Justice Markandey Katju-
Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.
I had a long talk with a German today on Skype. I had earlier sent him my two recent articles published in indicanews.com given below.
I told him that the Nazi genocide of Jews was no doubt terrible. But it was not unique. The Europeans who came to North America almost wiped out the entire Native American population, and the small number of survivors were driven into concentration camps euphemistically called ‘reservations. The British killed about 100 million Indians by starvation ( details are given in the first article ). The Belgians slaughtered millions of natives in the Congo ( see Joseph Conrad’s novel ‘Heart of Darkness ). The Americans wiped out about 10% of the population of Vietnam by B-52 bombers, napalm, agent orange, and other devilish devices.
I then said we Indians are also guilty of genocide against our Dalits ( low castes ) and tribals ( see paragraphs 18 and 36 of my judgment in Kailas vs State of Maharashtra online, in which I mentioned the slaughter of Bhil tribals ).
The atrocities against Jews lasted only from 1933 to 1945. But we have been committing atrocities on our Dalits and tribals for centuries. Even today for a Dalit boy to fall in love or marry a non-Dalit girl is often inviting a death sentence, by ‘honor killing’. Dalits are often attacked, insulted, and humiliated for even trivial acts, like riding a horse on his wedding.
No doubt there has not been a large-scale massacre of Dalits or tribals like the Holocaust of Jews for quite some time. But what can be called as ‘ideological genocide’ continues till this day. Dalits are often insulted and humiliated, demeaned and belittled constantly, and treated as ‘neech’ ( inferior ) by most of the upper castes, and even by the backward castes ( OBCs ). Even many of our youth, who are expected to be more idealistic, often attack dalits, as happened in Saharanpur, UP or in some Tamilnadu Universities.
I often receive emails and fb messages from Dalit youth complaining of their ill-treatment by upper-caste students in colleges and Universities. Many Dalit girl students have said that the upper caste girls refuse to have food with them in hostel messes, and often insult them.
I am not indulging in whataboutery, but who are we to blame the Germans for what they did to the Jews when we are no less guilty ( though in a different way )?
The treatment of Dalits and tribals is a disgrace to our country, and the time has come when this infamy must come to an end.