Hyderabad: In State Of Telangana there is a remote village named Podduturu under Shankarpalli Mandal, Rangareddy District. On March 18, there was a very unusual scenario in this village.
A person belonging to a higher caste(Reddy community) passed away. There was an unusual delay in the final death rituals. When enquired it came to know that the Dalits of the village rejected to be part of death rituals like doing all odd works for the dead and playing band in the death possession. No Dalit came forward in the entire village to take up the job. Finally, all the odd jobs even playing off the death band was done by the upper class (Reddy community).
This strong rejection from Dalit community was in response to the higher community rejecting the installation of Babasaheb Ambedkar Statue in front of the panchayat office in the village.
The Dalits of the village wanted to install the statue of Babasaheb in the open land in front of the panchayat office and they requested for the permission for the same. But the village sarpanch belonging to higher caste (reddy) opposed it.
He said he will get permission to install statues of Shivaji Maharaj or Swami Vivekananda but he will not let them install a statue of Babasaheb. Retaliating to this the Dalits called for a Dalit community meeting on 18 March morning.
Dalit community heads decided Dalits of the village will not work for any upper caste. The Dalits will lead a free and dignified life. Nobody can force them to work the way they used to for centuries.
It was unanimously decided that Dalits will not play bands on deaths or on marriages of the higher community as per custom. Dalit leaders Mr.K. Ramu, Mr. K Katagiri, Mr. G Vijay, Mr. K lachayya, Mr. Malesham, Mr. Laxman and Mr. K Prasad said that this decision of the community will be strictly followed and if any Dalit found violating this unanimous decision of this community then he/she will be dealt very strictly and they will be thrown out of the community along with their family and near relations.
A similar rejection of the upper community by Dalits took place in a remote village named Ramadugu Karimnagar. Here Dalit community also decided that they will not take up any odd job offered by upper caste. They will lead to dignified life breaking centuries-old customs. In this village, Dalits are not playing dead bands or marriage bands either.