I read with amusement laced with consternation and outrage the new gimmick adopted by politicians to we their voters. The publicity drama is being called: slumber party with Dalits whereby people of a political party spent a night with a Dalit (low cate) family. What got my goat was ensures that beds were from Lajjawati's house and thereason given by a media coordinator was: "We have to get this done, the house should also look like a Dalit's house".
Stop! Where are we. It all looks like a page form Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter's party. Why can a Dalit family not have a bed? And why should all this made to be looked like a TV reality show? Something is terribly wrong.
We have Dalits in the project family. Children as well as staff. Some are teachers and one is by far our best programme coordinator and slated for higher posts. But everyone has got his or her place because of his or her skills and merit. No one is there because of his or her social origin. For the past years we have been to their homes and shared many meals and fun moments. And let me tell you they have beds, sofas, TVs and more.
I do not know how effective the slumber party politics will be or how they will translate in votes. In my mind it just makes the gap wider and deeper. It is not by spending a night in a Dalit's home that the social fabric of India will change.