MYSURU:Dalits of Biligere village in Hunsur taluk have found a Gandhigiri-type approach to overcome untouchability.
They are inviting people of upper castes to partake in Sahabhojana (having meals together) at a dalit’s house.
Though they are not allowed to enter a state-run temple or perform puja during the annual jatra mahotsav and are denied work at agricultural fields of the village, there has been no atrocity cases from the village for the past several years.
The villagers believe law will not be able to solve the social problem, but will instead widen the gap between the communities. This is why they have abstained from lodging complaints. Sannaiah, a Madiga, who has invited upper-caste people for lunch at his house on Republic Day, said even those who had filed atrocity cases against the upper caste were successfully persuaded to withdraw them.
Dalit Sangharsha Samiti district convener Ningaraj Malladi said the dalit-upper caste divide widened after the dalits sought equal opportunities to perform puja during the annual jatra mahotsava. “Though dalits and upper caste people use the same road on which the idol is taken during jatra, the dalits are not allowed to perform puja. They are asked to keep fruits brought for puja at a temple corner. At the end, the priest sprinkles holy water on it which means they have performed puja,” he said.
He said for the Sahabojana at Sannaiah’s house, all upper caste people have been invited. While the youths have accepted the invitation, some of the elders are not willing to join. “However, we hope that they will realise the importance of such efforts as time passes,” he said.
MLA H P Manjunath and former vice-chancellor of Hampi University H J Lakkappagowda among others will be present at the Sahabojana.