Rahul points to Modi’s Karmayog book to show PM’s “anti-Dalit mindset”

Admonishing Modi for justifying scavenging in his book ‘Karmayog’, Rahul Gandhi said this spoke volumes about Modi’s anti-Dalit mindset in a country where six out of ten citizens are Dalits

Rahul points to Modi’s Karmayog book to show PM’s “anti-Dalit mindset”
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Raman Swamy

The BJP’s political propaganda department was caught off-guard on Monday morning. They knew that Congress president Rahul Gandhi would be delivering a speech at the Talkatora Stadium to launch the 'Save the Constitution' campaign. They also knew that he would make strong statements against the BJP and the Prime Minister. They were geared up to give instant rebuttals and counter-allegations. Friendly TV channels (which effectively means every major news network), had been alerted to stand-by for instantaneous sound-bites from BJP spokespersons.

What they did not know and did not expect was the clinical manner in which Rahul Gandhi would begin his 30-minute address. They did not anticipate that the Congress president would go straight for the jugular with his very first salvo. They did not foresee that he would start by reading out from a book by Narendra Modi called ‘Karmayog’.

Worst of all, they had never dreamed that the young man, whom they had so frequently ridiculed as weak and vacuous, would have the courage to probe deep into the dark caverns of Modi’s mindset and lay bare what their revered leader really thought about Dalits and the scavenger community.

Rahul Gandhi did just that. Deliberately, and with devastating precision, he not only quoted verbatim Modi’s views on cleaning of human excreta and related unmentionable matters, but went further to spell out the obvious conclusion—that the core philosophy of the RSS rests on contempt for the lowest of the low in the caste ladder.

According to Narendra Modi, those who clean human excreta every day do not do so because they have no other way to earn their livelihood, they do it because the occupation gives them a sense of spirituality.

The Congress president was merciless in admonishing Modi for justifying manual scavenging by calling it a ‘spiritual experience’ for the Valmiki community. He said “This speaks volumes about his anti-Dalit mindset. He thinks that a person from backward class who cleans toilets and gutters gets spiritual happiness. It’s their thinking”

Here is the full quotation of the passage in the book in which Modi refers to the manual scavenging as something the Valmiki community would not have done, had they not felt that it was their calling:

“I do not believe that they have been doing this job just to sustain their livelihood. Had this been so, they would not have continued with this type of job generation after generation. At some point of time, somebody must have got the enlightenment that it is their (Valmikis’) duty to work for the happiness of the entire society and the Gods; that they have to do this job bestowed upon them by Gods; and that this job of cleaning up should continue as an internal spiritual activity for centuries. This should have continued generation after generation. It is impossible to believe that their ancestors did not have the choice of adopting any other work or business.”

This is what Narendra Modi has said in his book, barely seven years before he became Prime Minister of a country. It is shocking and disgusting at the same time. It reveals an ingrained casteist mentality.

The Congress president was merciless in admonishing Modi for justifying manual scavenging by calling it a 'spiritual experience' for the Valmiki community. He said “This speaks volumes about his anti-Dalit mindset. He thinks that a person from backward class who cleans toilets and gutters gets spiritual happiness. It's their thinking”.

He then made the connection to the present uprising among the Dalits of the country and the severe dent it has made in the standing of the Prime Minister. He asserted that BJP-led governments has no genuine place in their hearts for Dalits and other backward class communities.

That, he said, was why the Prime Minister remains silent on the subject: “Atrocities against backward classes are increasing, but the man who sees manual scavengers getting spiritual happiness does not speak a word despite all these incidents".

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