Former Speaker Meira Kumar remembers discrimination her father confronted: ‘He was called chamar’

Former Lok Sabha Speaker and Union Minister, Meira Kumar, in a current interview, revealed the discrimination confronted by her father, a former deputy prime minister, due to the caste system. Earlier, Kumar had spoken up towards the killing of a Dalit boy in Rajasthan allegedly over ingesting water from a pot meant for his higher caste trainer.

In a tweet on Monday, Kumar acknowledged, “100 years ago, my father Babu Jagjivan Ram was prohibited from drinking water in school from the pitcher meant for Savarna Hindus. It was a miracle his life was saved.”

“Today, a nine-year-old Dalit boy has been killed for the same reason. 75 long years after Independence, the caste system remains our greatest enemy,” she added.

In an interview to NDTV Tuesday, Kumar additional revealed that her father had been “humiliated”, and needed to face casteist slurs throughout his tenure. Speaking about an incident in Varanasi in 1978, Kumar acknowledged that her father had gone to unveil the statue of Sampurnanand and he was informed, “Jagjivan, chamar, go away.”

“They washed the statue with Ganga Jal because it was ‘polluted’… The caste system embraces everybody,” she added.

Kumar additionally highlighted an incident from her personal life, when she was requested about her caste whereas in search of a spot to lease in London. “It wasn’t even a Hindu. It was a Christian (who was going to give the house for rent) … he asked me, ‘Are you a Brahmin?’ I said, ‘No, I’m not a Brahmin. I’m a Scheduled Caste. Do you have a problem?’ He said, ‘No’. But he never gave me the house!”

She additional acknowledged, “I asked my father, ‘Why did you fight for freedom? This country did nothing for you. It has given nothing to you or your ancestors…’ He said, ‘Free India is going to change. We will have a caste-less society.”

“I am glad that he’s not there now, 75 years after Independence, to see that India has not changed,” Kumar stated.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has drawn hearth from the Opposition in addition to a piece of the Congress over the demise of the nine-year-old Dalit boy from Jalore. Congress MLA from Baran-Atru, Pana Chand Meghwal, even submitted his resignation to Assembly Speaker C P Joshi and the CM on Monday.

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