Iglas: A dalit BJP candidate in ‘Hathras’ not only sits on the floor when he goes canvassing to the homes of upper-caste voters, but also carries a steel glass so as not to make the utensil of upper class people “impure”.
Rajvir Diler, recently participated in a sit-down lunch, “sah bhoj”, with dalits across Uttar Pradesh to promote his party’s social-equality message.
Iglas is less than 300km away from Delhi.
Diler calls his ways of sitting on the floor and using his own glass his “paramparagat aadat“ (family custom) Metres from the panchayat office Diler in his late 40s, repeatedly touched the feet of Mohan Singh, Jat pradhan from Tochhigarh, who is years younger to him.
“Main aapke pair padhta hun, mujhe meri galti to batao. Main ek gaon ka chowkidar bannna chahta hun, vidhayak nahin (I beg of you, please tell me my fault. I’d rather be a watchman than an MLA if you are angry with me),” he asked Mohan.
But the pradhan, who controls about 4,500 Jat votes, consoled him that the things are different this time. Ajit Singh’s RLD has also supported a Dalit.
“Main ek bhangi ka beta hun. Mere pita bhi yahin karte thhey. Main apni maan mary ada khatm nahin kar sakta. Zama na chahe badalta rahe (I am the son of a Valmiki. I cannot break away from tradition. Let the world change, I won’t),” Diler said whilst justifying his desire to remain shackled in casteism.
Valmiki is the lowest among dalits in the caste hierarchy and Diler inherited the so-called tradition from his father Kisen Lal, five term MLA and one-time MP.
Diler’s supporters say people of all castes love him for his desire to remain steeped in discriminatory casteist practices.
Diler sits with the driver in the front seat, the most comfortable middle seats go to Jagdish Prasad, a Brahmin, and Robin Chaudhary, a Jat.
Whilst the last two cramped rows are allotted to Amit Valmiki and Mukesh Kumar Baghel, who also belongs to a `most backward caste’.