People of the country should hang their heads “in shame” for not being able to stop the persecution of Dalits, former Union Minister P Chidambaram said today. The senior Congress leader referred to the suicide of Hyderabad University research scholar Rohith Vemula and the assault against Dalits in Gujarat’s Una in making his point. “All of us should hang our heads in shame that we have not been able to put an end to the persecution of Dalits. Exclusion and expulsion are used to exclude students from participating in legitimate university activities,” Chidambaram said.
His comments assume significance against the backdrop of the alleged suicide of JNU Dalit scholar Muthu Krishnan, who was associated with the students movement that followed Rohith’s death in January last year.
Chidambaram was speaking at the launch of ‘The Essential Ambedkar’, an anthology of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s writings edited by former Rajya Sabha member Bhalchandra Mungekar at the Constitution Club here.
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The event was attended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury among others.
Yechury said Ambedkar’s most essential contribution was envisioning an inclusive nationhood and “Indian nationalism”, which include various shades of divergences, as opposed to “Hindutva nationalism”.
Chidambaram hailed Ambedkar, saying his IQ would have matched to that of (Albert) Einstein.
His works hold a mirror to India and should make us ponder whether we have made any progress or not. “My sense is, not much. My sadness is, not much.”