Yashica Dutt did her Masters in Journalism from Columbia University, the same place Dr Ambedkar, the visionary light of the Dalits received his PhD from in the year 1927.
When I read Yashica’s memoir I was disheartened. We cannot imagine….Casteism is India’s dirty blot. it has been going on for years without recourse to the affected. The caste system was introduced in the Hindu sacred text Manusmriti thousands of years ago. Things have’nt changed much over this long stretch of time. The Dalits have lost years and years of progress because of casteism. Those lower castes who do manage to do well for themselves must hide their identities and put in twice the amount of effort as an upper caste. In India the truth is that if you are an upper caste your chances of “swinging it” in any sphere are tenfold.
Of course the arguement of most upper castes is that the Dalits already get too many benefits from the Government. But do these benefits really peter down to reach the most disadvantaged? Even if some lower castes do take advantage of these benefits they are mocked and ridiculed for their caste as students and in their jobs.
It feels shameful to hear, in this day and age, about the atrocities that upper castes inflict on lower castes. Sometimes it’s sporting a mustache that irks them and sometimes its riding a horse to ones wedding. They also practice untouchability; they don’t drink water or eat from the same utensils or even sit near the lower castes.
While the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation uses machines to clean manholes, in the suburbs around Ahmedabad such as Bopal which is an upcoming industrial and residential area, humans still have to do this disgusting job. One of my friends told me of an incident when the sweeper who was let down a manhole in her society resurfaced with condoms stuck to his body.
If you feel the way I feel, if your heart and head says that Dalits deserve far better than they have now, read this memoir. It is heart breaking, eye opening and will convince you to take a stand.
In her memoir, Yashica writes that her mother loved baking cakes for her when she was a kid. Once she baked a cake for her and decorated it with gems. I’m not baking a cake but making a gem laden, chocolate circle that is at once attractive and tasty too.
Gem Chocolate Circle
- 1 tin Milkmaid condensed milk
- 100 gms butter
- 6 tbspns cocoa powder
- 200 gms biscuits
- Gems to decorate
- In a pan combine Milkmaid, cocoa, and butter and heat, constantly stirring.
- When the mixture starts bubbling,reduce heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Mix the coarsely broken biscuits and remove from fire.
- Spread the mixture in a greased circular plate and leave to cool.
- Decorate with gems of different colours.