Jignesh is an interesting person. With a diploma in Journalism and a degree in the same subject from Mumbai University, Jignesh -one would expect to- should be a paid member of a media house.
But Jignesh prefers something else – to repay the perpetrators of casteism and its dehumanising practices, in the same coin.
The young dalit (the oppressed caste) leader is the beacon of hope for the millions of dalits in India, who have been isolated by ‘upper caste’ Hindus for the last 4,000 years. These marginalised continue to be oppressed and denied of social privileges even today by the right wing Hindu organisations in the name of ‘purity’ and ‘supremacy’. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a member of such a right wing association called RSS or National Volunteer Association – the mother of all right wingers in the country, after whom the term ‘Sangh Parivar’ or ‘Association Family’ coined. Unfortunately, many well-meaning Hindus as well as the blind followers of these cults, don’t realise the harm these self-proclaimed ‘representatives’ of Hinduism to their religion and a majority of Hindus themselves.
Mewani was in the news in mid-September 2016 in Gujarat. After a few upper caste Hindus beat up some ‘untouchables’ or the dalits for skinning a dead cow (thinking that they had killed their ‘cow mother’) in Una, Mewani took charge of the dalit community. The tens of thousands of lower caste Hindus took pledge not to lift any carcass of animals from the upper castes. Ever since, they have not! Peeved by this, and suffering the ignominy of having their dead cow in the vicinity, an upper caste family beat up a lower caste family, for refusing to lift the carcass, in the last week of September.
PM Modi visited Gujarat in mid-September, to impress upon its deserting voters. But then, before he could land in Ahmedabad airport, police arrested Mewani, fearing backlash for ill-treating the dalits. And Mewani became more popular!
In the last two days, Mewani has been in Bangalore. On 10 October, Mewani visited St Josephs College to address socially-conscious activists. Though it is holiday season, and the College was closed, the Xavier Hall was full, to listen to and interact with Mewani! Such is the fame of this young leader.
Gauri Lankesh, the activist editor moderated the session.