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’Havan’, ‘Ramdhun’ new tools to stall horse ride Dalit wedding

The Dalit’s wedding procession was held up for nearly five hours due to the roadblock due to ‘Havan’ and ‘Ramdhun’.

Statesman News Service | Ahmedabad |

The upper caste people in north Gujarat appear to have innovated a new method to prevent Dalit wedding processions through their villages.

‘Havan’ and singing of ‘Ramdhun’ in middle of the road just before ‘Baraat’ of a Dalit groom is scheduled to pass by are the new techniques the upper caste people have adopted to take the fun out of the wedding procession.

This is exactly the technique higher caste people in Khambisar village of Aravali district adopted on Sunday to stop the wedding procession of a Dalit youth riding a horse.

The upper caste people started ‘Yagnas’ on the road while their women sat down in the middle singing ‘Ramdhun’, apparently innocuous activities which cannot be considered directed against Dalits. The Dalit’s wedding procession was held up for nearly five hours due to the roadblock due to ‘Havan’ and ‘Ramdhun’.

This use of ‘Havans’ and ‘Ramdhun’ to prevent a Dalit youth’s horse ride on his wedding journey came close on the heels of last week’s incident in neighbouring Mehsana wherein the upper caste had imposed a social and economic boycott on the lower caste for their “audacity” of a horse ride.

On Friday last, a Dalit constable too had to get police protection in Sabarkantha district for riding a horse to his wedding venue.

While five people were arrested under the Prevention of Atrocities (SC/ST) Act for enforcing the boycott on Dalits in Lhor village of Mehsana, no one could be arrested for Sunday’s incident of blocking the wedding procession by performing ‘Havan’ and singing ‘Ramdhun’ in the middle of the road.

“The upper caste people in north Gujarat and Saurashtra, especially the Patels and Thakurs, cannot tolerate the Dalits celebrating anything… due to their feudal mentality”, Gujarat’s eminent social scientist and author Achyut Yagnik told The Statesman on Monday.

“This new technique (like ‘havans’ and ‘Ramdhun’) to block the Dalit’s ‘Baraat’ has been adopted probably to escape the penal provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities Act”, Yagnik explained. Author Achyut Yagnik is probably correct as the police did not arrest anybody in Aravali incident on Sunday but the purpose of preventing the Dalit’s wedding procession has been well served.

The police in Aravali has only prevented a physical assault on the Dalits and mediated to make them agree to reschedule the wedding on Monday with full police protection.

But, even before that ‘peaceful’ settlement, there were stone pelting by the two groups at one another leading to a mild baton charge during which the DJ singer ran away.