KASGANJ (UTTAR PRADESH): The village that is 5 km off State Highway 33 that connects Pilibhit in UP and Bharatpur in Rajasthan, found itself in the grip of a caste clash earlier this year when Sanjay, a member of one of the eight Dalit families of the village, declared he would ride a mare to his wedding to Sheetal Jatav, also a Nizampur resident.
The upper castes reportedly objected to this and buoyed by the support they got from their peers in the neighbouring villages of Nagla Summi, Nagla Pipal and Qutubpur, they allegedly cut the water supply to fields owned by Dalits, and power to their homes.
Though the upper castes denied having done it, insisting the district authorities themselves had reduced water supply, the episode emerged as a flashpoint of caste-based conflict in India’s hinterland.
All this, however, seemed a thing of the past on Sunday, as Sanjay’s neighbours celebrated his baraat for the watershed moment it was.
“This is 21st century India,” said one, Raju Jatav, “We are happy beyond words.”
“I can’t believe this is actually happening,” added Ram Kumar, “It’s a big day for us.”
District Magistrate R P Singh said, “We had been preparing for the past five months to ensure the wedding takes place peacefully. I am happy today.”
The excited bride said, “I am happy that the five-month-old drama is coming to an end.”
The police deployment will be in place till the wedding celebrations continue until the small hours of Monday, and the companies will only be removed once the bidaai (farewell of the bride) ritual ends peacefully.