!!

In another case, this too, as per my silent personal observation of a person whom I shall pseudo as ‘Y’, had done considerable academic research on Madiga’s and his name became popular. This ‘Y’ was jubilant for his acquired fame due to his academic inclination towards Madiga literature and its production. But then, on a few occasions, ‘Y’ too wished to be diplomatic in avoiding his well identified public reference towards creation of literature for Madiga’s!!

IV

While these kind of diplomatic dilemmas are taking place among various sections of Ex-Untouchables, like the Madiga’s and Mala’s; there were also a few success stories of these castes and individuals, which they achieved due to their assertion on caste name. One such instance was shared with me by a person at Guntur, whom I shall pseudo as ‘Z’. This ‘Z’ was well educated and was in the service sector for livelihood. In due course of his life, ‘Z’ got an opportunity, due to reservation policy, to get associated with a major political party, through an established popular leader of the region. This opportunity knocked him through his wife. He fielded his wife to contest in the elections and was successful in getting his wife elected. After his wife got elected, ‘Z’ became a pseudo to his wife’s political power in certain sense and occasions, albeit in both recognizable and unrecognizable forms and events. Due to association with politics and political power ‘Z’ started to change his way of livelihood. Based on political power contacts and influence he emerged as a contractor.

At a village, when ‘Z’ was undertaking contract works, a Kamma youth approached ‘Z’ energetically and in an assertive arrogant manner and questioned to which caste does ‘Z’ belong? The reply of ‘Z’ as ‘Madiga caste’ brought jitters in Kamma guy, who left the spot immediately in a quick way.

The predominant behavior of Kamma youth in a few villages, town, and cities of Coastal Andhra Pradesh is a well-recognized subject. For that matter, Coastal Andhra Pradesh is well known for the assertion of a few dominant castes like Kamma, Kapu, etc.

In the present case, spreading of jitters in Kamma youth instead of continuing to discriminate the Madiga ‘Z’ is a success of the Madiga movement since 1990’s. The Kamma youth, in this case, realized how he can’t discriminate Madiga ‘Z’ anymore!! Madiga’s lacked this kind of assertive dignity when they were silently grouped under SC category. The assertion of Madiga’s under various forms and for various causes made castes like Kamma’s to reconsider and reorient their modes of behavior and discriminative grounds.

Thus, all this indicates that the levels of stigma and approaches to discriminative grounds are undergoing drastic changes due to varying forms of caste assertion of Ex-Untouchables.

Perhaps, this kind of case studies could establish in relation to other communities, like the Mala’s, how they are also facing reduced forms of discrimination, due to assertion on caste lines.

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