Welfare of Scheduled Castes!
Posted June 11, 2015on:
It was in the mid-nineties. While going to visit a friend’s house in Professors Colony (Bhopal), I always espied on a house in the same locality a board with the name of some organisation that I assumed had to do something with the welfare of the Scheduled Castes. The welfare (or lack of it) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has always interested me. So I was naturally curious to know what exactly was happening there.
One free afternoon I walked into the house and was received by an elderly man who introduced himself as the president of the organisation and a middle-aged woman, its secretary. They both belonged to the Scheduled Castes. There were some volunteers and helpers around. They had with them a vast compilation of incidents of atrocities and discriminations against the members of the Scheduled Castes in the region. I was thoroughly impressed with their hard work. And mind you, I am not the man who gets easily impressed.
Their method of working was like this. They had a large register in which they would note down the date on which the complaint was received, the name of the complainant, a gist of the complaint, names of those assigned to visit the place, dates of their visit to the place, their primary observation, names and addresses of those whom they talked, a brief account of their discussions and, finally, a summary of their findings. This they had been doing for some years.
After completion of a field survey, they would write to the authorities concerned with the details of the incident requesting appropriate action. These communications mostly failed to impress the bureaucrats. Several times they wrote to the chief minister requesting an audience so that they could personally brief him. They did not even receive an acknowledgement from the CM’s residence. They kept copies of all of their communications in neat files. I collected whatever I needed and made a report for my newspaper.
No one can say the governments are always insensitive to what appears in the print media. The chief minister took prompt notice of my report and invited the president and secretary of the organisation for a discussion. It was highly gratifying to hear the grateful but jubilant man later tell me that my one report had done what their efforts of several years had not been able to achieve. The chief minister, he said, had given them a patient hearing and promised to do something soon.
True to his word, the chief minister did something soon. He constituted a committee and made the man its chairman with generous perks. He also suitably adjusted the woman in another sinecure. That was the end of their hard work; and apparently, also the end of their zeal to do something worthwhile for the Scheduled Castes, as I found out in the succeeding years.